I haven’t been gaming much lately, beyond my Saturday Gears of War matches, which are basically social events, but I’ve been back in to it this week, and on the Wii of all things. I have both Dead Space and Mirror’s Edge sitting there, ready to play (and have had for a few months now), but the game that’s taken my fancy is the only 3D Zelda game I haven’t played — Majora’s Mask — which finally arrived on the Virtual Console last week.
Majora’s Mask is definitely the strangest Zelda game I’ve played, with the game’s core mechanic — a series of masks that transform Link, giving him unique abilities — almost paling in comparison with it’s secondary mechanic, a fixed 72-hour clock (about an hour in game time) that controls the game world and it inhabitants. You have to save the world within those 72 hours, but by using the Ocarina or Time, you can warp yourself through time and relive those hours as many times as you need to.
Beyond the fact that, like most PSX/N64-era games, its graphics haven’t aged well (though I’m not too fussed about that), my only issue with Majora’s Mask is with its save system. You don’t get any opportunity to save your game until about an hour and a half in, and after that, you save primarily by resetting the clock to 0, which saves any major achievements, but drops you back at the hub world and reduces your bank balance to 0. There’s an alternate system of savepoints, but I’ve only found one so far, so I’m not sure how widespread they are. Saving has never been ideal in Zelda games, though — most drop you back at the start of the current dungeon when you load, which isn’t conductive to short play sessions — so I’m sure I can deal with it.