Video Game Memories: Majora’s Mask

The first Zelda game on the Nintendo 64 was a masterpiece. The game made the transition from a top-down view to 3-D perfectly, and provided a huge amount of playing time in addition to the main story. I personally do not like the follow-up game, Majora’s Mask.

Now, this is not a bad game. It is highly regarded for a reason, and there are many good things about it. (More on that in a bit.) But in a series that had always been built on exploration, there was one really annoying element to the game: A time limit. The days of taking as much time as you want to explore every little nook and cranny of a dungeon were gone. If you did not use the code that slowed time to half speed, the game was unplayable. Many people love it, and they are not wrong, but personally it is not for me.

Now, there are good things about it. The mask system was a very innovative way to expand the game, and it does throw a curve ball at you by making you start as a Deku Scrub – a form that is significantly weaker in combat than Link’s traditional form. Adding two other forms (a bruising Goron and a Zora, which allows Link to swim much more effectively) significantly expands the gameplay and offers a lot of variety. Plus, there are certain things you can do only with specific masks, and you have to do side quests to get the masks.

Again, though, despite the large amount of side content, items and weapons to discover, there is a time limit that forces you to eventually go back to the beginning of the first day. It is innovative in that certain tasks and side quests can only be accomplished at specific points in the repeating three day cycle. It would have been a significant improvement if you could stop time completely, allowing for the unrestricted exploration that the Zelda series is known for. Some gamers might like this feature, but I personally do not. This is not a bad game, but it was not nearly as good as its predecessor.