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Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask - Review

It's Time to Hide Behind a Mask

By: Jade Falcon


Review Breakdown
   Battle System 9
   Interface 9
   Music/Sound 7
   Originality 7
   Plot 7
   Localization 7
   Replay Value 9
   Visuals 9
   Difficulty Easy
   Time to Complete

30-40 hrs.

 
Overall
8
Criteria

Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
 

   In a series of Nintendo-only game which require the N64's "expansion" pack (which I don't see any difference on any of my other games), Nintendo decided to make more people pay even more money with the release of Majora's Mask, the newest installment of the Legend of Zelda series. Looking at it beforehand, it looks like a much shorter and less in-depth game than Ocarina of Time, but it can be more engrossing than its predecessor.

   Like I enjoy saying (and many other people): If it ain't broke, don't fix it. The good old N64 Zelda battle system is back. Press Z to either target what your little fairy companion is hovering near or to get the camera right behind Link. The A button is the almighty action button, while the B button is for the sword and the C buttons for items. I feel that the system for battles in the N64 Zeldas is the best system ever made for any action-involved game.

   Down to our submenu now. One panel has the maps, dungeon and overworld, depending where you are. The next panel over has vital quest info and equipment. The others are for masks and other items. With a quick press of the start button and a few arrow taps and such, a quick item switch is easy to make during the heat of a major battle. Even the transformations are painless. If Nintendo screws up this submenu system, I'll personally beat up the person who screwed it up.


MOMMY!
I think he needs a face lift...  

   Praise the gods, they actually brought back the original theme! Once you get outside Clock Town, the good old melody enters your ears. Most other tunes in the game can be found from previous Zelda installments, but redone much better. Nintendo decided to add more sound effects. The game would've been MUCH better without those new sound effects. They do no more than annoy the gamer. It sounds like they have a large stick shoved up their rear in some cases! Music rocks, sound effects suck.

   Again, a big shocker! No Princess Zelda! It makes me wonder why they even keep her name in the series when Link is the one who does all the grunt work. Instead of Zelda, it's the world you save. The developers of Zelda were also somewhat original with the time travel thing and Link saving the world in "only three days". This makes the game somewhat repetitive at some points, but that can be expected when you go back in time quite often. Otherwise, nothing new was truly added except for the base story.

   One night, Link is ambushed by a kid in the woods wearing a mask. He's transported into an alternate world where the moon is falling. The game takes place in the same three days, lived over and over again. Link uses masks to work around the world and save the world from the falling moon. He can transform into three other alter-egos with three special masks. By playing a certain song, he can restart the three days. If the moon falls, it's game over! The plot is quite imaginative and at some points continues to keep you guessing.

   One thing that bothered me from OoT and Majora's Mask was that every little sign still looked like it was in Japanese. I realize that that may be the native Hylian (or whatever) language, but if it was Japanese, at least it could've been translated. The translation of the actual text from the game, however, was excellent. I don't see any problems with it.


Hi.........ya!
Zora Link showin' off his mad karate skillz  

   I just finished this game about a week or two ago, and I already have started to replay it. Though it has its quirks here and there, making me stop playing it for a short while, it is an overall fun game to just play over and over again. Too bad that there are only two save slots on the cartridge and it is not save card compatible. The rumble pak works though!

Majora's Mask uses virtually the same game engine as OoT uses, but it is better-refined. The characters are less polygonial than in OoT and the graphics are much clearer. The game also seems to run quite quicker than OoT does. The cut scenes are in the same graphics engine, but just as well-done. The difference between dark and light is easy to tell, and even when the moon gets close, it feels like there's a shadow around the whole planet. The graphics are well-done.

While not the most difficult game I have ever played, some places of Majora's Mask gave me some trouble now and then. In fact, in some cases it seemed that the "mini-boss" of the dungeon was harder than the actual boss at the end, which always puzzles me. Oh well.


Anybody wanna guess what he's gonna do with her?
The most convenient method of transportation isn't the most comfortable...  

At first, getting the first three days completed can take a while, especially if you miss one very important event. This can tack on a few hours just at the beginning. To complete the game, I would probably take around 25-30 hours. To get everything, I would estimate to spend a good 35-45 hours on it.

Though there were several surprisingly good and fun games released for the N64 during the course of 2000, Majora's Mask ranks up in the top of them. The only thing I don't like is that they required that dumb $30 expansion pack, which doesn't seem to do anything to help the gameplay. I guess that's what N64 gamers get when they actually get one decent RPG on the system. Don't bother renting it. Just buy it, especially if you already have an expansion pack.





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