Majora’s Mask’s Place in the Zelda Series

HanyouSeptember 21st, 2012 by Hanyou

Majora’s Mask is often misconstrued as a dark horse of the Zelda franchise. However it is labeled — “underrated, misunderstood,” etc. — most of these comments simply point toward the misconception that Majora’s Mask isn’t appreciated enough. It came out at the end of a console’s life, after the “wow” factor faded away. Many of the reviews for the game weren’t as positive as those for Ocarina of Time, sometimes for good reasons and sometimes for arbitrary reasons. Likewise, many of the gamers who enjoyed the fairy tale atmosphere of Ocarina of Time, as well as the epic story, might have been initially put off by the radical change of pace in Majora’s Mask.

But most of them have come around by now, and we live in an era when Nintendo has floated the idea of a Majora’s Mask remake. Whatever the game is, and however it was initially received, it can now safely be said that it is one of the most talked-about and heralded achievements in the Zelda series. It is also a supremely important game, and here’s where it might not get enough credit. After all, it wasn’t as revolutionary as Ocarina of Time, nor was it as representative of Zelda games as a whole. It clearly didn’t have as big of an influence as Ocarina of Time, else we might be seeing more masks and three-day cycles in gaming at large. But many of its underlying ideas are either wholly unique or point towards inevitable future trends in the Zelda series. In hindsight, this much, at least, should be evident.

Ocarina of Time was unquestionably the quintessential Zelda game. It had all the basic elements: Themed dungeons and areas, a three-act story set in two variations of the same world, and a standard villain. It was rightly proclaimed a masterpiece. Viewing Majora’s Mask in light of Ocarina of Time’s success makes the dividing line between the two games even clearer. Majora’s Mask, far from being a standard, definitive Zelda title, deviates so far from whatever standard had been set that it’s almost hard to judge next to Ocarina of Time.

It can be easy to forget that Majora’s Mask is part of an established pattern; we should have seen it coming. The two even-numbered Zelda games at that point had already pushed the series forward into uncharted territory, and placed established, beloved heroes in weird and unfamiliar locations. In a sense, Majora’s Mask was following tradition. Zelda II, a direct sequel to The Legend of Zelda, was so different in such important ways that it has truly become the black sheep of the franchise, if for no other reason than its conventions have not been followed by any canon game. Very little about its gameplay was recognizably Zelda, at least not in accordance with the standard set by the first game. Its story went on a completely different path, choosing to explore an ancient legend that was more complex than the simple save the princess scenario of the first title.

Link’s Awakening was similar. Once again a direct sequel, it was in many ways a parody of every other Zelda game. The setting was tropical and far more vague than the Hyrule we’d been presented with. The story had nothing to do with Ganon, and barely made mention of anything important to Zelda canon. Dungeons progressed in a more linear fashion with more clear-cut direction, and individual characters took center stage to a greater extent. It helped pave the way for Ocarina of Time, but it was also different, and that’s part of its charm.

Majora’s Mask is another Link’s Awakening. Both take place in bizarre, under-explained worlds. Link’s Awakening offers more explanation for Koholint Island than Majora’s Mask does for Termina, and indeed, Koholint’s nature resides at the center of its story. By the end of the game, it becomes all too clear what happens on the island. In both cases, there is so much beneath the surface that they may just have more substance than their predecessors; they’re deceptive. Both games are more personal, putting Link in the position of arbiter over other characters’ individual lives on a smaller, more focused scale.

Majora’s Mask also has a number of its own ideas, and there are enough in this game to fill several different ones. There is the deep time system, and coupled with it, the save system, which offer new challenges but also new opportunities. There are the masks, which present a messy, unique take on classic Zelda items which is unlike anything else in the Zelda series. And affecting both is the overworld design and sidequest focus.

Odd that such a different game could be such a clear harbinger of the future of its franchise; we should have seen it coming.

Majora’s Mask presents a more superficially linear quest than its predecessors. The idea to allow Link to spend more time in the overworld and less time in the separate dungeons made this, in a sense, more like the 2D games than Ocarina of Time. Whereas Ocarina of Time had a wide open approach to its overworld, with little challenge offered by most of the different regions, Majora’s Mask’s is labyrinthine and consistently challenging. This all comes at a price. Previous Zelda games had more dungeons, and thus offered more “parts” to the main quest. Dungeons are not just there to act as levels; they also help break up the gameplay into different, manageable sections. In earlier Zelda titles, this allows you to explore the overworld at your own pace. Majora’s Mask has four dungeons with four sections of the main quest. This makes for a more linear experience. If you don’t like doing something, it’s harder to drop it in favor of something else.

