The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is the sixth main installment of The Legend of Zelda series, first released on the Nintendo 64 in 2000. Unique among The Legend of Zelda series, the game includes a time system that spans three days, and this cycle must be reset periodically to progress through the game. Majora's Mask is the sequel to the first 3D Zelda game, Ocarina of Time, and uses the same engine, as well as many graphic resources. Many of the conventions pioneered in Ocarina of Time are present in Majora's Mask, including characters, enemies, and items.
Majora's Mask is one of the few Zelda games in which Ganon does not play any role whatsoever. In addition, Princess Zelda does not play a major role; she is only seen once in a flashback scene from Ocarina of Time.
Arrival to a Doomed Land
Majora's Mask opens with a scene of Link leaving the land of Hyrule on a "personal quest," searching for his fairy friend, Navi, taking place a few months after the events of Ocarina of Time. His trip is interrupted by the Skull Kid, an imp possessed by a great evil contained in the magical Majora's Mask, which he wears after having stolen it from another traveler with the help of two Fairies: Tatl and Tael. They knock Link off his Horse, Epona, rendering him unconscious. The Skull Kid searches him for goods and finds the Ocarina of Time. When Link awakens, the Skull Kid takes off on Epona with the Ocarina and leads Link on a chase.
When Link catches up with the Skull Kid, he tells Link that he "got rid" of Epona, and uses the dark magic of Majora's Mask to transform Link into a Deku Scrub. He then leaves Link with Tael, while Tatl continues to bully Link; however, Tatl's delay causes her to be separated from her brother and the Skull Kid. She then insists that Link take her with him, so that they can work together to find the Skull Kid and Tael. With limited Deku abilities, Link follows the Skull Kid's path and finds himself inside the Clock Tower of Clock Town, where he meets the Happy Mask Salesman. The Happy Mask Salesman reveals that the Skull Kid stole the Majora's Mask from him and that he can return Link to normal if he finds the Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask. He also warns Link that he must leave in 72 hours (three days) so Link must retrieve the items by then. Link then departs in his Deku form finding himself in the parallel world of Hyrule called Termina.
Link is not able to do very much around Clock Town, but with the help of the Great Fairy and Professor Shikashi, he manages to find the Skull Kid hanging around the top of the Clock Tower. Link also hears rumors of the Moon, which has a grimacing and ominous face, steadily coming closer to the Town as Skull Kid pulls it downwards. By midnight on the Final Day before the Mask Salesman's departure, Link manages to reach the top of the Clock Tower for a face-off with the Skull Kid. Upon arriving, Tatl reunites with Tael and asks Skull Kid to return the Majora's Mask. The Skull Kid ignores Tatl, but Tael delivers an enigmatic warning to find four beings from the swamp, mountain, ocean, and canyon.
The Skull Kid, in response to Tael's outburst, hits the Fairy aside. He then laughs about how even if "they" were to come, they would not be able to stop him. He then points Link and Tatl's attention toward the Moon and challenges them to stop it from falling. With an unearthly shriek, he begins to bring the Moon down to Termina faster. Link fires a magic Bubble Blast, a skill learned from the Great Fairy, at the Skull Kid, causing him to drop the Ocarina of Time. Upon picking it up, memories of Link's departure from Hyrule flood back to him. He remembers Princess Zelda, days after the ending of Ocarina of Time, bidding him farewell and telling him that the Goddess of Time is watching over him. After Tatl snaps him out of his trance, Link plays the "Song of Time" and is immediately thrown back in time to the morning he first entered Clock Town, 72 hours prior.
Link heads back to the Happy Mask Salesman, who teaches him the "Song of Healing". Playing this song with the Ocarina of Time returns Link to normal, with the only remnants of his time as a Deku being a Mask, which he can wear to become Deku Link once again at will. After aiding Link, the Mask Salesman asks that Link uphold his part of the bargain and return the Mask that the Skull Kid stole. Upon learning that Link could not recover the Mask, the Salesman grows furious, berating Link and wildly informing him that the Mask, known as Majora's Mask, is an ancient artifact that possesses an apocalyptic power. He once again requests that Link must recover the Mask, stating that he believes that Link can do it.
The Four Giants
To stop the Skull Kid, Link and Tatl work on the only clue they have; the four places stated by Tael. The two decide to head to the Southern Swamp first. Upon arriving at the swamp, Link finds the area's water poisoned, presumably due to the disappearance of the Swamp's guardian god. After venturing through the Deku Kingdom and Woodfall Temple, Link battles the dark being Odolwa. Upon defeating the foe, Link frees an "innocent spirit" from the Mask worn by the monster. Link and Tatl find themselves facing a sorrowful and powerful Giant that promptly sings to them. Tatl then surmises that the Giant was one of the "four" that Tael spoke of, as Link learns the "Oath to Order".
The two head to Snowhead Mountain, a place that has experienced a longer-than-usual period of winter, to save the next Giant. Link learns that the mountain and its surrounding areas are doomed to become an uninhabitable, eternally frozen wasteland unless he can save the Giant. While in the Goron Village, Link meets the spirit of a heroic Goron warrior named Darmani III who tried to find a way to save his people, but died in the attempt. Link plays the "Song of Healing" to heal the spirit's sorrows and house him in a Goron Mask for Link to wear. This enables Link to inhabit Darmani's body and disguise himself as the deceased Goron warrior. After learning the "Goron Lullaby", Link gains access to Snowhead Temple by lulling its guardian Goron to sleep. Link manages to free the second Giant from Goht, the evil monster of Snowhead Temple, and quell the region's eternal winter.
