Video Game: Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories
aka: Chain Of Memories
"Adventure is in the cards."Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories
is the second game in the Kingdom Hearts
series. It's a sequel to Kingdom Hearts
and bridges the gap between that game and Kingdom Hearts II
. The only game in the series on the Game Boy Advance
, it follows Sora, Donald
, and Goofy
in their adventures in Castle Oblivion. Rather than the usual Action RPG
style of combat, Chain of Memories
uses a combination of action and "card battling". A deck of cards must be prepared before battle, and every action in battle (sans movement) requires a card. Cards can also be combined in "sleights" or special moves.
This game introduces Organization XIII, the main antagonists for both Kingdom Hearts II
and Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days
. (Though they were also the protagonists
for the latter, and by virtue of The Man Behind the Man
, a select few were the an
tagonists at the same time.
Wrap your head around that
one.)Chain of Memories
was later remade as a PlayStation 2
game (titled Re:Chain of Memories
) as part of the Japan-only
release of Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix+
. It was (much later) released as a standalone PS2
game in North America. Europe and Australia never got it
, but did get Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix
, which contains Re:Chain of Memories
remastered in HD.
Has a Lighter and Softer manga version
This game contains examples of:
- Absurdly High Level Cap: The average player will finish both Sora's Story and Reverse/Rebirth at around Level 30-40, give or take. Sora and Riku can both level up to Level 99.
- Action Commands: The remake throws in the Reaction Commands featured in Kingdom Hearts II, which is used to extend the lengths or effects of various Sleights, and allows characters to access doors, save points, Moogle Shops and pick up crates and barrels.
- Alas, Poor Villain:
- Alpha Bitch: Larxene, very much so.
- Another Side, Another Story: Reverse/Rebirth, where you play as Riku.
- Artificial Human: Vexen made one, Riku Replica.
- Artificial Stupidity/A.I. Roulette: Donald's card, for the most part, is very unreliable. You could have scenarios when he would cast Cure on you two times in a row when you don't need it, and when you DO need it, he won't cast it.
- He's also known to cast spells on enemies that absorb them.
- Ascended Extra: Jiminy Cricket has a significantly bigger role in this game compared to others, appearing in almost all scenes.
- At the Crossroads: There's one in front of Castle Oblivion. This is where Riku Takes a Third Option regarding walking the path of light or the path of darkness.
- Awesome but Impractical: Zig-Zagged. The Lexaeus card's Warp Break ability has a high chance of instantly eliminating enemies with a combo finisher. However, it doesn't work on bosses for obvious reasons.
- When you play as Riku, you actually get to use Dark Aura. You remember that move as possibly having screwed the heck out of you on Sora's story (not to mention KH, where it was one of the reasons Riku was That One Boss in that game). Unfortunately, when playing as Riku, it tends to fall into this category - it's unavailable for a large percentage of the game because to use it you need to A) be in Dark Mode, and B) stock three 9-cards (the rarest and strongest cards) together, and you use a fixed deck. And if you can pull it off on bosses, you'll have to get them in just the right spot for them to not dodge it or break it. Still, though, it's very useful for clearing out trash mobs.
- Some sleights are that way, especially since the AI loves to cheat and break all of them.
- Some enemy cards have interesting effects, but they all cost a lot of CP. This is completely inverted for Riku though.
- Back from the Dead: Ansem.
- Bad Mood as an Excuse: Larxene to NaminÚ when she begs her to leave off attacking Sora and company.
"I should tell you that I'm in an EXTREMELY foul mood. Thanks to you, all our plans are ruined!"
- Batman Gambit: The whole game is one of these for Axel. While in the short-term, it worked perfectly... it didn't last.
- Battle Halting Duel: The Card Duel mechanic in the remake's version of Reverse/Rebirth, which stops all action aside from the player and the enemy in question to perform the Card Duel.
- Berserk Button: "No, I'M me." is all it takes to send the Riku Replica over the edge.
- Beta Test Baddie: The Riku Replica. So much so that he wanted to kill the original to have a sense of originality and self.
"As long as you're around, I'll never be anything other than a shadow!"
- Big Bad: Marluxia.
