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Into the Archives: Top 10 Songs from Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask

6/3/12 8:31am
tl;dr

 I'm going to start jumping around a little bit with what blogs I reupload. I'm still convinced I've never written anything of worth.

 So here's a new list series, I've come up with: I basically list my top 10 favorite music tracks from a game I own. So what better to start off with than Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (my favorite game ever)? What better indeed. So enjoy the list. But first let's look at the honorable mentions

Clock Town: While I always did enjoy the song, it's not good enough to land a spot on this list. Out of the 3 variations, my personal fav is the Day 2 selection.

Milk Bar: Ah, the Milk Bar. There's no better place to drown out your sorrows than in an establishment owned by Mr. Barten who's obviously Mario because that's the only way he'd ever be rich enough to risk such a stupid idea as opening a bar that serves only milk. Great song too.

Oath to Order: Gets on here for the catchiness and nothing else. Duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-DUH!

And now for the actual list.

10. Gerudo Lagoon

 

Ah the Gerudo Lagoon, playing through this area was a really memorable experience for me. I remember it like it was only yesterday. While the place was kinda complex this music was that kind of music that really made the difference between how you viewed the level as frustrating or challenging (hint: it's the latter).

The actual Lagoon is essentially the same deal as Gerudo Fortress in the original Ocarina of Time. Luckily however this time you actually don't have to start from your cell every time you fail and the music remains constant whether you're inside or outside. I also always found it fun showering the evil Gerudo Pirate Captain with bees (mwahaha!).

This song really kinda shows how great of a soundtrack Majora's Mask has. It really is the same horn and drum being repeated endlessly yet it still sounds pretty good to the ears. Just listen to it, it really fits a piratey level so well. It just has that pirate atmosphere to it that works like a charm.

Another reason why I have good memories of Gerudo Lagoon is because it's where you get the Hookshot. As any long-time Zelda fan will tell you, when you get the Hookshot in a 3D Zelda game fun is sure to follow. And follow it did. I also always found it fun just walking around with the Stone Mask on and killing the Pirates, knowing they can't do jack.

That being said, how moronic are these pirates? I can get the Stone Mask makes you look invisible due to magic but that leaves a bit of a plot hole. Specifically the fact that when you approach a Gerudo she looks at you. Yeah she's looking at Link and you can still walk on by without any problems. Idiots.

9. Astral Observatory

 

This music here further cements how good of a game Majora's Mask is. Where does this music play? In the Astral Observatory and nowhere else. How big is the Astral Observatory? About two regular-sized rooms (and keep in mind that in the LoZ-verse a regular-sized room is pretty damn small).

Nintendo actually went out of their way to create a song this beautiful for an area that you actually only had to go to once in the game, at the very beginning. Also let me tell you that Shikashi (the astronomer) is a surprisingly deep character. (Just to finalize the definition of "deep", it means a character that you actually get to know AND they act realistically towards their situation. e.g. Squall in FFVIII isn't deep.)

If you talk to him as Deku or regular Link, he treats you like a child (which you are) and acts like a nice grandpa, father figure. He's that guy who comes over to your house and acts nice to the kids and offers them treats. But if you talk to him as Goron Link or Zora Link (an adult) he'll actually say that he's been fascinated with the stars his whole life.

Not only that but he's one of the very few characters in the game who accepts the grave reality of the apocalypse-threaten Termina from Day 1. He will admit that he's doomed and also accepts his fate. As a bonus fun fact for you, if you ever have trouble with the time limit, talk to Granny Scarecrow in the basement and say yes to her offer when she tries to skedaddle.

Onto the song itself, it really is beautiful. It's that kind of song similar to Rainbow Road from Mario Kart 64 that instills a feeling of nostalgia and a longing for your childhood in the listener. Granted not to the extent of Rainbow Road, which is why it's # 9, but it's still a pretty great and amazing feeling.

