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Video Game / Kingdom Hearts

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Simple and clean is the way that you're making me feel tonight… / It's hard to let it go...note 

"I've been having these weird thoughts lately... like, is any of this for real or not?"

Kingdom Hearts, released for the PlayStation 2 in 2002, is the first game in the Kingdom Hearts series, which merges characters from Disney and Square Enix properties along with a slew of original characters.

The story kicks off with three teenage friends: Sora, Riku, and Kairi. They live on the Destiny Islands, but seeking adventure, the trio plans on building a raft and setting sail into the unknown. But then a shadowy storm engulfs the islands and separates Sora from his friends. He soon learns that the worlds beyond his home (almost all of which are versions of the lands different Disney animated films are set in) are far larger and stranger than he ever imagined, and the same darkness that separated the trio is threatening them all. However, it turns out he now has the (very literal) key to stopping it...


The game got two Updated Rereleases. The first, called Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix, was released in Japan only late in 2002. It uses the English dub with Japanese subtitles and text, adds the Regional Bonuses given to the North American version, and contains a slew of bonus content: a new difficulty (Proud Mode), weapons, items, abilities, cutscenes, a new Bonus Boss, and a new secret ending. The second, an HD version of the Final Mix version, came with the Compilation Rerelease Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD ReMIX released worldwide in 2013. Outside of the graphical upgrade, it has PlayStation 3 Trophy support, some slight gameplay tweaks such as assigning the camera controls to the second analogue stick, two new abilities (EXP Zero and Combo Master) and an orchestrated soundtrack. This version was then ported to the PlayStation 4 and later the Xbox One as part of the HD 1.5+2.5 ReMIX compilation with all of the aforementioned enhancements from the PS3 version as well as the addition of a Cutscene Theater Mode (as optional DLC) and increasing the in game framerate from 30 to 60fps. That compilation, alongside Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8: Final Chapter Prologue, Kingdom Hearts III + Re Mind, and Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory, arrived on Windows PC via the Epic Games Store on March 30, 2021.


A manga adaptation by Shiro Amano was released not long after the game. It has been translated into English twice; first by Tokyopop, then again with a new translation in 2013 by Yen Press.

This game contains examples of:

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    Tropes A-M 
  • 30 Minutes, or It's Free!: Lampshaded by the Genie in the Agrabah stage:
    Genie: So, master, what'll you have for Wish Number-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r Two?
    Aladdin: Hmm, how about making me a fabulously wealthy prince?
    Genie: Oooh! Money! Royalty! Fame! Why didn't I think of that? Okay, you asked for it! A hundred servants and a hundred camels loaded with gold! [pretends to dial an invisible phone] Just dial that number and I'll deliver it in 30 minutes or less, or your meal's free. Hey, I'll even throw in a cappuccino!
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole:
    • If you chose to believe the ending in Alice in Wonderland was actually just a dream then it starts to become confusing on how Sora, Donald, and Goofy were able to visit this world.
    • In Aladdin, the Cave of Wonders specifically states that only a "diamond in the rough" would be allowed to enter it and that anyone else who tries to enter would be killed, yet Sora and his friends have no problem freely entering the cave as they please, and even Jafar is able to enter despite a major plotpoint of the film being that he could not enter. And before you say "Genie Did It", Jafar didn't use any of his wishes for that.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Even after Jasmine is carried off to another world (and Genie offers to bring her back with Aladdin's third wish), Aladdin readily keeps his promise to wish for Genie's freedom as opposed to his original story, where he was reluctant let him go. Granted, he trusted Sora's party would bring Jasmine back eventually, and Genie does decide to go with Sora to make it happen.
  • Adapted Out: Due to the game compressing plotlines, several characters get left by the wayside.
    • Professor Archimedes Q. Porter, Tantor, and the ship crew are absent from Deep Jungle, the world based on Tarzan
    • The Sultan of Agrabah, Rajah, and Razoul the Guard are not present in the game's retelling of Aladdin. Likewise, Aladdin never adopts the "Prince Ali" identity to woo Jasmine.
    • Geppetto's cat Figaro is not present in Monstro.
    • The Caterpillar, Tweedle Bros, the Dodo, and a number of other minor characters do not appear in Wonderland.
    • Christopher Robin is absent from 100 Acre Wood with Sora filling his role.
    • The Lost Boys and John and Michael Darling are absent in the Neverland world. Hook's crew, with the exception of Mr. Smee, are replaced by Heartless.
    • The Olympus Colosseum world only features Herc, Phil, and Hades from Hercules, with Cerberus, the Rock Titan, and the Ice Titan appearing as bosses. Later entries would bring in more of the cast.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Zig-zagged for Cinderella. A picture of her shown at the beginning depicts her as a brunette, but when she shows up in person her hair is blonde like she's normally portrayed.
  • A.I. Breaker: Possessed Riku is one of the game's toughest bosses, but it's possible to lock him in a loop preventing him from ever using his Dark Aura move.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Unlike the rest of the Disney villains, Clayton is treated like just another victim of The Heartless rather as a megalomaniac psychopath, whose heart was lost when he'd a moment of weakness and became an emotionless puppet for them to use. After his death, the party expresses pity for him, with Tarzan saying that Clayton was a lonely, bitter and friendless man, and so an easy target for the Heartless.
  • Alien Geometries: The Bizarre Room.
  • All for Nothing: This is possible in Wonderland when Sora obtains all four boxes of evidence. There is still a one-in-five chance that Donald and/or Goofy would be labeled as the culprit and imprisoned, making the following battle a lot harder (though it is possible to just run over and break their prison open when the battle starts).
  • All There in the Manual:
    • According to one of the series' Ultimania books, King Mickey is the voice that guides Sora in the Dive to the Heart at the beginning of the game. This explains why the three weapons you get to have Sora choose from have Mickey's insignia on them.
    • The original manual from the English version of the game is the only source that gives Sora, Riku, and Kairi's ages.
  • All the Worlds are a Stage: The final dungeon includes a series of platforms with portals to other worlds — the one for Halloween Town takes you back inside Oogie's Manor, an area you can't actually get to in the "real" town at that point. It also includes the Hundred Acre Wood, but that's the one area without any enemies. Sora, Donald, and Goofy also change form while in the portals for Halloween Town and Atlantica.
  • Always Night: Traverse Town, Neverland, and Halloween Town all take place perpetually at night. In fact, the only level with any real form of the passage of time is Agrabah, in which some areas are daylight, and others are night, due to the amount of time it takes to travel between the two (which is thankfully skipped with a brief cutscene). Olympus Coliseum also sometimes switches to night for some battles, with the implication being that the tournaments take place over several days, as opposed to the twenty minutes or so the player spends on them.
  • Anachronic Order: Ansem's Report is collected page by page as you defeat the members of the Disney Villains alliance in the second half of the game, and you never get the pages in consecutive order. For most of the game, you only obtain odd-numbered pages (starting with page 1, which Jafar has), but they do give you a fair understanding of what Ansem was doing before he went missing. Later on, you get all the even-numbered pages at once from Aerith (note ), and they change the meaning of the rest of the report completely.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: Subverted. Though Sora turns into a Heartless near the end of the game, he turns back shortly after thanks to The Power of Love.
  • And This Is for...: During the Olympus Coliseum levels, Donald will occasionally shout "For Daisy!" after a victory.
  • Apocalypse How: Class X-2. Although it's downplayed quite a bit (possibly due to the age of the primary target audience), the universe in which the games are set is essentially being ripped apart at the seams; by the beginning of the first game, many worlds (and their presumably billions of inhabitants) have been completely obliterated, and the remaining ones are in danger of suffering the same fate. Traverse Town, the main city in the game, is essentially an interdimensional refugee camp for the few survivors, and even it is in danger of falling, being subject to a sizable attack not long after the player arrives.
  • Apologetic Attacker: During the first boss fight with Jafar, he has Genie under his control and tells him to attack you. What Genie actually does is apologize, then give a weak attack that also spawns HP orbs.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: The party is limited to a three-man team, so you cannot bring Donald, Goofy, and whatever additional party member specific to a world together, even if cutscenes show them together. Notably, you cannot perform the Trinities without both Donald and Goofy in your team.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Some of your assistants are incompetent even if you try to tweak their behavior.
  • Badass Boast: Several when Sora's about to face off against villains; one notable example has Maleficent screeching, "You poor, simple fools! You think you can defeat me? Me, the mistress of ALL EVIL?!"
  • Badass Normal: Captain Hook. Consider it this way. By this point in the game, Sora has punched out very powerful Heartless, a god-like genie, god-like entities in general, villains the size of small buildings, etc. You have an insane aerial advantage over Hook as well. Also, he's not overflowing with the power of darkness either (at least compared to other villains) and lacks real magic. Yet somehow, he still manages to put up a good, solid fight and doesn't die. It's not an isolated incident either. Captain Hook is tough to beat in future games featuring him as a boss as well. It's also heavily implied that Ars Arcanum, yes, that Ars Arcanum, the most iconic and enduring of Sora's powerful Limit Break moves, was originally Captain Hook's, as he uses a similar flurry of high speed slashes as a combo and beating the fight is how Sora learns the move.
  • Barrier Change Boss: The Phantom Heartless boss (an optional fight unless you want the Stopga spell and reopened access to Neverland's Clock Tower; it's unleashed after defeating the fourth boss of Hollow Bastion) can only be damage by hitting it with specific magic when its orb is glowing with the corresponding colors. Red means its weak to Fire, blue is Blizzard, yellow is Thunder, and white means you should hit it with physical attacks.
  • Barrier Maiden: The Princesses of Heart are this. Their pure, darkness-free hearts are necessary to open Hollow Bastion's keyhole, whose appearance heralds Kingdom Hearts. After defeating the Behemoth and sealing the final keyhole, the princesses (minus Kairi) decide to stay in Hollow Bastion to fend off the darkness as long as they can until Sora can defeat Ansem and seal Kingdom Hearts.