In Ocarina of Time, for instance, the first three dungeons progress in a linear way. While you can explore Zora’s Domain before completing Dodongo’s Cavern, for the most part, you’re directed through the early parts of the quest. Turn the clock forward seven years, though, and you’re set loose on the world. Last time I played Ocarina of Time, I completed the Fire Temple first, then did the first half of the Water Temple, then the Forest Temple, then the Bottom of the Well, etc. None of this is the “default” way to complete the game, but given the number of dungeons and the variety of each section, Ocarina of Time can feel like a different quest each and every time you play it. Majora’s Mask offered checklists instead. With four major dungeons, each sidequest had to be completed in order, and with the time limit, it was very hard to do anything else at the same time. The effect this had on the game was that of a linear progression. No longer were you free to explore the overworld at your leisure: You were constricted by the clock and the quests. If there was part of a quest you didn’t like, too bad. You had to power through it. I enjoy, for example, taking the eggs back from the Gerudo Pirates, but that particular quest can be so time-consuming, especially without a certain mask, that being forced to power through it can be difficult. While there may be “checkpoints” in such quests where you can turn back time, they’re not always clear, and the overworld still feels a bit more closed off than you might expect.

This is clearly a precursor to modern design decisions in the Zelda series. Arbitrary roadblocks are now put in place so it is actually impossible to progress through the main quest in whatever order you want; the preset order is usually the only way to do things, which can lead to some very tedious moments indeed. In addition, the overworld focus in Majora’s Mask was aided by the four-dungeon scheme, but it has bled into modern games as well. Even with far more dungeons, overworld quests can be long, difficult, and constricting. This was actually a fairly good idea for Majora’s Mask. I was amazed the first time I played Majora’s Mask at how dense the overworld was and how many things there were to do. The sense of tension in that game gave it a unique flavor. Regardless of what you think about subsequent Zelda titles’ insistence on lengthy overworld quests, the fact that some of the fundamental design decisions in Majora’s Mask have so clearly influenced future games in the franchise, specifically Twilight Princess, Phantom Hourglass, Spirit Tracks, and Skyward Sword, means it is more important than it may at first appear. Skyward Sword was touted as the game that brought the dungeon style of gameplay to the overworld, but Majora’s Mask was just as successful at doing the same thing, regardless of the occasional tedium on display. Who can forget the twisting pathways of Ikana Canyon or the ever-increasing challenges of the swamp?

More obvious is the sidequest focus. The main quest can get tedious, but the sidequests, which were numerous, helped alleviate that somewhat. Majora’s Mask was the first Zelda game to fully develop the idea of a sidquest, not just as a means to an end, but as an end in itself. Masks weren’t always that useful, but at least you had fun getting them. Sidequests here would take much longer than their counterparts in previous games for equal or lesser rewards. In fact, this approach wasn’t all that different from the approach to the main quest, but with sidequests, especially considering that they are optional, the longer, more thorough requirements arguably only made them more fun. Getting Epona back was required, but because it was tied in with character development and led to other sidequests, it didn’t feel like it. While it was exceedingly difficult to do, in the end, it was rewarding, and it offered one of the funner minigames in the 3D Zelda titles. Likewise, the Anju and Kafei quest, which wasn’t required at all, was extremely memorable. Every next step of that quest felt earned, and the reward was simply getting further. It helped enrich the sparsely-explained world and its inhabitants, providing the gamer with precious context. All the while, we got to explore different aspects of the gameplay and take full advantage of the core time system.

Nothing like this had been done in a Zelda game before. The closest thing was the Biggoron’s Sword quest in Ocarina of Time, but the scale of even medium-sized quests in Majora’s Mask outranks it. After Majora’s Mask was released, games like The Wind Waker and Skyward Sword only continued this trend.

Of course, the importance of the story also cannot be overstated. Not only is Termina unique in the Zelda series, it’s arguably unique in gaming at large. We’re not given much explanation about it, though it certainly calls for an explanation. Games like Myst, which also transport the protagonist to unique worlds, generally explain the origin of those worlds or at least what is going on. Termina itself is a mystery. For anyone who’s played Ocarina of Time, it’s also potentially unsettling, since in terms of canon many of the characters therein already exist.

