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Video Game / Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories

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"In this place, to find is to lose, and to lose is to find. That is the way in Castle Oblivion."

Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories is the second game in the Kingdom Hearts series. Released on the Game Boy Advance in 2004, the game serves as an Immediate Sequel to Kingdom Hearts, while setting up new plot threads for Kingdom Hearts II.

Picking up right where the first game left off, Sora, Donald, and Goofy are wandering the worlds in search of King Mickey and Riku. Eventually they are led by a cloaked figure to a strange place called Castle Oblivion, where memories come to life within its walls as illusions. As they climb the floors, based on almost every location from their previous adventure note , they learn about a strange girl known as Naminé, a previously unknown figure from Sora's past, and are antagonized by a strange group of people called the Organization (Organization XIII in later games). Though not everything is as it appears in the castle, as memories can be tricky things...

Rather than the usual Action RPG style of combat, Chain of Memories uses a combination of action and "card battling". The player must prepare a deck of cards with varying power, and values from 0-9 to use in their battles, with those cards determining if Sora attacks with his Keyblade, uses magic and summons, or uses an item to heal or reload cards, while being able to move him freely to dodge attacks. They can also be used to “break” opposing cards with lower or equal value and interrupt enemy attacks and items (that can break your own cards if you’re not careful), or be combined in "sleights" of three, with specific combinations activating special moves that tend to be very powerful, but come at the cost of using up the first card used, meaning relying on them exclusively can use up cards completely for a fight. In addition to regular cards, random Friend cards can be collected during battles to summon helpful allies, collectable Enemy cards can be used to grant temporary buffs that can turn things in your favor, and Map cards are used to synthesize rooms with various layouts, gimmicks, rewards and enemies.

Beating the main story unlocks an additional campaign titled Reverse/Rebirth, which takes place simultaneously with Sora’s story, and features Riku as the main character. Having mysteriously been rescued from the Realm of Darkness and ending up in Castle Oblivion’s basement, Riku fights his way up to the ground floor in search of the truth while dealing with not only another set of members of the Organization, but also the remnants of Ansem still within him after his possession of him in the previous game, and an internal struggle between the powers of light and darkness. Reverse/Rebirth plays similarly to the main story but with several key differences; you can’t edit your deck, you have only one type of attack and Friend card to work with no magic cards and limited healing options, and have to work with different fixed decks on each floor, making battles a matter of using the right cards at the right time. But Riku has several advantages to compensate; he can reload cards at any time with no waiting, can attack harder the faster he breaks enemy cards, and can enter Dark Mode, where he uses the darkness to enhance his power and gain access to powerful variations of his sleights.

Chain of Memories was later remade as a PlayStation 2 game titled Re:Chain of Memories, originally as part of the Japan-only release of Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix+ in 2007, which released as a standalone game in North America the following year. Europe and Australia never got it, but did get Kingdom Hearts HD I.5 ReMIX in 2013, which contains Re:Chain of Memories remastered in HD. The remake replaces the 2D sprite art with 3D graphics, has fully voice-acted animated cutscenes for sequences set in the main halls of Castle Oblivionnote , adds an additional boss battle and a new form for the Final Boss, includes some new Attack Cards based off of Keyblades and Enemy Cards based off the Organization XIII members that appear in Kingdom Hearts II, makes small tweaks to the battle system such as adding or removing some sleights, adds the new Duel mechanic to Reverse/Rebirth, and completely removes the Player Versus Player mode. The HD I.5 ReMIX version is mostly identical to the the PS2 remake, but has higher graphics resolution, trophy/achievement support for the various platforms, and replaces the Attack Cards of the II Keyblades with some from Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days.

Has a Lighter and Softer manga version.

This game contains examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: The ending of the previous game has Sora, Donald, and Goofy running on a meadow to catch up with Pluto, who carries King Mickey's letter. The implication is that they will eventually reunite with Mickey and by extension Riku. This game opens with them still roaming the meadow, but Pluto is nowhere to be found. The letter is neither revealed nor discussed and the half-pints do not meet with Mickey and Riku throughout the rest of the game.
  • 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.
  • A.I. Breaker: The remake adds Aero Guard as the Xaldin Enemy Card effect, which adds a constantly-damaging barrier around Sora. Notably, it's one of few ways to stagger and damage enemies without using regular cards, so bosses have no idea what to do about it, since their main reaction to stagger is "desperately look for a card to break yours," which never works if Sora doesn't actually play any cards. Thus, this card can keep humanoid bosses into a reliable stun-lock.
  • Alas, Poor Villain:
    • Vexen. Sora hated the guy for what (he thought) he did to Riku, and even he was horrified by the cruel way Axel dispatches him (while he's begging for mercy, no less!). Not helping matters is the fact that he was trying to warn Sora about the trap he was walking into, shortly before Axel showed up.
    • Larxene, the biggest jerk of the Organization, gets a surprisingly sad moment when the character succumbs to their injuries, even if it does not justify their actions (at least, Sora visibly doesn't, unlike with Vexen).
      I'm... fading? No, this isn't the way I... I won't ALLOW...!
    • Lexaeus might not have been nice to Riku, but he is clearly shown to be a dignified Organization member and seems to be close to Zexion in particular, if his last words are of any indication.
      Forgive me, Zexion... This was a fight I should not have started.
    • Zexion. Possibly the most brutal death of all the Organization members. Everyone else just died (some were more vicious than others; here's looking at you, Vexen). Zexion? He was strangled to death, his life force slowly sucked out of his body as he lost consciousness. What makes this sad is that Zexion showed himself to be highly devoted to the Organization's cause, even up to his final moments, where he's absolutely mortified by the prospect of his death. That doesn't excuse his actions, mind you, but when you put him in comparison to the behind-the-scenes backstabbing game of hot potato that approximately half of the remaining members played, it's a bit depressing.
    • Riku Replica, especially after you find out about his backstory. His jerkass attitude (reflecting Riku's personality in the first game) is dwarfed by the extremely harsh trials he has to endure from the start to the end of his short life.
  • Alpha Bitch: Larxene, very much so.
  • Another Side, Another Story: Beating Sora's story unlocks the Reverse/Rebirth campaign, where you play as Riku. His story takes place around the same time as Sora's in the basement floors of Castle Oblivion.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • The Room card that reduces enemy card values will not reduce said values below 1 to avoid giving Mooks cards with the all-breaking 0 value.
    • In the event that you start running out of usable cards, there is a chance that the rare Pluto Friend Card will spawn on the field. Pluto's ability, Lucky Bounty, generates Item Cards for the player to recover lost cards with. Pluto has a higher chance to spawn in certain boss fights as well.
  • The Artifact: The picture on the Moment's Reprieve card. In the original GBA version, save points were depicted as crystals, as depicted on the card. This was changed in the remake, where save points instead share their appearance with their KH2 counterparts.