  • The Battle Didn't Count:
    • Upon arriving in Traverse Town, Sora is confronted by Leon. Either Leon wins (and beats Sora unconscious) or loses (and Sora passes out from the effort). The only difference is that if Sora "wins", he gains experience from the fight and receives a Elixir from Aerith after the battle with the Guard Armor.
    • Likewise the first match with Cloud doesn't have to be won; either way Cloud is attacked from behind by Cerberus.
  • Battleship Raid: The World of Chaos, the Final Boss.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Maleficent and Ansem.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: The monster-filled Halloween Town (The Nightmare Before Christmas).
  • Big Good:
    • Ansem is portrayed as this; he's been researching the Heartless for a long time and presumably has the most knowledge about them. Other characters say he'll help you defeat the Heartless, but he's gone missing, so you need to find him. However, this is completely turned on its head once you get to Hollow Bastion and find out that he turned himself into a Heartless and has been commanding the Heartless from behind the scenes. However, the trope is Double Subverted, due to details revealed in the sequel.
    • Mickey, to a lesser extent. He sets much of the plot in motion by sending Donald and Goofy to find Sora, and only appears to help out right at the last minute, instantly vaporizing two Darksides with a second Keyblade.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Sora defeats Ansem, saves Riku from the darkness, and teams up with King Mickey to stop the destruction of all worlds. However, he is separated from Riku and Kairi (the people he spent the entire game trying to save) in the process, and is now left in an unknown world without a clear direction of where he needs to go. In addition, Riku and King Mickey are stuck in the realm of darkness until they can find a way out, but the game does end on a hopeful note with Sora, Donald and Goofy determined to find them.
  • Black Cloak:
    • The creepy figure in a brown cloak Sora encounters shortly before the islands are attacked. He's actually the disembodied Ansem.
    • The two mysterious figures clashing in "Another Side, Another Story" secret ending wear hooded black coats. Mickey joins them in the updated "Deep Dive" ending from Final Mix.
    • The Phantom is effectively a Heartless Dementor. It's one of the only Heartless lacking visible Supernatural Gold Eyes.
    • In Final Mix, the Unknown shows up in his Organization cloak.
  • Bonus Boss:
    • Sephiroth and Ice Titan, in Olympus Colosseum; Phantom, in Neverland; Kurt Zisa, in Agrabah; and the Unknown, who only appears in the Final Mix version, in Hollow Bastion.
    • For the Olympus Colosseum world, Hades and Hercules are Bonus Bosses, since fighting them isn't a requirement for anything other than 100% Completion.
  • Bonus Stage:
    • The Olympus Coliseum Cups can be skipped entirely, should the player choose. However, they net Sora and co. several useful spells, abilities and weapons if completed (the Phil Cup grants the Gravity Spell, the Pegasus Cup grants the Strike Raid Ability, the Hercules Cup earns the Metal Chocobo Keychain and Herc's Shield, clearing all three earns access to Yellow Trinity Marks and the Olympia Keychain, and the Hades Cup grants Spell upgrades to Blizzard, Thunder and Gravity, the Genji Shield for Goofy, the Lionheart Keychain, and the Trinity Limit Ability; clearing it again with Sora alone and then in the time trial nets the Save the Queen staff for Donald and the Save the King shield for Goofy).
    • 100 Acres Wood is completely optional. It is possible to finish the game without ever knowing that there is a Winnie-the-Pooh reference in the game at all. However, you will miss out on a lot of useful items, the Bambi summon, and Stopra (required to beat Phantom in Neverland). And of course, fun times playing minigames with Pooh and friends, since there are no enemies.
    • While Monstro cannot be avoided, you don't actually have to complete the level. You can just move on to a new world after landing there because there's no keyhole in Monstro since he's not a "world" but a creature. Clearing him, however, earns Sora the High Jump ability and Stop spell.
    • Either Atlantica or Halloween Town can be this depending on the player's choices. Only one of them is needed to complete the game since the player can choose to immediately go to Neverland from there and afterwards moving to the next required world without ever visiting the other world the player didn't choose to go to. However, both worlds net the player some useful abilities (Ursula's second battle upgrades the player's Thunder magic, and beating Oogie's Manor earns the player a new level of the Gravity spell).
  • Bookcase Passage: The Library at Hollow Bastion contains a puzzle where you need to rearrange books to open up passages found behind bookcases.
  • Bookends:
    • One of the first Heartless encountered by Sora at the very beginning of game (and the first boss) is the giant humanoid Darkside. Darkside later reappears at the end of the game as part of the final Boss Rush.
    • The field and battle themes of the final level, End of the World, reprise the music from the Dive to the Heart at the very beginning of the game.
    • A less noticeable one, but the first villain for the conspiracy that is encountered, Jafar, and the last one opened up for a fight, Hades, are both from films directed by John Musker and Ron Clements (Aladdin and Hercules, respectively.)
    • The Dive to the Heart ends with Sore being told that he will be the on to open the door. The first Stinger's last line elaborates on this:
    Remember, Sora. You are the one who will open the door to the light.
  • Boring Yet Practical: The Leaf Bracer ability in Final Mix/1.5, which does nothing except keep you from taking damage as you cast Cure/ra/ga. You will want this active during basically every boss battle.
  • Boss Bonanza: Hollow Bastion has you fighting 4 incredibly tough bosses. First you fight Riku after regaining the Keyblade. Then after you reach the Castle Chapel, Maleficent comes in to stop you from reaching the princesses, and immediately afterwards, she gets turned into a dragon by Riku, and after defeating her, you must fight an incredibly powered up version of Riku when you get into the Grand Hall.
  • Boss Corridor: Several bosses in the game have a small hall or cave prior to their rooms, but the definitive version is in Hollow Bastion after you kill Dragon Maleficent. After returning to the room prior to the Dragon Maleficent boss fight, which was where you fought non-Dragon Maleficent and where the Disney Villain meetings took place in prior cutscenes, a wall shatters, and it leads to the Grand Hall, where the Princesses of Heart are sealed. Crossing the hall takes you into the second Riku battle, only he's now possessed by Ansem, and starts the beginning of the endgame that takes a real step up in difficulty.
  • Breather Episode: The 100 Acre Wood; this level involves zero fighting, and essentially has Sora take Christopher Robin's place as the human friend of Winnie The Pooh and friends. This level can be accessed right before heading for Hollow Bastion.
  • Breath Weapon: Cerberus, Giant Ursula, Dragon Maleficent, and Chernabog.
  • Bridal Carry: In Neverland, Riku carries Kairi, who has lost her heart.
  • Butt-Monkey: Captain Hook is this during the end of Neverland. After you make his life a living hell (see Video Game Cruelty Potential) he lands in the water and runs away since the crocodile's after him.
  • Call-Back: Everything about the Ultima Weapon Keyblade. At its center is the Dream Sword from the very beginning of the game, it's covered in golden coral filigree that brings Destiny Islands to mind, its teeth are, like the Kingdom Key, a replica of Sora's necklace, and its keychain is a gilded heart connected to the Keyblade by glimmering thread.
  • The Cameo: Mickey appears in the flesh exactly once in the entire game: after Ansem's defeat, he appears out of nowhere on the other side of Kingdom Hearts to seal the door from the inside.
  • Camera Screw:
    • One of the main criticisms of the game. Combined with very small combat environments, this can lead to a great deal of frustration.
    • Luckily, in the Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix re-release, the camera is mapped to the right analog stick to help with this. But even so, if you happen to have to go into a corner to platform jump the camera will get stuck and you will still have to make a blind jump.
  • Challenge Run:
    • Certain trophies in the 1.5 ReMIX version are unlocked by beating the game while fulfilling certain challenges (For example, never changing your equipment or defeating the final boss in under 15 hours).
    • Because the game does not lock you into a world before continuing, you only need to beat a few worlds (the ones that give you the Gummi Blocks upon completion) before progressing to the next area. Thus it's possible in theory to beat the game without having even set foot in Atlantica or Halloween Town. In fact, certain scenes are altered if you do this.
  • Changing Gameplay Priorities: The big change comes when you learn Cure magic. The game can be easily divided into "pre-Cure" and "post-Cure" sections. Healing magic is so overpoweringly useful that it single-handedly makes Magic Points the most important stat in the game. Even more so in Final Mix, which adds the Leaf Bracer ability, allowing Cure to be used as a form of temporary invulnerability.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • When Leon picks up the Keyblade, it appears back in Sora's hand, indicating Sora as its master. [[spoiler:This doesn't happen when Riku plays keepaway with the Keyblade and tosses it back in Traverse Town, first hinting that Riku is the rightful wielder. Once Sora proves the strength of his heart after Riku succumbs to darkness and takes it back by force, the Keyblade properly returns to him, deeming him the more worthy wielder.
    • The locations for the Keyholes in many of the worlds are inside conspicuous-yet-innocuous looking objects that you come across.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: At the beginning of the game, Sora encounters a strange robed figure while in the Secret Place. The figure appears out of nowhere, monologues about the darkness for a bit, and disappears without a trace. That figure turns out to be Ansem, the main villain of the story.
  • The Chessmaster: Ansem.
  • Chest Monster:
    • In Wonderland, you will find the Mad Hatter's Tea Garden and can sit down in one of seven chairs to receive unbirthday presents. Most of them will give Sora, Donald and Goofy HP/MP balls and a few other gifts, but two chairs, which are Alice's big red chair and one of the middle chairs on one side of the table, will make a Heartless unbirthday cake appear, explode, and fill the garden with enemies and wipe out the table; you will need to destroy the enemies to leave and then come back to restore the table. The chairs can only be used once each, so you can fight two sets of Heartless and get other items, but then the room will no longer have a purpose.
    • You'll also find chest monsters in the final dungeon, the End of the World. Opening some of the chests in the first area will cause a large dark ball of energy to shoot out of the chest and take you to an arena where you have to fight off Invisibles, Darkballs, and Angel Wings. One of these chests also has a Behemoth boss in it, too.
