Review by Archmonk Iga

"Control time in a whole new way in this odd yet intriguing Zelda title."

Alright GameFAQs, I think I'm overdue on a couple things. First is writing a review—it's been a few months… not that you care. Second is brushing up on my Zelda shizznit… Majora's Mask was the one I had been meaning to play for a good while. I played through Wind Waker and Twilight Princess before giving Majora's Mask a chance. On top of that, the past month or so of my life has been… unusual. I lost my best friend, who as it turns out was never my best friend at all. Somehow, all of this fits together for me right now. I popped in Majora's Mask for the first time in years (the last time I played it for like an hour before getting sick of being a Deku all day long), and I am proud to say I have completed it. At such a hard time in my life, I was actually very thankful for this game to be there to keep my mind off things. It's also ironic how heavily MM deals with the strength (or weakness) in friendship. Yeah… I could not have asked for a better time to play this wonderful – and unique – entry in the Zelda series. Plus, it finally got me to write a review again! Yeesh.

STORY:
Majora's Mask is a major step to the side in comparison to most Zeldas. We are in a parallel world called Termina, where Zelda and Ganandorf are not seen at all. Random people from Hyrule are in Termina, but their roles differ.

Link is brought to Termina by the Skull Kid, a strange youth wearing a scary mask representing “Majora.” This mask has been giving Termina some hard times lately—there is an angry moon looming above us, and it is threatening to crash down onto Termina… which would kinda suck. Bad timing too, since there is a big festival being planned in only three days! Dang, even with all the crap that went on in Hyrule, this pending disaster makes me kinda miss it, you know?

So the Skull Kid traps Link in Termina, steals his ocarina, kidnaps Epona, and transforms him into a Deku Scrub. Not only that, he totally ditches out on his fairy friend, Tatl, who has no choice but to stick with Link until they both can resolve all this. To get everything made right, Link must turn himself back to normal and get back his ocarina. When that's taken care of, he will need work in desperation before the 72 hours are up, or else the moon will crash into Termina. He'll have to control time with his ocarina and travel the vast land of Termina to do it all, so he's got a pretty big responsibility on his shoulders—and he's new in town, so it's gonna be rough.

Fans call MM one of the “darker” entries in the Zelda series, which I agree with to an extent. Sure, seeing that nasty moon slowly falling down upon the land gives you a serious sense of danger and mystery throughout the whole game, and Majora's Mask itself is quite scary. Not to mention how many civilians have basically given up hope. Still, there is plenty of humor and lightheartedness in MM, and I'd say that it's more bizarre than dark.

I also want to mention how intriguing Skull Kid is… he sure acts like a little snot, and he is responsible for a lot of the doom and gloom hitting Termina. But with Link being nothing more than a static means to an end in this entry, Skull Kid makes an excellent antagonist. He's like the kid who gets shoved into the lockers at school because he doesn't know how to be cool. Really though, he just wants to be loved. Friendship plays an important role in MM, and it's all centered around Skull Kid. Majora's Mask is nothing more than pure evil (there's almost no explanation on its history or anything), so this theme of friendship is helpful in making the story worthwhile. By the game's conclusion, it actually hits you pretty hard.
STORY: 7.5/10

GRAPHICS:
Perhaps because of a necessary expansion pack, MM's graphics are crisper and smoother than OoT's. While the recycling of many characters from before is a little cheap, they still all look fantastic. Blurry textures and slowdown is quite rare, even with all the hustle and bustle going on throughout Termina. It's really a beautiful world, and while at first glance these two Zelda 64 games look just about the same, MM really has aged better in the visual department.
GRAPHICS: 9.5/10

SOUNDS:
Link's cries are all back, and they are identical to OoT. I love the noises Tatl makes when she wants to tell you something—rather than saying “hey!” or “listen!” like Navi did, she makes a minute chime. It's actually kind of pretty. Musically, MM is perhaps only outmatched by its predecessor. Termina's music changes depending on which day you're on, but it's a guarantee that it will get stuck in your head—it's just so darn catchy. There are plenty of other wonderful original tunes in MM, while there are also many well-placed familiar tracks as well. I did wish we'd get a little more extrapolation of the ocarina tunes—we have to watch the short scenes every time we play them, so it would've been nice to have an extension on them rather than having the eight or so notes we just played repeated. Other than that, it's pretty much a given that a Zelda soundtrack is gonna be great. MM's is no exception.
SOUNDS: 8.5/10

