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"Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."

~Ephesians 5:16

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

"You've met with a terrible fate, haven't you?"

That is probably the greatest video game line of all time. It's unexpected, and even haunting to the player. With the highly successful Ocarina of Time, the obvious move was to make the sequel. Before it became Majora's Mask, it was originally going to be something like an expansion or remix to Ocarina. That project was scrapped, and then the game we see today came along. This may seem like a shock, but this game came out twelve years ago, one year before the Gamecube launched. That means it was released around the 64's final run. (Which is similar to Skyward Sword on the Wii.) As a Nintendo fan, I've always known about the game. Not really many details, but the title and the fact that it was a sequel to Ocarina. It wasn't until a few months ago that thanks to Club Nintendo I got the chance to play it. (For free!) I've heard things on how dark and twisted it was. I wasn't expecting anything drastic, Twilight Princess was pretty dark. I wasn't expecting anything 'twisted.' That changed once the game loaded up.

What I like about this game is that it's a direct sequel. So there's no Link trying to find his destiny and all that stuff. After Majora's Mask they went back to that formula with Wind WakerTwilight Princess, and Skyward Sword. This game doesn't even bother explaining the controls, it assumes you've had experience with Ocarina. Unlike the overrated and extremely boring Skyward Sword, this game grabs you from the start and doesn't let go. Right from the intro with the Happy Mask Salesman laughing while beholding the mask, you know you're in for something else. The game begins nice and smooth, with Link riding on his horse, Epona, before getting ambushed by two fairies. Then the supposed antagonist shows up, this imp called Skull Kid, and he's wearing Majora's Mask. This guy laughs, (you will not be forgetting this laugh) then he precedes to steal Link's Ocarina while he's knocked out. I know I've stated this before, but it's great to see actual things indicating that this is a sequel to the previous game. This guy just keeps laughing while the two fairies argue, and then Link gets up. Bewildered, he attempts to grab Skull Kid, but the latter jumps on his horse! Now here's comes the cool part and a reason why Link is not only a hero, but a darn cool one. He actually grabs hold of Epons's hoofs as Skull Kid rides away, dragging our young Robin Hood with it!

For a game that was made twelve years ago, the graphics hold up really well. Obviously there's a lot of blockly textures, (especially with the Giants,) but the framerate is great. Eventually Link goes flying as Skull Kid goes into a cave, laughing. Okay, so far, it was pretty intense, but nothing really dark and twisted. That all changes once the player enters the cave. Once Link entered, everything changed. He falls down a cliff. What a follows is a rather trippy scene with colorful emblems of various masks and ocarinas. Once Link hits the ground, Skull Kid's there,  just levitating. He says "What's with that stupid horse of your's?! It doesn't listen to a word that's said to it. There's no point in riding a thing like that. So I did you a favor and got rid of it...Hee. hee.." That is when I was taken off-guard. He killed my horse?! HE KILLED EPONA?! What follows is the beginning of the end for the sanity of this game, he transformed Link into Deku form. (The sequence before that with the Dekus ganging up on Link was pretty intense.) So he's transformed into this little thing with a Birdo-like snout, meanwhile with Skull Kid laughing it up and making fun of him. From there the game gets more interesting. Once Link goes up to a door, in the background someone says,

"You've met with a terrible fate, haven't you?"

Link turns around, and the camera zooms in for us to see this grinning guy with a bag of masks. This guy doesn't even have a name, he's simply called the Happy Mask Salesman. He is pivotal in the game, and is also one of the more disturbing characters in the series. In one frame he's shaking his head, another he's yelling, and then the next one he's smiling again. This guy is just weird. It actually turns out that Skull Kid stole Majora's Mask from him, so he makes a deal with Link. (It also turns out that he's been following the green-suited hero.) If Link can bring back the mask, he will transform him back to normal. What's also disturbing (and pretty awesome) is that he has a Mario mask in his pack. That aside, Link exits the place and the screen is confronted with the words,

Dawn of the First Day -72 hours remain-

This is the key factor separating Majora's Mask from other Zelda titles. In the game, you have three days to complete it. What happens if you don't? The moon is going to strike the land of Termina, and destroy it. No matter what, it's going to strike. You're left with with the feeling that you have to beat this thing quick, to prevent the end from happening. The three day cycle is the main reason why Majora's Mask is one of the cruelest games of all time. You can't afford to lose, because the cycle continues. What that means is that if you spend 3 hours on a dungeon, but can't beat the boss in time, that 3 hours goes out the window like it never happened. (People with a fast temper will be throwing their remotes out the window.) That is when the songs come into play. The Song of Time is the main one, when you use to save and rewind time. Eventually Link gets the ability to revert back to human form, but could also transform depending on the mask. The transformations are pretty disturbing for a rated E game, just take a look.

What is that?

Now that would be creepy, except for the fact it looks like the Annoying Orange.

The goal in the game is to go to the four areas, Swamp, Mountain, Ocean, Canyon, and free the Four Giants. Unlike Skyward Sword and even slightly *gasp* Ocarina, the game doesn't feel like a chore. The fast pace and story gives you motivation to keep on playing. It doesn't have things that just stall for time.' (I will never forget the tadtone level in Skyward Sword.) If you think it's all dandy and you're just here trying to beat the dungeons in time, you're wrong. You know the very handsome and heroic looking Mirror Shield in Wind Waker? Well, it's in Majora's Mask too.

I really have no idea what the creators of this game were doing, you have to see that thing called a shield all the time once you get it. Also...

Okay, that's just wrong. Basically really later in the game you get this song called 'Elegy of Emptiness.' It creates a statue in your place, perfect for holding down switches. Yes, that's in a rated E game by Nintendo, it doesn't get any better. The game, like all Zelda games, has numerous sidequests. If you happen to get all the masks, for the final battle you get to be Oni Link, which is pretty darn awesome. Link gets god-like powers, probably the coolest thing in the series. I also love the writing, it's very strong, especially in the climax part. The final boss is very satisfying. (Form 2 is just plain trippy, it dances around and pretty much mocks Link the whole time.) The ending I found was a little disappointing. I would have liked more explanation, especially with why the Moon Children look like the Happy Mask Salesman...

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is an experience all gamers should have. While it's still less popular than its predecessor, it's a different game. The story is unlike any other one, it is engaging from beginning to end. Also add to the fact that this is the most twisted Nintendo game to date. For just $10 on the virtual console, it's the game to get if you're never played it before.  

"You've met with a terrible fate, haven't you?"


  1. Sounds pretty intense! I'm calling foul on Ocarina of Time (Since you've never played it), but it's cool. You'll be sad to know that the terrible fate line isn't in the manga. Instead it's

    "Looks like something terrible happened to you" Something like that. No fate part D:

    It's definitely one of the better games and is just overall epic. Gotta love those creepy faces!

    1. I use to have Master Quest for the Gamecube. The manga doesn't sound that great now.

    2. Yeah, there are a lot of changes that you will probably not like. There's a lot more romance and comedy in the manga than in the game (Based on your review anyway) First of all, they cut out all creepiness and horror from the game. There are no creepy faces and the Salesman is a comic relief character. Also it's a known fact that the mask is controlling him from page 3. They try to make it obvious.

      Though the kid is able to gain control once in a while. Plus we get to see how the Skull Kid gets the mask...let's just say he knows how to trip people! D:

      Also Epona just runs terrible fate here ^__^

      Finally, Link isn't fast enough to grab his hoofs in this version and just gets knocked to the ground and falls into a pit shortly after.

      Longstory short, the manga is still cool, but different