The Legend of Zelda:
MAJORA'S MASK Monster Reviews!
As a direct sequel to Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask would recycle many of the very same enemies and NPC's. It would add plenty of its own, but unfortunately, very little artwork would ever be released for its new additions, and so our review is doomed to be mostly pixelated and polygonal.
But to recap the premise of this game, it all takes place two months after the events of Ocarina of Time, in an alternate realm known as Termina, where a Skull Kid has stolen the titular "Majora's Mask" and evidently gone mad with newfound power. The deranged being causes all sorts of chaos throughout the land, but most importantly, gives Termina's moon a hideous, ghoulish face and sets it on a collision course that will destroy the world in 72 hours.
Fortunately, Link still has the power of time travel from our previous installment, and so this game takes place over a three day time loop, the hideous moon crashing into the world again and again until Link can figure out a way to stop the renegade Skull Kid. But is the little gremlin really our true antagonist?! Fans already know the answer, of course, and we'll lead up to it as we go over various enemies and bosses.
Hyrule has had various slimes and blobs up to this point, but the "Chuchu," oddly named after the sound of squeaking, was introduced in Majora's Mask and stuck around as the new go-to goo of the franchise. They don't do much besides try to slam into you, but they have the gimmick of always carrying an item inside, and are color coded.
The design of the Chuchu has changed in every incarnation, but this first one still stands out as the most unusual; it's a roundish blob of transparent jelly with fleshier, more solid thin lips in a wide, goofy grin full of crooked, blocky teeth. while two very saggy, heavy-lidded eyes plead for a good night's sleep atop two short stalks. What is that mouth even connected to? The whole thing is jelly, yet there's lips and teeth on the front?!
It has a lot of fun personality, whereas future Chuchus, while still being quite valid, would never again look like middle aged alcoholic slugs. Maybe someone felt it was just slightly too similar to Numemon?
These are officially called "Bio Deku Baba," apparently, but I think that's a mixup, because they obviously meant "BAYOU!" I've never seen this particular error in a piece of media before; did someone only hear it pronounced, and never see it written? Did they maybe not know what a "bayou" was? Well, the Deku Baba of the Bayou is like the regular Deku Baby, a chomping toothless purple eggplant mouth on a green stalk but it also has two thin arm-like branches, and more creatively, it hangs upside-down from the underside of a giant lily pad!
"BIO?" DEKU BABA
This is a weird one! It actually functions like the arms of Dead Hand from the previous game, but it seems to be its own unrelated creature, a stationary organism shaped like a long, triple-jointed arm made from three pale blue bones, with a four-fingered alien looking hand on the and. Is it an animal? A plant? Another of Hyrule's bizarre Ediacaran-esque cryptophyla? They do absolutely nothing but grab you, shake you up and throw you.
Fish skeletons are back from Zelda II! Now they come as little, classic skeleton fish with toothy underbites, the Skullfish, and much larger, much meaner piscoid revenants with grumpy little eye sockets over their large snaggly-toothed jaws and five spiky or "clawed" fins. Defeating a Desbreko also destroys every Skullfish in the same room, so I guess the presence of the larger undead fish is what's bringing the corpses of littler fish to life, maybe?
DESBREKO & SKULLFISH
It's Eyegore! In A Link to the Past, they were "suits of armor" or "armored statues" or maybe just thoroughly armored humanoids with one beam-firing eyeball. In Majora's Mask they actually look mostly organic! The body is a tough looking orb that opens to reveal it's about 90% eyeball, while its spindly legs and clublike arms are covered in pinkish, wrinkled, thick looking flesh, each appendage ending in two blunt claws. Only their shoulders and groins have obviously metallic armor, which is blue and gold. Otherwise, they still behave more like "security robots" than living things, standing perfectly still until "activated" and attacking with their energy beams or by slamming the ground. Move out of range, and they simply return to their station to go dormant again. I would love to know anything more about them; they still feel artificially created, but from what, and how, by whom? Are they completely mindless or do they have some consciousness?
Though they call them pythons, these are more like huge moray eels with armored heads and "beaks" like snapping turtles. Actually, I guess they could still be highly specialized snakes; an aquatic snake that developed a snapping beak would be pretty awesome!
These float on the surface of water and aren't really treated as "monsters" in the game, so much as just platforms that try to kill you. It's a great looking carnivorous plant design either way; a ring of dull greenish leaves surrounding three big, red petal-like jaws with nasty yellow teeth, and a reddish central lump kind of like a Rafflesia. The small, dark hole in the center of this reads to me as where it must actually ingest its meals, maybe after filling its mouth cavity with digestive enzymes.
