Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Replaying Majora's Mask 3D

After replaying Ocarina of Time 3D, it was a logical choice to replay Majora's Mask 3D again as well and play both of the remastered Nintendo 64 Zelda games back to back.

And the one thing that I disliked the most this time was the flatter 3D, when compared directly to Ocarina of Time 3D. It just doesn't give you the same sense of depth and distance that Ocarina of Time 3D has. And there's no good reason for this, because the 3DS does have a 3D slider. If you don't want the 3D effect to be as deep, just regulate it down. Every 3DS system has this option and the game could look a lot more impressive, if the 3D was the same as in the predecessor.

But despite the lack of 3D, it was a very enjoyable experience overall. Majora's Mask is still one of my absolute favorite Zelda games, if not my favorite, so diving back into this title always brings me back to times of the Nintendo 64 and the childhood experiences in Termina. It's such a rich game world that is still unmatched in the series and just completely captivates you with its atmosphere and attention to detail.

More so in the "remake", where this time I could enjoy it a lot more. When Majora's Mask 3D came out last year, I wrote my Majora's Mask 3D Daybook and I was almost entirely focused on the changes, where some of them didn't make me all too happy. But once you know what you're getting with the new version, it's not so bad actually. It's still not the ultimate version of the game and probably never will be, but both versions have something to go for.

And what the 3DS version has to offer is the better overall replay value. At least that's how I feel right now after replaying it and when it comes to 100% runs. With the original game I rarely ever replayed it, because you can replay all the parts anyway. You can replay all the dungeons, bosses and quests and even make use of all the masks in them, e.g. killing bosses as Fierce Deity Link. As a kid in front of the Nintendo 64 I usually preferred just diving back into Termina, exploring every little corner and playing with all the possibilities. But I rarely started the game over. I did it once or maybe twice on the N64, once on the GameCube (which I never finished due to the freezing issues) and twice on the Wii. And that's not a whole lot considering that it's one of my favorite games.

The biggest wall were usually the minigames. Especially the Beaver Falls Race and the Shooting Galleries were rather off-putting. While the Zora Swimming itself got worse on the 3DS version, at least the swimming minigame got a lot easier, because the time isn't cut as short. I got stuck on one of the rings multiple times, but I still had lots of time left at the end. It's weird, because you supposedly have the same time limits, but either the time is running slower or you are swimming much faster on the 3DS. And while the Town Shooting Gallery was a pain with an Analogue Stick, I always get a "Perfect" score with the gyro aiming of the 3DS. So, there's that. Even the Deku Minigame got easier, because the Deku Flying lets you look down and marks your landing spot with a reticle. The Goron Race is still unfair as hell, but I won despite several crashes, as if the Gorons were all waiting for me at the end.

So, with the minigame wall gone I've suddenly discovered a whole new world of replay value, especially with all the things you can do around Clocktown alone after the initial 3-day-cycle as a Deku. There are so many sidequests and options, it's exciting and really draws someone like me back into the game, who usually wants to get stuff as early as possible. Before entering Woodfall Temple I already got the Adult Wallet, Bomb Bag, Big Bomb Bag, Great Fairy's Mask, Kafei's Mask, Bremen Mask, Blast Mask, Kamaro's Mask, Mask of Truth, Bunny Hood, Keaton Mask, Postman's Hat and 18 Pieces of Heart. There's so much to do and to get. And it rarely dies down, there are always new sidequests on the next step, even though the biggest wave certainly is in the beginning. But that's where it should be.

I also tried to do as much in one cycle without stressing myself. I usually play a new temple at the Dawn of the First Day, but there's enough time to do other things before and after the jump back in time. Of course the 3DS version is not as generous with this as the Nintendo 64 version, where it even was possible to beat the entire game in two cycles (including the first one as a Deku Scrub). Since the Song of Inverted Time isn't as powerful anymore, you don't want to cram too many activities in one cycle. Overall I used ten cycles in total to get everything done:

  • Cycle 1: Deku minigame
  • Cycle 2: Sidequests in and around Clocktown
  • Cycle 3: Anju & Kafei (partly), Southern Swamp, Swamp Spider House
  • Cycle 4: Woodfall Temple, Snowhead
  • Cycle 5: Snowhead Temple, Gilded Sword
  • Cycle 6: Romani Ranch, Ikana Graveyard
  • Cycle 7: Great Bay Zora Eggs
  • Cycle 8: Ocean Spider House, Great Bay Temple, Frog Choir
  • Cycle 9: Anju & Kafei (complete)
  • Cycle 10: Ikana, Stone Tower, Moon

This isn't all that impressive, only the last cycle really cut things close and only because I kept missing a fairy within the Stone Tower Temple, which led to some unnecessary tower flips, which could have been avoided otherwise. I also had trouble getting the Piece of Heart at Ikana Castle, the one on the pillars. Since the edge on the upper castle wall isn't completely orthogonal, Link just likes to slide off, instead of doing an auto-jump. I fell off that castle so many times and had to go back up (which isn't a short way, you have to get through multiple puzzles again and again) so many times, I really got frustrated and also lost quite some time here. Rolling before the jump was the key, by the way... The new Twinmold fight also takes a lot longer, which shouldn't be underestimated. So, it's best to go back in time before Stone Tower Temple as well.

