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Which holiday game will you play the most?

Halo 5 Guardians
Rise of the Tomb Raider
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Game Profile
PlayStation 2
September 17, 2002
Kingdom Hearts 3

Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded

Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep

Kingdom Hearts: 358 Over 2 Days

Kingdom Hearts: Re:Chain of Memories

More in this Series
 Written by John Scalzo  on March 26, 2002

First Impressions: Dumbo, I summon you!

Disney and Square. The mouse and the chocobo. It's an odd combination, to be sure. Here we are anyway, more than two years later as they've been working together to develop their unique (among other things) RPG, Kingdom Hearts.

Kingdom Hearts is going to be an Action RPG in the vein of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Most notably, Kingdom Hearts puts to good use the lock-on targeting fight style that Zelda: OoT pioneered. And if you have any doubt how revolutionary that system is, just scan any site's review archive and see how many reviews sport the phrase "Zelda targeting system."

Kingdom Hearts features a story that could have been pulled from any number of Disney movies. A young boy named Sora is separated from his friends by a great storm. He scours the countryside looking for them. Soon he meets Donald Duck and Goofy, who are searching for the missing Mickey Mouse. On their quest, they find that a greater menace is at work here in the form of the Heartless. The Heartless, predictably, have no hearts and are using Disney villains to help them steal hearts from the helpless.

Sora, Donald and Goofy travel separately and together through their adventure and look to have all sorts of moves at their disposal. Sora's main weapon is a giant key that he uses like a sword.? Like any good RPG, Sora will also be able to break out with the spells including a few Final Fantasy standbys like Fire, Blizzard, Heal, etc. all in a blast of sweet-looking special effects. Some of the preview scenes also show Sora, Donald and Goofy all onscreen at the same time. Although there's no word yet on if you can decide which character you control, or maybe Square will dive into its Secret of Mana bag of tricks and make it multiplayer? More than likely wishful thinking on my part, but I can dream can't I?

The game features at least nine different worlds based on Disney movies, with a few more thrown in as sub-worlds just for good measure. Cinderella's Castle, the centerpiece of Disney World, will serve as the center of Kingdom Hearts as well. From there you'll be able to venture out into Wonderland, Neverland, the belly of Monstro (the whale from Pinocchio), the 100 Acre Wood, the Deep Jungle (Tarzan), the Olympus Coliseum (Hercules), Atlantica (Little Mermaid), and Agrabah (Aladdin). Some screenshots also show a journey into Halloweentown from The Nightmare Before Christmas and a meeting with Jack Skellington. These worlds look really great, and the animation shown in the preview trailers shows off what looks like a very polished 3D engine.

A ton of Disney characters past and present will be making appearances in Kingdom Hearts, with I'm sure a whole stable full of characters that Square is keeping under wraps. Obviously, the stars of the main worlds will show up including Jafar, Ariel, Hades, Tarzan, Hercules, Winnie the Pooh, Alice, and on and on and on.

Not just Disney characters will be populating the worlds of Kingdom Hearts, though. In addition to Sora and his friends Riku and Kairi, Square has said that there will be many new characters for the game. And don't think these will just be Disney-style characters.? Square's Final Fantasy series will be supplying a few characters of its own in the faces of Cloud, Yuffie, Cid (Final Fantasy VII Cid, that is), Squall, Selphie, Tidus and Wakka. The only difference will be that these characters will be Disneyfied slightly to take their more mature edge off.

Final Thoughts
The very idea of Kingdom Hearts is more than a little crazy, but it doesn't just look like a solid game, but a fun game. Sure, the Dumbo Summon joke was funny at first, but then finding out it's an actual spell in the game! Unique isn't a strong enough word. Then again, neither is frickin' bizarre. Yes, it's bizarre, yes it's Disneyfied, but whatever. I can't wait to give Kingdom Hearts a spin this fall.

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