- Bigger Bad: The leader of the Organization (i.e. Xemnas), who serves as the Big Bad in the next game. If you played KH: Final Mix/1.5 HD Remix, you can encounter him as the Unknown.
- Bittersweet Ending: Marluxia, Zexion, and Xehanort's Heartless are defeated, but Sora has to go into a coma until Kingdom Hearts II in order to regain his lost memories, Riku ends up Walking the Earth (albeit with King fricking Mickey helping him (well, at least for some time), and the Organization is still out there...
- Boring but Practical: Sleights can easily trivialize several bosses, especially Sonic Blade in the remake.
- Alternatively, sleights are largely unnecessary. It is entirely possible (and not too difficult) to simply pump your deck filled with 8's, 9's, and a couple of 0's. This allows you to essentially button mash until you need to heal or break an enemy sleight, and then rinse repeat.
- The Jafar Card for Sora. It allows you to use 20 cards in a row (taking away 3 if you use a sleight) without getting card breaked. Meaning, you can spam powerful low cost sleights like Ars Arcanum without getting card broken and basically stun lock the enemy until the card effect runs out. This is one of the easiest ways to kill bosses.
- Mega Flare. Its the easiest way to grind Sora to max level.
- Exploiting the double-jump glitch with Riku, which allows him to dodge and then directly attack from the air afterwards multiple times. The only downside is that it can only be used in Dark Mode.
- Attack Bracer and Overdrive.
- Dark Firaga on Riku. It's just a Firaga that's blue... but it can really hurt some enemies, especially Lexaeus. Also, it might be better to trust on its accuracy than to bet on Dark Aura.
- In the remake, abusing Card Duels against Ansem, Seeker of Darkness. Winning Card Duels in Dark Mode makes for horribly overpowered Duel-specific Sleights, which can potentially drain all of his health in a matter of minutes.
- The Roxas Card in the remake. Double damage for 20 Attacks. Pair it with Ultima Weapon, and what more could you want?
- The Parasite Cage enemy card. It dispels the effects of the enemy card currently in use by your opponent. It may be expensive, but it does get rid of annoying effects such as Vexen's Auto-Life.
- Bragging Rights Reward: Any cards you get during a new game after completing Reverse/Rebirth mode once such as the Ultima Weapon and Ansem cards are these, because you've already beaten every challenge the game has to offer at that point.
- In the remake, the Gold Card and Platinum Card. The former sports the Premium Guard ability that lets you reload Premium Cards, and the latter makes you invulnerable. You only get them for finishing the Card Collection and Jiminy's Journal respectively. Considering the drop rates for Enemy Cards...
- Call Back: The Xaldin Card in the remake gives Sora the original Aero spell from Kingdom Hearts.
- Call Forward: There is one level that comes from memories that gains new importance in Kingdom Hearts II: Twilight Town.
- And in the remake, many of the cards gained after the game are KHII references.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Well...
- Catchphrase: After Kingdom Hearts II introduced Axel's famous "Got it memorized?", the original version of the quote that originated from the GBA game, "Commit it to memory", was retconned to "Got it memorized?" for the remake.
- The Chessmaster: Zexion. He might have actually succeeded had it not been for Axel.
- Cloning Blues: Riku Replica.
- Comically Missing the Point: Goofy in Olympus Coliseum:
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Sora's last 2 fights with Riku Replica has him cheat. In order for you (playing as Riku) to use Dark Aura, you have to use three "9" cards. Riku Replica can use it with any values, so long as he uses 2 of "Card A" & 1 "Card B."
- However, it's possible for you to cheat against Ansem in the original. Go into Dark Mode, activate Maleficent or Jafar, double jump, then attack. You hit Ansem multiple times, and you don't deplete Overdrive or Attack Bracer's counts, while still having the effects!
- My Rules Are Not Your Rules: Think you can take a bunch of potshots at the nobodies who have to reshuffle their decks? Guess again...they'll either pull megalixirs out of nowhere or float out of range and then charge. You can't do this yourself.
- Darker and Edgier: Compared to the first game. Chain of Memories' continuously oppressive tone and seeing Sora becoming more and more of a jerkass as the game progresses is pretty dark when held up next to the optimistic and adventurous tone of the first game.
