Kingdom Hearts (game)
Kingdom Hearts is the first game in the Kingdom Hearts series. Revolving around a fourteen-year old boy named Sora, it details his adventures after his homeworld is destroyed by sinister creatures known as the Heartless, and his attempts to restore his world and reunite with his friends. In the process, he meets many characters from classic Disney films and a handful from the Final Fantasy video game series. The main theme song for the game is "Simple and Clean", performed by Utada Hikaru.
Chronologically, Kingdom Hearts follows Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, takes place during Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep -A fragmentary passage- and takes place before Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories, as well as partially overlapping with Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days.
The game opens with Sora saying he has been having weird thoughts lately and wondering what is real. In a surreal dream-like opening, Sora is separated from his two friends; a red-haired girl named Kairi and a white-haired boy named Riku. Sora finds himself guided by a mysterious voice in a stained-glass void, which foreshadows the events that will soon take place. He ends up being swallowed by a monstrous creature, and is awakened by Kairi on the beach of Destiny Islands, revealing it was nightmare. Riku motivates them to work on their raft in order to explore new worlds. Child versions of Final Fantasy heroes Tidus, Wakka and Selphie also inhabit the island and are willing to training Sora so he can become stronger. While fetching supplies in a cave, Sora encounters a mysterious hooded figure in a secret cave who ominously speaks that this "world" has been connected and tied to the darkness. He accuses Sora of lacking knowledge and then disappears.
One night, the islands are attacked by darkness and shadow creatures. Sora seeks out his friends, finding Riku first; Riku disappears into darkness, curious about what it contains. Soon after, Sora obtains a mysterious weapon, the Keyblade, to defend himself. Using it to fend off the creatures, he heads for the secret cave, where he finds Kairi near a door. She turns to him, saying his name as the door behind her blows open. The ensuing blast of darkness sends Sora and Kairi both out of the cave. With Kairi nowhere in sight, Sora fights the creature from his nightmare, meaning it was more than a simple dream. A gravitational pull sucks Sora up into the sky and into a void as the islands are destroyed.
Meanwhile, King Mickey Mouse has left his world to deal with the increasing power of darkness and left instructions for mage Donald Duck and knight Goofy to find the "key". Donald and Goofy use a Gummi Ship to travel to Traverse Town, where it happens Sora has also drifted to. Sora encounters the creatures again in the town, and eventually meets Leon, a mysterious swordsman who explains they are Heartless, creatures that consume hearts, and that the Keyblade is the only weapon capable of defeating them. The king of Leon's home world, a man named Ansem, is said to have studied the Heartless. Donald and Goofy are approached by Leon's ally Aerith, who also tells them what they may be looking for. Soon after, Sora meets Donald and Goofy rather hastily, and the three work together to take down a large Heartless.
From there, they decide to travel together: Donald and Goofy to find Mickey, and Sora to find Kairi and Riku. The three travel to various worlds based on Disney films, finding that the Keyblade also locks "Keyholes", passages that the Heartless use to take the heart of the world. A group of villains, led by Maleficent, seek out the seven Princesses of Heart to unlock the Keyhole that leads to Kingdom Hearts, a repository of knowledge and power and the source of all hearts. This group now includes Riku, who is swayed by Maleficent's promises that she will help find Kairi. At the same time, Maleficent sows distrust in Riku, telling him that Sora has abandoned him and Kairi for new friends and the Keyblade. An increasingly antagonistic Riku manages to find Kairi's body, but her heart is missing.
Sora and his friends eventually arrive at Hollow Bastion, the home world of Ansem and the headquarters of Maleficent. Riku takes the Keyblade from Sora, claiming that he was fated to have it all along and Sora was simply the "delivery boy". Donald and Goofy, taking their order to follow the "key" seriously, reluctantly leave with Riku. Sora calls on his courage and enters the Bastion anyway, then challenges Riku again, stating that his heart derives strength from his friends. His friends return to him, as does the Keyblade. Shamed, Riku flees and meets a cloaked man who goads him to give into the darkness.
Sora, Donald, and Goofy destroy Maleficent. They encounter a strangely-behaving Riku with a new Keyblade that unlocks hearts called the Keyblade of heart. He leads them to Kairi's living but unfeeling body; Riku then reveals himself as completely possessed by Ansem. The newly reformed Ansem explains that Kairi is the last Princess of Heart, and that her missing heart has been trapped within Sora's body since the destruction of Destiny Islands. Spurred to action, Sora defeats Ansem; however, he cannot seal Hollow Bastion's Keyhole because Kairi's heart is still in his body, thus the keyhole remains incomplete. Sora uses Ansem's Keyblade to unlock his heart, releasing both his and Kairi's heart, but turning him into a Heartless. Kairi's heart returns to her body, in turn completing the final Keyhole; she then returns Sora to human form by the strength of her heart. The group resolves to follow and end Ansem's plan.