CARNIVOROUS LILY PAD
Hilariously wretched looking! This mangy little bird has an absurdly oversized head with bald, sickly pale and splotchy skin, a big goofy buzzard beak, two ear-like poofs of brown fuzz and unpleasantly humanlike yellow eyes that stare off in different directions. The heavy, purple bags under those eyes are the final touch to make Takkuri look like absolutely nothing is right with whatever it is, and the dopey, unsettling expression is almost mocking as the bird slams into you, scatters a bunch of your precious items, and then makes off with one of them!
This weird thing is a brown, roundish lump with human eyes, not unlike those of Takkuri, and thin humanoid limbs, usually resting in a fetal position. They're pretty weird and mysterious, as absolutely all they do is pop out of the ground and roll into you like a boulder, or more precisely just like a Goron; they're basically Goron "mimics," according to some materials. They're also explosive, for whatever reason?
Unsettling. An Eeno is a blobby creature that blends in with arctic environments, looking like a pile of snow with glowing yellow eyes, fat lips, a goatee and a pair of humanlike arms it uses to hurl snowballs. Speaking of Gorons a moment ago, these look basically like Gorons if they sagged and drooped the same way a blobfish does when you take it out of water.
The previous game introduced "Bombchus" as a type of weapon, a little mechanical bomb shaped like a mouse. As it turns out, those were modeled after a real actual animal, a fat little rat with crazed, bulging yellow eyeballs, purple lips and humanlike teeth in its deranged smile. They are also explosive, obviously, which is even weirder for a rodent. I can accept that Nejiron explode because I don't know what a Nejiron is anyway, but what evolutionary advantage is there to an explosive rodent? Maybe, like explosive ants and termites in our own world, it's just something they do for the greater good of their colony, especially if there are unseen Bombchu nesting sites nearby. They sure do look happy to be doing this, though.
These just look like big, adorable turtles at first, a bit like snapping turtles but with big cute eyes. But then they attack by pulling into their shells, popping out large spikes where their legs were and spinning along the ground! That's a weird thing for a turtle to do!
I skipped over this guy in Ocarina of Time, thinking for some reason he was only in Majora's Mask! The Poe Collector runs a "ghost shop" and will buy any Poes that Link captured for him. Why does he buy ghosts? We don't know. Why is it a "ghost shop" if you can't buy ghosts yourself? Life just isn't fair I guess. He's obviously not mortal himself either; he's hidden mostly by his many layers of clothing, but he only has a single glowing light in the darkness where his face should be!
This boss looks like a big giant human, but in the 3DS remake, you can see that there's a big freaky eyeball on the back of his head! Or rather, there's nothing under his wooden mask BUT a big eyeball.
This is definitely a big improvement. Not only does it give Odolwa an interesting design gimmick, more in line with other classic Zelda bosses, but it also makes him something more than just a giant "jungle tribesman," which wasn't all that great of a monster concept.
At least the bosses all reliably have artwork, but there aren't too many, unfortunately, and they don't get as reliably weird as those of Ocarina; this one's just a big robotic bull sort of thing with a human mask face.
This boss isn't bad, a big scary prehistoric-looking fish with fins like bat wings and a face that almost reminds me of a Jackson's chameleon, if it had a giant snarling anglerfish mouth!
A worm based boss! That just feels so classic to Zelda, and was sorely missing from Ocarina of Time. Link is always fighting some kind of worm or centipede, that guy! What's weird about Twinmold is that there are two of it, a red one and a blue one, but it's referred to as a "giant masked insect" or otherwise as only one being! Both bodies look cool as heck in any case, armored polychaete-like creatures lined with what look like rocky spikes down their sides, but the artwork makes it clear that they're tufts of stiff bristles, so *exactly* like some polychaete worms, actually! The face of each has three round eyes gazing from a shared black socket, above a scaly, colorful muzzle almost like that of a mandrill, if it were more insectoid, and finally a couple sets of huge mandibles or horns made of the same brown "hair."
Twinmold is apparently also generating a curse that infests the surrounding land with the undead!
A big floating eye is another thing the last game was missing, though this one's just a miniboss! Wart's true boy is the eyeball set in an orb of green flesh, but it protects itself with a big cloud of pinkish, gelatinous bubble things. I guess those are the "warts" of its namesake? I love the whole concept. Just an eye surrounded by wart blobs. Perfect.
Another miniboss, one encountered more than once, and with tons of personality! Gekko is a positively vicious looking little frog creature, like a bright orange dart frog with a purple frill down its back, horizontal pupils and NASTY little sharp teeth jutting from purple gums. The first time you fight this rad little gremlin, it actually rides around on a snapper, the spinny turtle thing!