- Declaration of Protection: Sora and Riku Replica towards NaminÚ. Even when they both discover their memories of her are fake and that Riku is a replica of the real Riku and created by Vexen, they still resolve to protect her.
Riku Replica: "What can you possibly think I ever had? Both my body and my heart are fake. But there is one memory I'll keep, even if it's just a lie. Whether it was a phantom promise or not, I will protect NaminÚ!"
- Distressed Damsel: NaminÚ. Half of this distress is real, while half of it is bait for Marluxia's trap for Sora.
- The Dragon: Larxene to Marluxia, and Lexaeus to Zexion.
- Dreamworks Face: Donald and Goofy sure look smug about something.
- Dull Surprise: Marluxia's voice actor in Re: Chain of Memories. Possibly justified, because he is a Nobody...
- Dummied Out: Deep Jungle was almost featured in this game, but was more or less removed from the series (sans the first) because of copyright infringements with Edgar Rice Burroughs's estate.
- Early-Bird Cameo: In America, Re: Chain of Memories was the first game to show off the Final Mix-exclusive Keyblades before Kingdom Hearts Final Mix made it overseas.
- Endgame Plus: In Sora's story in the remake, after clearing the game and saving your data, you get dumped back into the room right before the final boss. You can then backtrack to the other worlds and revisit the Treasure Room cards to collect new Enemy Cards based on the Organization XIII members that appear in Kingdom Hearts II, new Attack Cards based on Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts Final Mix Keyblades in addition to the Infinity Plus One Attack Card, and the Superglide ability.
- Exploding Barrels: The Barrel Spider, a type of Heartless Chest Monster that likes to explode in your face during battle.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Even though it's part of their plan, the Organization members seem genuinely confused as to why Sora would strive so hard to protect NaminÚ even though his memories of her are fake. Justified, since they have no hearts and therefore have only a theoretical understanding of emotions. The latter turns out not entirely true though.
- Evil Versus Evil: Many of the Organization members are working against each other, even though they're all villains.
- Fake Memories: A major plot element.
- Foreshadowing: After Riku first meets DiZ, if you talk to Mickey, he will tell him that he feels like he's met him before. Come Kingdom Hearts II, we learn that Mickey definitely met him back when he still went by Ansem the Wise.
- Forgotten Friend, New Foe: NaminÚ. Or is she?
- Fight Like A Card Player
- Fire, Ice, Lightning: While you slowly obtain them, three of the six villains have an element each at least until Axel kills Vexen.
- Five-Bad Band: An odd example in which the Five-Bad Band is just as much antagonists to each other as they are to Sora and Riku. The basement dwellers (Vexen, Lexaeus, and Zexion) are actually in opposition to the others and their coup, with Vexen pretending to provide assistance to them. Axel is actually working to counteract Marluxia and Larxene as well, but ends up killing Vexen and Zexion too for reasons disclosed in 358/2 Days.
- Gambit Pileup
- Glamour: Namine's power to insert herself as a trusted friend of Sora's.
- Glamour Failure: The screen will flicker when artificially created memories start failing.
- Glass Cannon: Zero cards. They can break any card regardless of value, and against bosses can halt their sleights instantly stopping their attack and staggering them. However, zero cards in turn can be broken by a card of any value.
- Ars Arcanum. It is the single-strongest single target Sleight in the entire game hands-down (as opposed to Zantetsuken, which is nigh-worthless). Unfortunately, it requires a card combination whose total ranges from 3 to 6, which makes it pitifully easy to break past the initial seven-hit combo.
- Gratuitous Italian: The titles of a few pieces on the soundtrack.
- Holy Hand Grenade: Trinity Limit, performed with an Attack + Donald + Goofy. It is bar-none the single-strongest Area of Effect Sleight in the game. "It's over!", indeed.
- The magic sleight Holy, which creates pillars of light to attack foes. Notable in that it is the only sleight that requires three Item cards, so in a way, it is similar to a grenade in utility.
- Hot-Blooded: Riku Replica.
- Humanoid Abomination: Namine and the Organization, though their nature isn't fully revealed until the next game. Also, Riku Replica.
