The sixth game in The Legend of Zelda series, Majora's Mask is a direct follow up to Ocarina of Time, both in story and gameplay. The development team re-used the engine and models from Ocarina Of Time, thus greatly reducing the development time to one year. Following on from the end of Ocarina Of Time, Link is wandering through a mysterious forest with his horse Epona in search of his lost friend (presumably Navi). There, he is attacked and robbed by a masked Skull Kid and his two fairy companions, who snatch the Ocarina of Time and Epona before fleeing. Pursuing them, Link falls into a rabbit hole of sorts and is transformed into a Deku Scrub by the Skull Kid.Passing through the cavern he fell into, Link finds himself in the parallel world of Termina. Unfortunately, a sinister moon hangs in the sky above Termina, and seems to be growing larger with each passing day. It is soon discovered that the evil Skull Kid has taken control of the moon and intends to drop it on Termina within a mere 72 hours (coinciding with the annual Carnival of Time), annihilating everything in its wake. After regaining his Ocarina, Link travels back in time to the moment he first entered Termina, and his curse is lifted shortly thereafter. He must now use the "Groundhog Day" Loop to find a way to stop Termina's destruction. To do this, he must travel to every compass point of Termina and lift the curses set upon them by the Skull Kid. To accomplish this, Link will acquire three different masks over the course of his journey that allow him to transform into a Deku Scrub, a Goron, and a Zora - each form being accompanied by its own special abilities and disadvantages. But the clock is always ticking, and the moon's not waiting around...Having only four dungeons, Majora's Mask places great emphasis on sidequests. There are many people in need of help throughout the land of Termina within the three days leading up to its destruction, and by exploiting the "Groundhog Day" Loop Link can help all of them (albeit temporarily) to acquire Pieces of Heart, new Masks, and other rewards. These include helping a young couple to reunite and defending a farm from cow-stealing UFOs.
Lots of the NPCs are dealing with very adult issues, and Link gets to see both sides of these things from different NPCs. A father is grieving for the loss of a son who is missing and presumed dead, while a toddler is raging because of the death of his father. A newlywed is about to die and laments that he will never be able to see the his children born, while a child is about to lose her father to a illness. One man can't show his face to his fiancee because he broke a promise, while another has been imprisoned because his lover's family thinks he is responsible for her disappearance. A woman about to be wed fears that her fiancee left because he no longer loves her, while a wife can't work and can barely function because of her husband's disappearance and the deteriorating health of her children (and there is nothing she can do about it.) Guards are torn between doing their job and fleeing for their lives, while soldiers obey orders for a war that has already ended.
Aerith and Bob: The members of the Indigo-Go's are named Mikau, Japas, Tijo, Toto... and Evan and Lulu.
Dogs instinctively attack Link in his Deku form and knock him around, which can be annoying when you're just minding your own business, looking around, trying to solve some puzzle or whatever. At least the attack doesn't do any damage.
At the other extreme, dogs are audibly terrified of Link in his Goron form. And they love his Zora form and will follow him around whining.
Antagonist Title: The eponymous Majora's Mask as used by the Skull Kid. And later, when it tries to destroy the world of its own accord.
Apathetic Citizens: Justified - Most citizens refuse to believe that the moon is actually falling. However, this is later subverted; on the third day, when the moon is very, very large, everyone is panicking and evacuating the town.
Apocalypse How: What happens if you fail. Invariably Total Extinction. Could also plausibly be Physical Annihilation, but the further results of the moon crashing aren't seen after Link's (pretty horrible) demise.
The eponymous mask, which the Happy Mask Salesman is desperate for Link to retrieve from the Skull Kid at all costs.
The Fierce Deity's Mask. The in-game description hints the mask's power is in the same class as Majora's Mask's own power, and fighting Majora with the Fierce Deity Mask equipped is a phenomenal example of a Curb-Stomp Battle.
Artifact Title: Princess Zelda has very little to do with anything in this game, and only appears in a brief flashback near the beginning.
Artistic License-Physics - The Velocity and Size of the Moon is far to little to do any serious damage to Termina as a whole.
Possibly Justified since a moon fall into its planet would pretty much destroy a planets climate and tidal patterns.
Twinmold, until you use Giant's Mask to match its size.
Attack of the Town Festival: When does the moon crash? On the day of the festival honoring the guardians of the land. (Said guardians are necessary for stopping said moon.)
