The Storm Rider is a large, blue dragon with a long, curled tail and twisted, yellow spikes lining its back. Its wings are actually long, five-fingered hands with ornate webbing between the fingers. Each finger sports a short, white claw and the webbing is decorated by a swirling pattern. The Heartless's underside is lined by two rows of three gold cymbals. Its lower jaw is large, jagged, and yellow, its upper jaw is blue, and its eyes are glowing yellow with blue-green "eyebrows". White hair is visible around the Heartless's eyes and mouth, and forms "tusks" on the sides of its mouth. The Storm Rider also has two bent, red horns on its head, its only vulnerable points. Its Heartless emblem is on its chin.
In Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, the Storm Rider becomes predominantly brown and orange, its hair and fingers become black, its lower jaw becomes white, and the webbing between it fingers is now red and orange, as opposed to the original white and yellow.
The Storm Rider's name refers to the electricity it generates, similar to lightning storms. "Rider" references the fact that it "rides" the wind.
Kingdom Hearts II
The Storm Rider was originally a dragon sleeping under a mountain that gave strength to the Land of Dragons. However, when Sora and his friends returned in order to search for Organization XIII, they found that a man in black had transformed it into an immense Heartless and sent it to attack the Imperial City. Sora, Donald, Goofy, and Mulan rushed to the city to warn the Emperor about the dragon and this man, but they catch up to him at the palace and he reveals himself to be Xigbar. He runs off, leaving his Snipers behind to fight them, but they defeat the Nobodies and go in to talk to the Emperor. However, just as they finish warning him the Storm Rider attacks, and they rush out to fight it off. Sora and his friends are able to slay the dragon, returning peace to the Land of Dragons, and the Emperor rewards Mulan by letting her serve alongside Captain Li Shang.
The Storm Rider, as its name implies, wields the element ofThunder in its attacks. It can shoot lightning bolts from its wingtips and call lightning from the sky. Its most powerful attack is trapping opponents between two walls of electricity and shooting a large beam of thunder, causing massive damage on impact. Its only non-thunder attacks are dashing across the arena, carpeting it with bombs and spinning towards the party when they are on the ground. The carpet bomb attack can be easily predicted as the Heartless always claps its cymbal feet together beforehand. The dash attack can be avoided and used advantageously with a reaction command.
It may be wise to equip the party with Lightning-resist armor before heading out to battle the dragon. Once the battle is underway, Sora will start out on the Heartless' back. Sora can choose to either attack the dragon's head directly, or attack the horns near the wings. If one chooses to attack and destroys both wings, Storm Rider will collapse on the ground and Sora will be able to unleash more powerful attacks without the risk of falling off. The Storm Rider will try and perform a barrel roll to shake Sora off (this becomes a double barrel roll later in the fight), counter this with the reaction command, which lets Sora stay on and keep attacking.
Should Sora get knocked off the dragon's back, the giant Heartless will begin attacking him. It generally floats over a corner of the palace courtyard before attacking. It can energize six lightning bolts with its wings and fling them at Sora; using Reflect is recommended as the bolts have homing capabilities. The Storm Rider can also dash across the courtyard, dropping a series of bombs on the party, and Sora should dodge it by running out of the way if possible. When Storm Rider gets low on health, it lands on the bridge on the southern side of the courtyard. Walls made of electricity form and close the party into a corridor directly in front of Storm Rider. The Heartless then fires a massive beam of lightning down the corridor, dealing immense damage. Stay as close to the side of the Storm Rider's wings as possible to avoid damage. The Storm Rider will charge and fire two beams; during the second beam, lightning will strike horizontally across the electric walls at Sora's location, so keep moving along the corridor lengthwise to avoid these.
If Sora and the party are on the ground, the dragon may start to spin slowly toward Sora. If this happens, run in front of it and use the Reaction Command Slide when it gets right next to Sora and then use the command Vertigo Toss to toss and strike him down to the ground. This also deals a good amount of damage. It stays stunned on the ground long enough for Sora and party to deal major damage.