Link requires a horse to get to the ocean, where Great Bay is located, due to a tall gate barrier blocking the path. He discovers that Epona had been found and taken in by the sisters Romani and Cremia at Romani Ranch. However, to recover Epona, Link must arrive on the First Day, so that he can find the younger sister Romani in a well-enough state to give him back his horse. After reclaiming Epona, Link heads to the cursed Great Bay, where the ocean is in disorder due to calamity at the Great Bay Temple. He finds a Zora named Mikau floating near the shore and near death. After Link pushes him to shore, Mikau tells him that he is the guitarist of a Zora band and that the band's vocalist Lulu laid some strange eggs. Mikau also reveals that Gerudo Pirates stole these eggs from Lulu and that he was fatally wounded when he tried to retrieve them for her. Using his last strength to play his guitar, he asks Link to fulfill his final request: to retrieve Lulu's eggs from the Gerudo Pirates and heal his soul. Mikau then collapses, and Link plays the "Song of Healing" to house his soul in a Zora Mask, which he dons to inhabit Mikau's body. Finding the stolen eggs in the Pirates' Fortress and at Pinnacle Rock, the young hero brings them to the aquarium in the Marine Research Lab, where they hatch. The baby Zoras that hatch from the eggs teach Link the "New Wave Bossa Nova", and the Professor there tells him that he must play this newly learned song to Lulu. Link heads to Zora Hall and plays the song for her. This restores her voice and awakens the Giant Turtle in Great Bay, who offers to take Link to the Great Bay Temple. Link makes his way through the Temple and defeats the evil aquatic creature Gyorg, freeing the third Giant in the process.
Link ventures east to Ikana Canyon, where the fourth and final Giant is located. However, the Poe Collector will not let him pass unless he possesses the Garo's Mask. Link heads to the Gorman Track and acquires this Mask from the Gorman Brothers after he and Epona defeat them in a horse race. He heads back to Ikana Canyon wearing the Garo's Mask, and the Poe Collector lets him pass. Link ventures to the Ancient Castle of Ikana and battles the undead king of the Ikana Kingdom, Igos du Ikana. After Link defeats him, the king explains that the Skull Kid released a curse onto Ikana when he opened the doors of the Stone Tower, resulting in the dead to linger. He tells Link that he must seal the doors of the Stone Tower to dispel the curse. To this end, he teaches Link the "Elegy of Emptiness" to enable him to enter the Temple before departing to the afterlife. Link makes his way to the Stone Tower and uses the "Elegy of Emptiness" to scale it. He traverses the Stone Tower Temple and defeats the evil Twinmold, removing the curse from Ikana Canyon and freeing the last of the Four Giants.
The Final Battle
Link returns to the Clock Tower at the end of the Final Day to confront the Skull Kid once and for all. The Skull Kid begins to bring the Moon down to Termina once more, but this time, Link summons the Four Giants with the "Oath to Order" to stop its descent. The Four Giants successfully halt the Moon's fall and knock the Skull Kid unconscious. Tatl and Tael reunite, and Tatl chastises the Skull Kid for lacking the strength of will and heart to withstand the power of the Majora's Mask. Now seeing the Skull Kid as useless, Majora's Mask separates itself from him and warps inside the Moon. There, the Mask now possesses the Moon and attempts to consume all of Termina. Link and Tatl follow the Mask inside, finding a surreal field, in which there is nothing but a tree and five children wearing the masks of the bosses of the game. After talking to the child who wears Majora's Mask, Link is transported to another dimension, where the Mask itself is waiting for him to face Link once and for all. After a harsh battle, Link destroys the Mask's evil, and the Moon returns to the sky for good.
Dawn of a New Day
After Link awakens to the "Dawn of a New Day", he learns that the Skull Kid and the Four Giants had once been friends. With the crisis averted, the Four Giants return to their respective regions of Termina. The Skull Kid happily remarks how Link smells like "the kid who taught him a song in the forest", clearly implying that this is the same Skull Kid to whom Link taught "Saria's Song" in Ocarina of Time. Upon finally getting it returned, the Happy Mask Salesman states that the evil has at last left Majora's Mask, and then mysteriously disappears, bidding Link a fond farewell. Tatl tells Link that he should get back to his original quest, and the two part ways. In a post-credits scene, Link returns back into the forest on Epona searching for Navi once more, back to square one. However, he spots a bright light and takes a look, and sees a tree stump. "Saria's Song" echoes as a carving of Link, the Skull Kid, the Fairy siblings, and the Four Giants is shown, ending the game.
As the evil magic from Majora's Mask that created Termina is expelled from the Mask, the land ceases to exist soon after Link departs.
The gameplay of Majora's Mask is identical to Ocarina of Time, although new features including the new Mask system, items, skills, and more are included. For example, several of the items that Link could only access as an adult in Ocarina of Time are now available to him throughout the game in child form (such as the Hookshot or the Bow). Additionally, Link is slightly more acrobatic than he was before, as seen when jumping off of ledges; Link will automatically flip in the air instead of making a normal jump.
Three day cycle
Unlike the previous installment and arguably one of the major departures from the traditional Zelda gameplay, Majora's Mask implements a time system. The time system cycles 72 in-game hours (about 54 minutes in real time), the time until the destruction of Clock Town by the Moon, which is plummeting to the earth because of the black magic influence of the Skull Kid. With the Ocarina of Time, Link is able to play the "Song of Time" to reset the cycle and return to the first of these three days as many times as he needs to. Link is the only one affected by the time travel; other inhabitants live as if nothing has happened. When traveling back in time, Link will lose all Rupees, quantities of items (although not the items themselves; e.g. Arrows but not the Bow, etc.), dungeon progress (Dungeon Maps, Compasses, etc. unless, of course, the dungeon is already completed) and most interactions with others (except for Tatl, and a few more). Going back to the First Day by playing the "Song of Time" also saves the game, the only way to do so the game; except in the Japanese version, players can also quicksave at Owl Statues.
At the bottom of the screen, a clock is displayed, which keeps track of the time. In the center, the day number is displayed. Surrounding in a semi-circle is a revolving sun or moon (symbolizing day or night). This small icon moves around the clock and shows the hour of the day.
Some expert players of the game have found it entertaining to attempt to beat all four dungeons and the final boss in a single three-day cycle. However, it is an extremely difficult task and requires skillful knowledge of the game.