And if you want to complete new fishing quests as well, at least two additional cycles will be required. But I will talk more about this in new Fishing Journal entries.

Replaying the game also brought back my interest in this guy:

That's such a crazily disturbing design for a good guy. For the longest time I imagined a Zelda fighting game and Gabora was originally part of it, smashing things with his sledge-hammer. So, he's certainly a new contender for Hyrule Warriors in a team-up with his buddy Zubora. But Majora's Mask has so many potential characters that I would look to see: the Happy Mask Salesman, the Deku Princess, the Deku Butler, Darmani, Mikau... And of course stages based on all the main areas. But lets save this for future Hyrule Warriors postings.

Well, here are some silly details about my playthrough...

  • Bomber Code: 53124
  • Lottery Numbers: 946, 103 and 159

The Bomber's Notebook can be annoying on a replay session, though, because it pops up every single time, when you get something. It disrupts the gameplay and overall the Bomber's Notebook doesn't provide much helpful information other than telling you, what you've already done. On the Nintendo 64 the notebook was a schedule, where you could easily see, which characters had important events on what time. On the 3DS it became more of a checklist for the sidequests and there should have been an option to turn the notifications off.

Now, it's more that the Bomber Kids themselves are useful with their rumors. They saved me from some bad trouble twice, because with both the Woodfall Temple and the Snowhead Temple I completely forgot to deliver the collected Stray Fairies to the Fairy Fountains, because there's so much stuff to do after these temples. But luckily the Bomber Kids were eager to tell me that. Good kids!

Last time I wondered, if it's possible to shortcut to the Bean Seller via the new hole on the outside of the palace walls. And it's indeed possible to do so, which means you can entirely avoid the right wing of the Deku Palace gardens and their guards. You just have to turn right in front of the palace and jump over the lily pads in the water to get to your first provision of Magic Beans.

Also, I had surprisingly little trouble with the Goron and Zora dungeons on the Moon. I didn't miss a single dolphin jump this time - just pull up, where you have these bubbles in the water. The Goron dungeon was a little bit trickier to get right, because Goron Link doesn't like to go straight anymore... But nothing of this was as frustrating as that Piece of Heart at Ikana Castle.

Well, that's it from my replay session of Majora's Mask 3D. I will talk more about the game in the upcoming days, where I will also will try to complete the fishing minigame a second time.


K2L said...

Whenever I play Majora's Mask, I do it without using the Inverted Song of Time, as I prefer to do things at a natural pace, without overloading a cycle. So in most cases it takes me twenty cycles to finish the game. I like to view them as TV episodes, with the three days being the three program segments that are separated by the commercials.

Cycle 1 - Operation Retrieval. In addition to looking for the Skull Kid, I also so the "Paper Please!" fetch quest as well as the entire Deku minigame.

Cycle 2 - I do everything I can do in Clock Town as Hylian Link, including the Anju and Kafei quest to get one of the mutually-exclusive prizes (namely the bottle with Chateau Romani). I try not to get ahead by going to Romani Ranch the third day, though. I prefer to save all of it for later.

Cycle 3 - Woodfall. I progress through Southern Swamp, Deku Palace and Woodfall until I activate the Owl Statue in the latter. I call it a day (or cycle =P) and travel back in time.

Cycle 4 - I complete the Woodfall Temple, take the Princess back to the Palace, do the Deku Shrine race, the Blue Potion sidequest, and the Swamp Tourist Center's target minigame.

Cycle 5 - I do the two Shooting Galleries, all three Honey and Darling minigames, and the Swamp Spider House.

Cycle 6 - Before moving onto the mountains, I do that weird Gossip Statue thing you have to do with your instrument, Then I do everything I need to (or optionally can) do there by that point until reaching the Owl Statue in Snowhead.

Cycle 7 - I complete the second Temple and do the exam to have the Powder Keg license. Since I strive to get all fairies from the temple without the Hookshot, it always takes me one and a half day to complete, so it's always easier said than done.

Cycle 8 - I do the Tresure Chest Game with Goron Link, collect the frog mask, beat the Goron Racetrack contest, and craft the Gilded Sword.

I will post the rest in your other Majora's Mask article. =)

Eduardo Jencarelli said...

It's too bad they sped up the Inverted Time on the 3DS version. I used to love speedrunning this game on the N64 version in order to unlock Epona during that first cycle, which in turn unlocks a LOT of sidequests on Ikana and Great Bay you couldn't do otherwise.