Review by johannhowitzer
"Majora's Mask underappreciated as the Best Game of All Time!"
I believe Majora's Mask to be underappreciated for its genius, largely because of the fact that it shared so many elements with its predecessor, Ocarina of Time. Given the fact that the character representations and music and such were taken from its cousin, it should be considered what might have happened, had Majora's Mask been the first of the two to be released.
It is unfortunate how glossed over the graphics have become because they resemble the ones from Ocarina of Time so closely. The people are the same, as they should be - the artists at Nintendo hit so close to perfection the first time, why should they not recycle the old models and improve their quality? The characters are portrayed so well, their faces and manner each unique and betraying their inner concerns. Also, the graphics used for each of the locations in Termina, including those for Clock Town itself, are wonderfully drawn and easily convey the appropriate feeling for each region. Bravo!
Music and Sound: 9/10
Good sounds all, and the musical score is excellent in every area, but the variety was not as good as Ocarina of Time. The Ocarina Songs were filled out more in the earlier game. This game does plenty right too, though, with wonderful tunes everywhere. My personal favorite is the Song of Healing. The dungeons do not use music so much as atmospheric sounds, such as the Great Bay Temple, in which can be heard the sounds of large gears operating underwater.
Consider something many have not: while Majora's Mask is unoriginal in appearance, Ocarina of Time is unoriginal in plot, which is by far the more important element. Majora's Mask, on the contrary, has a fantastically different story from anything yet seen in the Zelda universe. I believe it was the aim of the writers at Nintendo to bring us less of a traditional epic, and more of a fairy tale legend. It is dark, as well, unlike its forerunners. Even the positive influence of Link is not always enough to completely resolve certain scenarios. Several characters actually die throughout the game, and since they are each trapped in the three-day cycle, they will die several deaths. A little girl's father has been turned into an undead monster. A baby's father is freezing to death and can't get home. Ocarina of Time was meant, I think, to feel a lot more like this, but it failed to do so. In Majora's Mask the mood is just right.
Probably even an improvement on the superb control found in Ocarina of Time! With enough practice with the sword, you can make it do anything you want. One major plus in this category is the increased speed of the text windows. Perhaps the most annoying thing to me about Ocarina of Time was the fact that every few seconds I would have some text crawling across the screen that I couldn't skip - even text I'd already seen and read several times. The Bunny Hood's increased running speed makes it much less frustrating to have to travel long distances, and the Owl Statues are a far more convenient form of transportation than the songs were. There is just no way I can think of to improve on this gameplay. The Nintendo programmers know how to make a game easy to move around in.
The main urge to play this game again, at least for me, is trying to complete the whole thing, sidequests and all (of which there are many), in less 3-day periods. It's believed to be possible to finish the whole game in only four periods, getting every last item and Bottle and Mask. But it's certainly very enjoyable to play through the game at least a second time, knowing where most of the objectives are, making for a more efficient quest and a more satisfying finish. I find endless enjoyment in doing nothing over the whole three days but examining every last event in the quest to reunite the two affianced.
Perfect scores in everything. I have yet to find a game that comes close to competing with this game, so I still consider it the Best Video Game Ever Made. Buy it (preferably the N64 version, as the GC version has been known to crash occasionally) and keep it always in your console.
Many people have been annoyed by the real-time nature of the game, and the three-day limit that forces you to reset the whole world about every hour and a half (or four hours if you slow time down). This is the true genius of the game, this is the thing that makes the game really what it is. You are interacting with a world similar to the movie Groundhog Day, in which by knowing what is about to occur, you can make changes and improve the world.
Besides this, the dungeons are also unique. Each of the four has a central puzzle, one which is the theme for the dungeon and which, when solved, changes many other things, sometimes the entire dungeon. Some of the dungeons in Ocarina of Time were a little tiresome; not so here. Every one is a work of art, with a graceful simplicity to each puzzle that will catch you if you try to think too deeply or too long.
Gamers, rejoice! Here is the most concise, elegant game ever designed. There are no pointless sidequests; everything ties up in the end, yet there is so much to be done, and look at the time! There are only 72 hours left! Quick, go secure your copy now!
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 07/03/04
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