By this time, Ansem has retreated to the End of the World, the combined fragments of worlds taken by the Heartless. Sora and his friends pursue Ansem and eventually find him at the world's core, formed from the ruins of Destiny Islands. There, Ansem explains that Riku viewed his lonely island as a prison, and his yearning to be free made him vulnerable to the darkness. He gives a short sermon about the heart's connection to darkness before attacking, but is beaten back. He falls back to the abyss surrounding the Door to Darkness, where he declares his intention to claim Kingdom Hearts for himself and merges with his battleship, the World of Chaos, for one final sortie. Despite temporarily capturing Donald and Goofy, Ansem falls to Sora and desperately reaches out to Kingdom Hearts, begging it to empower him with its darkness. However, as the doors open, Ansem is shocked to learn that Kingdom Hearts is made not of darkness, but of light, and its power vaporizes him.
Beyond the door are Mickey and Riku, back in control of his own body. They help Sora and the others close the door, as there are many Heartless beyond it, but Riku and Mickey must remain inside to help seal it. Riku asks Sora to take care of Kairi. Mickey and Sora then use their Keyblades to lock the door.
The destroyed worlds reconstruct themselves; Kairi is pulled back to the Destiny Islands, but Sora promises before separating they will all reunite some day. Sora, Donald, and Goofy resolve to find Riku and Mickey, though they are unsure of where to start. Luckily, Pluto appears, clutching a letter from Mickey in his mouth; he runs off with Sora, Donald, and Goofy in tow, ready for a new set of adventures. The silent narrator from the beginning of the game states in the final scene that Sora's destiny is to open the door to light. Meanwhile, Kairi finds a drawing in the secret cave of Sora giving her a Paopu Fruit; Kairi weeps in happiness and reciprocates the drawing.
Kingdom Hearts is an action RPG with hack and slash gameplay. It has a lot of features with other JRPGs, such as equipment and accessory customization, magic spells, HP, MP, EXP, etc. Sora attacks with a Keyblade which can be changed with other Keyblades once found. Equipping abilities uses AP, meaning the player must choose certain abilities instead of all of them.
In the beginning of the game, by choosing between the Dream Sword, Dream Shield and Dream Rod, the player can choose a growth path that fits their play style—choosing the sword will prioritize abilities that strengthen Sora's offense, while choosing the rod will prioritize abilities that strengthen magic. However, all this changes is the order in which these abilities are learned. Choosing which weapon to keep and sacrifice will also affect Sora's starting stats. The player will be asked three questions which will affect how fast they level up.
Sora is the only directly controlled character, while Donald and Goofy are controlled by AI, although the player can adjust their AI. Because there can only be three party members at a time, the player may swap them out with others, such as Aladdin or Jack Skellington, but only in their respective world. For example, Jack can not become a party member in Agrabah. While the player can stick to Donald and Goofy, the player will need Aladdin in their party during the Cave of Wonders segment in Agrabah to progress.
There are colored Trinity marks which are scattered throughout the worlds. Donald and Goofy must be in the party to activate them, and the color of the Trinity must be obtained through story progress. Note that if playing the original version of the game, there is a permanently missable Red Trinity mark in Halloween Town. There are also 99 Puppies scattered throughout worlds; returning them to Pongo and Perdita in Traverse Town will result in rewards.
The player travels between worlds in a Gummi Ship. The player must ride the Gummi Ship upon visiting new worlds, although it is possible to install a "warp" function for the Gummi Ship which warps the ship to worlds already found.
Kingdom Hearts Final Mix
Kingdom Hearts Final Mix is an extended version of Kingdom Hearts. Released only in Japan for PlayStation 2, it uses most of the revisions made for the North American and European releases. It features other additions to the original game: a Final Fantasy X-2 trailer (named "Special Movie") on the main menu, three new Difficulty Levels: Beginner, Standard, and Proud mode, new types of Heartless and palette swaps for most returning Heartless, new Keychains and items, and a new secret boss that appears in Hollow Bastion, known only as "Unknown". It also features an expansion of the secret movie from the first game, Another Side, Another Story [deep dive], foreshadowing more of Kingdom Hearts II.
Kingdom Hearts Final Mix was re-released in high definition as part of Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX for PlayStation 3, and later, PlayStation 4. The abilities Zero EXP and Combo Master were added to the game. The Summons menu was moved to the fourth Command Menu slot and the context-sensitive command that occupied that slot was replaced with Reaction Commands. The right analog stick controls the camera instead of the and buttons, similar to Kingdom Hearts II. In addition, cutscenes can be skipped now. The Final Fantasy X-2 trailer that occupied the third slot on the game's opening menu is replaced with a Back command to return to the Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX game select menu. Among the models replaced, Cinderella, Aurora, and Snow White's were replaced with their models from Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep.
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