Friday, October 28, 2011

Replaying Majora's Mask

Since last December I was busy playing through the entire Zelda series again. It started with Spirit Tracks and at that time I wasn't even thinking about replaying all Zelda games, but I slowly began to revisit other titles like A Link to the Past or Twilight Princess. And before I knew it, it became a little project, where I would beat all Zelda games again before Skyward Sword arrives. I even replayed the BS Zelda games. And now this was my final destination. Actually I started replaying Majora's Mask on my Wii two weeks before I got my Nintendo 3DS. Then I paused to play the Four Sword Anniversary Edition and Ocarina of Time 3D, but two days ago I returned to finish the file.

Some Zelda fans would say that I saved the best for last, but at first I didn't really want to play Majora's Mask again, even though it's actually one of my favorite games in the series. What really turned me off are all the unfun minigames, which you even have to beat multiple times. Like beating them once isn't worse enough. I got pretty mad at the Deku flying minigame for example, the game on the 2nd day was quite frustrating, and it's always exhausting that you have to race the beever brothers FOUR times to get everything. I think all those minigames killed a part of the replay value for me. There's just a lot of stuff, which I don't want to do again. But after you've cleared the majority of minigames it gets better.

But the game allows you to replay basically every single part of it whenever you want. So, as a kid I replayed individual sections many, many times. Like replaying the Skulltula Houses, I love those and already played them a dozen times. Or rebattling the bosses using the Fierce Deity's Mask. That is fun and on the Nintendo 64 I spent a lot of time screwing around. It was like a giant playground. Today I wouldn't have much fun doing this, because it would feel meaningless. I only do stuff to get new items, everything else gets ignored. But as a kid I spent a lot of time with this game without ever actually playing it a second time from start to finish. However, I didn't have many N64 games and I just probably did it because I had nothing else to play. :)

Well, my main motivation to replay this game now was gaining a higher appreciation for a potential Majora's Mask 3D remake. I wanted to look for things that could be done in a remake, especially how they could rearrange the dungeons in a Majora's Mask 3D Master Quest. However, playing Majora's Mask on the Wii first and then playing Ocarina of Time 3D in comparison made me wanting a remake for the improved frame rate and better graphics alone! Ocarina of Time 3D just plays so much more nicely and smoothly than this game, I really want Majora's Mask to get the same treatment. Especially since the frame rate on the Wii Virtual Console version is quite slow and it's even worse on the Collector's Edition. The game running smoothly alone would be a huge improvement. Luckily I already was at Ikana and cleared all sidequests at the point where I would return to the game. If I wouldn't have been so far into the game, I probably couldn't have built up enough motivation to continue. I'm now spoiled by the quality of Ocarina of Time 3D and I want my Majora's Mask 3D next year.

It's also a game, where the 3D could shine. In fact it might be even more impressive than Ocarina of Time 3D, let alone the moon come closer at you in depth. And there's lots of stuff in this game, which could look quite impressive in 3D, it already starts with the chasing sequence at the beginning of the game. Or where Skull Kid turns you into the Deku, you get surrounded by lots of large Deku Scrubs. I would love to see this in 3D. Or the giants or Twinmold or... everything. A more subtle example would be the Mirror Shield. Unlike in Ocarina of Time the Mirror Shield here shines all the time when you stand in light and not only when you use it. So, if you look at Link from behind, the rays of light are coming right at you. This would make a nice 3D effect that pops.

While they're at it they could fix a bug that always bugged me. Namely that Link is missing in certain cutscenes. For example when you place yourself at the entrance of the clock tower at the night of the 3rd day and the cutscene starts, where the tower opens, Link isn't seen anywhere. They should fix this for the 3DS version. I also never understood, why Deku Link can't use the Magic Beans. After all the Business Scrubs are selling them exclusively to Dekus. And why can't Goron Link use bombs? After all that's their number one merchandise.

I already complained about all the minigames, but the hardest thing might be scoring a Perfect in the town's Shooting Gallery. The one with the Octoroks. You have to be really quick here, remember the formations and aim in advance. When I replayed the game on my Wii two and half years ago (see here), I came up with a nice solution. I forgot to mention this at that time, so I'm going to do this now. I made a list with sketches of all the formations and sticked it to the left side of my TV. Luckily I still have this list, so I could use it again. This is how it looks like:

It's certainly not pretty, but it gets the job done. It tells me where the next targets will be, so I can preaim accordingly. The little circles are the targets and the crosses are the blue Octoroks, which you shouldn't shoot. Well, if you try often enough you memorize the formations on your own, but the list heavily fastened the process this time. And nothing makes me happier than completing a frustrating minigame as soon as possible.

Overall minigames are also something, where a 3DS version would automatically improve the game. Aiming with the gyroscope is much faster and easier than using an analog stick. I doubt that I would have to stick such a list onto my 3DS. It wouldn't fit anyway. Or the Deku flying minigame is another example, it would be much easier to judge the jumps in 3D.

And the masks were basically made for the touch buttons! In Ocarina of Time 3D I complained that you can only use the touch buttons for items like bottles, something that doesn't get used extensively like the bow. Now more than half of the game's items would be masks and there are even six bottles... this item collection is perfectly suitable for the touch buttons!

Giving Link silly names is always funny, but this time I didn't do it on purpose. My first savegame on the Wii was called "Tourian", so I called Link "Tourist" this time (the file menu now reads Tourian Tourist, I do that all the time ^^). Well, Anju now actually called me "Mr. Tourist" when asking for the reservation. At first I thought that it was a little bit demeaning that she calls her guests that way, I mean a doctor doesn't call his patient "Mr. Patient" or a shop owner doesn't call you "Mr. Customer", but then I realized that she was actually using the name which I had entered, lol.

Yeah, and did I mention that I love the Skulltula Houses? If GREZZO adds something to the game, please let it be a third Skulltula House. You could get the Shard of Agony there or whatever.

And it always surprises me if I discover something new after all these years. I've been playing this game up and down ever since it was released in 2000 and you should think that I know all about it, but this time I actually discovered something new. I have several rituals at the beginning of the first day. I usually slow the time down first by playing the inverted Song of Time. Then I enter the Bomber's Hideout and use the Blast Mask to get the 100 Rupees behind the Skulltula in the left sewer tunnel. Then I leave the sewer and use the Bunny Hood to get the 100 Rupees above the Shooting Gallery. That's an easy 200 Rupees for every cycle. Then I warp to the Southern Swamp and head to the Woods of Mystery to get a Magic Mushroom. I give this mushroom to Kotake to get a free Blue Potion. Now it turns out that I actually never had to enter the stupid Woods of Mystery for this part. On the way to the witch's hut there's actually another mushroom, next to a sign before the pathway with two Deku Babas. I could have just picked this one up all these years and save myself some time. You have no idea how many times I went into the Woods of Mystery for basically nothing!

Well, it has been fun. I replayed all Zelda games, no exceptions, and I'm now fully ready for Skyward Sword, which will be released in exactly three weeks. The only other game that I might add to my current replay list is Link's Awakening DX, as soon as I get one of those Zelda prepaid cards for the eShop. I already played Link's Awakening earlier this year, but luckily only the classic monochrome version and not the DX one. But this might have to wait until after Skyward Sword, I'm probably going to play this on my 3DS when I travel home at Christmas.


Anonymous said...

I sure hope that Nintendo makes Majora's Mask 3D!

Pokefreak911 said...

That Octorok minigame is horrible when you're colorblind, this is coming from someone with experience. I really hope they make Majoras Mask 3D more accesible for color impaired humans.