Review by plasmabeam

"An excellent sequel to Ocarina of Time"

After the huge success of Zelda: Ocarine of Time, Nintendo went to work on a sequel. It was originally called "Zelda Gaiden," but the title was later switched to Majora's Mask. I was really excited about Majora's Mask, because I really loved Ocarina of Time. I pre-ordered it, and I got it on the day of its release. I was a bit disappointed (I was expecting another OoT, after all), but I felt that it was an awesome game.

Graphics - 10/10
The graphics in Majora's Mask are even better than the graphics in OoT. The game requires an Expansion Pak to play it, but it's well worth it. The main characters look slightly better this time. Link is more detailed than before, and some of his weapons have new designs. For instance, his shield has different markings on it this time. The other forms that Link can change into look nice. I especially liked how the Zora form looks

One thing that disappointed me in Majora's Mask was the people in the towns. They look exactly the same as in OoT, and yet they live in a different place. Nintendo said that the people in Hyrule have a twin in Termina, but I don't buy that crap. It's obvious that they didn't want to work on them.

The environments are simply stunning. Everything is nicely detailed, and colorful. Termina Field is vast and it looks great. My favorite place would have to be the Great Bay. It's a huge area with water and sand everywhere. The water in the game looks cool, also.

Sound and Music - 9/10
The music is outstanding and well done. The classic Zelda theme is back along with a lot of new music. Most of the dungeon music is quiet and eerie. It really improves the feeling in the dungeons, and it fits the places well. Thee music everywhere else is good, but most of the music sounds like the dungeon music, and I think that there's not enough upbeat music.

The sounds are good, as always. You'll hear solid sounds, when Link slashes his enemies. You'll also hear "clang" sounds, when your shield gets hit. The other items make good sounds, too. The other forms that Link can change into make cool sounds, also. The Zora sounds like you would expect a fish-man to sound. The noises that the fairy, Talt, makes are annoying.

Story - 7/10
The story in Majora's Mask is much darker than in past Zelda games. Although the focus on masks may make the story seem a bit odd, it has a cool story. The story starts off in the Lost Woods, with Link riding his horse, Epona, in the forest. He is searching for his fairy, Navi, and a Skull Kid and his two fairies spot him and attacks him. The Skull Kid steals Link's Ocarina and Epona. Link chases after him. He catches up, and the Skull Kid transforms him in to a plant-like Deku Scrub. One of the fairies falls behind and stays with Link. Link gets to town and meets a man, that tells him that the Moon will soon crash into the town. Now Link must find a way to return to his former self and save Clock Town.

Controls - 9/10
The controls are great and easy to learn. They are exactly like in Ocarina of Time. Every button on the standard N64 controller is used. I really liked using the C-buttons to use items like the bow. As I mentioned before, Z-targeting is a great part of this game. In the options menu, you can choose to use "Switch" or "Hold" for the style of Z-targeting. Switch locks-on to the enemy until you defeat it or target a different enemy. Hold requires you to hold down the Z button in order to stay locked-on. The A button lets you roll, when running. It also allows you to talk to people, open doors, and examine things. The B button swings your sword (I already talked about this in the Gameplay section). The R button lets you bring up your shield. It can be helpful and sometimes is required to defeat certain enemies. I thought the controls were solid. The controls are different for Link's other forms.

Gameplay - 9/10
The game is a lot like OoT, but don't think that Nintendo wouldn't add some new stuff. The biggest additions in Majora's Mask are the masks and the Three Day System. There are over 20 masks in the game. Three of them are special ones that can change you into one of three forms: Deku Scrub, Goron, and Zora. They are very important for solve many puzzles in the game. The rest of the masks have special uses, and they can be used to complete certain side quests or help you in battle.

The Three Day System is quite unique. Time passes like in OoT, but this time there's a clock in the lower part of the screen. There are only three days, because the Moon crashes on the third day. To avoid the Moon crashing, you must play the Song of Time to return to the dawn of the first day. You can also play songs to slow down time or move forward in time by half of a day.

The combat is very fun in Majora's Mask. The combat is basically the same as in OoT. The main thing that made this game so unique is "Z-targeting." Z-targeting lets you lock-on to an enemy, which makes it easier to slash it or shoot it with arrows. It also adjusts the camera's view, so that you can get a better view of the enemy. Swordplay is very satisfying. There are plenty of different ways to attack with your sword. You do vertical swings, horizontal swings, jump slashes, stabs, and much more. The other items work great, too. The other forms that Link can take are fun to fight with, also. The Deku Scrub isn't a very good fighter, but it has some unique attacks. It can shot bubbles and drop Deku Nuts as bombs. The Goron is powerful, but slow. It can roll into a ball and roll over enemies. The Zora can shoot its fins like boomerangs, and it can also use them as hand weapons.

The dungeons are the heart of the gameplay. Dungeons are basically giant levels, where you must solve puzzles and fight enemies in order to reach the boss and complete the dungeon. The puzzles in the dungeons are very clever. You move blocks, so you can stand on them to reach ledges. You bomb rocks and walls to find secret rooms. The transformations are vital to getting through the dungeons. For instance, in the Great Bay Temple, you need some of the techniques that the Zora has to get through the dungeon. You fight many enemies in order to advance. In each dungeon there is a new special weapon that you need to complete the dungeon. The weapon is usually effective against the boss, also. Getting new weapons is very fun, and it adds to the game's variety. Some weapons are also important for solving the game's puzzles.

When you're not in a dungeon, much of the game requires you to find certain items or learn new ocarina song in order to progress through the game. It adds a lot of fun, because it lets you explore the vast land of Termina, while still moving through the game's story. While you're searching, Talt will provide hints and try to help you. The ocarina songs are unique, because they can cause different things to occur, help you obtain secret items, and warp you to different parts of Termina in seconds!

Replay Value - 10/10
There's plenty of things to do in this game. Collecting all the masks takes a lot of time, but you get rewarded in the end for doing so. There's a ton of side quests that will keep you busy for a while.

Overall - 9/10
Majora's Mask isn't as good as OoT, but it's a fine game and one of the elite N64 titles. This one is worth a try from anyone.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 08/16/04

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