The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask has a Marmite presence in the gaming world because people either love it or hate it. In my opinion it’s one of my favourite games in the Zelda series because of its dark subject matter, setting, and unlikely villain.
The whole development cycle for Majora’s Mask was a strange one, originally it wasn’t going to be a fully-fledged Zelda game. Shigeru Miyamoto wanted this game to be an expansion to Ocarina of Time on the 64 DD, which was the disc drive add on for the N64 which, of course, was a commercial failure in Japan so it wasn’t released outside the region. After the failure of DD they decided to make another Zelda game utilising the art assets from Ocarina of Time and then Majora’s Mask was born in 2000.
The game takes place directly after the events of Ocarina of Time with Link riding through the forest looking for his friend Navi, but then he is attacked by two rogue fairies that accompany the bizarre villain Skullkid who is being controlled by Majora. Link’s steed Epona and Ocarina are then stolen by Skullkid and Link then gives chase accidently stumbling into a parallel world called Termina. Chasing Skullkid made Link pay the ultimate price because he gets turned into a Deku scrub and then the journey begins.
After you speak to the Happy Mask salesman you are unleashed into Clock Town, but there is a catch and probably the most criticised aspect of this game is the three day time limit. Personally I like this feature because each day in Clock Town changes, even down to the musical score and what the people within the town do. There are only a certain times that you can complete tasks or find specific NPCs. Also this gameplay feature gives you a sense of urgency because they’ll be total destruction and your death if you don’t stop this new evil in three days.
You have three days before the demonic moon that is directly above the town descends and destroys the whole world and this takes about 55 minutes in real time. Here is a tip if you want more time, when you get your Ocarina back from Skullkid and learn the song of time, play it backwards and you’ll be able to slow time down and then the three days take three real time hours to pass. Trust me, this takes a lot of stress off your shoulders.
How the save system works in this game is that you can no longer press start and save, what you have to do is play the song of time and you can then save, but there’s a catch you go all the way back to the first day and you lose all your rupees, arrows, deku nuts etc. The only items you don’t lose are the dungeon items and remains of bosses. On the other hand you can find owl statues you can unlock throughout the world which you can fast travel to once you learn the song of soaring, you can save at those statues but you have to quit the game once you’ve at that point, but when you come back to your game you won’t back at the first day.
Compared to other Zelda games there are only four dungeons in total, however that’s not the complete experience of Majora’s Mask it’s all about the side quests and the collection of masks in this one. You have three major masks that you need in order to finish the game you have Deku mask which turns you into a Deku scrub, the Goron mask which turns you into a big power creature and the Zora mask which turns you into a Zora which makes you swim better and have the ability of walking underwater.
The controls are exactly the same as Ocarina of Time where you use analogue stick to control link and you have the C-buttons to stash you items you want ready to use. Graphics are slightly better there is more detail on Link’s character model such as being able to see the belt around his chest that is used to carry his sword. If you plan on playing this game on the N64 you are going to need the Expansion Pak because otherwise you can’t play the game, what this peripheral does is it expands the total amount of RAM on the N64. If you can’t get hold of one then try and get hold of the Zelda collection pack on the Gamecube, but you have to be willing to pay a lot of money due to the rarity of GC games.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is my personal favourite in the series it showed us how to be scary with subtlety because it looked like a regular, colourful Zelda game on the outside and you have the usual quirky characters, but they are all going to die. If you haven’t played this game then I implore you to do so because it’s a fantastic game that mixes the formula up, it’s a game without Ganon and Legend without Zelda and it all feels like a dream because of its surreal setting and plot and it’s a fine addition to the series.