Quite a bit of the fanbase believes that the Happy Mask Salesman's up to something, or is more than he seems. His claim that he was looking for Majora's Mask prior to the events of the game seems kind of suspicious, and he gets quite angry when you fail to return it to him. Granted, he could genuinely want to obtain it to stop it from causing mass destruction, but there's always going to be something fishy about someone so eagerly wanting to get his hands on the local Artifact of Doom. The manga based on the gameshows a more sinister side to him◊.
While most agree that Majora is without a doubt one of Link's most despicable and evil opponents, a large amount of the fanbase sees Majora in a sympathetic light, due to evidence presented in-game that it sees itself as a bullied child.
Some people (like TheStrawhatNO!) theorize that Link is suffering through some kind of mental issues in this game, likely depression.
Some have pointed out that while the people in town seem convinced that Cremia has a thing for Kafei and that he might have run off with her, the dialogue from Cremia and Romani on the subject is actually consistent with Cremia having an unrequited crush on either Kafei... orAnju.
Americans Hate Tingle: The Trope Namer Tingle first appears in this game, though the hate for him hadn't quite reached the level it did with The Wind Waker. At least his map prices were actually reasonable here, compared to The Wind Waker's astronomically high amounts.
Anti-Climax Boss: The final boss, if the Fierce Deity's Mask is used. Even without the Fierce Deity's Mask, the final boss still isn't that difficult. This also holds true in the official manga adaptation of the game. Fierce Deity Link tears apart the boss masks with one powerful blow, knocks Majora's Mask down with one hit, tanks Majora's Incarnation Electric Torture before ripping the parts of its body holding him off, and then finally unceremoniously killing Majora's Wrath in one hit when he declares he's done playing.
Aiming a bow is much more intuitive in this game than its predecessor. Here, you just line the tip of the arrow up with your target, rather than the tip of the blue marking on the bow.
The 3DS remake removed Tatl chiding Link for not knowing enemies from Ocarina of Time, which many players found irritating.
The 3DS version also replaces the Suspend Save feature with the ability to make a permanent save, which alleviates the frustration of the time loop mechanic. This save feature can also now be activated on the very first three day cycle.
Guide Dang It! was one of the most common criticisms of the game. The 3DS version includes a Sheikah Stone near the Mask Salesman which you can interact with without any special means. It contains little videos telling how to beat every event of the main quest, plus pictures of every Heart Piece and Stray Fairy in the whole game. The Bombers will also tell you about most side-quests in the game, and they're added to your Notebook as "Rumored events".
Odolwa is considered one of the best and most memorable "first boss" fights in the franchise due to its Dance Battler routine, a strategy that doesn't require you to use the item in its dungeon as became notorious for many post-Ocarina games, its physical design, and its vocals.
Goht for being fought by Goron Link in a fast-paced chase around a circular racetrack.
The remakes version of Twinmold is often regarded as one of the best changes in the game: no longer is it a tedious and unremarkable battle that is made trivial with the Giants Mask, but now a polished two phase battle where you fight each worm separately, with the latter involving an epic one-on-one fight that utilizes the now improved Giants Mask.
The Stone Tower Temple, with its unique dungeon flipping gameplay and its amazing theme. The level isincredibly difficult, especially if you are trying to find all the Stray Fairies, but it's also considered the best dungeon in the game, if not one of the best dungeons in the series as a whole.
The Beaver Brothers that live on top of the waterfall near Zora's Cape. If you go see them, you can play a swimming mini-game for a bottle and a piece of heart. They have no actual bearing on the plot whatsoever, and outside of the completely optional mini-game (which you have to search out yourself), they never show up elsewhere in the game. Keep in mind, this is what they look like (and the little brother's eyes and circle on his belly also spin and light up like a Christmas tree).
The Aliens. Though they do get foreshadowed before their actual appearance, the fact that there are aliens in a Zelda game who steal cows and apparently lobotomize a young girl is pretty jarring.
The reuse of assets from Ocarina of Time. Fans either think it was lazy of the developers to not make unique assets or they think it's a vital part of the game's atmosphere.
The changed boss fights in the 3D remake. Some dislike the changes to the fights for their reliance on obvious weak points and changing the flow of the fights, as well as the fact that it renders the Fierce Deity mask less fun to use in that it's impossible to beat two of the bosses with it. Others approve of the changed strategy keeping the fights fresh, making them more challenging, fixing the sometimes questionable hit boxes of the original fights, and for tying them more closely to Majora.
