Review by Icepick884
"Pure Magnificence. Ignore the Haters."
I really can't understand the hate the some people express for this game. It embodies everything that a game should consist of: beautiful landscapes, epic music, engrossing gameplay, a deep (but not totally convoluted) storyline, and best of all, absolutely excellent replay value.
Let's face it guys, Ocarina of Time was for kids. I mean, not that this game wasn't designed for kids too, but OOT is a fairly easy game to complete. Every room entered pretty much presented the solution to the puzzle right to you. Majora's Mask is quite a bit more difficult, if not more tedious in some cases. But a little tedium is necessary certain games; you don't want everything presented to you on a silver platter do you?
This game represents everything I like about Action/Adventure games. It goes well beyond the traditional Zelda formula and, in my opinion, exceeds it.
Where to start? You begin as young Link trudging through a forest with your horse. While exploring for a "long, lost friend" whose identity remains a mystery throughout the whole game, you come upon a skull kid and two fairy siblings who have just ambushed a mask collector. The skull kid is wearing a mysterious, creepy looking mask which is later revealed to be Majora's Mask. Skull kid knocks out Link, nabs the horse and the Ocarina of Time, and leads Link into a hollowed out tree. Link unwittingly falls deep into a cave beneath the tree, where Skull kid jests and transforms Link into a Deku Scrub. After that, Skull kid escapes, leaving Link in his pathetic Deku state. Link follows the Skull kid into a place called Clock Town, which appears to be in some time of new world called Termina. Here, Link is directed by the Mask Collector to retrieve both the Ocarina and the Mask to avoid tragedy. Eventually, you discover that the tragedy happens to be the moon crashing into Termina (not exactly small potatoes).
You don't stay constricted to the Deku form for long. Eventually, you earn back your human form and start the real adventure that awaits.
Graphics: Well, you could certainly say that Majora's Mask is an improvement on what The Ocarina of Time displays. The world is much more colorful and detailed than OOT. In addition, much of the sprite movement seems to run a little bit smoother. Also, more sprites can be displayed on the screen at any time without slowing the game down at all. Most of this can be attributed to the extra RAM provided by the expansion pak. Besides that though, the game doesn't look all that different from Ocarina of Time. Many creature are just recycled from OOT, though there are a few new additions. I really can't see how anyone could dog the graphics on this game. It's just a smoother version of OOT.
Music/Sound: It's all over the place. Clock Town has a very light hearted tune playing in the background, at least during the first day. However, as time progresses the background tune gets darker and more frantic, reflecting the impending doom the lurks nearer and nearer. The four other main areas all sport the same dark, droll tune. This isn't really that bad though, as each is presented in a slightly different way to reflect the area itself (the Southern Woods have kind of a bayou sound, while the Snow area sound kind of Christmas-like). The best part is the main field though. We're back to the basics with the original Legend of Zelda tune. Sweet.
Gameplay: Man, this game is just so damn cool. First, to tackle the main criticism of this game. Yes, there is a time limit. You have 72 game hours (3 game days) before the moon crashes into Termina. However, this is tangible. There are Ocarina Songs that can slow or speed up the flow of time in order to ease many of the games plotlines and sidequests. In order to save, you need only play the Song of Time to return you to the beginning of the first day. You also have the option of using owl statues to save your place if your too far along in a certain event to just abort and go to the first day (though I rarely found use for these). Many gamers lament at the fact that you have a time limit and that you can't "explore" the world of Termina. Oh please. 72 minutes (or 144 if you slow down time) is plenty of time to finish just about any quest. In fact, most people will find themselves pushing time forward manually so they can get to the point in time that they desire. And I guarantee you'll still have time to stop and smell the roses.
Clock Town is pretty cool by itself. It features a plethora if different characters each going about their daily tasks. Of course, some of them are experiencing troubles, and may offer you some neat stuff if you can help them out. However, helping them isn't always an option at any time. You have to show up at a certain point within the three day period you are allotted in order to help them out. The Bomber Notebook can assist in this. Some people give you new masks, while the others give you heart pieces. While most of these little side quests are cool and interesting, the Anju/Kafei side quest is an absolute terror. Unless you're one of those gamers that has to get EVERYTHING, don't bother with this one.
The central theme of this game is, you guessed it: Masks. Three of these masks are pivotal. The Deku mask, which is the first transformation mask, allows you to turn into a Deku Scrub. You become light, fairly vulnerable, and are armed with magic bubbles (yeah, bubbles). The Goron Mask turns you into a Goron. You become heavy, powerful, and can roll into a ball and move pretty fast. The best of the three, the Zora Mask, turns you into a Zora. With this form, Link can swim (really fun) and shoot his fins like boomerangs. Other masks don't really transform you into anything, but unlock new areas or gain you new items. The bunny hood is really neat, as it makes Link run really fast. The Romani Mask allows Link to enter the Milk Bar, which has a really nifty product for sale if you have an empty bottle. Two other secondary transformation masks exist, but I'm not really gonna go into what those do. You can figure that out on your own.
As for the dungeons, I guess I can't really defend that little flaw. Yeah, there's only four. But honestly, they're way more elaborate and interesting than anything OOT had to offer (though give OOT credit where credit is due, they worked with what they had back then). The first two temples are fairly manageable, but the Great Bay and Stone Tower Temples are quite clever in their designs. Although most find Stone Tower Temple to be the most creative (and it is pretty crazy) I personally like Great Bay Temple the most. The bosses can be a grind, as they don't have any real exploitable weaknesses. But other than the third boss, all of them can be taken down without a bottled fairy in reserve.
Once you beat a boss, the area corresponding to that boss transforms into what I guess I'll call a "happy" state. The crisis of the area has abated, and some new quests open themselves up to you. Unfortunately, if you play the Song of Time and go back to the first day, the area will return to it's "crisis" state. However, you can revert it back just by returning to the Temple and beating the boss. You don't have to do the whole temple over again after you have a boss's remains; it gives you the option of warping to the boss room.
As for control, well, it's pretty much the same as OOT. Seeing as how that's the case, I really can't think of anything to gripe about.
Replay Value: Well, this game is kind a big long string of repeats anyway, so I would say the replay value is pretty high.
If you beat the game, you won't find yourself going "Wow, that was great" and just start over right from the beginning. But seriously, is any Zelda game like that? Give yourself a few months and you'll wanna play again. That's just the way this game is. I don't know why, but I just love this game.
One more I wanna talk about before I finish.
The whole idea just kind of bugs me. This guy takes a deposit and puts a stamp on your hand. And then you go back in time and return to the banker. He looks at the stamp, and gives you money you never really put in. Is this guy really that stupid? "Gee kid, I've never seen you before in my life. But you have this stamp, so here's a 500 rupees." What the hell is wrong with this guy? Wouldn't he eventually realize that after so many deposits and trips back in time he'd owe you like a billion rupees? Does that amount of money even exist in Termina? Eventually he'd have to be like "Wait a minute, what the hell's going on here?" What a tool. And the stamp... what is this stuff? Time travel resistant ink? Where did the banker get his hands on ink that resists time travel? Then again, your masks and items seem to have no problem doing the same thing. Ugh, my head hurts.
Long story short, this game is just plain cool. A little different from your typical Zelda adventure, but it's cool. It forces you to think more dynamically both at a local and general level. Any Zelda fan should give this game a try. The main complaint I hear about this game is the time limit. You just need to ignore this (unless the time is directly related to your quest).
Too bad this game doesn't get the respect it deserves. Majora's Mask is a winner.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 05/27/08
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