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The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

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The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

Majora's Mask

Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Series: The Legend of Zelda
Genres: Action-adventure
Release date(s): 2000
Media Cartridge
Number of players Single player
Platforms Nintendo 64

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask|ゼルダの伝説 ムジュラの仮面|Zeruda no Densetsu Mujura no Kamen}} is the sixth installment in the Legend of Zelda series and the second and final installment to be released on the Nintendo 64. It was released in Japan on April 27, 2000, in Canada and the United States on October 24, 2000, and in Europe on November 17, 2000. The game is one of the most successful Zelda games, selling approximately 314,000 copies during its first week of sales in Japan and more than three million copies sold in total. Majora's Mask did not sell as many copies as its predecessor, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

The game features a much broader storyline. Rather than the setting being Hyrule as it is in most Zelda games, Link finds himself in the land of Termina, a parallel world to Hyrule, featuring many characters similar to Ocarina of Time characters. A mysterious mask known as Majora's Mask has been stolen by a mischievous imp known as the Skull Kid and is being used to summon the Moon to destroy the entire land of Termina. Link must stop the destruction within three days.

Unlike Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask requires the use of the Expansion Pak, which allows for a larger number of on-screen characters and improved graphics. Majora's Mask was largely received well by critics, citing its graphic improvements and deep storyline better than that of Ocarina of Time'. Its climactic finale is often cited as one of the most mysterious and exciting in Zelda history.

Notably, Majora's Mask is the only Zelda game to date to specifically name a character aside from Link and Zelda in the title.

Plot Edit

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File:Characters (Majora's Mask).png

The story of Majora's Mask is set some time after the events of Ocarina of Time. After the defeat of Ganon, Link set out on a journey with his horse, Epona, to find a friend he lost after his battles with evil. This is believed to be Navi, his fairy companion from Ocarina of Time. While traveling deep inside the Lost Woods, he is ambushed by the Skull Kid, a strange imp wearing a peculiar mask, later revealed to be Majora's Mask, and his two friends, the fairies Tatl and Tael. While Link is unconscious, the Skull Kid and his friends steal his Ocarina of Time. Link wakes up, only for the Skull Kid to ride away with Epona into the woods. Link follows him, and on his way falls into a hollow tree, seemingly a portal to Termina, a strange parallel world. Link is confronted and transformed into a Deku Scrub by the Skull Kid's evil magic. However, when the Skull Kid makes his exit, Tatl is separated from her brother, Tael, and has no choice but to ask Link for help to return to them.

File:Four Giants.png

In the caves beneath Termina, Link meets the mysterious Happy Mask Salesman, who has the power to change him back into his true shape. The Happy Mask Salesman needs Link to retrieve his Ocarina of Time in order to change him back. In exchange for this, he asks of Link to retrieve Majora's Mask from the Skull Kid. Exiting the caves beneath Termina, Link and Tatl find themselves in the middle of Clock Town, the geological and economic center of Termina. They discover that they have arrived while the city is in full preparation for its annual festival, the Carnival of Time. Little by little, Link learns that a looming catastrophe is threatening Termina: the Moon in the sky has assumed a horrible, evil face and abandoned its orbit and is traveling towards Termina; in three days, it will crash into Clock Town and destroy Termina. Link eventually tracks down the Skull Kid and gets his Ocarina of Time back. Upon touching his precious instrument, Link is overcome by a memory of Princess Zelda teaching him the "Song of Time", which has the power to turn back time. Before he turns back time to the First Day, he learns from Tatl's brother Tael that in order to defeat the evil of Majora's Mask, he must rescue the Four Giants, the guardian gods of Termina, from their imprisonment within four masks of Majora's servants in four respective temples, found in the four compass directions of Termina.

