The Darkside is a Pureblood Heartless that first appeared in Kingdom Hearts. It is one of the bosses at the Dive to the Heart, Destiny Islands, End of the World, Twilight Town, Dark World, and Scala ad Caelum.
A Darkside is a massive, muscular, humanoid Heartless with black skin. Its legs are rather short and its feet are very thin and curl upward. Its arms are quite long, and it has two relatively small, twisted wings on its back. There is a large, heart-shaped hole in the Heartless's abdominal area, which penetrates straight through from the front to the back. Its head is covered in dozens of twisted, black tentacles. Only its small, glowing yellow eyes are visible. In Kingdom Hearts, Darkside had a flap of skin where the heart on its body creases at the top, whereas in Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories this flap of skin was removed for unknown reasons.
In Kingdom Hearts III, a Darkside is encountered at the edge of the Final World which is made of water. It is transparent, and its shape constantly wobbles like flowing water. Another appears in Re Mind, this time glowing pink due to holding a fragment of Kairi's heart.
The Darkside battle shares many similarities with the Twilight Thorn, a gigantic Nobody. Both appear in Roxas and Sora's Dives to the Heart, respectively, and are the first bosses of the game. Their Japanese names, Twilight Zone and Darkside, are both science-fiction horror serials.
Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep
Aqua wanders the Realm of Darkness until a Darkside rises before her, with three more appearing to flank her. Aqua summons the Master's Defender, but loses hope and decides to let the darkness consume her. As one of the Darksides prepare to attack, two shimmering lights destroy them, revealing themselves to be Terra and Ventus's Earthshaker and Wayward Wind. Aqua then looks on as the Keyblades disappear from sight.
Between Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and Kingdom Hearts
Many Darksides inhabit the Forest of Thorns and obstruct Aqua's path through the forest. At the edge of the forest, a small battalion of Darksides summons a giant orb of darkness that Aqua destroys, simultaneously slaying them.
Two more Darkside appear to attack Riku when he is attempting to help close the Door to Darkness. However, before they can do anything, they are slain by King Mickey with his newly acquired Kingdom Key D.
As Sora progresses through his Dive to the Heart, his shadow eventually grows into a Darkside. Sora attacks the giant, but is eventually sucked into its darkness. After the Door to Darkness is opened, a Darkside attacks the Destiny Islands and battles Sora. Upon its defeat, it is sucked up into a dark cloud that looms above the islands, while Sora is transported to Traverse Town.
Inside the Realm of Darkness, Aqua encounters and battles groups of Darksides in the Forest of Thorns. She eventually encounters an army of Darksides holding up orbs of darkness and destroys the one supporting the orb.
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
A Darkside is fought in Twilight Town during a mission being worked by Roxas and Xion. After Roxas depletes its stamina, he finds himself strangely weakened and his Keyblade knocked from his grasp. The blade reappears in the hands of Xion, who uses it to destroy the massive Heartless in a single strike.
Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories
Sora fights the Darkside in the card world Destiny Islands, reliving his memories of the fall of Destiny Islands while searching for Naminé.
Kingdom Hearts II
A Darkside appears in Roxas's dreams of Sora's memories.
Kingdom Hearts coded
A data version of the Darkside appears within Destiny Islands' Keyhole, and is defeated by Data-Sora.
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
Riku sees many of Sora's memories as he dives into his friend's heart, including the memory of Sora facing off against the Darkside that appeared on Destiny Islands.
Kingdom Hearts III
Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind
The Darkside uses its size and strength to easily overpower opponents. It can punch the ground, creating a pool of darkness and summoning Shadows to assist it in battle. It can also fire blasts of dark energy from its chest. Its seemingly powerful desperation move involves pulling a dark energy orb out of the ground while causing a shockwave and launching it into the sky, causing it to disperse to the ground as smaller energy blasts.
The Darkside is an easy-medium boss, and can be defeated very quickly. In all three battles against the Darkside, the strategy for defeating it remains the same. Its weaknesses are its head and hands. This is simply a hack-and-slash battle, with no real strategy needed. Simply attack at every opportunity and avoid the Darkside's attacks. When the Darkside launches its dark missiles, time attacks just right to send them hurling back, heavily damaging the Darkside as well as granting Tech Points. Any deflected missiles grants 1 Tech point, while every deflected missile that hits the Darkside grants an additional 2 Tech points.
If Sora gets low on health, defeat the Shadows that spawn, as they drop HP orbs. If one can climb Darkside's arm and attack its head, tech points are granted for every combo finisher landed.
The strategy for the first battle can be used for the second battle.
When the Darkside scoops up the orb of Darkness, do not run around. The missiles will vanish when guarded or attacked and will not make Sora recoil.
The Darkside from this battle will act the same as the one from the second battle, so simply use the same strategies and the Heartless will fall.
Interestingly, this particular Darkside spawns Shadows that drop munny when defeated, at a point where munny can no longer be used in the game.
Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories
This memory-based incarnation of the Darkside utilizes the same tactics as its Kingdom Hearts counterpart. Card Breaks are an easy way to avoid damage. Again, one must attack the arms to deal damage, Sora having to jump in order for this to be done. Due to the boss's amount of HP, the fight may last for a very long while. If a Gimmick Card appears, a plank of driftwood will appear that Sora can hop upon and float up to the Darkside's head to deal extra damage, or when the Darkside is about to blast an orb from its body, one can use a Card Break to attack it before it escapes. Another way to attack the Darkside's head without using a Gimmick Card is to wait for it to summon Shadows, which requires its arm to be immobilized, and there will be an opportunity to attack its head. A combination of high-numbered Attack Cards as well as Cure Cards are recommended, along with Enemy Cards such as Jafar, Maleficent, Vexen and Card Soldier to make the battle easier. Sleights are not as critical in this battle, as the Darkside's dimensions make it easy to miss, wasting cards.
The strategy above holds similar to Riku's battle with the Darkside. The boss has much less HP than in Sora's Story. Riku can also utilize Dark Mode, Dark Firaga being the most reliable Sleight in his arsenal, considering he only has two. Dark Break can be used more commonly, and has a tendency to hit the head. Although, the abuse of attempts at using sleights will make Riku run short of cards and thus should be used only when the Darkside is targetable. Due to Riku's higher jump, he can also directly attack the Darkside's head without needing to wait for an opening where it it slams its arm into the ground.
In Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories, the only difference is the Gimmick Card causes large plateaus to rise from the ground. The most optimal way to make use of this card is to do so while near the front of the enemy, making the player character stand on a plateau that will rise directly towards the front of the Darkside's head. The Darkside still executes the same tactics as its Kingdom Hearts counterpart, but much faster and thus can be hard to avoid without card breaks.
Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days
In Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, Roxas, alongside Xion, is also faced with the Darkside. Xion will mainly cast Fire spells from a distance, so focus on attacking the Heartless's hands. It utilizes all techniques from past encounters and the same tactics are able to be used in order to prevent most damage.
It is advised that the player Jump as much as possible to avoid the Darkside's devastating long-range shockwave attack, used after many of its tactics. Roxas should also be in constant motion to avoid the energy that rains down, using Block to deflect the energy balls back at the boss. This battle should not be too much of a difficulty.
Its attacks always follow a pattern, starting with summoning the Shadows and ending with the dark balls falling from the sky. The pattern goes on until it is defeated.
It should also be noted that the Darkside's head is its weak spot, so attack there whenever possible.
Kingdom Hearts Re:coded
In this game, the Darkside has three forms. The first form is simple; the Darkside is out of reach from Data-Sora, who stands on a cliff. The Heartless will strike with its hand, and three Shadows will appear. After it strikes the ground, attack its hand with physical and other attacks. After depleting its HP, it will take on a new form.
The Darkside will again strike, but this time, it will release numerous bugged blocks upon contact with the ground and they deal damage to Sora. To attack the hand, Sora must delete a layer of bugged blox which cover its hand. The Darkside will slump forward and its head will lay stunned, on the ground and open for attacks. If one is not quick enough, the hand will turn transparent and attacks will not hit. After a punch, the Darkside will lean back and release a barrage of orange blocks at Sora, throwing him back and dealing damage. Dodge it by using Dodge Roll until he is close to the Darkside. After the barrage, it will resume its cycle of punching.
In its last form, the Darkside will become entirely invisible, nothing but a bunch of orange blox. In the center of the swirling mass, there is a purple blox, which represents the Darkside's health. Dodge Roll is useful for this, as the Darkside will hop around, each time releasing a small shock wave. Consequently, it will turn into a swirling mass of blocks, and prove lethal if contact is made. Dodge Roll is faster than running; it can avoid the Darkside's attacks. Soon, it will separate, and the purple block is wide open for attacks. But do not be idle for too long; it will close after some time. Destroy the block by repeating the process over and over.
Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage-
Darksides are recurring bosses in this game. Aqua first fights one as a mini-boss, which retains its signature battle style, although its Shadow-summoning punch is accompanied by a larger shockwave.
Throughout the Forest of Thorns's Rocky Path, Aqua can fight three minor Darksides as standard enemies. Their only attack is to fire orbs of darkness from their chests, which Aqua can block back at them for damage.
Another Darkside serves as the final boss of the Forest of Thorns. Its attacks are upgraded by the orb of darkness it supports, making it all the more devastating. It frequently summons spiky orbs of darkness from the air, which act as traps for Aqua. For its ultimate attack, it summons streaks of darkness that circle towards Aqua. She needs to use Cartwheel to evade the streaks with ease.
One last Darkside appears as the first encounter of the secret boss rush. As with the first Darkside, this one's attacks are the same, though stronger.
Unlike past incarnations, Darksides cannot be climbed. However, Aqua's Doubleflight makes up for this.
Kingdom Hearts III
A Darkside serves as the first boss of the game. As such, it serves as a basic tutorial towards Sora's combat skills and dodging.
As usual, the Darkside's hands are its primary weak points, though its head can become vulnerable after a while. When it slams its fist into the ground to summon Shadows, prepare to use Block to guard the shockwave. It can also launch orbs of darkness from its chest, which can be blocked back to it, and from its hands, which can only be dodged. So long as Sora attacks and dodges when necessary, the Darkside will fall with ease. Defeating the Darkside awards Sora with Fire and Water magic.
Another Darkside is fought in Kingdom Hearts III Re Mind, appearing in Scala ad Caelum after four of Kairi's heart fragments have been found. While the strategy remains the same, this Darkside is a lot more powerful and has a lot more HP.
Notes and references