Monday, February 6, 2012

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask


Dawn of The First Day -72 Hours Remain

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask was originally released for the Nintendo 64 October 26 2000, just two short years after The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. It was another game I sadly missed on the first pass. Probably still a little disgruntled over the whole Ocarina of Time incident (I was a grudge holder) and not currently living with my brother due to moving to Woodstock, Georgia after completing high school (a whole other story, although slightly related because that is where I first beat The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past I wasn’t really exposed to Majora’s Mask like I was to Ocarina of Time. I do remember trying it out briefly (most likely during my Thanksgiving visit) but didn’t really make it anywhere and I was kind of shocked that I was stuck as a Deku Scrub at almost the very beginning of the game. Fast-forward twelve years later to my recent victory over The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3DS and it was time to give Majora’s Mask a second chance. Unlike the first time I attempted to play, I had a goal in mind (to complete all of the Nintendo Legend of Zelda games) and I wasn’t going to let a little thing like starting as a Deku Scrub deter me. I downloaded a copy Majora’s Mask from the Nintendo Wii Virtual Console and I was off and running… Or was I? I knew that The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask had a reputation and it wasn’t just me saying that it wasn’t as accessible as its predecessor, but I had also heard great things about Majora’s Mask. In fact, after the successful release of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3DS I’d heard that fans of Majora’s Mask were petitioning for a 3DS release of the game as well (Check out Operation Moonfall for more info). So with mixed expectations I started up the Wii and began my journey. Writing about this particular game is going to be impossible without spoilers so I’ll just get this out of the way now…



***SPOILER ALERT*** 

After the defeat of Ganon at the hands of Adult Link in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Link is sent back in time by Princess of Zelda seven years to live out the childhood he missed. It is after this time travel that The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask begins. We find our hero wandering through the Lost Woods on his trusty horse Epona looking for a missing friend. That quest is quickly sidetracked when the Skull Kid (remember him has a minor character from Ocarina of Time?) and his two fairy companions Tatl and Tael attack Link stealing both his horse and the Ocarina of Time. Link follows the thieves in hot pursuit and quickly finds himself plummeting down a hole (reminding me of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland) and lands just in time to be transformed into Deku Scrub (told you it was right off) by the Skull Kid (curious and curiouser). Tatl, in the process of mocking you, gets left behind by her companions and becomes this games’ slightly less annoying Navi (the boy gets a fairy again). After Deku Scrub Link works his way out of the cave and into a Clock Tower, he meets up with The Happy Mask Salesmen (another minor character from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time). The Happy Mask Salesmen promises to help you if you can retrieve your missing object (the Ocarina of Time) and his missing object (Majora’s Mask) from the Skull Kid. Upon then exiting the Clock Tower, you find yourself in the center of Clock Town in Termina (yes, you are no longer in Hyrule my friend) and as the town prepares for its Carnival of Time, you learn you have three days to prevent the Moon from crashing into the earth… Got all that?


Dawn of The Second Day - 48 Hours Remain

At this point, the game actually starts as you navigate through your first three-day cycle. I say first because once you confront the Skull Kid and get back your Ocarina of Time, you’ll play the Song of Time and transport back to the Dawn of The First Day and the cycle will start all over again (maybe this is why the game didn’t seem very accessible the first time I tried it). I really didn’t know what to think my first time exploring Clock Town as a Deku Scrub, but upon completing the first three-day cycle and returning to my normal self (thanks to the Song of Healing) I started getting into the game and really enjoying the addition of the new game mechanic.

***2ND SPOILER ALERT***

In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Nintendo introduced us to the Light World/Dark World concept, which allowed Link to travel between two different Hyrules; one that had been corrupted by Ganon and one that hadn’t. Using Dark World Portals, you could travel back and forth between the two worlds but it wasn’t until you found the Moonstone that you could do so as Link. Without the Moonstone you’d be turned into a pink bunny (a reflection of your innerself?). In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Nintendo once again revolutionized the game mechanics by introducing Child Link and Adult Link and allowing you to transport back and forth between the two by entering the Temple of Time and pulling the Master Sword out of the stone it’s embedded in (Child Link) or returning it to its resting place (Adult Link).

***2ND SPOILER END***


It was a great addition to The Legend of Zelda gameplay to continue with Ocarina of Time’s time travel mechanics but to set the time travel within a three-day period. Each day has different events that transpire and not all of them are accessible the first time you play through. So as your main quest expands, you gain more experience, and you collect more items and Masks, your ability to complete the side quests unlocks. For example, when you play through your second three-day cycle you can only enter Romani Ranch on the third day after boulders have been cleared. And when you enter, there isn’t too much you can do because the Moon is almost ready to crash into the earth. But once you have the ability to carry Powder Kegs you can enter the Ranch on the First Day and stop the events that transpire there (at least until you go back in time again) and earn yourself some helpful items and a Mask. I’ll admit as I’ve said in the past repetition often gets to me quickly and causes me to want to stop playing. Luckily, the way that The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is set up each time you repeat the process of the three-day cycle you find yourself completing a new quest and new side missions, with a few exceptions (The Anju  & Kafei side quest can be played on multiple days and the quest can get repetitive). Although there are only four dungeons in Majora’s Mask (opposed to the eight in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time) the game takes awhile to complete, especially with all of the side quests and Mask collecting, but the good news is you’re in for a fun interwoven story that seamlessly transitions from one quest to the next.  I usually comment on the skill level required to play this game and for the most part I’d say the game is very accessible for a novice gamer, with a few exceptions…


