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The Legend Of Zelda Majoras Mask back to reviews
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The Weakest 3D Zelda Game
Like most of you, I can appreciate the huge leap that Nintendo took in creating this game. In the end, what they got was something that's pretty darned good. I like to call it "The Watchmen of Video Games" because it showcases what this particular narrative medium can do that the others can't; Imagine Majoras Mask as a book, for instance. It'd be thousands and thousands of pages long. As a film, it'd go on and on forever. Only a video game could have told this story the way it's been told. I really like that.

Unfortunately, to do so, it had to violate a great deal of elements that have always served as tentpoles for The Legend Of Zelda series. The time limit is one of them. You can slow down time and speed it up, of course, and do all sorts of wacky things to make life easier, but in the end, playing Majora's Mask amounts to a rush. There's no room for free exploration, and even less for lollygagging, something all of its peers in the series excel at. Then there's the case of Termina's design; it's much, much too small. Perhaps I don't mean this area-wise, but there's hardly any place anywhere on it you won't arbitrarily need to visit at some point or another, whether you want to or not. Unlike Hyrule field and all its provinces in the far superior Ocarina Of Time, Termina isn't loaded with little challenges littered about the place that result in gaining additional tools and items. Majora's Mask is brimming full of sidequests and mini-games, of course, but not nearly enough of them are optional; most of them must be completed to progress in the game. And the ones that aren't are not even hidden. Nearly every secret lies in plain sight.

Now, let's talk about dungeons. Ocarina Of Time had eleven. Majoras Mask has four. Four. That's only one more than three, for the mathematically challenged. And the dungeons it does have are so inaccessible, obtuse, and hellaciously designed that it's near-impossible to enjoy them at all. I'm by no means opposed to a challenging game, but the challenges here are nearly malicious in their trickery. It's not real difficulty if a considerable part of traversing the dungeon depends entirely on guesswork.

It's not a bad game, but the other three are much better.
"It's not a bad game, but the other three are much better". To me, the following two are much worse (TWW with its frustrating sailing concept, and TP with the boring Wolf Link sections, no less). It doesn't matter, anyway. After the perfect OOT, the series began [[Jumping the Shark]] with these experimental and polarizing sequels.
comment #1567 186.14.6.180 31st Dec 09
I think Ocarina of Time is pretty overrated, actually.
comment #1568 Komodin 1st Jan 10
Unlike most people, I never found the sailing in The Wind Waker to be frustrating. In fact, I consider that game the second-best after Ocarina (I also wrote a Wind Waker review, if you want to check out my arguments in its defense), and there's really nothing in it I don't find bold and fun. Twilight Princess had an entertaining story and probably the most fleshed-out characters after Majoras Mask. And Midna. I didn't think the wolf sections were the least bit boring. To be honest, I think you're being much to harsh on those. You should check them out again, maybe you'll change tack.
comment #1570 EddieValiant,Jr. 1st Jan 10
I probably won't, because I actually tried to get used to them all past summer; having to sail from island to island to collect some thrown-in fetch quest items, and THEN collecting a total of 3184 rupees to pay the decoding of them? Having to collect Light Tears EVERY TIME I enter in twilight as Wolf Link? Having to find some stupid Zora eggs in MM just to make them show a song that only lasts during 17 seconds? No thanks. At this moment, my final hope as a fan of Zelda is the upcoming Wii title.
comment #1579 201.248.204.135 2nd Jan 10
Ah, well. Takes all kinds, I suppose.

I personally enjoyed the sailing. Nice change of pace. And you only have to collect light tears the first three or four times you become Wolf Link. After Zant pwns Midna following the Water Temple and you have to take her to Zelda so she can get healed, you gain the ability to transform into a wolf at will with no light tears needed. And Midna becomes immune to light.
comment #1586 EddieValiant,Jr. 3rd Jan 10
I'm going to call BS on most of this review. "Most of [the sidequests] must be completed to complete the game." Of all the sidequests in the Bomber's Notebook (which is not all-encompassing), only beating the Gorman brothers is required (and not even that with Sequence Breaking). While each dungeon does need a bit more legwork to get to than Oo T, the sidequests to get the dungeon-opening songs hardly make up "most" of the sidequests. As for not being as well-hidden, many of them are non-obvious enough, and I, for one, like not having to bomb every tree in Hyrule to find one pit with a heart piece.

