The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask

The sixth and darkest title of the Legend of Zelda
SeriousGamer - Staff Reviewer

Content at a glance:

Mild Violence: Combat against human-like and non-human enemies with a variety of weapons. Multi-colored drops spray from enemies, and enemies bloodless fall apart and sometimes burn. Cutscenes depict moments of pain.

Heavy Spiritual Content: Use of fantasy magic and magic items. Two NPC's are witches, main character can change forms by wearing masks, possession is implied, titular object is occultic in nature.

Scantily Clad Females: Female NPC's wear bikini tops and other skimpy outfits.

Alcohol References: One character comments on getting tipsy.

Gambling: Mini games involve betting, player bets on horse race to advance plot.

The Zelda series was never one for direct sequels with the exception of two games. This is one of them. In 2000, fans of the series received Majora’s Mask, the sequel to the acclaimed title Ocarina of Time and the sixth title of the Zelda series. Majora’s Mask was apparently well received because it was re-released as part of the Zelda Collector’s Edition, and in 2009, it was released again for the Wii’s Virtual Console.

Majora’s Mask was a departure for the Zelda series. The familiar land of Hyrule, the Triforce, the evil arch-enemy Ganon, and even Princess Zelda herself are all absent for this adventure. The only things that didn’t really change were the game relying on the titular object and, of course, our green-clad hero, Link. But the biggest departure Majora’s Mask made was the storyline. This game is considered the darkest title of the series, and I would say it deserves that ranking.

Plot

Majora’s Mask takes place after Ocarina of Time. After defeating the evil Ganon, Link returned from his adventure across time to his younger days. Majora’s Mask picks up shortly after that with Link riding his horse, Epona, through the forest looking for Navi, his fairy companion from Ocarina. The only think Link finds however is trouble. Link is ambushed by a masked Skull Kid, one of the denizens of the forest, and his fairy friends, Tatl and Tael. The Skull Kid quickly steals Epona and Link’s Ocarina of Time and runs away. Link wastes no time and follows the Skull Kid into a cave. Like Alice finding Wonderland, Link discovers the cave leads to an alternate version of Hyrule called Termina.

After arriving, Link is met a man who calls himself the Happy Mask Salesman. The salesman asks Link for help in retrieving an ancient mask stolen from him; a mask known as Majora’s Mask, which happens to be the same mask the Skull Kid is wearing. The quest soon takes on a new urgency as the power of the mask is pulling the moon out of orbit, and in three days, it will crash into Termina. All in a day’s work for the Hero of Time right?

Gameplay

If you’ve ever played Ocarina of Time or Wind Waker, you’ll have a good idea of how the controls work. Majora’s Mask works very much the same way. The game is set in the overworld of Termina with dungeons scattered in various places. Link jumps automatically, and you can assign items to buttons for quick use. The same basic idea of the dungeons remains the same as well. You have to find the dungeon and clear it to proceed.

What is really different is the time limit. Link has three in-game days to complete his quest before the moon crashes. The days and the time of time are measured by a clock at the bottom of the screen. Since you will likely need more time, you can play the Song of Time and start over from the first day. There is a catch to doing this though: just about all of your items like your supply of arrows, bombs, rupees and your progress through the dungeons will be gone. So, you have to work fast. It really throws a wrench into the works on some of the later dungeons.

Offensive Content

Mild Violence

Once again, if you’ve played Ocarina of Time or Wind Waker, you’ll be in the same ballpark in this area. Link fights with a variety of weapons depending on which form he’s in. His arsenal includes his sword, bow and arrow, sharp fin-like blades, even his bare, mutated fists. Some of Link’s enemies are human too. Sometimes colored drops spray when enemies are struck. Defeated enemies will usually disappear in a puff of smoke or flames but a few do linger. Some enemies also fall apart bloodless and in some cases we see the enemy burn and turn black before going to pieces, but this is usually in the case of bosses. Speaking of burning, once Link obtains the Fire Arrows, he can set enemies on fire, but once again, apart from the multi-colored drops, this is all bloodless.

One of the cutscenes shows a bit more intense violence involving an innocent character about to be lowered into a large pot hanging over a big fire. Luckily, it’s interrupted before any harm can be done.

Link also receives masks that let him transform (more on that later) and the cutscene that plays shows him screaming and writhing in apparent pain as he changes.

Heavy Spiritual Content

The Zelda series always had a bit of magic to it. Majora’s Mask is no exception. Link uses a variety of magic items in his quest that allow him to change the flow of or reverse time, infuse his arrows with the power of fire, ice, and light, or see things that aren’t there. Link also gains masks that allow him to change his appearance. Some of the enemies are supernatural as well, such as ghosts, zombies, mummies, and walking skeletons. A lot of this is well within the realm of fantasy, but some important things take a step outside that line.

To start, there is the titular mask. Link is informed early on that Majora’s Mask was once used in hexing rituals, and it does have something of a dark look to it. The mask is also apparently alive and can possess its wearer into doing its bidding.

Two of the masks Link gains are also obtained by playing a magic song for two characters that are either dead or dying. These masks make Link look like the characters, and I believe they imply that the spirits of these two characters inhabit the masks and grant Link his new shape. The last mask Link can gain is an optional one called the Fierce Deity Mask, which is said to contain the spirit of a dark warrior. Also on the darker side of things, it’s mentioned that a minor character sold his soul to the devil. Needless to say, Majora’s Mask treads on dangerous ground.

One area less important to the plot, but still worth mentioning is that two NPC’s are witches. These two were previously bosses in Ocarina of Time, but now they serve as vendors for potions.

Scantily Clad Females

This area is rather limited. Two characters you meet in the main town are dancers. Both look like they’re only wearing towels or sheets. We also see woman dressed up in Arabian-style outfits consisting of a bikini top and long pants.

The Great Fairy is also seen in this title, and she again wears nothing more than a skimpy outfit of leaves.

Alcoholic References

One location in the main town is called the Milk Bar. One character inside comments on how you can’t “get tipsy on milk” when you talk to him.

Gambling

There’s an area where you can play in games of chance for rupees, that’s the Zelda version of money. You also have to bet in a horse race to proceed in one part.

Noteworthy Elements

Even in this dark tale, this is some light. Link is willing to go the extra mile, even when the incident in Termina isn’t really his problem. He selflessly puts his own search on hold to aid those who need him, and he also does the same while trying to stop Majora’s Mask. There’s also a bit of a reconciliation theme at the end, after the Skull Kid is free of the mask’s power. I suppose there’s also a warning that messing with dark forces is something that shouldn’t be done. While we don’t know how the Skull Kid found Majora’s Mask, it’s clear he should’ve left it alone. And Link also doesn’t try to kill the Skull Kid but rather free him from the mask’s hold. And once again, you’re not trying to use the power of Majora’s Mask but destroy it.

Conclusion

I have to say, as a Zelda fan, I was pretty disappointed in Majora’s Mask. It didn’t seem to have the same feel as Ocarina of Time, Wind Waker, or even Twilight Princess. I don’t know if it was the whole parallel universe or just the three day time limit, which really didn’t seem like Zelda to me, but I just wasn’t pleased with the sixth entry in the series.

As a Christian, I was even more disturbed by this title stepping over a lot of lines in terms of its spiritual content. The magic used by previous titles was one thing at least that stayed within the safe boundaries of clear fantasy. Majora’s Mask still played within those boundaries on some issues, but a lot of key areas really went over the line. The mask, the idea of the dead possessing the living, and the whole soul selling bit really raised an eyebrow with me. If you decide to take on the quest for Termina, I’d spend a few real days thinking it over first.




Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Christian Answers Network.

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