Majora’s Mask 3Dwas released on Nintendo 3DS last weekend. There had been quite a demand for the game to be redone – preferably by the same developers who did the excellent Ocarina of Time 3D. But, why was there such demand for Majora’s Mask to be remade? Though many will say that Ocarina of Time is still the superior title, myself included, Majora’s Mask is still something special when speaking in terms of the Zelda franchise. Here are a few aspects of Majora’s Mask that I believe created a demand for a remake.
WARNING: IF YOU’VE NEVER PLAYED MAJORA’S MASK, THERE ARE SOME SPOILERS AHEAD!
A Unique Gameplay/Story Experience
Any Zelda title that might’ve released in the wake of Ocarina of Time would have a hard time keeping up. OoT was a giant of a game, so the dev team for Majora’s Mask had their work cut out for them. How could anyone top the epic time-traveling storyline, or the creative “age” gameplay based on which time period the player is in? Majora’s Maskwould have to come up with something unique just to keep up.
Though the actual gameplay in MM was largely the same as OoT, the “Third Day” mechanic added something new and fresh at the time. Though I found having to travel back in time – all the time – to be somewhat annoying at first, this was a very special type of gameplay for this period of gaming. Each day (and night!) brought with it new side quests and objectives to complete. Having to manipulate time and go to specific locations at specific times felt very new back in the year 2000.
The addition of using masks to physically alter young Link was a very nice touch as well. Once able to switch between masks at will, the player had to utilize various mask abilities to complete quests, get to secret locations, or gather special items. Instead of only using items to “get the job done,” the masks added more variety to the gameplay. For instance, the unique battle with Goht proves to be very memorable; whether you hated it or loved it, you won’t soon forget it. Rolling around as Goron Link, attempting to stop Goht in it’s tracks, was a new experience for me at the time. There are many moments like this sprinkled throughout the entirety of MM, giving value to the mask system.
Finally, what I believe to be the biggest draw for the game is the dark nature of the story. Keep in mind, when I say “dark,” this is in comparison to other titles in the Zelda franchise. A wicked moon, with quite the disturbing look on its face, will fall and destroy Termina in three days time.
In addition, many of the characters found in MM are… well, many are just creepy. Take the Mask Salesman, for example. Though the guy is generally helping Link out, there is something off and unsettling about him from the moment you meet him. Even Nintendo understands how creepy and dark the game is for a Zelda title: just check out one of their latest commercials for Majora’s Mask 3D.
In fact, the dark nature of the title in relation to other Zelda games has inspired theories that Link is actually dead. Though I’m not so sure I agree with the theory myself, it is still interesting speculation; the theorists do make some good points.
There were plenty of memorable characters in OoT to help bring Hyrule to life, but MM definitely held its own in this aspect. I want to look at just a couple [main] characters though, and what they added to the game experience: Skull Kid, Mask Salesman, and Tingle.
Skull Kid had a couple of things going for him. For one, there was that maniacal laugh that was both unnerving and menacing. The echo and delay added help to create an enemy that is dangerous, even though he is as small as Link is. What adds to this character is the cruel nature of the boy – kids can be the cruelest creatures, can’t they? – and the fact he always wears Majora’s Mask. By itself, Majora’s Mask is an eerily beautiful mask; but, when worn by a creepy, malevolent little kid, it becomes an iconic piece of an enemy outfit.
Where Skull Kid is menacing and cruel, the Mask Salesman is a much deeper type of creepy; thus, making him just as memorable. Once Link meets Skull Kid, the player essentially knows who that character truly is. There is little left to secret, as far as behavior and intent goes. However, with the Mask Salesman, the player never quite knows what side he is on. Yes, ultimately, he generally helps Link along his journey, but one can’t seem to wonder what his ulterior motive is; he really wants Majora’s Mask, and gets it in the end. Plus, just look at his face and tell me he doesn’t reek of creepiness.
Also, we never find out his name. That throws up all kinds of red flags in this gaming world. Everyone is always so willing to throw their name out there, along with expectations that you’ll help them. But the Mask Salesman? He is always withholding just enough info to keep you guessing, yet, he seems more than willing to offer advice and memorable quotes.
Tingle is arguably the most memorable character in MM, and is still used in modern games (ie – Hyrule Warriors DLC features him as a playable warrior). What separates him from other characters in the game, however, is that he is completely opposite from the creepy tone that runs throughout. Ok, well, maybe I should say he is a different kind of creepy, being a 35 year old man dressed in a green leotard who is obsessed with fairies.
That is what makes him so memorable, and oddly endearing. He is the comic relief – if you can call it comedy – and the little bit of a bright spot in a bleak Termina. He never seems to be in a bad mood. This sticks out in MM and offers a little reprieve from the impending doom falling from the sky.
One final thought behind the demand for a remake of MM are the quotes. There are some really nice quotes in the game, that have stood the test of time. But, instead of me going on and on, I’ll just post a couple of my favorite quotes:
“You’ve met with a terrible fate, haven’t you?” ~Mask Salesman
“Whenever there is a meeting, a parting is sure to follow. But that parting needs not last forever. Whether a parting be forever or merely for a short while… that is up to you.” ~Mask Salesman
“So this is where you an I part ways, isn’t it? You know…it was kind of fun.” ~ Tatl
“…Everyone else has gone away, haven’t they? Will you play…with me?” ~Majora’s Mask
“Do you want to play with me? OK, let’s play good guys and bad guys… I’ll be the good guy, and you’ll be the bad guy…” ~Majora’s Mask
What I enjoy about many of the quotes in MM is that there is usually a bittersweet undertone in them. Though I enjoyed OoT better than MM, I found some of my favorite quotes from a Zelda title were found in the latter of the two.
What do you think makes Majora’s Mask worthy of being remade? Each has their own memories of the original Nintendo 64 title; which are your favorite moments or aspects? Majora’s Mask 3D is out now for the Nintendo 3DS and New 3DS XL.