Review by Dawngarde

"Take off your mask and see the greatness that is Majora's Mask... before the moon crashes."

Let's go back, to the Nintendo 64. Many smash hits were on the Nintendo 64. Super Mario 64. Star Fox 64, heck, Super SMASH Bros 64 (it's a pun. LAUGH!), and the famed "Best game ever", The Legend of Zelda : Ocarina of Time. It is the first 3D game in the Legend of Zelda series, and it took most of what the older Legend of Zelda games, and improved it greatly. The classic "Link saves Hyrule, beats up Ganondorf and saves the Princess Zelda.", with a twist-- you can go back and forth in time. So, once that game was done... you're a child again, and... the game's finished. He then takes a journey into the mysterious Lost Woods, and... well.

Enter The Legend of Zelda : Majora's Mask. The sequel to The Legend of Zelda : Ocarina of Time. It's a sequel for the "best game ever", so I really hope it gets recognition (as in, being put on the Virtual Console, for the Wii.) because I don't think Ocarina of Time is the "best game ever", I think Majora's Mask is. So, let me begin. The child, Link, is on his horse Epona, to search for a lost and beloved friend (who was either his best friend who was actually a Sage, Saria, or a really stupid fairy, Navi. HEY! LISTEN!), leaving the land that has made him a legend. That land was Hyrule. He then gets ambushed and a wooden puppet with an ominous mask appears, and takes your instrument. You awaken and chase the puppet, and he takes your horse too! What a dork! So, you go after him, and... you fall into a pit. You see the puppet, and he uses that dark mask, the Majora's Mask, to turn you into a wooden-creature, a Deku Scrub. Ahh! What happened?! The puppet was accompanied by two fairies, but one goes over to you to taunt you-- but she's locked in with you. She decides to join you. Later on, you meet a mask-salesman, who decides to help you return to normal form... as long as you help him return a mysterious mask, the Majora's Mask. He leaves in three days. So, as you exit... you find yourself in the land of Termina, an alternate area, seperated from Hyrule. You look up, and you see that the moon is hanging above you. At 6 AM? What the? In three days, it will crash. You have to return to your normal self first, and ultimately... stop the moon. And so, The Legend of Zelda : Majora's Mask begins.

So, gameplay is pretty recognizable if you are a Legend of Zelda player. If not, then you control Link, an elf boy who hails from Hyrule, the land that made him... a legend. You move around, interact with NPCs, and you explore the land of Termina, as you collect items and masks (more on this later.) to help you in your quest. You also do sidequests, and gain... Hearts. Hearts? Yeah. They're your life source. Plus, there are a lot of side-quests to do-- more on this later. You get to dungeons, which lead to new items, and fierce bosses, who give their remains in form of a mask, which then release Giants. Who are the Giants? What do they do? Save all four, from each cardinal direction, (North, East, South, West) and they will help you stop the moon. However, there's more, after they stop the moon. What? You'll have to find out. Now, this game features a clock on the bottom of the screen. There are three days, which is 72 minutes real-life time, normal speed. You can slow down time if you... well, need more time. You probably already can guess the consequence. The moon crashes. There's only three days in this cycle, and after doing important things, it's probably best to warp back. You still retain important items, but not collectibles like rupees (currency), bombs, arrows and potions and the like.

Now then. Masks are a big part of this game, unlike in the prequel, Ocarina of Time. In Ocarina of Time, it was a simple side-quest that allowed you to get a mask that allowed you to talk to statues, which... gave you misc. info. Now, there are 24 masks, and they all have a use now. Well, some of them have better uses than others. Some are one-use (Couple's Mask, which, after a long side-quest, can be used only once to get a piece of heart. Collect four of those pieces to get a heart, which helps you survive.), some are ultimately useful the entire game (Stone Mask and Bunny Hood. The Stone Mask makes you invisible to most things (you can see yourself, but NPC's and enemies can't!), and the Bunny Hood makes you run and jump faster.) and five make you transform. The first is the wooden creature, the Deku. When you transform, your instrument changes from an Ocarina, to something else. In this case, it's the pipes. The second is the rock-eating mountain living creature, the Goron, who succeed in rolling and punching, but hate water. His mask was gotten by healing the soul of a Goron hero. He plays the drums. You then have the Zora, who are excellent swimmers, and have good martial arts ability, but fear ice and fire. He plays the guitar, shaped like a fish. Neat! The next mask just turns the normal you into a giant, only in one room. Ah well. And the final transformation mask... is gotten at the very end of the game. It is the ultimate in killing bosses, but only bosses. Who is it? Well, I think you should find out. Prepare to be amazed! This game really is centered around masks. Hence the title, Majora's MASK.

