Kingdom Hearts Strikes Back
Other than my super witty name for the piece, there are no Star Wars references here…*waves hand* move along.
Ten hours of game play and about a thousand smiles after writing about our experiences with the first half of Kingdom Hearts, Mae and I have just about reached the end of our journey with Sora, Goofy, Donald, and some of the best Disney cameos to have ever appeared in a video game. Before I get to the holy grail of video game companions, I wanted to point out a few memorable locales from the second part of our Kingdom Hearts playthrough.
As with many little girls, Mae has been a huge Little Mermaid fan since she could mouth the word Ariel. The Little Mermaid themed world, Atlantica, was a great place to spend time exploring. The fact that each of our heroes morphed into a sea creature of some sort caused more than a few giggles. I really enjoyed that Goofy, who carries around a big shield, turned into a turtle. The cut scenes in Atlantica feature some of the best voice acting in the game. If the original actors didn’t reprise their roles for this game, they got some damn good replacements. This world also featured one of our favorite Disney villains, Ursula. Everyone’s favorite Sea Witch was a little terrifying and resulted in Mae doing that cute eyebrow furrow thing she does when she is unsure if she is frightened or not. Never fear! Dad is here, I dispatched Ursula after only..four tries. Not sure if it was the swimming mechanic that threw me off or what, but Ursula was probably one of the more difficult bosses in the game.
After locking Atlantica up tight, it was on to the next world, Halloween Town. Now Mae has seen, and quite enjoyed, Nightmare Before Christmas, but I didn’t think that she would be all that interested in this dark and gloomy world. I couldn’t be more wrong, as soon as we landed and the tune to “This is Halloween” started playing, she started singing and didn’t stop until Oogie Boogie was turned to bugs. As with Atlantica, our heroes dressed like the natives to avoid suspicion; Donald turned into a mummy, Sora had wings and fangs, and Goofy turned into a…Frankenstein style monster, I think? This world seemed rather short compared to some of the others, but offered a lot of interaction with the more popular citizens of Halloween Town. The final boss fight with Oogie Boogie was easy enough once you figured out his patterns. After defeating him on the roulette table, he turns into a evil living haunted house thing. This part took a little while because I kept falling off of the platforms, and the camera in Kingdom Hearts doesn’t really do you any favors.
After some random grinding and stops to refill potions, we were captured by Captain Hook and Smee. This was a fun level because Mae has been addicted to the Jake and the Neverland Pirates show recently, every time we would interact with Hook, she would call him a codfish. Peter Pan and Tinkerbell joke around and play pranks on Hook, which is fun. You get to fly around Hook’s pirate ship and visit Big Ben. After locking Neverland, you gain the ability to glide around which came in handy for going back to other worlds so we could find the hidden dalmatian puppies.
A few more visits to the Hundred Acre Wood back in Merlin’s shop for Mae and unlocking Cloud’s Metal Chocobo Keyblade at the Coliseum for me and it was time to move on to the final world, Hollow Bastion. This world isn’t inspired by any one specific Disney movie, but does draw influences from the castles in Beauty and the Beast and Sleeping Beauty. The real stand out in this world was the character that accompanies you on the way to the final battle. Upon arriving, you are treated to a cut scene involving one of the main villains, Riku, and the Beast. Like Sora, the Beast is searching for someone and has been led to Hollow Bastion to find them. After some drama, Goofy and Donald bail, and Beast teams up with Sora to gain entrance to the castle. The Beast is Maes all time favorite Disney character, so much in fact that she has a Beast stuffed animal that she sleeps with every night. Mae was enjoying this part so much that she came up with a song, the lyrics were something like “Sora and Beast are best friends forever” over and over…for like 10 minutes. I quite enjoyed having the Beast tag along too, his base stats are really high and can take out Heartless in one or two hits.
While not 100% finished with the game I think this might be a good jumping off point as Mae’s attention is starting to drift. We are at a point in the game where we have exhausted most of the Disney references, and have moved on to more Final Fantasy inspired fare and the whole Ansem story line kinda goes over her head. I plan on finishing the game some time in the next few weeks and if Mae wants to join me that would be great; but I won’t make her sit down with me unless she is really into it. My dad made me watch NASCAR when I was a kid and I thought it was sooo boring (still do, F1 or LeMans FTW). Mae really wants to find all of those puppies, so we will spend some more time searching but for now, I think I have had all the Disney I can take for a while!