Review by Baradur

Reviewed: 07/01/03 | Updated: 07/01/03

Here We Go Again...

When The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time came out, it was hailed as the greatest game on the Nintendo 64, as well as one of the best games ever. Could it be possible to make another Zelda game that would be just as good? Well, Nintendo proved that it was, by releasing Majora's Mask, the sequel to OoT, in 2000. Majora's Mask took nearly everything that made OoT such a hit, and improved upon it. This meant that the graphics would be updated, the sound would be even better, and even the gameplay would be superior to that found in Ocarina of Time. There was just so much stuff in Majora's Mask that it was essential to use an expansion pack, making it the first Zelda game that would require the device. Majora's Mask was not accepted as well as Ocarina of Time, mainly because when OoT came out, nobody was prepared for it, whereas with MM, we all kind of knew what to expect. That's not saying Majora's Mask is a bad title though, far from it. MM is, in my opinion, one of the best Zelda games ever made.

Gameplay ~10~ As I said before, Majora's Mask's gameplay was basically a rehash of Ocarina of Time's gameplay, but with improvements. The game, like its predecessor, boasts a 3-D environment to roam around in. You walk around, controlling a kid named Link, and there will be many things for you to do, like killing enemies that cross your path, talking to people you meet, and occasionally, riding your horse around vast fields. As the game progresses, you will find yourself forced to make your way through complex dungeons, each with an equally challenging boss at the end. Aside from the normal adventure, there are a series of bonus quests you can try to complete, like a small trading sequence, as well as many, many minigames to play.

As one may have guessed by reading the title, this game revolves around the use of certain masks. The ability to use a mask was introduced in Ocarina of Time as kind of a special bonus feature. You didn’t need to use the masks to beat the game, they were just there for fun. In Majora’s Mask, these disguises are given far bigger roles. In OoT, when you put on one of the eight masks, they really didn’t do anything except cover your face. In fact, only ONE mask, out of eight, actually did something special. In MM, not only are there dozens more masks to choose from, but you will find that some masks can be used to confuse enemies, others as weapons, and even a few that can change your character completely. The latter type of masks is vital to completing the game, as those will change Link into all sorts of different things that can be found throughout the N64 Zeldas. One of these things is a midget who can’t really do anything except run fast, also known as “Deku” Link. The second form Link can take is known as “Goron” Link, who is slow, but unbelievably powerful. The third, “Zora” Link, is faintly reminiscent of Adult Link in Ocarina of Time, in that he’s tall, and carries the best arsenal.

Control in this game is just as good, if not better, than the control in the first Legend of Zelda for the N64. The controller configuration is the same, meaning that the A button is the action button, which allows you to open doors, talk to people, and the such. The B button mainly consists of all the sword functions, while the C- buttons are used for other weapons and items. All the L button does is turn the map at the bottom of the screen on and off, whereas the R button controls all the shield movements. That of course, leaves the Z- button. The Z-button is one of the most important buttons in the two N64 Zeldas, as it operates the Z-Targeting system. If you’ve never played Ocarina of Time or Majora’s Mask before, then here’s what the Z-Targeting system is. This unique targeting system, is used to always keep the enemy in you sights, so you never lose track of it. Holding down Z also introduces a number of new attacks. There is a whole array of new sword techniques to use with Z, as well as a large amount of evasion moves such as a backflip, or a sidestep. You can even use Z-Targeting method when there are no enemies present, just to get the camera situated right behind you.

One thing that makes Majora’s Mask’s gameplay different that Ocarina of Time’s is the fact that you have a three day time limit to do stuff. At the end of those three days, the world will end. Thankfully, you have a device that can take you back in time: The aptly named Ocarina of Time. Yes, I’m talking about the same blue flute that was used in the game of the same name, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Strangely, you’ll find yourself using this musical instrument more in this game than you ever did in OoT. Aside from being able to go back in time three days, you can also use the ocarina to slow down time, as well as play other songs. In OoT, three days went by in a flash, usually within ten to fifteen minutes. Since it would be impossible to do anything crucially important in that small amount of time, the length of a day has been drastically lengthened in Majora’s Mask. You see, after you go back in time, nearly everything that you have done previously is no more. It’s as if the game has reset itself. Extremely important things don’t reset though, like if you get a new weapon, such as a bow and arrows, when you go back in time, you’ll still have the bow, but no ammo for it. The only way to save the game is to travel back in time as well. You can’t travel forward in time, like in OoT, so that kind of rules out the possibility of playing as Adult Link. Then again, who needs Adult Link when you can use the masks? The gameplay’s awesome in Majora’s Mask.