  • Artifact Mook: The Powerwilds and the Bouncywilds were Heartless originally meant for the Deep Jungle stage (based off of Tarzan), but the world was axed due to legal issues and they were placed in Olympus Coliseum.
  • Artificial Human: The Riku Replica is a replica of Riku made purely from his memories. As he states, everything he has is owed to Riku, yet he still brags himself as being the real one, since he accepts darkness from the get go, whereas Riku does not, at least at first.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • Donald's Friend Card and associated Sleights have him cast two random spells from the Fire, Thunder, Blizzard, and/or Cure series, meaning he could potentially heal you twice when you're already at full health, not heal you when it would actually be useful, or even heal enemies by, for example, casting Blizzaga on an ice-elemental enemy.
    • Hook is carrying the Pirate enemy card, which makes all of his cards 0s until he reloads. The problem is he has no idea how to use it — in the right hands he would break everything you throw at him and then counter-attack, but he'll keep to his normal pattern. Just wait for him to make the first move and you'll break his 0s every time, leaving him with a very small deck to work with once he reloads, if he survives that long.
    • Riku Replica has noticeably more 0 cards than most bosses, particularly when he appears near the start of each route, allowing him to easily break your sleights. He also has the Shadow enemy card, which increases the value of all cards by 1. Using the card horribly nerfs him, and he does it in every fight.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Jiminy Cricket has a significantly bigger role in this game compared to others, appearing in almost all scenes.
    • King Mickey is Riku's helper in his campaign, just as Donald and Goofy are Sora's, and appears from start to finish (although until Basement 2nd Floor, he communicates from long distance). One can say that he makes his proper debut in this game, since he only appears as a cameo at the end of the previous game.
    • Downplayed with Cloud Strife, who appears as an Assist Character in addition to his previous role as a boss in Olympus Coliseum. He's notably the only Assist Character who wasn't already a summon or a party member in the original Kingdom Hearts.
  • Ascetic Aesthetic: Although more descriptive outside, the inside of Castle Oblivion is very sleek and sterile, with pillars, decorative flower boxes, stairs, and doors all colored white. The room that contains the memory pod where Sora can begin having his memories restored, in particular, is simply a circular room with a bright white wall; if not for the floor, the room would easily fit as a White Void Room.
  • Assist Character: Party members like Donald and Goofy and Summons like Mushu from Kingdom Hearts have been turned into cards (Friend Cards and Summon Cards, respectively), which can be played to summon the associated character for one attack or used as part of Sleights.
    • Donald uses Magic, which randomly casts 2 of Fire, Blizzard, Thunder, and Cure with the potential to double-cast one spell. Sleights involving him will power up his magic to the -ra or -aga tiers or will trigger Combination Attacks with Goofy and/or Sora.
    • Goofy will either use Goofy Charge (original game) or do the Goofy Tornado (remake). Goofy Charge has him go up to an enemy and hit them with his shield, while Goofy Tornado has him do a Spin Attack to consecutively hit multiple enemies. Sleights involving him will increase his Goofy Charge's damage, increase the duration of the Tornado, or trigger Combination Attacks with Donald and/or Sora.
    • Aladdin uses the Sandstorm attack on an enemy, swinging his sword to deal damage and produce Moogle Points for Sora to pick up. His Sleights increase the duration of the attack and the amount of Moogle Points dropped.
    • Jack Skellington uses Surprise!, which randomly casts two of of Fire, Blizzard, Thunder, and Gravity with the potential to double-cast one spell. His Sleights power up his magic to -ra and -aga tiers.
    • Ariel uses Spiral Wave, a Spin Attack that knocks away enemies. Her Sleights cause her to perform the attack twice or thrice.
    • Peter Pan uses Hummingbird, which has him rapidly slash at an enemy with his dagger, dealing damage and producing Moogle Points. His Sleights increase the damage and duration of the attack.
    • Cloud Strife attacks enemies with Cross Slash. His Sleights upgrade Cross Slash's power, or potentially Omnislash.
    • Pluto (exclusive to the remake) uses Lucky Bounty to dig up used cards and HP Orbs. He only appears when you’re running low on usable cards, and his Sleights increase the number of cards and HP Orbs found.
    • King Mickey casts Pearl, which deals damage in a large radius, Stuns non-boss enemies, and heals the player. His Sleights improve his damage dealt and HP restored, or activate team attacks with Riku.
  • At the Crossroads: There's a crossroads somewhere near Castle Oblivion. This is where Riku Takes a Third Option regarding walking the path of light or the path of darkness.
  • Auto-Revive: Vexen's Enemy Card grants Auto-Life, which will revive you once if activated.
  • 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. Jafar's card, however, can be used to prevent those sleights, such as Ars Arcanaum (which requires a value of 6 or less), from being broken by anything, even 0 cards.
    • Ars Arcanum and Ragnarok are some of the most damaging Sleights in the game, dealing massive neutral-elemental damage. However, the latter requires a total sleight value of 9, and the former requires a total value of 6 or less. Ragnarok has use against Heartless, as it can hit multiple easily, but Ars Arcanum is single target, and you'd better believe that bosses will break them at every opportunity thanks to their long durations. Thankfully, with certain Enemy Cards (namely Jafar), you can use them with much more consistency - at a cost of the high CP those Enemy Cards use.
    • Some enemy cards have interesting effects, but they all cost a lot of CP. This is completely inverted for Riku though, as he can freely use any boss card he's earned, and even gets some normal enemy cards for free as part of his fixed decks.
  • Backstory Invader: Sora is subject to Castle Oblivion's memory-altering shenanigans, and as he slowly loses some memories, others that he had forgotten come back to him. Through this, he's reminded of his one-time friend Naminé, and as time goes on, he speaks of Naminé more and more, even though she did not appear in his hometown in the first Kingdom Hearts and was never mentioned previously. Eventually, he manages to completely forget about his actual childhood friend Kairi, whom Naminé seems to have supplanted in his memories... and there's actually good excuse for all this! He didn't really know Naminé when he was younger, and the Castle's supposed powers were a ruse; Naminé was being coerced by Organization XIII into using her unique ability to tamper with Sora's memories in order to serve their own interests. This was probably made easier by Naminé being Kairi's Nobody.
  • Bad Mood as an Excuse: Larxene to Naminé 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!"
  • Balance Buff:
    • The Re:Chain of Memories version increases the effects of leveling up Riku's Attack Points, making him stronger than the original.
    • The Attack Bracer effect granted by the Jafar Enemy Card does not work on Sleights in the original. In the remake, it does, allowing you to break bosses with normally Awesome, but Impractical Sleights like Ars Arcanum without the chance for them to retaliate.