Link eventually helps the troubled inhabitants of Termina, overcomes traps, enemies, obstacles and completes dangerous tasks throughout Termina and successfully frees the Four Giants. He confronts the Skull Kid on the night of the Final Day, and plays the "Oath to Order" to summon the Four Giants. They manage to halt the Moon's descent to Termina. However, the spirit inside the mask, an evil entity known as Majora, abandons its now useless host, the Skull Kid, and retreats into the Moon. Link chases after it into the strange core of the Moon, and after a long and heated battle against the three incarnations of Majora, the entity is finally defeated and the menacing Moon disappears. After returning the now-lifeless mask to the Happy Mask Salesman, Link leaves his new friends and continues his journey, while the people of Termina once more celebrate the Carnival of Time, and the dawn of a new day. Template:Endspoiler

Gameplay Edit

File:Termina Field.png

The gameplay of Majora's Mask is based on the same 3D computer graphics engine used in its predecessor. Link retains a variety of basic actions, including walking, running, somersaulting, and limited jumping. Majora's Mask is the second game in the Zelda series to take place outside of the land of Hyrule, placing the protagonist Link (voiced by Fujiko Takimoto) in a land by the name of Termina. Here, Link finds that the Skull Kid has been wreaking havoc and is attempting to persuade the moon to abandon its orbit and crash into Termina. Link repeatedly returns to the point of his original appearance three days before the crash of the moon using a song called the "Song of Time" on the Ocarina of Time; he continuously relives these three days collecting the knowledge and abilities required to prevent the catastrophe.

The gameplay in Majora's Mask is arguably deeper than that of Ocarina of Time, which features Bombs, arrows, and music as tools to solve several of its puzzles; Majora's Mask retains these elements and includes the use of Masks, character transformations, and the limit of a three-day cycle to add further difficulty and variety to many quests in the game. While it is notably shorter than Ocarina of Time, it is still widely considered a successful and popular game.

Masks and transformations Edit

Masks, which had first appeared as a sidequest in Ocarina of Time, play a much more important role in Majora's Mask. Whereas Ocarina of Time has only a few masks, Majora's Mask has twenty-four masks, many of which are necessary to progress through the game. Some masks in Majora's Mask are invaluable, others are helpful, and a few are used only once.

When in human form, Link uses a variety of weapons. The sword is his standard weapon and is the most frequently used weapon in the game. Link can attack enemies with a vertical slash, a horizontal slash, a thrust, and a jump slash, all of which contribute to damaging the enemy. The shield is used for defending. The Hero's Bow and arrows are typically used to attack a distant enemy or to activate a switch. Link can use Deku Nuts to stun enemies, then inflict damage with another weapon. Bombs can be used to blow up enemies and other obstacles, while the Hookshot is capable of latching onto an enemy and pulling it towards Link. Deku Sticks can be used as a Torch when set ablaze.

File:Majora's Mask image.png

Three special masks allow Link to transform into different species: the Deku Mask transforms Link into a Deku Scrub, the Goron Mask into a Goron, and the Zora Mask into a Zora. Each transformation grants unique abilities: the Deku Scrub can perform a spin dash, shoot bubbles from its mouth, plant itself into and launch itself out of special Deku Flowers, drop Deku Nuts while flying in the air, and skip on water a limited number of times. The Goron transformation can roll up in a ball and spin around, extend spikes and use magic power once top speed is reached, and stomp the ground with his massive body. The Zora transformation is not very agile on the ground, but its sleek body allows Link to swim through the water rapidly, throw boomerang-like fins from his arms, and form a forcefield. Many areas of the game can only be accessed by Link's use of these abilities.

The three transformations and Link himself all receive different reactions from various non-player characters. For instance, Link's Deku Scrub form is that of a Deku Scrub child, and thus guards will not allow him to exit Clock Town. His Goron and Zora forms, however, are those of adults of the races and so the guards let him leave Clock Town without speaking. (Human Link, despite being a child, is able to convince the guards to allow him to leave chiefly because of his ownership of a sword.) Dogs will also interact differently with all four forms of Link. As a human, Link receives an indifferent response from dogs, which will go about their business as they would in Ocarina of Time. When Link is in Deku Scrub form, however, he will be attacked if he goes near a dog. The hulking size of the Goron transformation will frighten the dog away, and the Zora transformation elicits an attraction from the dog.

