Ask any Nintendo fan to list his or her top 10 N64 games, and they're likely to mention the second Legend of Zelda release, Majora's Mask. In addition to a darker tone than The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask stands apart from its 64-bit counterpart, and the rest of the series, with a variety of elements. Thankfully, this beloved and weird classic will receive another chance to shine in 2015, this time on 3DS and 2DS.
Like the original, Majora's Mask 3D will require players to utilize a number of items as they attempt to recover Majora's Mask from the Skull Kid. This is easier said than done, since there's another factor that becomes a big problem – the moon, which threatens to crush the city of Termina (and the world) in three days' time.
As the title of the game implies, masks factor heavily into the game. You'll run across different masks over the course of Link's adventure, each with their own special abilities that will assist him in getting through different levels. The primary ones have transformative powers, such as the Deku Mask, the Goron Mask and the Zora Mask. Along with affecting certain characters (for example, the Deku Scrub is consistently attacked by animals, while the Zora transformation delights them), they each provide attributes that help Link. Here's a quick breakdown.
In wearing this, Link is able to shoot bubbles from his mouth, skip across water (much faster compared to swimming) and fly with the assistance of Deku flowers. He can also perform a spin attack to hit several enemies at once.
Goron is the more powerful mask in the game, as you can launch rolling attacks (with spikes at a high enough speed) and execute punches and stomping attacks. The Goron transformation also allows Link to get across Lava without taking damage, and hit switches that otherwise can't be activated by lighter characters.
While wearing this, Link is capable of swimming much faster than usual, as well as hurling boomerangs at foes, generating a temporary force field to deflect attacks and even travel underwater when the situation calls for it.
Other masks pop up throughout the game, including the Fierce Deity's Mask, which will assist Link with some of the tougher battles. As you might expect, though, you'll need to use these at the proper times in order to get across certain levels or complete objectives (like the Goron with the heavy levers).
Different aspects of the gameplay return from Ocarina, including the ability to stun enemies with Doku Nuts, using a bow and arrows for projectiles, and of course, the traditional sword-and-shield set-up. For good measure, Link can also play certain tunes on the Ocarina, from teleportation to unlocking certain temples within the game. In some cases, players will want to play the Song of Time to prevent the moon from crashing into the city and erasing all of Link's progress. The transformation masks also provide their own unique instruments, including Goron's bongo drums (move over, Donkey Konga) and Zora's…fish guitar? Yes, a fish guitar.
That said, most of the Zelda traditions remain intact, even with the darker storyline of impending doom and a limited 72-hour time frame. Fortunately, Nintendo should have no trouble recapturing all the classic aspects of the 2000 N64 release and putting them to good use on the 3DS, just as it did with Ocarina of Time.
In fact, there's word that Nintendo may consider additional features for the new 3DS system debuting in 2015, putting the second analog stick to proper use. This hasn't been confirmed, so for now, players can look forward to the same controls that made Ocarina 3DS work so well, including gyroscopic movement support and precision lock-on aiming for combat.
We'll provide more in-depth coverage for Majora's Mask 3D in the weeks ahead, leading up to its spring 2015 release. For now, fans have a lot to get excited about. It's time to fear the moon once more.