  • Batman Gambit: Marluxia, Larxene, and Axel are using Naminé to rewrite Sora's memories and turn him into a weapon against the Organization's leader, Xemnas. However, this plan requires cooperation among people who fundamentally dislike each other and the rest of the Organization not catching on. The plan nearly falls apart a few times, but luckily Axel is there to bail them out. Vexen, a Mad Scientist Marluxia is both using for the scheme and openly disrespecting, attempts to reveal everything to Sora but ends up killed by Axel. The basement members are highly suspicious and try to control Riku in a similar way, but Axel makes sure they all die as well. Of course, the plan does fail in the end, and how could it not? Axel was actually working for Xemnas the whole time (sort of, see Gambit Pileup below), looking for a reason to kill off Marluxia's group. And manipulating Sora had little chance of going right when the plan revolved around making him obsessively protective of Naminé but the most clear and present dangers to her were Marluxia and Larxene. They could, of course, rewrite his memories to get around that too, but they pick fights with him before they get the chance and end up dead. The whole plan would've had a much bigger chance of working had the plan been simplified rather than indulging in Complexity Addiction - had the main plotters dispensed with the vagueness and tried to genuinely get Sora on their side and frame Xenmas as a common enemy, Sora would've likely fallen for it hook, line and sinker, though for that to work they would've had to actually treat Naminé well (and good luck with that when Marluxia is a sociopath and Larxene is an Ax-Crazy psycho) and for Axel to not sabotage the whole plan anyway.
  • 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 Ensemble: The game has two main threats: Marluxia in the main story and Ansem in Reverse/Rebirth. Marluxia is attempting to overthrow Organisation XIII by having Naminé brainwash Sora into a weapon to use against Xemnas, the Organization's leader. Meanwhile, Ansem is trying to corrupt Riku from within and reclaim him as his vessel.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Donald and Goofy saving Sora from Larxene in the 12th Floor. This despite the fact that Sora had been uncharacteristically rude to them in the previous floor.
    • In Reverse/Rebirth, Mickey repeatedly saves Riku whenever the latter succumbs to the darkness' influence. After the final battle, having made a promise to save Riku if he were to become Ansem again, Mickey barges into the 13th Floor when Ansem does a last resort attack to claim Riku and personally carries him outside.
  • 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...
  • Black Cloak: The Organization members all wear hooded black coats, in the same vein as the two figures clashing in "Another Side, Another Story" from the first game's secret ending and the Unknown from Final Mix. Late to Riku's campaign, DiZ gives Riku and Mickey the coats to wear and explains that its function is to dispel the scent of darkness and prevent darkness from consuming them while using the Corridors of Darkness. That way, they will not be easily tracked by the Organization.
  • Book Ends: The game begins with Sora, Donald and Goofy walking down a crossroads, and ends with Riku and Mickey walking down the same road. In the original GBA, a reprise of Hand In Hand is played in both occasions.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Sleights can easily trivialize several bosses, especially Sonic Blade and/or Lethal Frame 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 (Attack Bracer). It allows you to use 20 cards in a row (taking away 3 if you use a sleight) without getting card broken. Meaning you can spam powerful low-cost sleights like Ars Arcanum without interruption and basically stun lock the enemy until the card effect runs out. This is one of the easiest ways to kill bosses. It was even stronger in the GBA version, where it was limited to 20 attacks instead of cards, and sleights didn't count.
    • 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.
    • 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...
  • Broad Strokes: The plot of each Disney world is basically a very truncated retelling of its Kingdom Hearts plot, usually with references to memories thrown in.
  • Call-Back: The Xaldin Card in the remake gives Sora the original Aero spell from Kingdom Hearts.
  • Call-Forward: The PS2 remake includes new Enemy Cards and Attack Cards based on Kingdom Hearts II. The PS3 version replaces most of the Kingdom Hearts II Attack Cards with Attack Cards based on Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days.
  • Calling Your Attacks: In the opening when the group first enters Castle Oblivion and encounters the cloaked figure, Donald tries to cast Thunder and calls it out as he does so, but fails due to the Bag of Spilling. He calls out Fire and Blizzard also, but neither of these produce any effect either.
  • Cash Gate: Each door requires map cards to open, with the available numbers differing by door. Several of the later doors get extremely specific or excessive; one endgame door requires multiple map cards of different colors and a total of 99 points, likely necessitating some grinding if you don't have enough on hand.
  • Catchphrase: This game was the progenitor of Axel's famous line, which was originally translated as "Commit it to memory." Kingdom Hearts II streamlined the line to "Got it memorized?", which carried over to Re:Chain of Memories.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • This game introduces a new location that gains much more importance in the sequel: Twilight Town.
    • Vexen's Replica Program, first introduced in this game and later used in Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, gains much more significance in Kingdom Hearts III as a key plot device used by several characters.
  • The Chessmaster: Zexion. He might have actually succeeded had it not been for Axel.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Deep Jungle and all of its inhabitants are completely absent, due to legal issues. However, the Powerwilds and the Bouncywilds Heartless were retained and moved to Olympus Coliseum instead.
  • Cloning Blues:
    • Most of Riku Replica's angst in Reverse/Rebirth is centered around the fact that he's simply an imitation of Riku. He eventually tries to kill the original in an attempt to become something more than a simple copy.
    • Spoofed with Vexen in the manga.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Goofy in Olympus Coliseum.
    • The first time, he points out Phil's discrepancy regarding counting.
      Phil: Two words: You! Ain't! Heroes!
      Sora: You're wrong!
      Goofy: Yeah, he said three words.
    • This is repeated later in this same world, after Hades is defeated, though Sora interrupts him.
      Sora: The games are canceled? How come?
      Phil: Three words: everyone's pooped!
      Goofy: Wait a minute, that was only two—
      Sora: You gotta be kidding!
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Enemy bosses have much easier requirements for their sleights than you do. This is somewhat justified since you have more techniques to choose from. The exception to that would be Riku-Replica, since you can actually use the same sleights as him on a Reverse/Rebirth playthrough and see that the numbers are different.
  • Cryptic Conversation:
    • Just about everything the Organization members say to Sora until late in the game is very cryptic and they avoid actually answering his questions, particularly those about Riku and King Mickey. Justified, as they're simply trying to get Sora to stay in Castle Oblivion as long as possible so they can brainwash him. When Sora finally finds out what's going on, the remaining members drop this.
    • Axel drops several even in comparison to his fellow Organization members, mostly hinting at how he's a Double Reverse Quadruple Agent out to get everybody at Castle Oblivion killed off.
    • The Organization loyalists operating out of the lower levels of the castle drop several of these in their conversations with each other, mostly relating to the mysterious "Superior" they answer to and how Riku is related to him.
  • Cutscene Boss: Zexion is this in the GBA version. The remake averts this, turning him into a full-fledged Boss Battle.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to the first game.
    • Sure, you're not saving the universe full of beloved Disney characters from being destroyed by the legions of hell this time, but 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 most of the first game.
