Tuesday, January 31, 2006

When great games collide- Zelda: Majora's Mask & Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

Majora's Mask is an overlooked gem in the Legend of Zelda series. The game follows Link in search of a missing friend after The Ocarina of Time. The search leads him to the bizarre world of Termina, where a Skull Kid wearing a mask has been wreaking havoc.

Majora's Mask suffers somewhat from something common in nearly all Zelda games:
The lack of novelty. Zelda games will typically follow the same theme of conquering all worldly elements (The forest, fire, water, etc) before approaching the main boss. In fact, the developers of Majora's Mask even borrowed characters from Ocarina of Time. At first glance, this is an unattractive aspect of the game.

However, as you play deeper into the game it is clear that Majora's Mask is really unlike any other Zelda game ever made. Most Zelda games pit Link against Ganondorf (all but Link's Awakening, in fact), whereas Majora's Mask matches him up against the very friend he was searching for. Typically, you are only capable of controlling Link as-is. But in Majora's Mask, Link undergoes transformations based on the masks that he wears.
However, what I like the most is that opportunities and events occur independently of Link's presence, rather than whenever it is convenient. This makes the game delightfully realistic, despite it being so dramatically surreal.

Perhaps that is what is most enjoyable about Majora's Mask -- the subtle contrasts within its own themes. Termina is an otherworldly place where your friends become your worst enemies, you can literally turn right-side-up to upside-down, and a light-hearted quest can become nightmarishly dark.

The Revolution will play legacy games, and I highly recommend picking up Majora's Mask if you haven't played it yet. You will certainly not regret it.

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
Not many people expected Mario to fold up into a paper airplane, nor did they expect that Mario would ever have an audience cheering at every move he made; but in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, it happens. This game brings back all of the excitement of the original and more to the GameCube.

Mario now has new puzzle-solving abilities such as turning into a paper airplane. The puzzles weren’t exactly challenging, but the battles were. The battle system of this RPG is amazing, so reminiscent of the original Paper Mario, and yet different. There are still action commands, during which you press a button at the correct time to do more damage to an enemy or to defend against attacks. Also, battles still take place on a stage, but now there's an audience that can either help you or hurt you by throwing items. If the crowd approves of your attacks, your Star Meter (which allows Mario to perform special attacks using the Crystal Stars) will fill up quickly. Mario's partners help both in and out of battle, utilizing their various skills. Badges let Mario and his partners use new attacks, new abilities, or increase their stats.

The story of the game seems traditional in the beginning. Peach gets captured again, but it's soon realized that the story is different. This time, Bowser doesn't capture Peach, instead a group known as the X-Nauts captures her. Left with only a map, Mario sets off to rescue her.

Sometimes the music is repetitive, but it fits the mood of the situation. The sound effects are awesome and can be changed using certain badges. The settings are both varied and beautiful as they have a perfect mixture of 2D elements within a 3D world.

Bottom line: It was a challenge. I loved playing it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

both of those games are alright, not a huge fan of either. But i like sport game more anyway.

Thursday, February 02, 2006 2:31:00 PM PST  

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