File:MajorasMaskMiakuPractice.jpg

A special mask called the Fierce Deity's Mask can be obtained at the end of the game if all of the other masks have been located. This mask can only be used in boss battles without the use of cheats or hacks. The Fierce Deity's Mask transforms Link into a larger, more powerful version of himself, with characteristic face markings, malicious-looking white eyes, a silver tunic, and mystical torso armor. He also uses a giant two-handed helix-shaped sword (wielded in the same way as Biggoron's Sword from Ocarina of Time) which is capable of shooting bursts of magical energy when targeting an enemy. This mask may only be used during boss battles in normal gameplay, although a glitch in some versions of Majora's Mask allows use elsewhere. Fierce Deity Link (also called Oni Link) features the same voice as Adult Link from Ocarina of Time (voiced by Nobuyuki Hiyama).

Some other important masks are the Great Fairy Mask, which helps retrieve the Stray Fairies scattered throughout the four temples; the Bunny Hood, which allows Link to run faster; the Stone Mask, which turns Link invisible to most non-player characters and enemies; and the Blast Mask, which emits unlimited bombs (at the expense of health—however, Link can use his shield to block the explosion and avoid damage). Less valuable masks are usually involved only in optional sidequests. Examples are the Postman's Hat, which allows Link access to a Piece of Heart hidden in a postbox, and Kafei's Mask, which can initiate a long and complicated sidequest that offers several masks as prizes.

Three masks other than the transformation masks are required to complete the game: the Garo's Mask, which is needed for the Ghost Hunter to grant Link passage to Ikana Canyon; the Gibdo Mask, which allows Link to speak to Gibdos and navigate through the Ikana Well; and the Captain's Hat, which allows Link to converse with Stalchilds and order them to open graves in Ikana Graveyard. One of these graves contain a stone where the "Song of Storms" is engraved. The Giant's Mask, though not strictly necessary for the completion of the game, is extremely valuable. Without it, the boss fight against Twinmold becomes significantly harder. The Giant's Mask appears in the Stone Tower Temple and can only be missed if Link chooses not to collect it after defeating Eyegore.

Three-day cycle Edit

Since its debut, the Legend of Zelda series has always placed a heavy emphasis on free, open-ended exploration. Shigeru Miyamoto's The Legend of Zelda, released in 1986, is a vastly different game from his 1985 game, Super Mario Bros.: the timed, linear levels are replaced with an expansive world that the player may explore at will, provided he has the tools to reach his destination. He may revisit areas he has been to and proceeds with the game only when he is ready. The game has no score; just the satisfaction of finding hidden treasures and collecting every item. This concept is retained in Majora's Mask, but for the first time in the series, a time limit of sorts is imposed. Link is not free to wander around a Temple forever; by the end of the Final Day, he must travel back in time, restarting from Clock Town. Players must plan what to accomplish in one cycle; attempting to complete too much could result in running out of time half-way through a task. That in turn could result in being forced to abandon it and start over in another cycle.

Link can easily keep track of time by a persistent timer at the bottom of the screen. One hour in the game is approximately forty-five real-time seconds. Before the end of the seventy-two game hours, Link must return to the beginning of the first day to repeat the cycle. By doing so, Link is stripped of minor items collected during that cycle, but major items such as masks, key events, and weapons remain.

Link is not the only character who plans his time. Link can observe the constant schedule of several non-player characters during the three-day cycle, many of which are in need of help in some way. Using the Bomber's Notebook, a scheduler of sorts given to him by the Bombers Secret Society of Justice in Clock Town, Link can keep track of the schedules of multiple persons and identify the crucial points at which he may intervene to assist. By timing his actions to arrive at the correct moment and resolve problems ranging from providing a soldier with medicine to reuniting an engaged couple, Link can earn masks or other beneficial items to aid him.

