Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Remembering 'Majora's Mask' - Part 1

Three days...

In three days you must reshape the world. You must solve the problems of the innocent townsfolk. You must save the romance between two lost souls. You must collect the remnants of the crumbling civilizations around you. You must grow in strength, speed, cunning and bravery. You must make a new friend where another was lost. You must face your newest foe with all your might and prevent him from bringing down the moon and destroying this land.

All this shouldn't be too hard for the Hero of Time, but you better act quick:

It's the dawn of the first day, only 72 hours remain.

From Music To Masks

To better understand the game The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask we have to look back at the previous game in the series. Ocarina of Time came out in 1998 to wide and universal acclaim. Nintendo was looking to expand the game using the Japanese exclusive N64DD download service and started work on both Ocarina of Time: Master Quest and Zelda: Gaiden, the latter of which was to be a spin-off of the previous games story. While it took over five years for Nintendo to follow A Link to the Past with Ocarina, both new projects were finished in a little over a year. While it would take until the GameCube for us here in America to get our hands on the Master Quest reworking of Ocarina, holiday 2000 brought us the fruits of the Zelda: Gaiden project. The masks were upon us.

Where time and music played the main roles in the previous game, Majora's Mask add a new arsenal of puzzle solving and prize achieving items: masks obviously!


Sure there were masks in Ocarina of Time as well, but this time masks are the system of story-telling. They relate you as the hero to the people in the buildings of Clock Town and beyond. You dig deeper into each character and solve various puzzles using the masks. The masks become an extension of your own powers and abilities, in some cases quite literally.

While playing the game you come into possession of three crucial masks; the Deku Mask, the Goron Mask and the Zora Mask. These allow Link to take the shape of each of the three different races. The most obvious uses are to solve puzzles or overcome dungeons (Deku's can often take flight from plants, Goron's can survive lava and other harsh elements, and Zora's excel at swimming). In this regard, the masks expand on the tradition of all Zelda games where you find an item and use it to proceed on your quest. But besides the masks ability as tools, they also hold another element that adds to the story.


The three main masks used throughout the game also house the souls of  the recently deceased. In all three cases each mask is formed in different circumstances. Through pain and anguish, the promise of a wish fulfilled, or the ease from life into death. Each of these masks were made from a person and each mask house their living entities. Their abilities, their powers, even their appearances in general are used to advance the game in varying ways.

The majority of the other masks encountered in the game are used more for a deeper puzzle element added to the game. This puzzle side-quest is nearly as complex and imaginative as the main story itself; The Bomber Notebook.


The Bomber Notebook was your window into the lives of the citizens of Clock Town. Their actions, movements, meetings, partnerships, jobs, and promises made over your three-day adventure. On first acquiring the notebook I remember feeling both a sense of importance and the air of mystery. Because while the notebook was about keeping track of the people in the town, it's true intentions were simply to help them. Solve the problems of the people. Fix the issues plaguing their lives. Help them receive solace and peace before the moon comes crashing down on their heads literally.

While this book intertwines your journey, it is but the building blocks of the bigger picture of the game, and what the game truly starts to mean at it's core. In my next article, the games amazing and important story.



  1. Fun fact: Gaiden is Japanese for "side-story" or "tale." This would help explain Zelda's complete absence in this game.

  2. That fact wasn't fun, I demand a refund.

  3. Piss off fatty, this is my comment section now.