Awesome, yet Impractical: The Razor Sword is more powerful than the Kokiri Sword, and looks rather cool looking. That said, it's a piece of crap that can not be taken back in time, breaks after 100 hits, costs both 100 rupees and a day to make, and is only really useful as a bridge to the much more useful Gilded Sword.
Awesome yet Practical: Goron Link's roll ability turns Link into a high speed, spiked ball of destruction that moves at the speed of Sonic the Hedgehog. This is especially so if you have the infinite magic gained from Chateau Romani.
Bag of Spilling: Zigzagged: Link doesn't keep any of the items he had at the end of Ocarina of Time (bomb bag, Lens of Truth, etc.) apart from his sword and the eponymous instrument (a gift from Zelda), but he does keep a metal shield (similar to, but not the Hylian Shield) and Epona (whom he never got to ride as a kid). Playing the "Song of Time" to reset the in-game clock also causes you to lose pretty much anything that's not a key item (current rupees, bombs/arrows, etc. which are shown flying out of Link as you tumble back through time) and resets pretty much all sidequests and Boss Battles. You get to keep the money you deposited in the bank, since the stamp is updated every time you make a deposit, so you're not actually saving your rupees, you're just ripping off the banker.
Bandit Mook: The Takkuri, a goofy vulture-like creature that hangs out near Milk Road, will do its best to ram into you on sight. If it does, you may lose hundreds of Rupees - or worse, an irreplaceable piece of equipment. The only way to get it back is to purchase it from the Curiosity Shop (apparently the Takkuri's fence).
Battle Tops: In its final form, Majora's Wrath, the mask attacks with a pair of whip-like appendages and razor studded spinning tops.
Becoming the Costume: The Deku Mask, the Zora Mask, the Goron Mask and the Fierce Deity's Mask, each of which transforms Link into the race (or in the case of that last one, the minor god) it represents.
Becoming the Mask: Discussed. One of the children in the Moon asks , "if you have so many masks, what does your true face look like?" Also hinted at in the manga.
BFS: Three: The Great Fairy Sword, which is almost as long as Link is tall; the Double Helix Sword (Fierce Deity's sword); and Odolwa's sword.
Boring but Practical: All the Bunny Hood does is make you run faster and jump farther. That said, you're probably going to have this on the most outside of transformation masks, and it makes for a pretty good tool for speedruns.
The Stone Mask renders most monsters and NPCs oblivious to Link's presence, allowing him to sneak effortlessly past guards and defeat enemies at leisure.
The four Gerudo Pirate Guards in the fortress are able to see right through it. Good thing you only encounter them as minibosses when you are trying to get the four eggs they stole.
The Fierce Deity Mask. It turns Link into the Fierce Deity, able to slay bosses in just a few hits, including the final boss. You need to collect every mask in the game to get it, however. And, it can't normally be used outside of boss rooms.
Chasing Your Tail: The boss battle against Goht. It's technically possible to defeat him with carefully placed bombs and/or arrows (and loads of patience), but a lot more entertaining to mow him down with Goron Link's spikes.
Chekhov's Gunman: An example that occurs after the game has ended. Remember that twisted tree you see at the beginning of the game? Remember it. And cry when you realize that it was the Deku Butler's son, who apparently got soul-sucked for your initial Baleful Polymorph. Doubles as Chekhov M.I.A..
Cherry Tapping: Given that the game follows a pseudo-nonlinear path, you can go fetch the key item from the first dungeon and then proceed to finish everything else in the game, then go back and plow through that first temple's boss with fully upgraded equipment.
Chiaroscuro: Extremely prevalent in promo art, less so in the game itself.
Colony Drop: What the Skull Kid does with the Moon, using the power of Majora's Mask. When you confront him on top of the Clock Tower, he yanks it down even faster (reducing the in-game countdown by one hour), and taunts you with "If it's something that can be stopped, just try to stop it!"
Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The color of the rupee next to the number of rupees that you currently have reflects the wallet that you are carrying at the moment. A green rupee indicates that you are carrying the child's wallet (99 rupees), a blue rupee indicates that you are carrying the adult's wallet (200 rupees), and a red rupee indicates that you are carrying the giant's wallet (500 rupees). A minor but nice touch, something that OoT didn't have.
Comic Book Adaptation: The manga by Akira Himekawa, which puts the Skull Kid in a more sympathetic light and also includes a bonus story illustrating the creation of the eponymous mask, but cuts out most of Ikana Canyon to focus on Anju and Kafei.
