A couple of days ago I finished playing Zelda – Ocarina of Time. It’s a game that I’ve owned for a long time, probably since it was first released in 1998. I’ve played it countless hours but I’ve never played it to the end before. I did however make it all the way to the final dungeon, Ganon’s Castle, back in the nineties. This, combined with the fact that Ocarina of Time has, until very recently, been the newest Zelda game I’ve owned, has meant that I haven’t really encountered anything new in the world of Zelda in the last ten to fifteen years. Sure, I’ve found new artifacts and hidden secrets in the games that I’ve played since then1, but nothing has been truly new. Until now.
Earlier this year I bought a used copy of Zelda: Majora’s Mask and on July third I started playing it.2 So far I love it! In many ways it really is a sequel to Ocarina of Time, more so than any Zelda game that I’ve played before. The game engine seems to be the same and a lot of characters appear or seems to appear in both games.3 Also the control schemes and a lot of the usable items are the same. In other ways it is a big departure from the previous games. (I’ll try not to spoil it for those of you who haven’t yet player it.)
The games in the Zelda franchise has a lot of things in common when it comes to game mechanics. (The game that stands out as the most different among the once I’ve played before is Zelda II: The Adventure of Link.)4 New items and plot devices are introduced in each new game but the overall mechanics of the game are the same. In Ocarina of Time it was the Ocarina itself, the songs you played on it and the concept of Time that was the big new things introduced. The passing of time changed things in the game world and you as a player needed to do the correct things in the correct point in time. Without spoiling too much of Majora’s Mask, let’s just say that these two concepts gets magnified a lot in this game which makes for a different experience compared to the other games in the series. It also means I need to approach playing it in a new way. Especially the first six to eight hours of playing, before I knew what I was doing, felt very awkward but in a good way.
Now, after something like fifteen hours of game play, I’m far into the first real dungeon and I just love playing this game. I don’t know if it’s just the fact that it is the first time in a long time that I play a game that I don’t already know most things about, but it feels like this is the Zelda game so far that has the hardest puzzles to solve. The combat elements are similar to Ocarina of Time, which to me means they require my concentration but I will not fail at the game because of my lack of combat skills. (Well, Links combat skills surely affect the outcome but the fact that I’m not a very good gamer when it comes to combat will not.)5
If you like Zelda or Zelda-esque games and you haven’t yet played Majora’s Mask I highly recommend you do. Buy a used Nintendo 64 and a used copy of the game or get it as a download in your Wii or Wii U‘s virtual console store6.
- The Legend of Zelda
- Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
- Zelda: A Link to the Past
- Zelda: Ocarina of Time
- (and nowadays Zelda: Majora’s Mask)
The once I’ve played a lot in recent years is A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time. ↩
- The reason I didn’t start playing it earlier was that I really, really wanted to finish Ocarina of Time first. ↩
- Sometimes characters in the two games looks identical but are actually different people. ↩
- The Adventure of Link was actually the first Zelda game I owned and the first I played all the way to the end. ↩
- The hardest Zelda game in terms of combat is in my opinion The Adventure of Link. ↩
- I’m just guessing that they are available there. I don’t own either a Wii or a Wii U. ↩