Masks and transformations
Link appears as a child, originally seen in Ocarina of Time and previous games, despite using a Shield slightly larger than the Deku Shield. However, in Majora's Mask, Link does not have the ability to transform into an adult (although he was originally going to in beta versions of the game). 24 different Masks with different functions and purposes can be found throughout Termina, of which several allow Link to take the form of another race; Deku Scrubs, Gorons, and Zoras. Because the transformation Masks are based on deceased characters, the game is one of the few where the player can control different characters besides Link. Each Mask, when used, depicts a face of agony.
Deku Link is the first transformation Link receives, and is based on the spirit of the long-missing son of the Deku Butler. In Deku form, Link can stun enemies with the spin attack, helpful to leave them defenseless. He can also shoot bubbles to attack aerial foes and to hit certain targets, although their firepower and range are more limited than those of the arrows. Usage of Deku Flowers is also possible, and they grant Link the ability to fly temporarily, as well as to release Deku Nuts and use them as Bombs. He can also use the Nuts on land. His instrument in this state is a set of Deku Pipes and, although optional, he can confront the boss of the Woodfall Temple, the dungeon where he is the protagonist. The weakness of Deku Link is fire.
Goron Link is the second transformation Link receives, and is based on the spirit of the tragically fallen Goron hero Darmani III. In Goron form, Link can curl his body up in a ball to travel faster. He can perform a Ground Pound, useful for offense and for puzzle-solving, and can generate magic-based spikes for speed and offensive capabilities when rolling. He can also use his powerful punches to attack enemies and to hit hardened targets. Only Goron Link can use Powder Kegs. His instrument in this state is a set of Drums of Sleep and, although optional, he can confront the boss of the Snowhead Temple, the dungeon where he is the protagonist. The weakness of Goron Link is water; falling in it will cause Link to sink and render unconscious.
Zora Link is the third transformation Link receives, and is based on the fallen-in-battle guitarist Mikau. He has multiple abilities (more so than the other two forms), including a stylized combat moveset using his bladed fins which also double as a set of Boomerangs, the capacity to swim quickly electric barriers that can be generated while swimming or standing, and the ability to freely dive and walk underwater. His instrument turns into the Guitar of Waves and he is helpful to confront the boss of the Great Bay Temple, the dungeon where he is the protagonist. Both fire and ice are lethal to him.
With the exception of the Giant's Mask, the rest of the Masks either give Link new abilities (i.e. the Blast Mask's instant explosion) or disguise him. After completing the game up to the point before Link fights the final battle against Majora's Mask itself, it is possible to complete several side dungeons in which Link plays a game of Hide and Seek with a series of children, at the cost of progressively giving up all of the Masks collected prior (although they are still available after the game is completed). Finishing this sidequest rewards Link with the Fierce Deity's Mask, which turns him into a unique, very tall adult form with devastating capabilities, but is only allowed during boss fights, Majora's Mask included.
Emphasis on sidequests
Majora's Mask is also a noted game for its many optional (secondary) sidequests throughout the game, which, should Link complete, explores many more sub-plots and stories. These include helping a distraught troupe leader, returning a kidnapped Deku Princess to the palace, helping five Great Fairies be restored to power, and, perhaps the most intricate sidequest in any Zelda game, helping an engaged couple reunite moments before the Moon falls on Clock Town. These sidequests are recorded in the Bombers' Notebook. The number of mini-games is also higher and more complex in execution than those of Ocarina of Time, and there are more optional or secret areas where extra mini-bosses or Gold Skulltula hunts may be available. Completing sidequests is usually rewarding to Link, as the conclusions to many of them are shown during the end credits, but only if Link has managed to complete that sidequest.
In retrospect, the game currently features the highest amount of Heart Pieces in the series: 52 in total, while Twilight Princess is next with 45. Additionally, it features the highest number of empty Bottles: 6 in total. With the exception of Skyward Sword and A Link Between Worlds which both feature five, all other Zelda games featuring Bottles hold up to four.
Majora's Mask is regarded as one of, if not the darkest entries in the Zelda franchise. The game's storyline contains much heavier themes than those seen in prior (and later) games of the series, with somber melodies and a myriad of tragic situations. Link is faced with the knowledge that the world of Termina will be destroyed within three days, and the only means in which to prevent this from occurring is by playing the Ocarina of Time to restart everything from the dawn of the First Day. Majora's Mask goes even further by delving into the emotional and psychological state of Termina's denizens, each of whom responds to the circumstance of their impending doom in an idiosyncratic but realistic manner. Link and Termina's denizens are continually confronted with elements of death, loss, and abandonment over and over and over again as the three-day cycle repeats continuously.
Link must go through this as a living, breathing character, being the only one with any awareness of the events that will transpire within each three-day cycle. Everyone has their suffering renewed whenever the "Song of Time" is played, and are entirely oblivious towards everything that happened during the previous 72-hour period. The foreboding atmosphere of world destruction is always present in Majora's Mask, conveyed largely through the game's soundtrack and artwork. The desire to rescue the world from certain peril serves as an additional motivation for completing the game.
After the release of Ocarina of Time, Shigeru Miyamoto was planning to release another version of the game for the Nintendo 64DD with remade dungeons. However, Eiji Aonuma did not like the idea of remaking the same dungeons, so he secretly started working on new ones instead. After asking Miyamoto if he could make a new game, he replied that he could do it as long it was made in one year. They accomplished this by making the most out of Ocarina of Time's assets while still focusing efforts into designing a new game structure. The initial development team members were organized as a split between rookies as well as developers from Ocarina of Time. Later, as the Moon came into development, more members from Ocarina of Time were brought onto the development team.
While thinking in ideas for the game, Aonuma met Yoshiaki Koizumi, who proposed a system of time passing where the same moments would be played over and over again. Thus, the three-day system was created. However, an entire week was originally planned, but was later shortened to only three days to make it easier to remember the character schedules. The idea of the Moon falling came from Koizumi while he was daydreaming about what would happen if the real life moon started to fall towards Earth. During development of Ocarina of Time, some ideas were not fully utilized, including the use of Masks, so Aonuma decided to further expand this concept in Majora's Mask.
