Review by Watcher19

"A worthy successor to Ocarina of Time."

In 1998, Nintendo brought the Zelda series to the third dimension with Ocarina of Time. Fans were amazed and loved every minute of it. Even today, it frequently makes it to the top of “Best Game Ever” lists. Two years after its release, an N64 sequel was announced. The fans waited anxiously for this follow-up, one lingering question on their minds: Will the sequel live up to the original?

Dear God, yes.

Majora's Mask begins with Link riding his trusty horse, Epona, through the woods. Out of nowhere, a strange mask-wearing imp named the Skull Kid ambushes him, running off with Epona and the Ocarina of Time. In the pursuit, Link is transformed into a little wooden Deku Scrub, and makes his way to Clock Town, in the land of Termina. There, he discovers that the Skull Kid has been possessed by the evil Majora's Mask, and is forcing the moon to slowly come down from the heavens. In three days, the moon will fall, obliterating Clock Town. Luckily, Link retrieves the Ocarina of Time, and uses it to go back to the beginning of the three-day cycle. His quest begins; he must travel to four areas of Termina, and solve the problems plaguing the residents of each, before finally stopping the evil of Majora's Mask.

The game plays much like Ocarina of Time, but there are several differences and new innovations, the most important being the timing system. A timer on the bottom of the screen shows you what day it is, as well as the time. One minute of game time is equivalent to one hour on the clock, giving you 72 minutes in each cycle. An ocarina song exists that slows time down by one half, doubling your time limit. The idea here is to play through as much of the game as you can before time is up, and then use the Song of Time to travel back to the first day. Key items you get stay with you even when you travel back in time, but minor things like Rupees are lost (though they can be saved). Certain NPCs you can help have their own little schedules, and follow them; you might only be able to aid them at a certain time of day, or even only on a certain day. The reward for helping them is another new aspect to the game; masks. There are 20 collectible Happy Masks that do everything from increasing your running speed to blowing up walls. In addition, there are special transformation mask that turn you into various races, each with their own special abilities you'll need to master in order to beat the game. Other than these two new additions, the game plays much like Ocarina of Time. You explore the world, fight off enemies with your sword, and enter dungeons to find new items and defeat bosses. A noteworthy addition is the option to re-fight a boss after you've beaten its dungeon.

The sound and music are exceptional. Navi the fairy doesn't appear in this game, replaced by a new fairy who simply makes a ringing noise instead of “Hey! Listen!”. Only two ocarina songs from the previous title appear in this game, with 8 new ones to learn. The music for each area of Termina is basically the same, only with different instrumentation. All in all, the music is simply gorgeous.

The game's very fun to play, and in true Zelda style, there are loads of secret treasures to collect. A player going for 100% will have to search every corner of Termina, at every time of day, to earn all the masks. Doing so earns you a secret mask that makes you extremely powerful, but can only be used for boss battles. The heart pieces are back, with 52 spread out for you to find. Like any Zelda, the dungeons are especially mind-boggling. There may only be four of them, but they make up for it by being long and having some tricky puzzles inside. One could spend hours doing the side quest portions before even starting the main quest!

Majora's Mask is a bit of a different approach for a Zelda. Its time-based system and mask transformations are unique. The game is somewhat darker than Ocarina of Time, as the world faces imminent destruction, and a few people even die along the way. Regardless, once you delve into the world of Termina, all will become second nature, and you'll love every minute of it. This game comes highly recommended to Zelda fans; it takes Ocarina of Time's winning formula, and steps it up a notch.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 09/26/07

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

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