Review by Megaman1981
"The world of Termina is a dark and scary place."
Let me start this review by saying that I absolutely love the Legend of Zelda series. It's funny; I wasn't a huge fan of the series until I got Ocarina of Time on my N64. That game changed my life. It was the first game that I ever played that made me say wow, and to this day is the only game to ever do that. That was in 1998, and Ocarina of Time is hailed as the greatest game of all time by many, including me. Well, the challenge by Nintendo was to try and top it. In late 2000, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask was released. While it isn't as good as Ocarina of Time, it still is one of the best games ever created. One interesting thing to point out, Majora's Mask was released on the same day as the Playstation 2. While the PS2's launch may have overshadowed Majora's Mask a bit, it no doubt was still a successful game that most N64 owners invested in.
Gameplay is by far the most important aspect of any video game to me. That is what makes the Zelda series so popular to both me and gamers, everywhere. The gameplay is always top notch. I don't ever remember a Zelda game that was difficult to play. Well, Ocarina of Time was the first Zelda game to be made in 3D. The build up for this game was nothing short of astronomical. The game was in development for several years, and was delayed several times as well. All of this waiting was for good reason. First of all the camera was perfect. Mario 64 was great, but the camera was a little wacky at times. Let me say that the camera will never hinder your progress in this game. When in battle, simply tap the Z button to lock on to your enemy. This will always let you see your enemy at all times. I guess that is pretty important in a 3D game. Thankfully all of the positive aspects form Ocarina of Time is present in Majora's Mask. Some people say the camera is a bit wacky at times, but don't listen to them. Majora's camera is perfect.
What also makes the gameplay awesome is the way the controller is setup. The Zelda series has always been about Link always having several weapons to help him on his quest. The trick to making a 3D game was how to use them. The N64 uses the C buttons for Link's sub weapons and to control the camera. Link also must use his shield to defend himself. This is vital in any 3D Zelda game. Link also of course uses a sword as his main weapon. I must say that Majora's Mask is a bit harder of a game than Ocarina of Time. I thought that Ocarina of Time was a bit too easy, but Majora's Mask has clearly fixed that. Now the enemies are smarter and more deadly. There is also a time limit in the game as well, but more on that in a moment. Now gamers can't simply take their time when in dungeons, because of the time limit. Also Link during the game will come across more than 40 masks. Most of them are one trick ponies, but three are vital to your quest. The three masks, a Deku Mask, a Goron Mask, and a Zora Mask allow Link to actually transform into a Deku Scrub, Goron, or Zora. This adds quite a bit of gameplay and strategy.
The story to Majora's Mask is awesome. Nintendo easily could have just given us an Ocarina of Time rehash, but they didn't. The story begins as Link is searching for a lost friend in an unchartered area of the Lost Woods. This friend is most likely Navi the fairy from Ocarina of Time, but it's never said. As Link continues to search on Epona the horse, a small imp called the skull kid attacks Link with his two fairies. The skull kid steals Epona and the Ocarina of Time. After searching for a while, Link finds the skull kid who then turns Link into a Deku Scrub. One of the skull kid's fairies is left behind by mistake, and becomes Link's new partner fairy.
Link then finds himself in the land of Termina, and the similarities to Hyrule are very similar. Termina is in fact an alternate version of Hyrule. One problem. The moon above Termina will crash in three days. After searching for those three days, Link finally gets his Ocarina back and after remembering the Song of Time that Zelda taught him, Link uses the Ocarina to go back in time to the beginning of the three day cycle. This also changes Link back into his original form. Basically while Link must save the Four Giants from the four temples in Termina, he only had three days to do it. Using the Ocarina of Time, Link can keep reliving those three days over and over again in order to complete his quest.
The only downside to rewinding time is that Link will lose all of his weapons such as bombs and arrows. In case you haven't already guessed, this is how you save in the game. So when you do begin a new day, you will have to buy new sub weapons each time. However, you can save all of your rupees at the bank before you save so you don't lose them. Also all of the dungeon puzzles will reset when you save, so you must complete a dungeon on one sweep threw. The three days in the game are equal to about an hour of real time. However, you can alter the game time by using different songs in your Ocarina.
How about the graphics? Well, when this game came out in 2000, it was probably the best looking N64 game. While most games back then had blocky characters, Link looked brilliant. It actually looked like he was ripped straight out of a Gamecube game, and put in an N64 game. Also each environment is wonderful. From the plush and colorful Termina field, to the beautiful Snowhead Temple, each environment you visit will leave you speechless. That's impressive considering this game was made in 2000. Yes there are better looking games out there, but nothing wows me like Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask. However, with Majora's Mask the expansion pack must be used. This is sold separately or packaged with Donkey Kong 64. The game won't run without it, but the visuals have been given a clear upgrade because of it. The N64 fuzziness, common in all N64 games is gone.
The music is once again top notch. All of the over world themes are nice, to Clock Town, to the boss theme, each tune is quite memorable. Each of the four areas outside of Clock Town also has the same style of music, but remixed for each area. Nice touch! The best part about the music. The Zelda theme song is back. It was missing from Ocarina of Time, but has made a return when in Termina field.
This game is busting with replay value for a number of reasons. First, Majora's Mask is a very long game. Second, even after you do beat the game, there are numerous side quests for Link to complete. Collecting all 40 masks alone will take quite a bit of time, but is the best part of the game.
In conclusion, Majora's Mask is one of those games that simply must be played. It's a true classic, and shows why the Legend of Zelda series is so popular. This game was a fine way for the N64 to go out with a bang. It was great then, and still is today. Try and find a copy from the N64, or play it on the Gamecube with the Collector's Edition. Either way, find some way to get this game into your collection.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 02/01/05, Updated 02/24/05
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