Saturday, February 1, 2014

Why I Love Majora's Mask

What? He's posting a personal opinion on his blog? What sort of anarchy is this?

It's the anarchy called my blog.

Now, I've been planning this editorial of sorts for a while now, but I've been busy with school and other activities over the past month. Literally. The last time I posted was New Year's. It's been a month.

So I've been busy... and also lazy. Really lazy. The small amount of spare time I've spent playing video games, messing around on the internet, and Skyping with friends. So... there's that.

Anywho, I decided to gather up my willpower and write this, since today is also the day that Majora's Mask won Zelda Informer's first annual Zelda game matchup.

Really quickly, before I get into my post, I just want to point something out. Four Swords Anniversary Edition is back on the 3DS eshop, but only for two more days (until February 2nd)! So be sure to get that if you haven't already. It's free. For those of you who didn't know, it's a revamped version of Four Swords for the GBA that was available for free download for early adopters of the 3DS (which, sadly, did not include me), but now it's back for just a few days.

Punny, Nintendo. Very punny.

The Anniversary Edition of Four Swords includes several new levels, and single-player mode. I actually took the time to get the GBA link cable several months back, which you may or may not know, so I've already played it through with my friends. However, now I'm free to play it whenever I want, which is a nice touch. Oh, and they have the Realm of Memories! You can play levels from A Link to the Past, Link's Awakening, and The Legend of Zelda, with Four Swords-style gameplay.

I mean, who doesn't love this?

Back to Majora's Mask. [Insert transition statement here]

So, recently it has clearly become fairly popular to be a fan of Majora's Mask, or to favor it above other Zelda games. Many people claim that they've loved it for a while, and they're not part of this fairly new mass change of mind. I can't really say the same, as I never got around to playing Majora's Mask until sometime around late 2011 or early 2012. Anyway, the point is, I liked it for what it was, not because it was "cool" to like it. Which brings me to my next point.

I've seen a lot of people around the internet discount Majora's Mask fans as hipsters who only like the game because it's... well... "hipster". Although that's kind of ironic, seeing as though it's clearly one of the more mainstream games within the fanbase now, so it's really not hipster at all.

Regardless, the purpose of this post is to pretty much explain what I love about Majora's Mask.

First off, and I'm sure any Majora's Mask fan can agree with me here, the sidequests. I'm tempted to say this game has more sidequest-related gameplay than it does for the actual main story, and in my opinion, this is a good thing. It encourages the player to dig deeper and to actually explore the different things to do in the game.

"Oh but i hate sidequests because sidequests are pointless and they're tedious and i hate them so that's why i hate majora's mask"

They're called sidequests for a reason. They're optional. You don't have to do them.

Now, when I mention sidequests, two things come to mind: the Anju and Kafei quest, and the Romani quest. These are certainly the two largest sidequests in the game, if not in any Zelda game. Except these sidequests aren't just sidequests. They're stories within themselves.

Now, throughout the game, you can access Romani Ranch on the second and third days. The little girl, Romani, always seems a little off. She hardly says anything, and she seems pretty depressed. Someway through the game, you'll gain access to the ranch on the first day, and she seems lively and perky. You can then start this whole ordeal about aliens coming to the farm and taking cows and Romani and whatnot... and she asks you to help her. You say yes, and stuff happens... you stop the aliens and save the day. But the real creepy part happens when you don't stop the aliens. Romani, the perky, lively girl who nicknamed you "Grasshopper", gets abducted along with the cows and isn't seen again until the next day. Now, she has dark circles under her eyes, a blank expression, and is pretty much a living zombie. It really makes you wonder what the aliens did to her. And all this could have been easily missed if someone were to simply run through the game just to beat it. Majora's Mask really rewards you for digging deeper, and that's one reason I like it.

...Huh. Now that I think about it, this is actually really similar to this board game I had called Cosmic Cows, in which you play the role of aliens... abducting cows...

I know it's a somewhat common theme, but it's weird I just made that connection.

EDIT: Found it. XD

Anyway. My point wasn't to make a strange reference to a random board game. I was trying to point out the subtle dark themes in Majora's Mask's story. Did I succeed? I... I really don't know...

