Review by ThePenguin56
"You'll be mentally damaged beyond repair within ten minutes, guaranteed!"
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask might be the most highly controversial game in the Zelda series. Many praise Majora's Mask for its unique storyline and particular difficulty. But this game has its fair share of flaws and frustrations.
Majora's Mask is the direct sequel to Ocarina of Time. It takes place not in the usual Hyrule, but in its apparent opposite, Termina. Zelda is completely uninvolved in the game, and instead the main problem here is that the Skull Kid from Ocarina of Time has acquired the evil Majora's Mask and brought havoc down upon the game's main city, Clock Town. You have three days to awaken four giants from the game's four dungeons and stop the moon from crashing into Clock Town. Time travel once again takes an important role in the game you'll be going back and forth from the latter days to the first day throughout the course of the game. While this is a very creative, unique and stimulating storyline, traveling back to the first day and losing progress every ten seconds is very repetitive and tedious. Nonetheless, it's a great storyline that, like Ocarina of Time, seems movie-worthy.
Oh dear. Where to begin? For one, the game is laden with cut scenes, most of which are entirely unnecessary. Cutscenes play every time you attach a mask. Several conversational cutscenes take place when you talk to a normal civilian. And let's not forget the cutscenes that play when you slow down, speed up or travel back in time. These are all incredibly repetitive and annoying, given the sheer number of times that you use these functions. Then there's traveling back in time itself good grief. In order to complete the game entirely, you're forced to reset time dozens of times if you don't know exactly what you're doing, which means you get the same cutscene, you go back to the same place, and you're forced to do many of the first few sidequests every time you reset time. In fact, to get one- piece of heart, you're required to acquire 5,000 rupees. This involves resetting time at least 50 times if you're doing it early in the game to acquire the same silver rupee the same way. The difficulty in Majora's Mask is beyond any other Zelda. Enemies are faster and do more damage than in its predecessor. The added challenge seems a tad on the extreme side. Game play doesn't follow much logical progression either moving along in dungeons and even outside of dungeons practically requires ESP. It seems like much of the game can't be completed without a walkthrough (was this game made for GameFAQs?). And now, finally, quite possibly the most horribly broken part of Majora's Mask's gameplay, the controls. Using a Gamecube controller in this version is even more horrifyingly fiddly than on the N64. L-targeting latches you onto an enemy even when you don't hold down the button; this is deadly if you find yourself between multiple enemies. If you accidentally target the wrong one, which is entirely possible, it'll be like tug-of-war trying to tear yourself off to target the intended enemy.
Graphics in Majora's Mask are virtually identical to those in Ocarina of time. The atmosphere is appropriately dark and gloomy, and it creates a perfect feeling of depression and impending doom that fits the game perfectly. A few faces are disfigured here and there, and running motions are a tad awkward, however, meaning the visuals definitely aren't perfect.
The music in Majora's Mask is best described as awful in comparison to other Zelda games. It's awfully repetitive and annoying otherwise the Woodfall Temple is particularly piercing, with a periodic chant that'll drive you into insanity. Some areas seem to have no emotion in their music whatsoever, like the Snowhead Temple, which consists of only a few notes on a keyboard here and there. Overall, the music is, to say the least, repetitive and disappointing for a Zelda game.
With the repetitive nature of the gameplay and the fact that there are only four dungeons, playing Majora's Mask a second time might not be much of a rewarding experience. Nonetheless, it's a Zelda game, meaning that you can complete the game with just about any special exceptions, like three-heart runs or speed runs.
Majora's Mask is, to say the least, a mixed bag. While it's unique and the graphics are good, the gameplay is repetitive, and so is the music. The difficulty makes it the muscular older brother of the Zelda series, which is a nice change of pace for some, but for those aiming for sanity, Majora's Mask might be something to avoid.
OVERALL SCORE: 6.5/10
Reviewer's Rating: 3.5 - Good
Originally Posted: 07/08/11, Updated 07/19/11
Game Release: The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (US, 05/18/09)
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