Surviving the First Cycle in Majora’s Mask

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is a game that is near and dear to my heart.  It offers the same action-adventure, swordplay fun many admire from the Legend of Zelda series, alongside a compact yet dense world to explore and memorable characters to meet.  What sets this game apart from its predecessors and successors alike is its time mechanic, where our hero must relive the same three-day cycle over and over again in order to save the world from destruction.  It’s like the movie Groundhog Day, except instead of being a grouchy Bill Murray, you are a young boy dressed as a fairy trying to stop the moon from falling on the town! 

While this structured sequence of events allows the characters who inhabit the land of Termina to feel lively and developed, the in-game time limits have caused many to view the game as intimidating.  I have met several people who wanted to play this game but got frustrated attempting to get over the first major hurdle: the first three-day cycle.  This walkthrough will guide you through this first cycle, while also offering additional tips which could help you if you decide to continue playing afterward.   I really hope you do, because the experience is worth it.  But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself.  Let the walkthrough begin!

But first a disclaimer.  This walkthrough is based on the original Nintendo 64 version of the game and the screenshots provided are from this version.  However, this walkthrough is still compatible with the 3DS remake, so no need to worry!  Now we can begin!

Part 0: You’ve Met with a Terrible Fate, Haven’t You?

The opening section of the game consists of cutscenes and linear passages which introduce the narrative and give you an opportunity to get comfortable with the controls.  This is important because for now, you are not controlling the classic Link, but a transmogrified Deku Link who looks more like a henchman than an adventuring protagonist.  If Link wants to return to his original form, he will have to retrieve his stolen ‘precious item’ and return to the mask salesman in 72 in-game hours.  Remember, do not let the time limit intimidate you; there is more than enough time allotted to complete the required tasks.  Now push through the door and take your first step into Clock Town.

Part 1: Reviving the Great Fairy

This is where the game lets you loose onto the world…or at least a small portion of it.  You will be limited to just exploring Clock Town for the majority of this cycle.  The town is divided into five sections: North, South, East, West, and the Washing Pool.

You begin standing in South Clock Town facing south.  Tatl chimes in, suggesting that you go north toward the shrine to see the Great Fairy.  However, if you were to head over there, you would discover that she has been shattered by that trouble-making Skull Kid!  She is missing one of her Stray Fairies and needs its power to revive herself.

The Stray Fairy is hovering over the Washing Pool, which can be accessed using the ramp immediately south from where you begin in South Clock Town.  Once you arrive at the pool, hop across the water’s surface (yes, Deku Link can hop on water!) to collect the Stray Fairy.  It asks you to return it to the Fairy Fountain, so exit the Washing Pool out to South Clock Town and head north behind the large clock tower.  Enter the doorway here which leads to North Clock Town.

Turn to the west in North Clock Town and you should see a cave atop two slopes.  That is the entrance to the Fairy Fountain, where our little Stray Fairy friend needs to be.  Walk into the Fountain and our Stray Fairy friend will reunite with its other friends and…become a giant floating woman.  This is the Great Fairy, who in gratitude offers Deku Link the ability to spit magic bubbles (cool?) and informs him that the man who lives in the observatory may know where Skull Kid is.  But getting to the observatory will take a few extra steps.

Part 2: A Game of Hide and Seek

Leave the Fairy Fountain to be back in North Clock Town.  Ahead you should see a large purple balloon with the same mask Skull Kid wears on it.  Seems like the perfect target to try out Deku Link’s new magic bubbles!  Shoot a bubble at the balloon to pop it, impressing the boy in the red hat.

Talk to the boy and he will commend your skills (for a Deku Scrub) and mention the Bombers’ hideout which leads to the observatory!  In order to get into the hideout, you need a code, and to get the code you need to play hide and seek with the Bombers.  You must find all five boys before the next morning!  They are spread out across town and will require you to explore all of Clock Town.  Lucky for you, I have their locations right here:

There are two Bombers in North Clock Town.  One is hiding behind the western tree by the Fairy Fountain.  The other is hiding behind the large slide in the north-eastern corner of North Clock Town.

If you exit east from North Clock Town (past the slide), you will enter East Clock Town.  There are two Bombers here.  These two are the hardest to grab.  The first boy is up the ramp across from the entrance from North Castle Town.  He is holding a Cucco and will jump down into the center of the plaza when approached.  Once he hits the ground, he will run away from you very quickly.  He has a tendency to get stuck in the loading zones between areas, so you can use this to your advantage and corner him.  If he ends up running off to an area you cannot reach, just exit East Clock Town and reenter to respawn him at the top of the ramp.

The other East Clock Town boy is easier to catch, but takes some work to reach.  He is hanging out on the thatch roof of a building, so you will need to use the flower nearby to fly up there.

The final Bomber is in West Clock Town, accessible through either of the western exists in South Clock Town.  The boy can be found standing in the square part of the area and is relatively easy to catch.

Once you have found and caught all of the Bombers, congratulations!  The boys will reveal the secret code to the hideout to you, but they will only say it once.  It is STRONGLY recommended that you write this number down for future use.  The code is randomized for each playthrough and the only way to see the code again is to play hide and seek again, so save yourself the headache later and write it down.  But now that you have the code, you can finally head for the observatory and find that trickster!

Part 3: Path to the Observatory

With the code, you can now enter the Bomber Hideout.  The entrance is in East Clock Town, where a small boy with a yellow hat guards the path.  Input the code you received from the Bombers and you are in!