    • You're up against a much higher concentration of humanoid antagonists this time around. A good half of the boss fights are man-to-man death battles, rather than the constant bombardment of Heartless, monstrous-looking (or monster-transforming) Disney villains, or fights just meant to test your skill, such as Coliseum duels. These antagonists also receive a little bit more screen time than the first game's, and their death scenes are quite brutal in comparison. Riku's tragedy and identity crisis is also given more focus here than in the first game.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Dying places Sora/Riku in the room before the one where the player died, without any real penalty.
  • Declaration of Protection: Sora and Riku Replica towards Naminé. 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 Naminé!"
  • Deus Exit Machina: Mickey Mouse does have the role of acting as a support to Riku, teaching and strengthening him against the darkness inside his heart and helping him repel Ansem, but due to the whole affair ultimately being a This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself, he ultimately doesn't help him in the final battle with Ansem and only appears at the end to save him once more. Considering how easy it was for him to repel Ansem and how Riku himself believes Mickey capable of killing him if Ansem wins, if Mickey was present, it would have made the fight much less challenging.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • The Maleficent Enemy Card (increases damage for the next 30 attacks at the cost of deck reload speed) is obtained extremely early in Reverse/Rebirth, as Maleficent is the first boss of that mode. Since Reverse/Rebirth doesn't have the card reload speed mechanic and all Enemy Cards are permanently part of your deck after being obtained, the Maleficent card can be used from the get-go without any real penalty.
    • For Sora players in the GBA version, Simba. Simba is very useful in that version because he hits everyone "in front of" him (which, in the Game Boy Advance version's view, is basically "in the direction he's facing"). Thus with good positioning you'll have an attack that can't miss and can knock enemies around. By the time you fight Larxene the first time, you'll have to put him in a sleight for him to hold up though. In the remake, Simba hits a much smaller area and takes longer to execute.
    • Blizzard Raid is a sleight picked up from a Calm Bounty room in Olympus Coliseum, the third floor going by default order but potentially the second. Being built using Blizzard and any two attack cards, it's much easier to build than Strike Raid while doing the same heavy damage to a long area, making it easy to build a deck that can use it several times in a row. Don't rely on it exclusively, though, since it heals Blue Rhapsodies and Green Requiems.
  • Distressed Damsel: Naminé. Half of this distress is real, while half of it is bait for Marluxia's trap for Sora.
  • Double Agent: Axel is secretly ordered by the Organization's insiders to rat out traitors and kill them. Sora is his ace in this role. He also kills other Organization members who are in his way; his goal is to leave Castle Oblivion as the only Organization member left standing.
  • Dreamworks Face: In the cover, Donald and Goofy sure look smug about something.
  • Dull Surprise: Marluxia speaks in a dull monotone in Re: Chain of Memories in every language. Compared to his other roles, Shūichi Ikeda isn't emoting as much as he does in his other roles like Char Aznable. It's just that his voice has that natural bombast to it compared to Keith Ferguson's. It's all meant to highlight Marluxia's inability to put more emotion in his speech much when not in combat.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: In America, Chain of Memories was the first game to show off the Final Mix-exclusive Keyblades before Kingdom Hearts Final Mix made it overseas.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • The English version of the original Chain of Memories is the only time where Axel's catchphrase was translated as "Commit it to memory" instead of the more popular "Got it memorized?" which would be used in the remake and later games.
    • This is the only Kingdom Hearts game where a Final Fantasy character (in this case, Cloud) appears as a Summon. From II onwards, all Summons have been Disney characters.
    • The original GBA version is one of extremely few Kingdom Hearts games to not feature difficulty modes of any type, the others being the original Japanese version of the original game and the various incarnations of Kingdom Hearts χnote .
  • Easily Forgiven: Though he's justifiably a bit unhappy about having his memories tampered with, Sora is surprisingly forgiving towards Naminé after learning the truth and vows to become friends with her for real once she fixes his memories.
  • Endgame+: 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.
  • Endless Daytime: The sun never sets or rises in Twilight Town. It is always late afternoon.
  • Enemy Civil War: Marluxia and Larxene are trying to take over the Organization by manipulating Sora (via Naminé) to do their bidding. Zexion, Vexen, and Lexaeus suspect their treachery and are trying to figure out what exactly they're up to and stop them. Axel is a wild card who seemingly flips through allegiances between the two groups, but is revealed in 358/2 Days to have been sent by Saïx to kill them all for personal gain.
  • 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 Naminé 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.
  • Exact Words: After Axel revealed that he's a Double Agent (Marluxia and Larxene believe Axel is working for them and attacking the other members that deemed traitors) he immediately does the Let's Get Dangerous! battle.
    Axel: "Remember the order: 'You must eliminate the traitor.' I always follow orders, Marluxia."
  • Exploding Barrels: The Barrel Spider, a type of Heartless Chest Monster that likes to explode in your face during battle.
  • Face Death with Dignity:
    • Lexaeus has the calmest death throes among the Organization members. Whereas the others beg for their lives (Vexen and Zexion), refuse to accept (Larxene), or scream in anger and agony (Marluxia), he quietly apologizes to Zexion for starting the fight with Riku, fully accepting that his demise is his fault.
    • Riku Replica dies peacefully after being mortally wounded by Riku in battle, and the two share words about death and what it means to him.
  • Fake Memories: As Sora climbs the castle, Naminé injects him with false memories of his past. He forgets about Kairi and thinks that Naminé is the one he's supposed to be protecting.
  • Fighting a Shadow: The first fight against Marluxia is against an illusion of him.
  • Fight Like a Card Player: While the game provides the page image, the game itself actually zigzags this. The existence of cards is partially justified in the setting, since Sora is explicitly told that cards must be used to progress in Castle Oblivion, but in every other cutscene no cards are seen besides the ones that Sora needs to create new floors.
  • Filler: The plot of the Disney worlds are rehashed from the previous game. Details are tweaked here and there, but nothing you would miss. They are merely obstacles that hinder you from reaching the end and beginning of floors, where actually important events happen. It gets worse in Riku's campaign, since the cutscenes within the Disney worlds and Traverse Town are eliminated and Riku has no in-story reason to be there most of the time (Riku did visit Traverse Town, Agrabah, Monstro, and Neverland, but as a bad guy). It is a rehash of a rehash.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: While you slowly obtain them, three of the six villains have an element each at least until Axel kills Vexen.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • At several points Sora is warned about the concept of fake memories and how they can warp people. It just never occurs to Sora that he himself is falling victim to that.
    • Twilight Town and everything related to it is basically one big foreshadowing to the existence of Sora's Nobody, Roxas, something not revealed until II. On another note, the fact that Axel is shown genuinely playful with Sora (especially compared to Larxene, who is playfully violent) is because Roxas is his friend back in Twilight Town. He can't help but see him in Sora.
    • In the same vein, Naminé mentions at one point in Riku's campaign that she is a shadow of Kairi. It's pretty obvious that she means she is Kairi's Nobody, even if Kairi currently exists as a human, while the Ansem Report 13 from Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix mentions that for a Nobody to exist, the heart must be a Heartless. Her rather unusual birth is explained in II and is related to the reason why she can control Sora's memories.
