The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D
Majora’s Mask is a dark, melancholy tale full of quirky and mysterious characters and since its original release 15 years ago it has only grown stranger. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it is also one of the most unique and innovative additions to the Legend of Zelda series.
This latest remaster on the Nintendo 3DS it provides an excellent opportunity to revisit the game or experience it for the first time. One of the many unique features of this game is that it stands alone as the sole game in the Zelda series that is a direct sequel to another.
The story follows on after the events of Ocarina of Time where we see Link and Epona (his horse) travelling through a forest in search of an old “friend”. During his travels Link encounters the masked Skull Kid who promptly relieves him of his horse and his Ocarina and leads him into the alternate reality of Termina where many familiar faces reside but are in most cases somewhat different. Along the way Skull Kid also manages to transform poor Link into a tiny little Deku Scrub. However, all is not lost as a mysterious and altogether creepy Happy Mask salesman promises to return Link to his original form if he can recover the mask that Skull Kid stole – the titular Majora’s Mask. And so, Link’s journey begins.
Your arrival in Termina prompts a clock that starts ticking away with exactly three days left on it. This clock represents a number of things, most importantly being the time left until the moon goes all Deep Impact on the unfortunate citizens of Termina. It coincidentally also happens to be when the Happy Mask Man must depart (and needs his mask returned by) and when the aptly named Clock Town begins its annual Clock festival. However , Link gains the power to travel back in time resetting the clock to the dawn of the first day and gains some control over times flow.
Generally the main game is fairly standard Zelda fare, but it is the side quests that really add a darker and stranger flavour to Majora’s Mask. Early on in the game a notebook is obtained which allows Link to record and keep track of the many people in Termina who need his help. The quests vary from the straight forward to the exceedingly quirky. One quest has a weird hand appear from inside the toilet asking for paper with no explanation as to why they happen to be inside the toilet in the first place. Then there are the “aliens” on the ranch which you must help a young girl defend her cows from and last but not least the multi layered and often frustrating but still fun Kafei quest which is a heart-warming tale of a young couple overcoming many obstacles in order to marry. These quests give the game a very Alice in Wonderland feel and it remains immensely fun to see just how far down the rabbit hole you can go.
In terms of the remastering of the game Nintendo have done a fantastic job in the graphics department with all the character models looking far less blocky and much full of vibrant colour compared with the N64 version. There has also been a fantastic level of attention to detail that cannot be understated as everything from the grass and fence patterns to the decorations that adorn the walls and buildings have been given a facelift. Sometimes you won’t even notice them, but they add that little bit extra that immerses you in the world.
Overall Majoras Mask is an excellent entry in the Zelda franchise and features some of the most rewarding gameplay of the series. The main questline of the game is a little bland but the addition of the transformation masks keeps it fresh, but it’s the various side quests and the unique characters inhabiting Termina that really stand out and shine. The 3DS remaster has done an admirable job updating the game’s graphics adding a considerable amount of detail and smoothing out the rougher edges of the original game. The changes to the gameplay in some cases made the game easier, detracting from the frantic rush of the original, but make sense in terms of the port onto a handheld option. The Legend of Zelda Majora’s Mask is worthy addition to any gamers 3DS collection.