"Common Knowledge": Link was not the "kid" who taught Saria's Song to the Skull Kid in Ocarina of Time; dialogue from that game confirms that Skull Kid already knew the song before Link became his friend by playing it. His comment during the ending on the familiarity of Link's scent was actually in reference to Saria.
Catharsis Factor: Every time you accomplish something in the cycle; be it successfully completing a side-quest or dungeon, then travelling back to the 1st Day via the Song of Time to avert the cataclysm and watch your quest item/mask screen permanently expand as your reward.
Contested Sequel: To Ocarina of Time, though on its own the game enjoys a devout fanbase. It doesn't help that the game uses many of the same assets as its predecessor. There are fans who love the sequel's emphasis on sidequests, the time limit, and the twists on the series' formula. There are fans who prefer Ocarina of Time for its more traditional approach in terms of story and gameplay, as well as its bigger influence and impact on the gaming industry. There are fans who like both games alike, too.
Critical Backlash: The game was given a lot of guff by many fans for reusing several assets from Ocarina of Time and for being so different from previous games, but as its Cult Classic status shows, numerous fans latched on to its darker word and unique gameplay.
Disappointing Last Level: Players expecting a large-scale final dungeon will be disappointed, first because the dungeon segments in the Moon are brief and only require some basic skills from the mask transformations (except for the Goron one), and second because they're not even required to reach the Final Boss. In fact, completing them by trading all masks will lead to getting the Fierce Deity's Mask, which will turn the final boss into an Anti-Climax Boss.
Discredited Meme: Theories about the Happy Mask Salesman being evil. While there's still quite a few fans who believe such, there's an equal number of people who are sick of others making him evil just because he creeped them out when they were kids.
The Happy Mask Salesman. He only has a notable role at the start of the game, but his memorable design and quotable lines have made him one of the series' most recognizable characters.
Similar to Dark Link in Ocarina of Time, the Fierce Deity, both characters being the roots of several Epileptic Trees. The latter is seen as one of the most popular incarnations of Link even though he's only an optional powerup for boss levels, thanks to his cool design, overpowered weapon, and mysterious origin. It says something that the fanbase was ecstatic when he was revealed as one of adult Link's palette swaps in the fourth Super Smash Bros. game.
Romani and Cremia have become incredibly popular with fans of the game, the former for being based off the younger version of Malon from Ocarina of Time and for having an adorable personality, and the latter for her genuine love for her sister as well as a rather infamous moment where she hugs Link. The dark implications of what happens if you fail the Aliens side quest and the main quest of saving Termina has also earned them a lot of sympathy.
Anju and Kafei. Their sidequest is the most elaborate, long-running, and complex in the entire game, all capped off with a heartwarming resolution. It's practically tradition among players to finish their sidequest immediately before heading off to the Final Boss.
This game has been a goldmine of kooky fan theories, mainly because it takes place in a parallel dimension without much history or backstory. Fodder for theorists include the origins of Majora's Mask (a possible explanation is given in the manga adaptation), the origin of the Fierce Deity's Mask, and the history of the Stone Tower and the Ikana kingdom.
A special case can be argued about the famous line "You've met with a terrible fate, haven't you?". Those eight words have to be the most overanalyzed line in the entire series, with people arguing from whether that line is really directed to Link or to the player, what that "terrible fate" truly means, what does it say about the Happy Mask Salesman's sense of morality, or a combination of all of it. Although there are people who think the whole thing is blown out of proportion, particularly because the line is mostly embellished in the localized versionnote In Japanese it roughly just says "You're having a rough time, huh?" (大変な目にあいましたねえ), the fandom at large still goes nuts over it.
Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: There's so much worldbuilding and artistry that people consider this to be one of the most symbolic games in the entire series. What exactly it symbolizes, on the other hand, is a matter of some debate.
