Review by RageBot
"Ocarina of Time 2: The Sequel"
It's harder to judge a game that is the twin of another. It's not as hard as to separate the Oracles from each other, but still, despite the totally different plot and the concept of masks, this game is Ocarina of Time. The gameplay is exactly the same, many character models have been reincarnated and put on a completely different use (A great example is Twinrova, who turned into a tour guide and a potion seller), and it is a direct chronological sequel to Ocarina of Time. So tell me, how can you judge it differently, especially in the graphics and music departments? It's so hard.
This game does not take place on Hyrule. While the idea was done before with Link's Awakening, Koholint Island is a dream world and Termina is real, so Majora's Mask is the first game to take place on a real place that is not Hyrule. Beside, it is the first one to do so chronologically - Link's Awakening happens at least three hundred years after it, and is on a parallel timeline. Link has gone to Termina to search for Navi, who went there, for... No reason whatsoever? This is not the only hole: Link is holding an iron shield fit for a child, with a design unlike anything in Ocraina of Time. How could Nintendo create more plotholes with a direct sequel?
Anyway, the land of Termina is at imminent risk, although not by Ganon's hand: A huge moon with creepy face is about to fall on the capital, Clock Town. It is up to Link to save the day... and he has only three days to do so. The task at hand seems impossible. Before he can even attend to this problem, Link has his own problems. He was ambushed in the woods by the Skull Kid, who stole his trusty steed, Epona, and the Ocarina of Time. After that, he also turned Link into a Deku Scrub. The first thing you need to do in this game, is to find the Skull Kid, take Epona and the Ocarina back, and somehow turn back to human form, in three days.
After succeeding in doing that, Link can use an old song for a new purpose: The Song of Time, once used to open the Temple of Time and remove strange blue blocks from your way, now can be used to set the time back three days, and this is the ONLY way to beat the game. Try to beat it in one go, and you will fail, and get to see the town crushed with the force of the Moon, with shockwaves that level the whole land. The way to play is to do one major event, teleport back to town, put your rupees in the bank (Yes, there is a bank this time. Everytime you go back in time, your rupee count resets to zero, so this is a must. Besides, you need to do so in order to get rewards, including a Piece of Heart). For extra support, try the Inverted Song of Time, which slows time down, and Song of Double Time, which moves you twelve hours FORWARD in time.
On your journey to stop complete desolation, you will get to the four ends of Termina: The swamps in the south, mountains in the north, the ocean in the west and a vast canyon in the east. All along the land, you'll find signs of the Skull Kid's mischiefs: The swamps are poisoned, the ocean is polluted, winter comes early in the mountains, and the people of the canyon are infected with evil intentions. To clear the problems, you must assume the forms of the three races using masks, learn a specific song that will only be used to reach the dungeon, beat the dungeon in each area, and then you'll clear the area. Once you go back in time, however, the area will be in trouble again.
In each dungeon, there are 15 fairies to collect. They can be found inside bubbles, spawned by defeating enemies, inside chests that are spawned by hitting switches, and so on. The last dungeon can be flipped, and some fairies are spawned on the rightside-up part AFTER flipping it, forcing you to flip it two more times in order to collect all the fairies and return to beat the boss in the upside-down part. If you collect them all, get them to the Great Fairy Fountain close to the temple. The first three Great Fairies grant you the three upgrades from its predecessor, while the last fairy grant you a super powerful sword, similar to Biggoron's sword.
The gameplay is again similar to Ocarina of Time, the control scheme is completely the same. This game's trademark is the usage, and in some cases abusage, of masks. After getting the Ocarina back, you meet the Happy Mask Salesman, and he teaches you a new song: The Song of Healing. With this song, you can put others' souls out of their misery, and you get a mask that will help you in your task. Some are of little use, and are only there as an extra unnecessary item, some are required to complete one little sidequest or get one Piece of Heart.
Aside from those masks, there are some masks that are mandatory for the completion of the game. Those are the transformation masks. You get them plot-wise, and you use them to turn into the three main non-Human races of the Zelda world: Deku Scrubs, Gorons and Zoras. Each transformation strips you clean of almost all of your items and your sword, but grants you new powers. The Deku Scrub can hide in blossoms and use them to propel himself into new heights, as well as shoot bubbles which are prime and proper projectiles. The Goron is twice as strong as Link, and can roll across steep and slippery slopes. The Zora can swim very fast and accurately, and conjure a shield of electricity around himself. Sweet.
New songs are available. Instead of six teleportation songs, each for one position in the world, like they did in Ocarina of Time, Nintendo returned to the basics with one teleportation song for all posts. There are also more posts, to teleport to, making transportation around the world much more comfortable. All the old songs from Ocarina of Time are here as well. However, most of the new songs are only used once in the game. There is one song that you obtain after the first dungeon, yet you only use it in the very end! Is it that difficult to find more uses for the songs?
Speaking of sidequests, there is a ton of them. Since there are only four dungeons (Although the last one, which uses all three transformation masks, is extremely complicated, and also awesome), you must collect 52 pieces of heart. How can you collect so many? Well, the game is stuffed to the brim with mini-games. There are at least five ranges, three games where you ride your horse, three arenas to fight enemies in, a swimming race, Goron rolling race, and so on. The trading quest grant you five pieces, and five more are mandatory to the plot. It gets ludicrous, but that's just how it is.
Another fairy comes to Link's aid. Her name is Tatl, she is white, and along with her brother Tael, who glows black (You've got to love this oxymoron, whenever it appears), she was the friend of the Skull Kid. She stayed behind after Link turned into a Deku, and after revealing her friend's intention of speeding the moon's fall, she decides to help Link, the land and her brother. She guides you, just like Navi, only way better: She doesn't say "Hey! Listen!" and she never stops you, yet supply you with all of the information you need, when you ask her to. She is the best helper in Zelda history.
One last thing, this game is the first game ever to bring one of the most annoying characters in the eyes of many: Tingle. This green... creep stalks you throughout the game, riding on a red balloon. He acts like a child, dances in place like a mental former ballerina, and is dangerously obsessed with Link's new fairy. However, he is the only source of maps in the game. So love him or loathe him, you are stuck with him for good.
Presentation time: I'll focus on the music this time, because the graphical engine is the same as Ocarina of Time's. While the music is also similar in quality to Ocarina of Time, the songs are almost completely different. Among them you could find again the classic overworld theme, a new combat theme, a new boss theme and mini-boss theme, and the very catchy Clock Town theme (that gets an apocalyptic tune once you get to the third and final day - I like it a lot).
The atmospheric dungeon theme tradition returns here. The first three dungeon themes are beyond lackluster in my opinion. The last dungeon's theme fits with its awe, it's a great theme that sounds a little like a scene from a Wild West film. And then there are those songs that you cannot make a Zelda game without, such as the Goron theme, Zora theme, Fairy theme, and the classic jingles of getting an item, a Piece of Heart, or discovering a secret. There is even a fan service in a remake of the dungeon theme from the original Legend of Zelda.
I think I like this game's score more than Ocarina of Time, it is more true to the origin at some points and yet more innovative and creative at other points. Well done.
Final grade: 9.3/10
This sequel has his pros over Ocarina and his cons, but they are both excellent games and I recommend to play them both.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 06/16/11, Updated 01/26/12
Game Release: The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (Collector's Edition) (US, 10/25/00)
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