Next we have the Anju and Kafei quest, where you help Anju, a lady, and Kafei, a man who got turned into a child by Skull Kid, reunite. There's a ton of optional story content to be found here, and it's all really touching. Especially when, at the end of the quest, they're reunited and they thank you by giving you the Couple's Mask. And then you leave them by going back in time. And they die.

And now this brings me to the story. The story itself is just... dark. Anywhere you are in the overworld, you can look up and see this massive hunk of rock hurling itself at you, reminding you of your impending doom. The Moon itself is awesome and creepy. And Skull Kid, possessed by Majora's Mask, is the one causing it. Throughout the game, you realize that Skull Kid was just lonely after all, and he felt abandoned when his friends (the giants) left him. 

You'd think he could've looked for a guidance counselor before trying to end the world and all...

Terrible jokes aside, it really is a dark, yet touching, story.

Another reason I love this game is the 3-day time limit. It adds an entire new concept to sidequests in the form of time-based events. Certain events happen at certain times on certain days, and you learn when and where to be for different things. For example, stopping a thief from stealing from an old lady on Night 1 will reward you with a mask and the option of getting a bomb bag. However, it will also prevent the thief from appearing at his hideout on Day 3, preventing you from doing other things.

"Oh but wait i hate the time limit because it makes me rush in dungeons and i hate being rushed so i hate majora's mask"


With the Inverted Song of Time, you have 2 hours and 42 minutes (real time) for each cycle. Never once in a Zelda game has it taken me 2 hours and 42 minutes to complete a dungeon, much less a Majora's Mask dungeon, which tend to be shorter than most.

And can anyone really argue that the time limit takes away more than it adds?

That was a stupid question. Of course they can. Even if I disagree with them 100%.

I also love the innovative gameplay. Specifically, the transformation masks. Instead of playing as one character, you get to play as four. Everyone's familiar with Link's moves, but you get to learn a whole array of different skills based on each of Link's forms, and use them to your advantage in various dungeons.

The dungeons themselves didn't stand out too much to me, although I do love the Stone Tower Temple, and I'm quite fond of the Snowhead Temple as well. All of the dungeons in this game revolve around one major theme (except the first one), and that is changing the layout of the dungeon itself. There is one central room or concept that is changed around and back and forth as you progress throughout the dungeon. In Snowhead, there's a big pillar in the central room, and in Great Bay, there's the flow of the water itself throughout the dungeon. And then in Stone Tower Temple, you literally flip the entire temple upside down, which is why it's one of my favorite, if not the favorite, temple in any Zelda game.

There's just so much sadness and darkness to be found throughout the game. Whether it's the brave, courageous sword master cowering in the back of his dojo, the tragic story of Pamela's father being turned into a Gibdo, or Darmani dying and leaving his village behind, struggling to go on without him, there seems to be something touching in every corner of the game. It makes you feel so small and insignificant in the game when you realize everything you've done to help the people, every good deed you did, was for nothing, since they'll all die in several hours anyway. And when you go back in time, there's only enough time to help maybe one or two sets of characters, not all of them. So for every person you help, there's 10 more that die unhappily. It makes you feel like a little kid, lost in a big world, just struggling to find a way out. That's why I love Majora's Mask.

Oh, and it has a volcano. I mean, what other Zelda game has a volcano?

Okay, just about every other Zelda game. But this is a cool, swampy volcano. So that's different.

That's all I'm going to talk about. There's a bunch of smaller things that I decided to leave out, and there's probably some major things that I'm forgetting. It's pretty late, and I'm tired, and I've still got an English paper to write due tomorrow at 8:00. Who assigns due dates/times for weekend homework? And I never get up until at least 10:00 anyway, so I pretty much have to do it tonight. So the second half of this post might have been a little rushed. Sorry about that.

Tell me your thoughts on Majora's Mask in the comments! Love it? Hate it? Haven't played it? Indifferent? Other (please specify)? Um... that last one was a joke. You don't have to specify if you don't want to.   ._.

Well, I'll see you all later. I planned this as a one-time thing, but I had fun writing it, so I might do it again for some other favorite games in the series. We'll see.


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