Monday, June 4, 2012

5 Reasons "Majora" Is An Internet Project You Should Be Watching

Hello readers! (Yes, both of you!) Sorry for my long absence! It's been quite a while since my last post. 5 Months! College really caught up with me, and I haven't had a moment to spare. Luckily it's summer now, and I'll have quite a lot more spare time! I'll likely start blogging more regularly now, and I thought, what better way to start than by talking about something I really, really like? And it's a list! You're the internet, you love lists! So, "What's 'Majora'?" I hear you ask? Well dear reader, to put it simply, Majora is awesome. Majora (the site can be found here) is a project being worked on by a youtube user by the name of MBulteau13. It is an opera, set to the music of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, an N64 video game released in 1999. There are currently 4 Demos and a few instrumentals out, with promise of more to come. But why is it worth your time? Well, allow me to list five reasons.

1 - It's Based on Majora's Mask!

The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is, in my opinion, probably the best Zelda game. (Though it's tough for me to pick between that and Wind Waker, I admit most of the reasons I like Wind Waker have more to do with the visuals, and soundtrack, while Majora's Mask has the better gameplay, set pieces, and probably is just a stronger game overall.) For those unfamiliar with the game, after the events of Ocarina of Time, Link goes to search for his fairy, Navi, in the Lost Woods, only to be attacked by a sprite-like creature called Skull Kid, who, using the powers of an ancient mask (Majora's mask, to be precise), turns Link into a plant-like creature called a Deku Scrub. Link then follows to him to an alternate dimension known as Termina, where Skull Kid has used the power of Majora's mask to begin pulling the moon toward Termina, which it will crash into in three days. Using the power of magical masks, and the Ocarina of Time, Link manages to keep repeating those same three days over and over again until he can find a way to stop Skull Kid. Basically, it's Groundhog Day, but even MORE awesome. If you haven't played it yet, I highly recommend giving it a shot. If you have a Wii it's available for around ten bucks on the virtual console, and there's rumors (and I stress that they are just rumors) of a 3DS remake being in the works.

The game is a fantastic example of game design that still holds up extremely well today. The entire game has an eerie feel to it, and a constant feeling of dread, as you slowly see the moon get closer and closer to Termina. The entire world is in a terrible state, and it's certainly the creepiest of the Zelda games. Using this setting of fear and dread as the setting for an opera is, to put it simply, inspired. 

The game also already has an excellent soundtrack, as all Zelda games do, so the fact that the opera is all set to music from the game is equally brilliant.

2 - It's Still Doing It's Own Thing

While it is based on Majora's Mask, it doesn't appear that it's going to be a rehash either. According to the creator Majora takes place in a world where Link, the main character the game, never came to Termina. It instead centers around Kafei, a minor character from the game, involved in one of the biggest and best side-quests ever featured in a Zelda game. Shortly before his wedding, the mask which would have been used in the wedding ceremony was stolen from Kafei by the thief Sakon. In this version of the story, Kafei will set out across Termina, similarly to how Link did, in search of Sakon to get his mask back. In the original Majora's Mask, Kafei had also been turned into a child by Skull Kid, but I'm unclear if that part will be kept in Majora.

Needless to say, the parts about the moon falling will still be in effect. The story of Kafei and his love Anju is a very sad and powerful one in the original game, as they are only able to reunite, if Link even does everything correctly, moments before the impact. Whether their tragic story will be as, well, tragic, here remains to be seen.

Needless to say, you shouldn't need to be a fan of the series, or even to be familiar with the game, to appreciate this opera.

3 - It Still Seems to Really *Get* Majora's Mask

But I should stress that every indication so far is that this still hits all the same notes of Majora's Mask, from the big epic ones, like an enormous royal execution, to the small, sincere ones, like a little girl singing for her sick father, to the frantic, to the frightening... Sometimes switching as rapidly as the game did. There's something about Majora's Mask that's just constantly unsettling, and that feeling is one of the greatest things about it. Even in times when you have no reason to believe something sinister is going on, there's a general uneasiness that keeps you on your toes, in large part due to the giant moon literally staring you down the entire time.

Oh yeah. Did I mention that the moon has a face? The moon has a face.

While Majora has yet to show us the moon (the demos have all been fairly simple) the demos also still seem to manage to get that same feeling across. From the frantic desperation of the Mayor in the first demo, to the sinister nature of Sakon in the second, to the... Well, watch the third for yourself.

Being both charming and innocent on the surface, yet discomforting at the same time due to something lying just beneath is not an easy thing to manage. The game managed it consistently, and was all the better for it, and Majora has so far shown that it can do the same.

4 - It Might Actually Make It

Let's be honest folks, this sort of internet project, time and time again, has shown to be a lot more likely to fail than to succeed. It wouldn't have been shocking to see this post one instrumental, put up one blog post and then never go active again. 

But that's not what happened. Over the past couple months, four demos have gone up, and the progress bar on the side has constantly gone up. There have been 10 Q&A's posted on the site since the first demo went up. This project doesn't just seem like wild ambition, they could actually go somewhere. Everyone working on it thus far seems dedicated, at least from an outsiders point of view. I would love nothing more than to see this actually come to fruition, and get fully made. Everything that's come out so far has been great, and there's no sign of it stopping yet.

5 - It's Really, Really Good

Above all though, the reason you should keep an eye on Majora is that what's been released so far has been phenomenal. I shouldn't have to tell you that, I've posted all the demos by this point. Each demo released so far has not just fit the game well, and not just been a great idea on paper, it's been a lot of fun to listen to. The lyrics flow extremely well. The music sounds great, and what changes they've made (such as speeding it up from the original in demo one) have worked perfectly. I've been checking the blog daily to see if the new demo was out yet. I've listened to all of the demos multiple times by now, I've enjoyed every second, and I'm guessing I'm not alone. 

If you hadn't heard of Majora before, I hope these reasons have convinced you to keep an eye on it. I know I'll continue watching the project with great interest.