    • Ansem's appearances in Reverse/Rebirth seem oddly inconsistent, as sometimes he'll appear before Riku in the castle offering almost backhanded encouragement and new cards to progress further, and other times he'll be unseen but trying to take over Riku from the inside. Most significantly, the first time he appears in person he unlocks the residue darkness within Riku (allowing him to access Dark Mode) but doesn't immediately try to use the opportunity to steal Riku's body. It's actually because the Ansem that keeps appearing in person is DiZ, who has something of a vested interest in Riku's development, while the unseen Ansem that keeps trying to take over Riku is indeed the Heartless. It's not until DiZ provides the final card that will allow Riku to properly confront Ansem does the Heartless actually appear physically once again.
    • After Riku first properly 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.
    • Vexen, Lexaeus, and Zexion all share several lines about how Riku's "scent" is oddly reminiscent of "The Superior's" while not exactly the same. That's because The Superior is Xemnas, the Nobody counterpart of Ansem, Seeker of Darkness that possessed Riku and whose essence still clings to Riku.
    • The remake adds a scene near the climax where Axel realizes he's genuinely enjoying events, which shouldn't be possible. Fast forward to 3D...
    • Somewhat amusingly, the plot of Wonderland of all places fully gives away the main theme of the game. In it, the Queen of Hearts is after Alice because of a loss of memory which she blames on her. In the end, Alice convinces her that she ordered her and Sora's crew to take down the Heartless that they just beat. Since the Queen's pride wouldn't let her admit she forgot, she "created" a memory of doing so. Basically, the Queen went through a comical version of what Sora does. While other worlds contain similar warnings, they tend to be a bit more obtuse than this one.
  • Forgotten Friend, New Foe: Naminé. Or is she?
  • Gambit Pileup: Let's see... First off, there's the main one—Marluxia, Larxene, and Axel attempt to use Naminé to rewrite Sora's memories so they can use him as a weapon against their Organization's leader, Xemnas. Eventually Vexen, another member the three are using to further this goal, feels left out one time too many and tries to reveal the plan to Sora. All along, however, Axel is actually a double agent—he's spying on the traitors for Xemnas and ends up sabotaging both Marluxia's plot and Vexen's own attempt to sabotage it, since Vexen was planning on telling Sora too much. Meanwhile, a group of Organization loyalists and associates of Vexen in the basement levels is trying to capture and use Riku due to their own suspicions about Marluxia's group. Axel sabotages them, too. Later games add further facets to this: Xemnas sent the traitors to Castle Oblivion on purpose, and Axel was given a second mission to find Ven's body—and Axel only took on these missions to get on Xemnas's good side, because he and Saix were planning to betray Xemnas themselves eventually (which also belatedly provides a reason for Axel killing the basement group—to get rid of other members loyal to Xemnas).
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Sora won't have any Friend Cards the first time through the 12th Floor since he's just had a major argument with Donald and Goofy and has rushed off on his own.
  • Glamour: Naminé'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: Riku has no reliable source of healing, just a few enemy cards and the Mickey Friend Card, and his reliance on Sleights in Dark Mode makes him liable to wear his deck out fast. However, he can quickly rack up a lot of damage and his Dark Mode attacks are devastating.
  • Gone Horribly Right: In a good way for Naminé, bad for Organization XIII. Due to Sora's memories being manipulated, he was lead to believe that Naminé did exist and is one of his friends. Even when the truth was revealed, even if everything were all lies, Sora did not care and was still willing to protect Naminé from Organization XIII.
  • Gratuitous Italian: Several pieces on the soundtrack have Italian titles, including "La Pace" (Peace) and "Scherzo di Notte" (Literally, "Joke at Night", although a scherzo is also a musical form).
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The leader of the Organization, who serves as the Big Bad in the next game. If you played KH: Final Mix/I.5 HD Remix, you can encounter him as the Unknown.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: The Wild Charge Sleight in the remake, where Sora and Donald carry Goofy and use him as a battering ram against enemies.
  • Healing Factor: Oogie Boogie's Enemy Card grants you a temporary Regen effect when activated, healing you 20 times before the effect ends.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • While she has been shown so far hesitant to do her job, Naminé outright defects from the Organization's camp when Sora reaches the 12th Floor. She wastes no time entering Sora's memory of Destiny Islands to reveal the truth.
    • Riku Replica arrives at the 13th Floor just before the final battle and sides with Sora as well. However, when he appears in Riku's campaign, it appears that he has gone mad and wants to kill Riku so he can become his own person.
  • His Name Is...: Vexen is killed by Axel just before he can tell Sora that Marluxia is manipulating his memories and reveal the existence of Roxas.
  • Holding Back the Phlebotinum: As Jiminy Cricket chronicles all of his adventures with Sora, the plot of the game could easily be solved simply by having Jiminy read his journal to Sora and his friends. The game solves that problem by making it affected by Castle Oblivion's memory-erasing magic as well. In other words, the Castle itself blanks the pages of Jiminy's Journal so that it doesn't break the plot.
  • Holy Hand Grenade:
    • Trinity Limit creates a glowing golden magic circle on the floor, after which beams of holy light rise from it. 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.
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: In Atlantica, Ursula kidnaps Flounder and forces Ariel to steal King Triton's trident to save him.
  • Hot-Blooded: Riku Replica is overly passionate about protecting Naminé, challenging Sora to fights over Sora not remembering her.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Naminé 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 Naminé. Nothing else matters—-not a thing.
    Sora: Hey... Riku... I think I'll jog your memory.
  • Immediate Sequel: Both Sora's and Riku's stories take place moments after the ending of the previous game; Sora is walking on a meadow with Donald and Goofy and ends up in Castle Oblivion after following a black-cloaked figure (Marluxia). Meanwhile, Riku is trapped in the Realm of Darkness and is bailed out by a mysterious voice (DiZ), ending up in Basement 12th Floor of Castle Oblivion.
  • Interface Screw:
    • In the original 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.
    • Marluxia's third form in the remake has an attack that ejects all the cards from your deck and scatters them around the arena, rendering you completely powerless until you can pick a few up.
  • 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 a battle for any reason, it's gone for the rest of the fight unless you use an item card to get it back. 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 anyway.
  • 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 gets away with the murders of some of the Organization's members in Castle Oblivion. Don't worry, it'll all catch up to him in KHII, though it's actually pretty sad when it happens.
  • Level Grinding: Both Sora and Riku max at Level 99. Thing is, both the main story and Reverse/Rebirth are beatable at about half that 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 Superbosses 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 I.5 ReMIX brings the pain to video game achievement hunters by linking Trophies to max levels for both Sora and Riku.