The original name of the game was ゼルダの伝説 外伝 (The Legend of Zelda: Side-Story). Prior to its North American release, the game was referred to as The Legend of Zelda: Mask of the Mujula and The Legend of Zelda: Gaiden on the official Nintendo website. The former was a direct translation of the Japanese title, and the latter the game's aforementioned working title.
The graphics are slightly improved in Majora's Mask from Ocarina of Time, possibly due to the necessity of the Nintendo 64's Expansion Pak (a memory increasing add-on). As only the second Zelda game with 3D graphics, Majora's Mask uses the same engine as its predecessor, and even uses some of the same character and enemy models. Eiji Aonuma, a key developer of the game, had stated that reusing many aspects of Ocarina of Time allowed his team to program the game in less than two years (as Ocarina of Time took no less than four years of development). The vast areas the game features have an improved definition in comparison to those seen in the previous Zelda game; Distance Fog is nearly nonexistent, enemies are more detailed, and the overall atmosphere is more realistic. Another achievement from the Expansion Pak is that multiple non-playable characters can perform different tasks without impacting on the framerate, larger level design was possible, and many more enemies are present at the same time (most notably in Termina Field, contrasting to the barely populated Hyrule Field from the previous Zelda game). However some textures are less detailed in other locations, and the framerate may sometimes suffer.
Termina is a parallel dimension to Hyrule. There are many characters here that also have counterparts in Hyrule, except for Link, Epona, the entire Kokiri tribe, and (possibly) the Mask Salesman, whom are all direct residents of Hyrule. Skull Kid is confirmed to be from Hyrule as at the end of the game, he familiarizes Link as the one who taught him "that song" in the Lost Woods. Termina consists of five large lands (or "worlds", as stated by Anju's Grandmother). The central region houses Clock Town, Romani Ranch, and Termina Field. Clock Town provides many forms of entertainment, featuring important attractions, and numerous recreative zones and tourism. It is also there where the annual Carnival of Time is celebrated. Romani Ranch is a large rural zone where various animals are taken care of, and milk is produced for its distribution to Clock Town.
The Southern Swamp is located south, and is where various monkeys and monsters live, while the Deku tribe practices its monarchy in the Deku Palace. The swamp's waters are poisoned because of the creature living in Woodfall Temple. The Snowhead Mountain is located north, and is inhabited by the Goron tribe (who puts into practice a patriarchy, not unlike in Hyrule's Death Mountain). The mountain's weather indicates an extremely low temperature because of the creature living in Snowhead Temple. The Great Bay Coast is located west, and is inhabited by the proud Zora tribe (living in an underwater reef, and are known for their artistic linage in the musical department), as well as by Gerudo Pirates (living in a sinister complex, and are known for their reputation of hunting treasure at all costs and by all means necessary), and humans (living in the coast itself, and doing miscellaneous activities such as scientific research and fishing). The coast's waters become murky because of the creature living in the Great Bay Temple. Finally, Ikana Canyon lies east, and the entire region is invaded by undead entities because of the creatures living in the Stone Tower Temple. It used to be inhabited by humans before this, but now the only living people found there are Sakon, Pamela and her father.
The release date difference between the Japanese version and the North American version was a full six months, the longest release wait among all 3D Zelda games so far. Despite this, the noticeable differences between the two versions are rather small.
In the Japanese version, Owl Statues simply serve as a destination for the "Song of Soaring"; players cannot use them to quicksave. While the Japanese version has three save file slots, the international release only has two due to the addition of quicksaves. The Japanese version of Collector's Edition includes two save files and quicksaves, like international releases.
In the United States and Canada, all versions of the game came with gold cartridges; however, only the ones with the Collector's Edition logo on the box came with a moving hologram effect on the cartridge label, while the ones without the logo came without it.
In Europe, the PAL versions of the game also came with gold cartridges, but were not named Collector's Editions and lack the hologram effect on the cartridge's label. The only PAL Collector's Edition was released in Australia where it had the logo and the North American cartridge label, although they lack the moving hologram effect.
Limited Edition Adventure Set
A limited edition Adventure Set was also released. Limited to 1,000 copies, it included a copy of Majora's Mask, the original soundtrack, a watch, a shirt, two pins, a poster, a sticker, and a certificate of authenticity. It was exclusively available in Europe.
The events of Majora's Mask are placed a few months after those of Ocarina of Time, and, based on Hyrule Historia, are considered to be the starting point for what is called the "Child Timeline", which is eventually continued with Twilight Princess and then Four Swords Adventures centuries later. In-game connections between the game and Ocarina of Time are relatively scarce, because of the different setting and story, and include recurring characters like Mask Salesman and Kaepora Gaebora, as well as some of the songs being remembered ("Song of Time", "Epona's Song" and the "Song of Storms"), rather than learned for the first time.
|Any%||raggen||18m 27s||December 20, 2022|
|Any% (Some Restricted Glitches)||popesquidward||1h 15m 26s||February 3, 2022|
|Any% (Glitchless)||jess57329||2h 41m 26s||January 22, 2022|
|100%||EnNopp112||4h 17m 48s||October 2, 2020|
|100% (Some Restricted Glitches)||EnNopp112||4h 35m 30s||December 3, 2018|
|100% (Glitchless)||TrevPerson||5h 42m 56s||December 29, 2021|
|All Dungeons (Some Restricted Glitches)||popesquidward||1h 28m 29s||August 12, 2021|
|All Masks (Some Restricted Glitches)||popesquidward||2h 17m 26s||July 23, 2022|
|All Masks (Glitchless)||realtimeattack64||3h 42m 1s||September 22, 2022|
|All Fairy Rewards||popesquidward||1h 50m 4s||November 20, 2020|
The game sold approximately 314,000 copies in its first week of sales in Japan, and has sold 3.36 million copies worldwide, fewer than its predecessor (which sold over 7 million copies), likely as a result of its release during the final years of the lifespan of the Nintendo 64, as well as fan skepticism.