Fandom-Enraging Misconception: The Word of Dante in Hyrule Encyclopedia about Termina being a construct of the Skull Kid's mind, brought to life by Majora's Mask and disappearing after the Mask was slain, was not well-received by much of the fanbase. While not the first time the Zelda series has dealt with a Dream Apocalypse, not only does nothing in Majora's Mask hint at this being the case, the game itself contradicts it: Tatl's flashback shows Termina existing before Skull kid got the Mask, and many of the people of Termina are based on Ocarina of Time characters who Skull Kid never met and therefore could not have memories of. Coupled with even more blatant falsehoods (saying Kafei was transformed into a Skull Kid rather than by the Skull Kid), even people who like most of the Encyclopedia's theories tend to shun the Majora's Mask section.
Franchise Original Sin: Several of this game's 3D successors get heavily criticized for having long, drawn-out intros that involve fetch quests, various tutorials, and an overly simplistic tutorial mini-dungeon at best, but many of these problems can be traced back to Majora's Mask. The game starts out in a very simplistic mini-dungeon introducing Deku Link's mechanics, but once you leave said mini-dungeon, the game doesn't exactly start there. You are required to do many fetch quests in order to retrieve the Ocarina of Time, including rescuing a Stray Fairy, joining the Bombers, and retrieving the Moon Tear. Unlike later 3D Zelda games, this sequence of events is generally not considered a Slow-Paced Beginning since the three intro quests are done quite briskly, the player isn't handheld through the intro, and the game's tutorialization is limited to the introductory mini-dungeon.
There are some masks that make parts of the game rather easy:
The Blast Mask can be used to produce an explosion in front of Link. It would hurt him, but if you raise your shield as you use it, it somehow blocks the explosion and gives Link a free bomb blast. The only catch is that you have to wait for it to recharge afterwards, you can't use your sword, and you can't target any enemy, although the latter point is rendered moot if you're simply trying to blow up a wall or a boulder.
The Bunny Hood lets Link run around more quickly, allowing him to maneuver around enemies with ease. Couple that with the Great Fairy Sword, and Link becomes a Lightning Bruiser.
The Stone Mask makes Link invisible to most enemies, as they would completely ignore him. This allows him to run past many enemies without getting detected, so he can avoid unnecessary fights. Finding the mask in the first place is a bit difficult at first, but the game becomes easier once you obtain it.
Chateau Romani. It is a powerful potion that gives Link infinite magic for the rest of the three day cycle after he consumes it. The only catch is that you need to do some side quests to even get to where it is in the first place, then you have to pay two hundred Rupees, and the earliest you can get it is on the first night. However, it can ease the player's worries about ever having to find magic again, which is especially helpful for Zora Link's barrier, the Giant's Mask's magic consumption, or the Fierce Deity's Mask boss slaying magic. In fact, it is best used when you are on the Moon, as no time will pass and you can clear the trials and the final boss without having to worry about finding magic.
There are some very easy ways to get Rupees, some as early as the second cycle where you return to being human:
There are Rupee chests around Clock Town that are refilled with every new cycle, and they are all near East Clock Town. The first just requires you to be human and perform a little bit of jumping to reach. The second requires a bomb near the Bomber's Hideout, which the player can use the Blast Mask for. And the third is only available on the third day on the second floor of the Stock Pot Inn.
The Takkuri is a bird that flies near Milk Road. Upon its defeat, it drops two hundred Rupees, a huge amount that can easily fill up wallets. However, just be careful not to get hit while fighting it, or you will lose a key item and will have to get it back somehow. Wearing the Stone Mask will prevent it from chasing after you, and riding Epona will prevent it from hurting you.
Dodongos in the Snowhead side of Termina Field during the day. The small one drops practically nothing but the two big ones drop purple Rupees every time. You can then fall in a nearby hole and leave to make them respawn. Said hole also contains two more of the big Dodongos, but they only spawn once per cycle as killing them makes a treasure chest appear.
Goron Link becomes this in the 3DS remake. In the original he was powerful but with slow attacks and movement (the Goron roll excluded), the remake drastically speeds up his attacks, putting them on par with normal sword swings. These punches do Gilded Sword damage with every hit.
In Sakon's Hideout, when you're switching places with Kafei in order to grab the Sun Mask, by wearing a mask as Link, switching to Kafei, then swapping the mask Link is wearing with another mask (normally not allowed), Link will automatically put on that mask when you switch back, even if it's a mask that you shouldn't be able to use. The Giant's Mask just freezes the game, but the Fierce Deity's Mask...
In a bizarre, yet totally legitimate (i.e. not requiring cheat devices) glitch, it is possible to enter Sakon's Hideout earlier than you're supposed to, by running at the precise angle toward the crack between the right side of his hidden door and the wall, and rolling the moment before you hit it (or just running into it for several seconds). You have to get the angle and the timing perfectly. Fierce Deity Link in the overworld for all three days? It can be done.
The Blast Mask trick. When using the Blast Mask, the explosion is treated as though it were in front of Link, meaning that he won't take damage like he should if he's guarding with the shield. This became so widely used by players that it actually became an Ascended Glitch in Majora's Mask 3D.
Despite a "Saving" message appearing when you press start on the title screen after saving at an owl statue, the game doesn't automatically start up your save file, so there's nothing to stop you from saving at the owl statue and copying your save file onto the second slot. This is very helpful if you're playing the Collector's EditionPorting Disaster on the GameCube.
If you save one save slot at the Clock Town owl statue, then load the next slot and save while on Epona at the Milk Road owl statue and reload the first slot, you'll reload riding on Epona while in Clock Town.
In the original game, there's the infinite sword glitch and Bombchu hover. The infinite sword glitch is a holdover from OoT where if you interrupt a stab in the middle of it so the sword keeps its hitbox, which allows Link to run into enemies and deal massive amounts of damage. This also has the side effect making it impossible for Link to fall off of ledges, which leads into the next glitch, Bombchu hover. By backflipping off an edge and quickly pulling out a Bombchu and shielding it, the Bombchu will immediately explode and push Link higher into the air while the infinite sword glitch keeps him from falling back onto the ground. With this, Link can massively Sequence Break to areas he shouldn't be at yet. The best part is, they're both relatively simple to pull off. See it in action here.
Harsher in Hindsight: In this game, Link meets several spirits unable to move to the afterlife, mainly due to Unfinished Business. With his help, they are able to move on and leave behind some of their power in masks. Twilight Princess later reveals that this same Link became a restless spirit following his death, and had to be put to rest by teaching his sword techniques to his descendant.
"No way! No Scrubs!"Explanation What the Bombers say in response to the possibility of a Deku Scrub joining their gang. In today's lingo, it can be taken out of context as the Bombers being textbook Stop Having Fun, Guys.
A soldier in armor who's so lacking in presence you need the Lens of Truth to see him? Sounds a lot like Kellam from Fire Emblem Awakening, but this game predated it by years.
Zora Link is able to produce a protective electrical barrier when swimming underwater. Then comes Breath of the Wild, which portrays the Zora as being universally weak against electricity, to the point that they seek out help from Hylians because the latter lack this weakness. In fact, touching water in Breath of the Wild (whether by swimming in it or walking in rain) makes electrical attacks deadlier for both Link and his enemies; if Zora Link were to use his barrier in that game, he'd lose all his hearts very quickly as a result.
Dogs being afraid of Goron Link is pretty funny as they can be seen whining in fear and running away. Breath of the Wild inverts this with Daruk, who is so afraid of dogs that when he sees one that he inadvertently saved, he cowers in fear and activates his magic barrier.
The teacher at the Swordsman's school claims during the third day that he's going to slash the moon into pieces. Come Hyrule Warriors and Young Link's Focus Spirit attack has him, in his Fierce Deity form, cutting the moon (summoned by Skull Kid) in half.
Hype Backlash: A delayed version of sorts, since the game wasn't as praised on release, but then became a huge example of Vindicated by History. While the game has received since then much critical praise and has devoted fans that champion it as THE best game in the franchise, a number of players dislike the game for various reasons, including the time loop mechanic and the ever-present Guide Dang It!. This has resulted in some frustration over its current perceived Sacred Cow status by a portion of the Zelda fan base. The Angry Video Game Nerd's review of Majora's Mask illustrates this, in which the Nerd says it's a strong entry from an artistic standpoint, but argues that the actual gameplay is clunky and tedious to the point of detracting from his experience.
I Am Not Shazam: Many are under the impression that the Skull Kid's name is Majora. He's simply the guy who stole the mask from the Happy Mask Salesman.
The whole franchise started to have this problem with this game, but even after so many entries, the case of Majora's Mask is particularly jarring. The "It's the same" problem comes from how the game recycled many graphic assets from Ocarina of Time, which makes it look very similar quite often, and thus alienating some people to overlook the differences in everything else, which in turn make a lot of people who don't overlook them to fall straight into They Changed It, Now It Sucks! territory.
The 3DS remake is also hit hard but in a different way. You have one camp of fans who decry the remake for merely having "better textures" and otherwise not improving the game's graphics at all, which may stem from the beautifully rendered, fan-made Wii U trailer raising fan expectations too high.note Of course, the notion that it's merely "better textures" is incorrect. Like Ocarina of Time 3D, the 3DS models are much smoother and more detailed than the N64 original. It's just that some models, such as Young Link and Gyorg, are much more obviously improved than other less-obviously improved models, such as the people of Clock Town. On the other hand, you have another camp of fans who denounce the remake for "losing the dark and creepy atmosphere" by improving the colors and lighting, as well as making the Owl Statue save feature, Bomber's Notebook, and Song of Double Time more convenient for players. Additionally, there are frequent complaints over the reworked Zora swimming mechanics, which the original had earned much praise for.
In the context of an anticipated event or encroaching deadline, "Dawn of the Xth day. -Y hours remaining-" is quoted by fans. When there are only three days left, use of the game's images showing the remaining time is optional, but recommended.
Romani, mostly because of her cheerful personality despite her concerns regarding the ghosts that attempt to take away the cows. Her model being based on that of young-age Malon in Ocarina of Time helps as well.
Cremia, Romanis sister, is extremely moe. To complement Romanis design, Cremia gets Malons adult design. Shes also a complete sweetheart to Link, welcoming him to the ranch and into their home with open arms, inviting him to join her on her milk delivery for company, and even playfully flirting with him a little bit. It also helps that shes a really Cool Big Sis in how supportive and caring she is to Romani. And then of course theres the famous hug that led to many players developing a crush on her.
Any mask you're currently wearing most likely will carry over into the cutscenes. This can make certain serious scenes unintentionally hilarious because Link is wearing something like the Bunny Hood during it. Which he most likely will, due to it being very, very useful.
The Eels at Pinnacle Rock stop being scary when you have plenty of magic to use for your electric shield—they literally go down in two hits, which is hilariously pathetic for something that looks so imposing.
When Majora's Mask was remade for the 3DS, the Moon's facial features were redesigned to be more shapely, with a bigger nose and wide grimace. Some felt the end result looked like Mr. Bean. The same redesign was praised in Hyrule Warriors, but in that game the angles and speed that it's shown at are much more effective than the way it just looms in the sky looking slightly vacant. That is, until the Third Day, when its ever approaching glare turns sinister.
Older Than They Think: This isn't the first game to be located outside of Hyrule and have both Zelda and Ganon not have major roles in the main story. That would be The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. But with how often Majora's Mask is talked about, you'd be forgiven for thinking it was.
Take your pick. Nothing like seeing your favorite Ocarina of Time characters crying into their hands as their life is in tatters with the end of the world nigh to make you realize how deeply attached you are to them.
The deaths of those who grant you the Deku, Goron and Zora masks hit hard, especially considering the first one was just a child, while the latter two died while performing heroic deeds. What makes it worse is that no one is aware of their demise, at least until the credits, when the Deku Butler is seen mourning for his son.
Polished Port: Though the 3DS remake did make some controversial changes, most fans still feel its several quality of life improvements make it a worthy remake.
Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Gyorg's boss fight in the 3DS remake has become a little harder but a lot more dynamic, adding an extra phase where you fight it completely underwater.
Sacred Cow: Along with The Wind Waker, this game seems to have supplanted Ocarina as this within a significant portion of the fandom due to Ocarina suffering from "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny. Although Majora still has many of the elements that are considered "outdated" in its predecessor, it's hardly hit with the same accusations due to its Bizarro Episode nature. This doesn't mean it's completely immune from criticism, though.
Resetting time causes you to lose certain items, which means you have get them all over again. This notably includes items for sidequests. Rupees are less of a problem due to the bank... as long as you knew about the bank before wasting too many rupees. Resetting time also means that any progress you made in any sidequests or the main quest can be erased and must be completed all over again if you run out of time, or if your console accidentally powers off. The Guide Dang It! only makes this mechanic even more frustrating. Fortunately, this trait is a bit less prominent in the 3DS version due to the Suspend Save feature being replaced with the ability to make a permanent save.
