One of the best Zelda games to date, Majora’s Mask has achieved top tier status among its cult followers. Many games have tried to be Ocarina of Time but Majora, despite coming directly after, takes things in a completely different direction. While Ocarina of Time is the more popular of the two, there are many who would argue that Majora’s Mask is superior. Majora’s Mask did some wild things for the Zelda franchise; it introduced a very short time limit and a tonal shift which were unprecedented. It has some interesting sidequests and brings the darker emotional elements to the forefront in a bold way. The use of masks changes up playstyle in a major way, which can be super helpful.
From a technical standpoint, Majora’s Mask was in production for one year, which is freaking crazy. To streamline production, many assets from Ocarina were used in Majora, giving even more reason for comparison. Some hated this fact while others appreciated the smart move that it was. However, due to this wild schedule, there were some mistakes made in the game. When you are trying to make an entirely new game in such an intense crunch time, there are going to be mistakes left behind. While it is harder to decide what is a mistake and what is an intentional glitch or secret, there were some oopsies left in the game. Fans have found many glitches, but there are still some buried secret mistakes found by the most dedicated data miners and code hunters.
I know that my sense of direction was bad, but even I wouldn’t get these two mixed up. When you head over to Romani Ranch and check out the welcome sign it will say something unexpected. Rather than ‘welcome to Romani Ranch’ it says ‘welcome to Kakariko Village’. No, you don’t have to check your map again, you are in Romani Ranch. They just forgot to edit the text on this old Ocarina asset.
Fierce Deity Link is one of the coolest designs the green hero has ever had. Striking and bold, he also came with the classic sword beam ability. The problem was that you could only wear the Fierce Deity Mask when in boss rooms. However, there is code for all enemies to react to the sword beam in some way or other. This means that at some point in production, the player could use the move anywhere, which would have made playing the game a breeze.
The Zora are an interesting and intelligent race that are bound to the water. Deep lakes and rivers are their natural habitat and their domains are often the most beautiful in Zelda games. In Majora’s Mask, you get a Zora Boomerang that you use against enemies, but there is one weird problem with it; it doesn’t work in water. Sure, in the fish fight you can get up on a ledge to attack with it but it is a ZORA weapon. I’m confused.
Writing is hard. I know, I do it for a living. Sometimes you miss a typo, even though you looked over the text a million times looking for typos. It seems the guys who wrote the script for Majora’s Mask had the same problem. After saving Cremia’s milk from those pesky brothers, Cremia hugs Link. The comment on the scene is ‘you feel all warm and fuzzy! Inside!’ Glad we have such an emphasis on how we feel, I guess?
Romani also has an incorrect piece of dialogue hidden in the game. If you visit her before going with the wagon on the second day, she will ask you to be her bodyguard. If you speak to her again after this, Romani says ‘You’re our bodyguard, Grasshopper, so you all you have to do is practice hard!’ I appreciate the sentiment of this line and I honestly had to read this twice because I missed it the first time.
Speaking of typos, there is another one hidden away in Majora’s Mask. This was another one that took me a second to see. After defeating Gyorg of the Great Bay Temple, the Professor asks you a pretty interesting question; ‘did you come to spash in the sea?’ I mean, it would be nice to take a little beach break, but we haven’t got time for that since the world is going to end. Maybe after I save the world though.
Heading to the moon is a pretty wild experience in the game. It only happens on the Final Day between 12 am and 5:59 am time specifically. However, if you take a cheeky peek into the bomber’s notebook and look at the time, it will say 6 am on the same day. This makes no sense. The only thing I can think of is that the notebook thinks that it is 6:00 am on the New Day rather than the Final Day. Talk about a bit of a timely mix-up.
In Ocarina of Time, there was a way to change where a door would take you known as wrong warping. This was easily exploited by players and speed runners to help them power through the game. People were looking for a similar glitch in Majora’s Mask, but there was nothing like it. The closest thing is the Fairy Fountain warp which takes advantage of the fact that they are on the same map. It sometimes gets called wrong warping, so don’t get mixed up.
When you talk to the mask salesman for the first time, you are in an empty black room. It’s a little weird being alone with him in such a room and it does not help that he is spooky. However, when you return to speak to him again a while later, there is suddenly an organ there. Some people argue that there is time for the salesman to move an organ in there, but why would he do that? To teach you a little tune? To spook you out more? Either way, it is weird.
