The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask: Too dark for its own good?

Welcome to episode 8 of my ill-advised quest to complete every Zelda game up to Link’s Awakening before the remaster releases next week. For this episode, I played The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask on Nintendo 64.

Majora’s Mask is, according to the majority of the fanbase, one of the best Zelda games ever made. However, in my opinion, it is one of the absolute worst to date (including abominations like Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks).

Back in 2000, I was extremely excited about Majora’s Mask. That is — I was excited about it until I played through the game’s first three-day cycle. While the time constraint definitely felt a little cumbersome, it isn’t the primary reason for my dislike of the game. To me, what made Majora feel so much worse than any of the previous games in the series were the seriously dark overtones and implications of the story itself.

Now, that doesn’t mean that I dislike all games with a dark theme. To put a finer point on it, the sharp contrast between the usual themes of Zelda games and those of Majora’s Mask is what truly made it one of my least favorite games to date. When I play Zelda games, I’m usually looking for a lighthearted and whimsical adventure. What I’m not looking for, however, is a depression-fueled, face-stealing acid trip of an experience. (You steal a dead Deku child’s face and wear it around within the first few minutes of the game.) Sure, everyone loves a good cry and a face-melter now and again, but those are generally not my goals when playing a Zelda game.

I don’t hate Majora’s Mask completely

There are some things that Majora’s Mask did very well. The backstories behind many of the characters were decently fleshed out. Sure, those backstories were extremely sad and dark, but they were well-written, and they made the world of Termina feel very active and lively.

Moreover, thanks to the Nintendo 64 Expansion Pak, Majora’s Mask seriously improved upon the graphics of its predecessor. Yes, it’s true that having better graphics is all but expected of new titles in a series. But what makes Majora special is that it managed to up the quality so much using some of the same art resources and using the same engine as Ocarina of Time.

I have fewer than two weeks to finish the last two Zelda games in my quest. For the next article, I’ll be playing one of my favorite games: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Yes, I’m aware that it’s dark too. But it’s a different kind of dark, and I’ll explain myself further in the next article. Hope to see you then!

Josh Dawes
Just your average nerdy, geeky, dude from California. I'm pretty much obsessed with Nintendo and games in general. Favorite series: The Legend of Zelda (so much so that I even named my dog Zelda)