Majora himself is a rare sort of villain, and he also defies explanation. He’s the sort of thing you only see in cosmic horror stories, driven by a force that is so fundamentally different from that of the protagonist and even the weird world around him that the only possible end to their conflict is destruction of one or the other party.

Sadly, while both the gameplay structure and sidequest focus of Majora’s Mask have had a profound effect on the series at large, the game’s approach of the plot and world hasn’t been seen again. As previously stated, it was arguably a development on Link’s Awakening’s theme — a unique game in its own right — but its villain made it unique even among video games in general. Demise offered an opportunity for another destructive force akin to Majora, but we were presented instead with a predictable precursor to Ganon. Perhaps Majora was best as a unique villain.

Majora’s Mask is that rare game that manages to carve out its own distinct place in the series that houses it, but still feels absolutely pivotal and influential to that series. Without Majora’s Mask, it’s unlikely we would have the modern Zelda game’s structure or sidequest focus.

Author: Hanyou

Hanyou has worked for the article staff, both as a writer and as an editor, for over a year. He has also been an active member of the Zelda Dungeon forums since 2008 and an avid fan of the Zelda franchise since 1998. He has degrees in writing.

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  • Rob

    MM, over all it’s a great game!

  • Axle the Beast

    Great read, though shockingly I don’t think I’ve ever read an article by you I’ve disagreed with more.

    I’m with you Majora’s Mask’s influence on the series overall, and certainly it’s not an underrated game in any sense and has lent a sidequest focus to future games like The Wind Waker and Skyward Sword (though in both it was implemented amongst major problems that Majora’s Mask didn’t share).

    Majora’s Mask’s overworld is not comparable to the “dungeon style”. It might have been filled with enemies, but in terms of the style of A Link to the Past or Skyward Sword, it was only marginally closer to it than Ocarina of Time was, and is honestly roughly equivalent to Twilight Princess’ overworld. There was an emphasis on quests and tasks within the overworld, but these were limited to character interactions for the most part; all dungeon-like sequences were kept within actual dungeons or dungeon-like sub-areas.

    You also really can’t call Ocarina of Time’s overworld open, at least not by choice. It was rather obvious that they intended it to be closed off; you weren’t really meant to be able to take a dungeon item without completing the dungeon and go do another one instead. There was a clear order they intended, they just were no good at designing it to be blocked off. Majora’s Mask was, effectively, what they clearly meant to do with Ocarina of Time. While it’s certainly poorly designed as such, OoT was basically just as much of a checklist, even if the checklist was shorter.

    Smaller point, but Demise being a destructive entity like Majora and being a precursor to Ganon are not mutually exclusive, like you seem to imply. Independent of his motivations, Demise appears as just as much of an alien and elemental force as The Imprisoned as Majora did. When revealed, he behaved much like Ganon, but without most of the human behavior. He was still an elemental force of power with unexplained origins and an unexplained purpose. He’s a combination of the two villains if anything.

    Again, great read. I just disagree a lot. xP

    • Alexander Ledden

      my brain hurts

      • faror

        if i had a brain im sure it would hurt.

        • linkasourous


        • WiiZeldaFan the second

          Same, I have half a brain cell and two dead flies…

    • GaroXicon

      Regarding the point about Demise’s similarity (or lack thereof) to Majora, I’d argue that the simple fact that Demise has clearly expressed motivations is what makes him wholly unlike Majora, a being that is ostensibly motivated by nothing other than to spread chaos.

      But that’s really beside the point; great article (I always love reading and talking about Majora’s Mask, which I believe is the single greatest game ever made) that I mostly agreed with.

