‘Majora’ is unmasked for a thrilling adventure

By Austin Miller, @AMiller_DE

Everyone wants to go on an adventure.

People like to escape their boring routines and see something new, which the “Legend of Zelda” franchise has done for more than 20 years.

Link, the green-cloaked warrior boy, has fulfilled the fantasies of many children, even though some still incorrectly call him Zelda. Zelda is the princess, people. Get it right.


Even though a “Zelda” game has not been released on consoles since 2011, the series has been successful on the portable 3DS.

While fans eagerly await a new game for the Wii U, expected in 2015, Nintendo has been busy remastering the classic games to keep that good taste in players’ mouths.

The latest of these is “The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask,” which turns 15 this year.

“Majora’s Mask” is a direct sequel to “The Ocarina of Time,” the greatest Zelda installment ever, and many people’s all-time favorite game.

What makes “Majora’s Mask” so appealing is how different it is from other games in the franchise.

“The Legend of Zelda” has always been about childish fun and wonder. There is a large map to be explored; filled with monsters, friends and prizes. Taking a quick detour can lead to caves full of treasure or man-eating plants.


All of those aspects are still present, but players can only stop to smell the roses briefly because time is of the essence.

The entire game takes place over three days. At the end of which, the moon will crash into the world and kill everyone. Players have to move through dungeons quickly to save mankind.

Adding a “shot clock” if you will, to a series known for consuming hours of someone’s time is interesting, and many argued against it when it was first released. But dealing with the stress of the hourglass running out adds importance to decisions made in the game.

In order to combat the impending doom, Link is able to use his trusty ocarina, a small, oval-shaped flute, to reverse and slow down time, making his quest more manageable.

He can also find different masks to help him out. One mask turns Link into a plant person, so he can fly around. Another mask allows increased sword damage.

The different masks create a nice variety in gameplay and create a puzzle-like experience. But having to constantly switch between masks becomes a hassle pretty quickly. Gamers will have to fly around with the plant mask, then take off the mask to equip the sword and fight, then put the mask back on to fly farther.

It takes several seconds to change masks, creating a cut-scene that take players away from the action. It is like going trick-or-treating, but having to change costumes before each house. Yeah, it is cool at first, but eventually you just want to stay a werewolf.

Even though the mask system is hit or miss, the basics of the game are interesting because they are different from any game in the series.

“Zelda” has largely been a franchise for kids, along with most Nintendo games. So, focusing on themes of death, doom and depression is a huge contrast to other titles.

In many works of fiction, sequels are darker and grittier than their predecessors.

“The Empire Strikes Back” is much darker than “A New Hope.” “A New Hope” ends happily with Luke Skywalker destroying the Death Star. “Empire” ends with Luke having his hand cut off and learning his arch nemesis is actually his dad.

Similarly, one of the greatest achievements in cinematic history, “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” throws two wannabe rock stars through time visiting Lincoln and Socrates to pass high school. Yet the sequel, “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey” takes them to Hell to visit Satan.

If it worked for Bill and Ted, it will work for anything.

“Majora’s Mask” is not better than “Ocarina of Time.” That is the truth. But it does offer a completely different, yet still enjoyable experience.

Adventures are all about seeing new things, and “Majora’s Mask” is an adventure from adventure. Think about that.

This remastering scratches just enough of my Zelda itch for now, but I cannot wait for an all-new journey later this year.

4 stars out of 5.

Austin Miller can be reached at [email protected]