Welcome to The Legend of Zelda Tribute week here on Lost in the Music. I would like to thank Jessica Harris (you can commission her here) for her amazing title card. This week I will be looking at the following albums.
Monday: ZREO~ The Wind Waker
Tuesday: The Triforce of Bass ~ The Gamechops
Wednesday: Crowning Music of Awesome ~ Dragon Roost Island
Today: Beyond Audio-dome ~ Majora's Mask vs Ocarina of Time
Today on Beyond Audio-dome: Zelda Edition, I take a look at Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask, the two N64 that has split the Zelda fandom in some places. Often times the two are at each others throats saying which is better. So today I decided to give my own opinion on which game has the better music. I wish to state that I don't have a preference on which game is better so I will be as unbiased as possible.
Both Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask are great games. They both have a diverse and wonderful soundtrack, goofy NPC's, and great (if dated) graphics. What separates the games are both the story and the environment. In Ocatina of Time, your main quest is to stop the evil Gerudo Ganondorf from taking the golden power and usurping control of Hyrule while in majora's Mask, you are the prevent the apocalypse of the small country Termina. While traversing the land of Hyrule, you'll notice the world around you is rather relaxed and peaceful, even after the time skip while Termina gives off a sense of evil and foreboding and you only have 3 days to save it.
So how does that translate into the music? For the most part, Ocarina of Time has a fantasy element to its music with some darker, more grim tracks whereas Majora's Mask has a cheerful track with a very creepy undertone. At no point in Majora's Mask do you feel at ease. The music gives off a false feeling of positivity, trying to get you to ignore the creepiness. There are very few songs in Majora's Mask that are genuinely joyful.
A perfect example of the different music is with the title screens. With Ocarina of Time, the music is very soothing, very relaxing. It's gentle and caring. Not a bad song but doesn't really motivate you to be the hero. While with Majora's Mask, the title theme has more of a party atmosphere and at first you think all is cool, until the end the music changes sharply, going from happy to creepy.
That being said, as creepy as Majora's Mask can get, there is still one song in Ocarina of Time that I maintain is one of, if not creepiest song in the game. While the Shadow Temple in Ocarina of Time can be unnerving at times, the Forest Temple is still by far the creepiest in the game. In my opinion, it's the creepiest song put out by the Zelda team.
The question, what makes the Forest Temple so creepy. It is an abandoned fortress in the middle of the woods and at most it should be unsettling. However I feel what made the Forest Temple creepy was how bright and colourful the dungeon was, despite the music. You are expecting a far more drab dungeon, but instead you are greeted to, for the most part, a garden type fortress.
I've heard several theories about the story of the Forest Temple. Just as the Shadow Temple is a tomb for fallen Sheikah and the Spirit Temple is more of a holy place for the Gerudo, the Forest Temple was supposed to be the manor for a noble family who had been practitioners of black magic. Something had gone wrong and cursed the 4 daughters to haunt the place until they were put to rest. After the deaths, the manor became abandoned and the forest began grow into the manor. Once again these are just theories.
Lastly, comparing the games Final Battle music. Ocarina of Time is a typical song of good and evil, battle of epic proportions. It's good, but kind of vanilla. You almost expect it. It works for the fight, but when you compare Majora's Mask 3 part finale, it just pales in comparison. To start off Majora's Mask (the song title) takes the 15 seconds from the title screen and elaborates. When you take on the second form, the song gets almost Kefkaesque. It is a very manic and child like battle theme. What sells the creepiness is that they use only a couple of instruments that are not commonly used. It sets up the song as childlike, but with a frightening undertone. Finally when you take on Majora's Wrath, the music is more subtle. It is still frantic, but not nearly as much as before.
In the end the question is that, what will I remember most from these fights? Taking on the Lord of Evil or taking on insanity put into mask form. Which song had a bigger impact? A final boss should be intimidating and while Ganon himself was intimidating, the music didn't let on and Majora was far from threatening, but the music had that manic feel to it and the way s/he moved was far more unsettling.
Both these soundtracks are great for the games they are designed for. For Ocarina of Time it is about going out on an adventure to save the princess and defeat evil. Majora's Mask is about falling down the rabbit hole and see how far you fall before you land. Each soundtrack has its strengths and flaws and I honestly cannot choose a winner between the two. It is up to you to decide.
Two albums go in and this time they both come out. This is Daimo Mac and I am lost in the music.
One last thing. My good friend Dave (from History of One Piece, The Disney Debate, Anime Observation and Weekly Dose of Awesome ) has just lost his job and is in need of help. If you could donate a few bucks to him to help him get through these times, I would appreciate it. Thank you. You can find his paypal account here.