    • 7DS

      You can’t say something older than a newer thing is like the newer thing. I’m really sick of people making that mistake. And there’s always the retards who just don’t know English, but we can see that you know English. Majora’s Mask wouldn’t be like Twilight Princess. Just doesn’t make sense. You could say an aspect but it still is broken.
      You seem to say: “Dungeon style,” as in puzzles. Well that was a good laugh.
      Puzzles are fine by me. But “puzzles” in skyward sword that take a measly 5 seconds to figure out aren’t puzzles, theyre OBNOXIOUS.
      You had the right thing about OoT attempting to be closed off but than just made it sound like a checklist. there was only 1 dungeon that you literally had no control of when you visited it, the Shadow Dungeon. the cutscene just literally wont activate until you have played fire and water. ive checked this. i played forest-water-spirit-couldnt go into shadow, so ended up fire-shadow. it cant be a checklist if you dont go in order. (checklists normally are in order.)
      Majora was explained. If you go back to the boring temple that just didnt feel right, and look at the architecture, why is triforce at the BOTTOM of the blocks? why does the sales dude want you to “BELIEVE IN yourself.” why does the Garos say: “belief or disbelief rests within you, to die without leaving a corpse, that is the way of us garo.” belief. believe in yourself. to die without leaving a corpse. to die without leaving an impact on the world. the whole story was about the goddesses hurting A HEART, impaling a passionate heart with compassionate understanding green eyes in it, turning it bloodshot, the heart realizing the very goddesses that created it is making it suffer for the redemption of the people. if i impaled your heart and did it for people you dont care about, wouldnt you wanna smash the entire city to dust? because obviously they wanted you to believe in yourself and not give up on a planet that is about to be reduced to nothing but organic film and flimsy things. back to stone tower temple. why do you think the temple flips upside down? if nothing more, a tower to the heavens, which also is insulting the heavens, read the tower of babel, shows that they were trying to get to heaven. you wondered why that mask only worked in the portal instead of to heaven, upside down to a desert roasting planet with beasts and sculptures of majoras mask? the giants mask couldnt save them from anything but the hell they created. its almost complete irony. you can find half of what i think about majoras mask from hylian dan. but he didnt elaborate enough for my taste. (as you can see by things that i said not in his article.) i find that most games have a reference to a religon which complicates the game more. its not a “simple dungeon theme,” when you can see christianity and peace symbols as the lay out of the original zelda, a reference to another christian belief in mm, a shield that was islams symbol, why else would they put that? what exactly did islam do when it started? a little boy that gained trust between followers, like young link. people didnt really know him and the equivalent to mido wouldve been priests shunning him. but he went to the great deku tree, and got a prophecy from “god.” he went on to do minor achievements. when he was older he went through and converted some to gain power and than slaughtered whatever wouldnt comply. the sages joined with link. ganon got murdered. his blood sprayed forth. Muhammad wasnt important when he was a kid. he was just another boy like was what he than did later that made him important. think of hyrule as the middle east. Mecca was the city in the desert. (gerudo.) the umayyads in power at the time didnt like him. but they either converted, or later got slaughtered. the final enemy was from the desert that retreated into a castle. ganon seems to have been a priest of sorts that ran away to a place like that one holy room that kept the old polytheistic beliefs there. the last umayyads who didnt convert ran to their last shrine , the ka’ba.
      a buddhist temple layed out by the water. what did buddhists believe in? they believed in peace. they have everything they couldve wanted, so they never thought another did have water, (the temple has a lot of water, and buddhists have their needs, which water is a MASSIVE human need.) buddhists believed nothing had to be solved with war. buddhists were once pure. after time they slowly decayed after there prophet, the cleaner of the tmeple left. they soon had theyre own spiders and enemies lurking about like how buddha was origin ally not meant to be a god, yet some revered him as so. because there isnt a flat out dictionary telling you what the games dungeons means simply implies that there is no complete backstory to the game?
      because based off what you said, oracle of seasons has terrible dungeons. but if you realize closely, capcom made the game great. when youre saving the goddess of power, you fight, a lot. when in ages you find the goddess of wisdom, you think. capcom made the only zelda game that stumped me. they had me for a good couple days on bringing that ceiling down. but thats beside the point. there was much more in the game than a simple 1st level of blooms taxonomy playthrough while a 3rd or 2nd level wouldve unraveled nintendos secret within their zelda titles.

      i actually took a while to write this, which is much more than i normally do to comment on people, so i do kinda hope you read this… even though i couldve elaborated much more and actually take the time to use grammar.

      • DWray SweZ

        shut the eff up about grammer u twit….

        • Midnafan

          this was about grammar?!!! 0.o what the heck does comparing link to Muhammad have to do with grammar? (or anything for that matter. i’m so confused)

      • Dumbass


        • linkasourous

          Living up to your name, huh?

      • Midnafan

        ………………………………………………WTF?! What do you mean, that’s besides the point?! what was the point of this essay?! I can see you have a vast knowledge of religious history, which i respect, but this rant or whatever its supposed to be is so horribly structured i’m not even sure what it is you’re talking about. you just kind of ran-on your (evidence? examples? anecdotes?etc?) to the point where even though i read the whole thing you totally lost me. What were you even complaining about? i thought it was grammar, but then that would be hypocritical cause if you turned this into an essay and turned it into my American Literature teacher, she would give it an F no questions asked (then again she does that to me too and i actually try :’()

      • JeredenDonnar

        WHAT???? please don’t take so long to write something that doesn’t make any sense. The whole Believing/ Haert with green eyes thing and Tower to the heavens thing mad no sense. Please pick ONE topic and then go crazy on that.

