This year marks the 35th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda series, and we could think of no better way to honor this fantastic series of games than by compiling a list of our top 35 favorite things about it! All month long, we’ll be counting down from thirty-five to one the people, places, items, and activities from The Legend of Zelda series that make the games special, memorable, and well-worth playing. Per our usual schedule, watch for new posts on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, and share your own thoughts on the series in the comment sections. And so, happy 35th to The Legend of Zelda – let’s keep this party going!
12. The Stone Tower Temple in Majora’s Mask
Jacob: If Zelda has a perfect dungeon, I’d argue that that dungeon is Stone Tower Temple. It has everything: bloody lore, catchy music, challenging puzzles, memorable bosses and the extremely interesting “upside-down” gimmick.. I’d go on but I think I’d rather do that in an individual post someday. So for now, I suppose the best thing about Stone Tower Temple is the story surrounding it. It may or may not have been built as an affront to the gods of Termina, and it is the source of the curse forcing the residents of Ikana to linger on after death. Add the suitably creepy Elegy of Emptiness into the mix and you’ve got yourself an unforgettable gaming experience!
Duck: Stone Tower Temple was easily the best dungeon in Majora’s Mask. Most notably was the ability to flip the entire thing upside down, though I always found the idea of looking down and seeing the sky to be extremely unsettling indeed! It also features the one and only place in the game where you use the Giant’s Mask in order to battle against the massive Twinmold! I could never get over the part where you flip the temple upside down and Link falls into the sky, though. Um…how exactly did he survive that?
Cary: I don’t remember much from Majora’s Mask, but I do recall that its Stone Tower Temple was a weirdly delightful dungeon in an already strange world. It strayed away from dark and dreary and was, instead, bright and airy. It was a mish-mash of so many different elements, and you had to use several of Link’s masked forms to conquer it. As far as Zelda’s temples go, it certainly is among the most unusual entries. And if you think about it, with its look, feel, and design, the Stone Tower Temple could be considered a distant precursor to Breath of the Wild’s divine beasts, maybe?
11. The Transformation Masks of Majora’s Mask
Jacob: Tired of running around as Link? No problem! Just throw on this mask containing the spirit of a dead hero, and you can galavant about in their body! How’s that sound? It’s kind of crazy that this mechanic exists considering its implications, but I love that it does. Majora’s Mask’s transformation masks add essential variety to the game, and the existential questions they raise are just icing on the Zelda lore cake!
Duck: Leave it to Majora’s Mask to feature three masks where you transform into dead people, the Deku butler’s son, Darmani the Goron hero, and Mikau the Zora guitarist respectively. These masks grant Link unique abilities, such as rolling around at high speeds and heightened strength as a Goron and excellent swimming abilities as a Zora (along with the Deku Mask’s abilities, which Cary recounts below). Not only is this a cool game mechanic, but it never occurred to me until recently that, at least in the case of the Goron and Zora Masks, you are actually fulfilling the previous “owner’s” dying wish, so to speak. By saving the Gorons from the blizzard coming from Snowhead and rescuing Lulu’s eggs from the pirates, you’re actually finishing the very goals that got Darmani and Mikau killed in the first place…
Cary: I doubt that Majora’s Mask was the first video game to introduce the idea of morphing a main character to meet certain criteria, but it did it in a way that was truly unique. I will forever remember the strange joy that came with obtaining the game’s first mask, the Deku Mask, using it to change Link so that he could talk to other Deku Scrubs, float with flowers, and even shoot bubbles! Of all the masks, the bunny hood will always be my favorite. Not only did it help Link run faster and jumped higher, but he also looked so dang cute in it!
10. The Alien Side Quest in Majora’s Mask
Jacob: Aliens. In Zelda. I don’t see a problem here if you don’t! Still, apparently aliens exist in the world of Termina, and they are never mentioned again. Ever. As for the actual mission, I am so glad that you don’t actually have to ride around on Epona to defend the barn. That would have made this mission borderline impossible! (Well, for me at least.)
Duck: One of my very favorite things to do in Majora’s Mask was the alien invasion side quest. While Romani calls them “ghosts”, it’s pretty clear the aliens that visit the ranch on the first night are based off of the Flatwoods Monster, an alien sighting that took place in West Virginia in 1952. Seeing aliens in a Zelda game felt so out of place, which made it all the more memorable. By the way, if you fail to stop the aliens, poor Romani ends up getting abducted, as well! She ends up returning on the third day, confused and with no memory of what happened…
Up next, #9-7!