Kingdom Hearts II is, as advertised, the second major game in the Kingdom HeartsDisney/Square Enix franchise.Following the events of the first Kingdom Hearts, a new breed of enemy has emerged from the shadows: Nobodies, the reanimated husks of the people whose hearts were stolen by The Heartless. Driven by an instinctual urge to be reunited with their hearts, the Nobodies are swarming over The Multiverse like a plague and leaving devastation in their wake. Behind this invasion is a group known as Organisation XIII: the most powerful and self-aware Nobodies in existence, who plan to unseal the Heartless and take their hearts back by force, uncaring of the collateral damage this will cause.Sora, the young Keyblade Wielder who was once victorious over the Heartless threat, has recovered from his ordeal in Castle Oblivion and awakens from a long slumber to a new mission. Like before, he must travel through The Multiverse and use his Keyblade to seal the gaps that the Heartless and Nobodies are using to invade the worlds. But as he travels, multiple questions plague him: just who or what was responsible for ensuring his recovery from Castle Oblivion? What has happened to Riku and Kairi while he was asleep? And just what is his connection to "Roxas", a blonde-haired boy whose cozy life fell apart as Sora's was being rebuilt?The group re-visits many of the Disney worlds from the first game, often experiencing more of the familiar plotlines (and, in case of Aladdin, the straight-to-video sequel) or exploring different parts of the settings. Most of the minor gameplay complaints from the original were handily addressed, and the combat system was much improved.It also, however, saw a rapid growth of Kudzu Plot and a lot of Retcon. Even though it becomes more and more convoluted over time, the story remains internally consistent. The game was followed by two prequels (Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep and Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days) and two sequels (Kingdom Hearts Coded and Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance]), which more or less cleared up the confusion of the plot in preparation for later installments.Just like the first game, the game was a massive success, both critically and commercially. Like many Square games, it was re-released in Japan with English voices plus extra content, known as Final Mix. (The game itself is properly Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix. The collection of that and Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories is Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix+.)In October 2013 Square Enix announced Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX for the PlayStation 3, a bundle containing HD versions of both Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix and Birth By Sleep Final Mix along with the cutscenes of Re:coded.
This game contains examples of:
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Absurdly Sharp Blade: The Keyblades (which are usually rather blunt, if not rounded) can cut through buildings.
Accidental Misnaming: One character refers to Sora, at one point, as Zola, which causes the teenager to lash out at him.
Action Commands: The combat in the game features so-called Reaction Commands: at certain points during a battle, a prompt to press Triangle will appear, and doing so in time will cause Sora to perform a special move that is usually advantageous. Certain bosses can't be defeated without utilizing them, and most enemies have at least one Reaction Command associated with them. For example, at certain points when fighting Samurai Nobodies, the player is given the prompt to enter a "Duel Stance". Doing so locks Sora and the Samurai in a stand-off, where the command list goes blank and the player has to quickly pick the "Strike" option when it appears; succeeding instantly defeats the Samurai, whereas failing causes Sora to take a heavy hit.
Actionized Sequel: The combat system's improvement allows for much more impressive battles, especially with some of the Reaction Commands.
Adaptation Expansion: The musical in Atlantica. In the The Little Mermaid, it only appeared near the beginning, and is rarely mentioned afterwards. In the games, it becomes an important part of the world's plot, and is moved to the end and Ariel is present, this time. Of course, this still brings in a few plot holes (see below).
Everyone in the virtual Twilight Town thinks the theft of a word is unusual, but perfectly possible, in order to preserve the illusion of a normal town.
Vivi's Took a Level in Badass moment during the Struggle in the prologue hints toward that Twilight Town being a simulation made of data.
Akashic Records: The Bookmaster Heartless drop a shield that Goofy can use called the Akashic Records. It looks like a book, but it is not disclosed if it is actually the mythical "record of everything" or not.
The Experiment boss in Halloween Town just wanted to have a heart of its own, and it stealing presents was its desperate attempt to understand the motivation behind giving. The player is forced to destroy it.
Most of the Organization XIII members could count, as they get surprisingly heartfelt deaths. However, this subverted by Xemnas. After the first battle with Keyblade Armored Xemnas, he's shown almost sorrowfully lamenting something, which leads to the below exchange with Sora where the young Keyblade wielder even appears to sympathize slightly with Xemnas' plight. Then, Xemnas immediately comes back from his apparent death for three more battles, immediately throwing this out of the window and giving Xemnas a less pitiable send off when all's said and done.
Xemnas: (clutching chest) I need... more rage... I need more... hearts... Sora: Xemnas. There's more to a heart than just anger or hate. It's full of all kinds of feelings. Don't you remember? Xemnas: Unfortunately... I don't. (face curls into a half-smile, half-grimace)
Alleged Lookalikes: If calling Sora "Roxas" isn't just an attempt to screw with his head, the members of Organization XIII are guilty of this.
Armored Xemnas uses all of the weapons used by Organization characters in KHII.
Sora's Drive Forms each focus on enhancing something. Valor Form gets a melee power boost, extended melee combos, and Dual Wielding; Wisdom Form gets a magic power boost, enhanced aerial speed, and causes Sora to appear to hover above the ground; Master Form gets enhanced magic casting, dual wielding (again), crowd control melee, and enhanced aerial maneuverability. Final Form combines aspects of each of the previous forms: extended crowd control melee combos with more power, enhanced magic casting with a power boost, aerial speed and maneuverability, dual wielding (plus a pair of floating silver orbs of light), and Sora hovers above the ground and controls his Keyblades with telekinesis.
Anger Born of Worry: Donald yells at Goofy after he is knocked unconscious and doesn't wake up for several minutes.
Anime Hair: Lampshaded: when the party meet Tifa, she tells them that she's looking for someone with spiky hair. Donald and Goofy immediately stare at Sora, who self-consciously tugs on one of his spikes.
Argument of Contradictions: In an homage to the Disney Sleeping Beauty, the fairies Flora, Fauna and Merryweather disagree over the color of Sora's new outfit, before finally landing on a stylish multi-colored outfit that can transform into other outfits patterned after a single color that give Sora special powers.
Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving: The end of the first Land of Dragons quest features most of a quote from Mulan, with Sora thinking that everyone is in trouble and interrupting:
The Emperor: I've heard a great deal about you, Fa Mulan. You stole your father's armor, ran away from home, impersonated an Imperial soldier. You deceived your commanding officer, shamed the entire Chinese Army and dishonored your family name.
Sora: We get the picture...
The Emperor: You're a young woman. And in the end... you have saved us all.
Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Several Heartless bosses, most noticeably the Groundshaker in the Pride Lands, are this. There's also the battles with Genie Jafar in Agrabah, and Sark and the Master Control Program in Space Paranoids.
Summons, and to a lesser extent Drives, at least until Critical Mode. They're not useless per se and it's possible to get good mileage out of them, but a lot of the time they're really not any more efficient at doing damage than regular combos and spells.
The AntiForm is quite lethal in the right hands, but the complete inability to heal or earn experience while it's active leaves much to be desired.
Ax-Crazy: Saïx — he's typically a calm, collected fellow, but in berserk mode, he's a Screaming Warrior that is utterly relentlessness.
Back-to-Back Badasses: Leon and Cloud during the Heartless invasion. Sora does it with a few different people over the course of the game (it's even a part of his Combination Attack with some of them).
Badass in Distress: Sora, Donald and Goofy, when left tied up on the Interceptor, and later on, when they get arrested and zapped into a computer world. In both cases, the party member of the respective worlds help them escape. There is also their encounter with the hyenas — if it were not for Scar, they would've wound up as food. Sora also finds himself being choked to death by Flotsam and Jetsam when they restrain him during "Ursula's Revenge". His friends save him in the nick of time.
Bag of Spilling: Sora has forgotten all of his magic, something Merlin is happy about. This is Justified in that he recently had his memories wiped and put back together, during which he basically spent the entire time in a coma.
Bash Brothers: Sora and any party member can unleash Limits that can bring a world of hurt onto their foes.
Battleship Raid: The Phantom Storm and Dreadnought gummi missions, and part of the final boss sequence.
Beta Couple: Cloud and Tifa, the latter of whom has no characterization in this continuity other than "Cloud's Action Girl love interest".
Beam-O-War: The "Session" reaction command's final move, "All's End", has Sora and his companion Riku's Keyblades firing a beam each at each other that meet in the middle, drawing in enemies and dealing heavy damage.
Xemnas's final attack shoots hundreds of beams into the air that form a dome around the player characters that then gradually collapses inwards, forcing the player to mash Reaction Commands to deflect the beams.
Xigbar, who consistently swarms you with bullets throughout his boss fight.
Berserk Button: Hurt Goofy — even if it is a rock to the head — and Mickey will hurt you.
Big Bad: Xemnas, the leader of the mysterious Organization XIII, is the primary antagonist of the story. He is the Nobody (the cast-off body and soul) of the first game's antagonist, Ansem, and as such shares many of his goals.
Big Bad Ensemble: Xemnas and Maleficent - though the latter is much less pronounced as an antagonist than she was in the first game, and she isn't even fought directly.
Big Damn Heroes: When fighting certain late-game bosses, should the player lose there is a chance that King Mickey will appear and take over as a playable character, giving the player a chance to deal some damage and to revive the fallen group. This can happen multiple times in a single battle, although the odds go down between each such rescue.
Big "WHAT?!": Sora, Donald and Goofy's reaction to finding out who "Xehanort" really is is a loud "what" from all three.
Bishonen Line: The members of Organization XIII are the only human form Nobodies, owing to their strong hearts before their hearts were removed; all the other Nobodies are white-grey monsters.
Blade Run: Sora can stand on Barbossa's cutlass as part of a reaction command. Unlike most examples, he does this to pin it to the ground — Barbossa doesn't hold him and the sword aloft in midair.
"Blind Idiot" Translation: The Canadian release of the game comes with a French instruction manual that translates "Nobodies" as "Personnes", which literally means "Persons".note This is because the manual was based on the English version of the game (as the only language available on the disk). "Nobody" (as in "nobody there", rather than "no body" as was intended) translates as "personne" in French, so they just took the plural. For those interested, the (European) French dub translated it as "Simili".
Bonus Boss: Sephiroth again, Organization XIII Data, and Terra's Lingering Will. Note that the last two are only available in Final Mix .
Boss Bonanza:The World That Never Was. Most worlds thus far have one final boss of moderate-high difficulty right at the end, maybe with an easy mini boss. Not so here. Here, you face every surviving member of Organization XIII, all of which are incredibly powerful, with distinct strategies required for each. All in all, you fight four (five, if you're playing the Final Mix) incredibly powerful bosses before you even get to the Point of No Return.
The first visit to Olympus Coliseum, as well. You've got a Hopeless Boss Fight against Hades, a battle against Cerberus, a fight against Demyx, two back-to-back battles with Pete, and it all gets capped off with a battle against the Hydra.
Bound and Gagged: Several in the game, but in all case, there is no gagging involved.
First, this happens to Megara when Hades kidnaps her to lure Hercules away from the Coliseum so that the Hydra can destroy it.
And finally, to Sora again, when Flotsam and Jetsam restrain him with their bodies to prevent him from interfering with Ursula. This backfires spectacularly as Donald and Goofy tackle the eels to cause them to release Sora, who then vanquishes them with a beam of light from the Keyblade
Bowdlerise: Mostly things to do with guns and Pirates of the Caribbean. In a near-replica of a Pirates scene, Will doesn't hold a gun to his head. All of Barbossa's pirates wield crossbows that still bang, and they don't burst into flames upon contact with Fire magic. Jack stabs Barbossa off-screen. Additionally, the Hydra bleeds smoke instead of green goo (the only change out of these that was retained for Final Mix). Xigbar doesn't combine his gun-arrows into a sniper rifle, and his sight looks a lot less sniper-y. Axel doesn't light himself on fire, either.
Brainwash Residue: When Sora bids farewell to Hayner, Pence and Olette, he sheds a single tear but doesn't know why. Little does he know that he has Roxas' memories within him, and he remembers them as his friends in the virtual world.
Breather Episode: The Hundred Arce Wood, just like in the first two games, is a collection of easy, relaxing minigames. Atlantica also does not feature any combat this time around, being instead the hub for a handful of rhythm-based minigames.
Bullet Hell: The Gummi Ship levels, especially the True Final Boss, who flings out a wall of bullets that requires either a bullet-sucker or a hollow ship.
Came Back Strong: Scar does this twice. First is when Simba kills him by knocking him off the top of Pride Rock. His appearance does not change at all when he becomes a Heartless, but he does have Elemental Powers for his boss fight. The second time he comes back, he antagonizes Simba in the form of ghostly avatars of his original self. For the boss fight following that, he manifests as the massive Groundshaker Heartless, the second-largest Heartless in the series to date. That Scar is the only character other than Xehanort to have retained his intelligence after becoming a Heartless really says something about how nasty the guy was.
Chained by Fashion: Shadow Stalker / Dark Thorn. The chains aren't just there for fashion either, and act as a Power Limiter. The latter turns into the former when it sheds them.
Cherry Tapping: The Sweet Memories Keyblade is perfect for this. What better way to humiliate the Final Boss than to kick his ass with something that produces adorable cartoon bees whenever you hit him with it? It's also possible to kick Luxord's ass while you're stuck as a die.
Chickification: Ariel is significantly less capable than in the first game, as her storyline is essentially a condensed version of The Little Mermaid, which is a much less violent story than Kingdom Hearts.
Colossus Climb: The Groundshaker is a huge boss, so you and Simba have to weaken it so you can make your way to its back to damage it some more.
Combination Attack: Every party member, and a handful of the summons can do a Limit Attack with Sora. Donald and Goofy get two each, plus Trinity Limit.
Conservation of Ninjutsu: Fighting a handful of Heartless? Possibly challenging. Fighting a huge mass of 1000 Heartless? Possibly the easiest battle in the entire game.
Cool Starship: The Gummi Ships were cool before, but are even moreso now — just check out the Falcon Peak. You can even design your own ship, to make them extra badass.
Coup de Grâce Cutscene: Subverted during the final battle: the final boss is left at 1 HP and becomes permanently stunned when defeated, so the player can finish him off however they choose, rather than go through a quick-time event or similar.
Credits Medley: Combines "Sora", "Dearly Beloved", "Destati", and "Another Side" with an original theme.
Critical Existence Failure: Averted for bosses (and with certain abilities equipped, Sora), who can only be finally killed with a decisive blow like a combo finisher or a magic hit — otherwise they'll continue attacking at one HP with impunity.
Crosshair Aware: During the fight with Xigbar; as soon as he begins the fight, and occasionally a few more times.
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Demyx is a Cloud Cuckoo Lander, and overall looks more like a harmless teenage boy than a real threat. But remember that the Organization XIII members are comprised of especially powerful Nobodies, who were able to keep their original bodies.
The Cuckoolander Was Right: Demyx said, "We do too have hearts; don't be mad."Kingdom Hearts 3D reveals that he was right- the Organization members do have hearts, and Xemnas was lying to them when he told them they didn't, so that he could secure their help in making Kingdom Hearts, which he would use not to restore the Organization members, but rather to turn them all into Xehanort clones.
Darker and Edgier: Noticeably darker than its predecessor. That doesn't mean there aren't some breaks for lightheartedness and humor.
Deadly Upgrade: AntiForm. As powerful as it is, it can activate randomly, somewhat limits you, and you can't even exit manually until there's no enemies around.
Deceptive Disciple: Xehanort and the other five founding members of the Organization. All of them worked for the real Ansem before they betrayed him and exiled him to the world of nothingness.
Decoy Protagonist: The player controls Roxas for the first few hours of gameplay in an extended tutorial sequence.
Deliberately Monochrome: The Timeless River world is rendered almost completely in black and white — the only color is in the HUD, and even that's muted.
Demoted to Extra: Peter Pan, originally a party member in the first game, is now merely a Summon, and has no plot significance.
Determinator: Subverted with Hercules, who quickly loses all hope and motivation after the Olympus Colosseum is heavily damaged by the Hydra. Sora and his friends, however, manage to get him back on his feet eventually.
Deus ex Machina: It's mentioned that if Ansem's Kingdom Hearts Encoder explodes, anything could happen. It transforms Riku back to his true self, weakens his dark powers, and teleports Ansem into the Realm of Darkness.
Difficulty Spike: The second visit to The Land of Dragons for II ups the ante for Proud Mode. Mulan will die so many times. This assumes you got past Demyx and the rest of the surprisingly difficult bosses, though.
Dual Boss: Volcanic Lord and Blizzard Lord are fought together as Agrabah's first boss.
Dub Name Change: Like the first game, some of the Keyblades had different (yet still English) names in the Japanese version. Mostly it seems they were changed because the originals sounded too Engrishy: "Wonder of Abyss" (changed to Mysterious Abyss), "Wishes Lamp" (changed to Wishing Lamp). Some of the Heartless also got their names changed: Dark Stalker to Shadow Stalker, Black Thorn to Dark Thorn, Gate Guardian to Thresholder, Surveillance to Surveillance Robot, Armour Knight to Armoured Knight, Volcano Lord to Volcanic Lord, Creep Plant to Creeper Plant, Loudness to Crescendo, Terminator to Devastator, Eraser to Strafer, Magna Roader to Magnum Loader, Axe Statue to Gargoyle Warrior, Sword Statue to Gargoyle Knight, Ice Cube to Icy Cube, Flare Globe to Fiery Globe, Mole Drill to Driller Mole, Aiming Cannon to Cannon Gun, Bulk Vendor to Bulky Vendor, Hammer Body to Hammer Frame, Mad Dog to Rabid Dog.
Duel Boss: Sephiroth, Hercules, Luxord, Roxas in Final Mix...
Dull Surprise: Mena Suvari's performance as Aerith is often seen as this.
Models for the Wyvern and Behemoth from the first game were also made at some point,as they can be seen in one of the early trailers.
Models from Re:Chain of Memories are reportedly on the disc as well. The Final Mix version seems to support the idea that the missing members of Organisation XIII were originally made to be Bonus Bosses in the original version.
Early-Bird Cameo: Chicken Little's appearance was this for Japanese players, as the movie didn't come out until after the game, unlike in America and Europe.
Electric Torture: Happens twice in the game; the first time to Donald and Goofy within Space Paranoids, with Sora being Forced to Watchnote which is ironic, as all three of them have to run on electricity here, due to becoming computer programs. Later on, in Olympus Coliseum, all three of them are electrocuted while trying to steal Auron's statue from Hades.
Elemental Powers: Each Organization XIII member controls a different element. Some attack with it directly (Axel, Demyx with his water clones), Some draw power from it (Saix berserking in moonlight), and some just use it as a visual motif (Marluxia).
Eleventh Hour Superpower: During the final battle, the player has access to the fully leveled versions of all Growth abilities (High Jump, Glide, etc), regardless of the status of their respective Drive Forms (each form has one Growth ability that levels with it) or what Sora has equipped. Maxed out Drive Forms will make use of a secret 5th level that's a lot more powerful than the 4th. The very final level will grant a secret secret 6th level of each Growth ability. At that point, the game pulls out all the stops and gives infinite duration for the Double Jump and Glide, which gives complete and infinite mobility in the air.
Enemy Mine: A villainous example - though the Heartless and the Nobodies seem to be natural enemies, they will nonetheless team up in order to take out Sora, although at one point Sora is "saved" from an onslaught of Nobodies by a bunch of Heartless jumping in to fight the Nobodies instead.
Maleficent is also an example of this trope, as she saves Sora, Donald and Goofy at Hollow Bastion because she wants Organization XIII gone just as much as they do. In the final world, Maleficent and Pete hold off a giant swarm of Heartless in for what for all intents and purposes would have been a Bolivian Army Ending... if they didn't show up later in Kingdom Hearts Coded.
Axel and Sora briefly teaming up on the way to The World That Never Was could be considered as this as well.
Era-Specific Personality: Referenced with The Timeless River. Sora and his friends note that Past Mickey and Past Pete are very different from their present counterparts, both in appearance and personality.
Escort Mission: A few, although none of them are nearly as bad as you'd expect. For one example, you need to escort Minnie through a room of Disney Castle, but she can pack a good punch with her spells, making it a lot easier.
Evil Sounds Deep: Xemnas has a very deep voice, and is depicted as irredeemable.
Evil Versus Evil: Maleficent returns to command the Heartless again, and she isn't pleased to hear of some other group throwing their weight around. So naturally, most of her scenes have her, Pete, and the Heartless taking on Organization XIII and the Nobodies. They don't tend to fare very well, until...
Exclusive Enemy Equipment: In Heartless and Nobody flavours: the former give you the Akashic Record and Shaman's Relic, while the latter drop the Nobody Guard and Lance.
"Far Side" Island: Stitch's summoning animation transports Sora to one that has some bushes in addition to the single palm tree.
Expansion Pack Past: There was almost no interaction between Sora and both Simba and Mushi in Kingdom Hearts I, since theys only appeared as summons, however their behavior towards Sora in this game implies they've spent a lot of time as friends together.
Fighting Fingerprint: When Sora faces "Ansem" while completely concealed in an Organization Black cloak, he's able to guess that it's actually Riku based on fighting style and signature weapon.
Some more foreshadowing, abet an accidental one, regarding on how Tron suddenly became all emotional. Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance] confirms that programs are somewhat like Nobodies, in that they don't possess hearts, but the same game confirms that Nobodies can grow new hearts over time, and that it's likely that anything with a mind of it's own will gain a heart in no time. Tron is, thus, the first confirmed case of this reveal, while Pinocchio is a speculated case. This explains why Sora can detect a heart within him.
Forced Tutorial: The prologue, which can last up to six hours, mostly consists of exposition and tutorial sections, and is unskippable (The cutscenes, at least, can be skipped, greatly shortening the prologue, but even then it remains long as crap).
Gameplay and Story Segregation: In Port Royal, Jack turns into a skeleton in sections of moonlight after becoming cursed, just like the other pirates. However, he can be damaged when he is non-skeletal form, while the other pirates cannot.
Gambit Pileup: Ansem and Xemnas stand tall plotting against each other. Riku, Naminé, Mickey, Maleficent and Axel also pull their own small-scale gambits.
Genre Savvy: Goofy, to an incredible extent. He comments on the inner workings of the game and on the characters, grasps the idea of Nobodies quicker than Sora or Donald, knows to use Ansem's computer to look up Nobodies....
Xigbar uses dual guns as his main weapon, and teleports across the boss arena between shots. The player needs to take potshots at him when he gets close and hope to catch him in a combo.
Demyx dashes across his arena with giant water jets, all the while tossing the player up in the air to make it difficult to follow him.
Xemnas' final form has an attack where he imprisons Sora, forcing the player to take over as his friend Riku to rescue him. The player has a limited amount of time to reach Xemnas, who does his best to push the player away.
Kairi's panties are visible from certain camera angles.
An unremarkable NPC has this to say about a certain landmark in Twilight Town:
"Have you been to Sunset Hill? The sunset there is breathtaking! Long ago, my wife and I would... ah, never mind."
The inside of Tinker Bell's skirt is very briefly visible during Peter Pan's summoning animation.
Glamour Failure: Whenever something happens that interferes with artificially created memories, and the simulated Twilight Town, the whole screen flickers.
Grave Humor: Zero's grave in Halloween Town; though the grave itself is just a grave, Sora will say that Zero is usually sleeping here.
Great Escape: The events of the first visit to Space Paranoids revolves around escaping. First from prison, then from the world itself.
Half-Arc Season: While all Disney worlds of the first game pushed the plot forward in some way, big or small, only half here actually contribute to the overall Organization XIII storyline.
<Hero> Must Survive: The boss battle with Barbossa will be an automatic Game Over if Jack's HP reaches zero.
Ditto during the final boss battle. If Riku's HP reaches zero, you lose. Justified, as he temporary becomes playable when Xemnas captures Sora.
He Was Right There All Along: The Tresholder Heartless is part of a set of double doors in Beast's Castle, and announces itself by taking a swing at Donald once he gets close enough.
Hijacked by Ganon: Played with: Xehanort is behind everything, always, but it's not apparent from the start that the new villain of the game is still some version of him.
Hold the Line: The game is fond of using this for the 'smack around waves of enemies' sections, except the Heartless / Nobodies are rarely a serious threat to whatever you're protecting (even when you're at level 1).
Leon: Finished? Cid: Would be, if it weren't for the old loon's magic. Merlin: OLD loon, you say!?
The Imp: Pete. He is a bit on the large side and surprisingly strong, but too dumb and incompetent to be much of a threat by himself.
Infinity–1 Sword: The Decisive Pumpkin and/or Sleeping Lion—the former has the same strength as the Ultima Weapon (which makes Xaldin easier if you go and get it first) but its side-effects aren't as helpful.
Infinity+1 Sword: The Ultima Weapon has great strength and magic, but requires a whole lot of synthesising. The Fenrir is the single strongest physical Keyblade in the game, but requires you to beat Sephiroth. The Fatal Crest is the single strongest magical Keyblade in the game, but requires you to beat the Goddess of Fate Cup in the Underdrome.
There is a ingredient that increases a synthesized items rank by one. It is necessary for the creation of the Ultima Weapon and can be applied to Goofy and Donald's highest level weapons making them Save The King/Queen+.
Final Mix adds a third variation. Winner's Proof. It has the highest magic in the game, but it can only be gotten by beating the twelve Organization Mushroom mini-games. Plus its ability is EXP Zero, which has limited utility—unless one is playing a low-level game, you'll want to avoid using it until you reach the level cap (and note that while the series as a whole is a fan of Absurdly High Level Cap, the big draw of Final Mix is its Bonus Boss parade—and you will need every last level you can get for those broken jerks) and after you reach the cap, it merely becomes a useless ability where there could be a useful one instead.
Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: Many levels are not really designed with Sora's full range of abilities in mind, to the point that even a low grass hedge sometimes blocks the player's ability to explore.
Invisible Parents: Roxas and his friends are apparently teenagers, but the concept of a guardian being relevant to their lives is never broached. Of course, Roxas himself doesn't have any "parents", unless you count Sora.
Invited As Dinner: Sora and his friends nearly become lunch for the hyenas. Kind of inverted, as the trio just end up there as trespassers when they entered the world, yet Shenzi lets them stay anyway.
Ironic Echo: When Maleficent intervenes between Sora's confrontation with Saix and Sora tries to stop her, she tells him, "I don't take orders from you!" When Maleficent saves Sora and company from the Nobodies, telling him to find a way to get rid of the Nobodies, Sora repeats the same line and tries to help her to no avail.
Past Pete was a bit gruff, but not nearly as mean as his present counterpart. He was just a guy who wanted to do his job.
Seifer may act tough, but when he gives the struggle trophy to Sora for being "the strongest guy in Twilight Town" after the latter saves his gang from the Nobodies, it is clear that it is a genuine display of gratitude.
Large Ham: Ansem, played by Richard Epcar, is depicted in an overly-dramatic fashion. For instance:
KINGDOOOOM HEEEAAAAARTS! FILL ME, WITH THE POWER OF DARKNESS!'
Larynx Dissonance: Played a bit well with "Ping" when "he" fights alongside Sora and his companions in battles... before "he" is accidentally revealed to be Mulan who later fights alongside them for the remainder of the game.
Magic Missile Storm: Sora's Wisdom Form shoots out flurries of homing magic shots from his Keyblade. Xemnas shoots his Etheral Blades as projectiles, sometimes from his hand and sometimes creating a line of them in the air that fire at once.
Magic Versus Science: Merlin and Cid when it comes to defending Hollow Bastion, with Cid preferring science and Merlin using magic.
The end result is that Tron gets some of Merlin's magic in addition to the upgrades that Cid programmed due to Merlin firing a spell a Cid just as the latter was taking a disc out of his computer.
Magitek: An upgrade disc that Cid creates for Tron is accidentally exposed to Merlin's magic during an argument. Tron gets both the magic and the upgrades from the disc.
Meaningful Echo: When Saix confronts Sora over how important Kairi means to him, Sora replies, "Yeah. More than anything." Kairi replies similarly later when Saix questions her if she wants to see Sora.
Mercy Mode: A handful of boss fights can have Mickey bail you out if you lose.
Only I Can Kill Him: Mickey is completely incapable of killing bosses, though. You'll have to get Sora back on his feet to do that.
Mind Screw: The opening, and much of the prologue. Though the opening makes more sense if you played both the first game and Chain of Memories.
The entire concept of the Nobodies; they supposedly don't exist, yet are corporeal beings capable of being seen by anybody. The reveal in 'Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance] that they naturally grow new hearts over time may negate much of this, but still, it boggles the mind.
Donald freezing himself with a ricocheting Blizzard after waking up from his memory-restoring sleep. Not to mention that said scene looks like it would be in a world from Atlantis.
A scene of the trio beating off a gaggle of Neoshadows and chasing after a black-coated man on the outside wall of Hollow Bastion, not to mention the world looked exactly like how it was back in the first game.
Axel comes across as more of a rat bastard and delivers one hell of a Slasher Smile before fighting Roxas.
Deep Dive is not a scene from Kingdom Hearts II. It's a scene from Days.
Morale Mechanic: The game has three missions like this in the Land of Dragons, where Sora, Donald, and Goofy have to help Mulan defend the camp from the Heartless. The second has them scout the area outside the camp for enemy reinforcements, and the final one has them clear a path up the mountain pass to reach the village near the summit. All three missions are timed. If either time runs out before all Heartless are eliminated, or if the morale meter runs empty, the mission ends in failure and the player has to repeat it.
Mundane Utility: Genie has a few complaints about this during the second run in Agrabah. Clearing a sandstorm and fixing Agrabah are easy, if somewhat boring, tasks for the blue guy, who finds himself on more than one occasion begging for an actual challenge with his powers.
Mythology Gag: Ansem's study in the basement of Hollow Bastion looks suspiciously similar to the basement library in Final Fantasy VII where Sephiroth discovered his history. It's appropriate, considering the nature of the experiments there.
Never Say "Die": Zigzagged a bit, as the trope page itself details. Long story short, there's no actual stigma against harsh words like "Die", but it's avoided sometimes (like in all games in the series) because of context.
Played straight by Sephiroth: "Only Cloud can eliminate me." Probably a Justified Trope as this version of Sephiroth is implied to be a physical manifestation of Cloud's inner darkness and as such, isn't really alive in the first place.
Averted in Port Royal. It would be really narmful and ridiculous sounding if it wasn't.
Never Split the Party: One of the mini-games in the Hundred Acre Wood involves keeping all the characters together through a spooky cave.
Nintendo Hard: Critical Mode in Final Mix. Most of the difficulty comes from the fact that since the earliest you can get Second Chance is at level 49 with Shield, there isn't much preventing an enemy from instantly killing you when you still had 60-70% of your hp left. Possibly inverted at high/endgame levels, as the fact that Critical Mode gives you double finishers allows you to deal much more damage to bosses.
Non-Combat EXP: All the Drive Forms acquire experience and level up in different ways, and only two of them level up for defeating any type of enemy.
Not-So-Harmless Villain: Demyx this treatment. At first glance, he's just a lazy, clumsy, and cowardly Cloudcuckoolander who Sora and co. take every possible opportunity to taunt and not take seriously, with even Jiminy's Journal describing him as nothing but a complete joke. However, when they fight in Hollow Bastion, after putting up with more taunting, he quickly commands Sora to be quiet in a Creepy Monotone, visibly shocking our hero, and then shows the gang just how dangerous he really is.
Offscreen Teleportation: In the first Kingdom Hearts game, whenever you see your allies get out of range, they would simply stay there. However, in this game, they would sometimes appear right next to you or even behind you when there's no way for them to get there.
Only I Can Kill Him: According to Sephiroth, Cloud is the only one capable of truly defeating him.
His cry of "Sora!" whenever he appears during a boss battle too.
Pretty much all the bosses get one before the fight begins. Sora tosses one out whenever he enters Drive mode.
Press X to Not Die: An interesting variation in the form of the Reaction Commands, which don't necessarily kill you, but can sometimes lead to a battle turning against your favour if not followed. They are taken to an extreme level, and to an extent played straight, during the final battle with Xemnas, to the point that a portion of it is practically a flashy cutscene powered by hammering the Triangle button.
Played completely straight with Sephiroth; his first attack can potentially kill you immediately if you're not quick enough.
A minor variation on the trope occurs when all the photos owned by the residents of Twilight Town are stolen. Everyone remembers the photos, but the theft is so complete that even the word "photo" is stolen, and is blanked out of the characters' dialogues when they try to say it.
Sanity Slippage: Roxas in the prologue definitely has trouble coping with Twilight Town's Mind Screw, his dreams' Mind Screw, and the Organization's Mind Screw. He also has some weird emotional responses and zones out constantly. Reviewing the game after beating Days would seem to imply a kind of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder bleeding over.
Saving Christmas: The Halloween Town/Christmas Town visit involves saving Christmas (and Santa Claus) from being ruined by Oogie Boogie.
Roxas has a tendency to say "Hayner! Pence! Olette!" as a way to make sure he's back in reality.
"Sora, Donald, Goofy!" Said by too many characters, including the ones in question.
Self-Deprecation: DiZ / Ansem The Wise calls Xehanort the "foolish apprentice of a foolish man" in one of the ending scenes.
Self-Imposed Challenge: The game was regarded as way too easy by many fans, so it's natural that these would arise, but the most epic of these is the No Abilities, No Summoning, No Pride Lands, No Level Grinding, No White Magic run. You are not allowed to use any form of cure spell, get saved by Mickey, use any abilities not linked to equipment (including drive forms), use any summons and you are underleveled.
Sequence Breaking: Nothing's stopping you from going to worlds out of order except more powerful heartless. Many players actually recommend going to beast's castle first, simply because you get the cure spell.
The giant Nobody that Roxas fights is called Twilight Zone in the Japanese version, obviously a reference to the TV series of the same name. This ties in with the Darkside from the first game, a reference to Tales from the Darkside, another anthology horror series.
The role Yen Sid takes in the opening is pretty much based on the Wizard Shazam. Running a ghost train that takes the heroes to his home so he can give them new powers?
Demyx's quote, DANCE WATER DANCE, sounds very similar to the song Magic Dance from Labyrinth. It helps that Demyx is a spoof of David Bowie, who stars in that film.
Single-Stroke Battle: The Samurai Nobodies have a Reaction Command that triggers one of these: winning it depends on hitting the right button.
Smart Ball: Goofy has it at some points, like when he saw through Mulan's disguise while Sora and Donald couldn't. It's said in his journal entry for one of the games that he often notices stuff that others miss.
The Soulless: The Nobodies are beings who have lost their Heart, which is one third of what makes up a complete being. Due to this, they are by default emotionless, although with time and empathy they can be made to regain some semblance of feeling.
Soundtrack Dissonance: During the battle against Roxas in Final Mix, a remix of his melancholic theme called "The Other Promise" is used. A stark contrast with your average KH frantic battle theme.
Spanner in the Works: Both DiZ and Xemnas attempt to use Sora for their own plans, but Sora doesn't act in the way they envisioned him to and ultimately derails everything for them without really knowing it. Lampshaded by DiZ:
DiZ: While I was trying to bring Sora back, I had so many plans in store, but once Sora was an acting force, they fell apart.
A minor example in-game — The Lion King world's name shows up as "Pride Land" when it comes up on screen the first time you go there, but is referred to as "Pride Lands" in the dialogue and in Jiminy's Journal.
The Heartless known as Magnum Loader in the English translation was in the original Japanese version known as Magna Roader (Maguna Rōdā), and "Roader" does make more sense based on the way the Heartless looks and moves, to the point where it seems that "Loader" was a mistranslation. It is likely to be a Shout-Out to the enemy of the same name from Final Fantasy VI.
The Secret Ansem Reports spell Ansem's apprentices as "Bleig", "Dilin" and "Eleus", completely killing the 'name with an X'/'name of a recusant' theme that the Nobodies got.
Out-of-game example: It is absurd how many fans will give the opening quotenote A scattered dream that's like a far-off memory/A far off memory that's like a scattered dream/I want to line the pieces up/Yours and mine wrong, despite the subtitles being the only part of the cinematic as the quote is said.
Spoiler Opening: The opening CGI sums up Kingdom Hearts and Chain of Memories, spoiling those games for those who haven't played either yet.
Shoot 'em Up: Before entering a new world for the first time, the player needs to fly through a shoot 'em up level with their Gummi ship. The player only needs to survive, although completing the goals in each Gummi ship level is necessary to get 100% Completion.
Stationary Boss: Thresholder, Jafar, and Armored Xemnas all stay put, but usually try to force Sora and his friends away from them.
Averted in Beast's castle; when Belle is grabbed like so, she elbows her assailant in the gut, steals the rose back, and runs back to Beast to the cheers of not only Sora, but the players, too.
When Axel kidnaps Kairi, she is grabbed by the elbow.
Stealth Pun: When Belle is being held by Xaldin right before the battle with him, she elbows him in the gut and you can hear an audible, "Oomph" from Xaldin. In other words, Belle clearly knocked the "wind" out of him. Xaldin's element in the game is Wind.
Stock Footage: At the end of every world's first story run typically, where Sora opens a new Keyhole to travel to further worlds; the only differences are where the scene starts and what item is used to make the respective Keyhole appear. Everyone else present even conveniently disappears during these scenes and then reappears right afterwards.
In Atlantica, Halloween Town and the Pride Lands, Sora is also in his respective forms during the Keyhole sealing. In the latter, he holds his Keyblade with his TAIL!
Storming the Castle: Sora and company must fight through Organization XIII's castle in order to reach Xemnas.
Stuff Blowing Up: The Gummi ship levels tend to be full of exploding objects, being shoot 'em ups. Once the ship is upgraded enough, the entire screen will fill up with explosions at the touch of a button.
Surprisingly Easy Mini-Quest: The need to kill 1000 Heartless. The horde consists of two enemy types that both have reaction commands that take out about a dozen other enemies each. Plus the PS2 CPU can't actually handle that many enemies at once so most are just background, gradually disappearing as you take the heartless down.
Suspiciously Specific Denial: Roxas asks Naminé what's going to happen to him if Sora awakens. Her answer is discomfortingly specific, but not actually a lie:
Taking the Bullet: Goofy shoves King Mickey out of the way as a rock from a Nobody/Heartless fight falls towards him. The rock proceeds to hit Goofy instead. King Mickey gets very angry and several Heartless wish they'd never been born.
Throwing Your Sword Always Works: When Saix enters his berserk, he starts attacking so violently that his sword gets flung at you repeatedly. Fortunately, he seems to carry around a limitless supply of them.
The Time Traveller's Dilemma: Merlin alludes to it before the gang goes to the Timeless River; Donald's the only one who seems more than the slightest bit tempted.
Tomato in the Mirror: Roxas figures out that he's Sora's Nobody, and has to give up his physical form in order to get Sora to wake up again.
The Gummi ship levels are Shoot Em Ups, and allow for some very advanced ship customisation.
Most levels have a mini-game or two; skateboarding in Port Royale is not what one would expect to do there, for instance.
The Hundred Acre Wood contains a collection of mini-games, and is completely devoid of actual combat.
Atlantica has no combat, and instead contains a rhythm mini-game. Of the five songs featured, three (Swim This Way, Ursula's Revenge and A New Day Is Dawning) are original and the other two (Part of Your World and Under the Sea) come from the film.
The Unfought: Maleficent, unlike in the first game, is never fought, whether as a sorceress or as a dragon.
Updated Re-release: Final Mix is an updated version of the game that contains a variety of gameplay tweaks, bonus boss battles and similar improvements, and Final Mix+ includes on top of that a remake of Chain of Memories. Unfortunately, neither were never released outside Japan for a variety of reasons, including legal restrictions and fear of the game flopping (The remake did make it to North America as a standalone game, but that's it). As mentioned above, FM+ saw an international release in 2014.
The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The World That Never Was, which aside from the name looks significantly different aesthetically from the rest of the game's worlds — it is both unique and has a far too harsh art style for a Disney world.
Video Game Flight: Final Form. It's not as much flying as it is hovering, but it does end up lasting long enough to qualify anyway.
Villain-Based Franchise: This game pretty much solidifies that just about everything that happens was caused by Xehanort in some way or another.
Villainous Breakdown: Saix sheds his calm personality near the end of the game, and becomes seemingly insane as he attacks Sora like berserk, which is fitting seeing though he controls the Berserker nobodies.
The War Sequence: You get to mow down 1,000 enemies. And it's still one of the easiest battles in the game, provided you abuse Reaction Commands and finishers.
Weapon Tombstone: There is a room in The World That Never Was that houses graves with pictures of the weapons that each Organization member used.
Weirdness Censor: Pence, Pence,Pence. Investigating the seven wonders with him during the week in Twilight Town can get infuriating because he's so willing to come up with a "sensible" conclusion and totally ignore the Fridge Logic. This could be DiZ's fault though, since Pence is a simulation.
Wham Episode: Hollow Bastion halfway through the game, where plot twists are tossed out like confetti. Ansem was an impostor whose real name was Xehanort, he was actually a Heartless, his Nobody is the Big Bad of this game, the Organization want Sora to defeat the Heartless, and, oh yeah, Goofy apparentlyDIES.
Whole Plot Reference: The scenario in Agrabah takes quite a few plot points from The Return of Jafar which was the direct to video movie that preceded the Aladdin TV series. Points include Iago's Heel-Face Turn, Jafar manipulating someone in order to gain his freedom and destroying Jafar's lamp to stop Jafar.
The whole of Atlantica is just this. So is the first Pride Lands visit, actually.
Wistful Amnesia: Kairi, before Sora wakes up, due to everyone's memories of him being altered. Sora experiences this himself immediately after waking up, when he meets Hayner, Pence and Olette and doesn't quite get what's so familiar about them...
Birth by Sleep retroactively establishes that scenes added in Final Mix + detailing Xemnas speaking to Aqua's discarded Keyblade Armor in the Chamber of Repose at Hollow Bastion and his search for the counterpart Chamber of Awakening hidden away within Castle Oblivion are there because he's saddled with this from both Master Xehanort and Terra.
Xanatos Gambit: Organization XIII's plan to create a false Kingdom Hearts. If Sora kills Heartless, it helps their plan. If he doesn't kill Heartless, then they'll collect hearts on their own.
Yin-Yang Bomb: Xemnas by the end of the game. Sora and Riku when using "Eternal Session," and Sora himself in Final Form.
You Fool!: Xemnas is fond of this. "Cursed FOOOOOLS!"
DiZ does it to himself, saying that it was foolish of him to think that he could ever hope to understand the essence of a heart in terms of data.