Reviews and Awards
In terms of critical reception, response to the game was mostly positive, as reviews were in favor of the game; however, opinions are commonly divided regarding whether it is as good as its predecessor. Edge magazine referred to Majora's Mask as "the oddest, darkest and saddest of all Zelda games". Some feel that Majora's Mask is better than Ocarina of Time in certain areas. Japanese magazine Famitsu awarded the game a high 37/40 score, although few other games in the series scored higher. IGN described Majora's Mask as "The Empire Strikes Back of Nintendo 64. It's the same franchise, but it's more intelligent, darker, and tells a much better storyline". As mentioned above, Majora's Mask was one of the last major titles for the Nintendo 64, and may have suffered in terms of popular interest due to the familiarity of the technology. Nevertheless, GamePro described the game as "living proof that the N64 still has its magic". It has been ranked the 7th-greatest game of all time by Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) in the Top 100 Games of Time seen in their 100th issue, where Ocarina of Time was ranked the 8th best.
One common criticism is that Majora's Mask is not as accessible as Ocarina of Time. GameSpot, giving Majora's Mask a score of 8.3/10, significantly lower compared to the 10/10 that was given to Ocarina of Time, wrote that some might "find the focus on minigames and side quests tedious and slightly out of place". IGN justified that they did not give the game a perfect ten (giving instead a still very high 9.9) just because the major innovations were already seen in Ocarina of Time. Nintendo Power ranked it eleventh in their list of best The Legend of Zelda games, criticizing the time-based concept while still praising the improved graphics and the transformation concept. Regardless, Game-Revolution wrote that it "takes a little longer to get into this Zelda", but also that "there are moments when the game really hits you with all its intricacies and mysteries, and that makes it all worthwhile".
The game has also received good reviews from fans of the series, including a current reader average of 9.7 on IGN and a current user score of 9.3 in Gamespot, among others. Graphics, storyline, challenge, music, gameplay, depth and overall quality are only some of the praised aspects of the game. Additionally, it was ranked 42nd on IGN Reader's Choice of the Top 100 Games Ever, where it is cited as one of the most underrated video games in history, but also as one of the best. In autumn of 2010, the game won Game of the Decade (2000-2009) in a contest held on GameFAQs.com, defeating Super Smash Bros. Brawl in the finals after a narrow semifinal victory over Final Fantasy X. In fact, prior to its launch for the Virtual Console, it was the second most requested title, only behind EarthBound, providing that those who did not play it wanted to do so now. However, some fans also expressed firm complaints, tending to agree that while it is regarded as a great game, it pales in comparison to its predecessor. Other elements of criticism included the low number of dungeons and the restrictions of the time limit, as well as the requirement of the Expansion Pak.
The Virtual Console version of the game (see below) received similar praise from critics and fans alike, earning the distinction of being the 300th VC game to be available (The Adventure of Link was the 100th one), and being so after nearly two years since the launch of the other classic Zelda games to the same service.
Ports and Remakes
Majora's Mask has been ported to several other systems since its release.
In 2003, Nintendo released a GameCube bundle. This bundle had the main GameCube system as well as Collector's Edition which included Majora's Mask. However, due to poor quality emulation, this version of the game reportedly suffers from minor glitches not present in the original Nintendo 64 version, some of which freeze the game entirely. Like the original, this version only allows two game save files (per memory card), even though it would have been possible to have more.
In 2004, Majora's Mask was translated to Standard Chinese (with Simplified Chinese text) and ported to the region's exclusive iQue Player. However, the Chinese government halted its production. The government deemed the game's dark undertones violated the country's censorship laws.
Majora's Mask was also released for the Virtual Console on Wii. It was released on April 3, 2009 in Europe and Australia, April 7, 2009 in Japan, and on May 18, 2009 in North America, which had thus also marked the 300th content to be released on the American Virtual Console. The game also appeared on the Wii U Virtual Console on November 24, 2016.
According to a few players who have played Majora's Mask from the PAL Virtual Console, several glitches from the Collector's Edition version have been present in the Virtual Console release, including freezing, making it possible that the Virtual Console release may be a direct port from the Collector's Edition. However, some players have reported that theirs runs perfectly and smoothly. According to IGN, the NTSC version of the game is glitch-free, and players are encouraged to download it with confidence.
A Nintendo 3DS remake, titled Majora's Mask 3D, was announced by Nintendo through their Nintendo Direct stream on November 5, 2014. Similar to Ocarina of Time 3D, the remake features updated graphics and other additions. The remake was released on February 13th, 2015 in North America and Europe, and on February 14th, 2015 in Japan and Australia.
Being the second 3D Zelda game, on the Nintendo 64, Majora's Mask was not as influential as its immediate predecessor, and some of its characteristics have not been shown again in later installments. However, it still made the following contributions:
- Majora's Mask was the first Zelda game released outside of Japan to impose a persistent time limit during normal gameplay.
- It is the first game in the series where Tingle and a Postman appear. The latter character, by extension, also marks the first time a mail system is portrayed in the series.
- This is the first Zelda game (not including Zelda's Adventure and Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon) to allow the player to control a character other than Link - Kafei. Controlling characters beside Link would reappear in The Wind Waker.
- It is the first Zelda game to allow the player to rematch bosses.
- It received representation in Super Smash Bros. Melee, in the form of a stage, music tracks, and several trophies. The stage would reappear in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
- Along with the Kokiri Sword, Tunic, Boots and Ocarina of Time, the Stone of Agony is one of the few items that Link preserves from Ocarina of Time, since the game will still rumble near a secret area. No reference to it is ever made, unlike the other items. Also, Link can pick up Bomb Flowers, suggesting he also kept the Goron's Bracelet, although it is not seen on his model.
- Sakon is the first non-playable character that can be murdered by Link. This can be done with an Arrow or Hookshot targeting at the stolen Bomb Bag.
- Majora's Mask contains the least amount of main dungeons in any Zelda game, being 4 in total. In addition, all items obtained in main dungeons pertain to the Bow.
