Deep Jungle is a jungle world that appears only in Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, based on the 1999 Disney film, Tarzan. It is home to Tarzan and his ape tribe, as well as a group of explorers trying to learn more about the gorillas.
Depiction in Kingdom Hearts
The world's story mostly follows the events of the film. After an accident with the Gummi Ship when it crashed into Deep Jungle, Sora, Donald, and Goofy are separated from each other. Alone, Sora is attacked by the leopard, Sabor, but Tarzan aids Sora in defeating her. Afterwards, Tarzan takes Sora to a camp, where he meets Jane and Clayton and reunites with Donald and Goofy. Sora accepts Jane's request to meet the gorillas and all six of them visit Kerchak and Kala, the former of whom is not pleased about Tarzan's potential revelation of the gorilla's secret nesting area and he sends them away.
Clayton hunts gorillas and is about to shoot Terk, until Donald intervenes. The group are suspicious of Clayton's claim that he was saving Terk from a snake. While Clayton is wandering by himself, he is ambushed by Heartless and becomes consumed by the darkness. As a result, Sora's party must defeat Heartless that are attempting to capture the gorillas and Sabor, who returns to attack Sora again. In a final battle, Sora's party defeats Clayton and a giant Heartless that he summoned. This earns them Kerchak's trust and Sora, Donald, and Goofy are shown the secret nesting grounds, where they find the world's Keyhole. Sora locks it and leaves.
Deep Jungle is a dense, green jungle, true to its name. The forest setting provides vine-swinging and tree-trunk sliding mini-games, which are reminiscent of Tarzan's regular acrobatics through the trees in the original Disney film. In addition to trees, the world features an abandoned treehouse, an oasis with hippos, a waterfall, and the camp that houses Jane and Clayton.
It can be assumed that Deep Jungle would be located on the continent of Africa in the real world because Jane has a map of Africa in her tent. As such, the world's aesthetic draws inspiration from African rainforests and African animals, such as hippos, and its musical themes feature African instruments, such as traditional drums and flutes.
In addition to common Heartless like Shadows, Deep Jungle features several exclusive Heartless that take on an animal theme, relevant to the African rainforest. The Powerwild and Bouncywild are monkey-like creatures and the world's boss Heartless, Stealth Sneak, is a giant chameleon.
The world also features Sabor and Clayton, who are also antagonists from the Disney film, as enemies.
List of characters
Deep Jungle is based off Disney's successful Tarzan animated film in 1999, which grew into a large franchise, spanning two sequel films, a television series, a Broadway musical, several video games, and two Disney Park attractions. Tarzan was originally a book titled Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Like in Kingdom Hearts, Kerchak is mistrustful of humans and does not want Tarzan revealing the secret of the gorillas' location. Instead of an army of Heartless, Clayton attacks the gorillas with a pirate crew and is slain by Tarzan. Additionally, Sabor does attack the gorillas in the film and is killed by Tarzan, although this event happens earlier in the film than when it is depicted in the story of Kingdom Hearts.
There are many elements to the film that is not explored by the game. For example, Tarzan's parents were shipwrecked on the forest and made a treehouse out of their wrecked ship but were killed by Sabor, after which Kala adopted the baby Tarzan. This is not mentioned in the game, although it does depict the treehouse and interestingly, it is the location where Sora is first attacked by Sabor. Additionally, the film depicts a romantic relationship between Jane and Tarzan, which is not present in the game.
Originally, Tetsuya Nomura had plans to implement both Deep Jungle and a world based on The Jungle Book in the game. As both worlds had a similar jungle aesthetic, the decision was made to scrap plans for the latter, allowing Deep Jungle to feature in Kingdom Hearts.
Deep Jungle is absent from subsequent games, such as Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, and the manga adaptations. This is most likely due to the estate of Edgar Rice Burroughs still holding copyrights to the Tarzan character and later Tarzan books still under copyright, and Disney unable to secure the rights to use them.
Entertainment Weekly enjoyed the aesthetics of the world's "lush jungles".
However, Benjamin Turner, writing for GameSpy, criticised Deep Jungle for not having its story connect with the overall game's plot and called it "pointless filler". Similarly, Mugwum from Eurogamer notes that his colleague thought Deep Jungle was "one of his least favourite zones", although he admits that may be because his colleague also did not like the Tarzan film.
Notes and references
- http://www.ew.com/article/2002/09/20/kingdom-hearts Entertainment Weekly Review
- http://ps2.gamespy.com/playstation-2/kingdom-hearts/540394p1.html GameSpy Review
- http://web.archive.org/web/20050310060425/http://eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=4051 Eurogamer Review