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The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

ゼルダの伝説ムジュラの仮面

Developer / Publisher: Nintendo
27 April 2000
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask [ゼルダの伝説ムジュラの仮面] - cover art
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4.32 / 5.0
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2,159 Ratings / 11 Reviews
#16 All-time
#2 for 2000
After unwittingly falling into the world of Termina, an oppressive place only three days away from complete destruction, a young Link repeatedly travels back in time in order to save the forlorn land from a mischievous imp slowly pulling the world's hideous moon down to its surface.
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This has always been one of my favorite games on a conceptual level. I remember back in my freshman year of college I went on this long rant to my friend about how the concept behind this game was so beautiful. After about 20 minutes of really getting into the nitty-gritty I noticed that he was a little quiet. Turns out he had fallen asleep. Anyways, that doesn't matter, because you, my faithful reader, cannot fall asleep. You are merely a rhetorical construct. But that doesn't matter and I am getting away from the point, which the concept behind this game.

And what a beautiful concept it is, though.

The three day time limit at first brush feels like a gimmick or at best an annoyance. In reality, it's something quite the opposite, something that pushes the game further, into a darker but also more meaningful realm, perhaps past even it's more acclaimed brother.

I wish that all games were written with this sort of temporal locality. How often has it bothered you - in a lesser game - that the inn-keep that you talked to has pretty much been standing in the same place for the entire duration of what must have been a multi-month journey? Or that village citizens tell you the same thing over and over? Majora's Mask has solved this problem. Every person in the game has things they're doing during the three day period - meaningful things, that add to the plot. No one stands in one place. They're all off living their own life. And through gratuitous use of the Ocarina, you can track them all down and help them out.

All of this is only possible with the 3 day time limit.

Along with that comes the central theme of this game: death. Whoah, kind of heavy, right? Hard to imagine a kid's game dealing with death directly. Honestly, it still kind of surprises me even now. But most of the plot of the game is about how people deal with the fact that the world is going to end in 3 days. Some deny it. Some run away. One of the small sideplots that always stuck in my mind from this game was the couple who (after Link performs many tasks) finally got together in the final hours of the third day, even as the world is ending. There is something very honest and pure about their story that I rarely see captured elsewhere.

And maybe I'm thinking about it on too much of a meta-level, but part of the emotional pull of the game is that you can't save everyone. There's no way you can complete all 20 tasks in the Bomber's Notebook in a single 72 hour run. So you have to reset time, and your work is undone.

All the traditional Zelda stuff? I mean, it's fantastic too. Zelda has always been one of my favorite series because of the puzzles, which really demand some thought. But if you want to push the whole "games as art" agenda, you can't really point to a game which is built on nothing more than solving cute puzzles and killing evil monsters. Majora's Mask is one of those rare games that goes beyond just mindless fun.
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johnfn 2016-04-07T07:54:35Z
2016-04-07T07:54:35Z
4.5
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I appreciate Majora's Mask's attempt to shake up the Zelda formula, but for my taste, this experiment in apocalyptic time loops is not a successful one.

If you ignore the fact that you are given about 1 real-world hour before the world ends and you are kicked back to to the start of the game's time loop, the gameplay here is pretty similar to Ocarina of Time, but this structural twist completely alters the mental experience of playing the game. You are constantly on the clock. Even if the time limit is not unreasonable, this is a game you fundamentally cannot relax in.
If you're stuck on a puzzle or can't find your way in a dungeon, you no longer poke around at your leisure - you worry about whether you still have time to finish the dungeon and how much progress you'll lose if you don't. Whatever synergy this has with the narrative premise and atmosphere of the game, for me the ever-present time limit simply makes the experience of playing this game unpleasant.

Appropriately enough for a game that takes place in the days before the end of the world, its bleak atmosphere is quite unlike any other Zelda game, but it's still a Zelda game, and story/characters/narrative don't rise beyond the usual standard of 'largely forgettable'. There's a large assortment of side-quests that involve you being in some arbitrary place at an arbitrary time, and while Zelda side-quests are never my favorite part of these games, the added temporal dimension here makes them particularly exhausting to deal with. The unskippable, repetitive animations/dialog sequences/mini-cutscenes that reliably blight Nintendo games are made more insufferable by the inherently repetitive nature of Majora's Mask.

Perhaps it makes for better pretentious youtube video essays but I'll stick with OoT as the best N64 Zelda.
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blargh4 2022-01-26T02:03:09Z
2022-01-26T02:03:09Z
3.5
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You know what's really fun? A pseudo-open world game that is filled to the brim with side quests, immersive dungeons, a top-notch story, great graphics, and tight controls. A game that compels you to sink a lot of time into it not even to "get good" necessarily, but to fully appreciate the game.

