Strategy Guide: LB Strategy Guide
Lunabean Rating: 8.1
Release Date: 09.17.02
ESRB Rating: E - Everyone
Official Site: Kingdom Hearts
Purchase Game from Amazon.com: Buy it now!
Still Stuck?: Lunabean's Forums
Online Play: No
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Review by Lunabeanie, "Prof. Frink," aka, "Paradox."
The marriage between a bunch of Disney cartoons and Final Fantasy-like characters is difficult to imagine, but the evidence is clear and present in Kingdom Hearts. It truly is a strange combination of silly animated antics of Disney with the often deep and often complicated stories of the Final Fantasy series. What you end up with is a comicly, complicated game that is not a turned based RPG! Yes, you read it correctly; it is not an RPG. The game is best labeled as an adventure/platformer. Further explanation might be needed.
At first glance, the game seems like a Zelda-64 clone. You have a young kid named Sora who even has a wood practice sword to train with. He has dreams of great adventures on other places other than the island on which he is currently living. Here is where the similarity between Zelda and this game end. To begin with, Sora can jump! Not just when he near a ledge, but any time you hit the ‘X’ button. This is where the platform aspect comes into play. It shares similarities with Mario or even Crash Bandicoot, but this is not a true platform game. It is also an adventure game. You eventually get a true weapon called a keyblade, you must hack and slash your way to victory. To further add to the game’s diversity, there are even RPG elements to the game as well; like, leveling up, spell casting, character statistics, and multiple weapon upgrades. The game breaks down like this.
Graphics- The game has some of the best graphics that the PS2 has to offer. It really shows the pluses of using the DVD Rom during FMV sequences. The Disney characters make a really nice transition from 2D character to full 3D. The mouth movements are a bit off, but this game came out in Japan first, so that is understandable. The world environments are what really standout in this title. Squaresoft and Disney put forth a lot of effort to create smaller version of the worlds from assorted Disney movies. A few examples are Tarzan, Alice in Wonderland, Aladdin, and my personal favorite, Nightmare Before Christmas. There is only one downfall with the graphics and that is the Gummi Ship travel sequences. These are points in the game when you travel in a ship between worlds. These sequences seem to be a bit of an afterthought because they do not fit in the general graphics that the rest of the game supports. To give an idea of the lower grade graphics, the N64 could out perform these sequences. This is not a major part of the game, so it only brings down the score a small amount. The overall rating here is 9 out of 10.
Music/Sound- This is an ‘E’ rated game, so there can not be any bloodcurdling screams of sounds of blood splatters, so many of the sounds are cartoon-like. They also turn down a great deal of the sound effects so many have a muted quality. There are also great deals of voice-overs for most of the Disney characters and hired voice for the Final Fantasy characters. Haley Joel Osment of Sixth Sense and A.I. fame is the main character Sora. Other stars include Billy Zane, Mandy Moore, and Lance Bass to name a few. These are all really well done which is always a plus for any game. There is just one more thing to look at, and that is the music for the game. The music is cute and very Disney-like with one flaw it is very short! The music is very close to what was heard in the movies that the worlds represent. The game music is anywhere from one minute to three minutes long and then it loops. It sounds good for the first ten to twenty minutes in a world, but then it gets old. Overall, it gets a rating of 8/10.
Play Control- This is the one area of the game that is a bit flawed. The game is Zelda 64 in many of its play controls, but it does not handle as well unfortunately. The game has easily ten times the amount of combat as Zelda ever did. The fighting is a bit of hack-and-slash, but it is still entertaining. There is also a target feature that is almost useless in normal combat other than spell casting. At the boss sequences, targeting works extremely well. So this has pluses and minuses. There is one other thing to discuss about the game, and that is the camera angles. The game allows you to pan the camera anytime you want or center behind you anytime you want. This is a nice feature, but it flaws at times of action! The camera has a hard time staying behind you sometimes, or sometimes it does a wild pan when you get close to walls. This part gets the lowest rating of 7/10.
Value- Is that game worth owning, or is it just a renter. All of this depends on what kind of gamer you consider yourself. The game can be beaten on a rent if you play for several days straight over a weekend and several days thereafter. I believe that the game can be defeated in 35-40 hours of game play. That is a lot of playtime on one rent, but if you got some down time, it can be done. There is a great side quests to perform as well that can add another 5 to 10 hours of game time. If you like exploring, and highly involved game play, this game is worth the $50 retail price. But, if Adventure/platform is not your time of game this might only be worth the rent. I skipped the rent and went straight for the buy. Value is 9/10.
In the end the game is a solid collaboration between Squaresoft and Disney Interactive. There is a great deal of story and playtime to keep you interested the first time through the game; and, enough hidden secrets to want to play it a second time through.
-Review written by lunabeanie, "Prof. Frink". Thanks prof!!