      • Never

        Did you seriously just compare Mohammad to Link..? Pfhahahahaha wow, next we’ll be comparing Ganon to Christ!
        And did you seriously just compare a game to a religion?
        Ooh wow.

        The only “references to religion” are the ones only you create from nothing, “it seems similar to one small thing in this religion so the game must be referencing it!” logic is quite simply not logical at all, it’s you amusingly drawing a connecting line that didn’t even exist before, below even baseless conjecture. Congratulations though at playing god. You’ve created something – from nothing! Whoa!

        You couldn’t even get your pathetic grammar argument right. If you’d open your delusional eyes for a moment you’d realize he said “the equivalent of TPs …” not “it’s like TPs …” and even if he did- by anyone with half a brain it’s easily assumed what he meant.

        Though I’m arguing with a in dimwitted 12 year old possible Muslim and they’ve proven on many occasions to lack be specifically lacking in the logic department.

        Next time, young dimwit, leave your religious beliefs at the door when you play a game and maybe, just maybe! You’ll find there aren’t as many religious references! Now how could that have happened?!

        • Arshad Mawla

          He is not Muslim. A Muslim would right Mohammed (pbuh)-peace be upon him. He did not right that. And i agree with leaving religion out of video games. it is pointless trying to link the two.

        • Arshad Mawla

          P.S no need to insult Muslims. Lets not be hasty to make judgements. Besides, everyone here has one thing in common. They all like the Zelda franchise in general.

      • amrole

        I think you got an interesting point of you. If its something you believe in; go for it. I’m not much for religion. Sometimes, designers put a personal spin on things. Who knows what they put in zelda games that comes close to heart. Zelda is loved by everyone and its awesome how people view it differently.

      • Arshad Mawla

        Dude, nice observation, but it is just a video game. I think you are overthinking by bringing religion into the matter. Pretty sure nintendo wasn’t thinking of Islam, or Buddhism or Christianity when they made the game. :) :P

      • A GAMER

        Please no stupid commets that are just redarded.

      • LINKY

        dude now MY brain hurts

        • LINKY

          O and by the way, MM was made in about, hmm, a year and a half. They couldnt of been able to cram all of that AND hylian dans into the game. O and for the record, the sidequest, the mini dungeons, and the enimies of the overworld COMPLETELY made up for only 4 dungeons(that was directed at the author right there, not you 7DS. But the first part was)

      • IgosDuIkana5225
    • yellow_dinosaur

      I agree 50/50 with what you say and what the article says.

    • Zeldabater

      I disagree with you axle on the fact that Majora’s Mask’s overworld is comparable to Twilight Princess’. The sheer size difference is the major difference in my mind. Also in TP there was plenty of space that didn’t have any significance, (most of Hyrule Field) while the nonsignificant places in MM was just the small area surrounding Termina.

  • Jam9t3

    Majoras mask will forever be my favourite zelda game and stonetower will always be the best.

    • Tehlul


      • Jam9t3

        Wow! i must have some sort of psychic powers, i knew that YOU would leave a negative reply, or maybe its just common sense, knowing someone like you.

  • 60thchip

    i dont get why antone said anything bad about this game, its always been my fav

  • DavidMI

    I don’t mean to be glib or shallow, but I just had to tune out when I read it described as, “a supremely important game”. Not just because it’s making a declarative statement out of something that’s an opinion (one I disagree with)….but because it’s just such pompous writing! “Supremely important”? Jeeze, imagine you said that to some other dudes while you’re hanging out. They’d all just roll their eyes and change the subject.

    • ColdRadio

      I’m impressed a man of your apparent intelligence made it as far as the second paragraph. Well done.

  • guest

    Tits, Boobs, Jugs, Breasts, Cans

    • Tehlul

      You forgot melons

      • Dark Knight Of Hyrule

        And sweater puppets

        • crb

          and tatas

          • NoInnapropiateTalkOnZD

            OMG stop it you freaking people. This is NOT the place to be talking about inappropriate things like that. If you want to talk immaturely like that then go somewhere else and do it. Not here.