  • Level of Tedious Enemies: Destiny Islands for both Riku and Sora serve as Breather Levels before the game's plot starts to really ramp up. Normal heartless they encounter will be weak, easily killed, and generally serve to annoy players more than challenge them, while also serving as grinding material. Tornado Steps will fly around and hit Sora with their arms for little damage, Crescendos will heal or summon other Heartless, and Creeper Plants will spit low-damage seeds at Sora or trip him up.
  • 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—in English, anyway. The cutscenes look fine in Japanese, but despite using the same assets as the game's in-engine graphics, all the cutscenes are actually pre-rendered video files. Instead of re-rendering new videos for the English dialogue, the scenes were simply dubbed to English as-is, leading to oddly-paced line readings, Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness for the sake of a few extra syllables, and of course, the lip movements simply not matching the words being said. This all only grinds more because the cutscenes otherwise look just like KH1 and 2's cutscenes, which were rendered in-engine and as such were altered to match the English dialogue.
  • Living Memory: The majority of the characters in Castle Oblivion that Sora and co. encounter are very powerful illusions created by the castle using his memories.
  • 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: The Blazing Donald sleight, only in the original, is caused by Donald screwing up a Fire spell. He then runs around the screen while on fire.
  • Medium Awareness: During the first part of Traverse Town, Goofy and Donald had effectively disappeared, forcing Sora to summon them to battle using cards through the in-game tutorial in order to see them again. A few scenes later, they literally reappear right beside Sora alongside a change from their classic outfits into the ones they wore during the first game, much to their confusion. Even they don't know why the castle's doing that to them. It's this trope as for the rest of the game, it's implied they kept following Sora even though they don't seem to be present on the overworld screen.
  • Mind Screw: The scene in Destiny Islands when Sora talks to the two Naminés. Also counts as Foreshadowing, given that one of the Naminés transforms into Kairi. Just look at this beauty of a line:
    Second Naminé: "No, Sora! Don't listen to me!"
  • Minigame Zone: In the remake, The 100-Acre Wood gets promoted to being a minigame-only level, complete with a new set of minigames.
  • Mirror Match: For obvious reasons, the first fight against Riku Replica is this if you're playing as Riku, especially when you managed to enable Dark Mode during the fight. He even uses the same techs, although the requirements for them differ from the real Riku (of which you're playing as). Averted with the second fight where he undergoes Divergent Character Evolution in his fighting style. As the result, not only does he look slightly different (he gains a shield), he also uses a different set of attacks.
  • Mook Chivalry: Since the battle system is reminiscent of War and beating opposing cards by having higher values, only one foe can play an attack card at a time.
  • 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:
    • Regular Heartless, as well as most world bosses and Marluxia's second form, don't have actual decks and can simply play cards whenever they feel like it.
    • Averted by the Organization members and other humanoid bosses like Captain Hook, who follow the same rules as Sora about having a limited deck size and needing to reload. This makes it a perfectly viable strategy to focus on breaking their cards instead of depleting their HP. Some of them, however, cheat with the ability to reload their decks while moving.
    • Riku gives the advantages of this trope to the player for a change: unlike Sora, Riku's reload card doesn't have a count, and you only need to hit the button to reload instantly every time. Bosses with decks of their own are still limited by their reload counter or item cards. Riku then ends up on the receiving end again when he fights his Replica, whose moves are the same but has permanent Dark Mode and much more lax requirements for his sleights.
  • Nerf:
    • The Ansem card had its unique effect—hide your stocked cards—removed in the single-player-only remake since this only had a use in the GBA version's multiplayer battles. It now has little use for Sora beyond giving him resistance. Ansem uses the old version of the card, though.
    • In the GBA version, both destructible and indestructible field obstacles respawn Moogle Points and health every time Sora re-enters a given room. In the remake, destructible obstacles stay destroyed while indestructible only yield prizes the first time as long as Sora stays on that floor.
    • In the GBA version, Moogle Points scale their value with every successive ring of worlds. In the remake, Moogle Point orbs stay the same value note  for the whole game.
    • Simba was nerfed in the remake to hit a smaller area and take longer to execute, meaning it's not an automatic screen clear like in the original.
    • Cloud's Omnislash also takes longer to execute and is an entirely new attack that doesn't have the insane homing or area damage of the original.
    • Gifted Miracle used to reload all cards, including the Bambi and Blizzard cards used to use it, meaning even one Bambi and Blizzard card could be used to use the Sleight for multiple items. The remake makes it so the Bambi and Blizzard cards used to perform it are not reloaded.
  • New Skill as Reward: Defeating a boss often gets you a new type of card, e.g. a Thunder card for defeating Larxene or a Fire card for defeating Axel.
  • New Work, Recycled Graphics: Re:Chain of Memories uses character models and environment assets from Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II.
  • Non-Dubbed Grunts: The Organization members in the GBA version.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Twilight Town is actually set during a perpetual late afternoon. It would be rightly called "Twilight" if the sun is below the horizon, which is clearly not the case. Then again, calling it "Afternoon Town" would break its Alliterative Name (plus it sounds less cool).
  • 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.
  • 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 (the implication being that the potion gave him the memories of the real Oogie Boogie, thus he remembered being killed by Sora). Jiminy Cricket muses that "True Memories" could be rather dangerous.
  • Not Completely Useless: the Parasite Cage and Darkside Enemy Cards cost high CP and only work on certain bosses that use Enemy Cards, which are few and far between, but they are very useful when they do work. Darkside in particular can neuter the Organization, since the Enemy Cards they use often give immunity to their element. Thus, copying them gives Sora immunity to at least half of their attacks.
  • Not Quite Dead: Part of Ansem, Seeker of Darkness survives in Riku's heart, though he lacks a physical form.
  • Oddball in the Series: The only installment to use a card battle system. However, because these gameplay changes are integral to the game's storynote , this instance fares better than other examples.
  • Old Save Bonus: In the Japanese version of Re:Chain of Memories the second Room of Rewards items, which feature characters and Keyblades from Kingdom Hearts II, can only be obtained if you have a completed II Final Mix save file. For obvious reasons the English release drops this and simply requires clearing both stories. The I.5 ReMIX version adds the additional step of watching the 358/2 Days movie and viewing the extras, and the obtainable attack cards are changed to Keyblades used by Roxas in that game.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: "Struggle Away", "The Force in You", "Revenge of Chaos", "Castle Oblivion", "Forgotten Challenge", "Graceful Assassin", and "Scythe of Petals".
  • Once More, with Clarity: Some of Riku's cutscenes are the same as Sora's to begin with, but run a bit longer to show events that Sora's version of the scene hid from the player.
  • 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.
    • The Warpinator and Warp Sleights, which give a chance of instantly destroying enemies. Warpinator is a single-target Sleight while Warp affects everything in the room, but the latter doesn't earn you any prizes.
