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The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

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Reviewed by EBounder620 After the release of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the obvious question became: Will there be another Zelda title for the N64 and will it meet the high standards set by its predecessor? A valid question, to be sure, because OoT single-handedly revolutionized N64 play with its smooth graphics, superb control, and incredibly realistic playing fields. Two years later, The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask was released, proving that it is possible to improve upon an original. The title of this game is a misnomer, since, like Link's Awakening before it, Majora's Mask has nothing to do with Zelda, Ganondorf, or Hyrule at all. In this installment of the saga, Link finds himself in the world of Termina, a world parallel to Hyrule. He must first recover his Ocarina of Time from the mischievous Skull Kid, who has stolen it along with the mysterious Majora's Mask, a mask that grants terrifying power to the one who possesses it. He must then free the four giants trapped within the four temples of Termina so he can defeat the Skull Kid and stop the falling moon, which will crash into Termina in three days. Only by reliving the same three days over and over again will Link be able to accomplish his mission and rescue Termina from total destruction.

Graphics: 10 out of 10

The graphics in Majora's Mask are the best I've ever seen in any N64 title. The landscapes are crisp, the detail superb. Majora takes full advantage of the Expansion Pak (which, by the way, is needed to play the game), using it to create an environment that looks even better than OoT's. It also fixes many of OoT's problems. Walls now very rarely disappear when you get the wrong camera angle and backgrounds no longer suddenly appear and disappear in Termina Field, as they did in Hyrule Field.

Music and Sound: 9 out of 10

Majora's music is once again leading the way for the entire industry. New themes have been created for each character and area, such as the bright, happy Clock Town Theme, and the eerie, ominous Majora Theme. Termina Field's Theme is an arrangement of the classic Zelda overworld theme that was so dearly missed in Ocarina of Time. The only thing I can find fault with is the temple music. Although fresh and new, these themes (especially the Woodfall Temple Theme) could take a cue from OoT's dungeon themes, since I feel they lack the quality that the other music in the game has. As for sound effects, they are just as good as they were in OoT. The sounds are crisp, clean, and realistic. No improvement is needed in that area.

Game Challenge: 10 out of 10

If you don't think Majora's Mask is difficult, you must be using a guidebook. Between four temples, twenty subplots, and four major areas of exploration, this game packs a lot of challenge. Plus, the three day time limit means that you have to play the Song of Time to return to the first day or the moon will crash. And if you go back in time, you lose all your rupees (which can be saved by depositing them in the bank), bombs, arrows, keys, Boss Keys, and progress in the areas leading up to the dungeon. I don't think I could have kept my sanity without a player's guide, and even then it's hard to juggle everything that's happening. This game will keep you thinking, no doubt about it.

Game Play-Fun: 10 out of 10

I can honestly say that this is the first game I've played since Ocarina of Time in which I enjoyed every minute of it. With so much to do, it can seem overwhelming at first, but that's the fun of it: you never stop. In this game, time is not infinite, which makes you push yourself harder to get it done, which increases the fun of it. It's also fun to observe how things you do affect the outcome of events in a cycle, while doing things differently in another cycle may render completely opposite results! The fun in Majora's Mask lies in trying new things, watching the clock, and just having a great time interacting with the game's many places and characters.

Rumble Pak: 9 out of 10

The Rumble Pak is used in this title, but it's basically to let you know when you've come upon something mysterious or unusual. It works basically the same as it did in OoT, so don't look forward to much improvement in that area.


Majora's Mask can be the most frustrating game in the world if you don't pace yourself and set goals for what you want to accomplish in a three day cycle. For example, say you're about to open the path to the Stone Tower Temple when you find out you have an hour (game time; about one minute real time) before the moon hits. You have to use the Song of Time and start over or you'll lose all the data you've accumulated in that cycle. However, if you say what you want to accomplish, do it, and then start over again on Day 1, you'll be much better off than trying to cram everything in on Day 3.

Replayability: 10 out of 10

I am currently on my third file of Majora's Mask and loving every minute of it. The game has so much that you can start a new game and still be surprised by what you find. The challenge is in completing all the subplots, getting all the masks, and all the heart pieces. If you can do that, you've truly conquered the game. Majora is a game that you will never get bored with, no matter how many files you play.

Overall: 98 out of 100

The only reason Majora's Mask doesn't get 100 out of 100 is its lack of innovation. Ocarina of Time set the standard with Z-targeting, C button use, and ocarina songs. Majora's Mask just takes the same formula and doesn't really improve on it in that respect. This is good in the sense that the controls will be familiar to people who have played OoT, but I personally felt that Majora should have had something extra to show that it wasn't just another spin around the block in controls. Gameplay wise, though, Majora is right up there with OoT. Many of the characters you'll meet you'll recognize from OoT, although they won't be the same person. Majora has so much to offer, and is such a high quality game, that I personally see it as the N64's last great game before its fall into the shadows of the Game Cube. Hopefully, Zelda for the Game Cube will live up to the high standards of Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask.

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