31st game played so far
Platform: Nintendo 64
Year of Release: 2000
There are certain gaming series that have a large number of games on the 1001 list. So far we have made a sizeable dent in the Mario games (although to be honest there is a hell of a lot more to go) and we have a Metroid and some Final Fantasies on the way but now is a time for the first in a long line of Zelda games.
Since we are still whittling away titles from the first batch of games Kat lent us we have decided to first play Majora’s Mask. Whilst I have played this game before the main thing I associate with it is this song. If you click the link and fail to see the link then I don’t blame you. When we first got Sky there was this channel called Game Network which had a program which consisted of clips of video games set to music. As you can now guess Majora’s Mask was paired with the Eurodance song To Be You by Kim Lukas. Strange combination really.
If you had 3 days to stop some masked entity from crashing a demonic moon into your hometown what would you do? Other than looking for someone else to fix it? Probably ask for a present for my spouse in exchange for the deed to my spot on the market. Well he does jump ship… well fly away in the way a Deku is accustomed to do. I do doubt he would be able to outrun the moon though at his usual speed and predicted trajectory though. Fair enough, I suppose, but it’s what happens.
Let me note here that I personally don’t like time limits in games as a way to make it more exciting, and I was quite worried until we got the method to reverse time in the game. I could feel you tensing up as the time ran out. You were really getting annoyed and (to be honest) it was beginning to bug me.
I actually think that although the 3 day cycle adds a heap of restrictions it is a fantastic idea that was able to make sure that Majora’s Mask was set apart from Ocarina of Time. When you are coming after a game that was hailed as the best ever made it is important to implement a true game changer. I know that it bugged Jeroen as he is a real dab hand at taking his time and exploring the worlds (probably why he is much fonder of point-and-click games and RPGs like the previously reviewed Planescape: Torment).
In contrast there is me who likes to do a bit of exploration (which is why I lost so much of my life to exploring the entire map of GTA: San Andreas) but if there is too much of that in a game it gets boring for me. Then there is Majora’s Mask which, as a Zelda game, had to strike the balance between the time constraint and the exploration, a tough tightrope indeed.
Many complaints about the game were centred on the shorter dungeons and that there are fewer of them compared with other games in the franchise. Contrary to that is a much larger focus on side-quests which embraces the 3 day cycle. With this you have to keep a notebook of side-quests based on the movement patterns of people within Clock Town. A feature that I have only seen repeated in a game of a completely different genre: the survival horror cult classic Gregory Horror Show. And you seem to need it, although I’ve not yet seen enough of that.
Aside from the time limit, which is indeed a personal preference (and one of those things I change early before playing other classics like Fallout, who were quick to fix it in their patches), the game is well done. You can tell that they’ve had more time to work out what they can do with the N64, which shows in graphics, gameplay, the amount of options and things you can do (28 masks? Lots of sidequests, lots of other stuff to do) and it makes it a very good game to play. And you need the shorter dungeons and such – having to go through larger parts again and again because you ran out of time or have a side area to explore would detract from the fun part of the game.
That’s the only downside of the game really. Like a fool I wanted to stop playing and I reset the clock. But before I could get back to the dungeon I had to do all the other mini-tasks in order to be able to reach that area. I am so thankful that they included an option to slow the passage of time meaning that you get an extra 20-30 minutes before the 3 day cycle is completed. You seem to need it – and yeah, that’s part of where my complaint comes from, really. There’s ways to make it easier, but had I have to go through any longer, the repetitiveness would have made this even more exhausting. But enough on that, time for the praise this game absolutely deserves. Well yes, the readers of GameFAQs apparently named this the best game of the last decade so we really should sing the praises. As you’ll see, obviously I won’t agree with them, but then again – that’s the opinion of the averages anyway, where it could work if it were everyone’s second favourite.
As I said, the graphics are nice. The characters are given character through it, putting on certain masks looks like it hurts, and most of the environment are quite pretty in their own way. How about the music? Just like the other games in the franchise Majora’s Mask has a beautiful soundtrack. Even the short repetitive tunes you play on the ocarina to change time or to open the doors to the temples sound beautiful; very simple yet very effective. And a number of them are familiar tunes associated with the series for some time longer especially the incidental music which is something that a long-running successful franchise is able to do.
Yeah, and I’m sure it fits in here – I’m honest, I’m looking forward to trying other games and put it in perspective too. That is the problem with us first tackling such a late game in the series. Something we had to do because we need to play though all the games Kat gave us before Easter. Later on we will be able to refer forward so I guess it will all balance out. Yeah, so keep looking out for that. We have two more to do from Kat’s pile (including the Gamecube port of Ocarina of Time which, when I think about it now, would have been probably been better to do before this one) so there will be come franchise comparisons coming rather soon.
So yeah, while the time system can have its doubts, in general the game is good fun and very well put together and certainly worth a try, if you can still get your hands on it. It’s available on the Virtual Console for the Wii so it’s very easy to find. Ah, I did not know that. Then that’s worth going for.
This marks our last venture in Nintendo 64 gaming for a few weeks until we play the port of Ocarina of Time that came with The Wind Waker. The last few weeks of gaming have really made me miss my own console and games.
I guess it’s one of those things with trade-ins. In my time I have sold off a lot of games that I am now beginning to regret and will now start to peruse eBay and Amazon Marketplace to find such lost games like Gregory Horror Show, Pikmin, Pikmin 2, Bully and Kingdom Hearts.