Compound Interest Time Travel Gambit: To keep track of bank accounts, the banker puts a stamp on the person's hand. This stamp remains on you when you travel back in time. To 100% the game, you are required to abuse this, as the banker gives you a larger wallet at 200 rupees, and a heart piece at 5000. The game's official guide sums up the situation:
This will probably result in a devastating crash of the bank and the complete destabilization of Clock Town's economy, but hey, that still beats being obliterated by a falling moon.
The Indigo-Gos' hit song is "The Ballad of the Wind Fish". (Though, that's just its title; the song itself is the Sea Lily's Bell theme, also from Link's Awakening.)
The Skull Kid is heavily implied to be the same one who gives you a Heart Piece for playing "Saria's Song" to him in Ocarina of Time. He says that you smell like "the fairy kid who taught him that song in the woods," and you even hear the song in The Stinger.
The man who runs the shooting gallery in Clock Town uses a very familiar phrase when you fail his archery minigame. "You can try again, as long as you have enough Rupees".
Cowboys and Indians: Majora considers the final battle a round of "good guys against bad guys". And it insists on playing the good guy.
Crapsack World: What Skull Kid is turning Termina into. Although considering what the owl is implying about the doomed Deku and the (un)dead Ikana Canyon, two problems that started long before the Skull Kid showed up, not all of it may be his fault.
Curse: Skull Kid loves cursing people and even places. It's one of the first things to happen in the game. Even the undead are cursed by the guy.
"We dead should not be lingering here in this land. It was all a trick of the masked one who had upset things." — Sharp
Darker and Edgier: Majora's Mask is widely considered to be one of the darkest games in the entire Zelda franchise, if not the darkest, with certain doom literally scowling down at you every waking hour of the day. Termina is a land riddled with tragedy and despair, the circumstances of which must be repeated over and over again to prevent the inevitable demise of its citizens.
Dark Reprise: The Final Day theme for Clock Town, as compared to the First Day version.
Dead Person Impersonation: Link himself. Wear the Goron or Zora masks, and everybody will think that you are either Darmani or Mikau, respectively. Not to mention the Deku Butler, who is reminded of his son when he sees Deku Link. This is only made more obvious when the Butler is seen next to the twisted tree you see at the beginning of the game in the end credits. Yeah. Skull Kid sealed the soul of a Deku Child into you.
Decapitation Presentation: This game uses a less violent variant. The masks that the bosses wear are substituted for the actual heads.
Despair Event Horizon: A lot of people cross this on the third day, especially the Postman who curses about how badly he wants to flee, but that "it's not on the schedule", and the swordmaster, who boasts that if the moon falls he'll just cut it out of the sky. Come the final six hours of the third day, you can find him huddled and shaking in the back room of his shop crying that he's afraid to die.
When Sakon steals the bomb bag, try shooting an arrow at him.note Players who have not obtained the Blast Mask, or who intend to do any segment of the Anju/Kafei sidequest past that point, are discouraged from attempting this.
Half the fun of the game is to find the many hidden scenes that only occur at certain times (usually on the Final Day) when you have done certain things, or are wearing certain masks.
Go into the Pirate captain's quarters wearing the Stone Mask. Instead of being invisible like you normally would be, you're caught, with the pirates wondering how some kid in a funny mask got all the way up here.
There are also a couple of scripted fights in the pirate area where the pirates will comment on your usage of the Stone Mask (if you're wearing it).
Try using the Song of Healing on a broken sign. The sign magically repairs itself!note In Ocarina of Time, Zelda's Lullaby does the same thing.
Some characters in the game will have commentary on every single one of your masks.
Tatl and Tael will have a different conversation before entering the moon a second time on the same save file. The first time, Tatl will be very angry towards Skull Kid while Tael defends him by revealing that it was the mask all along. If you reset time and trigger the scene again, Tatl will interrupt her brother's plea - after all, she's heard this conversation before. Cue a perplexed Tael.
Disc One Final Boss: Although hints are dropped here and there, throughout the entire game it seems like you'll square off against the super-powerful Skull Kid after you've freed the Four Giants. When you confront him at the end, all it takes to deal with him is for you to perform the Oath to Order, which will summon the Four Giants to stop the moon and save Termina. Then Majora's Mask itself starts talking... Bonus points for having been right in your face all this time, during which you probably thought it was just an inanimate, albeit evil artifact.
