Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Oct 302017

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is often referred to as the “dark” Legend of Zelda game, so what better time to look at it than during our celebration of all spooky and creepy games?

(Plus, I finished it yesterday.)

I never played Majora’s Mask when it originally came out, so I was thrilled by the announcement of Majora’s Mask 3D. Several friends warned me it could get repetitive, but I suggested it to a friend as a game we should play together in July.

…*looks at date* Okay, so it took a little longer to finish than I expected.

Unfortunately, the reason Majora’s Mask took me so long to complete isn’t just because I somehow put 59 hours into it, but because I often didn’t have the will to play it, at least not for more than one 3-day cycle in-game.

This is not to say I didn’t like Majora’s Mask! I enjoyed several parts of it… mainly when I was doing normal Zelda activities. I liked solving puzzles in the dungeons, I liked playing mini-games, and I liked using the masks, especially the transformation masks.

I also enjoyed the premise and story, although I’d argue that it isn’t nearly as dark of a game as people say. Plenty of dark things happen in the game, but there are dark events in pretty much every Legend of Zelda game. To me, Link’s Awakening is ultimately darker in the end despite its lighter presentation.

Click for Link's Awakening spoiler
In Link’s Awakening, either everyone you interacted with during the entire game was fake, or you killed them all. And the bosses fight you because they don’t want to be erased. That’s pretty disturbing…

But that doesn’t matter. Dark or not, I enjoyed the atmosphere and story of Majora’s Mask.

What I didn’t enjoy was the time mechanic.

I know, the time travel is central to Majora’s Mask. And I like the concept. Make progress, learn new information, get new items, and then reset time to avert the apocalypse while using what you did the previous time to get further.

Yet it leads to so much repetition…

From my understanding, the 3DS version made some of this a lot easier to manage, which I’m grateful for. Even with those changes, I found it annoying to repeat certain things over and over and over, and I was never pleased to run out of time while nearing the end of a dungeon.

I was conflicted going into The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, and I’m still conflicted now that I’ve finished it. On one hand, I enjoyed several things about it. On the other hand, I found it to be one of the most annoying Zelda games I’ve played. Overall, I think I would have enjoyed it more if it had a similar story but played more like a traditional game in the series.

But that’s just me, and I know this game is beloved by many people. What do you think of Majora’s Mask?

And do you consider it a dark game?

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  10 Responses to “Celebrating All Things Spooky: Majora’s Mask”

  1. Majora’s Mask always looked like the most interesting Zelda game to me but I never played it. The giant moon always looked really creepy though. xD

  2. I have words for you. And those words are “Finally” and “How dare you.”

    I kid. 😛 I actually hate the time mechanic too, if only because I don’t do well under a timer, and because my biggest pet peeve in games is having to redo something I’ve already done (usually from forgetting to save).

    At the same time, Majora’s Mask is DEEPLY story heavy, and definitely the darkest in the series. The entire game is about death. Literally. Also, think about the repercussions of not sleeping for three straight days – and then having to do those sleepless days again, over and over. OoT/MM Link has some major PTSD.

    Check out this video on it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7S1SVkysIRw

    And on a final note, Majora’s Mask used to give me nightmares as a child. I still get creeped out by the mask.

    • Hahaha. 😛

      Well, going through those days over and over was tiresome enough for me, so I can only imagine what poor Link went through. xD

      But even taking all of these things into account (and the video is only a theory, not necessarily canon, especially since it contradicts the official timeline), I’m still not sure it can compare to the ending of Link’s Awakening. Of course, some of that might be because I felt a stronger connection to the characters in Link’s Awakening, which made the twist especially unsettling.

  3. I think Majora’s Mask is overrated.
    When you think about it, all Zelda games can be dark. I don’t see how it’s anymore dark than, say, Twilight Princess, which obviously is dark. (It’s in the name.)

    The time mechanic is awful and serves as a total disincentive to play. It’s between that and the N64/GCN port of it freezing sometimes that is the reason why I started and never finished the game on multiple occasions.

    • I know you do.
      I often bring up Twilight Princess in discussions about the series’ dark moments because that one flashback/explanation scene is so surreal and bizarre, it freaked me out when I first saw it.

      I didn’t encounter any freezing in the 3DS version, if that helps. But I did find the time mechanic quite annoying. I almost always took a break from playing (sometimes for days, which is why the game took me from July to October) every time I had to reset time.

      • That scene freaks me out to this day. When you search Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess into YouTube, a suggested completion is “scary scene”, which, of course, pulls up THE SCARY SCENE we both know we’re talking about.

        Of course, the game doesn’t really… follow-up on the themes in that cutscene, making me wonder why the hell it exists and existed that way.

        I think it’s more discussion-worthy than Majora’s Mask at least.

        • Yes, and you know exactly what scene I mean without any additional clarification needed. It does describe the backstory and how things went terribly wrong, I guess… but it seems like they only portrayed it that way to freak out players. xD

          • Perhaps I should dedicate an article to that.

            …A decade late, but oh well. (Not that Zelda lore is my forte…)

            Majora’s Mask is, effective, I guess, at creating an overall moody, dark atmosphere through its art style and the whole impending doom thing, but there’s not much in terms of defining scenes like that.
            (…Not that I’ve played through the whole thing, so that could be an incorrect statement.)

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