As time approaches the next day the screen gets smaller and smaller whenever Link is outside as the clock chimes.

Songs Edit

The Ocarina of Time plays an important role in Majora's Mask. Link must learn to play magical songs from those he meets in order to gain special abilities, ranging from controlling the weather to such powers as teleportation and time travel. Different transformations use different instruments: Deku Link plays the Deku pipes, Goron Link plays the drums, and Zora Link plays the guitar.

The most important song in the game is the "Song of Time", which returns from the last game with new powers. Chief among these is the song's ability to return Link to the beginning of the first day; this is the only way to revisit the three-day cycle and permanently save one's progress. Other major songs in Majora's Mask are the "Sonata of Awakening", which awakens some characters and grants access to the Woodfall Temple, the "Goron's Lullaby", which puts some characters to sleep and clears the path to the Snowhead Temple, the "New Wave Bossa Nova", which summons a giant sea turtle to carry Link to the Great Bay Temple, the "Elegy of Emptiness", which creates mannequins of Link's various forms used to reach Stone Tower Temple, the "Song of Soaring", which allows instant transportation between a number of fixed points, the "Song of Storms", a carry-over from Ocarina of Time, the "Song of Healing" that breaks various curses, and the "Oath to Order", which summons the Four Giants in order to stop the falling moon. Two secret songs that Link is capable of accessing include the "Inverted Song of Time," which can slow the current flow of time, and the "Song of Double Time", which sends Link forward in time by half a day. Unlike all other songs in the game which use a preset melody, the player creates his own melody for the "Scarecrow's Song", which is used to summon a scarecrow. The "Scarecrow's Song", the "Song of Soaring" and the manipulated versions of the "Song of Time" are not strictly necessary for the completion of the game.

Termina Edit

Main article: Termina
File:Termina.png

Termina appears to be an alternate version of Hyrule: the majority of the Ocarina characters were reused in Majora's Mask with slight differences. For example, the younger and older versions of Malon from Ocarina of Time appear as sisters named Romani and Cremia living on a farm on Milk Road. Anju, whose chickens could be retrieved for a reward in Ocarina of Time, is a major character in a side quest. Several other characters were also reused in Majora's Mask, including the vagrant from Ocarina of Time, who administrates the Clock Town bank, and the Carpenters, whose occupations remain the same. In the manga, Termina is a parallel universe.

The land of Termina contains a wide variety of terrain. Clock Town lies at the center of Termina and is the place Link starts from when he returns to the beginning of the three-day cycle. The centerpiece of Clock Town is the large clock on Clock Tower that counts down the three days before the crash of the moon. Termina Field surrounds Clock Town; beyond lies mountains, a swamp, a bay, and a canyon, each of which houses a dungeon referred to as a Temple. The main portion of the game features Link traveling to these dungeons and defeating a boss within each. Once Link completes the temples, he gains access to the moon in order to confront and defeat the final boss, Majora's Mask.

Temples Edit

Located in the Southern Swamp, Woodfall Temple is the first dungeon visited in Majora's Mask. This shrine serves as a place of worship for the Deku; only members of the Deku Royal Family know the song that causes the temple to rise out of the swamp. Link enters this temple to rescue the Deku Princess. On his way, he picks up the Hero's Bow and purifies the toxic water that has been tormenting the inhabitants of Woodfall. The boss of the Temple, Odolwa, is a large warrior equipped with a shield, a sword, and a mask. Odolwa has the ability to summon insects with a ritual dance and is agile, despite his size. Link can defeat him by shooting him with arrows while he dances, and then strike him with the sword to inflict damage.

Snowhead Temple atop Snowhead Peak is the second temple. Link enters the temple to halt a blizzard that threatens to wipe out the Goron race. This dungeon is full of snow and ice. However, the Fire Arrow found in the dungeon melt many of the frozen obstacles. Goht is the guardian of the Snowfall Temple and resembles a large mechanical bull. Link transforms into a Goron to battle him, rolling on a circular track and attempting to attack him with protruding spikes. It is also possible for Link to stand in the safety of the doorway and shoot Goht with arrows as he passes by. After the boss of the temple is defeated, winter ends and spring returns to the mountains.

