US : October 26, 2000
Japan : April 27, 2000
Europe : November 17, 2000
Nintendo Gamecube (CE)
US : November 17, 2003
Japan : November 7, 2003
Europe : November 14, 2003
Wii Virtual Console
US : May 18, 2009
Japan : April 7, 2009
Europe : April 3, 2009
US : February 13, 2015
Japan : February 14, 2009
Europe : February 13, 2009
Publisher : Nintendo
Developer : Nintendo
Director : Takashi Tezuka
Producer : Shigeru Miyamoto
Genre : Action, Adventure
Platform : Nintendo 64
Other Platforms : Nintendo Gamecube (Collectors Edition), Nintendo Wii Virtual Console
Game Type : 32 megabit cartridge
Mode : Single Player
Other : Expansion Pak required (4MB)
Wii Points : 1000 Points 3DS : $39.99
ESRB : E (Everyone)
ELSPA : 11+
OFLC : G8+
Metacritic : 95% (N64), 89% (3DS)
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is the sequel to Ocarina of Time. The game was released on October 26, 2000 (earlier in some places - I remember getting my copy almost a week early after I came home from school), and takes place just days after Link defeats Ganon at the end of Ocarina of Time. Rather than taking place in Hyrule, the game takes place in the land of Termina. Several new features have been incorporated into this game which makes it significantly different from its predecessor.
The graphics in Majora's Mask are probably the best of any Nintendo 64 game that was ever released. Not only is there more detail in the textures used, but the animation is a lot smoother because the game takes advantage of the Memory Expansion pak. There are a lot more enemies and characters around than there were in Ocarina of Time because the extra memory makes it so the Nintendo 64 can keep track of them all. Aside from the better frame rate, there is also very little use of fog, meaning that Link can see way off into the distance, and there is minimal pop up, giving the game a very realistic look.
Just as music played a major role in Ocarina of Time, the use of the masks plays a large role in Majora's Mask. There are three major masks in the game, and several minor masks. The three major masks are the Deku mask, the Goron mask, and the Zora mask. The Deku mask turns Link into a Deku Scrub. As a Deku Scrub, Link has the ability to burrow in large flowers that can be found around Termina and shoot up from them, using two pink flowers to glide around for a while. In addition to this, he can shoot bubbles out his nose and perform a spin attack. Deku Link also has the ability to leap through water, but he must touch either the ground or a lily pad after five jumps. The Goron Mask gives Link the ability to turn into a Goron. While wearing the Goron Mask, Link can walk through lava without taking damage, pound the ground, which can either open doors or push in really stubborn switches, and he has the ability to roll up into a ball and level almost anything that gets in his way. The other major mask Link collects in Majora's Mask is the Zora Mask. This is an extremely fun mask to wear because it makes swimming incredibly easy. Link can cut through the water with ease and swim with extreme precision. He can even perform a "porpoise jump" in which he jumps out of the water onto the land. If done right, this looks really cool. He also has the ability to walk around at the bottom of the ocean and shoot boomerangs at enemies. In addition to the three major masks in the game, there are several minor masks. Although most of these are not required to beat the game, you will need them all if you want to find every piece of heart (and one of the biggest secrets in the game). Each of the minor masks grants Link some power. For example, the Great Fairy's Mask makes any stray fairies that link encounters fly right to him unless they are blocked by a bubble or something else. Some of the masks are useless except for giving link a piece of heart, but if you find every mask in the game, something good will happen towards the end of the game.
Majora's Mask makes a drastic improvement over Zelda: Ocarina of Time with its enemies. The main reason for this is that there are actually enemies to fight in Termina Field, where in Zelda: Ocarina of Time, there were only a few peahats, and they were extremely easy to avoid. In Majora's Mask you are forced to fight at times. The blue bubbles return from the first Zelda game, but this time instead of giving you back the ability to use your sword after losing it, these ones put a curse on you, rendering you unable to draw your sword for about five minutes (real time, not game time). Each dungeon has its fair share of enemies as well. In addition to more regular enemies, each dungeon has at least one mini-boss and a final boss. The really neat thing is that in Majora's Mask you can go back and fight each boss over and over again after you have beaten him if you want. After you beat a dungeon, if you return you can step on a teleporter that will take you straight back to the boss. There is also a piece of heart you can earn in the Ikana area in which you must fight all the mini bosses from the dungeons. Even the poe sisters from Ocarina of Time appear in a mini game, but this time it is much harder because not only do you have to beat them, but you have to beat them in a certain amount of time to win the mini game. The way the enemies were handled in Majora's Mask makes the game much better than Ocarina of Time.
Many characters will be returning from Ocarina of Time, but they have different roles than they did in that game. For instance, Koume, one of the witches that made up Twinrova in Ocarina of Time returns, but instead of fighting link as a boss of a dungeon, she sells potions to him. In addition to Koume, several other characters from Ocarina of Time return including Malon (well, she looks like Malon, she's actually Cremia, the older Romani sister), Ingo (Actually the Gorman Bros.), Epona and many others. Almost every Character in Ocarina of Time returns in some form. Even minor characters, such as the guy who runs the fisherman's shop return. The only major characters I noticed who did not return to Majora's Mask in some form were Sheik, Mido, King Zora, and the seven sages from Ocarina of Time.
One of the more interesting aspects of Majora's Mask is that unlike any of the other Zelda games, you cannot save just anywhere. In order to understand how the save system works, you'll need to understand how the game itself will be different from any other Zelda game. Link has three days to save the world from a moon that is destined to crash into the land of Termina. If he doesn't accomplish his task in this amount of time, the game is over. A game day in real time lasts about eighteen minutes. This would give Link just under an hour to finish the game, which obviously is not enough. In order to save, Link must first find the Ocarina of Time, then play the Song of Time to warp back to 6:00 A.M. on the first day - only after doing this can you save the game. Since Link has traveled back in time, some things will go back to the way they were before you saved your game. Masks, instruments, items that show up on your item collect screen, entries into your scheduler, maps, compasses, and money stored in the back can all be taken back in time. Things that go back to the way they were before Link saved are clearing of traps or sub-events, conversations with people, items such as bombs and deku nuts, small keys, boss keys, fairies, and rupees you may be holding. Since this may be annoying for some people, Nintendo also included an interrupt save feature. To use this, you must first find an owl statue and talk to it (after striking it with your sword). It will ask you if you want to keep playing or if you want to save and quit. If you choose to save and quit, the game ends, but the next time you start playing, you will be at that statue with everything you had when you saved. The only drawback to the interrupt save is that as soon as you resume your game, it erases the interrupt save, so if you turn off your Nintendo 64 before either saving with the Song of Time or doing another interrupt save, it reverts back to the last time you saved using the Song of Time.
Due to the time limit and save limitations, Majora's Mask is quite different than any other Zelda game. Link has to rush through dungeons to finish them in time rather than take his time and find everything. Link may have to skip conversations with people in order to save time, which adds replay value to the game since people will want to play through it over and over to see what they have missed. For people who think that time goes by too quickly, Nintendo did include a song that slows time down to nearly a third of its usual pace. I won't give it away here, but if you have the Ocarina of Time, you can find the song. Because of the increased challenge and improved graphics, I believe that Majora's Mask will join Ocarina of Time as yet another classic Zelda game.