You know what's not really fun? That exact game, that is on what amounts a 2 hour time limit, otherwise you have to restart from the beginning. Exploring a vast open world filled to the brim with cool puzzles and secret areas, stifled by a time limit that forces you to rush through the game or to find increasingly tedious ways to manipulate the passage of time in-game that will still undo significant portions of your progress even if you don't have to start from scratch.

Time limits work for linear games with one path to victory. It even enhances them at times. They don't work when I want to spend an afternoon wandering around in a game finding secret areas and side missions, all to have that curtailed or literally annihilated if the timer goes up. If you like driving yourself crazy with ridiculous, tedious gameplay mechanics that unnecessarily force you into a time limit for a game that inherently takes a lot of time to fully experience, be my guest. If you enjoy your sanity, this game probably isn't for you.
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TooBrokeToCare 2022-07-15T18:34:42Z
2022-07-15T18:34:42Z
0.5
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Ocarina of Time was once a hot, roaring flame whose glowing luminescence lit a path for all ambitious 3D titles to come, giving the industry the utmost confidence that the early experimental phase of extra polygons could be the indefinite mainstay for generations to come. From a marketing standpoint, Nintendo saw Ocarina of Time’s unparalleled adulation as an opportunity to bank on fanservice before the fire was extinguished by time. In only a year and a half after the release of Ocarina of Time, Nintendo managed to eek out another mainline Legend of Zelda game on the N64 using Ocarina of Time’s engine in the optimal time frame just as Zelda fans exhausted their Zelda fix upon countless playthroughs of Ocarina of Time. The game Nintendo churned out at the peak of a golden opportunity was The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, a new mainline Zelda game made to satiate the rabid hunger of those who had been bewitched by the pandemonium surrounding Ocarina of Time.

Upon release, Majora’s Mask did not receive the same unbridled enthusiasm as its 64-bit older brother, but this was a reasonable reaction. Majora’s Mask’s mere existence was supplementary material to quench the vigorous thirst that Ocarina of Time created, an appetizer in anticipation for the next main course. Naturally, a game formulated for this purpose could not be up to snuff with a Zelda title that Nintendo took more time and care before releasing, right? Well, that was the attitude regarding Majora’s Mask for quite some time. Soon after the “true” successors to Ocarina of Time were released and Ocarina’s initial luster became stale, Majora’s Mask’s place in the Zelda franchise was taken into consideration. Nowadays, Majora’s Mask has a cult status because we all realized that the game wasn’t met with a lukewarm response from fans because it was unexceptional. While it ran on the same engine as Ocarina of Time and carried most of the familiar properties from the series, Majora’s Mask was a game that fans had trouble grappling with for years. It was a mainline Zelda title that did not include the titular princess, Ganondorf, or the tried and true story arch of Link saving the princess and conquering the king of evil. Majora’s Mask’s is the most unconventional Zelda title there is, and that’s what makes it an exceptional addition to the series.

Only one concrete connection Majora’s Mask has with Ocarina of Time is that it takes place in the same confined timeline, acting almost like the most detached sequel imaginable. At the end of Ocarina of Time, Princess Zelda grants Link the seven years of youth he accelerated past to defeat Ganondorf, so he returns to his form as a nubile elfin boy to live out those wasted years. Link’s first excursion in his makeup adolescence, or as far as we can see from Majora’s Mask opening sequence, is taking a fellow prepubescent Epona into a shady section of an unknown forest and finding himself in yet another predicament that will shave precious time off his youth. A skull kid wearing a striking mask with striking yellow eyes and a pair of fairies of contrasting colors bum rush Link in the woods and steal both his horse and his ocarina. Link runs off to confront the miscreant and who took his prized possessions, but learns that this woodland skull kid is no ordinary delinquent. With some sort of black magic, the skull kid transforms Link into something of a deku scrub, a hollowed-out wooden doll of a creature with Link’s green hat and blonde hair being the only remnants of his humanity. The skull kid disappears, leaving Link in his uncoordinated new form. Before coming across a bustling civilization, a traveling mask salesman barters with Link about a deal. If Link retrieves his ocarina, the mask salesman will transform Link back to his pink, fleshy self. Once Link accomplishes this task, the mask salesman puts our hero in a bit of debt. Link must retrieve the relic that the skull kid is wearing on his face, for its legendary history of darkness has given it extraordinary powers that could lead to devastating consequences if in the wrong hands. Link also only has a short amount of time to do so because the skull kid is already using the harrowing potency of the mask to bring down the moon in three days, annihilating the people below and potentially the entire world.