  • Climax Boss: The two-punch dragon-Maleficent and possessed-Riku fights occur at the end of the penultimate dungeon and are accompanied by multiple dramatic reveals and then an increase in the game's difficulty.
  • Clipped-Wing Angel: Guard Armor and Maleficent are the only bosses with multiple consecutive forms to escape this. Jafar, Oogie Boogie and Ansem all follow their original forms with much less dangerous second forms, while Ursula is either this or One-Winged Angel depending purely on your equipment setup. Oogie's Manor is the worst offender, as rather than listing his blind spots it's easier to note the few places to stand where he can hit you with his attacks, and you can even just walk away from the fight and come back healed up if you're somehow having trouble.
  • Cognizant Limbs: The Guard Armor. Also a case of Floating Limbs — they can even be fought separately in tournament matches.
  • Colossus Climb: The boss fight against Oogie's Manor requires Sora to climb the giant and destroy dark blobs found all over his body. You can also climb other enemies like Darkside or the Rock Titan, but he's by far the biggest.
  • Combination Attack: Trinity Limit has Sora, Donald, and Goofy combining their powers to deal large amount of damage.
  • Cooldown Hug: Kairi to Sora to bring him out of his Heartless form.
  • Covers Always Lie: Downplayed example. The cover art for the game has a somewhat melancholic and sad feel to it, which led some young players to think this was going to be an angsty or scary game. However, while the game has some tense scenes (specially near the end) and the secret ending is very foreboding and violent, the game is almost completely family friendly and most of it consists of Sora traveling to colorful worlds, helping others alongside his friends and smacking cute enemies with an oversized key. Additionally, the event depicted on said cover art (all of the main characters sitting together in a dark city) never takes place in game, although it's probably meant to be metaphorical in the first place.
  • Critical Status Buff: The "Berserk" ability increases Attack while in critical health.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss:
    • What few attacks the Rock Titan has are easy to avoid, and the fact that he's the last Hades Cup fight (after more challenging ones like Hades himself) just makes it weird. His only purpose seems to be to eat away as much time in the Hades Cup Time Trial as possible.
    • Sephiroth has, essentially, one more HP meter than Scan shows. Deplete that, and then the purple meter will start going down. But the problem lies in managing to hit him with your Keyblade to begin with...
  • Damsel in Distress: Alice and all the Disney princesses — as well as Wendy, Jane and Terk. Kairi's situation plays with this trope in that her body was comatose for most of the game (so it wasn't really her fault that she couldn't escape or fight back on her own) and her heart was safe within Sora's the whole time.
  • Death Glare: Clayton finds himself on the receiving end of a triple glare from Sora, Jane and Tarzan after he tried to shoot Terk in the treehouse.
  • Deflector Shields: The Aero spell and its upgrades. Capable of deflecting the Ice Titan's small shards without blocking, reducing all damage taken by half, and when upgraded to -ra or -ga, they shred enemy health like nothing else if you choose to stand right next to them and let the wind cut them to ribbons.
  • Degraded Boss:
    • The Behemoth, the "boss" of the second Hollow Bastion visit and the last boss encountered in the world, shows up again in the Hades Cup and at the End of the World as little more than a Giant Mook.
    • The tournaments do this to a few other bosses as well — at one point, you fight two upgraded Stealth Sneaks.
    • Final Mix replaces them with Arch Behemoths at the End of the World and a Destroyed Behemoth in the Hades Cup.
  • Determinator: Beast, who survived the destruction of his world and got to Hollow Bastion to save Belle without the help of a Gummi Ship through sheer force of will alone. And he will not let a spoiled brat, a crazy witch, and some actual ugly freaks of nature stop him once he's there.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • Certain cutscenes will play out differently if you don't go through the worlds in the order encouraged by the map and enemy levels.
      • Upon completing Deep Jungle, a cutscene will play where the villains are shown to have acquired a Princess of Heart; if you have already completed Wonderland as expected it will be Alice, but if you haven't it will be Snow White.
      • If you go out of your way to defeat Maleficent at Hollow Bastion before fighting Cerberus at Olympus Coliseum, she won't be present alongside Hades in the following cutscene.
      • If you complete Hollow Bastion before Monstro, Riku will still appear in the latter world but won't help you in the fight against Parasite Cage or speak to Sora much due to being possessed by Ansem.
    • You can't leave Traverse Town without viewing a small cutscene that introduces Trinity Marks, as there is one in front of every save point. A Blue one next to the World Exit, a Green one in the Accessory Shop, and another Blue one in the Magician's Study.
    • If Sora tries to heal Donald and Goofy during the Guard Armor battle, he'll deliver some generic battle quotes instead of saying their names.
    • When Riku demonstrates his dark powers by turning Sora's shadow into a Heartless, Sora's model will not cast a shadow in any world until he defeats Shadow Sora in Neverland.
    • In Atlantica, near the Sunken Ship, there's a switch that you normally examine to get Sebastian to press it. If, while fighting Glut the shark there, you ignore him and try to examine that switch, a text box appears that says, "Isn't there something else you should be doing?" instead. Trying it again has the text box appear again, except this time it says "Now is not the time!"
    • If Sora is somehow "caught" on an object when falling and is stuck in the falling animation for a long enough time, the game will automatically destroy the object — with a unique sound and visual effect coded specifically for this failsafe. There's even more foresight in this, too. This can happen even to chests with items in them, and they will respawn upon reentering the room they're in if this happens.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation: Unlike the original film where Clayton becomes entangled in vines and accidentally hangs himself, here he dies by being crushed by the Stealth Sneak's carcass.
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon: Hollow Bastion. Let's review: it's the place where all the Disney Villains have been meeting, Riku and Kairi are there, and it's said to be where the Heartless originate from. This is lampshaded in one of Nomura's interviews, where he asserts that a lesser game would've actually ended with Hollow Bastion and the Maleficent battle.
  • Disney Death: Sora, if being turned into a Heartless counts as death. In any case, it should at least constitute Loss of Identity, which it doesn't in Sora's case.
  • Doomed Hometown: Destiny Islands, a quintessentially relaxed tropical paradise, is destroyed by the Heartless, forcing Sora to go on the world-hopping adventure he and Riku always dreamed of. The end of the conflict directly leads to the restoration of Destiny Islands, fortunately.
  • Double Weapon: The Final Boss uses a polearm with a copy of Riku's Soul Eater on either end.
  • Dream Intro: The game starts off with a dream sequence taking place on some giant pillars of stained glass, wherein a disembodied voice talks to Sora. This sequence acts as a tutorial for some basic gameplay, lets you customize Sora, gives Sora a psychic dream for some Foreshadowing, and establishes the bizarre nature of the plot.
  • Dual Boss: Leon and Yuffie in the Pegasus Cup, followed by Leon and Cloud in the Hades Cup. You also get to fight Tidus, Wakka, and Selphie all at once at the start of the game if you take the time to beat them all.
  • Duel Boss: Hercules, the Ice Titan, Sephiroth, Riku once he's been possessed, and three stages of the final boss sequence (four if you count Darkside's last appearance).
  • Dummied Out: According to unused files and code, It was originally planned for Sora to also be able to summon Bahamut, a ferocious, dragon diety that is a recurring character through out the Final Fantasy series.
  • Easily Forgiven: Sora doesn't hold a grudge against Donald and Goofy for abandoning him early on at Hollow Bastion when the Keyblade chooses Riku (its intended wielder) over Sora, leaving him at the mercy of powerful Heartless with just a wooden toy sword, and then deciding to rejoin Sora later on when the Keyblade chooses Sora again once Riku is corrupted by the darkness.
  • Easing into the Adventure: After a Dream Intro, the game follows the relatively normal lives of Sora and his friends on the Destiny Islands.
  • Early Adaptation Weirdness: The promotional comic "Lo Scettro e il Regno" seems to be based on a combination of concept art and an outsider's idea of how the game might progress, and as such it's completely bonkers in relation to Kingdom Hearts. Among other things, the worlds that Sora and Riku chase the comic's original villain through have built-in portals to each other, said worlds are not ones visited in the first game, and even the way Sora wields the Keyblade is strange (swinging it by its chain, which comes from concept art, and holding it upside-down when at rest, which doesn't).
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The Final Mix update added the Unknown as a bonus boss. He is actually Xemnas, the Final Boss of the next numbered title.
  • Early Game Hell: Can be invoked if the player's answers to Tidus, Wakka, and Selphie during the Dive into the Heart sequence result in a journey beginning at night. This means leveling up will be very hard for you in the beginning, only to drop dramatically once you reach a certain point.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • This is the only Kingdom Hearts game to not feature a Mundane Made Awesome-esque chest opening animation whenever Sora opens big chests.
    • When Sora summons the Keyblade there is no particle effect indicating he materializes it out of thin air like the later games.
    • The only difficulty levels available in this game are Normal Mode and Expert Mode, with Beginner, Standard, and Proud Mode not being introduced until the Final Mix version.
    • There is a bigger emphasis on platforming; this later returned in Dream Drop Distance. As a result, there's also more of a focus on environmental interaction for small bonuses in this game compared to others.
    • The Scan ability has to be unlocked via level up; it is one of the starting abilities in later games. Also, the HP bars are displayed as five overlapping bars, each with a different colour, with some later bosses having more HP than those five bars.
    • There are special icons called Trinities that lead to Sora and co. interacting with the environment to unlock items and areas. These never show up again.
    • In terms of gameplay, the first game's combat system and the general "feel" (such as the speed Sora moves around, the camera system, the magic system, and etc.) have kind of become the odd duck in the series. The newer games have generally been much faster, flashier, and varied in terms of the combat. This is especially true of the original, non-Final Mix version of Kingdom Hearts; Sora is missing several combat abilities that enhance his combos, and their absence makes his skill with the keyblade look practically pedestrian compared to what he can do in II. There's also only a handful of spells in the game and they're generally not as useful as simply attacking, a far cry from the huge variety of powerful spells offered by titles like Birth By Sleep and 3D.