Disgusting Public Toilet: At about 12:30 PM in the Stock Pot Inn in Clock Town, the bathroom (which is actually very clean) will suddenly have a huge nasty hand of unknown identity sticking out of its toilet. "Pa-Pa-Pa-Paper!" This hand was reused in Oracle Of Ages, but it was much less creepy than the original.
Does Not Like Shoes: A number of characters. The Rosa Sisters, Kamaro, and Guru-Guru come to mind.
Doomsday Clock: Both the clock tower in Clock Town and the smaller clock at the bottom of the screen qualify.
Before release, the game contained something called the Inspector's Mask, and you were to receive it from Mr. Toto. This mask did not make it into the finished game, and what it would have done remains unknown; however, considering Mr. Toto is familiar with Kafei's mother, and that Kafei's mask allows you to ask people where he's been, it could just have been an earlier version of that.
Early screenshots showed the Megaton Hammer (or something like it) as Goron Link's weapon. This was replaced by a simple punch for the final game.
The world is going to end in three days and only you can go back in time to prevent it from happening. All the while people around you are depressed, the five areas are in turmoil with everyone in Termina, and trying to help anyone is ultimately pointless because you have to turn back the clock eventually to stop the end of the world. All the while the Moon continues to stare down at you, scaring you and mocking your efforts at the same time. And yet despite all that you still keep going. You struggle for the light at the end of this dark tunnel. And when you finally see the sun rise on the 4th day, you know it was all because you didn't give up.
Averted in some cases, as there are plotlines or character dilemmas that can't or don't have a satisfying conclusion regardless of how Link alters events - the origins of the masks being a more unsettling example.
Child on the Moon: The right thing... what is it? I wonder, if you do the right thing, does it really make everyone happy?
Eleventh Hour Superpower: You cannot get the Fierce Deity's Mask until seconds before the final boss. Also, the awe-inspiring Giant's Mask can only be used during one specific battle in the entire game.
Escort Mission: If Link saves Romani Ranch from "Them", he can help Cremia deliver some milk to town, and in the process he must drive off the disguised Gorman Brothers attempting to destroy the cart. (This becomes laughably easy if you wear the Gorman Mask... which you can only get after finishing the quest.)
Majora's Mask. That Skull Kid wearing it might seem like a monster, given the various gruesome curses he inflicts on you and the residents of Termina - but then you learn that before he put it on, he was just a lonely kid who wanted friends. By the end of the game, it becomes clear that the mask itself has been pulling the strings the entire time, and has no motive for any of its cruelty besides its own amusement.
The same game also had the Fierce Deity mask, which was implied to contain dark powers nearly as powerful as Majora. Link didn't seem to have a problem with it, though, probably because he's, well, Link.
Evil Tower of Ominousness: The Stone Tower to some extent, even though it's not the Big Bad's base of operations. It's so tall it can be seen from parts of Termina that are nowhere near it (e.g. from the Goron village or from just outside Clock Town's east gate). To get to the dungeon proper you have to pass through two stone monster faces, the first of which is at the bottom of the tower and the second of which is a giant one at the top with flaming eyes. The curse placed on the dead kingdom of Ikana emanates from this tower. It's not clear who built it and it's covered in strange symbols and iconography, some of which seems to reference the Triforce, which has led to much speculation from fans.
Keep in mind that the Deku Scrubs are plants, which means they are made of wood, which means that they, and more specifically, Deku Scrub Link, are extremely flammable. For that matter, so is Zora Link. Catch even the slightest fire-based attack and he instantly goes down in flames.
Gorons cannot swim due to their stonelike weight. If you jump into water while wearing the Goron Mask, Link will instantly drown, then respawn minus one heart of health.
Several characters will only give you respect in one form. The girl in the treasure chest shop actually charges different rates depending on which species you are, while the Curiosity Shop will only do business with humans.
"Eesh. You frighten me. I keep special hours for folks like you. Try comin' back at half past never."
After you find all of the members as a Deku Scrub, the Bombers refuse to accept you into their gang. This particular prejudice is caused by their previous experience with the Skull Kid.
Fast-Forward Mechanic: Not only is there a song to skip ahead ("Song of Double Time"), but also to slow it down ("Inverted Song of Time") and reset time ("Song of Time"), which also doubles as the way to save your game.
A Father to His Men: Captain Skull Keeta. While he's never seen directly interacting with the Stalchildren, he's implied to be this by dialogue.