8. Majora's Mask Battle

 

Majora is one of those video game villains who has their theme song frequently remixed throughout the game (for more examples see Count Bleck from Super Paper Mario or Gruntilda from Banjo-Kazooie). Going by that logic I was forced to nail down just one variation of Majora's theme and so I chose the first part against the multi-stage final battle against Majora.

I just want to go out on a limb here and say that, while the final boss of the game was a good one I didn't really like the final battle song. As far as final boss songs go it's pretty unspectacular. If it were me, I'd have this and Majora's Wrath (the final boss song) swapped simply because this feels more like the final battle.

This song has a creepy atmosphere to it. It's one of those songs that makes it sound like that Majora is about to end all life and you're powerless to stop him. The fight further cements this vibe since Majora's first entrance is launching himself straight out of the wall and fires lasers. It really sets the tone.

Not to mention that the overall fight is kinda creepy (not as much as Majora's Incarnation though). This mask seems like it's staring straight into your heart and soul and the fight gives off a very creepy vibe overall. Just the psychedelic, barren room combined with the Mask sets the tone greatly.

It's also kinda amazing how chilling of a villain a Mask can be. This guy (or girl) has under ten lines of dialogue in the whole game and yet it's still probably my favorite video game villain of all time. It's just the aura of mystery surrounding Majora and this song perfectly encompasses that, even more than his plain, ol' theme song does.

7. Stone Tower Temple

 

This song plays in my favorite level in the game and what might be my favorite horror-themed video game level of all time (tied with Creepy Castle from DK64). It's not half as scary as the Shadow Temple in Ocarina of Time but still has a bit of a semi-creepy vibe to it. It's just so surreal and has the aura of something watching you throughout the whole level.

Also let me remind you that you warp reality in the Stone Tower Temple by flipping it upside-down. Yeah, you read that part right. This makes the level more precarious and you can fall into the freakin' sky! How epic is that? You fall into the sky! Very much so. Also this level has a high concentration of fun mini-bosses, regardless of how annoying the actual level boss was.

It seems as though every LoZ game has that one dungeon theme that you really like. In OoT it was the Forest Temple, TP has the City in the Sky and TMC has the Temple of Droplets. But anyway I'm getting off-track, let me talk about the music itself. It kicks ass.

It's so catchy and keen ears may notice that it's a remix of the Elegy of Emptiness. Then when you flip the level over it comes back but with a bit of a surreal sound effect throughout.  It makes the song sound much more bizarre and like you're in some twisted version of reality (which you sort of are).

Also I do think that it goes without saying but the Stone Tower Temple is really one of the most fun dungeons in Zelda history. While you can't really dilly-dally, it's one of those things that perfectly encompasses fair, unbiased challenge. It's hard enough to be challenging but easy enough to not be frustrating. And if this is at # 7, then shows that I've got one Hell of a list here.

6. Credits

 

(Obvious spoiler warning BTW.)

Golden rule of making video games: if the credits music isn't freakin' awesome, it probably wasn't really worth it. Majora's Mask once more indicates this fact because of how awesome this song is. Overall I think that MM has a perfect ending. Not the greatest video game ending ever but still it's everything a good video game credits ending should be.

The credits basically shows the ending story of every character who even so much as cameoed in the game. We see the Deku Butler kneeling down in front of his dead son, we see Anju and Kafei getting married and getting rice showered down on them by *sigh* Tingle and we even see the Bomb Bag Lady being helped to walk again by her son.

This song itself starts off with a regular tune. Then it drops down into the Ballad of the Wind Fish sung by the Indigo-Gos (question: why is Mikau performing if he's dead?) and this shows the stereotypical "zoom around all the areas in the game." Then it drops back into the cheery tune as we get to see what happened to everyone.

It then goes back to the mysterious tune that you heard in the opening of the game which shows Link leaving Termina. But not before we see the stump that shows him, Skull Kid, the Giants and the fairies playing together. I'm sorry that ending just really got to me. It really meant something when at the end you saw the title card: "Dawn of a New Day."

