Review by Light_Inside

"Strap on Majora's Mask"

Year that the game was originally released: 2000
Expansion Pak: Yes, one is required.

After The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time I did not expect to see another Zelda game for the N64. In 1999 I decided to log on to the official Nintendo website. To my surprise I noticed a screen shot of the game I did not recognize. Then I read the caption under it. It stated that it was in fact a screen shot from the new Zelda game: 'Zelda gaiden'. This was of course the working title and it soon became 'Majora's Mask'.

Well back in 2000 I managed to get a hold of this game which I had been aching for since the first few screen shots of it were released. It comes in a dark green box with a purple logo. On the back there is a brief summary of the game's story. Also on the back there is some screen shots of the game present. The instruction inside is also well presented and inside there is plenty of instructions and images. (Note: A collector's edition was also released with different packaging). The cartridge is a golden looking colour and looks better than the regular grey cartridges.

The biggest change to Zelda's game play is the fact that the story takes place within a three-day period, meaning 72 hours. (Three days in the game world, not in real life). You can play the ocarina to transport you back to the beginning of day one, or speed up time if you're waiting for a certain event to occur.
Days pass from night to day and visa versa and different events take place during the days.

You once again take control the of green tunic wearing elf named Link.

The story goes that Link is wondering through a mystical forest on his horse Epona, searching for his friend Navi the fairy. A strange imp appears and steals your horse and magical ocarina. You give chase but end up falling in to a strange hole that leads you to Termina, the parallel world of Hyrule. The estranged imp transforms you in to a Deku Scrub, a strange small walking bush type creature. (Sounds strange I know). You meet a mask seller that states that the imp stole a mask named Majora's mask from him, and that it is a dangerous mask that needs to be obtained back from the imp.

Anyway once you obtain your ocarina back, you get taught a melody to transform you back to normal. Your quest now begins properly. Your aim: To get back majora's mask before 3 days - you have 3 days because the moon has been summoned by the imp to crash in to the planet!

The Expansion Pak greatly improves the graphics and a lot more detail has gone in to the environments. Ocarina of Time's graphics look quite simple compared to this.

The B button allows Link to swing a sword. Holding Z and pressing B allows Link to jump forward and perform a slicing attack with his sword. The button allows actions such as opening doors and treasure chests. The C buttons can have weapons/items which have been collected assigned to them. Then when you press the C button you can continue pressing it in order to use whatever item is assigned to it. The R button allows Link to use a shield to block attacks from enemies. There is an automatic jump system on the game, so once you reach a ledge Link jumps automatically.

There is an array of items to be collected (that can be assigned to the C buttons), such as a hook shot, bow and arrows, glass bottles for storing things in as well as 'The lens of truth' which once used reveals secret ledges which can be jumped on.

What really stands this game out from the previous game is the ability to wear mask that transform you in to different creatures. The Deku Mask allows you to become a small leafy creature that can shoot out Deku nuts which stuns enemies. The Goron Mask allows you to roll in to a ball and roll about the place, as well as giving you super powerful punches. The Zora mask allows you to swim swiftly through the waters in Termina. You can also use the Zora's fins as boomerangs. There is a total of 24 mask, some quite useless and some useful, but all are fun to collect.

The music in Majora's Mask is just as good as any over of the Zelda games; it has a combination of old tracks and new ones. The music truly is amazing.

The save system is different. You must either save the game as special statues or play the ocarina and go back to the start of the first day. People can find this annoying but if you do it right it isn't really a problem at all. Although if you need to rush off for some reason and you are not near a save statue - then you may find yourself having to play the song of time to send you back to day one (which will also save the game progress).

The Legend Of Zelda: Majora's mask, houses plenty of familiar and new faces in the terms of monsters to battle with. New regulars to Majora's Mask are the blob like Chu Chus which vary in colour. Luckily for Link, these are a push over and with a single slice from his sword they can be defeated. From strange and more complex creatures such as giant eyeballs covered with bubbles to more simplistic things like bats, there is no chance that while attempting to complete this quest that you will get bored.

The bosses are fantastic and include a giant tribal warrior, a giant sharp toothed fish, are robotic running goat and two giant worms sporting exoskeletons! Each boss in order to be defeated, has to be battled with in a slightly different way to the other, and the transformation masks help dearly in these situations.

The locations are all well designed. There is a toxic swamp land, rocky canyons concealing castles, snowy mountains and crystal clear beaches. All are inhabit their own array of strange characters to meet, and all have plenty of things to explore.

There are 4 temples, and some claim that this game is short. Although I think if you take your time and collect everything, the game will actually last you a while. If you have played the other Zelda games, some things will be familiar, thus speeding things up. Also if you play the game for hours on end - this will obviously affect the game's length.

The puzzles are not too difficult, yet some do leave you puzzling them a little while longer than others might. I admit i had to look at a guide to see how to navigate a couple (which I hate doing!). Namely the puzzles in the icy "Snowhead Temple", which had me going up and down the temple on a regular basis (yes, up and down, not around in circles, as the temple is based mainly around one large tall room!).

It is a very enjoyable game, and the sounds a great; from the crackling of coal on a fire to the crashing of waves at sea.

One problem is that the Expansion Pak is REQUIRED. If you don't have one then - you will have to pay for one of those before you can even play it.

Overall it is a great game, it sticks to the elements of a Zelda game - and has a touch of originality with the 3 day system. I would recommend this to any Zelda fan that hasn't played it. There is plenty of puzzle solving and is a great game for people of all ages that are in to their adventure/ action /RPG games.

Pros: A great game with improved graphics
Cons: Expansion Pak required

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 05/16/05

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