    • This game just fades the screen to black when travelling between areas. Later games would have an Iris Out whose shape changes depending on the world you're in.
    • Unlike later games, Darkness is only shown to be evil, with no indication it can be used for good as well.
    • Kairi is the only character in this game to have a Leitmotif, as opposed to later games which often give them to pretty much everyone. She also has multiple versions of it in this game, afterwards only her II version is used.
    • This is the only game (along with the original Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories) where Haley Joel Osment's voice as Sora is pre-pubescent, as he was 14 (Sora's age) at the time of recording. While most later games depicted Sora as slightly older and Osment's voice deepened to go with it, others depict Sora as his Kingdom Hearts self and he's nonetheless stuck with the same deeper voice codified by Kingdom Hearts II, resulting in Vocal Dissonance.
    • This is also the only game where only two areas result in Art Shift, Halloween Town and Atlantica. Later games make it a point, if possible or needed, that the heroes and their enemies tend to take on aspects or art styles of the worlds to blend in.
    • Mickey Mouse's role is extremely small, and boils down to a single cutscene at the end of the game. In later games, he has a substantially larger role and acts as the Big Good. He also wears his trademark red pants in said cutscene instead of a unique KH-styled outfit.
  • Eldritch Location: The final dungeon is called 'End of the World', which is an understatement for how utterly insane it is. The first area is actually an invisible maze that only reveals its true appearance during battles (rather than the sea of fragments of destroyed worlds it initially appears to be), the second area is a large multicoloured snowy vertical canyon with no context for what it is, the third is a series of rooms with portals to replicas of each world Sora has visited, and the last portal is an area apparently from Hollow Bastion that Sora has never been to, with a single corridor and a small room (with the corridor itself being cast in darkness in either end and the one that isn't the way out is blocked off by a floating Heartless symbol) along with a huge machine that only provides a slightly vague description of Kingdom Hearts and the Door to Darkness when examined. You can't return to that last room either, because it disappears and exposes the entrance to Chernabog's boss fight. And once you enter Cherabog's volcano after defeating him, the rest is a series of bizarre rooms implied to possibly be fragments of countless worlds, including two paths that lead to the same place, and a big green arena with looks like large stones and teeth lining the walls. And last but not least, the "Final Rest" room is a small room with piles of sand from holes spilling out in the walls, and the door from the Dive to the Heart is here, seemingly not leading to anything, only to lead to Destiny Islands, which quickly becomes destroyed and corrupted. Needless to say, you're better off trying to figure out what these areas are about metaphorically than literally.
  • Empty Shell: Kairi, who is comatose for much of the game. She technically still has her soul inside her, but in the KH-verse the essence of a person is their heart, and Kairi's is within Sora's.
  • Even the Subtitler Is Stumped: When Sora and company run into Tarzan, he uses a gorilla word — "Eh oo, oo-oo ah" — that gets captioned as *&&X%. Eventually, it's revealed that what Tarzan was saying was "heart".
  • Evil All Along: Ansem.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Riku gets warned about this more or less constantly, by Sora and even by Maleficent of all people. He should have listened. Jack Skellington gets a fairly harmless version, wanting to use the local Heartless for dancing. The Disney villains are all surprisingly good about avoiding this trope: several are hoist by their own petards in other ways, but Clayton and Oogie Boogie are the only ones to succumb to darkness and become a Heartless.
  • Evil Makeover: Riku.
  • Evil Makes You Monstrous: Maleficent in dragon form.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Maleficent and Jafar, just like in their movies.
  • Exclusive Enemy Equipment: The Wizard and Defender Heartless drop weapons for Donald and Goofy. Final Mix adds two new Keyblades, (Diamond Dust and One-Winged Angel), gained by beating the Ice Titan and Sephiroth.
  • Exit, Pursued by a Bear: Just as in his movie, Captain Hook is last seen running away across the ocean, pursued by the crocodile.
  • Exploding Barrels: Barrel Spiders.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Defied. Due to Mickey's orders to stick with the Keyblade master, Donald and Goofy reluctantly follow Riku once he proves himself to be the Keyblade's true master, but rejoin Sora the minute he is in danger of being killed.
  • Feud Episode: The trip to Deep Jungle starts with an argument between Sora and Donald that results in them crash-landing; Sora wants to land and look for Riku and Kairi, while Donald wants to leave it alone to continue looking for King Mickey. After they land, they're at each other's throats for a bit, with Sora initially not wanting to say Donald's name to Tarzan and Donald only staying because he and Goofy found a Gummi Block, which he believes to be the king's. From a character development standpoint, this is when their partnership stops being a necessity and starts evolving into a proper friendship, especially after Tarzan explains the importance of not losing one's heart. Of course, this doesn't stop them from arguing about something else upon leaving.
  • Fighting Your Friend: You get to fight Riku two times within the game. The first as his normal self, the second while he is possessed by Ansem.
  • Final Boss, New Dimension: The last world and the location of the final boss is the End of the World, the haphazard collection of worlds destroyed and lost in the darkness. The final boss starts with a sequence in Destiny Islands, which gets ripped apart to make way for the World of Chaos.
  • First Town: Traverse Town.
  • Foreshadowing: Quite a bit.
    • In the introduction, Sora fights a giant Heartless whose hairstyle is somewhat reminiscent of his own. This could very well be him fighting his own inner darkness. It's also sort of a Call-Forward to Kingdom Hearts II where Sora has a chance to turn into such a creature.
    • Cloud is working for Hades because the latter promised to help him find someone he cares about, foreshadowing how Riku ended up working for Maleficent on the promise that she would help him find Sora, and later, Kairi.
    • Throughout the game, Sora hallucinates that Kairi is with him in various places, but only he seems to be able to see and hear her. That's because her heart is in his own heart, so he hasn't been hallucinating after all.
    • Sora also finds a slide in Deep Jungle showing a castle to look "familiar" to him, but he can't understand why since he's never been off his islands. It turns out to be Kairi remembering her old home of Hollow Bastion from within Sora's heart, which affects Sora.
      • Another slide depicts a large sailing ship similar to Captain Hook's Jolly Roger.
      • The final slide depicts two men sword fighting, with the edge of the slide burned by fire. In Hollow Bastion, Sora is forced to fight Riku, whose primary ranged attack is a dark fireball.
    • Triton tells Sora that the Keyblade is a weapon that brings destruction. Given that, in Birth By Sleep, the Keyblade War was revealed to nearly be the catalyst for the destruction of the universe, he's got a point.
      • Triton's point is proven true even the same game, as it's revealed early on by Leon that the Heartless are drawn to the Keyblade. This, of course, means that any world unblemished by the Heartless will rather quickly be overrun after you set foot on it. Whoops.
      • Likewise, Triton's rant about the Keyblade gives the reveal that Keyblades are not inherently good. The latter half of Hollow Bastion hinges on this fact, with the Keyblade of Heart made from the Princesses' hearts.
      • Not to mention that the Greater-Scope Villain of the series, Master Xehanort, has misused his own Keyblade to commit numerous crimes (eventually leading to Atlantica's current predicament, no less).
      • Another bit with Atlantica is how Ursula's bargain with Ariel parallels Maleficent manipulating Riku to turn him against Sora. Likewise, Ariel's remorse for the consequences of her actions and helping to set things right by defeating Ursula foreshadows Riku becoming The Atoner after being possessed by Ansem and helping to seal the door to Kingdom Hearts at the end.
    • When Sora reunites with Riku, Riku briefly takes Sora's Keyblade from him before willingly tossing it back, unlike how it disappeared from Leon's grip. This is a subtle hint that Riku was meant to use the Keyblade to begin with.
    • Unintentional at the time, but notice how the straps on Riku's chest form an "X", and how he gets possessed by Ansem, an incarnation of Xehanort. In Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, Sora has a similar "X" on his chest, and Master Xehanort attempts to pull a similar trick with him. This is because the "X" is a Recusant's Sigil, which allows Xehanort to track whoever is marked with it; in both cases, Xehanort was tracking the hero to use as a potential vessel.
    • Ansem's speech before the first battle with him notes how Riku is simply an adventurous boy who dreams of getting off of his island to explore other worlds. Birth By Sleep and Dream Drop Distance both show that he had these very ambitions as a child, and that he lived on the very same island.
    • Pretty much everything to do with Xemnas/Unknown, from him calling Sora incomplete and claiming that he looks like "him", to the Ansem Report the player gets after the battle discussing what happens to a person's body after their heart is taken by the Heartless. Bonus points for said Ansem Report actually giving the Nobodies their name.
    • After Riku is taken over, his mind or spirit or whatever is shown in a place of darkness, with a voice speaking to him. This shows the beginning of his own journey to come.
  • For Want of a Nail: Kerchak lives both because the Heartless got to Clayton first, and because Sora confronts him right before he can pull the trigger.
  • Four Is Death: There are five separate boss fights in Hollow Bastion: (Unpossessed Riku, Maleficent, Maleficent in dragon form, possessed Riku, and the first Behemoth of the game, in that order), and after defeating the fourth boss fight, cutscenes start that include the Final Keyhole being opened, Kairi recovering, Sora suffering his Disney Death, and then the player is put back in Traverse Town; when they next access the world map, they'll discover that the enemies in all previous levels have gotten stronger, plus it unleashed two of the bonus bosses into the game, one of whom seals off the Clock Tower in Neverland until you can get rid of it (easier said than done).
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • Trying to skip the cutscene just before the minigame with Tigger in Rabbit's garden will freeze the game, requiring a restart.
    • The I.5 Final ReMIX version of the game can crash just by transitioning between rooms, though this isn't common.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Donald and Goofy will not call Sora's name in the battle before they are officially introduced. On the other hand, this trope is zigzagged as Sora will still call out their name if he uses an item to heal them.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • At the beginning of the game, Donald wakes up Goofy with a Thunder spell. In the actual game, Donald (and Sora) wouldn't be able to access the Thunder spell until after doing the preliminary trials at Olympus Coliseum. This can't even be explained with Obfuscating Stupidity.
