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* AntiClimaxBoss: Marluxia's second form. He doesn't have access to any Sleights and his attacks, while damaging, are fairly predictable. By now, you should be able to Card Break him easily with either zeroes or any Sleight with a total CV above 9 (like Sonic Blade).
* AlternativeCharacterInterpretation: Is Naminé just relegated to be the game's damsel in distress, or is she actually an abuse victim? Most people think the symptoms are there and the game vaguely suggests it.
* BrokenAesop: The whole lesson Riku learns about accepting and embracing his inner darkness in his story mode ends up as this in ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'', when we find out that it didn't work as well for him as it looked like it would here. It may be intentional, as [[spoiler:the lesson is brought to him by [=DiZ=], who wants him as a tool in his revenge plan, something he points out and regrets in the next game]].
* BreatherBoss: Larxene's second boss fight. While she is not too easy, the encounter is a lot easier than [[ThatOneBoss the one just before it]].
* BreatherLevel: The 100 Acre Wood has no enemies bar an encounter with bees in a mini-game and a trove of new, free cards and Sleight combinations.
* ContestedSequel: Is it ever, particularly due to the [[ScrappyMechanic card-based battle system]].
* DemonicSpider: Neoshadows. Every battle with one usually involves [[ThatOneAttack their stupid spinning attack that hits you 95% of the time and does a buttload of damage]], and they usually spam 7s and 8s everywhere. [[PurposelyOverpowered Riku gets the Lexaeus Card in the final level for a reason.]]
* DisappointingLastLevel: The final level of Riku's story is exactly three rooms long, then you enter the FinalBoss room. You can literally just walk through the final dungeon without fighting a single Heartless.
* EarWorm: The new version of [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoLD5Z--WvY Traverse Town.]]
* FranchiseOriginalSin:
** The decision to release the series over multiple consoles, which lead to a degree of ContinuityLockout (an act somewhat rectified by the ''HD [=ReMIX=]'' compliations). This was more acceptable back in the day since it was just a single innocuous spin-off that was released on the only widespread handheld, the Creator/{{Nintendo}} UsefulNotes/GameBoyAdvance, so many fans didn't have an issue with the console hopping if they wanted a mobile experience. As the story got more complicated and more plot-important spin-offs got released on competing consoles, fans started getting irritated that they had to shell out more cash to play the games and understand what was going on.
** Introducing a lot of new characters for the bad guys, taking away focus on the Creator/{{Disney}} and ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'' elements that brought people in. This was cool at the time since nobody knew what to expect of the new bad guys, but the continual shift lead to a BrokenBase as to whether downplaying these elements was a good move or not for a series built off of those franchises.
** Recycling Creator/{{Disney}} worlds, characters and situations from the previous game rather than bring in any new ones. It was accepted here since it was just a spin-off and the first time, but many fans were annoyed when ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsCoded'' did the same thing several years later because of how blatant it was.
* GameBreaker:
** The Duel system in ''Re:Chain of Memories'' lets Riku get off powerful attacks without the chance of being interrupted by card breaks. Barrage in particular will always hit and always do 1 bar of damage. It's possible to beat [[spoiler:Ansem]] easily without Dark Mode because of this.
** Certain Sleights can make the game very easy, if you build your deck right. With enough 0s, you can't be cancelled, and a ton of Sonic Blade + Elixir = Win. Once you have the Jafar card (prevents your cards from being broken), this makes using Sleights like Sonic Blade even more deadly. A deadly pair to use would be Jafar with Ars Arcanum. Normally this Sleight would require 3 cards from 1-6 in value, which is very breakable. If Jafar is used before, the Sleight becomes unbreakable. This makes [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qk9O4GjWeqw most bosses]] [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fxtwbFq-0o become a breeze.]]
*** In the GBA version, the counter for the Jafar card will not go down if you use Sleights, only normal attacks. This lets you spam the otherwise [[AwesomeButImpractical impractical]] low-value sleights like Ars Arcanum as much as you want without the risk of having bosses break them, making most fights much easier. As shown above, ''Re:Chain of Memories'' fixing this oversight merely lowered the card from "stupidly broken" to a more manageable level of overpoweredness.
** The Tornado Sleight (Aero + Gravity + Summon card) is absolutely unfair in both versions of the game: it creates a large funnel cloud that the player can control, which sucks up and immobilizes all Heartless it touches while dealing massive damage.
** The Oogie Boogie card (Regen) ''quickly'' becomes one of the ''best'' buff cards, especially against tough bosses. Doubly so for Riku, since this is his only form of healing besides Mickey's Friend Card.
