Classic Game Room presents a CGR Undertow video game review of THE LEGEND OF ZELDA MAJORA'S MASK for Nintendo 64. Released in 2000 for N64. There is something familiar about this place, yet it feels unnervingly alien. The faces, as recognizable as they seem, use voices which only echo those we expect. Indeed, though it carries the familiar Zelda moniker, Majora's Mask is an entirely new legend.
Released two years after the acclaimed Ocarina of Time, it was inevitable Majora's Mask would face steep expectations. Rather than pandering to the hype by revisiting the Ocarina formula, however, Nintendo took a much more ambitious route. This time around, there is no princess to save, nor is there an evil desert thief to foil. The game doesn't even take place in Hyrule—instead, Majora's Mask presents a twisted, nightmarish rendition of the Legend of Zelda, a bizarre and kaleidoscopic spin on one of gaming's most beloved franchises. Dark, smart and often genuinely sad, it's the boldest, most complex Zelda to date.
Picking up in the aftermath of Ocarina of Time, we rejoin a very different Link than the hero we remember. The boy is now a legend, but his heroic radiance is dimmed by loneliness. He leaves Hyrule on a deeply personal quest not for adventure, but for companionship.
Unfortunately for Link, that journey takes an unexpected turn. Like a Zelda version of Groundhog Day, Link relives the same three days repeatedly, a 72-hour cycle in which he must save the bizarre land of Terminia from an eerie doom. Narrative twists aside; however, playing Majora's Mask is like riding a bike. Players guide Link through several puzzle-filled dungeons and enemy hordes as smoothly as they did in Ocarina, using the same combat system that has been the backbone of every Zelda since. Ability-altering masks ensure Majora's Mask feels fresh, and it looks even better than its exalted predecessor.
It's almost as good, too.