    • Sora, Donald, and Goofy gain the ability to fly from Tinker Bell in Neverland, but you'll soon discover that they can only fly in Neverland for the most part; in most other worlds, they're limited to gliding. However, they can clearly fly in End Of The World as well with no issues, suggesting that the game limits you to the glide in other worlds so that you won't break the game.
  • Gangplank Galleon: Neverland (Peter Pan), which — despite the name — is nearly all set on Captain Hook's ship, and has him try to make Sora and co. walk the plank before they gain the ability to fly.
  • Genre Blindness: Nearly every villain in the game, including Ansem, who honestly thought darkness was the source of all life in a Disney story.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: Stop flying around the room, Jafar/Iago!
  • Giant Mook: Large Bodies, Fat Bandits, and Aquatanks.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Chernabog. He was originally intended to be the final boss, but due to system limitations and storyboard development, he was shafted. He was still too awesome to leave out, so he got an out-of-the-blue boss fight in the End of the World, complete with "A Night on Bald Mountain" serving as the background music. (There is exactly one, very obscure hint in Traverse Town in the form of a picture that reads "Bald Mountain — 7:00 am", which will likely be dismissed as just another offhand Disney reference, like the Lady and the Tramp mural elsewhere in the town, and not necessarily Foreshadowing).
  • Good Morning, Crono: After Sora's trippy vision and the first boss fight, he wakes up on the beach with Kairi looking down at him.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: The Dalmatians and Princesses of Heart.
  • Gratuitous Italian: The titles of a few pieces on the soundtrack, as well as the vocals from "Destati" and its derivatives.
  • Gravity Screw: Wonderland's Bizarre Room is a partial example. There are several different doors to it hidden throughout the level, and where the "floor" is for the trio depends on which door you use.
  • Green Hill Zone: Hundred Acre Wood (Winnie the Pooh, this is the only area in the game to have zero enemies)
  • Grind Boots: Tarzan, as in the film. Sora apes him during the Jungle Slider minigame. Not only can you do this along trees, but through a cave.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Six out of the thirteen worlds in the game allow you to replace either Donald or Goofy with a party member exclusive to said world.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • It's pretty obvious that choosing the sword, staff or shield is going to influence your stats in favor of attack, magic and defense respectively. What the game doesn't tell you is the choice also affects the order you learn abilities.
    • The three questions Wakka, Selphie and Tidus give effect the speed you level up; the game implies the questions have an effect but never says what.
    • Finding the 99 Dalmatian puppies. Sure, you might stumble upon a couple of these chests by accident, but finding them all? Jiminy's journal tells you how many chests remain unopened in each world, but that still leaves room for a lot of hands-on searching. (While some of the chests switch locations between the original and Final Mix editions, the general rule in both games is that eight worlds — Traverse Town, Wonderland, Deep Jungle, Agrabah, Monstro, Halloween Town, Neverland and Hollow Bastion — have four sets of three puppies each, and Olympus Coliseum has one.)
    • Getting Thunder before fighting the Trickmaster allows you to stun it with said spell, taking what is normally a Wake-Up Call Boss and makes it significantly more manageable. Unfortunately, said spell is in a world with a higher combat level than Wonderland, leaving most players unlikely to pick it up until after fighting said boss.
    • The first boss fight against Ursula is unusually complex compared to the rest of the bosses. What you're supposed to do, per Triton's advice ("To defeat Ursula, you must strike her cauldron with magic.") is use magic on the cauldron in the centre of the room until it overloads with energy and stuns her. If you don't do this and try to attack her normally, she'll take pitiful amounts of damage, and you'll only be able to get maybe one or two combos on her before she uses a spin attack that sends her flying around the room for a good ten seconds.
    • During the fight with the card guards, the fact that you can actually hit the Queen of Hearts (which causes the red cards to freeze up) is actually not mentioned.
    • Kingdom Hearts is one of the biggest offenders in the series. Due to the early emphasis on platforming and puzzles, it's very easy for players to get lost or loop around in maps, particularly for worlds like Wonderland, Monstro and Hollow Bastion. Likewise, many hints towards your next objective are, if not vague, outright Blink-and-You-Miss-It moments. Later games would include Anti-Frustration Features such as maps and Information bars that hint at your next objective.
    • There are those who have a hard time fighting against the Phantom in Neverland. For most first timers, they panic and not know how to stop the countdown which can be done by casting Stop at one of the clock hands before everyone is taken out automatically.
  • Haunted Castle: While no actual ghosts are present, Hollow Bastion counts as this. A strange, supernatural castle abandoned by the original inhabitants in a state of disrepair/mid-repair, mysterious and still-working Magitek, floating platforms, an ocean that flows upward, and is being used as a Evil Tower of Ominousness by Maleficent and her crew of villains. It does not help that the world is essentially ground-zero for the Heartless infestation that has been destroying the universe.
  • Headbutting Heroes: Sora and Donald suddenly end up at each other's throats in Deep Jungle because Donald has chosen to put his single-mined goal of finding the King ahead of the safety of countless worlds under the threat of the Heartless, and is coldly dismissive towards Sora's quest to find his friends. Donald does mellow out eventually when he sees Riku working for Maleficent, and he and Sora become genuine friends.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: It doesn't matter if you win or lose the battle with Leon at the start of the game, things proceed the same way regardless. All that changes is you get a nice exp bonus for winning, and the following cutscene changes. But, either Leon wins and knocks Sora out, or Sora wins and faints from exhaustion while Leon walks it off.
    • The same goes for the battle against Cloud during the preliminaries in Olympus Coliseum. Does not matter who won. Cerberus will appear and stomp on Cloud, knocking him out.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Sora's suicide, to save Kairi. It turns out he's not quite dead a few minutes later, though... he's just became a cuddly, adorable little Heartless.
  • Homosocial Heterosexuality: Sora, Riku and Kairi's situation, since Kairi spends a lot of the game comatose. While Sora and Riku genuinely care about Kairi, on at least one level they see her as something else to compete over. Sora is the first to let go of this mindset, while Riku is so wrapped up in being number one that he can't abide Sora being The Chosen One or her rescuer.
  • Hurt Foot Hop: Powerwilds will often hop around when you block their kicking attacks.
  • Ice Crystals: The Ice Titan will throw shards of ice in this shape at Sora in the Gold Match. Sora can deflect them into the Titan for tech points and to deal damage.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Zig-zagged. Sora ends up in Traverse Town, but Tidus, Wakka, and Selphie were (presumably) killed in the destruction of the Destiny Islands. They get better in the end.
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: There are three identical NPCs in Traverse Town which are easily recognizable by their blue shirts and symmetrical hair styles. One becomes a Heartless during a cutscene, one stands outside the gate to the Third District and the third takes (who even lampshades it) over the accessory shop after Cid starts selling Gummi Blocks.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: Two for each character, one boosting physical power at the cost of magic, and the other boosting magic at the cost of physical damage.
    • For Sora, it's Oathkeeper on the magical side, and Oblivion on the physical side.
    • For Donald, it's the Violetta on the physical side and the Dream Rod on the magical side. A strange inversion occurs with the Dream Rod in that it's arguably easier to get Save the Queen. To elaborate, obtaining the Dream Rod requires getting all level 3 spells, which itself requires that you complete the Dalmatians and Winnie the Pooh sidequest, complete the Hades Cup, and beat two bonus bosses. Compare that to Save the Queen, which requires you simply beat the Hades Cup solo, something you'll have unlocked the ability to do in the process of trying to get the Dream Rod and will want to do if you want Goofy's infinity +1 shield.
    • For Goofy, it's the Herc's Shield on the physical side, and the Dream Shield on the magical side. The Mighty Shield surpasses Herc's as the strongest physical shield in Final Mix and can be found in End of the World in a fairly-placed treasure chest.
    • Divine Rose in the Final Mix version. It is on the physical side, and is even stronger than Oblivion, but has a shorter range of attack.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Ultima Weapon for Sora, which combines the strengths of the two Infinity–1 Swords but loses its critical hit rate. But the boost in power makes up greatly for it. Save the King/Queen for Donald and Goofy, which do the same for their I-1 weapons as well. All three are homages to recurring Final Fantasy weapons.
  • Inn Between the Worlds: Traverse Town, although it's unclear if the game exists in a Multiverse or a single universe with the worlds protected from each other. According to Birth By Sleep, they're in the same universe but the worlds are separate from each other.
  • Interface Spoiler: Hollow Bastion very much seems like the Very Definite Final Dungeon, with a very long non-Disney based dungeon, multiple big events, and 3 climactic bosses. You'd be forgiven for thinking the game is about to come to a close. However, right after you defeat Ansem-possessed Riku, after the screen fades out, you are told you have learned a new attack. It is easy to presume the game is going to keep going even though shortly after Sora performs a Heroic Sacrifice to save Kairi.
  • Inverted Portrait: Sora briefly in the OP, though not entirely upside down.
  • Invisible Parents: For everyone on Destiny Islands, though you do hear Sora's mom's voice exactly once.
  • Invisible Wall: End of the World starts with an invisible maze.
  • It's All Upstairs from Here: Hollow Bastion, and it's a big climb.
  • It Was with You All Along: Kairi's heart was within Sora the entire time post-Destiny Islands' destruction.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: As Riku seals himself behind the door, his parting words to Sora are: "Take care of her." With that, he concedes Kairi chose Sora over him.
  • I Will Find You: Donald and Goofy travel throughout the worlds to find "The Key" and then their king, Mickey. The Key, Sora, in turn tags along with them to find his missing friends, Riku and Kairi.
  • Jungle Japes: Deep Jungle (Tarzan), which features vines, snakes and other jungle creatures.
  • Just Following Orders: After you defeat Lock, Shock and Barrel, Barrel whines as their defeat quote that they were "just following orders." (Oogie Boogie's orders.) He says it again if you talk to him after the battle.
  • Knight, Knave, and Squire: The cheerful and idealistic Goofy is the knight, the more abrasive and goal-oriented Donald is the knave, and the young, inexperienced Sora is the squire.