On the matter of dungeons, Oo T only has 11 if you count the Ice Cavern and Bottom of the Well. In which case, I fail to see how you can't count Pirate's Fortress and Ikana Castle as dungeons, bringing MM's total up to 6. MM admittedly has less required content than Oo T, but your 11 to 4 comment sells it much shorter than it actually is. As for the comment on the difficulty of the dungeons, I really don't know what to say. God forbid a dungeon ever make you think about how to solve it.
comment #1600 petrie911 4th Jan 10
It's one thing to make you think, and quite another to actively deceive you. The Great Bay Temple is usually considered the worst offender, but I personally condemn the Snowhead Temple for that "blue ice disk" puzzle thing that resets itself at the slightest provocation and never gives you any indication that the discs you're knocking out aren't the same ones you've knocked out before. And the last fairy, found within a wall you can't see from your regular perspective, behind an invisible wall, only reachable with Deku Link. A good challenge must be evident, but difficult to overcome. Putting something like that in the game is lazy and cheap.

And I suppose Ikana Castle counts as a dungeon, so let's make it five-to-eleven. If you want to count the Pirate Fortress, it becomes five-to-twelve, because then we'd have to include the Thieves' Hideout from Ocarina.
comment #1611 EddieValiant,Jr. 6th Jan 10
Majora's Mask was, to be pretty honest had some infuriating gameplay mechanics. The temples were difficult and confusing, and the time limit was pretty infuriating at times. You couldn't just keep trying during a sidequest like the Zora's Eggs ones; you had to restart them if you didn't get it in the time limit.

That was the only bad aspect of the game, though. The ability to essentially play as four characters, the amazing character and story depth, the mysterious history of Termina...they were all incredible additions. The frustrating timed thing...well, it was annoying, but it was also extremely creative. The game's strengths more than redeem its weaknesses. So it's Nintendo Hard. Use a walkthrough.

Also, there's a reason for there being so few temples: Four Is Death.
comment #1754 TheNerdyNinja 26th Jan 10 (edited by: TheNerdyNinja)
What do you mean "There's no room for exploration?"

This game has some of the most exploration of any Zelda game! Far more then Oo T.

The time limit is not only long and generous, you can literally reset it at any time.

"And the last fairy, found within a wall you can't see from your regular perspective, behind an invisible wall, only reachable with Deku Link. A good challenge must be evident, but difficult to overcome."

Great Fairy's Mask, plus Lens of Truth would reveal where it is. So yes, it's pretty evident how to get to it, once you have the TOOLS. And since it's pretty unlikely that a person wouldn't have the mask by then, and IMPOSSIBLE for a person to not have the Lens of Truth, I'd say it's a reasonble place to hide an optional challenge like that.
comment #1757 Pata Hikari 27th Jan 10 (edited by: Pata Hikari)
The time limit is stressful at first and takes some getting used to, but all of your other points are kind of wrong. Also, once you get used to the time limit and stop panicking after day 2 starts you'll realize you have a lot of time to explore and lollygag. And if you think you are running out of time, you can just reset it, and you get to listen to the pretty Song of Time.

So you say there's nothing to find. I disagree. Majora's Mask has more items (many of them optional) than any other Zelda game. Including A Link to the Past. It also has more Pieces of Heart than any other game. Including Twilight Princess and it's 5 pieces per container. Plus there are so many things to find out about the characters by talking to them at certain times, places, and depending on events.

Now, all the side-quests are required? What? Actually, you can beat the game without getting over half of the masks, let alone any of the 50 pieces of heart. Also funny is you complain about length, and yet the between dungeon sections add to the length of the game.

It needs to be said that the Well in Ocarina of Time is not a dungeon, it may have a dungeon map, but it's practically just a part of the Shadow Temple. You walk in, fight a monster, and get the lens of truth. The Well in Majora's Mask takes longer to do. So that's 11 required dungeons in Ocarina to 6 required dungeons in Majora. Then remember that 4 of those 6 are meant to be completed in 2 parts, so they could be counted as 2 dungeons each. The Spirit Temple in Oo T could also be counted as 2. Then that's 12 in Oo T to 10 in MM. And a Well in each. Wow, the gap is shrinking all the time! Oo T also has 1 optional dungeon, and MM has 2 optional dungeons, 3 if you consider the moon a dungeon.

And the dungeons in Majora's Mask are beautiful, they are some of the best of the series, very memorable and detailed. The challenges they present are clever, and, even more clever, is that by getting certain items at certain times you can simplify the dungeons.
comment #8806 SporitTheDerp 21st Jul 11 (edited by: SporitTheDerp)
Is this another one of those "The original is always better" kind of reviews?
comment #8807 eveil 21st Jul 11
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