    • The Lexaeus Enemy Card grants the effect Warp Break, which gives you a very high chance of instantly banishing an enemy from existence if you strike them with your combo finisher. However, you can't get drops such as MP and EXP from killing an enemy this way, so it's not very useful for grinding.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All:
    • For Sora, it's Card Points (CP). With more CP, more cards can be added into Sora's deck. Sleights, the main source of Sora's best attacks, become more plentiful as well.
    • For Riku, it's Attack Points (AP), since unlike Sora he can't raise his damage through better attack cards and new sleights.
  • Petal Power: Marluxia.
  • Plot Hole: Twilight Town is treated as anomalous because Sora has never been there, and therefore has no memories of the place for the Twilight Town world card to draw from. While this is true, this seemingly ignores the fact that every time the party enters a new floor, they act as if they've never been to that world.
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: A variation where it's the protagonist who decides to leave his friends behind, rather than the other way around. By the time the group reaches the 11th Floor, Sora is so befuddled and upset by the Organization playing him for fools (not helped by the fact that he just saw Axel immolating Vexen alive) that he decides to focus everything from then on to save Naminé. Donald and Goofy try to reason him not to be brash and instead rethink about what to do next, but Sora essentially flips them off and enters the 12th Floor alone. Jiminy, who is still with him, is told to shut his mouth too when he tries to reason. It isn't until after the final Riku Replica battle and Donald and Goofy's Big Damn Heroes moment to save Sora from Larxene that the group is reunited again.
  • Power Copying:
    • Defeating enemies can cause them to drop Enemy Cards, which provide a static bonus for a certain duration when used in battle. Riku follows this trope more normally since he automatically equips every Enemy Card dropped by a boss, while Sora will typically only use one or two such cards due to their high costs.
    • The Darkside card copies the effects of whatever Enemy Card your opponent is using.
  • Power Parasite: Zexion's boss gimmick is that he steals Riku's cards whenever he attacks. Once he's 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! Naminé! Riku! Marluxia! Larxene! It's about time you gave me one hell of a show!"
  • The Promise: Much of the conflict in Sora's story is based on identical promises both he and Riku independently made to Naminé to protect her, which they only remembered after entering Castle Oblivion. But the promise is fake, and so is Riku: Naminé herself implanted the promise in Sora's memory, and "Riku" is a replica whose memories are all fake. Even after they both learn the truth, they vow to protect her anyway. At the end of the game Sora makes a new promise to Naminé to meet up again after he has regained his memories and truly become friends with her.
  • Promoted to Playable: After spending the first game as Sora's non-playable rival, Riku is now playable in his own Reverse/Rebirth storyline.
  • Psycho Electro: Larxene, whose element is electricity and who is 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".
  • Random Effect Spell: The Black Mushroom card will randomly apply another Enemy Card effect when used.
  • Randomized Damage Attack: Sorta. The Sea Neon's Random Values ability randomizes the values of the cards you play.
  • Recurring Boss: Riku-Replica is fought 6 times over the course of the two-story modes: 4 times for Sora and twice for Riku. Lampshaded after Sora gets through Floor 9 as Goofy and Donald look around, wondering where Riku is and assuming in the end that he got tired of fighting Sora.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Vexen mentions Twilight Town as a place that exists in Sora's "other side of his memory", implying that it is a place Sora forgot he had visited. Unlike Naminé, even Sora has to wring his hand and give up remembering that he ever visited a place called Twilight Town. Indeed, he has never been. Naminé's memory-altering ability has nothing to do with it, too. The "other side" that Vexen mentioned is actually his Nobody, Roxas, as revealed in the following game.
  • The Reveal:
    • The Riku Sora has been fighting since the 7th Floor is a Replica created by Vexen.
    • Sora's memory has been tampered by Naminé since he set foot within Castle Oblivion. Not only does she remove his memories of the events in the previous game, she replaces all of his memories of Kairi with her own. The reason why it happens is because Naminé is ordered by Marluxia to do it as part of his plan to turn Sora into a weapon he could use to topple the Organization.
    • Like the Organization members, Naminé is a Nobody, beings who lack the ability to feel because they do not have hearts.
    • Axel is a double agent. He is sent by the Organization's upper ranks to eliminate those who turned traitor as well as anyone who gets in his way.
    • The voice who helps Riku escape the Realm of Darkness is DiZ, an erstwhile unknown figure in red who has a history with the Organization. He also disguises himself as Ansem to give Riku cards to navigate through Castle Oblivion.
  • Rogues' Gallery Transplant: The Beast's main enemy in this game is Maleficent instead of Gaston since the latter is absent in the franchise.
  • Sadistic Choice: Sora and Riku both end up getting one near the end of their respective arcs:
    • After defeating Marluxia, Naminé tells Sora that she can restore his fractured memories, but to do that, she has to undo the chain of memories she implanted about herself to him, thereby erasing all of his memories about Castle Oblivion and her. She gives him the choice of either regaining his old memories while erasing the ones gained from her, or continuing onward with his life but without ever retrieving his former memories. Sora reluctantly decides to regain his original memories but promises Naminé that they will make new memories together when they meet again.
    • At the second to last floor Riku meets Naminé who tells him that she can place a lock on his heart that will prevent Ansem from possessing him but will prevent Riku from remembering his adventures since leaving Destiny Islands. Riku chooses to not take Naminé up on her offer and instead chooses to confront the darkness in his heart and defeat Ansem once and for all.
  • Same Plot Sequel: The game follows similar beats to that of the first game, with Sora, Donald and Goofy once again searching for Riku, King Mickey and a form of Kairi in various Disney worlds (the same worlds they visited in the first game, natch). Many of the plots within said worlds (such as Alice almost being executed by the Queen of Hearts, Aladdin letting Genie go with Sora, Pinocchio exploring Monstro and Beast travelling to Hollow Bastion to save Belle) are also lifted from the original game with minor changes.
  • 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, without a single one being above the number 5.
  • Secret A.I. Moves: In the remake, Ansem, Seeker of Darkness's Sleightbind, 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+ that reduces elemental damage, but when the boss uses it in Reverse/Rebirth, it still has its original effect.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Marluxia likes to use more complex words when it's not necessary.
    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 
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: The 100-Acre Woods aren't visited at all in the Reverse/Rebirth campaign, as Riku's story is even more serious than Sora's and focuses on him grappling with his inner darkness.
  • Simultaneous Arcs: Reverse/Rebirth begins shortly after Sora's campaign starts, with the Big Bad in Sora's story being defeated while Riku is ascending from the basement.
  • Smug Snake: Vexen and Zexion.
  • Sore Loser: Larxene, after Sora defeats her for the second and final time.
  • 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 HD I.5 ReMIX release fixes it.
  • The Starscream: Marluxia plans to overthrow the Organization by using Sora as his puppet.
  • The Stations of the Canon: That Sora (re)experiences all of the events of the first Kingdom Hearts (except for a certain Important Promise) is a major plot point, since he is literally re-visiting his memories (while Naminé manipulates them).