Mechanically speaking, Majora’s Mask’s foundation is so similar to Ocarina of Time that it’s as if OoT reproduced Majora’s Mask asexually like some kind of single-celled paramecium. These days, Nintendo would’ve most likely offered Majora’s Mask a downloadable extension of Ocarina of Time with a half-baked concept and only a fraction of the content. Fortunately, Majora’s Mask adds a few subtle quality of life improvements that discern it from the game that preceded it. For instance, I hadn’t realized how clunky the menus were in OoT. At least half of the anguish brought about by the Water Temple was due to continuously pressing start to reequip the iron boots, with the menu taking its sweet time to respond to pressing the start button like the sun rising at dawn. The iron boots are no longer an equippable item in Majora’s Mask, but the more responsive menu will be more convenient when browsing the other apparati in Link’s inventory. The menu items are also organized more efficiently with the masks separated in a different window from the rest of Link’s inventory, with the exception of the three main transformation masks in the items menu due to their continual usage. Something I consider to be a quality of life improvement is the Z-targeting, and it isn’t because its mechanics have been reworked. Tatl is Link’s new fairy, aiding him on his journey to stop the end of the world. She’s essentially a color-swapped version of Navi and while she makes no effort to reinvent the wheel regarding her job as a glorified targeting system, at least she knows when to shut her piehole. Her sassy attitude and slight precedence in the story also make her more of a character rather than a sentient tool like Navi which is a slight improvement.

Masks were present as items in OoT, but only for novelty. Considering the title of its successor, masks hold a heftier gravity in the land of Termina. Link has coincidentally stumbled upon Termina in carnival season, an annual festival held in Clock Town meant to celebrate the prosperity of the harvest. Clock Town’s carnival ostensibly takes influence from traditional, real world cultures who use masks as symbols to facilitate the prayers for their superstitions. The masks are the prime collectible in Majora’s Mask, and the game offers plenty to Link along his journey with a myriad of different uses. Some masks are meant to deceive and influence others like the Bremen Mask and the Captain’s Hat while others give Link special abilities like the Bunny Hood and the Mask of Truth. Some of these masks are crucial to progression and some are meant to be used sparingly during optional quests.

While the abundant number of masks with unique qualities make collecting them invigorating, the most pivotal masks among the smattering in Link’s inventory are the transformation masks. Deku Link may have been a hefty hindrance in both physicality and appearance but once the Happy Mask Salesman does Link a solid and removes his curse, his time as a forest-dwelling scrub isn’t completely over. With the “Song of Healing,” Link can now masquerade as his former curse at his leisure, albeit in a transformation sequence that looks excruciatingly painful (don’t worry, you can skip this sequence with the press of a button). Deku Link is also joined later by Goron Link and Zora Link, representing the three major races presented by the Spiritual Stone quest in OoT. It’s fairly obvious as to why the transformation masks are a revolutionary mechanic as this is the first Zelda title that technically features multiple playable characters. Link doesn’t merely assume their form: he embodies all of the physical capabilities of each creature. Deku Link is not a formidable fighter, but his gaunt physicality makes him vital for traversal. He can bounce off any body of water for five steps like a crude jesus lizard and glide for a short period of time when he pops out of the many Deku Flowers strewn across the map. Goron Link adversely is a brawny force of nature who fights by punching, even though it can be imprecise in combat. His truly remarkable ability however is being able to roll into a ball and zoom across the map like a turbulent cannonball. Zora Link is a balanced compromise between the other two forms who serves better in combat who uses his fins like boomerangs. He may just be a reskinned adult Link with dolphin-like swimming abilities, but that’s just me being cynical. Each form even has their own instruments that substitute the ocarina. This level of versatility had never been seen in the Zelda franchise before. As for Link himself, the hero of time must have aged into adolescence in the time after the end of OoT because he can now hold up a Hylian shield without having to wear it as a turtle shell.