    • H37I

      not sure if trolling or just being deliberately stupid…

    • linkasourous

      If you don’t have something nice and clean to say than go somewhere else. We don’t want to see your useless crap here at Zelda Dungeon so go spam somewhere else or shut up entirely.

  • H37I

    i’ve said this before and i’ll say it again. majora’s mask was better than ocarina of time, in my opinion.

    • WillDaBeast

      I completely agree

      • Mich


    • zac

      yes it is

    • Midnafan

      haven’t gotten to play MM, but i’m sure at minimum it’s its equal. i really only like OoT because it was fun to play, the story wasn’t too appealing to me because it wasn’t very detailed, but fortunately it didn’t need to be.

    • Guest

      Hey, that’s cool, it’s your opinion. Personally, I like OoT more, but MM is a very close second. Such a fantastic game.

    • Gaseous Snake

      I think that Oot and MM are amazing in their own ways. Both are must plays.

      • Mike Sauer

        I’d say they both go hand in hand. MM is a direct sequel to OOT…I like to play MM right after OOT as if they’re one game on two cartridges, or disks, or Wii channels, how ever you play them :p

    • Justin

      I totally agree

  • Tehlul

    Majoras Mask is unarguably the worst Zelda game ever

    • Jam9t3

      Oh zeldadungeon! you have made such a mistake! posting an article related to one of the best games ever! now i will have to go on a 24 hour argument with the guy who starts to choke as soon as he hears the beautiful game’s name!

    • H37I

      hey, hey…cd-i zeldas. those were monstrosities to the zelda franchise. playing zelda 2 blindfolded with only hand would be much more enjoying than those blasphemies.

      • Tehlul

        Doing just that would be more enjoyable to me then ever playing Majoras Mask again

        • DWray SweZ

          The game was that difficult for you… wow.. too bad u dont enjoy a challenge

        • Rob

          I also think it’s hard, but I don’t hate it! What’s a Zelda game without any challenge anyway?

        • H37I

          if you simply don’t like majora’s mask, stop commenting against it. there’s no need to bash it when you can simply ignore anything posted here that’s related to that game.

          • Tehlul


          • Midnafan

            Wobbufet :P

    • 7DS

      Okay than smartass. Just say what was your other favorite Zelda enjoy having your brain spontaneously combust after I give you every fucking possible reason on the planet why youre to fucking stupid to say the simplest fucking shit on the planet properly so i can fucking destroy that excuse for a sentence. wanna learn your first language and than get massacred? Just insert what other Zelda you liked most. Because I could only see 4 other Zelda games around as good simply because of opinion.

      • Midnafan

        You have some very deplorable language, good sir. By the way, what the heck is a 7DS? O.o

        • Rob

          Is he from the future? :P

          • H37I

            apparently, if you’re from the future, you wind up using profanity a lot.

          • Midnafan

            Ok, i can understand 4D. But i have no clue what the heck 5D would be, much less 7D. Einstein, anybody?

      • H37I

        yay!! i found a comment from a person who rages FOR zelda and not against it!!

    • Mich

      never seen that many negative votes… you failed.

    • crb

      so… many… negative… votes

  • faror

    i’ve never played majora’s mask :(
    but im getting it for my birthday in november :)

    • linkasourous

      Nice :)
      Happy early birthday :)

    • Sara Wheeler

      :o Whens your birthday? Mines on the 7th :D Happy Early birthday btw!

  • MasterOfSwords1

    I love Majora’s Mask. I just beat it for the first time a few days ago. The story itself didn’t catch my attention as much as OoT or TP, but the side stories made the game one of the most well thought out games I have ever played. Each character you meet has there own story, and there is just so much to do. It is amazing.

  • Midnafan

    Great article. I always love looking at the individual influence and uniqueness of every game i’ve played. what’s unfortunate is that if one of my friends was a Zelda fan and he saw this, he would disagree with you and say MM wasnt influential or different at all and could’ve been seen coming from a distance. He claims the same thing with just about everything (even though he hasn’t bought any new games since 2001) the claim that really made no sense to me is he said that just based on the communication features in Pokemon Emerald (which required either a seperately bought wireless communicator or a special connector) he could easily tell the next generation of Pokemon would have wifi that allowed you to communicate with people all over the world -_- tell, me did anyone else have a guess like that? seriously, this guy really annoys me cause he acts like everything i think is significant is completely insignificant.

  • koen

    majora’s mask on 3ds or maybe on wii U would be awesome!!!

  • BlackRaven6695

    Now I hate to be the one to bring this up, but is the “Games for Zelda Enthusiasts” series still on the cards? If you were put off by the reaction to your Okami article I don’t blame you but I’d hate to see a series simply abandoned.

  • EponasRider

    OoT is the bestgame ever

  • linkasourous

    I don’t want to start anymore wars that I’ve already seen, by saying that Majora’s Mask is horrible and whatnot, so I’m just going to say that each Zelda game is great and is unique in its own way.
    except for the CD-i games. We can just forget about those.
    In fact I would rather never to hear or talk about them for the rest of my life and pretend they don’t exist

  • Someone

    If you analyse MM carefully you can see that its history is more touching than OoT’s and if you look closely to Majora’s Mask kid you can see that he’s the Happy Mask Salesman! O.O

  • yellow_dinosaur

    MM is one of my favorite Zeldas. Terrifying, but brilliant. I personally preferred it to OOT. But both of the games are must-haves.

  • Akira Dragmire

    Think of it this way, like movies, people always seem to fall in love with the first and original one, most likely what happened with Majora’s Mask. If Majora’s Mask was categorized as a singular game itself of the Zelda series, (if that doesn’t make much sense think of Twilight Princess, there is no sequel or add on things, -remakes to different systems don’t count- it is its own little game from the series) and it just had some references to Ocarina of Time it may have been a better seller and more liked. The reason why is because the first of something is more common to a human’s mind thus making it more Favorited and custom to their thinking (scientific fact of the day) some and most people like Ocarina of Time over Majora’s Mask because it was and is an original. If Majora’s Mask was called it’s own game i think it would have sold more, been more Favorited, and such. Thats just what i think though, honestly i LOVE Majora’s Mask because its less Ganondorf more focused on what is important rather than saving Zelda, you save millions of lives, you are loved by *almost* all, and you help people out, not to mention it uses some real life scenarios and gave a bit of advice on things. It is a beautiful game. And another thing i love about it, is that it brought out more of the less important characters in the Zelda series (and added more) and made them super important to the game and the fate of Termina itself. I could go on and on for the life of me on reasons why Majora’s Mask is a wonderful game and should be an original but i think you get my point.
    opinion is yours my friend.

  • Midna’s Sister

    Lol. I wanna play MM now, if I had the right controller and an N64… Yeah. And btw, the baby cukkos are… Bouncing lemons with eyes.

  • Scott Reika Ripberger

    The next person who insults someone’s bad grammar with bad/worse grammar is going to get a visit from me equipped with a chainsaw. I will then be dropping in on the person being insulted to slowly but effectively terrify the world (the English-speaking countries) into using ENGLISH and not the few localized and warped versions I’ve heard here and in the real world.

    That being said: Hanyou, wow. This is a great article. I can’t remember if I’ve an article from you before, but I’m glad I have now. Majora’s Mask is one of my favourites if not the top of the list, but I’d never considered it as part of a Zelda pattern or that it had influence on later titles. Well thought out and well done.

  • Roth

    I’d like to disagree a bit on the point about linearity: I always felt that the game was quite open, not necessarily to what could be done next, but to what you could do at the time and how you went about it. The dense world, even with its sections, was there all at once for you to tackle because of the time loop. Sure, you had to do the swamp before the mountain, but because everything resets, you don’t have the feeling modern Zeldas can give of completing one thing after another in a dull, unaltering progression. Think of a timeline; in TP you go from left to right, and the left gets closed off while the right opens up, all very minimally — you’re stuck where you are until you move on, and then you’re stuck there. In MM you sort of unlock further points in the timeline, making the world bigger and bigger as you go along, and you only have practical limitations to keep you from getting somewhere you shouldn’t yet.

    The time loop is quite essential to MM, in this and other ways. For another example, take the side quests. Because you’re on a schedule conforming to the characters’ lives, and you can hop in and out with different points of interaction, it never feels needlessly dragged out like certain sequences in TP or SS, such as talking to all the right people and repairing the carrier-robot to finally just blow on that stupid propeller. Rather than being so forced and/or arbitrary, it’s very alive, and you have to make sure you’re part of it.

    I always say, people who felt that the time cycle in MM was constricting need to play the game again with a different perspective. You might be doing it wrong. EXPERIENCE it, people! It’s truly one-of-a-kind.