First Person Snapshooter: The pictobox allows you to take and store a single photo of anything you like at a time. Said photos are used to gain rewards from certain people and are even required to progress through the game on occasion.
Woodfall, most particularly Southern Swamp and Deku Palace, is anger: The royal family is in search for a scapegoat due to the disappearance of the Deku Princess, and said scapegoat was actually helping the Princess before her capture. There's also the tourist guide blaming his son Tingle for his childish behavior, despite that happening because of his lack of family attention.
Snowhead is bargaining: Holding Out for a Hero, specifically Darmani begging Link to solve the problem of the region's climate since Darmani himself died in the attempt.
Great Bay is depression: Lulu laments the loss of her eggs, Mikau laments having been unable to retrieve them, and the Fisherman laments that the murky water rendered fishing impossible.
Ikana Valley is acceptance, because almost everyone there is already dead anyway, and is only waiting for one like Link to ease their regrets and lift the curse that originates from Stone Tower.
The theory also suggests that Link himself goes through the five stages of grief due to his self-exile that resulted from his friend Navi having bid him farewell (and according to Hyrule Historia and the confirmation that he eventually became the Hero's Shade in Twilight Princess, he is unable to reach the stage of acceptance until that very game, after his descendant learns all of the Hidden Skills).
For Doom the Bell Tolls: The clocktower tolls regularly to signal when it is night and day, but gets more unsettling the closer the moon gets. It doesn't stop chiming once midnight hits on the Last Day, constantly reminding you that, yeah, better get to that clock tower.
Dawn of the Second Day - 48 Hours Remain -
Four Is Death: Four curses, Four Giants, Four Transformation Masks, and Four Temples. The Moon falls at 6:00 am of the fourth day. The order of temples you visit forms the number four.
Fountain of Youth: Kafei, who the Skull Kid reverted to a child prior to the events of the game. It's implied at the end that the curse is lifted, restoring Kafei to his proper age.
Freudian Excuse: Skull Kid did all those things because Majora's Mask made him do them. Normally, this would be a very poor excuse, but in this case, an exception can be made — he was only susceptible to the Demonic Possession because he wanted friends that badly. Talk about depressing.
Game-Breaking Bug: Exploiting a certain glitch allows you to use the Fierce Diety Mask outside of boss rooms. On the plus side, you can curb stomp nearly any monster you fight with the super power from the mask. On the bad side, talking to specific characters or doing other specific actions can cause the game to lock up due to the game not being programmed to handle certain things with the mask equipped.
Grimy Water: The swamp of Woodfall has been poisoned by the curse. Thankfully, only normal (and Zora) Link have to worry about it — Deku Link just skips across the water's surface, and Goron Link (who can't swim) just gets teleported out (à la Non Lethal Bottomless Pit) should he fall in.
Hammerspace Hideaway: The Deku princess somehow gets put into one of Link's bottles, despite being normally almost as tall as Link himself.
Hannibal Lecture: The children wearing the boss masks on the Moon each give you one after finding them in hide and seek: one asks Link about the nature of goodness, one about the nature of friendship, one on the nature of happiness, and one who asks what Link's true face looks like "underneath the mask" and implies that he is Becoming the Mask. This theme is even stronger in the manga, where the demon Majora taunts Link and gives him a "demon" (Oni) mask of his own to wear.
Heli Critter: The Deku Scrubs. Link himself gains this power when he transforms into one.
Hollow World: Going inside the Moon will reveal that it is, in fact, an idyllic plain with an enormous World Tree in the center. This would lead one to believe that the four dungeons are in fact inside the actual crust of the moon.
Idiot Ball: If you go to Ikana Canyon and talk to Sakon, the notorious thief, he'll comment on how nice your sword is and ask if he can have a look. If you say "yes"... note Tatl scares him off before he can get ahold of it. It's still a dumb move though. A nasty trick to play on players who are used to the frequent But Thou Must requests of most people in the Zelda games.
Implausible Synchrony: Every clock in town states the same time. Granted, this is Clock Town. If there's one thing you could expect them to have down to an art form...
Infinity–1 Sword: The Gilded Sword. It is the strongest regular sword you can get in the game, three times as damaging as the Kokiri Sword, and it's only available after at least half the main quest is done with. To get the two other stronger swords (the Great Fairy's Sword and the Double Helix Sword - see below), you have to complete the Stone Tower Temple with all Stray Fairies, and obtain all masks, a goal that pretty much is the same as achieving 100% Completion, respectively.
