9 Ways Majora’s Mask Is The Best Legend In The Zelda Game

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On the success of the 1998 episode of THE Legend of Zelda, Nintendo had earned enough credit from its fan base to push the franchise literally and figuratively into new territory. Located in a neighboring province of Hyrule, the successful 2000 Majora’s Mask explored the continuing story of the time hero, better known among gamers as Child Link of Ocarina of time.

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In this story, Link goes in search of his lost fairy and comes face to face with a Skull Kid possessed by a demonic mask that appears out of nowhere in the franchise’s rich history. It’s a psychedelic feverish dream of whimsical existentialism, unlike anything that has come or gone before – a masterpiece of design that only legendary game makers Shigeru Miyamoto and Eiji Aonuma could create. Nintendo’s big risk has resulted in the most unique and perhaps best-designed game in the franchise that perhaps surpasses Ocarina of time in terms of industry influence.


The passage of time

Link falls back in time in Majora's Mask.

There are arguably two game mechanics that define Majora’s Mask like a classic franchise title, the first of which is the passage of consecutive time. The story takes place over three days of play – just over fifty minutes of real time – after which a horribly anthropomorphized moon crashes to the ground and destroys the world.

During this brief period, dozens of NPCs present progressive narrative tracks that must be carefully followed to complete the game, warping over time as needed to reset the story’s complex, storyline sequence of events. The many side quests in Majora’s Mask force a player to be in the right place at the right time of day, which gives him Zelda title with a deeply spatial sense of time that would inspire and influence countless games that followed.

An RPG Within An RPG

Link transforms into Zora in Majora's Mask.

The second decisive game mechanism for Majora’s Mask is, as the name suggests, the use of masks. Along with providing a franchise-specific whimsy and new visual aesthetic, four of the game’s 24 masks allow Link to transform into Guitarist Zora, Folk Hero Goron, Brave Deku Scrub, and Overpowered Celestial Warrior, respectively.

This is the first time in the Zelda series that players could take on the roles of the myriad inhabitants of Hyrule. In addition to offering a deeper immersion in THE Legend of Zelda remarkably nuanced world of the series, these transfiguration artifacts give Link new mobility and combat abilities that bring exciting depth to the game. It’s one of the best game mechanics of the set. Zelda franchise, which alone does Majora’s Mask worthy of being revisited and studied.

Wonderful music

Link performs a song at the Milk Bar with his counterparts Deku, Goron and Zora.

One way Ocarina of time The featured innovative gameplay was to design the game’s eponymous instrument as a peaceful way for players to influence their surroundings, drawing on the bardic tradition of the “swords and witchcraft” genre where music equals magic. Majora’s Mask takes it one step further, with unique instruments for each of the game’s transformative characters and plenty of subplots and side quests that highlight both song and dance as gameplay elements.

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In the game, music can do everything from uniting communities to invoking interdimensional deities. Fine art as gameplay is a design element in which Nintendo, in particular, has always excelled, and Majora’s Mask is one of the crowning glory of the franchise in this regard.

A world beyond Hyrule

A lively scene takes place in the central square of Clock Town.

Majora’s Mask is one of the few franchise titles that doesn’t take place in the Kingdom of Hyrule. Instead, her bizarre tale takes place in Termina, a neighboring city and province. This gives players a chance to see common elements and themes of the series in a new context. In some ways, this is literal, as Nintendo has reused several digital assets from Ocarina of time in Majora’s Mask, including many character models.

It’s one of the many things that makes this weirdest classic title ever. Zelda game of all time. While it can be alienating at times, Above all, Termina feels like a unique cultural and historical place that deepens the players’ immersion in the world of the franchise. When he wanders into unusual territory, he still feels intentional – a natural continuation of the dreamy tones that underpin Termina’s tradition and citizenship.

The stellar side quests

Anju and Kafei reunite in Majora's Mask.

From protecting the Roma farm from an alien invasion to forging the golden sword, Majora’s Mask features some of the franchise’s most memorable side quests that send Link through the mountains and valleys of Termina.

The game’s longest-running mission is a triumph of early millennium game design, forcing players to follow a complex sequence of rigidly timed events in order to reunite a couple cursed by Majora – a tale of Shakespearean proportions that takes at least one whole cycle game to complete. This is one of the best side quests in Majora’s Mask, and there are dozens more for players to discover hidden in the game’s vibrant and quirky world.

The awesome antagonist

Majora dominates Link in Majora's Mask.

Majora is an antagonist like no other in THE Legend of Zelda series. A former deity imprisoned in a wooden mask, Majora’s intentions are never revealed beyond an expressed desire to bring about destruction to the height of the abominations that characterize HP Lovecraft’s work. The final showdown with this boss pits players against three of Majora’s body shapes: a flying mask with squid-like tentacles, a one-eyed imp with gangly limbs, and a muscular demon with arm whips.

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Only the shadow beasts of the Twili realm come close to Majora’s Eldritch aesthetic, and even Evil King Ganondorf seems a minor threat by comparison. that of Majora Mask is also the only game in thirty-five and twenty-seven AAA titles to feature this antagonist. In a franchise uniquely characterized by recurring or reincarnated characters, this singularity gives Majora a unique resistance as the series’ iconic villain.

Its advanced game mechanics

The Great Fairy congratulates Link on his courage.

Although the star mechanics of the game of consecutive passage of time and hidden transformation, Majora’s Mask has many other ingenious mechanics that increase its gameplay value. One of the most popular inclusions is the expansion of site warping. A seminal serial mechanic, warping has reached new levels of utility in Ocarina of time by allowing players to move between the main dungeons in the second half of the game.

Taking a step forward Majora’s Mask allows players to squeeze between the many owl statues that dot Termina, making it the most efficient means of travel in the game. Zelda title presents a variation on this mechanism. Not all of the gameplay mechanics implemented in this classic title are so dramatic. A minor addition – an old-fashioned camera that Link could use to take pictures of his surroundings in first person – became one of the best side quests in the sequel to the game, Wind Waker.

Its replay value

A child wearing Majora's mask strangely asks if Link wants to play with him.

With dozens of side quests and a central campaign that must be fully reset every hour in real time, Majora’s Mask represents one of the few early video games that has inherent replay value. While it’s possible to complete the game’s story and dozens of side quests on the first try, most players will end up missing a couple of masks by the end of the game and with several grayed out spaces in the items menu indicating that there are even more treasures to be found in Termina.

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In this case, the game naturally introduces players to later games. With new items in tow, bosses become more interesting to fight and sometimes new side quests reveal themselves. Plus, Nintendo has scripted the passage of time so skillfully in each of the game’s regions that it always reminds players – much like the best open-world games – that something is happening elsewhere that they are missing.

Its flawless originality

Majora's mask hangs on a glowing purple wall between two other boss masks.

From the torsoless giants who reign over Termina to the disturbing and disturbing atmosphere that surrounds the Happy Mask Salesman, Majora’s Mask embrace all that makes THE Legend of Zelda whimsical and offbeat and filters it through the slightest prism of surreal horror. Not all of its plots make clear sense and the game explores uncompromising fatalistic themes through its more than thirty hours of play.

Despite this, the game’s many little quirks and heavy themes all work together to create a dreamy design pointillism that few games can compare. As the series has matured over the past two decades, and with Breath of the wild‘s sequel slated for release next year, fans can only hope that Nintendo will one day revisit this iconic weirdness – a unique design that only Nintendo can achieve thanks to THE Legend of Zelda franchise.

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