  • Last Chance Hit Point: The Second Chance ability, when enabled, will ensure that Sora can only be killed by an attack if he is at just 1 hit point; if he has some health and gets a bad hit with the ability, it will stop at 1 and gives him a chance to heal. You will need this ability for some of the bonus bosses such as Sephiroth, who all have very damaging attacks (and Sephiroth has his signature HP to 1 Heartless Angel as well).
  • Legendary Weapon: The Keyblade, a weapon with conflicting myths about its wielder saving the world or bringing it ruin.
  • Like an Old Married Couple:
    • Sora and Donald behave a bit like this in the Deep Jungle world when Sora and Donald get into a fight over looking for Riku and Kairi in Deep Jungle. They even gave each other a bit of silent treatment and turn their backs against each other when they regroup. They get distracted from more bickering through helping Tarzan and Jane Porter stop Clayton from hunting and killing gorillas and they got Sora and Donald to reconcile and become friends again.
    • Sora and Riku start up this kind of bickering in Neverland and Hollow Bastion when Riku reveals that he has fallen into darkness. Sora behaves like a wife who was wronged by her husband when he finds out.
  • Like a Son to Me: Maleficent claims this is how she sees Riku at one point. Riku still has enough self-awareness to be very skeptical.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards:
    • Strength and Defense are set stats that grow moderately but are easily upgradable via accessories or weapons. Magic power, however, is based on how much MP you have, resulting in picking the staff at the game's start having access to ridiculously powerful magic just because you get 1 or 2 more MP than the other selections. Combine with certain Keyblades that upgrade your MP, and Sora can be ripping through enemies with one or two casts compared to having to whack them multiple times with the Keyblade. At least three bosses are based on magic, too, including one of the game's ridiculously hard Bonus Bosses, so that means you're also better prepared for them.
    • Hitting enemies still has use for wizards, as the MP bar is a little deceptive; your MP stat denotes the number of blue bars you have, but hitting enemies builds up a gold bar that refills the blue as you go, and certain spells like the Fire and Blizzard chains take MP from the gold bar first. With every MP you gain, your amount of casts of these goes up exponentially (1MP + gold = 2 casts, 2MP + gold = 4 casts, 3MP + gold = 7 casts...), and there's a lot of enemies that are vulnerable to Fire and Blizzard...
  • Lip Lock: The game showed off a very thorough facial animation system for a large chunk of its cutscenes, but most of the time the characters' faces are locked into a static looping texture with no regard for lip synch.
  • Locked Out of the Fight: This happens to Donald and Goofy when Sora fights the possessed Riku, and again when he fights Darkside at End of the World. In the latter case, Sora jumps into the arena and the magic barrier forms in the split-second before Donald and Goofy can join him.
  • Lost in Translation: In the Japanese version, it's obvious that the voice who speaks to Sora in the Dive into the Heart is Mickey, since he uses a playful form of speech that only the King uses. However, the English version renders the voice in formal English with no quirks that can be attributed to Mickey, leaving the identity of its speaker less certain.
  • Love Triangle: There is an implied one between Sora, Kairi, and Riku — Sora and Riku have a longstanding rivalry, and at the beginning of the game have a competition over the Paopu fruit, said to forever link anyone who shares one. That said, it doesn't come back into play in future installments, and Word of God indicates in an interview for the first Ultimania that Riku doesn't have romantic feelings for Kairi.
  • Low-Level Run: The HD Remix gives you the EXP Zero ability on Proud Mode, which prevents gaining any EXP. Its sole purpose is to allow for a Challenge Run.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Maleficent and Ansem to Riku, Ursula to Ariel (as in the source material). Ansem in particular picks the exact right moment to prey on Riku's insecurities.
  • Manual Leader, A.I. Party: The only party member you control directly is Sora. Everyone else has their own AI, which can be beneficial or detrimental.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: Riku was somewhat guilty of this at the start of the game: calling the darkness that destroyed his world was a deliberate choice, but the destruction of the world itself was unintentional on his part.
  • Mind Screw: The opening. Sora starts off falling, and at one point he's at the beach with Riku holding out his hand, and Sora reaches for it but gets swept away by a wave. Then there's the whole sequence where he's in a void with a disembodied voice speaking to him and talking about a door.
  • Missed Him by That Much: Before Sora, Donald and Goofy meet each other for the first time in Traverse Town, small cutscenes occur whenever Sora goes through a door in the Second District, with Donald and Goofy entering the area through another entry point just as Sora is leaving.
  • Missed the Call: Riku, by being so eager to rush into adventure that he jumped too soon, and at the wrong opportunity. How soon? The Keyblade was supposed to choose Riku, but the second after Riku disappears into darkness, the ownership passes to Sora.
  • Missing Child: Near the beginning of the game, Sora leaves his room through the window and right afterwards his mom calls him down for dinner. The scene changes right as she begins to realize he isn't there. Made even worse considering what happens next.
  • Monster Arena: Olympus Coliseum (Hercules), which consists of a series of tournaments where nearly all the opposing entrants are Heartless or local boss monsters (the exceptions being Hercules, Leon, Cloud and Yuffie).
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Within Monstro, Jiminy is panicking over the fact that Pinocchio seems to have lost his heart, and this happens:
      Pinocchio: Jiminy... I'm not gonna make it...
      [nose grows an inch]
      Pinocchio: Oh... I guess I'm okay!
    • If you're playing Hollow Bastion, there's a very good chance you've just recently done the Hercules Cup in the Coliseum, where Sora tells Phil, "Now I know what you mean by true strength of heart. Mine comes from Donald and Goofy." Now contrast that with where you are when they've just left Sora with the Beast as they go follow Riku. And then again when they realize they messed up and protect Sora. "All for one and one for all!"
    • Doing the challenge matches in Olympus Coliseum. You start at Phil's Cup, working your way up to Pegasus, Hercules, Hades and Gold Cup. The music was cheerful and uplifting, the bosses may be formidable but they have their moments of hilarity and snarking. Then you see a '?????' match, aka Platinum Match. Choose that, and a certain someone appears, a very oppressive music plays, no banter will be offered, and you're in for the single toughest fight in the game.
  • Morton's Fork: Riku gets into one of these while trying to gather the Seven Princesses of Heart's hearts in order to rescue Kairi's heart, at Maleficent's recommendation. The problem: Kairi is a Princess of Heart, meaning that, if he even could gather all seven hearts, he wouldn't need to. It's implied that Maleficent knew this, and was simply using him to gather the other Princesses.

    Tropes N-Z 
  • Nemesis Weapon: Sora's Kingdom Key contrasts with the Keyblade of Hearts wielded by Riku while under Ansem's control, which Sora later uses to free Kairi's heart form his own. Sora's Keyblade has the power to unlock doors and seal the worlds to protect them from the darkness, Riku's has the power to remove a heart from a person, creating a Heartless.
  • Nerf: The Final Mix version of the game made it much harder to forge the Ultima Weapon than in the original, requiring a specific material that comes in limited supply that you'll likely have to forge yourself a la Mythril in Kingdom Hearts II, unlike in the original where not only was everything needed to forge it droppable in supply, but four of the five ingredients could be acquired before even stepping foot in Hollow Bastion.
  • Nerf Arm: In Hollow Bastion, your Keyblade is taken away from you, and you're given the toy sword from Destiny Islands, severely decreasing your strength. Made even more noticeable in the Final Mix version when you can't even HIT the Heartless, as the wooden sword does not affect them, just like on the Destiny Islands before you get the Keyblade. You can still use magic to harm them, or sic Beast on them, though.
  • New Skill as Reward: You gain the Blizzard spell early if you successfully find all four clues during the Wonderland level. Successfully completing Hollow Bastion and then speaking to a princess afterwards gets you the Firaga spell.
  • Nightmarish Nursery: In Halloween Town, the mischevious trick-or-treaters Lock, Shock, and Barrel have their own room in Oogie Boogie's Manor; the appropriately named Evil Playroom is a small round room full of weapons and machines, as well as a tube that leads down to Oogie's Torture Chamber.
  • No Cure for Evil: Averted — Green Requiems can't hurt you, but they will annoy you by healing all the damage that you do. Similarly, when you fight him, Clayton will regularly heal himself. Oogie Boogie will as well, though his relies on getting the right roll of his gambling dice. And when he gets lower, he will re-roll every so often to make sure he can heal.
  • No Hero Discount: "Sorry, Uncle Donald, no family discounts!" The triplets must know you get Munny for Nothing.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Even if the world is called Neverland, you never actually set foot there—you're either sailing the Ocean Between on Captain Hook's ship or flying through London.
  • Off-Model: While one big draw of the series is that its Disney character models are perfect recreations of those from the films, the first game had a few minor mistakes:
    • Maleficent in the original film wears a ring, which was absent from her Kingdom Hearts model until Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, and did not return to her in 1.5 or 2.5.
    • Most depictions of Hades have smoke swirling around the bottom of his robes, which didn't appear in his Kingdom Hearts incarnation until all the way in Kingdom Hearts III.
    • The biggest example is Aurora; the color of her dress and shape of her face make her nearly unrecognizable. Most other characters who lack voiced lines—most notably fellow princesses Belle, Cinderella, and Snow White—have similar minor imperfections, which are repaired by their second appearance (KHII in Belle's case, BBS for the three classic princesses) and rectified in 1.5.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: "Forze Del Male" and "Beyond the Door".
  • Omniscient Council of Vagueness: Maleficent and her group of assorted Disney villains are this in the beginning.
  • One-Hit Kill: Zantetsuken, from the Final Mix. This description from the Kingdom Hearts Wiki comes across as completely overt despite being strictly technical:
    In Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, Zantetsuken is a combat ability that grants Sora a powerful combo finisher 30% of the time. It does percentage-based damage equivalent to 250% of the enemy's HP and requires 2 AP to equip.
