Review by magumba

"This game is a real disappointment for Zelda fans."

Now that the initial euphoria of playing a new Zelda game has worn off, it is time to take a second look at this game. If, like me, you are a big fan of all the previous Zelda games, then you are sure to be disappointed in this one.

I wanted to like this game very, very much. I really did !! But after playing this game through, it is going onto my shelf of games that are ''finished once, never played again''. (It is a big shelf, unfortunately.) Even though I haven't found every little secret, I have no real desire to go back and find them all, like I did with all the other Zeldas. I found playing this game to be more aggravating and frustrating than enjoyable.

It is not all bad, though. Like Ocarina of Time (OoT), character animation and modelling is absolutely superb, the best in any game I have seen, console or otherwise. The characters seem to have real and identifiable personalities, especially the Skull Kid. Also, the music is outstanding. Other than that, though, its pretty much downhill from there.

My first complaint is the time limit, which seems to be a matter of some controversy. Yes, I know you can slow the game down somewhat, but inserting a time limit goes against everything Zelda games are about!! There is nothing more frustrating than having to replay a whole dungeon because you can't figure out a puzzle in time, or because you couldn't find all the fairies the first (or second or third) time through. Granted, all the other Zeldas had some repetition as well, but this game is ridiculous. I have had to do some sections, from scratch, three or four times before I could advance in the game. The only solution to this is to get a game guide or FAQ to tell you where everything is, but that sort of ruins the whole idea of exploring for yourself, doesn't it? To me, the whole point of a Zelda game is exploring a huge world at your own leisure. You really can't do that here without repeating some stuff ten times over.

My second complaint is the piddly amount of dungeons. Only four !! This is a real bummer. If I'm not mistaken, OoT had eight or nine dungeons, all as big or bigger as the ones in this game. For most Zelda fans, the main attraction of the games are its cleverly designed and challenging dungeons, with all their secrets, mini-bosses, bosses, etc. There should be more of this type of thing, not less.

Which brings me to my third complaint. To compensate for the lack of dungeons, the designers have introduced a lot of fed-ex quests, that is, take this piece of paper to that guy, then go see another guy, etc., to get your mask or whatever. Gameplay has been reduced to running around delivering things instead of actually having to figure things out and solve puzzles. These tasks are very boring and time consuming. This was also a problem in OoT, but in that game the delivery quests were mostly peripheral to the game itself. In Majora's Mask, they represent the majority of game play.

A fourth complaint is the control scheme. It seems to have gotten worse since OoT. I like the Z-targetting system but it is a lot more finicky than before, and beleive me, it was bad to begin with. Just try talking to someone without smacking them with your sword first, or try running quickly along a narrow ledge with a lit deku stick without jumping into the water below. The whole control setup seems to have been tweaked for the worse.

My fifth and final complaint is the ending. I'm not going to give anything away, but it is a real stinker. Enough said.

In conclusion, I think that if you love all the previous Zelda games, like I do, then you will NOT like this one. If you haven't played Zelda before, or didn't like the earlier games, you might be more forgiving. I give Nintendo credit for trying something different with their flagship series, but if it isn't broke, then why fix it? (Although some will say it IS broke!) From what I read, game god Shigeru Miyamoto was only marginally involved in developing this game, and it really shows. (Maybe he's too busy with the Dolphin cube, or whatever its called.) Although this review may seem overly negative, I think there are some good parts to this game and it is very playable, hence the rating. But to Zelda afficionados it is a major disappointement.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 10/31/00, Updated 10/31/00

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