reviews\ Apr 16, 2001 at 8:00 pm

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask - N64 - Review

I started playing Zelda the first year it was released. I have since played every sequel and each time thought it just could not get any better. This time however it did not only get better but better big time! Nintendo has pulled out all the stops and we the gamers are reaping the rewards!  Zelda fans get ready for the gameplay of your life!!

As the story begins, you find a young Link being ambushed by a mask bearing Skull Kid. While struggling, Link loses his steed Epona and to regain it must follow the thief into a forest, which can best be described as gloomy and foreboding.  Thus Link is thrown into the land of Termina, a land which is doomed to extinction by a falling moon.  Those who have played Ocarina will remember the role of masks. They were more like an added attraction to the game, where in Majora they play a key part. One mask you will want to use as much as possible is the Deku. With this mask he is able to leap into the air, thus giving him the ability to find hidden objects which would otherwise remain undiscovered.  Another is the Bunny Hood for speed and of course the Zora for the Mark Spitz swimming ability.  Each mask works perfectly in tandem with the character he becomes and you the gamer to save this world of impending doom will use each one.

I have to point out here that this game is a lot edgier than Ocarina of Time and that only adds to the gameplay. Unlike Ocarina of Time, you will be working against the clock, time clock that is. It is positioned at the bottom of your screen and talk about some tension building, wait until you see the clock start to count off the days, hours and minutes till the end of the world. I found that it amounted to an hour and a half in actual time but it may be a little more or less, depending on your gameplay. Either way it brings out the sweat, as you know your time is limited! You can of course use Links ocarina to slow down time but I have to interject here, that although it gives you more time to accomplish your goals, it also puts you at a disadvantage. Wherever you stop, so does the inventory you have, which can mean almost back to square one. I suggest going with the flow of the countdown time, but if you find yourself distracted by being limited to time, then go with the Ocarina stop and then try again with the clock. Either way will give you plenty of good play.

You will find that you cannot stop the time at will but at times, which are already set in the game. Special Owl statues provide the places to slow down the time but just remember that not only does this give you more time to move in but is only a temporary fix. Like stopping a clock, it starts up again where it left off and so will the player once time moves again. I also want to point out that you need an Expansion Pak to play the game. It is hard t describe just how much this lends to the game, but never at a loss for words, I will give it a go! You will find that it seems to open up a whole new world, in appearances that is. It gives it a more 3D look as you can see further and things such as hills are more defined in appearance. It just seems to give the game a more in-depth feel as if you have a bigger and better scope of the world you are to save.

Install: Easy
Although it has the standard installation of any Nintendo game, you do need an Extension Pak to play.

Gameplay: 9.9
The additions of a “beat the clock” play gives this game a lot of tension and a lot more challenge. The choice of countdown or slow down or stopgap gives you more choice in gameplay and each one is fast paced. 

Graphics: 9.9
The graphics are absolutely beautiful. The game goes all out when it comes to bright and bold colors and is extraordinarily realistic when it comes to the portrayal of a dark and gloomy dungeon. Textures are smooth and the background perfect for this genre.

Sound: 9.9
The music is perfectly aligned with the darkness of the game. It is somber in sound as well as giving you the feel of a doom and gloom scenario. It could have gone more lighthearted but instead went with what the game called for and did it brilliantly. Dolby quality.

Difficulty: 9.9
Gamers will appreciate the way the game never gives any lapse time. The counting down of minutes where you can clearly see the clock gives the gamer the challenge he or she is looking for. Even slowing down the clock gives the challenge of having to start from where you stopped and a newer and different challenge than when going with the countdown. Either way, the game just never lets up nor the challenge.

Concept: 9.9
Zelda has been around for quite a while now but never at this level nor intensity.

Multiplayer: N/A

Overall: 9.9
Many sequel games seem to be a repeat with only a few changes to the original. This one however has managed to carve a place for itself and the only thing it has in common with its predecessor is the familiar characters. You are comfortable with Link, as you were introduced to him so long ago, but you also get the feeling that you really don’t know this character at all. Gamers will appreciate the expansion of the character.  


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