- "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Sora at one point fighting Riku. The catch? It's not really Riku at all, but a clone created by Vexen, and the memories they're fighting over are fake too.
Riku: I remembered it, Sora. I now know the one thing that is most important to me. Protecting NaminÚ. Nothing else matters—-not a thing.
Sora: Hey... Riku... I think I'll jog your memory.
- Interface Screw: In the Game Boy Advance version, Lexaeus knocks the screen down so you fall towards him - Don't ask how he doesn't destroy Castle Oblivion, considering he's doing this in the basement.
- It Only Works Once: Premium Cards. You can identify them by their shiny coat and gold number. They cost much less CP to add to your Deck, but if you use it in battle for any reason, it's gone for the rest of the fight. The only way to skirt around this is with the remake-exclusive Gold Card, but by the time you get this thing, you won't have much else to do anyways.
- Jerkass: Most of the villains, but particularly Larxene and Vexen. No wonder they get on each others' nerves...
- Sora also becomes one, albeit for a little one. He gets mad at Donald and Goofy out of spite and temporarily abandons them. When Jiminy calls him out on it, he tells him to shut up. However, The Power of Friendship reunited the heroes.
- Karma Houdini: Axel. Don't worry, it'll all catch up to him in KHII, though it's actually pretty sad when it happens.
- Let's Get Dangerous:
Axel: "Remember the order: 'You must eliminate the traitor.' I always follow orders, Marluxia."
- Level Grinding: Both Sora and Riku max at Level 99. Thing is, both the main story and Reverse/Rebirth are beatable at about half there for anyone reasonably skilled with the card system. So if you're someone that likes to max out levels, get ready for lots of level grinding, pointless for anything other than just getting the levels, since there are no bonus bosses to fight. Not only that, but there are no really quick leveling strategies such as the tech points that the original game has, and eventually the bonuses you get for leveling up stop having any practical effect in speeding up battle completion. (Riku's attack points max at 30 and Sora doesn't even get attack points.) HD 1.5 ReMIX ups the pain by linking Trophies to max levels for both Sora and Riku.
- Life Drain: The Neoshadow card's Bio effect (based on the Final Fantasy spell of the same name) causes enemies to slowly lose HP until Sora reloads his deck.
- Lip Lock: Hits the remake hard, leading to weird pacing or dialogue that doesn't match the lip movements, possibly owing to its use of pre-rendered video instead of in-engine cutscenes like previous games. The fact that the scenes are superficially identical to in-engine rendering just makes the uneducated player wonder why they didn't fix the lip flaps like in KH1 and 2 and makes it grind even more.
- Living Memory: The characters in the castle (other than Sora, Donald, Goofy, Jimminy, and the Organization members plus NaminÚ) are all memories of Sora's.
- Lovable Traitor: Axel.
- Macross Missile Massacre: Dark Riku's Dark Barrage Sleight in the remake, which fires a payload of Soul Eaters at a target.
- Mad Scientist: Vexen, the Chilly Academic.
- Magic Misfire: Blazing Donald, in the original Chain of Memories, is a sleight where Donald screws up a Fire spell. He then runs around the screen while on fire.
- Taken Up to Eleven in the manga when Donald (having being set on fire by Axel and driven over the edge), spams Blizzard multiple times until the whole room is an ice rink.
- Mind Screw: The scene in Destiny Islands when Sora talks to the two NaminÚs. Just look at this beauty of a line:
Second NaminÚ: "No, Sora! Don't listen to me!"
- Also counts as Foreshadowing, given that one of the NaminÚs transforms into Kairi.
- Minigame Zone: In the remake, The 100-Acre Wood gets promoted to this, complete with a new set of minigames.
- Mr. Fanservice: The Organization members and Riku Replica. The manga even portrays the latter as a Woobie in the epilogue, even if it's Played for Laughs.
- My Rules Are Not Your Rules: Oddly, a purely heroic example in gameplay. Riku does not need to charge Reloads like Sora does, and does not rack up a Reload Counter. However, he is unable to edit his Deck, unlike Sora.