** Exclusive to ''Re:[=CoM=]'', the Lethal Frame ([[SpellMyNameWithAnS mistranslated as "Lethal Flame"]]) Sleight (Stop + Attack + Attack) stops time and allows Sora to quickly deliver a bunch of hits. When time starts again, the enemy starts taking damage and can't act for a few moments, allowing you to set up another one. Long strings of these can deal massive damage in boss fights.
** Simply using 0s to Card Break your opponent's deck. Every card you break with 0 can't be reshuffled by the boss, while you can recharge your deck indefinitely. After awhile, the boss will simply begin to run out of cards to make combos with, making him easy prey. The only caveat is that if the boss has an item card that restores cards that otherwise can't be reshuffled as most that use sleighs do, this strategy can take a LONG time to work, dragging out the fight.
** With a properly tricked-out deck, the Powerwild enemy card becomes pretty terrifying. It reverses the values of every non-zero card in your deck (so 1s become 9s, 2s become 8s, etc). So build your deck out of 2s and 3s (and enjoy the lower CP costs that come with them), then spam Ars Arcanum with the Jafar card, and when that runs out, pop on Powerwild and start spamming Sonic Blade with those exact same cards. And unlike Jafar, Powerwilds are generic, meaning you can put as many of them in your deck as you have room for them.
** Trinity Limit. It's just as powerful as it was in the first game, but it has a much cheaper activation cost (Donald + Goofy + any attack card vs. spending all your MP) which pushes it from AwesomeButImpractical to this.
** The remake introduces enemy cards based off the Organization members who didn't appear in the original, several of which are just unfair. Luxord guarantees a card break no matter the opponent's card value, Saïx exponentially powers up normal attacks in a combo, Xigbar powers up projectile attacks (which encompasses Aqua Splash, Firaga Burst, and ''Ragnarok'', among others), Demyx powers up ice attacks, and Roxas doubles all attack card damage. And if they don't sound bad enough already, they also give Sora and Riku resistance to all forms of elemental attack. The one snag is acquiring them -- the Japanese release needs a completed save file for ''Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix+'' on the disc, and the English release needs you to complete the game. But the ''1.5 Remix'' version? Just sit through all of the ''358/2 Days'' content, and you can find these cards on your first playthrough.
*** Xemnas in particular stands out with Quick Barrier, which lasts throughout most if not all of your typical battle and cuts most damage received in half as its ''secondary'' effect. Its primary effect is to prevent Sora from taking damage more than once from a given card, and since most bosses use attacks that hit multiple times, this effectively neuters their offense. Like Sonic Blade, it can be obtained about halfway through the game.
** Freeze followed by Thundaga is an extremely useful combination. Freeze ices the enemies so that they can't move and also makes it so you can kill all but the most powerful Heartless in one hit, and Thundaga is very wide area attack. It's great for taking out large groups of Heartless that are directly surrounding Sora.
** The Dragon Maleficent enemy card in Reverse/Rebirth. This card increases the damage all attack cards cause, in exchange for slowing down card reloading speed, and in Sora's story this is an issue that makes it less than ideal to use compared to most other enemy cards. However, since Riku has ONLY attack cards except for the King Mickey card and can reload all of his cards instantaneously just by pressing the card reload button as well as by using a King Mickey card or entering Dark Mode no matter how many times he does it both limitations completely disappear. It's also unavoidably the first of the permanent boss enemy cards Riku will get, therefore meaning the player can increase Riku's attack power throughout almost the entirety of Reverse/Rebirth effectively any time they want with absolutely NO drawbacks.
%%* GeniusBonus: In the manga adaptation, Larxene is seen reading a book about French writer Marquis De Sade. We'll let you do the math.
* GoddamnedBats:
** ''Any'' enemy you have to attack from behind in the Game Boy Advance game. This is remedied a bit in ''Re:[=CoM=]'' because you're able to attack from more angles - in the original, it's roughly 2D so you have to be ''right'' behind them. Defenders are easily the most annoying mooks in the game.
** The Creeper Plants have a terrible tendency to break your cards.
** Neoshadows. They also have a tendency to turn two-dimensional and avoid everything you throw at them. This is especially annoying because they seem to wait ''right'' until you use a Sleight.
* GoodBadBugs: The "{{double jump}} glitch" in the Game Boy Advance version. When you double jump (B twice) and perform an attack, Riku will jump down at his enemy and hit them numerous times... but if you have an attack modifier like Overdrive, Berserk, or Attack Bracer on, it doesn't take down the charges and this attack ''still has the effects of the modifier''.