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: The Darkside card is an Enemy Card that costs a whopping 99 CP and has a very esoteric effect of copying whatever Enemy Card the opponent has in play. This, of course, already limits its utility to Castle Oblivion boss fights, and depending on the boss their Enemy Card effect may not benefit you all that much. However, if you have the advanced knowledge that Organization XIII boss cards grant-specific kinds of immunities, you can use the Darkside card to turn them into a complete joke as copying their boss card renders you immune to effectively all of their most dangerous attacks and lets you wallop them with impunity since the odds that you'll get punished for making a mistake is drastically reduced as long as you can keep the copied card alive.
  • Super Mode: Once Riku gets 30 Dark Points (obtained by taking damage or breaking enemy cards), he will enter Dark Mode. Dark Mode gives Riku increased speed and power, plus it lets him use sleights without requiring the Mickey Friend Card.
  • Tagline:
    • "Adventure is in the cards." - Chain of Memories
    • "Memory is the key." - Re:Chain of Memories
  • 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.
  • There Can Be Only One: Since everything he has and does are owed to Riku, Riku Replica wants to kill his real counterpart so he can become his own person.
  • This Cannot Be!: Marluxia reacts with "It can't be!" to Riku Replica's appearance just after he's finished mocking Sora, telling him that if he loses his memories his heart will no longer be able to feel or care, just like Vexen's pathetic imitation of his Riku.
    Riku Replica: Take another guess.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: The four Raid sleights, where Sora throws the Keyblade... and it returns. Justified due to the Keyblade having a Summon to Hand power. Riku's Barrage Sleight is similar, though his Soul Eater doesn't have the Summon to Hand justification.
  • Time Stands Still: The Lethal Frame Sleight. Sora uses Stop to freeze time, then approaches a target and slashes several times with the Keyblade before unfreezing time, causing the target to take several hits of damage. You regain control while the damage is being applied to the enemy, which allows you to create a stunlock combo by just spamming Lethal Frame over and over again on the same enemy.
  • 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. Though, in the end, it's Naminé who has the last word.
    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?!"
    Naminé: "You'll forget me, but that's just the links of the chain of memories coming undone... I want to believe, that our chain of memories will be connected again someday..."
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: As Sora's heart is manipulated by Naminé, 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.
  • Two Words: Added Emphasis: Phil in Olympus Coliseum, and he keeps getting the number of words wrong.
    Phil: Two words: You! Ain't! Heroes!
    Sora: You're wrong!
    Goofy: Yeah, he said three words.
    • This is repeated later in this same world, after Hades is defeated:
    Sora: The games are canceled? How come?
    Phil: Three words: everyone's pooped!
    Goofy: Wait a minute, that was only two—
    Sora: You gotta be kidding!
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change:
    • Once again, the 100-Acre Woods has no combat whatsoever (aside from one section involving protecting Pooh from bees) and instead has a selection of minigames for Sora to play with Pooh and friends.
    • Averted with Atlantica, which ditches its unique swimming controls from the first game in favor of playing like the rest of the game.
  • The Unfought: Despite being the secondary antagonist of Reverse/Rebirth, Zexion is never fought; he's finished off in a cutscene. Averted in Re: Chain of Memories, where he's fought after attempting to corrupt Riku at Destiny Islands.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Sora spends thirteen floors walking straight into the Organization's trap.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Zantetsuken in the remake. It breaks Cards and renders them unable to be used for the rest of the fight. However, it has a horribly high cost (27 or 0) and does barely any damage at all, making it worthless compared to using the three stocked Cards individually. Furthermore, since the remake has no multiplayer, Card Breaks against enemies is really only significant against bosses, who lose a Card permanently if it's broken, and even then you can just use normal 0 Cards instead for the same purpose.
  • Use Your Head: Using Goofy as a battering ram in a sleight exclusively for the PS2 version.
  • 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.
  • Video Game Remake: As noted above, the game was remade as Kingdom Hearts: Re:Chain of Memories for the PS2 in 2007 (Japan) and 2008 (North America). It features full 3D graphics and voice-acted cutscenes previously impossible due to GBA limitations. It also adds content, including two additional boss fights, cards, sleights, and reaction commands from Kingdom Hearts II. In Japan, the game was shipped together with Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix, while in North America, it was released standalone.
  • Villainous Breakdown:
    • You can tell how terrified Zexion is when he is confronted by Axel after Riku defeated him just from his face. Especially since he brings Riku Replica with him. As cherry on top, he goes absolutely ballistic when Axel orders the replica to dispose of him.
    • Also, Larxene after Sora defeats her once and for all, causing her to fade away (see both Alas, Poor Villain above).
  • Vocal Dissonance:
    • Due to both Miyu Irino and Haley Joel Osment's voices changing before the remake, Sora sounds close to as he does in Kingdom Hearts II but slightly higher to give the illusion that Sora is still 14. This effect was later applied to all future games that would use 14 year-old Sora, including Re:coded and Dream Drop Distance (by the time of the latter game, Irino and Osment were both 24).
    • The bizarre part is that a handful of voice clips in the remake were ripped straight out of Kingdom Hearts instead of being re-recorded, so you have instances where Sora is shouting KH2-style battle grunts then casts Aero and suddenly sounds several years younger.
  • 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.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: The battle against the card soldiers in Wonderland forcefully demonstrates the importance of sleights to the player, who up until that point might have gotten away with ignoring the card mechanics and just throwing out attacks one by one. If you try that here, the never-ending stream of enemy attack cards virtually guarantees that your cards will be broken before you can land a hit.
  • 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.
    • Destiny Islands in Reverse/Rebirth. It's where it's revealed to Riku that it was him, not Ansem that opened the door back at Destiny Islands, causing it to be lost to darkness.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Pluto. His only scene is an archive footage from the ending of the previous game. Sora, Donald, and Goofy apparently never catch up with Pluto and learn the contents of Mickey's letter, since in the next scene, Pluto is not with them.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: Riku's Inverse Break Sleight in the remake, where Riku and Mickey stand back to back and start shooting orbs of darkness and light at enemies.

There is always sleep between part and meet
with our usual words on the usual street.
So let us part like we always do…
And in a world without you
I’ll dream of you.
When I come to, let us meet
With our usual words on the usual street.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Kingdom Hearts Re Chain Of Memories


To Find Is To Lose

In "Kingdom Hearts: (Re) Chain of Memories," upon entering Castle Oblivion, Sora, Donald and Goofy find themselves faced with an enigmatic cloaked figure, the ruler of the castle. Thinking him a Heartless, they raise their weapons. Donald tries to attack with magic, only to find that nothing happens when he tries to use his spells. He wonders what's going on. The figure tells him and the others that it should be obvious: that the second they foot in the castle, they forgot every spell and ability they ever knew. He tells them that in Castle Oblivion, to find is to lose and to lose is to find.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / BagOfSpilling

Media sources: