I’ve been thinking about one of my favorite games lately, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, and though the game is near and dear to my heart, I realize now that I had forgotten about a lot of the things that made the game special. I had forgotten just how dark the game could be, just as I hadn’t remembered there being so many strange, but unique, individuals inhabiting the land of Termina. I had also nearly forgotten one of my favorite side quests in the game.
Yes, most people cite the Kafei and Anju side quest as being one of the best, and it is, but it’s not exactly “unforgettable” in the manner I typically mean when I write these posts. Rather, there is one side quest that is just so bizarre and out of place in the Zelda universe that it is the most deserving of this special mention.
When you think about The Legend of Zelda games, you think of fantasy, magic, dungeons, and fairies. You don’t think about science fiction. And you most certainly don’t think about aliens attempting to abduct cows. Or do you? If you visit Romani Ranch on the first day, the girl there (also named Romani) will tell you that she believes “ghosts” are going to visit the ranch that night and steal their cows. While I don’t believe the term “alien” is ever mentioned in the game, her tale is clearly based on real-world stories of aliens abducting cows from farms. What aliens could possibly want with Earth’s bovine residents, I know not, but I think it’s safe to say that the “ghosts” that come down in a “bright, shining ball” are, in fact, one of the only, if not the only, alien sightings in any Zelda game thus far. The fact that this little girl seems to be the only one aware of them, seeing as her older sister doesn’t believe her, makes her tale just a bit more chilling. Imagine being the sole person responsible for defending your home from a small alien invasion at the tender age of…ten or so. She’s a brave, young lass, I’ll give her that.
After Romani tells you her tale and has you practice using your bow from the back of Epona, she asks you to meet her at 2 in the morning to help her protect the cows from the impending…“ghostly” invasion. And let me tell you, this is one of the most exciting parts of the game for me. The aliens appear all over the ranch and slowly advance towards the barn, and you must shoot them with arrows to keep them away. Their otherworldly appearance is certainly unsettling, as these aliens hover above the ground with eyes like spotlights, and the futuristic music makes the entire event that much more epic. Admittedly, this has become far too easy for me over the years, but defending a barn from aliens until sunrise is just a super awesome experience. This side quest is just so out of place, and that’s what makes it stand out to me as the most unforgettable side quest in this decidedly unforgettable game.
Video from Youtube User: Virtual Bastion
Interestingly enough, I recently found that the aliens in this game were actually inspired by a real-world UFO sighting that took place in West Virginia in 1952, which involved a creature later known as the Flatwoods Monster. Whether or not you believe in UFOs, it is clear that this creature bears a striking resemblance to the aliens from the game, and the sighting even comes complete with a glowing ball of light and a barking dog. Quite intriguing. If you’re interested, why not check out this short video below? (The video has since been removed, as it seems to no longer be available on YouTube. Mysterious…) Though, I’m not sure I buy the whole “it was just a barn owl” story. My theory is that the Flatwoods Monster was actually one of the aliens from Majora’s Mask, on the hunt for some more cows. I think they just really value the merits of calcium.