Without knowing of those changes initially, Majora’s Mask will initially seem like a uniform spawn that crawled out from OoT’s birth canal, or at least on a surface level. Majora’s Mask’s graphics are essentially identical to the franchise's revered, 64-bit wunderkind, but Majora’s Mask transcends OoT’s graphics with extraordinary art direction. A dark surrealism permeates the atmosphere of Majora’s Mask, fitting for the grim, apocalyptic premise. The lugubrious aura is however never relentlessly melancholy, rather it's subtly sprinkled over the game’s world like a flurry of snow. Some areas like Clocktown exude a similar sense of zestful activity that the Hyrule town square did in OoT, but with a disarming feeling of tension always around the corner. This feeling resonates even stronger in the other areas with a musical refrain indicating a more prevalent sense of agitation in the air. Color choices in Majora’s Mask are more lurid and provocative with a more liberal use of every color of the rainbow with a slightly debased look as if the lingering threat over Termina is slightly depleting the spirit of the land. The general aesthetic congeals with the atmosphere to create an ethereal scope, a hazy dream that will slowly progress into a raging nightmare. I already adored the charming, rough-hewn efforts of a 64-bit Zelda game presented in OoT, but the artistic decisions made in Majora’s Mask make the already pleasant graphics wonderfully captivating.

As iconic of a setting Hyrule is, its first 3D iteration proved to be staggeringly vacant. The center of the kingdom was always a vast, open field in the 2D Zelda games, but its depiction in OoT was on the extreme end of being spacious. Hyrule Field in OoT was located smack dab in the center of the map like a grassy, vacuous hub between every notable area. I forgave the dearth of land that became gaming's most iconic kingdom (behind the Mushroom Kingdom of course) because I attributed it to the primitive capabilities of the N64. Upon comparing the hub of Majora’s Mask to OoT’s Hyrule Field, I realize that the developers rather underestimated the potential of the hardware when they crafted the first 3D Zelda title. Termina Field is a hubworld that understands that the wide open field that connects the major landmarks is merely a passageway, a connective plain that should be quick and easy to navigate with as little tedium as possible. Termina has a much more condensed design, using the center village of Clocktown as the nucleus for the land instead of the field itself like Hyrule Field was for OoT. After all, Clock Town is where Link’s adventure begins at the dawn of the first day and will return to each subsequent time he plays the “Song of Time”. After Link returns to his original form and ventures out of Clock Town, every point of interest is seen clearly right outside each Clock Town exit in every cardinal direction. The game even allows a fast-travel option early-on via an ocarina melody. Time is of the essence in Majora’s Mask, and the hub of Termina is designed accordingly. All the while, the consistent enemy placements and splashes of notable features like the giant, hollow tree trunk and the snowy mushroom caps are far more intriguing than the fallow grounds of Hyrule. One might argue that putting all of these geologically eclectic places in a contained area would feel inorganic, but I’m not arguing against the convenience of it.

The five areas that sprout from Clock Town’s center are also treated with a better sense of detail and purpose than the areas that protrude from Hyrule’s sweeping grassland. Normally, I wouldn’t thoroughly compare the settings between two different stretches of land, but Majora’s Mask insisted on preserving the same thematic design that OoT created. From each direction in both Zelda realms, the player will find another district with radically different terrain and creatures that inhabit it. Hyrule in OoT highlighted three distinct districts in the former half of the game with the spiritual stones, and expanded upon those districts by revisiting them with four additional areas in the latter half with adult Link’s quest.

The five areas of Termina are obviously not the same as the ones in Hyrule, but they share the same segregated design with the same creatures in their homogenous societies. The Goron kingdom resides in the northern, mountainous Snowhead region while the Zoras are surrounded by the beachy waters of the Great Bay. Link’s surrogate fairy brethren are nowhere to be seen in the Woodfall swamp, but the area is populated by the Deku scrub creatures that used to pelt Link with nuts. Ikana Canyon is another arid, cavernous area like Gerudo Valley, but with a haunting atmosphere akin to the Shadow Temple. The Gerudos however are nowhere to be found here, as the settlement in Termina is a watery fortress situated near the Great Bay. The Gerudo gynocracy coexisting in the same area as the Zoras illustrates another improvement Majora’s Mask makes over OoT’s world design, and that is each district of Termina feels more nuanced than their OoT counterparts. As marvelous as Zora’s Domain was with its gleaming natural pool and exquisite waterfall, the single, albeit ample, space that was the domain’s entirety made the area feel rather meager. Climbing up Death Mountain to reach the Goron’s civilization was an arduous trek, but their city at the peak suffered from the same sparseness as the Zoras. My guess is that the developers attempted to convey a loyal recreation of these areas in 3D, but the cohesiveness of the land was already spoiled by placing a widespread field at the center. The rustic metropolitan areas divided by tribes of Zelda creatures preserved a certain quality set by the 2D games, but it looks rather dull in execution. The Great Bay, for example, features many sections of land besides the epicenter of the Zora’s domicile including a cove populated with giant eels, an aquarium similar to the one in Lake Hylia, and the aforementioned Gerudo fortress. There is also a waterfall where Link challenges a family of beavers to a swimming race for an empty bottle. Woodfall, the wooded companion to Kokiri Forest, is based on a swamp with a river that goes through the woods, the Deku Scrub’s kingdom, and the gaping pond where the Woodfall Temple is submerged underneath. Through the journey on the kayak they supply, the player will be treated to the best of Majora’s Mask’s lush color palette. The areas of OoT are adequate, but the attention to detail presented here just spoils the player.