Infinity+1 Sword: The Fierce Deity Mask, earned after obtaining all the other 23 masks in the game, and the Great Fairy's Sword, the strongest sword in the game (besides the Fierce Deity's weapon). It's a good deal more useful than the mask due to being usable anywhere and not just in boss battles. However, it has the mild disadvantage of taking up a C-Button instead of replacing your normal sword, and Link can't guard as effectively with it as he can with the Gilded Sword and a Shield.
In-Universe Game Clock: You have 72 hours to stop that moon from falling. You can slow down the clock or reset it to the top again, but beyond that it continues ticking relentlessly. As if that isn't bad enough, the clock actually ticks at a speed of 1 hour every 45 seconds (for every 45 seconds you play, an hour passes in Termina. That's 54 minutes in all). This speed can be slowed, but it's still stressing to only have 180 minutes to save the world or restart the timer.
It has a "Collector’s Edition" in America that came with a cartridge that had a holographic label.
It has a "Limited Edition Adventure Set" in Europe limited to 1000 pieces that came with a shirt, a watch, a 2 CD soundtrack, a poster, a sticker and 2 pin badges.
Loads And Loads Of Sidequests: The game is rather known for the huge amount of Sidequest Sidestories it features. Fortunately, this is the first—and thus far only—game in the series to include a daily planner (the Bomber's Notebook) to help keep track of them all.
Macabre Moth Motif: Specifically in Woodfall Temple, where they will chase Link whenever he carries a Deku Stick on fire. Also, the dungeon boss Odolwa will sometimes summon moths to attack.
Magic Music: The Ocarina, and the corresponding instruments used by Link's three other forms. Healing souls, teleporting, summoning storms, going back and forth through time and more are available to Link through the Ocarina's songs. On the side of evil, Sharp the composer has mastered a tune that slowly kills those who hear it.
Marshmallow Hell: If you complete Cremia's Escort Mission with the Romani Mask already in your possession, she treats Link to a hug for lack of a better reward.
The eponymous Majora's Mask with enough power to destroy the world on whim given that someone is wearing it.
Most of the twenty-four different ones that you collect throughout the game grant you a power of some sort.
The remains of each boss, as far as storyline goes.
Meaningful Echo: "You've met with a terrible fate, haven't you?" note The first time you hear this from the Happy Mask Salesman is very early in the game, referring to Link's transformation into a Deku Scrub. The words will appear again should the moon fall on Termina, although this is also meant to represent Link's return to the beginning of the three-day cycle.
Merged Reality: Implied at the end of the game, as it looks like all the good you've done has been merged into one 'ideal' time-line, despite how many three-day loops you've made or whether you were able to get an event done in the last time loop.
Mini Dungeon: At least four in the game: The Deku Palace where Link infiltrates to learn a song that gives him access to Woodfall Temple, Pirate's Fortress to retrieve the Zora Eggs which are the key to learn the melody that opens the way to the Great Bay Temple, the Gibdo Well to get direct access to another mini-dungeon, the Ancient Castle of Ikana, where in turn Link looks for a way to get access to Stone Tower Temple.
Myopic Architecture: The door to the castle of Ikana is sealed and cannot be opened by any means... too bad there's a hole in the wall right next to it.
The Necrocracy: Undead King Igos Du Ikana still rules over his dead kingdom from his palace long after it was destroyed. His subjects now consist only of skeletal warriors and mummies. The Ikana military is still intact and led by Captain Keeta, a giant skeleton. His soldiers generally want to take leave of the oath they swore him so they can pass on.
The Captain's Hat to Stalchildren. Despite the fact that Skull Keeta was two stories tall, none of the Stalchildren figure out the difference. Igos du Ikana isn't fooled. Eventually.
Many other masks have similar effects, such as the Gibdo and Garo masks. Even with the three transformation masks, the form Link takes doesn't look much like the person he's impersonating, yet everyone is fooled.
Perception Filter: The Stone Mask, which makes Link "inconspicuous as a stone", having most NPCs not see and interact with you. Unless it's a plot-related event, in which case the NPCs will lampshade your usage of the mask. Taken Up to Eleven if you use it while fighting regular enemies (not bosses or mini-bosses) - they won't be aware of you even while you stand there attacking them.
Phrase Catcher: The various spirits of Ikana address Link as "you who do not fear the dead".
