Review by n fan
"A masterpiece, and one of my favorite games of all time."
Ah, Majora's Mask. I remember when it was called Zelda: Gaiden, I remember when it was announced, I remember myself in a state of shock. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, my favorite game of all time was getting a sequel, on the N64, it was almost to good to believe. But it was very much a reality, a reality that was going to keep me glued to to the N64 for weeks to come when I finally got it. And it was a reality that in many ways equaled the mighty Ocarina of Time, and gave it a run for its money when it came to which N64 game that was the best.
Graphics: Majora's Mask is maybe the best-looking game on the N64, which is one of reasons it requires the Expansion Pack to function. Even after having played games like Rogue Leader and Starfox Adventures, Majora's Mask left me amazed by its sheer beauty. Since there is no fogging and pop-ups, you get a fabulous view of the world in the game, which contains several absolutely gorgeous areas. The game is also colorful, and there are a lot more shades of colors used here that were used in Ocarina of Time, making the areas more varied. There are many neat effects as well, and even though the game must be pushing the console to its limits, it is all very smooth. The animation of the characters, enemies and bosses is great too, topping off the stunning visuals.
Sound/Music: The sound-effects are great, sounding realistic and solid. Each sound fits the creature, weapon or item that it belongs to very well, just like in Ocarina of Time. When it comes to the music, there is a vast number of different tunes available, some of those that were in Ocarina of Time, some from past Zeldas, and some that are new. Even though they are all very good, I must say that I prefer the sound-track of Ocarina of Time over this one, though, but that doesn't mean that the tunes here aren't good. They are good, very, very good., make no mistake about it.
Story: What at the start seems like a plain weird story, quickly turns out to have unexpected dimensions. Many different persons have got their own little tale, whether it is important to the main plot or not, and you actually feel with them, and care about them. It is really fascinating stuff to follow, and though it might lack the focus that the story in Ocarina had, it is still of excellent caliber. Told through many neat cut-scenes, Majora's Mask's story is emotional, interesting and good for a few plot-twists as well.
Gameplay: It is very similar to Ocarina of Time when it comes to things like control and camera-system, which is a very good thing in my book. It means that the control is highly responsive and almost flawless, and it means that the camera is better than that of 99% other 3D action/adventure games. What's more, the same brilliant combination of puzzle-solving, boss-battling, talking and minigames is intact, making it a dream to play. There are some differences from Ocarina of Time, though, that are very important to the gameplay, like the addition of a real time-system, and the ability to transform into different creatures. Another important change is that there is less focus on the Dungeons/Temples, the main-point of Ocarina, and more focus on sub-quests and mini-games, which change the feel of the game slightly. All in all, I would go as far as to say that Majora's Mask equals Ocarina of Time gameplay-wise, which is an incredible achievement. Quite simply gaming heaven.
Lastability/Replayability: While the main quest of the game is shorter than that of Ocarina of Time, it is still certainly not a small game, and it takes quite some time to finish it the first time around. After that it is certainly not over, that's for sure, as there are tons of secrets to find (and that will take a long time to get), items to up-grade and mini-games to try out. There are just so many things to see in Majora's Mask, so many things to try out, and so much new stuff to learn that it will take a long, long time to master it fully. And even after that, you will return to the game - the joy of playing and the stunning graphics will ensure that. But even with its long, long life-span, I would say Ocarina of Time is portably even better than Majora's Mask when it comes to this category. One thing is clear, though, and that is that this game will last a long time.
Pros and Cons
Absolutely stunning graphics
Great music and sound-effects
Brilliant variation in different areas and challenges
Extremely well-made puzzles
Very good Temples
Tons of sub-quests
Tons of secrets
Fewer temples than Ocarina of Time
Slightly inferior bosses in comparison to Ocarina of Time
To Rent or to Buy?
Buy, buy, buy! This game is extremely good and while I would say that I prefer Ocarina of Time slightly, this is still awesome stuff. Even if you don't own a N64 you might want to consider buying it for this game, as it is a nearly flawless piece of software. The beautiful, beautiful graphics, the great music, the excellent story and the fabulous gameplay all make this game one of the best games on the N64, and one of my favorite games of all time. Buy it as quickly as humanly possible.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 03/22/03, Updated 03/23/03
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