Virtual Console Wrap-up – 5/18

Knowing that this week would see the release of the 300th VC game, I had a dream last night about what this game could be. My unconscious mind came up with the only logical choice for such a milestone: Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures. For once, I’m glad to be proven wrong, as we’re getting The Legend of Zelda Majora’s Mask. Holy balls. You may not need us to tell you to get this one, but here’s what we think of it anyway!

The Legend of Zelda Majora’s Mask
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Original Release Date: 2000
Cost: 1000 Wii Points.

Ashe Collins: Finally! Something that isn’t from the vault that was left laying on the floor and they decided to just throw it up on the VC!

While I didn’t get into this one as much as I did Ocarina of Time, mainly due to time issues, I did like this one’s darker feel a bit more than Ocarina of Time. Majora’s Mask had some issues in re-release, but was still enjoyable, and should not be there in this version of the game. 1000 points isn’t too bad a price, especially if you don’t already have it for the N64 or the Gamecube collector’s edition.

I just need to get me some more points and I’ll be playing this one shortly!

Guy Desmarais: This is one of the two releases I have been waiting for ever since the Virtual Console launched. The first one was Goldeneye, which we will not be seeing anytime soon, but in the meantime, Majora’s Mask more than makes up for it.

Majora’s Mask, in my opinion, is one of the highlight of the Zelda series. It is one of the only game in the franchise not to use the “save the princess” storyline, and the time traveling, three-day cycle gives the experience a sense of urgency not found in other installments. This time, Link has to stop the moon from falling on the Earth, ending life as we know it in the process. As you can see, it is much darker than anything else you might see from the series. Some people might remember it more because the game also serves as the introduction of Tingle, the 35 years old leotard wearing “fairy”, but his role in this one is short, so don’t let that bother you.

On the challenge side, the game offers only 4 dungeons, but two of them are in my top 10 of the most devilish dungeons in the whole franchise. The rest of the game is about accomplishing missions to help people in need, who will often reward you with masks you need to complete the dungeons. Some of these side missions almost count as dungeons by themselves because they might involve tasks to done over the entire three days cycle. Each character involved in your quest has his own schedule during the cycle, so the game requires a lot of observational skills.

The only thing I fear with this release of Majora’s Mask is the quality of the emulation. The version released on the Legend of Zelda: Collector’s Edition disk for the Gamecube had a glitch that would often freeze the game at random. Since the game can only be saved at the end of the three-days cycle or at specific locations containing an owl statue, this caused a lot of frustration, which eventually got me to give up and borrow the real game for the N64. I will definitely buy this game for the Virtual Console, but I hope Nintendo has fixed the glitch this time around.

HIGHLY recommended.

Mohamed Al-Saadoon: Finally, a game on VC I actually know about.

The story of Majora’s Mask is much better involved than any other in the series and that’s not because the game is “dark” or whatever throwaway term most reviewers use.

It’s upped the cinematic experience several times over OoT and that’s made painfully obvious from the very first moment in the game where you are stuck as a Deku Shrub and have to make it out on the mean streets of Termina to get back to your regular elvish form.

The small amount of dungeons may seem like bad thing at first but it allows the developers to truly personalize each dungeon with its own story creating a truly epic feeling Zelda game.

If you only have to buy one VC game, this is it.

Nathan Birch: Hey whattaya know, months after finally letting us load games from SD cards they give us a new N64 game!

Anyways, while Majora’s Mask rarely gets brought up in “what’s the best Zelda EVER?” discussions, I think it’s actually the 2nd most significant 3D Zelda game after Ocarina.

Majora’s Mask, in my opinion, was really the direction the Zelda series should have gone in. As great as it’s dungeons, bosses and whatnot were, what really made Ocarina stand out was it’s groundbreaking overworld, and Majora’s Mask really pushed that aspect. Every inch of the world in Majora’s Mask was packed with something interesting to explore and every character in the game felt truly alive, with their own routines, backstories and goals. Many people credit Grand Theft Auto 3 with creating open world gameplay, but Majora’s Mask was already doing it years earlier.

The world wasn’t all it had going for it. It’s storyline went in a dark, original direction. It had not one, but two innovative new gameplay mechanics in the transformative masks and the 3-day Groundhog Day style time limit. It’s dungeons were the most challenging and complex in the series.

Unfortunately since it wasn’t simply Ocarina of Time 2, a lot of fans turned up their noses at the game, Nintendo got scared and backed off from most of the innovations introduced in Majora’s Mask. While Nintendo created conservative, sterile overworlds for games like Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, other companies like Rockstar were taking the ideas they came up with in Majora’s Mask and running all the way to the bank with them.

Anyways, don’t let the fact that it’s not just Ocarina of Time with new dungeons scare you off, this is a must have.

Aileen Coe: Majora’s Mask deviated from the usual Zelda formula with the inclusion of the time limit before the moon crashes down on everything, the overall more sinister feel, and the emphasis on using masks to complete tasks and gain different advantages in battle. Having the moon glaring down at you the whole time added a sense of urgency not present in the other games in the series.

While there are about half the number of dungeons in the game that you would find in other games in the Zelda series, the constant warping back in time and the scope of each dungeon means that you won’t feel cheated by the lower dungeon quantity. In addition, there’s a bunch of sidequests to fill your time with, including a long and involved one that gives you more plot and insight on the characters involved than you usually get (and you even get to control one of the directly at certain points), so there’s no lack of content on that front either.

Some may find the three-day cycle cumbersome to deal with, and yes, it can get irritating at times, especially if you’re just getting used to it. It’ll definitely keep you busy for a while should you decide to drop the points on this. Definitely worth a purchase.

You can also get Crystal Defenders R2 and Silver Star Chess. But who cares about those. Get Majora’s Mask. Now.

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