In the original Japanese version, the only way to save was to warp all the way back to the first day, as the Owl Statues were only used for warping. Needless to say, the international cut received the ability to quicksave at owl statues, making the game less of one big Marathon Level. The tradeoff for this feature, however, was that the international version could only hold two save files. (The Japanese version had the traditional three.)
Numerous glitches in the Japanese version were fixed in the international versions. Some segments in the Japanese version were also made easier.
Riddle for the Ages: What happened to Navi? This is the last game which featured the Hero of Time, and by the end he still hadn't found Navi, even though the friend he was looking for when he got caught up in this mess is implied to be her.
Schizo Tech: Cremia uses a horse and carriage (with a steering wheel), everyone uses melee weapons, and yet the pirates somehow have motorboats. There's also the "pictograph box", which is essentially a 19th century camera. Maybe it and the pirate boat motors work on magic, though. Great Bay Temple is also full of working plumbing and fluorescent lights.
Sequence Breaking: The dungeons can be completed in any order, provided you take the items you need to complete them first. Of course, this tends to be inconvenient, as either getting to or completing each sequential dungeon requires the item located inside the previous dungeon.
Sequel Difficulty Spike: This game is noticeably more difficult than its predecessor, mostly due to the omnipresent time limit, and to the fact that the challenge is packed into the space of only four dungeons (and the accompanying sidequests) rather than OoT's nine. Unlike most other Zelda games (due to being a true sequel), it's basically expected here that the player has fully completed the previous game beforehand as this game doesn't pull its punches even very early on.
Shock and Awe: Zora Link's electric barrier. Presumably, other Zoras could be capable of this.
Shotacon: Anju to Kafei. "Even though they're lovers, they look just like a mother and child." To be fair, it's not their fault.
The aliens that invade the Romani Ranch bear a great resemblance to the FlatwoodsMonster◊
All of the mask transformation scenes reference The Mask. It's especially noticeable with the Zora mask transformation. Link screams in pain as Stanley Ipkiss did. Additionally, the backstory of Majora's Mask itself as well as its evil nature are VERY similar to The Mask's own (originally belonged to a lost tribe who used it in their rituals, etc).
The band members of the Indigo-Go's play songs from previous installments of the Zelda franchise when you visit their rooms. The pianist is playing the game over/continue theme from the original Legend of Zelda. The bassist is playing the dungeon theme from the same. The drummer is playing the cave theme from A Link to the Past.
Sidequest: The whole game serves as one huge sidequest. The game also gives you a day planner to keep track of all the NPC-based sidequests quests in the game. It's possible to see the end credits but only have completed about 10% of the game. Miyamoto stated that this was so the player will be able to learn more about the NPCs and their lives.
Super Drowning Skills: Deku Link can hop across the water's surface up to 5 times, but can't swim if he falls in after that. Goron Link sinks like... well, like a rock.
Surprise Creepy: Majora's Mask is actually pretty unsettling right from the start, but someone coming out of virtually any other game in the series with no warning is in for a shock.
Suspend Save: This feature was added to the American release. If the player doesn't want to go through the entire three-day timeline in one sitting, they have the option of saving and exiting at an owl statue, to resume later. The only way to save one's progress in the game permanently is to go back in time to the beginning of the "Groundhog Day" Loop.
About the only time the game clock is not ticking is when there's a text box onscreen.
Played with when you go to talk to the monkey the Deku are keeping prisoner; he offers to teach you a song to allow you to enter the Woodfall Temple. During the scene you (the player, not Link) are shown that the King and the guards are quite aware of your presence. As soon as the monkey teaches you the song the King says that's proof enough of the monkey's guilt and the guards throw you out of the palace.
Averted in one instance: Sakon's escape after mugging the Bomb Shop Woman is unhindered by the text box. Close it quickly, or he may get away!
Timed Mission: Aside from a few timed mini-games and sidequests (like recovering Kafei's stolen Sun Mask), when you first arrive in Clock Town, the Skull Kid still has your ocarina and you have only three days to get it back before the moon comes crashing down. For every other cycle, though the time limit remains, you can control time with the Ocarina.
Time Travel: See "Groundhog Day" Loop. Link can also play the song of Double Time to immediately skip to the next sunrise/sunset time (contrary to its name, it doesn't really speed up time, just skips it).