Dawn of The Final Day – 24 Hours Remain


I played The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask for a total of forty-four hours and forty-four minutes (what a bizarre time for a bizarre game), which means with all the side questing it took me twelve hours and fifty-two minutes longer to beat Majora’s Mask than it did to beat Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time. In my defense, there were a couple of parts that just got me stuck and I had to play over and over again (here comes the exceptions). The part that really stands out the most is near the end of the game when you face the masked children on the moon. One of those little bastards had me playing their mini dungeon for well over two hours, which felt more like two freakin’ years. Can you guess which one? Or are you saying to yourself, does this guy have any skills what so ever? Well, I do have skills thank you (you know, like nunchaku skills, bow-hunting skills, computer hacking skills...) just for some reason I couldn’t wrap my head around the Goron rolling in the Goht Child mini dungeon at all. And that wasn’t the first time Goron rolling gave me a hard time either. Earlier in Stone Tower while trying to collect all of the Great Fairy pieces I was stuck playing the seven-second loop between Goron smashing the switch to extinguish the flames surrounding a fairy-containing treasure chest and rolling quickly across the lava and obstacle filled floor to get there. I must’ve played that same sequence for more than… Well, more than I’d like to admit. If I could’ve better navigated those two disasters I could’ve easily shaved off a good chunk of that extra twelve hours and fifty-two minutes, all because I struggled to control my Goron Link counter part. Well how about the Goron race? Yeah, I had to play that a couple of times to beat it but nothing compared to the shear hours of agony that those other parts caused me. Briefly I flashed back to my Zelda II: The Adventure of Link experience and started to really hate Majora’s Mask. I was killing myself to complete these simple little tasks but I couldn’t just skip over them because they were important to the game play. Without collecting all of the fairy pieces in the Stone Tower I wouldn’t be able to get The Great Fairy Sword, which helps in The Secret Shrine. Without completing the Goht Child’s mini dungeon I couldn’t get the Fierce Deity’s Mask. As pissed off as I was, I had to face the facts: I’d already collected all of the other masks, so what was the point of giving up when I was so close to the end? There wasn’t one and I had to soldier through… I turned down the game sounds (at that point the sound of failure mixed with the Majora’s Mask soundtrack and sound effects were too much) and turned on Daft Punk’s Tron Soundtrack (music I usually reserve for writing) and played… And played… And played… And then, by some sort of freakin’ miracle, I managed to finally beat the Goht Child’s mini dungeon. What is really funny about that situation to me is the entire time I struggled against the Goht Child’s level Jaclyn was writing a paper, which she finished. As soon as I could move forward I easily defeated both the Gyorg Child and the Twinmold Child’s mini dungeons and now wearing my hard earned Fierce Deity’s Mask kicked Majora’s Mask, Majora’s Incarnation, and Majora’s Wraith on my first try; it must’ve taken maybe three minutes tops. Jaclyn didn’t even have time to run upstairs and then return before I was sitting on the couch finally victorious. I really couldn’t tell who was more shocked, her or me. If you’re looking for a giant epic battle to end your quest in Majora’s Mask, then my advice would be don’t wear the Fierce Deity Mask. But if like me you struggled against the might of the Goht Child’s fun little dungeon and you’re looking for a quick satisfying victory, then don your Fierce Deity Mask and enjoy owning the final boss in a matter of a minute. Once again I found this very reminiscent of my Zelda II: The Adventure of Link experience but this time in a good way. Both games caused me to struggle but in both games when I finally made it to the end I got to own the final boss.



Dawn of A New Day

After finishing The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask it’s a bittersweet feeling. I stopped the Moon from crashing into the earth. I’ve defeated the cursed Majora’s Mask freeing the Skull Kid and the Four Giants. The Happy Mask Salesmen recovers Majora’s Mask and heads on his way (when he turns, look for the Mario Mask). But most importantly, I finally freed the occupants of Termina from the three-day cycle of destruction and they can celebrate the Carnival of Time. I completed my bombers notebook, which meant I got to see the full credits and all of the happy endings that happened because of my various side quests. It was a nice piece of animation but somehow I still kinda felt left out. I mean, with the quest over for Link he just starts down the same road we found him on when we started the game, wandering through The Lost Woods looking for his friend. The ending of the game kind of reminds me of The Incredible Hulk TV Show, except it’s Link riding through The Lost Woods rather than Dr. David (in the TV show he was David Banner not Bruce) Banner hitchhiking down the road. Either way, queue the Lonely Man theme.




With The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask complete, it’s time to move on from the N64 and take on the twin games - The Legend of Zelda Oracle of Seasons and The Legend of Zelda Oracle of Ages for the Gameboy Color.