Tara Voelker's thoughts. A lot about video games, a little about life
Legend of Zelda; Majora’s Mask
Need I say more?
Game Name: The Legend of Zelda; Majora’s Mask
Genre: Role Playing Game
ESRB Rating: E for everyone
Platforms: Nintendo 64 with Expansion Pack
Kat’s history with the game: Zelda and I go way back. This whole series composes a lot of my favorite games to date, and they cannot be topped. The first Zelda game I ever played was Ocarina of time, shortly after its release for Nintendo 64. I had heard about it, and didn’t understand what all the hype was about… (Oh coooooool, it’s about a girlie man in a green dress with a fairy! NEATO! … I could kick myself for ever thinking that) It wasn’t really the pansy vibe of the game that scared me off from it; it was the auto-jump. The flipping AUTO JUMP, (I could kick myself for that too) which in fact, turned me off SO bad, I returned the game early from my rental time. A couple months later, I got a brain and some common sense (cut me some slack, I was a 6th grader), and decided to give Ocarina another chance. I fell in love with it immediately, and have never looked back. (I have wanted a Zelda tattoo since my encounter with this game as a kid, and even though I’m old enough to do it, I still haven’t yet… I beat myself up all the time for waiting… But as soon as I find a good place to put it, I am zappiń it onto myself for sure. I’m picky about tattoos, but Zelda deserves a place in my flesh.) This game is as special to me as anything ever could be. And when I heard there was a “sequel” to Ocarina, oh, you bet I was there!
Story: There is something you should know about this game; though it technically comes after Ocarina of Time in the Legend of Zelda Timeline, THIS GAME IS NOT A SEQUAL TO IT. Almost every character in Ocarina of time is in Majora’s mask too, so you will see familiar faces, but this game takes place at a different time, in a different place then the world Ocarina of Time did.
You are young Link, and you are on a journey to find you’re old partner, Navi the fairy.
***SPOILER*** Navi is from Ocarina of Time, and leaves you after you defeat Gannon and restore the master sword to its pedestal at the end of the game.
***CONTINUE AFTER SPOILER*** at the start of your journey, you are apprehended by a skull kid wearing a strange mask, which you soon learn is Majora’s mask. Using the skull kid as its puppet, the mask is trying to destroy the land by creating a gravitational pull on the moon, directing in straight into clock town, the epicenter where the game takes place. Using masks of your own that possess special abilities and powers, it’s your job to stop this from happening, and return the mask to its rightful owner. There will be temples for you to complete, bad guys for you to defeat and songs for you to collect, BUT you only have 3 days to do it all… Lucky for Link, he can both manipulate and travel through time by playing songs on the Ocarina. Collecting all of the masks is no easy feat without a guide, and can be time consuming even with one. Collecting them all is worth it in the end, as you then have the opportunity to take advantage of the best mask of all; which I will not reveal. This game will keep you wanting more, but you have to go into it not expecting it to be like Ocarina. If you do, you will most likely end up disappointed, like some other gamers I have spoken to. If you go in with an open mind, this will be a title you will enjoy if you are a Zelda fan, or if you simply enjoy single player role playing games.
Game play: The A button will always be your action button, and will change depending on your environment, if you are targeting someone or something, or simply standing still. You are going to want to try to pay attention to it as much as possible. The B button will always be your primary attack button. The C buttons are where it gets tricky. Hints and going to first person view will always be your top C button, but for the left, down, and right C buttons, be prepared to press START A LOT. By pressing START, you access the item select screens, and you can then assign various items to the C buttons, which you can then use those corresponding buttons to use your items. This is something that will not change for the whole game. In order to assign an item to the C buttons, you must be in the start button item screen. However, in the START button items screen, you can also check your maps, the number of collectable items (such as health upgrades (“heart pieces”)) you need or have collected, and of course, select your items. You move around in the game with the center control stick, target enemies and interactive things/people with Z, and R button is to use your shield. The game play is smooth while getting around and reliable when in battle. It’s quick to learn; pressing START all the time can get annoying, though it’s not required that you do so too often until you get further in the game. There are a lot of side quests, which might be a turnoff to some, but they all aren’t necessarily required in order to beat the game. (You do have to expect side quests in an RPG.. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they must be done to complete the game 100% of the way.)
Graphics: You don’t really appreciate the upgrade in graphics for Majora’s Mask until you compare them to Ocarina of time. You can see a noticeable difference between the two and can really see that the expansion pack is doing its job. Majora’s Mask packs in a lot of textures and colors, making the game very dimensional. This does make some flaws stand out more however, such as when a part of the environment comes to a point and there is no variance in texture size.
Regardless, the graphics are nothing to snuff at, and the game’s creative and somewhat whimsical feel is well represented graphically.
Audio: The soundtrack might be one of the most memorable parts to this game, as it is with any Zelda title. The music is clearly based on the sound tracks from Ocarina of Time (which are furthermore based on the classic Zelda titles), and if you played it before Majora’s Mask, then you will be hearing similar music tracks that start familiar enough, and then transition into a whole different version. The sound effects for similar weapons from Ocarina of Time still match, but the new items added for Major’s Mask blend seamlessly, and don’t feel out of place with the original sound effects and music tracks. You will be playing the Ocarina again in the game, and learning new songs. The songs are not nearly as impressive as the tracks in Ocarina of Time, but are fairly easy to memorize nonetheless.
Pro’s/Con’s: Majora’s mask’s flaws are obvious: Having to go into the START menu often to switch items can be tedious, the side missions can seem somewhat overwhelming, and if you don’t have somewhat of a guide for the game, it can be very easy to loose your way or get distracted from the main objectives. Nonetheless, the Pro’s of the game: rewarding missions, simple and lax game play, a driven storyline and unforgettable characters all make this game one to check out. The Cons may seem like a lot when you read about them, but hey, what game nowadays doesn’t have an items select screen, and what RPG doesn’t have side missions? It’s really in the eye of the beholder where the con’s lie, and despite the cons listed, this game is still EASILY one of my favorites.
Overall: The game gets you into the action right at the get-go. It’s easy to learn, fun to play, and you are always on a mission to help people, defeat puzzle filled temples, get a cool new item or mask, work towards the perfect complete game, or just chill and stroll around the countryside killing bad guys. Zelda is a classic for a reason, and Majora’s Mask is unique and unlike any RPG you have ever played, or will play ever again.
Kat’s Score: ***** (5 out of 5) It’s obvious that I love this game. The soundtrack is awesome, the controls are well assigned, and the story is nothing short of epic. If you liked Ocarina of Time and don’t like Majora’s Mask, I definitely think you should give it another shot. Remember, I strongly disliked Ocarina when I first tried it, but came around before long and even fell in love with it. If you haven’t played either, Majora’s Mask will quickly become one you will enjoy, and could very well make YOUR list of favorite games, as long as you have an open mind and a love for RPGs.