That scene up there just shows that Majora's Mask has the most heart and sympathy out of not only Zelda titles but most video games period (sans Okami). This is why despite the epic scale of Ocarina of Time and the technological advancements of Twilight Princess, Majora's Mask remains my favorite game ever.

5. Ancient Castle of Ikana

 

Ah the Ancient Castle of Ikana. According to pretty much everyone, Ikana is one of the greatest places in the game. Why? Because for one the area itself is pretty fun and it has both the Stone Tower Temple and the Ancient Castle of Ikana, the two (arguably) best dungeons in the game. Oh and the music too.

Just listen to it. When I think of this song, I think of soldiers gearing up for a huge war. You've all seen Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers right? Remember that part at the end when all the soldiers of Rohan were arming themselves to prepare for the upcoming epic battle? Well this is a song that I think perfectly encompasses this scene.

Of course it also works well for entering a long-forsaken castle and taking down the skeletal King and his minions. Oh and that little exchange between his minions after they died was entertaining. Not lol-worthy but still pretty entertaining. And the opera. My God the opera.

I really do enjoy horns and opera in music and lookey here! As for the level itself, it was simple yet still fun. Blowing the crap out of the ceiling with a powder keg was awesome and the fight against Igos and co. was pretty epic. (Also take note: stock up on fairies before fighting them on the 3-heart challenge.)

Not to mention that the Ancient Castle has some of the most amusing easter eggs in the game. First if you enter the Castle with the Gibdo Mask on, the ReDeads will freakin' dance! Kinda creepy. Also if you wear the Captain's Hat when you face King Igos he will mistaken you for Skull Keeta and try to have a casual conversation before recognizing you for who you are. (note: this only works the second time or afterwards)

4. Boss Theme

 

With the exception of Twinmold, all of MM's boss fights are very fun experiences. Fighting Odolwa was one of the defining moments of my childhood (because that was as far as I could get as a little kid) and Goht was just plain fun (Gyorg wasn't that bad). So what better to go along with it all? This song.

Let me remind you that Majora's Mask was one of the first major games of the 21st Century and it did certainly raise the bar as far as what we can expect for boss themes in the upcoming decade. It's just so catchy yet epic and I found myself humming it the week after I fought Odolwa for the first time. When I faced him again on my first legit playthrough, great experience.

Also let me branch out and say that Goht is one of my favorite bosses ever. If you've never fought him before, you don't know what you're missing. It's pretty much like a high-speed chase, you, as a Goron, have to hunt his ass down and ram into him repeatedly until he dies.

Yeah it kinda confuses me why everyone calls Stallord one of the greatest bosses in the LoZ series, his first stage was annoying and the second stage was fun but still unspectacular. Goht and co. still are fun experiences to this day. While even Twinmold is irritating, it was still an epic fight.

Overall, I can't really say anything else on the song itself although I can assure you that it still remains in my top 10 boss songs of all time. Also it's a good thing that MM is the only Zelda game where the bosses are replayable because it really is fun just murdering these guys over again (wait, that came out wrong) with this epic tune.

3. Deku Palace

 

If I were to pick out something for the title of the most catchiest song in video game history it would come down to a tie between the Deku Palace and Tubba Blubba from Paper Mario. While I can't really choose between the two, I'll be focusing on this one since I'll save Tubba Blubba for my top 10 Paper Mario songs that I'll be doing eventually.

According to my sources this is supposed to be Russian music but who cares? More power to the Soviet Union comrade! But then again when I do think about it, the place does seem frightfully similar to a Ukrainian tribal village. It's just so catchy and overall feels like the perfect theme as you're trying to sneak into the monkey's cage in the Deku Palace.