Timey-Wimey Ball: Time Travel works far differently than in Ocarina of Time. Some items, such as ammo, stray fairies, and sidequest-related items, are lost in the trip back to the beginning. Key items (weapons, masks, heart containers, major Plot Coupons) are safe, though.
Ice Arrows in Ocarina of Time had minimal uses since they only froze enemies, getting them was highly difficult, and you couldn't get them until you had pretty much finished the game. This time around they're a dungeon treasure, and their uses include freezing water to stop its flow, freezing enemies to provide blocks to push around, and creating platforms of ice in water to form a path.
Similarly, Light Arrows in Ocarina of Time had little use outside of Ganon's Tower because of their high magic consumption (and because they had no more stopping power than regular arrows). Now, they're twice as powerful and are one of the only things effective against Redeads and Gibdos.
The Ocarina of Time, in it's titular game, can be used to solve puzzles, warp to areas, etc. In Majora's Mask, it does all of that, and it can control time.
Transformation Trauma: When you put on a transformation mask, Link looks up with an extremely pained expression and screams.
Just knowing that every NPC you come across is going to die in three days if you fail is a pretty huge motivator to get the job done fast — especially if you fail to get your Ocarina back the first time and have to witness the moon crashing down and obliterating everything.
For that matter, not only is every NPC doomed to die in 3 days but many of them are cursed on top of it, and so is the very land they walk on in some cases. Or in the case of Woodfall Swamp and Great Bay, the water is cursed. Some have even more agony thrown on top of their lives. Kafei has his marriage nearly ruined in addition to being made a child. Skull Kid ran into a centuries-old woman in Woodfall and decided to injure her. Skull Kid was suffering from a sick case of Super Dickery, wasn't he?
If you complete the Postman's Hat side quest, you can convince the Postman to stop panicking and deliver the mail. If you talk to him afterwards at the Milk Bar, he'll give you his hat and happily leave Clock Town.
The amount of caring that comes from some of the more hardcore gamers actually results in runs where they try to do as many of the sidequests in a single cycle before finishing the game so all the good they do stays intact.
If you go to such lengths for rupees that you sell the Zora eggs to the Curiosity Shop Owner.
You can score an easy free healing potion from Kotake, the swamp hag, by not bringing it to her wounded sister.
Giving Anju's Letter to Kafei to the hand from the toilet instead of putting it in a mailbox like you should.
Keeping the Pendant of Memories for yourself instead of giving it to Anju. If you complete the rest of the quest, Kafei returns to find Anju isn't waiting for him and is left to die alone in despair.
In Termina Field, there's a man climbing a tree to get at some red rupees. If you roll into the tree you'll knock the man and the rupees out. You can collect the rupees while the man rolls about with every indication that he's broken his leg.
You can actually kill Sakon once he's stolen the bomb bag by shooting it with a bow (setting off the bombs), as opposed to the less psychotic option of stealing it back.
When wearing the Captain's Hat, the Stalfos will recognize you as their captain and await their next order loyally. They're technically still enemies, however, and you can slice them with your sword, essentially killing your own troops.
Weird Moon: Among other oddities, the Moon has a face on it! Also, it's apparently sentient. And supposedly cries. Oh, and all of that says nothing of what's inside the Moon: A meadow with a World Tree in the center, surrounded by five seriously creepy children, four of whom play a potentially lethal game of hide-and-seek for masks. The fifth one represents Majora and basically thinks that the Final Boss battle is a game of cops and robbers.
Tingle! You see him in Clock Town and in all four cardinal directions. You see him in the area of a poisoned swamp and a tree enveloped in bats. You see him in the middle of a horrible blizzard, surrounded by Wolfos. You see him above a murky ocean. Yeah, okay. But you also see him in the canyon of the dead, with big lumbering mummy-like Gibdos all over the place. And he lets it all pass without comment. What makes this even odder is that the weirdness censor is averted by the Deku Nut salesmen, who are quite aware of their environment, including the one in the canyon who offers to sell you a blue potion to save you from being cursed by Blue Bubbles. It's pretty clear that Tingle is a few beers short of a six-pack anyhow, so maybe he thinks he's off in La-La Land somewhere no matter how many horrible things are happening around him.
You Shouldn't Know This Already: Three of the Ocarina songs are carried over from Ocarina of Timenote Song of Time, Epona's Song, and Song of Storms, in case you're wondering, but don't do anything until you re-learn them.
Your Head A Splode: The Blast Mask. It causes an explosion in front of Link, which can be blocked with his shield.
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