I’ve gone on record saying that the dungeons are my favorite aspects of the Zelda series, so it might seem unfortunate that Majora’s Mask only offers a piddling total of four of them. Fortunately, Majora’s Mask compensates by making these few dungeons some of the most notable in the series. One factor attributed to this is the more organic pacing Majora’s Mask presents compared to OoT. I adore the scope and design of the Great Deku Tree, but I can admit that the dungeon is a glorified tutorial, so its overall quality has a limit that does not exceed the other dungeons by design. By the time the player (literally) uncovers the first dungeon, they could have ideally accomplished quite a bit around Termina and acquired a certain level of proficiency with the mechanics. There is one dungeon per district, and the player must undergo more preparation to finish these dungeons in one sitting due to the time constraint. Dungeons in Majora’s Mask are also more time consuming because of the fifteen fairies strewn all over every floor and corner of these foundations. Collecting them and piecing them back together at that dungeon’s local fairy fountain is optional, but the rewards the completed, giggly prostitute-looking fairy gives the player are too valuable to neglect.

Like the areas each individual dungeon occupies, they are as individually unique and make the most of a designated transformation mask. Woodfall Temple has a wicked, voodoo-like atmosphere fitting for the apex of the swamp area, and makes great use of gliding via Deku Flowers. Snowhead Temple is a slippery climb up an indoor summit where the player must hurdle over the tightest ramps with Goron Link. I used to abhor the Great Bay Temple and was dreading it upon replaying this game for this review, but I think it utilizes Zora Link’s abilities far better than any of Link's other transformation beings. I realized I was simply being stubborn attempting to beat the water current which was the main source of my frustrations. Lastly, Stone Tower Temple is a grand fortress situated in the skies above Ikana Canyon and uses a Symphony of the Night design philosophy, flipping the tower for the second half and making it the longest in the game by sheer length. Stone Tower Temple is a feat that tests the players abilities for all four of Link’s forms with consistently engaging puzzles and obstacles. It’s the grand poobah of all Zelda dungeons not just in Majora’s Mask, but in the entire series. As for the bosses that reside behind each dungeon’s boss key, they aren’t as collectively strong in terms of quality. I wish the Odolwa and Twinmold fights featured more mechanics involving that area's transformation mask, and Gyorg’s fight tended to be unfairly punishing due to Zora’s Link wonky swimming controls. However, Goht in Snowhead is a thrilling, exceptional fight that employs the finest extent of Goron Link’s rolling ability.

Even if the dungeons and bosses in Majora’s Mask were consistently some of the worst in the series, I’d be willing to give Majora’s Mask some leeway. This sort of clemency is something I certainly wouldn’t give for any other Zelda game, so what makes Majora’s Mask different? I’ve expressed this before, but I usually see traversing through the hub of Hyrule as a means to an end rather than feeling as if I must relish in its fantastical glory. Throughout my time in Termina, stopping to smell the proverbial roses occupied most of my time because the denizens of this world are far more interesting than the royal families underlings in Hyrule. For a game that emphasizes a time constraint, Majora’s Mask offers the best side quests across every game in the franchise. The developers had to do something to compensate for a paltry number of dungeons, and the content in the overworld absolves this issue. Early in the game, a (harmless) gang of kids will grant Link an item called the bombers notebook which catalogues every interaction Link has with any notable character in the hub across the three day period. Through repeating the three day cycle, the player will begin to become familiar with the people of Termina and their pastimes. The mayor’s office will always have a disgruntled mob in his office on the first day, the Rosa Sisters will always been practicing their mystical dance moves in western Clock Town on the first and seconds nights, the grumpy Grogg will be clamoring for his chicks to hatch before the moon falls, etc. At some point, the player won’t even need to check the notebook because every NPC and their interactions will be etched into their memories. This familiarity will make the player feel as if Termina is their home and not an irritating detour after a majorly macabre setback.