Also as a fun fact this is fellow g1 Waluigi's favorite video game song of all time. Literal quote: "It has always been my favorite for a long time. It's oddly the first song that comes to my head when I think of Majora's Mask, and it's been stuck in my had for weeks at a time."

What he said, really catchy theme overall. As for the Deku Palace itself, it was a fairly fun area. There's not much of an appeal to go to it for but it always is fun to go hovering over it as Deku Link and drop Deku Nuts down on the guards below. It doesn't do much damage but it makes you feel like a (semi-)badass.

Now this is the last song from the game that is here simply for being a plain ol' song. The next two are some of the most touching, tearjerking pieces of music in video game history. So be sure to get a hanky ready for the top two.

2. The Clock Tower

 

Like Majora's theme song, the Song of Healing is a very frequently-used piece of music in the game. You can find it in the scenes when Darmani and Mikau die, when you play it, as a remix to when the Happy Mask Salesman goes on his rants and, of course, the Clock Tower. Overall, I think the title of the best remix of the song goes to the Clock Tower.

Like the Astral Observatory up there, this plays in only one (small) area in the whole game. Not to mention that it's one of the very first areas in the game and the first part of the game with legitimate music (much of it beforehand was generic chase music and then borderline silence). As soon as you heard this song, you knew that this game was going to be great.

The Clock Tower itself is probably the most surreal part of the game, aside from maybe the final level. It just has that aura of it that makes you feel like something bad has happened or that you just entered a world that is doomed (both). It's also where you first meet the Happy Mask Salesman who is one of the weirdest characters in video game history.

The Clock Tower is overall just a very swell piece of video game music that kinda makes you stop and reflect on all the sadness in the world. Sorta like Stickerbrush Symphony. It does its job at perfectly foreshadowing what the rest of the game is going to be like: very emotional.

Now it's time for the # 1 choice which is yours truly's favorite video game song of all time. Assuming you know me at all you should probably be able to guess what it is but if not read on!

1. Last End

 

While this whole list is full of great tunes, all of them combined still can't hold a candle to Last End. This landed the # 1 spot on my top 10 most touching pieces of video game music and upon giving it a listen it's not very hard to see why. Last End may very well be my favorite scene in video game history which is, again, rivaled only by the ending scene of Okami.

This scene is just so sad. The thing that sealed the deal for many people (including me) was Anju and Kafei reuniting with each other and expressing their love for one another under the incoming Moon. You see Anju actually waiting there for her love to come to her which adds a great layer of depth since their love trespassed all bounds and they don't care if they die as long as they die with each other.

But that'd be ignoring the bulk of the whole song. Visiting everyone in Clock Town is quite worth it. If you talk to the guards standing guard outside of town they'll encourage you to leave (if you're the Deku they'll tell you to look for your parents). Mutoh stands right in front of the Clock Tower, staring straight up at Majora's Moon and actually dares it to drop (badass).

Captain Viscen feels remorse for not evacuating everyone in Clock Town and the Banker (and most salesman) keep on their con artist attitude while slipping hidden messages to implore you to leave. Mayor Dotour expresses remorse and chooses to die with his ambitions and Madame Aroma (his wife) feels bad about not seeing Kafei.

The two saddest, aside from Anju and Kafei, I think were Mr. Barten and the Swordsmanship Sensei. If you talk to Mr. Barten he pretty much chooses to die saying quote: "I'm going to stay by my business to the end." He'll then thank Link for being a great customer. The Sensei can be seen hiding in a bunker saying that he doesn't want to die.

So with all that is it any surprise why this song is # 1? It just has that whole vibe of "the end is here" and that Majora has won. This is why Majora's Mask is my favorite game ever, because when the world was ending you actually felt bad for these people. No other video game has ever actually done that to me.

So with all that is it any surprise why this is my favorite video game song of all time? Of course not. Also just as a fun fact, this song also plays in the area before the final fight against Majora. For some strange reason it seems to fit the final arena pretty well.

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