Great Bay Temple, located far offshore of Zora Cape, is the third temple of the game, and something within it has been polluting the waters of Great Bay. The Gerudo Pirates believed that the temple contained a treasure and so stole Zora Eggs in order to ransom them for the knowledge of how to enter the temple. Although their boat was blown away in a storm, Link manages to enter the temple on the back of a giant turtle. The waters of Great Bay Temple prove a great obstacle until Link obtains the Ice Arrow hidden within the dungeon. These arrows can freeze most of the obstacles. A gigantic fish known as Gyorg is the boss of Great Bay Temple. Link must stand on a small circular platform and shoot Gyorg in the face with arrows. When the fish collapses from exhaustion, Link transforms into a Zora to attack it from the water, then flees to the safety of the platform before Gyorg can retaliate. While pollution coming from Great Bay Temple ceases once the boss has been defeated, the waters of Great Bay are not clean by the end of the game.

Stone Tower Temple, housed in Stone Tower at the far end of Ikana Canyon, is the final dungeon. This confusing labyrinth is home to the Light Arrow and, according to Igos du Ikana, undead King of Ikana, it is the curse of the Stone Tower Temple that has left Ikana a wasteland filled with the undead. The King of Ikana requests that Link defeat the evil within the Stone Tower Temple and shut the Stone Tower, though it is never actually closed during the game. After completing the upright version of the temple, Link fires a light arrow into a mysterious spider sigil at the entrance to invert Stone Tower in order to proceed through the remainder of the temple. Twinmold, the guardian of Stone Tower Temple, is actually two giant sand worms. In order to defeat this boss easier, Link can don the Giant Mask, allowing him to grow to an immense size. The battle takes place in a large stretch of desert-like wilderness, scattered with ruins and giant rocks. After growing to the size of the worms, Link strikes each one in the head or the tail to slay both.

The four Temple bosses each leave Boss Remains (masks that the bosses were wearing) when defeated. These masks were used to restrain the Four Giants and prevent them from saving Termina; once Link has all four, he can confront the three forms of the final boss, Majora.

Development Edit

File:Tatl and Tael.jpg

Following the release of The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening in 1993, fans waited over four years for Ocarina of Time, the active development of which took two years. By re-using the game engine and graphics from Ocarina of Time, a smaller team required only one year to finish Majora's Mask. According to director Eiji Aonuma, the team was "faced with the very difficult question of just what kind of game could follow Ocarina of Time and its worldwide sales of seven million units", and as a solution, came up with the three-day system to "make the game data more compact while still providing deep gameplay." Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto had a less active role in the production than usual.

The first reports of Majora's Mask started in May 1999, when Famitsu stated that a long-planned Zelda expansion for the 64DD was underway in Japan with no release date set. This project was tentatively titled "Ura Zelda", which translates to "Another Zelda". This expansion would take Ocarina of Time and make changes to the level designs, much like the Second Quest in The Legend of Zelda expanded upon the original game. In June, Nintendo announced that "Zelda: Gaiden", which roughly translates to "Zelda: Side Story" would appear as a playable demo at Nintendo's SpaceWorld exhibition on August 27 1999. It is assumed by the media that Zelda: Gaiden is the new working title for Ura Zelda.

Screenshots of Zelda: Gaiden released in August show unmistakable elements of the final version of Majora's Mask, such as the large clock that dominates the center of Clock Town, the persistent timer at the bottom of the screen, and the Goron Mask. Story and gameplay details revealed later that month show that the opening story of Link's travel to a parallel world where the moon is threatening to crash as well as the use of masks to transform in a Goron, a Zora, and a Deku Scrub are already in place.

That same month, Miyamoto confirmed in a Famitsu article that Ura Zelda and Zelda: Gaiden are separate projects.