But later, you face a Gekko who "rides" a giant green slime bubble, known as the Mad Jelly, by diving inside and controlling it from within, trying to suck link inside to the frog can just plain punch him to death. Hilarious!
Gekkos aren't just bastardly frog monsters, though; they used to be nice little friendly frogs, who were part of a Frog Choir, but were cursed by evil. Do you want to see the frog choir!? I don't know if you can handle how god damned cute it is but here you go:
So Majora's Mask includes a truly wonderful sidequest in which you help a farmer protect his cows from mysterious beings which, once a year, arrive from the sky to steal them all. ALIENS! SPACE ALIENS in Hyrule!! And they're not just any old space aliens either, but little miniature Flatwoods Monsters! This was actually the first time I ever saw Flatwoods referenced in a video game, but it wouldn't be the last.
The land of Termina has four giant guardian deities, representing its four directions, and it's these beings who have the power to stop the moon from the destroying their world...but Majora's Mask has each one imprisoned in the body of a different monster, the four "masked" boss creatures you have to defeat!
All four have identical designs, simultaneously such an unsettling and kind of adorable one; a large, red head with a big, slightly pointed humanlike nose, circular black holes for eyes, green leafy hair, a mustache-like fan of leaves, human arms and absurdly long human legs. They really do look to me like "benevolent" deities, even while being decidedly monstrous and even a bit haunting.
It's fairly rare that the most interesting creature in a game is also the main villain, but even if you never knew much about this game, you may have guessed that that the Skull Kid was simply possessed by some kind of evil entity. What's fascinating about Majora's Mask as an antagonist however is just how little we ever learn about it. Pretty much nothing, in fact, since I'm not counting manga or any other unofficial materials. We don't even know if "Majora" was! It's obviously likely the mask belonged to or was created by this unknown figure, but are they also the consciousness that now inhabits it, or were they a separate being?
The mask is a COOL looking thing, too. Heart shaped and wildly colored, it has huge, bulging yellow eyes with tiny pupils, reminding me a lot of potoo bird, two vertical rows of tiny breathing holes that put me in mind of a hockey mask, two rainbow colored horns on top and eight additional horns fanning down its sides, overall kind of a cross between an owl and some otherworldly insect!
The final battle takes place inside the moon, which the mask has taken as its "new body" once the Skull Kid ceases to be necessary. For the first phase of the fight, the mask grows over a dozen trailing, root-like brown tentacles from its back surface, floating like a weird jellyfish! Its horns even twitch and wriggle like living appendages, too! The 3d remake rendered the tentacles smooth, but in the original game, they had darker shading at the end of each polygonal joint, which tells me they were fully intended to have a segmented or jointed appearance.
In the next phase of the battle, the tentacles are replaced with four very long, thin and colorful humanoid limbs, which almost look woven together from multicolored wires, and then there's a single eyeball atop the mask, on a short stalk, like a small head on a neck, with two golden striped horns. Love the absurdity of this form, and it has animations to match! It can only really be properly described as "capering" around the arena with its silly, prancing run, joyful leaping and dancelike moves.
Once the mask has been pissed of enough, it bulks up its limbs, grows incredibly long tentacles on the ends of its hands, and sprouts a more humanoid, more demonic looking head, though the eyeball remains in place. Obviously I like this form the least of the three, but it's only Majora's "wrath mode," right? It's just a power up! After all, wrath certainly isn't the mask's default emotion; though we never get any insight into its backstory, we get plenty into its personality, as it becomes clear that it's been speaking through the Skull Kid the entire game and finally begins to speak all on its own.
As menacing and alien as it seems to be, it has an almost infantile personality; in its incarnation form it giggles, tantrums and yelps in a squeaking, childlike voice, as well as "sings" in an odd kitten-like mewling. It demands that Link play tag with it before the fight, or "good guys and bad guys" in the English translation - with Link as the "bad guy" - and it seems to cause misery and death purely for fun, if it even understands what it's doing at all. This combination of deranged, overpowered little kid and tentacled cosmic horror isn't one that I've really seen done elsewhere, and it really makes for the most memorable foe Link has ever gone up against, in my honest opinion.
It's kind of a shame that we've never properly seen it again as a creature or character (or gotten to play it in Smash; how great would that have been?!) but on the other hand, it may have only felt cheapened if it became a recurring figure, and certainly might have lost a sense of mystique if it had a presence outside this one single title. For sheer weirdness as well as characterizaton, I'd have to rank it one of my favorite Nintendo villains alongside Mother Brain, exactly as-is. I honestly don't want to know too much more about it!