Category: Role-Playing, Adventure
ESRB Rating: Everyone Release Date: October 2000
4 Stars out of 4
Review by Tom Allen
4 Stars out of 4
Easily eclipsing the wonder of Miyamoto's Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask
is a major success for Nintendo. A leading contender for Game of the
Year, this instant classic builds upon the Zelda formula established in
the previous game, but the facelift is of the Dick Clark caliber, not the
Joan Rivers caliber.
One of the most annoying aspects of the last game was when you would talk
to a character and then realize you should have a certain item equipped.
In Majora's Mask, you can press Start in the middle of a conversation
to access your item bank. Problem solved!
Another downside to Ocarina of Time was a certain feeling of isolation
that clashed with the colorful worlds. In Majora, the overworlds are
just as well designed as the dungeons, and the game play is just as
task-oriented. Conversations are not as intrusive to the flow of the
game this time.
The game begins when the Skull Kid turns Link into a Deku shrub creature.
As plants, these creatures are light enough to be carried by the wind or
hop across water but are also easily scorched. As the game progresses,
Link is able to interact with the environment in other forms such as
Goron Link (rock creature) and Zora Link (water creature).
The three-day structure of the game is perhaps the best addition to Zelda.
The entire game takes place across the final three days before the end of
the world. In these 72 hours, you will have a "super-objective" which
you can complete by attending to smaller goals. After you complete that
large mission, you play the Ocarina to take you back in time to the first
of the three days. You retain the items you earned from the last goal
and continue on a new quest.
This set-up may sound strange, but it accomplishes something very important,
in that every part of the game has a backdrop of suspense. Thankfully,
you don't always feel like you have to beat the clock in a mad rush, but
you are at least aware that time is a factor in your activities.
Miyamoto's characters seem much more vibrant and alive in this game. The
Deku creatures, for instance, have real personality. The idea that plants
may "lease" the crack in a sidewalk to each other is nothing short of
hysterical. Next time you have weeds in your yard, consider offering
them a real estate agent, and maybe they will leave without you having
to evict them (hee, hee).
No game is complete without a serene snow world, and here again, Majora's
Mask delivers. The graphics vary in quality from unbelievably bad to
exquisite, but take comfort in the fact that, once you reach Clock Town
after the introduction, the graphics are much better overall.
In short, while Ocarina of Time wasn't much fun until Link became an adult,
Majora's Mask is fun from start to finish. The masks and different
creatures add a lot to the game play variety and fun factor. For the next
Zelda, though, I would like to see some sort of strong protagonist-antagonist
conflict that develops organically throughout the entire game. Majora is
effective as a mysterious, rarely seen villain, but other characters (i.e.
Shadow Link from 8-bit Zelda II) could be even more interesting.
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