- The impermanent flow of time in the first three-day cycle as Deku Link is 1.66 times faster than normal. When the time is altered to be at this rate during the first cycle, no enemies or NPCs will appear in Termina Field. This cannot be seen normally in gameplay as Link is confined to Clock Town during the first three-day cycle, which is almost entirely scripted.
- Flat, a Poe appearing in Ikana Canyon, mentions that his brother Sharp "sold his soul to the devil". This is interesting considering that there is no known deity in Zelda who is directly referred to as "the devil." It is possible that only Terminians believe in this deity. Nonetheless, "the devil" plays some sort of role in Terminian media. He may not be referring to a god at all.
- The Wii Virtual Console version uses fewer blocks than Ocarina of Time, as data compression for Virtual Console games had been improved since the release of Ocarina of Time on the Wii Virtual Console. However, the Wii Virtual Console release of Majora's Mask uses three blocks for save data, which is three times the amount of space that the Wii Virtual Console release of Ocarina of Time uses.
- Majora's Mask was rated E by the ESRB until it was re-released via Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack.
- Encyclopedia, Dark Horse Books, pg. 7
- "Coming Nov 24, 2016" — The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, Official Nintendo website, retrieved November 23, 2016.
- "The Legend of #Zelda: Majora's Mask comes to #NintendoSwitch for #NintendoSwitchOnline + Expansion Pack members in February!" — @NintendoAmerica, Nintendo of America(web archive), Twitter, published January 20, 2022, retrieved January 20, 2022.
- Encyclopedia, Dark Horse Books, pg. 10
- The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass — Prima Official Game Guide, Prima Games, pg. 5
- "Done with the battles he once waged across time, he embarked on a journey. A secret and personal journey... A journey in search of a beloved and invaluable friend... A friend with whom he parted ways when he finally fulfilled his heroic destiny and took his place among legends..." — N/A (Majora's Mask)
- Hyrule Historia, Dark Horse Books, pg. 110
- "The Legend of Zelda™: Majora's Mask 3D is an action-adventure game that takes place a few months after the evernts of The Legend of Zelda™: Ocarina of Time™ 3D. In it, we find our Hylian hero, Link™, on a quest to locate a lost friend. Along the way he finds himself in the strange world of Termina, where rumor has it the moon will come crashing down in just three days' time! Thus begins a new adventure!" (Majora's Mask 3D manual, pg. 3)
- "Hee, hee. You two fairies did great! I wonder if he has anything good on him..." — Skull Kid (Majora's Mask)
- "Ooh, ooh! What a pretty ocarina... Hey, Skull Kid, lemme touch it! I wanna see!" — Tael (Majora's Mask)
- "What's up with that stupid horse of yours?! It doesn't listen to a word that's said to it... There's no point in riding a thing like that, so I did you a favor and got rid of it... Hee, hee..." — Skull Kid (Majora's Mask)
- "Hee, hee! Now, that's a good look for you! You'll stay here looking that way forever!" — Skull Kid (Majora's Mask)
- "Whoa! Whoa! Skull Kid, wait for me! I'm still here!!! Tael, you can't leave without me!" — Tatl (Majora's Mask)
- "You wanna know about that Skull Kid who just ran off, right? Well, I just so happen to have an idea of where he might be going. Take me with you and I'll help you out. Deal? Please?" — Tatl (Majora's Mask)
- "You've met with a terrible fate, haven't you? I own the Happy Mask Shop. I travel far and wide in search of masks..." — Happy Mask Salesman (Majora's Mask)
- "During my travels, a very important mask was stolen from me by an imp in the woods. So here I am at a loss... And now I've found you. Now don't think me rude, but I have been following you... ...For I know of a way to return you to your former self. If you can get back the precious item that was stolen from you, I will return you to normal. In exchange... All I ask is that you also get back my precious mask that the imp stole from me." — Happy Mask Salesman (Majora's Mask)
- "Except... The one thing is... I'm a very busy fellow... And I must leave this place in three days..." — Happy Mask Salesman (Majora's Mask)
- "How grateful I would be if you could bring it back to me before my time here is up..." — Happy Mask Salesman (Majora's Mask)
- "The man who lives in the observatory outside of town may know of the Skull Kid's whereabouts. But be careful! You must not underestimate that child's powers, kind young one." — Great Fairy (Majora's Mask)
- "That ill-mannered troublemaker from the other day said he'd break my instruments... He said he'd steal my Moon's Tear... There was no stopping him. Even now! Just watch him! He's probably causing trouble around the Clock Tower." — Professor Shikashi (Majora's Mask)
- "Hey, Skull Kid, what if you gave that mask you're wearing back now?" — Tatl (Majora's Mask)
- "Hey, c'mon, are you listening?" — Tatl (Majora's Mask)
- "Swamp. Mountain. Ocean. Canyon. Hurry... The four who are there... Bring them here..." — Tael (Majora's Mask)
- "Don't speak out of line! Stupid fairy!!!" — Skull Kid (Majora's Mask)
- "...Well, whatever. Even if they were to come now, they wouldn't be able to handle me... Hee, hee." — Skull Kid (Majora's Mask)
- "Just look above you... If it's something that can be stopped, then just try to stop it!" — Skull Kid (Majora's Mask)
- "You are already leaving this land of Hyrule, aren't you? Even though it was only a short time, I feel like I've known you forever. I'll never forget the days we spent together in Hyrule... And I believe in my heart that a day will come when I shall meet you again... Until that day comes, please... Take this... I am praying... I am praying that your journey be a safe one... If something should happen to you, remember this song... This reminds me of us... The Goddess of Time is protecting you. If you play the Song of Time, she will aid you..." — Princess Zelda (Majora's Mask)
- "Snap out of it! What are you doing getting lost in memories?!? Get yourself together!" — Tatl (Majora's Mask)
- "Then listen to me. Please play this song that I am about to perform, and remember it well... Follow along after me." — Happy Mask Salesman (Majora's Mask)
- "This is a melody that heals evil magic and troubled spirits, turning them into masks. I am sure it will be of assistance to you in the future. Ah, yes. I give you this mask in commemoration of this day. Fear not, for the magic has been sealed inside the mask. When you wear it, you will transform into the shape you just were. When you remove it, you will return to normal." — Happy Mask Salesman (Majora's Mask)
- "Now, I have fulfilled my promise to you... So, please, give me that which you promised me..." — Happy Mask Salesman (Majora's Mask)
