Review by unclehosh
"A very dark and disturbing game, but it is another area in which Nintendo excels."
The Legend of Zelda is usually an uplifting series about the strength of the heart and the power in courage and love. All that changes with The Legend of Zelda Majora's Mask. With the dark tone, constant death and depression, and disturbing antagonist, this Zelda entry is arguably one of the most disturbing experiences to come to the Nintendo 64, yet is excels in so many areas that the dark tone only enhances the experience.
Majora's Mask is a beautiful game. Character models lack a lot of the blocky edges from Ocarina of Time, and the game is capable of a lot more depth. Enemies and areas are wonderfully detailed, and the land of Termina is packed with contrast. From a dark and musty swamp to a massive canyon, Majora's Mask never fails to impress. Some of the cut scenes lack a little horsepower, but they are still jaw dropping. Much of the look can be credited to the new expansion pack that attaches to the Nintendo 64 controller, and it really does enhance the experience.
The story of Majora's Mask is decidedly darker. The game opens just a few days after Ocarina of Time's conclusion. Link left Hyrule in search of a friend that he lost at the end of the adventure (HEY LISTEN HEY HEY), and he is attacked by the Skull Kid and his two fairies. After losing his horse and the Ocarina of Time, he chases after them. The Skull Kid turns Link into a Deku Scrub and leaves Link with one of his fairies, Tatl. She is a huge brat, but she becomes a lovable character after the first few hours. Link enters the land of Termina and realizes that he only has three days before a giant moon crashes into the Clock Town and kills the citizens of the land. Characters in Majora's Mask are wonderfully developed. No Zelda game has ever given so many characters so many unique and powerful story lines. As Link travels into each area of the land, he realizes that every area has something ailing it. The effect of each catastrophe has profound impacts on the characters that inhabit each place. Seeing them re-walk the same paths again and again as Link travels back and forth during the 72 hours make the game feel even more depressing. No Zelda game has ever been so deceiving. Nintendo has clearly given the opposite of what the gamer would expect. The bright graphics make the game appear to be happy. After seeing a decaying Deku Scrub in the first five minutes, no one can deny that Majora's Mask is dark and disturbing.
Majora's Mask features some of the best songs since A Link to the Past. With the obvious exception of the repeated melodies, each song is unique and establishes the perfect mood. The music is one of the main reasons that game feels so dark. The sound effects are also fantastic. Snow crunches under Link's feet, and rain splashes on the ground.
Game play- 9/10
Majora's Mask yet again shows why the series is so loved. Each area is unique and full of extra content. With the ability to warp back and forth between each day, tons of new side quests open up, including one that takes the entire period to complete. The addition of masks allow for even more unique methods of game play and exploration. Whether playing as a wave riding Zora or a powerful and mighty Goron, Majora's Mask never feels repetitive. Collecting each mask even offers a fantastic bonus that is arguably one of the best items in the series due to what it allows Link to do. Majora's Mask also features the Bomber's Notebook, which allows him to keep track of active quests. It makes each side quest so much more manageable than it was in Ocarina of Time. Swordplay is again fantastic, and the legendary targeting system from Ocarina of Time returns. The problem with the game play in Majora's Mask is surprisingly the dungeons. While none of them are terrible, they are far from the usual. While they show Nintendo's willingness to experiment, some dungeons feel a little confusing or tedious when the controls don't allow for certain actions. For example, one dungeon involves rolling off the edge of a cliff and landing on a stretch of wood several hundred feet below. After many attempts in which Link missed it by a huge margin, I was ready to give up. I only got by with luck and patience. Thankfully, the last dungeon is very unique and interesting, as it involves turning the entire area upside down to reach hidden rooms and treasures. In addition, boss fights feel a little uninspired, and the fact that there are only five of them in the entire game make the spark that was established in Ocarina of Time all but vanish. Horse handling works very well, but the over world map is a little too small for my liking. Thankfully, there is no lack of replay value due to the abundance of side quests and unlockable items. Majora's Mask does so many things right to make up for the very small amount of problems.
In closing, The Legend of Zelda Majora's Mask is a fantastic game. The dark tone, beautiful music and graphics, and excellent game play make this Zelda entry a must own. Even by today's standards, this is still a great game. But that moon needs to stop staring at me...
Final Score: 10/10
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 03/02/12
Game Release: The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (US, 05/18/09)
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