  • One-Time Dungeon: Destiny Islands is the only world in the game that cannot be revisited after you leave it.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: Sora says this nearly word for word after he wakes up from the intro.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: While the audience is likely aware of Riku's possession due to his newly-acquired Voice of the Legion, Sora doesn't realize until "Riku" refers to Kairi (whom he's spent the entirety of the game until now obsessing over) as "that girl".
  • Overly Long Gag: One of the lifts in Hollow Bastion takes Sora from the Library, out of the Lift Stop, out to the Castle Gates, up to the Great Crest, and into the top of the Lift Stop. Including the Bookcase Passage, it's a five-screen trip one way, and you can't go anywhere from the top of it (although there's a chest up there). It's also a branched path with a different treasure on each branch, so you have to take it twice. And it's not a cutscene, so you can't skip past it in the HD I.5 ReMIX
  • Palette Swap: The Final Mix version recolors most of the Heartless.
    • In Traverse Town there's a boy who looks remarkably like Tidus from Destiny Islands, but now with brown hair and symmetrical shorts.
    • If the player chooses to explore Agrabah after sealing the keyhole, they'll find Palette Swaps of NPCs from elsewhere in the game. Most obvious is a fourth version of a recurring NPC model in Traverse Town (a man with brown hair and a blue shirt), now with a darker complexion and a white shirt. There's also one that looks like Wakka, with black hair and larger eyes. Lastly is a version of the woman who stands around the First District in Traverse Town, now with black hair and a darker complexion, wearing purple, more Arabian-styled clothes.
  • Palm Tree Panic: Destiny Islands, which are a beach setting.
  • People Jars: The Princesses' unconscious bodies are stored in crystal cases in the wall while Maleficent attempts to use their hearts to open the Hollow Bastion Keyhole. In the cases of at least four of these princesses, it's implied that they were sleeping in crystal for years! They get better, though.
  • Percent Damage Attack:
    • Gravity Magic deals a specific amount of damage based on the target's HP at the time of casting. The exact percentage can vary based on total MP, the Spell level, and each enemy's resistance to the spell.
    • Gravity Break, introduced in Final Mix/1.5 and learned after completing the Hercules Cup time trial, essentially serves as a miniature version of the Gravity Spell that works off of a different percentage system than the Spell itself.
  • Permanently Missable Content: There is a Trinity at the base of Oogie's Manor in Halloween Town that cannot be accessed once the manor is destroyed, making 100% Completion impossible if you miss it. This is fixed in the Final Mix version, where it's moved to another location.
  • Persona Non Grata: Sora is banished from Atlantica due to being a Keyblade wielder, and King Triton is convinced that those with Keyblades bring nothing but ruin to the worlds thanks to the Keyblade War. After Ursula is defeated, Triton reconsiders his position and allows him to seal the keyhole as an act of reconciliation.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: The princesses of heart all appear in their iconic gowns.
  • Point of No Return:
    • Final Rest. The door from the Dive to the Heart opening sequence is in this room, and inspecting it twice takes the trio to the Heartless-ravaged Destiny Islands, which is fading out and rises into the air at that; inspecting the "secret place" and then approaching Riku starts the long series of boss fights to close the game.
    • While not strictly this trope per se, going to the Great Hall from the Castle Chapel after you defeat Dragon Maleficent will start a boss fight (Ansem-possessed Riku) and a brief sequence where you play as Heartless Sora. After another cutscene, you are shipped to Traverse Town and realize that the difficulty has significantly increased in every world, even in ones you opted to skip it before. Two challenging bonus bosses have also appeared in Agrabah and Neverland (in the latter case, it prevents you from checking the Big Ben until you beat it).
  • Portal Book: 100 Acres Wood is not found in the overworld. Instead, you access it by literally entering the Winnie-the-Pooh book in Magician's Study in Traverse Town. It's not over yet, though; Sora is first shown walking on top of the pages from a bird's eye view and can choose a drawing to enter the actual world, although for the drawings to appear, you need to have the Torn Pages first.
  • The Pratfall: The Bouncywild enemies throw out Banana Peels that cause Sora to fall on his butt.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Attempted by Jafar. In the Agrabah level, he tries to tell Maleficent that it would probably best to tell Riku the truth. He doesn't say because it would be the right thing to do, but because "It would be beneficial to our—" Sora and friends show up before he can finish.
  • The Promise: After rescuing her from Hollow Bastion, Kairi gives Sora her good luck charm (made from thalassa shells, which symbolize safe journey for sailors) and Sora promises to bring it back to her. The charm is the keychain for the Oathkeeper keyblade and becomes an actual memento when the two get separated at the end of the game, with Sora still wanting to search for Riku before he comes back home.
  • Puzzle Pan: In the beginning, before the race with Riku.
  • Rainbow Pimp Gear: Despite customization obviously being encouraged, the way Gummi Ships are set up is that the more blocks used on them, the higher their defense stat and HP is. As a result, the "best" Gummi ship design usually involves a literal Flying Brick with several guns attached to the front and the best jets attached to the back, with the occasional odd special part and wing part to increase mobility.
  • Reality Warper:
    • The Heartless can cause darkness-based Reality Bleeds.
    • Agrabah gives us The Genie and Genie Jafar, naturally.
    • Ansem can wield the power of the Heartless to assimilate any post-Heartless-Reality Bleed world into a makeshift Prison Dimension under his control — aptly called End of the World.
    • Even the player eventually gets spells such as Gravity and Stop.
  • Recurring Boss: Darkside is fought three times: at the end of the Dive to the Heart, while Destiny Islands is being destroyed, and just before the final boss fight against Ansem.
  • Regional Bonus: The international version of the original adds 3 Bonus Bosses (Sephiroth, Kurt Zisa, and Phantom) that can be fought once the Final Keyhole is opened. It also adds music; Sephiroth's battle is fought to the tune of "One-Winged Angel", while "Squirming Evil" is replaced by "A Night on the Bare Mountain" for the Chernabog boss battle.
  • The Reveal:
    • Sora was never meant to wield the Keyblade. It was Riku's fate to use the weapon and set to other worlds. However, because Riku has jumped too far into darkness, the Keyblade switches its allegiance to the next best thing: Sora.
    • Ansem, the supposedly honorable ruler of Hollow Bastion, is the person responsible for bringing so much misery to the universe. He is The Man Behind the Man to Maleficent and merely uses her and the other Disney villains to gather the Princesses of Hearts, whose hearts are necessary to open the final keyhole and reveal Kingdom Hearts According to the missing Ansem Reports (received from Aerith during the second visit to Hollow Bastion), he experimented with darkness, resulting in the appearance of the Heartless in the Realm of Light, and willingly turned himself into a Heartless.
    • Kairi's heart has been residing inside Sora since the destruction of Destiny Islands. Since Kairi is a Princess of Heart, Sora must release both his and her hearts if he were to open the final keyhole.
    • Kingdom Hearts is really at its core pure light. This light, however, is buried deep beneath the darkness attracted to it; when Ansem opens the door, untold amount of Heartless are free to enter the Realm of Light, forcing Sora to seal the door with Riku and Mickey still inside.
  • Reset Button: At the end of the game, all the worlds destroyed by the Heartless (most notably Destiny Islands) are restored. Nobody on the formerly-overtaken planets remembers the events, save for those who were Summons (e.g. Simba and Mushu). Worlds that were attacked but survived retain their memory.
  • La Résistance: Leon's gang. They actively protect Traverse Town from Maleficent and the Heartless as they try to find the Keyblade master so that they can reconquer Hollow Bastion and finish the Heartless off for good.
  • Respawning Enemies: The Heartless. They attack like piranha and they're everywhere.
  • Reverse Escort Mission: After Riku takes the Keyblade and Donald and Goofy abandon Sora in Hollow Bastion, you are left virtually unable to defend yourself. You spend the majority of your time in the world relying on your guest companion to defend you against the most powerful non-boss heartless in the game. Fortunately for you, that companion happens to be The Beast.
  • Revive Kills Zombie: A variant. The Final Mix exclusive Grand Ghost is immune to all forms of attack but will die with enough healing items to the face. Thankfully it drops them if you do attack it normally.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The "Shadow" Heartless — big heads, big, wide eyes, and so little and huggable looking (it even has its own plush toy in The Merch). A lot of the other smaller Heartless also fall into this category, being so huggable you can almost ignore the fact that if you get within an arms' reach they will plunge whatever limbs they have inside your chest and rip your heart out.
  • The Rival: Riku. Then he becomes Rival Turned Evil. He gets better, though.
  • Rule of Three: Sora fights the Darkside three times — in the Dive into the Heart, during the destruction of the Destiny Islands, and finally at the End of the World.
  • Satan: Chernabog — the devil from the "Night on Bald Mountain" segment of Disney's Fantasia; encountered three-fourths of the way through The End Of The World and several rooms before the Point of No Return and the Final Boss. He's a minor boss at best, with no speaking part at all.
  • Scenery Porn: If one takes a moment to take in the visuals of the game, they can see just how much effort went into the visuals of each and every world and character.
    • There are multiple instances of interacting with the environments that may (The ringing of Jack's doorbell eventually giving an item) or may not (chiming Pooh's Cuckoo Clock) have points to them, but they create immersion which is important to video games in general.
    • Backgrounds and events can be conventionally beautiful, like overlooking the cliff's waterfall in Deep Jungle, or so otherworldly that they are tough to do justice in words and walk the tightrope between this and Scenery Gorn such as the End of The World's environments.
  • Sequel Hook: The cinematic that plays after the credits has Sora, Donald, and Goofy racing to catch Pluto in a meadow after the restoration of the worlds. Pluto is carrying Mickey's letter, implying that he will eventually lead the trio to reunite with Mickey and Riku. There are also the secret endings, although they are hard to decipher unless you have played the games they tease.
  • Shield Bash:
    • If Sora chooses the Dream Shield in Dive To The Heart, he uses it to bash Heartless until he leaves the area.
    • Goofy's Weapon of Choice is a shield, which he uses to fight enemies.
  • Shifting Sand Land: Agrabah (Aladdin).