- "What have you done to me?! If you leave my mask out there, something terrible will happen! The mask that was stolen from me... It is called Majora's Mask. It is an accursed item from legend that is said to have been used by an ancient tribe in its hexing rituals. It is said that an evil and wicked power is bestowed upon the one who wears that mask. According to legend...the troubles caused by Majora's Mask were so great...the ancient ones, fearing such catastrophe, sealed the mask in shadow forever, preventing its misuse." — Happy Mask Salesman (Majora's Mask)
- "I am begging you! You must get that mask back quickly or something horrible will happen! I'm begging you! I'm begging you! You must do it!" — Happy Mask Salesman (Majora's Mask)
- "I'm confident you'll have no trouble handling the most urgent matter of this menacing mask. The fate of this land rests in your capable hands! You'll be fine! Surely, you can do it. Believe in your strengths... Believe..." — Happy Mask Salesman (Majora's Mask)
- "The swamp, mountains, ocean and canyon that Tael was trying to tell us about... I bet he was referring to the four areas just outside town. There's one in each compass direction." — Tatl (Majora's Mask)
- "If we go through that gate straight ahead, we'll be heading in the direction of the swamp." — Tatl (Majora's Mask)
- "This swamp you are in has lost its guardian deity. But it was destined to fade anyway." — Kaepora Gaebora (Majora's Mask)
- "Could that crying be its way of teaching us some sort of melody?" — Tatl (Majora's Mask)
- "The four people Tael talked about... Do you think one of them was the spirit that was sealed inside that mask?" — Tatl (Majora's Mask)
- "Please watch over these Gorons around you. Their land is doomed to be smothered in snow and ice forever. It will become a land where no living thing can survive. Without courage and determination, you surely will collapse from the extreme conditions... But if that courage and determination burns bright within you, then that's another story..." — Kaepora Gaebora (Majora's Mask)
- "Yes... When I was alive... But alas... I am now dead. I was fine until I marched off to Snowhead by myself, hoping that I could drive off a demon. It had been wreaking havoc on Goron Village... Then the blizzard at Snowhead blew me into the valley. ...And now...here I am..." — Darmani III (Majora's Mask)
- "What a soothing melody... My sorrows are melting away into the song." — Darmani III (Majora's Mask)
- "Unghhh... Somebody... Unghh... Please... G-gu-hu... Get me... ...to shore..." — Mikau (Majora's Mask)
- "Uuungh...I am Mikau of the Zora people......guitarist in the Zora band... I think this is it for me... My final message... ...Will you listen to it?" — Mikau (Majora's Mask)
- "But that girl, our vocalist... She laid some strange eggs. And she's lost her voice, you can't hear what she says." — Mikau (Majora's Mask)
- "Oh! Baby, listen to me. I don't wanna beg. Gerudo Pirates! They stole that girl's eggs. I left the cape to stop the Gerudo Pirates, then pow and bam! I got knocked down, now here I am!" — Mikau (Majora's Mask)
- "Somebody, please rescue her eggs before the pirates take their toll. Oh, somebody, somebody, please heal my soul. That's all... Thank you!" — Mikau (Majora's Mask)
- "Hmm... If these Zoras were born to teach this song, then hurry! You must play this song for the Zora who laid these eggs!" — Professor (Majora's Mask)
- "Now then, proud Zora warrior... The open seas of Great Bay have need of your might. Quickly. Climb onto my back." — Turtle (Majora's Mask)
- "It is unfortunate, but it is no place for one such as you... But if you must enter, then you must obtain the mask containing the wandering spirit. Near the ranch are a pair of men with the mask of an Ikana ninja. Men of poor character who commit evil deeds. Find them. Without that mask, you cannot help the restless spirits of Ikana... Without it, you cannot save their souls... Until it is in your possession, I will not let you pass by here. Yee-hee-hee!" — Poe Collector (Majora's Mask)
- "I can't believe we lost! Big Bro, now we gotta give him something nice... ...Pah. We gotta give him something... I got it! We'll give him the ninja mask. It'll be a nice toy, sonny. You can pretend you're on a big adventure!" — Gorman Brother (Majora's Mask)
- "Yee-hee-hee. That's a nice mask you're wearing. That is the mask of the leader of the ninjas who once spied on the hilltop castle with the blood-stained history. With that, you may be able to call out their spirits that even now are still wandering. Perhaps you may be able to save the souls that wander beyond here... Yee-hee-hee" — Poe Collector (Majora's Mask)
- "It all happened after somebody thrust open the doors of that Stone Tower." — Igos du Ikana (Majora's Mask)
- "We dead should not be lingering here in this land. It was all a trick of the masked one who had upset things." — Sharp (Majora's Mask)
- "To return true light to this land, you must seal the doors of Stone Tower, where the winds of darkness blow through." — Igos du Ikana (Majora's Mask)
- "But Stone Tower is an impenetrable stronghold. Even hundreds of soldiers from my kingdom would not be able to topple it. It is far too reckless for one to take on such a challenge. ...And so... I grant to you a soldier who has no heart. One who will not falter in the darkness. You shall remember this song!" — Igos du Ikana (Majora's Mask)
- "Sis!!!" — Tael (Majora's Mask)
- "Tael!!! Good... We made it in time. The giants' call worked on the Skull Kid." — Tatl (Majora's Mask)
- "It's 'cause he doesn't know his place! On top of having a weak will and no strength of heart...he's a fool!" — Tatl (Majora's Mask)
- "A puppet that can no longer be used is mere garbage. This puppet's role has just ended..." — Majora's Mask (Majora's Mask)
- "I... I shall consume. Consume... Consume everything." — Majora's Mask (Majora's Mask)
- "Aah! He's awake!" — Tatl (Majora's Mask)
- "You guys... You hadn't forgotten about me? You still thought of me as a friend?" — Skull Kid (Majora's Mask)
- "Eh-hee-hee... You have the same smell as the fairy kid who taught me that song in the woods..." — Skull Kid (Majora's Mask)
- "Oh... So the evil has left the mask after all..." — Happy Mask Salesman (Majora's Mask)
- "Since I am in the midst of my travels... I must bid you farewell." — Happy Mask Salesman (Majora's Mask)
- "Well, both of us have gotten what we were after... So this is where you and I part ways, isn't it? You know...it was kind of fun. Well...it's almost time for the carnival to begin... So, why don't you just leave and go about your business? The rest of us have a carnival to go to." — Tatl (Majora's Mask)
- "Link! ...Thank you." — Tatl (Majora's Mask)
- Encyclopedia, Dark Horse Books, pg. 37
- The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask N64 review at IGN
- A Software Recommendation: The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
- "At the time when Ocarina of Time came out, there was a plan in the works of releasing Master Quest for 64DD." —Satoru Iwata (Iwata Asks: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D.)
