If I ever rank all the Zelda games, I will have to put Majora's Mask above Ocarina of Time for sure. As with the Nintendo 3DS remasterakes last year, I felt that Majora's Mask gave me the better replay value, because there is just so much to do all at once in the world of Termina with it's many sidequests. The world is also quite dense when compared to other 3D Zelda games and there's something to discover / to find / to do in every nookie. It's just really well designed and there are no dull moments in this game, unlike in Ocarina of Time, where you keep going through the Field of Nothingness.
Similar to last time on the Nintendo 3DS I tried to do as much in one cycle as possible for my 100% run on the Wii U. Since the Song of Inverted Time essentially triples the available time, I was effortlessly able to clear one entire area per cycle:
- Cycle 1: Deku Minigame, Lottery
- Cycle 2: Clocktown sidequests, Southern Swamp, Swamp Spider House, Woodfall Temple, Romani Ranch (3rd Day)
- Cycle 3: Anju & Kafei Quest (partly), Snowhead, Snowhead Temple, Gilded Sword
- Cycle 4: Romani Ranch, Ikana Graveyard
- Cycle 5: Great Bay, Oceanside Spider House, Great Bay Temple, Frog Choir, Deku Tile Trade
- Cycle 6: Anju & Kafei Quest (complete), Anju's Grandmother's stories
- Cycle 6: Ikana, Stone Tower, Moon
On the third cycle I was mostly playing without a sword, where I had to realize (again) that you can actually activate Owl Statues with a Deku Stick. It doesn't work with any other weapons around the time, you can't use the Goron First or the Deku and it tells you to use your sword, but a Deku Stick does the trick as well.
Again, this run was nothing impressive, but beating the game in this way felt pretty good. What didn't feel good was the analog stick aiming, however. Gyro aiming was pretty much one of the best additions to the 3D series, where we can only hope that this will stay from now on, because going back to aiming with analog sticks is just frustrating. In Majora's Mask 3D I could easily score a "Perfect" in both Shooting Galleries on my first try. Back to Majora's Mask on Virtual Console I have to keep trying, trying and trying to get it done eventually...
Curiously enough, I found the Town Shooting Gallery somewhat easier than the one in Swamp, mostly because you only have to aim horizontally, while in the Swamp Shooting Gallery you have to shoot things all over the place. The Swamp Shooting Gallery is still the easier one, however, because the one in Clock Town just doesn't leave any room for error. You can't hit any blue Octoroks and the Octoroks will be gone quickly, where there's no second chances. A "Perfect" really is perfect play here.
I also had an issue with the 10-seconds-minigame at the Post Office, because there is some slight input lag, where I wasn't able to hit the 10 second mark accurately. The Wii U version also has the same downside as the Nintendo 3DS version with the Goron Labyrinth, where going straight is not so easy thanks to the completely rounded analog stick.
Otherwise the Virtual Console version was pretty good. I didn't mind the lower framerate as much as with Ocarina of Time, though this could be because I finally got used to it again, but the graphics are also somewhat nicer thanks to the Expansion Pack dependency of the original game. And of course it's nice to use Zora Link more freely again or use Ice Arrows wherever you want, though I didn't really play with the latter. But overall the Nintendo 3DS version made same changes to the worse, where the original version of the game still has some ground, unlike with Ocarina of Time, where there's no real reason to go back.
But there are also some changes and features from the Nintendo 3DS remasterake, that I missed. A smaller example would be planting the Deku Bean at the wall near Deku Palace. You can really get used to the shortcut and I forgot to bring some fresh Spring Water with me, where there's no pond around in the Nintendo 64 version. I would have had to go back, if it wasn't for the rain, which came with the start of the 2nd Day.
And the fishing in Majora's Mask 3D really grew on me, so that I kind of was missing it somewhat here, but since I don't have too much time left for the 3D Zelda games, before Breath of the Wild gets released, it's a good thing that I don't spent the additional hours with the game. I kind of have to rush things, while still going for the 100%.
Anyway, here are some fun RNG facts of my latest playthrough:
- Bomber Code: 45321
- Lottery Numbers: 251, 201 and 443
Another big advantage of the Wii U Virtual Console version are certainly Restore Points, which I mostly used for some of the minigames. In the already mentioned Clock Town Shooting for example, I could skip the early parts after mastering them. Or with the Zora Swimming you can set a Restore Point after the first race, so you don't have to do it again.
There isn't much else to do with Restore Points, though. Of course you can now leave the game at any time without the need of saving ingame thanks to Return Points, but this already worked on the Wii. There is Sakon's Hideout as an ideal point for saving and I also used it for the Heart Piece at Ikana Castle, where I really struggled to get this one on the Nintendo 3DS last time. Turns out that this isn't a problem at all in the Nintendo 64 / Virtual Console version.
Restore Points also now allow you to finally create a "perfect" savegame at the end, where you even might want to max out all items:
Why do we need to carry a total of 20 Magic Beans? 10 would have been enough (and make sense, since there were only 10 in Ocarina of Time).
But otherwise I was in a rush and despite the ongoing "time limit" in the game, Majora's Mask isn't a game that ought to be rushed. I didn't have many Nintendo 64 days as a kid, but this game alone could keep me entertained for a very long time, because it offers the "Adventure Sand Box" feel that Zelda should have. There's so much to discover and to try in every corner and thanks to the three-day-cycle you can do it all all over again and try different things at any time. With the masks alone there are so many hidden secrets, for example you can use the Captain's Hat and the Bremen Mask for some hilarious reactions during the Igos du Ikana Battle. It's these kind of details that drive the overall replay value of the game.