  • Midna’s Sister

    I want MM so bad. It’s the storyline……….. So….. Intriguing…. ZeldaYouAreSemiCrazysocaniplaymm

  • TheAvatar

    I agree with pretty much everything, with the exception of MM playing that big of an influence on TP. The only direct influence I see is the darker tone, but even that is done entirely differently in both games. Termina is portrayed as a world that has pretty much surrendered to its fate, and is just waiting for its death. Hyrule on the other hand is portrayed like a soldier, fighting with every ounce of strength, only to be met with a soul-crushing defeat. Termina’s darkness lies in how resigned it is, which is counter-intuitive to our most basic of instincts and how sombre everyone is, with practically no hope for salvation. Hyrule on the other hand is dark, because of how far from grace has the country fallen, how many lives were lost (as evident by the ghosts in Hyrule Castle and Queen Rutella), and how many unfortunate implications there are about the true nature of things(those Twilight beasts in Kakariko for example).

  • Neutopia

    I definitely think that the reason it didn’t do as good as Ocarina Of Time is because everyone had to nit pick it, it was such a huge departure from the normal Zelda experience, also it was expensive, and you needed the expansion pack, also it came out at the end of the N64 life time, it’s definitely an amazing game though that everyone should play at least once! :P

  • MegaQuack8

    i like OOT its original and if you have never played a zelda game then i prefer starting with dis on cause u learn all about tha Loz series in one game ( skyward sword is also good )
    P.S does anyone think the connection between twili and the majoras mask make sense?
    if u read the manga it that theory doesnt make sense

  • Moon Rain

    I played OoT and I loved it, especially riding through Hyrule Field, but the story wasn’t that great, so I want to play MM to.

  • Sliceofsprite

    both games are good, the only problem with majoras mask was that its a bit short

  • Stephanie Proffitt

    Honestly it was my favorite!

  • MMFierceDeity

    Great article, and I honestly couldn’t agree more.
    I recently beat the game Majora’s Mask and I enjoyed playing it very much.
    While the boss Majora is different from any other boss, I love its different, twisted forms like the insane Majora’s Incarnation and the raging Majora’s Wrath.
    I especially love how the game lets you take on different races of the Legend of Zelda series like the Deku Scrub, Goron, and Zora. It gives you a look into the different abilities those races are capable of and you see how diverse the races of the series is so unique.
    I believe that Majora’s Mask is better than Ocarina of Time because the sidequests give you a break on the continuous, difficult main quests and dungeons. And the masks give you a sense of playfulness, both the transforming masks and the simple side-quest-rewarded masks.
    Anyways, I loved playing Majora’s Mask and i would even play it again; one of the greatest games ever!

  • Matthias

    Holy sh*t! I just realized that the child who wears Majora’s Mask looks like the Happy Mask Salesman!

  • Matthias

    Also, in regards to Ocarina of Time’s more expansive overworld, sorry, but I’ve never really played a Zelda Game and thought “Wow, what an amazingly large and detailed world they’ve made for me to screw around in”. Most of the Zelda games are pretty streamlined. Just because there’s a way to do one or two things out of order doesn’t make it the Elder Scrolls.

    • Matthias

      (Except for maybe Windwaker.)

  • Matthew Rey

    Majora’s Mask is the best game in the entire series, note I did not play Skyward Sword. The quest to find Stray Fairies, it even gave the Song of Time a better use. Collecting mask, different forms, it probably remodeled Zelda.

  • Zelda_Player

    OOT Is nice But difficult when you plays master Quest
    MM Is A Nice Game But To Difficult
    TP Focking Nice Game
    SS Easy And Difficult

  • Linksmahomie

    If ( i hope when) Nintendo remakes MM i think that’ll get way more people to notice and play MM. Especially since the 3DS is no where near ending it’s “wow” period. So more poeple will notice MM. I hope they make the commercial more badass than the OOT 3D commercial, it was to short, atleast make MM’s commercial 20+ sec. and hella badass. That oughta bring more customers :)

  • kitkat

    I think the darkest zelda game is twilight princess.

  • Kyle Clark

    too many long comments on this one!!!! it makes my brain hurt LOL

  • Oziel

    Well i like A Link to The Past Better than OOT or MM xD

  • Karatekid David Vinson

    If they do remake it, they need to name it based on Link instead of Zelda. The reason being is that only once does Zelda show up in the game.

  • Philip Kunhardt

    Bellum is a similar sort of villain to Majora.

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