1) Majora’s Mask
Majora’s Mask is very much the dark horse of the Zelda franchise, but it’s also the best. Taking place in Termina , this adventure starts as Link is on a personal quest. Trying to find his companion Navi, after she left at the end of Ocarina of Time. Link is ambushed by Skull Kid who has a powerful item called Majora’s Mask. Using the evil power of the mask, Skull Kid turns Link into a Deku Scrub. After a meeting with the always creepy Happy Mask Salesman, you find out you only have three days to turn yourself back, and save the world.
What Majora’s Mask is famous for is it’s three day cycle. Its Groundhog Day– like style brings an entire set of new challenges and it forces you to manage your time. If you don’t, the world ends, its that simple. The stakes could not be higher.Time passes in other Zelda games but nowhere near as effective as this. There’s an eerie sense of ever present danger in the form of the moon hanging overhead. It is a more adult and dark Zelda game and heavy themes are riddled throughout. Clock Town is evenly split between people who believe the moon is falling and are afraid. At the same time many are ignoring it. People are trying to come to come to grips with the possibility of them dying, that’s a very adult theme and Majora’s Mask does it so well.
It may seem like an overall short game, with only four main dungeons, but it makes up for that with an insane amount of side-quests. There are 24 masks to collect, 4 of which are essential to the story, that means about 20 side-quests just on masks alone. The whole quest to reunite Anju and Kafei alone is incredible story telling. There’s so much emotion in that one side-quest that it’s worth the price of admission. Side-quests really make up the core and heart of the game.
The Deku, Goron, and Zora masks all let you turn into each respective species. Each have their own specific skills that are vastly different from each other. The Deku mask lets you fly for a short period of time using Deku flowers. The Goron mask gives you the strength of a Goron and lets you roll around like one too. Finally the Zora mask lets you swim effortlessly and fast through the water. Each mask could be a game in itself but all three together allow different styles of playing with variation never seen before then and since.
Every single dungeon is the best in the Zelda series and have challenging puzzles and amazing bosses. Snowhead Temple’s boss, Goht, in particular comes to mind. These are everything you want, need deserve in a Zelda game and are done to perfection. The game is perfect. The Three Day Cycle,the side-quests, the bosses, the atmosphere, make Majora’s Mask the best Zelda game ever and an experience that will be hard to top.