Hall of Fame Entry #21: ‘The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask’

by Tim Maison
Published: Last Updated on

Goomba Stomp’s Hall of Fame is reserved for only those Nintendo titles that can be called absolute classics. Chosen by the crew of the NXpress Nintendo Podcast, these bite-sized capsule reviews reflect what we’ve discussed on the podcast over the past six months. Look for more entries every 25 episodes we record.

How do you follow-up The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, debatably the best N64 game and perhaps even the greatest game of our time?  Nintendo’s answer was to make the next Zelda entry emphatically different.  That’s not to say that The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask doesn’t provide everything a Zelda game should.  The core gameplay and mechanics from Ocarina are all present, the superb combat, mind-bending puzzles, magnificent dungeons, and, of course, memorable locales and characters, all brilliantly designed and gorgeously rendered in shadowy tones.  What makes Majora’s Mask so unique and so sensational is its rich and lively world, perhaps still the most animated world in all of Zelda.

Absent from Majora’s Mask are Hyrule, the castle, and the princess.  Instead, the game follows Link as he arrives at the nearby land of Termina.  While dungeons are still a major aspect of Majora’s Mask, far more time is spent in Termina, fulfilling bizarre fetch quests, engaging some unforgettable, strange characters, and weaving the way through a complex, intricate world that is genuinely the game’s central puzzle.  Oh yeah, and that rich world is going to end in three days.  In this Zelda game, the player doesn’t battle against Ganon, and while the game’s antagonist, Majora, is one of the best-designed villains in franchise history, the true battle is against the clock trying to complete as much of the world puzzle as possible before having to reset it before the Moon crashes into Termina.  No pressure.  While many of the weapons and tools at Link’s disposal are much the same as Ocarina of Time, unique to Majora’s Mask is a large, unique array of masks altering Link’s abilities.  Those required to complete each dungeon are most notable as they change Link into the familiar species from The Legend of Zelda, Dekus, Gorons, and Zoras, and completely change how the game is played.  The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is a Zelda title and a game unlike any other and one that is a must play not only for fans of the series but gaming enthusiasts in general.

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