As one could probably tell, there is too much content in Majora’s Mask to complete in three in-game days, arguably not even three days in real time. The solution to experiencing everything the game has to offer and not be beset by the inevitable cataclysm set by the moon is the mechanic most people will associate Majora’s Mask with: the time warp. At the end of the first three-day cycle when Link is still a precious Deku Scrub, he recalls the “Song of Time” from the previous game which warps him back to the dawn of the first day. Link will retain his sword, masks, and songs, but every other item, including money, will fall out of Link’s pockets as he tumbles through the fabric of time. Rupees can fortunately be stored at a bank, but I hated having to deal with the overly excitable, condescending teller on every cycle. Everything Link has done in the previous three-day period will be reset, but each retainable item and defeated boss serve as checkpoints. Every refresh of time through the good ol’ ocarina jingle will give the player free reign to use the three days to do whatever they please, or at least to some extent. Majora’s Mask often draws comparisons to the film Groundhog Day because of this as the freedom of choice with a looping time mechanic is reminiscent of that movie’s central gimmick.

The time mechanic also makes Majora’s Mask arguably the hardest of the franchise, or at least the most demanding. Majora’s Mask is the only game I know where saving the game will delete the player’s progress. Because every action Link has done in the previous cycle resets upon warping back in time, the player has to time every lengthy ordeal accordingly. Preparation in this regard mainly pertains to getting to the dungeons and completing those dungeons, which I don’t recommend trying to do both in one cycle. Owl statues serve as makeshift checkpoints for the player to save their progress here, but only if they also want to quit for the day. Most players use these as warping points via the “Song of Soaring”, which is a staple of the Zelda franchise that OoT strangely omitted. The player better prepare to dry out their eyes and have sore asses while playing this game because completing any major task in Majora’s Mask requires lengthy periods of time without saving. The deliberate lack of direction also doesn’t help matters. As early as the first cycle, the player arrives in Termina without any hint as to what their objective is. Having this along with the dwindling clock winding down as the day's end will put the player in a panicked frenzy. Playing a reversed version of the “Song of Time” will make the flow of time move more lethargically, but how the player will know this without a guide is beyond me. I trust that the developers make the game feel rudderless to better suit a sense of freedom, but it also feels as if Nintendo had a deal with Prima Guides.

Majora’s Mask also just creeps people out and gets under their skins. Majora’s Mask is weird, a statement that will shock no one upon uttering it because of how many times it has been said. However, it’s not hard to see why this is the most common conclusion when discussing this game. Aliens will invade the Romani Ranch and steal their cattle, the “Elegy of Emptiness” figures are upsettingly uncanny, and the jump-cutting Happy Mask Salesman will shake Link in a fit of rage if he is displeased with him. Too much in Majora’s Mask is unsettling, but there is one element of this game that trumps them all. Could there be anything more off-putting in Majora’s Mask than the moon? I reference this harrowing celestial body constantly because it’s the most effective purveyor of looming despair across all media. It’s bulbous, tangerine-colored eyes and toothy, open-faced (smile?) is enough to catch anyone off guard, but the more alarming aspect of the moon is how omnipresent it is and the disconcerting notion that it’s progressively motioning further towards Termina. The moon makes the player feel as if no matter where they go, the moon will always be watching over them and their untimely fate cannot be eluded.

Personally, labeling Majora’s Mask simply as “weird” is a gross simplification. Beneath the doom and gloom of Majora’s Mask is a profound sense of beauty unseen in any other Zelda title. I’m not the only person who sees this as others have divulged the deeper connotations of it’s being with the most popular topic relating to the five stages of grief. It’s a bulletproof connection, but it’s been done more times than the moon has fallen on Termina in multiple timelines (and I made this connection with Silent Hill 2 already). Also, the theory has one major flaw which is that Link ultimately prevents utter destruction by the end, mitigating the concrete nature of dealing with grief. As I played through this game once more, I conjured up something even more revelatory. My point of clarity came with realizing that OoT and Majora’s Mask not only have the same graphics and engine, but also have the same fundamental story of a young man conquering an immense evil through seemingly impossible odds via time travel and the unification of every tribe in the land. However, Majora’s Mask executes this story far more impressively.

