Review by Murk

"Quite possibly the best Legend of Zelda game on the market."

For about fifteen years I've been playing the games from the Legend of Zelda series: from the time A Link to the Past came out for the SNES to now, mid-2008. For the most part the series hasn't deviated from the original "Link saves the princess" story. To be quite honest, it gets old after a while, and leaves you wanting more, much more. That's where Majora's Mask came in.

Graphics: 10/10

For its time, the graphics were excellent. Nowadays, they're good, but not superb. For this game to function you need the expansion pack, which basically uses the graphics from Ocarina of Time and touches up on them; it isn't always easy to notice, but the difference is there. There is a bit more detail in the enemies but the characters remain the same. What is really graphically amazing is the final area, but that shall remain unspoken of in this review - no spoilers for you.

Sound & Music: 9.5/10

Not everything was great about the sound quality. The over-world music, for example, was terribly overplayed. Yes, the tracks were catchy, but hearing the same music playing in all four main areas (and later the exact same track in the entire over-world) gets very irritating after a while if you aren't fond of it. The dungeon music, however, was excellent, as was the music for the boss fights. There was also the music for Clock Town, which was a symbol of sorts for the town's impeding doom as each in-game day, it got faster. The shop music and indoor music is the same as Ocarina of Time but other than that the game uses unique music.

Difficulty: 10/10

No, the game is not impossibly hard. In fact, it's only borderline hard. What gets most people, especially those new to the game, is the time limit you have. It is possible to slow down the time and give you more of it, but the fact remains that you are on time limit, and depending on where you are when your time runs out, you may be doing a lot of backtracking when you save and return to day one. Hope beyond hope that you aren't screwed over that way. The enemy difficulty level is decent enough, and the bosses are quite challenging. There is something that makes this game incredibly easy, but you won't get it until the end of the game anyway. All in all, it is a challenging game, possibly the most challenging to its date (2000).

Story: 9/10

Majora's Mask is the first 3D Legend of Zelda game to not use the basic story of defeating the main enemy (usually Ganon) and saving Princess Zelda. In this game, your main enemy isn't even really alive. You start off in the Lost Woods of Hyrule, looking for a special friend on horseback, when you are suddenly attacked by two fairies and robbed by a masked creature. You follow him through the forest and eventually fall through some kind of portal, landing on a plant. The masked foe, who is called the Skull Kid, uses his magic to turn you into a Deku Scrub, and leaves you to your doom. Giving chase, you are eventually led into Clock Town, the center-stone of a strange land known as Termina. Unfortunately, the Skull Kid is no longer your main problem. You soon find out that if you do not retrieve the mask of the Skull Kid, something terrible will happen. You have three days to find Skull Kid, retrieve your stolen item and take back his mask, or the falling moon will destroy you. Can you do it?

The story is great in a lot of ways. As said, it's a nice change to the common "save Zelda" theme. But that isn't it. What's really impressing about this game is the dark feeling its story has. In this game, if you fail, it isn't just you that dies, but the rest of the world as well. It gives the feeling of true oncoming doom. It isn't just Link that notices this, either - the entire city of Clock Town realizes and reacts to the moon's descent over the town. A certain darkness looms over the city, and once again, only Link can save them. Unfortunately, he cannot do so alone. Four mythical giants must come to his aid, but first, he must come to theirs.

All in all, Majora's Mask has a great story to back it up.

Controls: 9/10

The controls were quite easy for this game. You have the joystick, A and B button, C [up, down, left, right] buttons and the L, R and Z buttons. All of these controls are assigned to something in this game, and depending on what or who you're using, each serves a different purpose. The B button is for attack, the A is for interaction, the C buttons all use a different weapon, R is shield and Z is lock-on. Easy enough, I'd think. It might take a while to be able to use them proficiently, but after you get used to them they become a second nature of sorts. You should have no problems.

Replay Value: 8/10

It depends on the person, really. If you're into one-player adventure games and enjoy the plots and gameplay, you'll likely replay the game a couple of times simply for the thrill of the adventure. If you're one of those people who cannot stand time limits, or difficult puzzles, or anything of the sort, you'll likely stuff this into your shelf and leave it there when - and if - you finish the game. If you're a fan of the Legend of Zelda series, however, you'll likely play this more than once.

Gameplay: 9/10

Once you master the controls, the gameplay comes naturally. There are points in the game where you'll have to combine the weapons and items you have to come out of the puzzle or area you're in, and it'll either be incredibly easy or a living hell for you. If you have trouble with the controls, however, you should practice them before playing the actual game - MM's "prologue" is an excellent place to start. You'll have ample time to practice with the sword and rolling movements before you continue into the game. Some items and weapons, like the Hookshot and the Bow, will take practice, but with time you'll get them easily.

Overall [NOT average]: 10/10

All in all this is a terrific game. If you loved Ocarina of Time, you'll likely love this one as well. The time limit is a factor against it, but there are many ways to duck around it that you will probably forget that it's there. Take the game little by little; you'll love it in the end. That's this reviewer's belief and hope.

Rent? Buy?

Buy it. You'll never get enough out of renting it.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 08/04/08

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