So, there are only four dungeons in this game. Short, you say? HAH! There are PLENTY of side-quests to do-- it's nearly essential to get through the game (such as getting the horse epona, who can jump the fence whereas you and the three other forms of you cannot), and you must do at least SOME if you want to survive. Yup. See, you get a full heart if you beat a boss, but only four bosses means if you don't side-quest, you only end up with 7 hearts at the end. Do you want to finish a game with such low health? From beaver-racing, to Goron rolling, to flying out of flowers, to playing waiting games, to saving up in the bank... it's kind of hard to ignore getting hearts side-questing. The side-quests are to make up for the lack of stuff (there being only four dungeons and all.).

The atmosphere is pretty dark. Near the beginning, you see a little tree that looks like it's dying, or it's sad to look at. At the end, the Deku King's (the king of a species of wooden creatures) butler, comes back there and you see him looking at the little tree-- implying something. It implies that perhaps it was his son. Perhaps... the Deku Mask you got, was from that poor tree's soul dying, and that puppet got it's remains-- and ultimately, used it on you, perhaps implying in the beginning, you have the soul of that dying tree. Deep, isn't it? Or, the Stone Tower and Ikana Canyon is roaming with evil and is cursed. A theory has been made that the Stone Tower is like the Tower of Babel-- From what I've heard, a tower to reach heaven, which failed, as they then got cursed and spoke different languages, unable to communicate and finish the tower. Or, if that's not enough, the moon crashes and destroys Termina in three days-- and the townsfolk of Clock Town, the central town, just seem to go on with their lives normally! This game truly is considered the darkest Zelda game.

The graphics are pretty good! Though the models from Ocarina of Time are used again in this game, the rest of the game looks pretty damn detailed. From the decaying ruins that is the Stone Tower, to even a rain-filled day at the swamp, as poison infects the waters, or even the dark, chaotic sky you see on the third day, and in the night, how close the moon is from crashing. The sounds are great too. Pretty in-depth, such as the bow-string failing to shoot an arrow, or the arrow hitting a wall, or even the flames of the fire arrow, the freezing wind of the ice arrow, or the shimmering light from the light arrow. The music is great too, Termina Field having an arrangement of the Legend of Zelda theme, or the ominous sounds of the Stone Tower, and even the changes you hear when the tower is flipped-- It's just amazing.

Let's go over everything!

+Sequel to the "best game ever", so it's gotta be good.
+Has unique changes from Zelda games
+Masks have more useage and is essential in this game
+The dark atmosphere, perhaps the darkest Zelda game
+If I recall correctly, this is the first in the series to feature a land other than Hyrule, at least on Console games.
+Detailed graphics (that expansion pak helped)
+Pretty good sounds
+Amazing music

=Tons of side-quests. That might be good or bad, depending on what you prefer.
=A good speed-run, which might be good or bad, since there is only four dungeons. However, since there's a three day-cycle, and a speed-run involves beating the game while in those three days, that might be good. Or bad.

-In comparison to Ocarina of Time, it's... not epic. Of course this game is epic, but I guess I'll admit Ocarina of Time just had that feeling that appealed to many. Link beats up Ganon, saves Zelda. You know, that.
-Not many dungeons, calling for a short quest.

Final Recommendation : If you're into adventure, this is a definite must. If you're a Zelda fan, DEFINITE must. Heck, even if you're new to the series, start with this game. Even if you don't like adventure games! Just try it! This game may convince you to think otherwise. This is a must-have for most gamers-- truly, THIS was, the best... game...


Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 05/28/08

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