- No Sell: Luxord's Omni Break in the remake, which lets Sora Card Break any 15 Attacks and/or Sleights regardless of whatever card he throws out.
- The Xemnas card's Quick Barrier allows Sora to outright ignore damage from a combo beyond the first hit.
- Non-Dubbed Grunts: The Organization in the GBA version.
- Nostalgia Filter: Discussed in-universe. Dr. Finklestein is making a potion that will show someone their "True Memories." He comments how the heart, specifically, emotions, can distort memories. Later on, Oogie Boogie tries the potion, and is driven insane by it. Jiminy Cricket muses that "True Memories" could be rather dangerous.
- Oddball in the Series: The only installment to use a card battle system. However, because these gameplay changes are integral to the game's story,note this instance fares better than other examples.
- Old Save Bonus: In 1.5 ReMIX, Sora can acquire the Two Become One card if there's a completed Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days file on the PS3.
- Ominous Pipe Organ: "Struggle Away", "The Force in You", "Revenge of Chaos", "Castle Oblivion", "Forgotten Challenge", "Graceful Assassin", and "Scythe of Petals".
- One-Hit Kill: Marluxia's final form in the remake can use a Sleight called Doom, which, on contact, entraps Sora and plays a cinematic with a countdown above Sora's head and six of Marluxia's cards at the bottom of the screen. If the player is unable to break all of Marluxia's cards before the countdown expires, Sora dies instantly, no exceptions.
- One Stat to Rule Them All:
- For Sora, it's Card Points (CP). The more CP he has, the more cards he can put into his deck and the more powerful the level of cards he can put into his deck at a time. This leads to being able to use more and more Sleights and Enemy cards in combat with ease.
- For Riku, it's Attack Points (AP), since unlike Sora he can't raise his damage through better attack cards and new sleights. Dark Points (DP) run a close second, as once Riku is in Dark Mode he has increased speed, can utilize several powerful sleights, and deals more damage. His three-hit combo even has the power to stun with the second hit. DP increase the length of time (reduced by damage and card breaks taken) that Riku is allowed to remain in Dark Mode.
- Petal Power: Marluxia.
- Power Parasite: Zexion's gimmick in the remake. Whenever he attacks Riku, the player loses a card from their Deck and it goes to Zexion. Once Zexion has amassed a large enough collection, he'll summon duplicates of himself, each wielding Riku's Soul Eater, and use your Attack Cards against you.
- Precision F-Strike: Axel gives a Disney-level one in the GBA version which fully cemented him as awesome in the eyes of the fans.
Axel: "Now, Sora! NaminÚ! Riku! Marluxia! Larxene! It's about time you gave me one hell of a show!"
- Psycho Electro: Larxene. One of the most out and out CRUEL people in the series. Even Maleficent comes across as more sympathetic in the next game, and she's the freaking "Mistress of all evil!"
- Pun-Based Title: Reverse/Rebirth. Transliterated into Japanese, both words would be "ribāsu".
- Randomized Damage Attack: Sorta. The Sea Neon's Random Values ability randomizes the values of the cards you play.
- Remember the New Guy: Deconstructed. Sora goes through this... except it's not the writers trying to say a new character was always there. She never was...
- Schizophrenic Difficulty: Reverse/Rebirth as the game features fixed decks. As a result? Some levels wind up much harder because you're stuck with a crappy deck. Wonderland in particular only gives you 9 attack cards.
- Secret A.I. Moves: In the remake, Ansem, Seeker of Darkness's Sleightbind, which hides his stocked Cards and Sleights until he uses them. As the result of the lack of a multiplayer feature, the boss's Enemy Card gets a new effect for Sora in his Endgame Plus that reduces elemental damage, but when the boss uses it in Reverse/Rebirth, it still has its original effect.
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness:
- Marluxia is probably supposed to sound elegant and sophisticated, but it really just sounds like he's throwing words together in the English dub of Re:CoM. Could be blamed/justified by the Lip Lock effect.
Axel: "You give a challenge like that to Vexen, and he'll... seriously want to eliminate Sora."
Marluxia: "That would be an unfortunate denouement."Translation
- Smug Snake: Vexen and Zexion.
