Every once in a while, you run into a franchise oddball, a game that changes course by deviating from the norm and offering something unique. One example of this is Metroid Prime for GameCube, a title that strayed from its 2D predecessors, but earned acclaim because its developers nailed the first person aspect.

The same can be said for The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, a game poised for a comeback, this time for the 3DS and New 3DS XL. Fans begged for it, despite the fact that it's quite different from more traditional games in the franchise.

If you’re new to Majora’s Mask but love the Zelda series, the following features separate it from the rest.

A Darker Storyline

Whereas Ocarina of Time and A Link Between Worlds have a more traditional “stop the evil bad guy” sort of quest, Majora's Mask works much differently. Over the course of his journey, Link harnesses the powers of time to keep an apocalyptic prophecy from coming true, as a dark, foreboding moon lingers overhead, threatening to crush his world.

In addition, the story also revolves around a mysterious figure called Skull Kid. At first, he turns out to be a pest, stealing Link’s horse Epona as well as the Ocarina of Time, and transforming the hero into a Deku Scrub. However, there's more to him than meets the eye, as players will discover the longer they play.

Needless to say, the story is much darker this time around, rather than following the usual Legend of Zelda tone. That benefits the game’s appeal, and it stays true to series’ folklore.

The Power of the Ocarina

In order to keep the moon from crashing into his city, Link will eventually have to use the Song of Double Time to manipulate time travel to his will. In this new version of the game, you can pick specific times in which you want to travel back to, whereas in the original N64 game, you could only choose between dawn and dusk.

Not only that, but you can play songs for other effects, including transport between Owl Statues (which you can activate over the course of your journey), changing the weather in certain situations and unlocking the temples, which house certain artifacts that will help Link complete his journey. It helps to have a good ocarina on hand – once you get it back from the Skull Kid, of course.

Masks make a Difference

With our previous What's New article for Majora's Mask 3D, we explained how the mask selection system works smoother in the 3DS edition, instead of having to move through a secondary menu to choose between these items. Masks make a difference over the course of Link's adventure, as he'll need to use their special abilities at certain times to move forward.

For instance, the Deku Mask turns Link into the Deku Scrub, letting him perform spin attacks, shoot bubbles from his mouth and fly for a limited amount of time (where the real Link cannot), while the Goron Mask allows for high speed travel (perfect for when time isn't on your side), safe passage across lava without taking damage and use of powerful attacks to hit enemies.

These, combined with the traditional gameplay we've come to expect from the Legend of Zelda games, enhance the adventure quite a bit.

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D releases this Friday, February 13th, for Nintendo 3DS. 

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