It is unclear if Zelda: Gaiden is an offshoot of Ura Zelda or if the two were always separate. Ura Zelda would become the Master Quest in North America, eventually released on a bonus disc for the GameCube given to those that preordered The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker; a North American Nintendo 64 release was cancelled due to the failure of the 64DD.

In November, Nintendo announced a "holiday 2000" release date for Zelda: Gaiden. By March 2000, new tentative titles were announced that would become the finalized titles: The Legend of Zelda: Mask of Mujula in Japan and The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask elsewhere.

Improvements from Ocarina of Time Edit

Majora's Mask runs on an upgraded version of the game engine used in Ocarina of Time and requires the use of the 4MB Expansion Pak. The requirement is thought to be due to Majora's Mask's possible origin as a 64DD title, which would necessitate an extra 4MB of RAM. The use of the Expansion Pak allows for greater draw distances, more accurate dynamic lighting, more detailed textures, more detailed animation, complex framebuffer effects such as motion blur, and more characters displayed on the screen. The expanded draw distance permits the player to see extremely far in Termina, and eliminates the use of fog to obscure distant areas that had appeared in Ocarina of Time. The extra memory was also used to manage the real-time NPC interactions. The texture design is also one of the best created for the Nintendo 64. Although some textures have a low resolution, they are colorful and diverse, which gives each area its own unique look. Finally, all building interiors are rendered in real-time, unlike the pre-rendered backgrounds in Ocarina of Time.

The music was composed by Kōji Kondō, whose score featured new interpretations of familiar melodies from Ocarina of Time and other previous titles in the Zelda series along with new material. The main overworld theme from the original Legend of Zelda returned, after being conspicuously absent from Ocarina of Time. Fujiko Takimoto, who contributed the voice of Link in Ocarina of Time, also voiced Link in Majora's Mask. Nobuyuki Hiyama (who also voiced the adult Link in Ocarina of Time) contributed the voice of Fierce Deity Link.

Rereleases Edit

GameCube re-release Edit

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In 2003, Nintendo re-released Majora's Mask on the Nintendo GameCube as part of the Collector's Edition, a special promotional disc which also contained Ocarina of Time, as well as the original two 8-bit NES Zelda games. This disc could be purchased with a GameCube console, as part of a subscription offer to Nintendo Power magazine along with Mario Kart: Double Dash, or through Nintendo's official website by purchasing and registering a certain number of first-party Nintendo games. The offer expired in early 2004.

Similar to some other GameCube re-releases, the game is not a port in the traditional sense, but rather the ROM of the original game running on a software emulator; this has been proven by the ROM-dumping community, who have been able to extract N64-format ROMs from the disc that can even be booted on a Nintendo 64. The only differences are the colors of the action buttons due to the Gamecube's green A button and red B button and the pause screen's use and depiction of the L button as the left page scroller, as opposed to Z. Aside from these, because it is only emulated (rather than altered for the new console), there are some timing discrepancies between the two consoles, and some of the music sounds inaccurate on the GameCube. Another issue that has been raised is that the game unexpectedly crashes on the GameCube occasionally; this is once again caused by the inaccuracies of the emulator.

Virtual Console Edit

Majora's Mask was released on the Wii's Virtual Console service in Europe and Australia on April 3, 2009; in Japan on April 7, 2009; and in North America on May 18, 2009. The game can be downloaded for 1,200 Nintendo Points in Japan and 1,000 Nintendo Points in PAL territories and North America. It was the 300th game to be released on the North American Virtual Console.

Reception Edit

Template:VG Reviews The game sold approximately 314,000 copies in its first week of sales in Japan and three million copies worldwide. Despite superficial similarities to Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask is often described as very different and much darker than the rest of the series. Edge magazine referred to Majora's Mask as "...the oddest, darkest and saddest of all Zelda games". Reviews have generally been favorable, although opinions are mixed regarding whether the game is as good as its predecessor.

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