Of course their hideout is a nasty sewer!  Luckily Deku Link can hop across the water here with ease.  Just watch out for the Skulltula that can come down from the ceiling.  You can easily walk around it, or, if you wanna feel like a real exterminator, a well timed magic bubble can kill it in one hit!

Speaking of bubbles, you will need to use your bubble magic to pop another masked balloon that is blocking the path.  If you run out of magic, dash into the pots in this room for a refill.  After climbing the ladder, you will have finally arrived in the observatory.

There is a wise, old, observatory man here who will encourage you to look through the telescope to find Skull Kid.  Angle the lens towards the tall tower in the center of town and there he will be.  A small scene will play out, showing the horrifying moon (did you notice it before now or did you never look up?) shedding a fiery tear that crashes outside the observatory.  After Skull Kid taunts you like the spoiled troublemaker he is, the observatory man will suggest that you head outside and pick up the Moon’s Tear that landed nearby.  But before he ends, he ponders how Skull Kid got on top of the clock tower since the clock door only opens on the eve of the carnival.  That is an important bit of information gained, so now we can go grab the shiny! 

Head out the metal door in this room to walk out onto the balcony.  Here you will find the Moon’s Tear that fell.  PICK THIS UP because it is the secret final ingredient needed to reach Skull Kid!

Part 4: Prepare to Enter the Tower

With the Moon’s Tear in hand and Skull Kid’s whereabouts known, it’s time to begin the infiltration of the clock tower!  Backtrack your way back to South Clock Town, where Tatl will suggest you ask people around the clock tower about a possible entrance.  There is a small slope that leads to the tower’s clock door, but little Deku Link is sadly a bit too short to climb up there.  Instead, you should check out the flower next to the tower. 

When you get near, its owner, a Deku merchant, will fly in and deny you access!  There is a chance you have seen this scene while walking around in a previous step since this guy is very protective of his property and will yell, “Wait! Wait!” at anyone who tries to step on it.  Regardless, speak to the Deku and he will say he is in the market for a Moon’s Tear.  Oh hey, you have one of those!

Trade your Moon’s Tear to him in exchange for the Title Deed.  The Deku will fly away satisfied and you will be free to fly to the clock tower platform at your pleasure!  Even better, there is a Piece of Heart sitting there as a classy reward for your efforts.  Finally, you have made it to the clock tower door! And…it will not open.

It is at this point that I can say, “congratulations!”  You have completed all of the tasks required to gain access to the end of this three-day cycle.  If you have gotten to this point and it is already around midnight on the final (third) day, then you can head straight into Part 5.  Otherwise, you have some time to kill!  I suggest taking this time to further explore the town at your leisure.  Talk to the townsfolk, follow them around and watch their routine, check out the many buildings and attractions around town, explore and experience Clock Town until midnight of the final day.

However, if you would rather just fast forward to the final hours of the final day, then you should dance with the scarecrow!

In East Clock Town, there is a shop called the Trading Post.  In this establishment, a sentient scarecrow sits in the left corner and will offer to dance with Link to accelerate twelve hours into the future.  If you have had enough of wandering around town for some reason, there are worse ways of spending your time than dancing with a scarecrow.

Part 5: Face Off with the Troublemaker

The eve of the carnival is upon us. As the clock strikes midnight at the end of the final day, fireworks light up the sky above Clock Town.  Yet the citizens have ran off or hide in fear.  If you look up, it is clear why.  These are the final hours.  There will be no dawn, only destruction.  But it is in this time of turmoil that Link has found hope.  The clock tower doors slide open and Skull Kid awaits at the tower’s peak.  It is time to confront the troublemaker!

Walking up to the top of the tower, Link witnesses how out of control Skull Kid has become.  Tale attempts to task Link with a bizarre mission while Skull Kid begins to accelerate the Moon’s decent.  You need to act fast, with only five real world minutes until the land is destroyed!

Since Link is still in his Deku form, he has little offensively he can do to stop Skull Kid or the Moon.  But he could take a stab at reclaiming his ‘precious item.’  Aim and shoot a magic bubble at Skull Kid, which will cause him to drop the stolen good.  Run over to grab it and you have successfully reclaimed the Ocarina of Time!  After picking it up, Link recalls a distant memory.

It is through this flashback that you gain access to the Song of Time.  While Tatl scoffs that the ocarina will do you no good right now, Zelda claimed that it could call upon the aid of a Goddess.  Equip the Ocarina and play the Song of Time (if you do not remember it, look in the pause menu for a music note that can act as a reminder).

And with that, you are back where you started.  Dawn of the First Day, but now you have the Ocarina with you so you can go see the mask salesman about returning Link to his true form!

And congratulations, you have completed the first cycle of Majora’s Mask!  That’s right, this is only the beginning!  I hope you were intrigued by the experience enough to continue playing the game.  It gets a lot more open from here and the heart of the world, characters, and overall narrative come into view as you continue to use the Ocarina to repeat this three-day cycle, each time doing something different and progressing in some way.

I hope you enjoyed this walkthrough! Majora’s Mask is one of my favorite games and the idea of being able to help someone experience it for the first time makes me very excited!  Thank you for reading and enjoy the rest of your adventure!

Further Readings

For those who are looking for a full walkthrough of Majora’s Mask, I recommend Zelda Dungeon’s Walkthrough.

Zelda’s Palace also has a list of helpful tips and tricks that I recommend you check out.  They even have a walkthrough over there as well.


Screenshots captured by me on a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask for the Nintendo 64.

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