Groundhog Day comparisons are usually shallow ones, but there is more to it than warping time. In the film, Phil Connors repeats the same lousy day and is damned to do so until he changes his life around. The end goal is to romance his co-worker, but his full character arc is fulfilled by becoming a better person by helping everyone in town. He doesn’t do this immediately, nor does the thought of doing this initially cross his mind, but he manages extraordinary feats of altruism through trial and error thanks to the repetition. I’ve mentioned that Zelda’s world seem segregated, but is this because of xenophobia? Clock Town is bustling with humans, but I’ve only seen token instances of other races there. Link is also treated differently by others depending on which form he’s taking, so perhaps the divided races isn’t a coincidence. By completing each section’s dungeon, Link vindicates the problems beset by each race’s civilization. The Dekus no longer have to boil a monkey alive for kidnapping their princess, the Goron’s won’t freeze/starve to death, the Zoras get their eggs and their mojo back, and the dead in Ikana Canyon can rest peacefully. The bosses are essentially macguffins, but defeating them causes a drastic improvement in morale. OoT scratches the surface with the effect of defeating bosses, but the player gets to revel in a post-dungeon period to see what they’ve done, and maybe Link will get credit for it.

A side quest that takes full advantage of helping the denizens of Termina through the three day cycle is the infamous Kafei quest. It’s a long, grueling task that demands patience and pinpoint accuracy from the player, but it is a totally optional quest. However, I implore anyone who has never played this game to persevere and attempt this undertaking because this quest is requisite for unlocking the inner beauty beneath the surface of Majora’s Mask. A blue-haired man named Kafei has also been cursed by the mischievous Skull Kid and has gone missing a few days from his own wedding out of shame and embarrassment. His mother and his fiance Anju, the woman behind the counter at the Stockpot Inn, aid Link in finding Kafei’s whereabouts which involves a lot of waiting and a bit of stealth. After meeting Kafei, he suggests that you help him in retrieving a mask stolen from him by a thief who resides in Ikana Canyon, a covert operation in which the player will simultaneously play as both Kafei and Link. After recovering the stolen merchandise, Kafei will meet with his fiance in one of the Stockpot Inn’s rooms and reward Link with a mask. As I watched the two kneel down on the hotel floor in each other’s embrace, a wave of emotion struck me like a lightning bolt. The circuitous charade I had to undergo to reunite these people resulted in witnessing a couple rekindle their estranged love for one another mere minutes before their imminent demise was one of the most emotionally resonating moments in any video game I’ve played. I almost wanted to savor the moment I had worked so diligently to create, only if the moon wouldn’t have killed me as well. As I warped back to the dawn of the first day, everything that I accomplished held no grounds in reality, for Link and Tatl are the sole preservers of that beautiful memory. This revelation hit me like a ton of bricks, and I swear I shed a single tear.

Link needs to unify all of Termina because every district is needed to stop the moonfall. Defeating each boss will uncover the hidden red giant the boss was undermining. Once Link defeats all four major bosses, he confronts Skull Kid again on top of the clocktower at the night of the carnival. Only this time, Link calls the four giants via a tune on his ocarina and they hoist the moon away from the town. The evil spirit inside the mask feels unfulfilled and disposes of Skull Kid as his vessel. The mask makes the moon even more malevolent by possessing it, and Link must duel the embodiment of Majora inside of it. Surprisingly, the core of the moon is a lovely meadow with one oak tree sitting on top of a hill. Children with the masks of the four bosses scamper playfully on the field, but the one donning the mask of Majora is sitting pensively on the peak of the hill. Talking to him will begin the fight, and it’s just as distressing as one could imagine. Combating each of Majora’s unpredictable forms in the splatter-painting of an arena practically simulates a bad psychedelic drug trip. However, its duration can be condensed with the Fierce Deity Mask which can only be obtained by collecting every other mask in the game and going through the other kid’s transformation-mask-themed trials. The mask isn’t entirely necessary, but it’s remarkable how Link can use the mask to make Majora his bitch. After vanquishing the evil spirit in the mask, the long-awaited fourth day commences. The people of Termina can rest easy now and enjoy a new, beautiful day, but I felt a sense of existentialism under a blanket of bittersweetness.