- "We were told to repurpose the dungeons from Ocarina of Time and make a game out of it, and I was handed the baton to make that happen." —Eiji Aonuma (Iwata Asks: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D.)
- "However, when we made Ocarina of Time, we made those dungeons thinking they were the best we could make. That's when Miyamoto-san asked me to remake them, so I hesitantly obliged...but I couldn't really get into it." —Eiji Aonuma (Iwata Asks: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D.)
- "So I secretly started making new dungeons that weren't in Ocarina of Time, and that was much more fun to me." —Eiji Aonuma (Iwata Asks: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D.)
- "So, I grew up the courage to ask Miyamoto-san whether I could make a new game, he replied by saying it's ok if I can make it in a year." —Eiji Aonuma (Iwata Asks: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D.)
- Encyclopedia, Dark Horse Books, [which page?]
- "I rolled and turned thinking what kind of software I should make, and when I met (Yoshiaki) Koizumi-san around that time, I asked for his help. He was working on a plan for a different game at the time, one where you would play in a compact game world over and over again." —Eiji Aonuma (Iwata Asks: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D.)
- "Right, so Koizumi-san told me that he would help me out if he could use that system of time passing to make a game where you would be playing the same moments in time over and over again." —Eiji Aonuma (Iwata Asks: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D.)
- "But at first, it was one week." —Eiji Aonuma (Iwata Asks: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D.)
- "In this game the townspeople do different things each day and many different things happen, but when the timespan becomes a week, that's just too much to remember. You can't simply remember who's where doing what on which day." —Eiji Aonuma (Iwata Asks: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D.)
- "Occasionally I also take images from dreams. Perhaps I am a little bit different from Mr Miyamoto in that sense. So if I could just give an example of one of those idle daydreams that turns into an idea for a game, I would look up at the moon and think about what would happen if the moon started to fall towards Earth. From that idea we moved onto the world in Majora's Mask which is threatened by being destroyed by the moon." —Yoshiaki Koizumi (Zelda: Majora's Mask came to me in a dream - Koizumi.)
- "The development of Ocarina of Time was so long, we were able to put in a whole lot of different elements into that game. Out of those, there were ideas that weren't fully utilized, and ones that weren't used to their full potential. One of those was the mask salesman." —Eiji Aonuma (Iwata Asks: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D.)
- "As a basis of Zelda games, you're able to use items to do all sorts of different things, and we felt it would be a lot of fun if Link would acquire all these abilities by putting on these different masks. We felt that would expand the gameplay. So we made the game so Link could transform into Deku Link to fly in the air, Goron Link to roll across land, and Zora Link so that he could swim underwater. We also gave each of them a storyline." —Eiji Aonuma (Iwata Asks: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D.)
- Nintendo, ゼルダの伝説 外伝 （仮称）, Official Nintendo Japanese Site (archive).
- The Legend of Zelda: Mask of the Mujula, Nintendo Official Website (archive), retrieved March 30, 2014.
- "This is a kind of parallel world that is similar and yet different to the land of Hyrule, which was the setting for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time." (Majora's Mask manual, pg. 6)
- "Several months after rescuing Princess Zelda and saving the land of Hyrule, Link set foot into the mysterious world of Termina by chance while in the midst of a new journey." (Majora's Mask manual, pg. 5)
- "The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: An action adventure game released for the Nintendo 64 console on Nov. 21, 1998. The story of Majora's Mask takes place a few months after the story of Ocarina of Time. Its game system and graphics were also used for Majora's Mask." — Iwata Asks: The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D, nintendo.com, retrieved July 28, 2020.
- Xenogears vs. Tetris, RPGGamer.
- IGN presents: The History of Zelda - Reinventing
- The Decade of Zelda - Go Nintendo
- Phantom Hourglass near perfect! Famitsu gives 39/40
- Gamers.com: Top 100 Games of All Time
- Virtual Console Review - The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
- The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask Review for Nintendo 64 - GameSpot
- The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask N64 Review for IGN
- Nintendo Power Issue 248 (December 2009), p. 69.
- Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask Review for Nintendo 64 - Game Revolution
- IGN Reader's Choice: The Top 100 Games Ever
- Fall 2010: Game of the Decade - GameFAQs.com
- Nintendo Weekly Majora's Mask (and stuff that isn't Majora)
- The Oddity of Hyrule: Your Impressions of Majora's Mask
- A Software Recommendation: The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Review/Preview for Nintendo Wii - Cheat CC
- Majoras Mask is 300th Virtual Console game - Escapist Magazine
- Nintendo DLC: Majora's Mask is 300th Virtual Console title
- The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask Review (Virtual Console)
- Nintendo, Nintendo Direct 11.5.2014, YouTube, published November 5, 2014, retrieved November 5, 2014.