Challenge ~10~ Majora's Mask is by far the harder of the two Zeldas on the Nintendo 64. It only has a measly four major dungeons, which may seem like nothing when compared to Ocarina of Time’s nine. These four levels though are some of the hardest I’ve yet to see in a Zelda game, and they are multiple times more complex than anything in OoT. The dungeons are very long, and can be quite confusing at times. The bosses are incredibly difficult, and some take multiple tries to defeat, at least for me anyway. The game starts out simple, with the challenge of the puzzles toned way down. It quickly becomes blatant though, that this game’s not for little kiddies, but for people who have experience with games like these.

Story ~10~ Not very long after the events of Ocarina of Time, Link set out to search for his wimpy, idiotic fairy, who followed him around everywhere in the OoT, and who also mysteriously departed at the end of the game. Anyway, Link was riding his horse through the woods, when his horse was startled, and started to run at full speed. Link, not expecting an uproar like this, nearly tumbled right off, but he hung on, for a little while. Eventually, he fell off, passed out, and the horse came to a stop. A short person wearing a mask came out of the shadows, and started to rob Link of his things. He took Link’s ocarina, and started to play it, and while he was amusing himself with it, the owner of the flute regained consciousness. Link chased the hoodlum, who still had his instrument, through the woods, and the thief eventually led him into another land, before finally losing him. Before he knew it, Link had arrived inside of a building. The occupant of the structure was a mask salesman, who too, had something stolen from him: The mask that the thief was wearing. He told Link that he could help him get his stuff back, as well as get out of the land, if Link would get his mask back. However, he had three days to perform this task. In three days, the moon would plunge out of the sky, and destroy the land, killing everyone who resided there. There you go. The story’s kind of apocalyptic and dark, but at least it’s not an overused “Save the princess!” story. Strangely, this story has nothing to do with Zelda.

Graphics ~10~ The 3-D graphics are noticeably better than in Ocarina of Time. Absolutely everything is clearer in this title, and the game seems to be totally free of the blur that the previous game seemed to suffer from. The character design is the same as in OoT, but everyone has better animations. In OoT, most people remained in one spot the whole time, and now, everyone is walking around doing something. The amount of detail put into this game is astounding. Everything, from the biggest boss to the designs on Link’s swords, is very thorough, bringing even more realism to the game. Dungeons look darker and far more unpleasant than in OoT, which is always nice. There are also many more exotic locations in MM ranging from high mountains to deep canyons. MM’s ocean completely blows away Ocarina of Time’s puny lake in terms of detail, design, and size. Majora’s Mask really shows what the Nintendo 64 is capable of.

Audio ~10~ Like all of its Zelda predecessors, Majora’s Mask has awesome sound. Link’s screams sound older, a little deeper, and more defined than in Ocarina of Time, really making it seem that this game took place shortly after the original N64 Zelda. Like all previous Zelda games (And hopefully all the future ones), Majora’s Mask does not contain any real dialogue, aside from the occasional yell or grunt. Nearly all of the other sound effects from OoT are in this game, along with dozens of new ones, all of which are as clear as possible on the Nintendo 64. As for music, Majora’s Mask finally gives us what Ocarina of Time sorely lacked: The Hyrule Overworld theme, also known as the official Zelda theme.

Playtime ~10~ All right, Majora’s Mask DOES have some boring parts in it, but they’re mostly just long cutscenes. Nearly everything else is top notch fun. The difficult dungeons should keep anyone looking for a good challenge busy for a long time. There’s just so much stuff to do in MM, that it can become hard to set the controller down. Majora’s Mask won’t keep you as busy as Ocarina of Time, but it comes pretty close.

Replayability ~8~ You’ll find yourself going back to this title for many reasons, such as to get all the heart pieces, or things like that. After Majora’s Mask is beaten, there are few things that will make you want to go back and play the entire game all over again. Some reasons could include trying to beat the whole thing without losing a life, or trying to finish the title with only three hearts. Other than that though, there isn’t much of a reason to beat the whole thing again.

Originality ~9~ Sure, Majora’s Mask uses the same gameplay, graphics and sound as OoT, but it’s apparent that it’s more of a standalone Zelda game, rather than a sequel to Ocarina. The story is a unique idea that is new to the Zelda series, several of the features in the game, such as the ability to slow down time, have never been seen in a Legend of Zelda title, and the locations are different from OoT as well.

Rent or Buy? After all that I just said, do you really think I’m going to say, “Just rent this game”? It is doubtful. Majora’s Mask is a definite purchase. If you loved Ocarina of Time, then there should be no reason why you don’t already have this title.

Well, that’s all I have to say about the Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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