- Sore Loser: Larxene, after Sora defeats her for the second and final time.
- The Starscream: Marluxia is this in regards to Xemnas.
- Spell My Name with an "S": In an inverted case of Japanese Ranguage gone wrong, the Sleight "Lethal Frame" was accidentally mistranslated as "Lethal Flame" in the original PS2 release of the remake. The 1.5 HD Re MIX release fixed it.
- A Taste of Power: An incredibly odd example in that it happens about 3/4ths of the way through Reverse/Rebirth, and only in the remake. During the remake-exclusive boss fight against Zexion, Riku gets a massive boon in the way of being able to stay in Dark Mode for the entire fight.
- The Stations of the Canon: That Sora (re)experiences all of the events of the first Kingdom Hearts game (except for a certain Important Promise) is a major plot point, since he is literally re-visiting his memories (while Namine manipulates them).
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: The four Raid sleights, where Sora throws the Keyblade... and it returns.
- In the remake, Riku's Barrage Sleight.
- Title Drop: Several times. It is explained that memories are connected, 'like links of a chain'. Thus, anyone who feels like screwing with Sora tends to lash out with one of these.
Vexen: "If you remain bound by the chain of memories and refuse to believe what is truly found inside your heart, then throw it away."
Marluxia: "Imbeciles...You would knowingly shackle your heart with a chain of memories born of lies?!"
- Took a Level in Jerkass: As Sora's heart is manipulated by Namine, he definitely becomes more Jerkass compared to his original self. When Donald and Goofy show some concern for him as they approach the twelfth floor, Sora accuses them of wanting to give up and ditches them, doing the twelfth floor alone. When Jiminy Cricket calls Sora out for his behavior, Sora yells at him to shut up.
- Trick Boss: Marluxia's third form in Re:Chain of Memories.
- The Unfought: Zexion in Reverse/Rebirth. He gets promoted to a storyline boss in the remake, and it's one heck of a fight at that.
- Unwitting Pawn: Sora spends thirteen floors walking straight into the Organization's trap.
- Updated Re Release: The Remake for PS2, bundled with KH2FM for Japan, released as a late PS2 entry solo in the U.S. with new battles and features. But it never came to Europe.
- Also, the 1.5 HD Remaster which has Kingdom Hearts Final Mix bundled with the PS2 Remake, and it is finally released in Europe as well.
- Use Your Head: Using Goofy as a battering ram in a sleight exclusively for the PS2 version.
- Useless Useful Spell: Zantetsuken. You would think the single strongest finishing move in the series would be as equally devastating in this game, right? Not exactly. It requires three 9 Cards to perform, which are the second most expensive card value to equip (but makes the attack nigh-unbreakable). Its effect does absolutely worthless damage and, if used to break a card, prevents that card from being used for the rest of the battle. It has its uses in boss fights, but outside of that there is no reason to use the Sleight ever.
- The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Castle Oblivion's thirteenth floor. All the previous levels have been changed to appear as one of the worlds from Sora's memory. For the final level, all the illusions have been stripped away, and it is simply... Castle Oblivion.
- Villainous Breakdown: Zexion.
- Vocal Dissonance: The remake uses full voice acting for most cinematics, which results in Sora having his Kingdom Hearts II voice for much of the game. However, if you pay close attention, some of his voice clips for certain moves were ripped straight out of Kingdom Hearts, creating a slightly jarring difference.
- Voice Grunting: The GBA version features this in battles only. The trope is applied more literally in the English version, where all voice clips containing actual words by newly introduced characters like the Organization were cut (seeing as they were in Japanese, which would jar badly with the English-speaking recurrers, of course) and only the grunts, laughs, etc. were left in. Undone in the remake, which features full sets of voice clips for everyone in both languages.
- Wham Episode: The first appearance of Twilight Town, which by this point in the series is unfamiliar to both the playernote and Sora. This is also when important revelations begin happening.
- Wham Shot: In Sora's story, after defeating Riku the fourth time, you finally get his enemy card, signifying that it's his last fight. Freakin' finally... Card obtained: Riku Replica.
- Wham Line: Larxene then proceeds to spell it out for Sora that the Riku he's been fighting has been a fake.