* HarsherInHindsight: After Sora's battle with Marluxia, Riku [[spoiler:Replica]] leaves. Try rewatching the scene after playing Reverse/Rebirth mode, where you see what happens to him. [[spoiler:Remember what happens to him by the end of Reverse/Rebirth? Guess what, [[SuicideByCop meeting the real Riku was what he wanted to do all along]].]] [[PlayerPunch Yeah...]]
** Vexen's shockingly brutal death was mitigated somewhat by the "Can't feel real emotions" tidbit from ''Kingdom Hearts II'', but when ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHearts3DDreamDropDistance Dream Drop Distance]]'' reveals [[spoiler:Nobodies can regrow hearts and experience emotions, it becomes just as bad if not worse than it first was, because Vexen was legitimately terrified at the thought of dying. The same game also somewhat alleviates this scene because it reveals that Vexen was reborn as his old self after his "death," and considering what Xemnas [[GrandTheftMe originally intended for the Organization]], [[MercyKill Axel practically did Vexen a favor]].]]
** While being confronted by [=DiZ=] disguised as Ansem in Twilight Town, Riku immediately declares "You're not the true Ansem." [[spoiler:As of ''Kingdom Hearts II'', we now know just how wrong he was.]]
* HilariousInHindsight: Larxene's voice actor, Shanelle Gray, also narrated some of the Wendy's commercials around the time of ''[=Re:CoM=]''[='s=] English release. Then, during the cutscene just before fighting her a second time,
-->'''Larxene:''' Okay... '''Have it your way'''. More pain for you means more fun for me!
** Lexaeus saying [[Disney/{{Frozen}} "Let it go"]] to Vexen (aka the [[AnIcePerson ice user]]).
* JerkassWoobie:
** When one considers Zexion's life, from his childhood in ''[[VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep Birth by Sleep]]'' to when he meets his end in ''Chain of Memories'', he sorta becomes this.
** Vexen and Larxene also count, mainly due to their deaths, which are [[AlasPoorVillain played tragically]]. Larxene gets bonus points in the Japanese version due to being voiced by Creator/YukoMiyamura.
* LoveToHate: Marluxia, Larxene, and Axel are so ''deliciously'' evil.
* MagnificentBastard: Both Axel and Marluxia vie for this position with their treacherous schemes.
* MemeticMolester:
** Larxene is this for some. She apparently has no concept of personal space for both sexes, and is shown to be a sadist.
** Marluxia. He gets up ''way'' too close to Naminé, and how she flinches when he touches her shoulder and how she's generally pretty scared of him does not help at all.
* MemeticMutation: Xehanort's Heartless, again. "'''DARKNESS'''!"
%%* MoralEventHorizon: Marluxia is even more culpable here, as this is all his plan. His manipulation and abuse of Sora and Naminé definitely puts him well over the line.
* ParanoiaFuel: You know that big crystal ball in the room where Marluxia, Larxene, and Axel talk about their plans? They use it to see everything going on in Castle Oblivion. So the three of them are watching ''everything you do'' throughout the whole game.
* {{Narm}}: While Marluxia dies, he has this extremely obnoxious yell that makes it sound like he's taking the biggest crap of his life, which tends to make people laugh while he dies.
%%* ScrappyMechanic: The battle system has few fans, being unintuitive, limiting, and often adding FakeDifficulty. It's even ''worse'' when playing as Riku.
* SurpriseDifficulty: The Bumble-Rumble fight in the ''[[MinigameZone 100-Acre Wood]]''. The goal is to fight off 50 swarms of bees without letting Pooh's HP run out. This is, unfortunately, obnoxiously difficult due to being stuck with a fixed Deck mostly comprised of middle to low numbers and the bees coming in packs and carrying cards as high as '''''8'''''. Your only reprieve is that you can use any Sleight you've already learned, plus two special Sleights that involve the exclusive Hunny card.
%%* TearJerker:
%%** Closing scene, after defeating [[spoiler:Marluxia]].
%%** Also, Riku [[spoiler:Replica's death]]. It's a PlayerPunch in both versions of the game, but the GBA version's script takes the cake for [[spoiler:his last words: [[ShootTheShaggyDog "Oh, well."]]]]
* ThatOneBoss:
** Trickmaster in Reverse/Rebirth. Riku's deck in Wonderland is not good, having only 9 cards with nothing with a value higher than 5. This also makes it very difficult to break anything Trickmaster throws at you without stocking cards.
** Vexen. In the original ''Chain of Memories'' requires that you attack him from behind -- this is harder in the original than it is in the remake because of the perspective only allowing characters to face left or right. In the remake, his attacks are pretty hard to dodge and can stunlock, he still can't be attacked from the front and his deck is stacked with high-numbered attack-cards. He also has Elixirs and Hi-Ethers with him, making the strategy of breaking all his good cards hard to execute -- especially in the rematch, in which he also owns a card that prevents breaking items. In both versions he has a card that revives him once with a little bit of health if he dies, artificially extending the fight.
** Larxene zips around the battlefield making it difficult to catch up to her and hit her, spamming multi-hit ranged attacks using mostly high number cards that are near impossible to dodge constantly, which also makes the use of the zero card breaking strategy useless against her as she'll kill you long before she ever gets to the point it would work.
** Captain Hook. His GeoEffects screw up your summon cards, his dodge rate is insane, he can throw bombs seemingly without end, and his sword attack is extremely difficult to dodge. Better bring your zeroes and your cures -- you're gonna NEED it all. This review says it all:
--->You may think that all the bosses before Captain Hook might have been annoying but otherwise easy. You might have thought that the rest of the game would go along like this. Even if that wasn't the case, even if you thought that there would be at least one tough boss along the way, ''nothing'' could prepare you for the brokenness that is Captain Hook.
** Hades is one of the only Disney bosses (Hook above being the other one) that uses Sleights, and loves making your life a living hell with them, which hit like a truck.
** Ursula in Reverse/Rebirth. Almost every move she makes is an 8 or 9 card, making it very difficult to break her to charge up Dark Points, she spends most of the match out of range of Riku's Sleights and Duel attacks, destroying her tentacles forces Riku to get into melee range and likely be attacked back, and remember your only source of healing is Mickey. The developers clearly did not design this boss with Riku's different style of gameplay in mind, and it shows.
** To make up for his second form (see AntiClimaxBoss above), Marluxia's third form in the remake uses almost ''nothing but'' rapid-fire Sleights, making it much harder to interrupt him. He can hit you from almost anywhere on the stage (especially with the aptly-named Omni Laser), [[BlownAcrossTheRoom blow you out of striking range]], [[ManaBurn wipe out your deck]] with Whirlwind to the Void and then render the lost cards unrecoverable with Circle Reject. And to top it off, he can hit you with [[TimeDelayedDeath Doom]], which locks you in place and instantly kills you if you can't break six of his cards in six seconds. If the rest of the game hasn't taught you how to use 0s, Marluxia's final form ''will'' make you regret it.
%%** The final battle against the [[spoiler:Riku Replica]] (in both Sora AND Riku's modes), so freaking much.
* ThatOneLevel: Wonderland in Reverse/Rebirth. Riku is only given 9 attack cards, forcing the player to play extremely conservatively with Sleights lest they run out of cards quickly. This also makes an already hard boss fight against the Trickmaster much harder, since Sleight-spamming can't be done.
* TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodPlot: Riku's side of the story with regards to the Disney worlds he visits could have had him encountering his interpretations of Sora's allies, or told an original story about his struggle with darkness and/or his abandonment of his friends. Instead, most Disney worlds Riku visits have no cutscenes or story at all; you just fight your way to the boss room, kill them, and leave. To make matters worse, after the first level Riku himself barely has any actual scenes in the hallways of Castle Oblivion until the last three levels, [[SpotlightStealingSquad with the Organization being more prominently featured instead]].
* ViewerGenderConfusion: Some thought Marluxia was a woman in original game due to his long pink hair.
** Marluxia was originally planned to be female, so the confusion is understandable.
* WhatAnIdiot:
** The entire plot of the Wonderland world is caused because Sora decides to admit to the Queen that he's the one that stole her memories just to get Alice off, instead of at least trying to blame it on the Heartless the White Rabbit and The Queen were just talking about (plus they were the real culprits anyway).
** All Jiminy writes in his Journal at the end of ''Chain of Memories'' is [[spoiler:"Thank Naminé"]] with no explanation whatsoever. Cue the mass confusion for Sora & co. at the beginning of ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII''. Considering that this was fairly important to them, you'd think the note would be a bit more thorough.
* TheWoobie: Naminé. She lived the first part of her life entirely alone in Castle Oblivion, spent the rest under the Organization's emotionally abusive thumb, is forced to do their bidding to assist in breaking Sora, and [[spoiler:is perfectly aware of her status as a Nobody]].