I’ve always attempted to dissociate Majora’s Mask from OoT because people were comparing them too often on a superficial basis. It’s apparent that as the two Zelda titles on the N64, comparisons would be easy to make. Both games have the same graphics, gameplay, sound design, and a plethora of other aspects too numerous to list. However, what Majora’s Mask does with its foundation makes OoT pale in comparison. Ocarina of Time was bogged down by the initiative to translate The Legend of Zelda to a new polygonal generation. While it certainly succeeded, maintaining that loyalty to the formula can only sprout so much of its full potential. With greater ambition and inspiration, Majora’s Mask excels over its older brother and fulfills that missed potential. OoT used the passage of time as a plot convenience, but Majora’s Mask earns that feeling of personal growth through painstaking progress. If we're still adamant that Majora’s Mask is the shadow under the light that is Ocarina of Time, then like a shadow; it's taller than the physical being it casts over. Majora’s Mask’s pension for oddities, disturbing themes, and liberal direction may make it inaccessible to most, but those who desire something more substantial will adore Majora’s Mask and see it as the most exemplary entry in the franchise.
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Erockthestrange 2017-07-21T19:58:53Z
2017-07-21T19:58:53Z
10.0
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What a game
When I first played this game, I was like 10, and I simply thought of it as a fun-to-play Zelda game. But having grown up, this game is completely different. You realize the story is a lot more deep, and the theme is dark. The core mechanic of living the same 3 days over and over is already creepy, now that you think about it.

This is the pinnacle of games that anyone of any age can play and enjoy.
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yoyochinese 2022-06-10T15:09:06Z
2022-06-10T15:09:06Z
5.0
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I think this is a great example of how the users of this website are willing to sacrifice playability in favor of atmosphere. This game is good, but it has many stressful and outright unfair moments that should be acknowledged when discussing it. I think that if the focus was more on the side-missions and less on the dungeons this would be a great game, because that is the part that this really excels at, and that is what everyone talks about when referencing Majora's Mask.
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menges 2022-04-03T23:41:19Z
2022-04-03T23:41:19Z
3.5
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Xalechim ゼルダの伝説ムジュラの仮面 2022-09-28T01:10:50Z
2022-09-28T01:10:50Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
shrubman ゼルダの伝説ムジュラの仮面 2022-09-27T14:57:33Z
2022-09-27T14:57:33Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
water_sheep30 ゼルダの伝説ムジュラの仮面 2022-09-26T20:33:07Z
2022-09-26T20:33:07Z
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action adventure fantasy
Ca_Game The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 2022-09-26T18:38:16Z
N64 • XNA
2022-09-26T18:38:16Z
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sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Action-adventure
lukejohnwild ゼルダの伝説ムジュラの仮面 2022-09-26T03:30:35Z
2022-09-26T03:30:35Z
5.0
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DavidSS The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D 2022-09-26T02:13:32Z
3DS
2022-09-26T02:13:32Z
5.0
1
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DavidSS ゼルダの伝説ムジュラの仮面 2022-09-26T02:13:13Z
2022-09-26T02:13:13Z
5.0
2
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bup02 The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D 2022-09-25T23:33:16Z
3DS
2022-09-25T23:33:16Z
2.5
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boekplate The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 2022-09-25T21:25:58Z
N64 • XNA
2022-09-25T21:25:58Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
OutweightGodzilla The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D 2022-09-25T18:36:59Z
3DS • XNA
2022-09-25T18:36:59Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
acquired prior to joining glitchwave
PashaAlex ゼルダの伝説ムジュラの仮面 2022-09-25T08:43:49Z
2022-09-25T08:43:49Z
3.5
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MMRvws The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 2022-09-24T22:21:43Z
N64 • XNA
2022-09-24T22:21:43Z
4.5
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  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D
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  • Previous comments (55) Loading...
  • Serif 2022-07-27 05:38:18.881616+00
    Legit insane how much better this is than Ocarina
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  • afterceasetoexist_ 2022-07-31 21:21:01.310216+00
    absolutely phenomenal game but i really wish it had a proper final dungeon like oot
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  • TheGrindingWheel 2022-08-15 05:54:44.884257+00
    Rated E for Everyone
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  • kafeis 2022-09-14 05:20:50.670781+00
    real
    reply
    • kafeis 2022-09-23 10:17:44.193455+00
      been slowly replaying and found Great Bay Temple way too frustrating but I can’t even stay mad because everything else is so incredible. just mad because bad
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  • Molten_ 2022-09-18 03:54:44.498541+00
    This is the only bad 3D Zelda game
    "This post was flagged by users for potentially violating community rules. It will be reviewed by a community moderator soon." [2]
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  • intopolaris 2022-09-23 20:48:58.505063+00
    crazy how this game has both the worst designed temple ever (great bay temple) and the best designed temple ever (stone tower temple)
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  • Squiddy_face 2022-09-26 22:00:24.907922+00
    This is the only bad 3D Zelda game
    This post was flagged by users for potentially violating community rules. It will be reviewed by a community moderator soon.[3]

    Why are zelda fans like this
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