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The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
Legend of Zelda - Majora's Mask (N64)
Legend of Zelda - Majora's Mask (N64)
Date: 19/11/00, updated on 19/11/00 (253 review reads)
Advantages: One of the best games of all time ever created
Disadvantages: Very difficult to play and not as user friendly
So then, ominous omens not just for the quality of this game but also for the whole of Nintendo's future policy on sequels and games development in general. To avoid any high blood pressure I'll cut through the tension (for those of you that haven't already had a peek at the verdict box) and tell you that it's all turned out nice again. The game is good.
If one accepts that this is not a standard, full-length, entry in the Legend of Zelda saga the next question must be: how much of the game is the same as Ocarina of Time? For those of you that were worried that whole swathes would be identical to sequences in the previous game you can rest easy. Although a few of the side quests and other exterior sequences use identical mechanics to that seen in Ocarina of Time (to use one example, the race with the gravekeeper is repeated with a different character, along a different course) all of the big gameplay set pieces and all of the dungeons are completely new. The only extended sequence which is in any way similar to the original is a trip to the Gerudo Fortress, although even this requires a subtly different set of skills than in the original, and of course the map and graphics are completely different. So, then no real trouble on the "too much like the last one" front.
The huge number (twenty-five in total) of masks in the game is the other stroke of true genius, turning what was a fairly unimportant side-quest in Ocarina of Time into the whole raison d'jtre of this sequel. The mask
s are split into two main types: transformation and magical. The merely magical usually give you one type of power, such as an improved sense of smell or the ability to run faster - and with a few exceptions are not necessary to the completion of the main game. There are only four transformation masks, but these are quite wonderful. The three most easily obtained ones are of a Deku Shrub, a Goron (a big stone giant) and a Zora (a half-dolphin, half human fellow). Apart from physically transforming you, each of these masks has a couple of special abilities. The Deku Shrub can spit globs of goo and uses special flowers to hover in the air, the Goron can bottom bash the ground and turn into spiked wheel of flaming doom, and the Zora has a boomerang-like scale attack as well as the ability to swim and dive underwater.
Words can't describe how much fun it is driving as a Goron wheel or swimming as a Zora, and you can easily find yourself just swimming and spinning your way around the landscape for ages, lost in pure gaming nirvana. As usual Nintendo are not slow to take advantage of a game's best features and there are special race courses set up for both characters which alone manage to be more fun than either Star Wars: Episode I Racer or Ecco the Dolphin, of which each are curiously reminiscent.
The only way to truly understand the breadth of gameplay available in Majora's Mask is to play the thing. And anyone brandishing the "I don't own an N64" excuse can jolly well go out and get one, because this is certainly worth the effort. Except, to be honest, if you haven't played Ocarina of Time I would actually advise getting that first. Majora's Mask is excellent, and considering the previous discussed time limitations, is just as inventive and rewarding as it's prequel: however it's a lot harder from the off and doesn't do quite such a good job of gradually introducing you into the controls and main game me
chanics. The slightly cumbersome save system can also be a pain, and is the only time you'll feel the game is making things unfairly difficult for you.
These are hardly criticisms though, and if you have played Ocarina of Time there's not a chance in Slough you won't enjoy this. Gaming rarely gets any better than this, and I for one am glad I didn't have to wait an extra three years for something of this quality.
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