All over the place in the 3DS remake.
Swimming as Zora Link has been made easier but much slower. If you want to move at a somewhat decent speed, you have to use the electric barrier attack to move faster, which constantly drains your magic. In an area like the Great Bay, which has no magic refills, this can mean swimming sloooooowly to reach places you want to go if you don't want to use up all your magic, especially if you didn't obtain the magic bar upgrade. You can sort of dash by tapping the shield button, but you only move in short spurts before slowing down. The Beaver Race and the Zora segment of the Moon dungeon are made more annoying because of this. Of course, the Chateau Romani makes all of this a non-issue.
The Bomber's Notebook, while significantly improved, constantly interrupts the game with a slow cut-scene (as opposed to the quick pop-ups of the original) for everything you do. Talk to an NPC for the first time and the book will register them. Complete a side-quest and the book will open up to slowly add that. Fail to fulfill an NPCs request and it'll open up to place a red X saying you failed to keep a promise. This gets more annoying because in the original game the notebook only listed Clock Town residents. In the remake, virtually every NPC you can perform a task for will be added from anywhere in Termina.
Deku Link's physics have been changed twofold. Firstly, in the original game, Deku Link would immediately charge forward at full-speed when you started moving, whereas in the remake, now he takes a moment to charge up. Normally, this is a small change that doesn't do much. However, in the Deku swamp, the placement of the lilypads has not changed at all to account for this, and some lilypads are too far from solid land to reach except at full momentum. One lilypad (if you exit the Deku Butler's maze from the front door) is just a bit too far away for you to reach at the slow initial speed, which means you have to Soar away or you will continue to drown over and over and over again with no other way out. Secondly, Link's spin attack as a Deku scrub also was used as a speed-up tactic (a la rolling in Ocarina of Time), and very much impacted how you would move across the water in relevant sections, and it became a very effective tool for speedrunners. Unfortunately, it no longer speeds you up; instead, you only continue to move forward at the speed at which you were when you activated the ability. Now, you are forced along a linear path of lilypad to lilypad with no variation and no way to speed it up by making longer water-skips at high speeds. To the casual player, this may not seem like a big deal (until they find themselves trapped, as in the aforementioned example), but to speedrunners, this resulted in more than a few moments of Damn You, Muscle Memory! as their old routes failed them. Overall, these changes to Deku Link were not received as a welcome change compared to the old system.
The new controls for Giant Link. He moves at an extremely slow pace and has no access to his sword, limiting his moveset to short-ranged punches. This, coupled with Twinmold's new regenerating ability, turned a rather underwhelming boss fight into one of the most infuriating.
The three-day-only challenge, where you can only play the Song of Time once, and that's when you get the Ocarina of Time from the Skull Kid from the first time loop—that leaves you less than 54 minutes to complete the game. For a game that's made of sidequests, it leaves you with barely much to face the final boss with. You'll be rolling and spinning everywhere. And don't get started on the Zora eggs...Some people have done it with the entire 2nd Night and Final Day to spare, or gathering SEVENTEEN non-transformation masks.
A significantly less insane one is, once all the masks and Heart Containers have been collected, to try and help as many people as possible in one cycle. It helps that, once Link completes a dungeon, he can go straight to the boss on subsequent visits.
Beating Twinmold using only the sword (no Giant's Mask).
Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: Due to the open and easily resettable nature of the game, players can have more fun messing around than actually trying to save Termina, and there are a lot of ways to mess around in this game:
The first meeting with the Happy Mask Salesman, particularly the Signature Line "You've met with a terrible fate, haven't you?", which created a whole lot of Epileptic Trees just on its own.
The ending of the Anju and Kafei sidequest. By far, one of the most heartwarming moments in the entire series and the perfect ending to what's widely considered not only the best sidequest in the game, but one of the best sidequests in gaming history.
Special Effect Failure: In the N64 original, Gyorg's introductory cinematic has an attempt at a "freeze frame" effect as the creature dramatically leaps out of the water, during which his name appears onscreen. However, the fact that the splashing water keeps moving well after Gyorg has stopped makes it very obvious that the effect is accomplished by just locking Gyorg's model in place for a few seconds during its jump animation and not actually freezing the image. This was fixed in the 3DS remake, which forgoes the freeze frame in favor of a slow-motion shot wherein Gyorg's model remains animated while his name is onscreen.
King Ikana's head separation attack. It gives him a period of complete invincibility until it's over, and Link will only be able to target his head, leaving him exposed to the body's sword attacks. The head will then latch onto Link in an unavoidable bite and hold him in place while the body slashes at him. Ikana will use this attack more often as he takes damage, drawing out the fight.
Majora's Incarnation's Energy Ball attack in the 3DS remake. The only warning for this attack comes when Majora performs a pose, at which point you have only a split second to react before it pelts you with a barrage of energy bolts which not only shaves off a chunk of Link's health, but holds him in place. If you're not careful, this attack will kill you quite quickly.
The first mini boss, Wart, is a huge eyeball completely enveloped by smaller eyes that must be disposed of before you can damage it. You can use your Bow and hope that you get a lucky shot while it's barrelling towards you at high speed, but you'd better hope you hit it because it's too big to outrun if you miss.
The second mini boss, the Gekko, requires the player to have good reflexes. Otherwise, the player will likely be captured by the massive falling bubble (which is formed every time the Gekko is hurt), which will be very frequent. Whenever that happens, the Gekko will beat Link down like a punching bag, giving no chance for Link to defend himself.
Finally, you have the boss itself, Gyorg. He's big, tough, and he has attacks that absolutely murder poor Link. The quickest way to fight him involves getting in the water with him and buzzing him with Zora Link's electro-shields, which consume a finite and difficult-to-replenish resource in the magic meter and relies on the somewhat-finicky underwater controls.
The remake shifts things up by making Gyorg easier to hit but also adding a second phase where you're forced to fight him underwater, which can be very challenging. The easiest method to defeat Gyorg is to cut loose one of the chained mines in the ground as he's inhaling, so he will swallow it and be stunned. However, Gyorg will only perform the inhale attack if you're right in front of him, meaning each attempt at stunning him comes with the risk of getting damaged yourself. To make matters worse, the intended way to sever the chains is with Zora Link's magic, but since the target is so small, you may miss and collide with the mine itself, which causes Link to get swallowed by Gyorg in a one-two punch. There's also the fact that Gyorg's movement is completely random, meaning he can place himself in a part of the arena with no bombs nearby to feed him, or even swim through mines and destroy them.
Whereas, in the original, one could kill both worms simply by hacking and slashing away at them with the Giant's Mask, here said item is unavailable until the blue worm is defeated.
Once you've donned the Giant's Mask, you have to first stun the red Twinmold by pummeling it with your bare hands at very close range, and when you bring it down, you can perform a wrestling move to damage it. However, the game never tells you that stunning it requires a good 15 or so hits, and the hit counter to stun the red Twinmold resets if it goes underground at the end of its flying cycle. The task is made even harder by the fact that just about every one of its attacks knocks you down and forces you to wait for Link to stand back up after a few seconds.
The arena has two boulders that you can pick up and throw to instantly stun the boss, but Twinmold requires four stun-and-damage cycles to kill. You can cut the battle down a cycle if you spin the Circle Pad while Link performs his wrestling move, but this is a hidden feature that few would realize.
On subsequent loops, the Fierce Deity's Mask doesn't work on the red Twinmold, denying you the satisfaction of cheesing an unfair fight.
The Goron trial on the Moon. It's a Goron-roll track section involving tight, narrow bends, and half of which revolves around a mechanic where you have to ricochet off chests in precise ways in order to make 90-degree straight turns. You need an extremely steady hand to get it right. It becomes infinitely easier if you don't actually touch the control stick and just let the chests ricochet you around, but even then it can be supremely disorienting and requires precise initial aim and timing of when to stop.
The Zora trial on the Moon in the 3DS remake. Instead of being a simple underwater maze, the mini-level has been altered so you have to hit a switch, rush through the pipes, find the barely visible fish that mark the correct path, and manage to make a perfect dolphin-jump out of the water to reach the next room before the gate closes. Miss the hard-to-make jump? It's all the way back to the beginning for you. One of the Heart Pieces specifically requires going through a wrong path which is marked only by a single pot, so in essence the trial must be completed twice.
Anju and Kafei. Not only does the quest involve a lot of waiting around and running back and forth to get to specific locations at very narrow periods of time, you have to do it twice to get all the rewards. And it's very easy to mess up a step and have to start over.
Some of the minigames can be exceptionally difficult if the player doesn't hone their skills. The Deku Playground game, the two Target Shooting galleries, and the various Deku, Goron, and Zora racing games are examples of this.
Obtaining all the stray fairies, especially in Snowhead Temple and Stone Tower Temple, can be incredibly frustrating. Snowhead Temple has numerous invisible fairies and one that, depending on your route, may require you to use Deku Link and float sloooooowly down for about three minutes to reach, and Stone Tower Temple has some that require doing something deep in the temple, going outside to invert it, and then going all the way back through to reach the chest containing the fairy.
Dampe's grave sidequest, where you must guide Dampe through the dark to dig up mounds of dirt, three of which contain blue flames that spawn a mini-boss. Virtually every part of this sidequest seems purposefully designed to be as annoying as possible. The mechanic where you have to Z-target Dampe to get him to walk towards you is not clearly explained, leaving some new players frustrated as they try and figure out how to prevent Dampe from wandering off into the dark (compounded by the fact that if you're close by AND Tatl is out, Dampe will follow you, but will wander away as soon as Tatl disappears due to idleness); the three dirt mounds you need to dig up are randomized, meaning you can waste a lot of time digging up empty plots; Dampe moves slowly and has a wide turning radius, making it difficult to guide him to where you need him and occasionally causing him to plummet off a ledge; and the whole thing can only be done on the night of Day 3, meaning the clock is very much ticking at that point.
Underused Game Mechanic: The majority of the masks in the game suffer from squandered potential, as many of them are good for exactly one little thing and then have no more use except for obtaining the Fierce Deity's Mask.
Vindicated by History: The game had some negative reception in its time, being a sequel to an incredibly beloved game, and it sold a lower number of copies than Ocarina of Time. The latter situation wasn't helped by it being a late N64 title and the fact that the North American version came out the same day as the North American release of the PlayStation 2. Years later, it's achieved a decent amount of popularity for its frightening and bleak atmosphere, having a dungeon that is considered one of the best in the series, the huge amount of sidequests, a wide variety of interesting items, and more. All in all, it's a lot more popular than it was originally, to the point Gamefaqs even made it Number 1 on the 2000-2009 Game of the Decade list. However, the rapid explosion in popularity it received also led to a great deal of Hype Backlash, especially as time went on and the game's Sacred Cow status further solidified.
Visual Effects of Awesome: The Majora's Mask 3D remaster is gorgeous. The vibrant colors, attractive textures and polished animations manage to make it one of the best-looking games on the 3DS.
The Deku Scrub salesman in the mountains offers you a trade: you give him your Big Bomb Bag and 200 rupees, and he gives you a Biggest Bomb Bag. Here's the thing, though: He sells only to Gorons. Gorons can't use regular bombs (or at least, Goron Link can't). It's no wonder no one took him up on his offer before you did. Then there's the Deku Scrub Salesman who sets up shop inside of one of the Indigo-Gos' rooms. And the only ones that can even go in there are the Indigo-Gos. That's a five member client base he's selling to. Even worse is that he's set up inside Lulu's room, Lulu being the only female member of the band. Now, Zoras might not see any need for gender privacy, but if they do, he's limited to Lulu and Mikau most of the time. And then there's the one in the southern swamp, who sells magic beans only to Deku Scrubs, who are, like Gorons with bombs, incapable of using them.
The Clock Town Banker, for stamping your bank balance on your forehead. As the Versus guide points out, he deserves to be defrauded for that.
The player has the option to make Link himself into one. Upon entering Ikana Canyon during the day, the player can see Sakon the thief running around and has the option to talk to him. Despite it being very obvious by this point that Sakon is unscrupulous, untrustworthy, and steals anything he can get his hands on, the game gives the player the choice to agree to loan him Link's sword when Sakon asks for it. Fortunately, if the player chooses "Yes", they're spared having the sword stolen by Tatl flying in Sakon's face and scaring him away.
What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: Druggy and nightmarish visuals and cinematography; death and hopelessness permeates every quest and every second of gameplay; has some of the most legitimately frightening moments in Zelda history; and that's just the first hour.