A downside of using the bomb mask is that it is bad for your health. Detonating the thing always wrecks your hearts and gives you a bad time. However, what if I told you that there was a way to avoid this? If you want to avoid this, simply press the defend button and then detonate the mask in order to protect yourself. With this, you no longer have to live in fear of the bomb mask wrecking your life anymore.
Over the years, there are a few constants that are mainstays in the Zelda series. Link, hearts, the Master Sword, and the Triforce are some of them. Another unspoken constant is the fact that you cannot harm civilians in the game. Even though it is fun swiping a sword and them cowering in fear, you cannot hurt them. That is unless you are talking about the thief in Majora’s Mask. For some reason, he is the only one whose life you can end. All it does is stop you from completing certain side quests, but this seems like a thin reason.
Romani Ranch is a pretty chill place with some alright sidequests, but it was not always meant to be that way. Deep within Majora’s Mask’s code, there is evidence that Link can walk around there with his bow equipped, implying there was once a target practice minigame. Not only that, but there is code implying that stalchildren were supposed to be taking over the ranch rather than aliens. It would have been pretty epic to snipe them instead of dealing with aliens.
Speaking of code digging, code hunters found some more sneaky secrets in the code regarding enemies. The sword beam, as discussed earlier, was only used for boss rooms at the end. However, every enemy in the game has a programmed reaction to the sword beam move. This juicy piece of information tells us that we could have gotten the move earlier in the game. I guess the developers took it out because they knew we could power through the game if they allowed that to happen.
I always found it odd that Link’s Deku scrub form shoots bubbles. Other Deku in other games would always shoot Deku nuts as a projectile. It turns out that bubbles were not always the weapon of choice there. In the code, there is programming for Link to shoot Deku Nuts instead of bubbles. He also has code that allows him to climb into flowers and shoot nuts from there. You would have to collect the nuts in order to shoot them though and that sounds like a pain.
The music in Majora’s Mask has a very particular tone to it and is very good and laying down the atmosphere for the world and Link’s trials. However, one Zelda game with legendary music is Ocarina of Time. Zelda always has neat little musical callbacks to other games, but Majora’s Mask has all of Ocarina’s soundtrack in the code. Not only that but playing Saria’s Song with the band causes ‘Final Hours’ to play. There are also notes suggesting you could unlock more notes over time.
In the remade version of the game, there is a little place called the fishing hole that was a place of peace in a world about to end. While the old man who ran this game was pretty chill, he was not always the only one there. In the game’s files, there are models for Sheik, Zelda, and Ganon all labeled ‘fishing_man’ or ‘fishing_woman’. They were probably removed to avoid incorrect lore or conspiracy theories but it is an interesting tidbit of code.
As Majora’s Mask was built from a lot of Ocarina of Time’s assets, it was inevitable that not everything was going to be used. In fact, there are some pretty interesting items hidden away in the game’s code. For example, there were some green bumpers similar to ones from A Link To The Past in there that would have made Link’s journey much more dangerous. I wonder how all these little bits would have been incorporated originally.
As I mentioned a bit earlier, there are various enemies that did not make it into the game or in certain parts of it. Like with the stalchildren, some enemies did not quite make the final cut. Another enemy type we could have fought were the tektites, which would have added a completely different dynamic to the gameplay as a whole. Finding things like this out makes you wonder what could have been in another timeline.
Continuing the trend of recycling old Ocarina assets, there are a bunch of unused models hidden away within the depths of the code. There are several residents of Kakariko Village, some Zora residents, and other NPCs were all going to be utilized in the game to bulk out the story. With these extra characters brings the possibility of more stories to be told or adventures to be had that it makes you wonder what could have been.
Each mask in Majora’s Mask was iconic and brought something new to the table for the player and for the game as a whole. From the Deku Mask to the Fierce Deity Mask to the Majora’s Mask itself, things shifted each time you put one on. One mask that would have brought something unexpected to the table would have been a Link Mask. If you mess with the files, you will find Skull Kid wearing a mask of your face. Conspiracy theorists have been going wild with this one.
Yes, that is an animation that exists in the depths of the game files. There are so many possibilities and memes that could have come from these little extra animations from Zelda. What they could have been used for was anyone’s guess. Was Zelda going to have a much bigger role in the end? What could this backflip mean? Who else would have had a bigger role to play in this melancholy journey of ours? So many questions that we will not get the answers to, unfortunately.