GAMEPLAY:
Basic controls, puzzle-solving, combat, and travel are essentially the exact same as they were in OoT, with minor differences because of some new tools and the masks. Since OoT was so successful with its gameplay, having so few changes is welcome. Going in and out of the menu to switch around items for the C-buttons still gets really annoying, but what can ya do…

There are some HUGE changes, however. Most important is the time system. There are three days til the end of the world, so uh… you should consider that when playing. As you get stuff done, time will pass. Before you know it, it could be the third day and the moon will be quite close to hitting Termina. Obviously, beating the entire game within one three-day cycle is gonna be hard. Thankfully, Link has the Ocarina of Time. Whenever you feel you're ready, you can play the Song of Time and return to the very first day, resetting almost everything that has happened in Termina since. While it's kind of frustrating to see all your hard work for certain quests go back like you never did anything in the first place, it also adds to the intrigue of the strange world of Termina. Plus, unlike everyone else in Termina, Link isn't really affected by travelling back in time—any items or masks you have received stay in your inventory. Any changes you have made to the world, however, are undone. The first part of the game involves purifying a sickly lake's water. You'll purify it, sure, but once that temple is completed and you play the Song of Time, it goes right back as if nothing happened. You can go back to temples and repeat boss fights, however, to complete additional sidequests that you didn't have time for before. It all ends up being a pretty legitimate system—of course there are frustrations and annoyances with it (certain monotonous chores need to be done in every cycle), but it still works well.

Another big change is in MM's masks. You can collect up to 24 different masks, some part of the main quest and some received through sidequests. Four of the masks actually transform Link into another being, and one of them has an effect similar to Mario's magic mushrooms (meaning, he gets HUGE). Three of the transformation masks will be used quite a bit and are necessary to get through many parts of the game. An annoyance I had was that every time you put one of these masks on a short cutscene would play. You can skip them, but my impatience still sees those couple seconds as getting in the way of my playtime. Still, the transformations are pretty cool and each has its own skillset. Swimming as a Zora controls extremely well, rolling around as a Goron is a blast, and gliding around as a Deku scrub implements some cool platforming elements.

Most of the other masks are gained through sidequests—which brings me to MM's VERY heavy emphasis on doing optional stuff. Many of the masks will only be used for a single sidequest, which is pretty lame. Others are useful for other things—the bunny hood and fairy mask are two notable ones. Still, I know many people are disappointed that there are only FOUR temples in MM as opposed to eight. Because of all the optional stuff to do in Termina, however, you gain a whole new sense of what MM offers. The main game is obviously the best part, but certain sidequests really make MM special in its own way. This is especially true because of the three-day time limit, because they all have to be done at certain points in the cycle. Many people may miss out on them, which is a shame, but if you do a little digging then you will certainly be rewarded.

So while many aspects are almost identical to OoT in MM, various new implementations make it very much its own game. The three-day limit, plus all the masks you can get, add a whole new level of gameplay. Certain Zelda elements that always have irked me still irk me in MM (frustrating temple sections, random difficulty spikes, slow pace), but there is so much to explore and discover in MM that it is a very worthy sequel to one of the most influential games of all time.
GAMEPLAY: 8/10

REPLAY VALUE:
Because it only has four temples, MM could end up being one of your shortest Zelda titles. With all the sidequests, however, it could also be one of your longest. It really depends on your taste. For me, every time I set out on a new Zelda adventure I swear I'm gonna do and achieve everything it has to offer… but every time I end up giving up on that because of silly minigames (hit so many targets in under a certain length of time, etc.). It's especially true with MM because of the time system. But others will be sucking this game dry of everything it has to offer. You can expect anywhere between 25 and 60 hours of your life being devoted to MM. And seeing as how this is a Zelda title, many fans will replay it over and over again.
REPLAY VALUE: 9/10

OVERALL:
Majora's Mask can be seen as the Zelda franchise's red-headed step child. It has a bizarre nature to it, and its three-day system makes playing through it a very different experience than any of the other entries. Some may be turned off by what MM has to offer, but others have claimed it to be the best Zelda in the series. Me, I'm just a silly GameFAQs member who writes reviews for the hell of it. I love the Zelda series, so it's natural that I love MM. A bizarre storyline and method of progression definitely make it stand out. Majora's Mask is an oddball for sure, but in this case that's a good thing.
OVERALL: 8.3/10

Thanks for reading =)


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 08/15/11

Game Release: The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (Collector's Edition) (US, 10/25/00)


Would you recommend this Review? Yes No You must register to leave a comment.
Submit Recommendation

Got Your Own Opinion?

You can submit your own review for this game using our Review Submission Form.