The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask was quite unlike any Zelda game that came before it. And it's quite unlike any Zelda game that has come after it.
Where most games in the series are airy and optimistic tales of heroics and princesses and ancient lineages, this N64 classic was a dark and menacing little horror.
It feels like the nightmare mirror to Ocarina of Time's dreamy daylight fairytale. You'll recognise characters and pieces of music, but it turns out that nothing is quite what it seems.
The game takes place in a land called Termina, which is set to be demolished by a falling moon in three days time. Link won't have time to save the world in just 72 hours so you'll have to keep rewinding time to the "dawn of the first day".Dawn of the First Day
Major progress - like items, masks, heart containers, and trophies collected from downed bosses - are kept when you travel back through the wormhole.
But rupees not in the bank, consumable items, and unfinished progress through dungeons and side quests are reset.
So on the one hand, it's not like the game starts from scratch each time. But there's still a big ticking clock looking over your head that threatens to wipe hours of progress if you don't get a move on.
Some will find that intimidating and unbearably tense. I admit that I bottled it on my first play through of the N64 game, put off by the pressure.
But it does lend the game a raucous, adventurous pace where you can't just dilly dally while the world ends.Dawn of the Second Day
The time rewind mechanic is also used for an involving side quest in Clock Town, where you help the citizens solve their many problems.
Each time you play you learn more about each character, and you can exploit your advanced knowledge to be in the right place at the right time.
This is one aspect that was massively complicated in the N64 original, but the 3DS remake has taken careful steps to help clarify.
A revamped bomber's notebook makes this Groundhog Day side quest much easier to manage, as rumours appear on your quest list and events are explained in more detail.
You can also have your fairy sidekick Tatl alert you when an event is due to unfold, see where people will be on a map, or simply scrub forward through time to a specific hour.Dawn of the Final Day
The save system is new, too. Where before you could only save permanently when time reset, you can now save your progress anywhere. The temptation to abuse this to make a short rewind to your last save will be too much for some, sadly.
The remake also has sharper graphics and some improved audio, a better clock interface, and a Sheikah Stone in the clock tower that can give you puzzle solutions if you're stuck.
Plus, Zora Link's swimming is easier to control through the tight passages of the Great Bay Temple, the boss battles are a little harder, and there's fishing now. Hooray for fishing.
But the important stuff remains unchanged. This is still a truly memorable game, with a plot filled with intrigue and mystery and an unsettling vibe that sets it apart from other games in the series.A terrible fate
It's still a 3D Zelda game - and an awfully good one at that. While there are only four major dungeons, they are inventive and labyrinthine and full of puzzles. And a roly-poly boss fight against a rampaging mechanical bull is one of the best in the series.
Majora's Mask is basically a must-play game for Zelda fans. It's innovative, packed with good ideas, endlessly intriguing, and perhaps the most memorable adventure Link has ever undertaken.
This 3DS version is the best the game has ever been, though some changes - especially with the more lenient save system - will annoy purists.
Don't worry about them. Just enjoy this magnificent game in all its splendour.
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