  • Shirtless Scene:
    • Sora becomes a merman while in Atlantica, in the process losing his shirt and gaining a dolphin tail.
    • Ansem is topless when you fight him as part the World of Chaos. Turns out he is ripped beneath that jacket (if the abs window the jacket provided is not an enough indication, anyway).
  • Sinister Silhouettes: Most of the Disney Villains in the game use this trope while meeting to form their Omniscient Council of Vagueness multiple times early on in the game. However, with even just general knowledge of Disney Villains it's not hard to figure out who they are, and a high enough brightness setting on one's TV they become clearly visible.
  • Sleep-Mode Size: When Sora defeats the Ice Titan, it goes from being gigantic to small enough for Sora to step on. It promptly runs like mad.
  • Slide Level: There's a minigame in the Tarzan world, Deep Jungle, where Sora and Tarzan surf down trees between sections of the world. Finding hidden slides in Jungle Slider can unlock rare items (you also collect photo slides in Deep Jungle after you use the slides in Deep Jungle).
  • Sole Survivor: Depends on your choice. The Hades Cup is completely optional, so you can choose not to enter it. Either Atlantica or Halloween Town is also optional, although they cannot be both avoided; you have to clear at least one. If you choose the least tiring way, Hades and either Ursula or Oogie Boogie will be the only Disney villains left standing by the end of the game.
  • Space Whale: Monstro the whale is flying around in space due to his world being destroyed.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Kerchak and Aerith (For the latter, there's the infamous Impaled with Extreme Prejudice via Sephiroth halfway through that game; the two characters have yet to cross paths in KH. For the former, he was shot by Clayton at the end of the film when defending Tarzan, Jane and Kala, and dies from the bullet wounds after Clayton is killed; he's barely seen in the game and Clayton never gets a chance to shoot him prior to the player entering the two-stage boss fight against the hunter in Deep Jungle; he's killed when the fight is complete, and Kerchak actually throws Sora to where the Keyhole and Gummi piece can be found).
  • Squad Controls: The game used the Triangle button to call your allies onto the same target. It still calls your allies when you use the triangle button to activate special attacks in the remake. This is a hindrance when fighting the Pink Agaricus as they will decrease its hit counter.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Sora and Kairi, who care very much for one another and want to be together, yet they keep getting separated by the events of the game.
  • Starter Villain: Clayton is the first Disney villain Sora fights, and his first major enemy who isn't Made of Evil. He's also about low as it gets on the villains' power scale (even Hook technically has more resources). If you only take Maleficent's cronies, Jafar fits this trope, since he is the first to be fought and his defeat is required if you want to open the pathways to three worlds, which contain the other members of her group.
  • Stationary Boss: Giant Ursula, Chernabog, and most bosses bigger than a house don't move much, if at all. Ansem in his final form may also count, since he's hooked up to his World of Chaos and can't move much in any direction.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: Sniper Wilds occasionally appear in Traverse Town while playing the Final Mix edition. Upon finding Sora in their sights they summon an endless swarm of monkeys to shoot Sora to death unless he escapes. They also have the Power Stones you need for synthesis. Getting spotted will stop you from getting any more. Have fun.
  • Stealth Pun: One enemy is called Blue Rhapsody, after George Gershwin's famous composition Rhapsody In Blue.
  • The Stinger:
    • A cinematic rendered in the in-game graphics plays after the credits. The trio are traversing a meadow in a strange world. They see Pluto, who has a letter from the king, implying he knows where he and Riku are. He then starts running, prompting the trio to follow him, which they do. Then a quote is shown, saying Sora will be the one to open the door to light.
    • Two secret endings that play after the above cinematic offer insights to two future games in the series: Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days.
      • The first, "Another Side, Another Story", is available since the game's original Japanese launch. It features two black coated figures in a modern city. The figure on the ground is fighting Heartless while Dual Wielding two Keyblades, the Oathkeeper and Oblivion. The second, who looks suspiciously like Riku, is watching from atop a building. A few cryptic words later, the scene cuts to Destiny Islands, where an older Kairi is shown watching a meteor shower.
      • Final Mix expands the above ending into "Another Side, Another Story [deep dive]". The two figures in black work together to fight the Heartless. The action is interspersed with scenes of two black-cloaked figures meeting in a dark shore, a coat-wearing Mickey showing up in the city, and more instances of cryptic words flashing on the screen.
  • Storming the Castle: Sora and company do this at Hollow Bastion.
  • Summon Magic: Sora can summon six different Disney figures to help him in battle. Summons deplete his MP and will make the other party members disappear for the duration of their appearance.
    • Simba is obtained by giving the Fairy Godmother the Earthshine Gem, which is given to you by Leon during the second visit to Traverse Town.
    • Genie joins you after sealing Agrabah's keyhole.
    • Bambi is obtained by giving the Fairy Godmother the Naturespark Gem, gained by clearing Pooh's Hunny Hunt. The minigame itself is unlocked by getting Torn Page#2 from a chest in Monstro.
    • Dumbo is obtained by giving the Fairy Godmother the Watergleam Gem, which can be found in a chest in Monstro.
    • Tinker Bell joins you after sealing Neverland's keyhole.
    • Mushu is obtained by giving the Fairy Godmother the Fireglow Gem, gained by defeating Dragon Maleficent in Hollow Bastion.
  • Surprisingly Easy Mini-Quest: Hollow Bastion features segments where Riku has reclaimed the Keyblade from Sora and Sora becomes one of The Heartless. Hollow Bastion easily has the most difficult enemies up to that point, but in the former, Sora is assisted by the Beast, a physical powerhouse, while Sora himself can still cast spells, while in the latter no enemies spawn and Sora simply has to walk back to the entrance of the castle.
  • Symbolic Baptism: The game begins with Sora falling deep into the ocean. While the ambiguously underwater setting is mainly a tutorial session, it also marks when Sora is first made aware of his destiny as a Keyblade master.
  • Take Your Time: Cerberus is looming over Hercules, who has an unconscious Cloud to worry about...but you can still go beat the rest of the game and then come back.
  • Tennis Boss:
    • Deflecting attacks is the best way to farm Wakka for EXP on Destiny Islands.
    • Deflecting projectiles is a key element of the Ice Titan battle.
  • This Cannot Be!: Ansem, after you defeat him in the final battle.
    Is this the answer? It can't be!
  • This Is Your Brain on Evil: Riku, who keeps using the darkness for a quick and easy power boost and eventually gets possessed for it. He gets better, eventually.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: Sora, Riku, and Kairi.
  • Throw a Barrel at It: When fighting Hercules in the Olympus Colosseum, he's invulnerable while he has a gold aura around him; throwing a barrel will remove the aura and allow you to attack Herc until the aura returns.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Strike Raid. It helps that the sword is a Clingy MacGuffin, so Sora doesn't have to worry about retrieving it, he just summons it back to his hand to re-throw it.
  • Time-Limit Boss: Phantom, the Bonus Boss in Neverland. He casts Doom on everyone at the start of the fight, going after the party members and then Sora, which is an instant KO that removes them from battle. The only way to win is to cast Stopra on the Big Ben clock nearby, which halts Doom's timer.
  • Title Theme Drop: During the ending scene, in the form of the expanded arrangement "Always On My Mind".
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Riku seems to get worse each time you see him, but he gets better once The Man Behind the Man comes into the picture.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Donald Duck starts the game as a manipulative and uncaring Jerkass, but eventually warms up to Sora, and him defying a forced Face–Heel Turn out of friendship solidifies him as a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Training Dummy: Merlin in Traverse Town houses a magic-training sandbox, where his furniture will float about and can be attacked.
  • Triang Relations: Type 4. Both Sora and Riku are romantically interested in Kairi, but she only reciprocates those feelings with Sora and just sees Riku as a good friend.
  • Triumphant Reprise: After the credits roll, Sora, Donald and Goofy find themselves on a long stretch of a road seemingly leading nowhere, Pluto appears from somewhere holding a letter with The King's Seal on it, so Sora and the gang happily chase Pluto down the road while Hand in Hand (the battle theme of Traverse Town) triumphantly swells in the background.
    Mickey: Remember, Sora. You are the one who will open the door to the light.
  • True Companions:
    • Ariel and Sora seem to become this. Ariel reveals her innermost feelings to Sora, something the other Disney characters don't really do or at least aren't so up front about it. And Ariel is the only Disney character that worries that she won't see Sora again.
    • Sora, Donald and Goofy fit the bill very well towards the end of the game, having been through so much together that, for example, Donald and Goofy abandon the letter of their directive to save Sora from Riku.
  • Two Guys and a Girl:
    • Sora, Kairi, and Riku.
    • A minor one is Tidus, Selphie, and Wakka.
    • Inverted with the Traverse Town group. It's Squall/Leon, Aerith, and Yuffie. Cid could creep in on this, but he ends up staying at Traverse Town while the group goes to Hollow Bastion.
  • Two Scenes, One Dialogue: An Info Dump variation—during the first visit to Traverse Town, Aerith/Donald/Goofy and Leon/Yuffie/Sora are having the same expository conversation about Ansem and the Heartless in different rooms of the same hotel.
  • Underground Monkey: Final Mix has a plethora of new enemies. A good chunk are alternate versions of other enemies either powered up or given a gimmick.
  • Under the Sea: Atlantica (The Little Mermaid (1989), naturally).
  • Unending End Card: Unless you are playing the Final Mix version, there is no way to leave the results screen other than resetting.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change:
    • Gummi Ship levels turn the game into a semi-shoot-em-up.
    • Deep Jungle has a slide mini-game.
    • The Hundred Acre Wood is a rest area with no enemies and a number of mini-games.
    • Even though it is not a minigame, Atlantica has a very different control system compared to other worlds. Since you swim instead of walk, you can reach every visible spot that is not explicitly blocked off. Specific buttons are assigned for you to swim up and down, instead of simply jumping.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: When Sora first lands in Traverse Town, the game expects him to walk out of an alleyway and into a plaza, which triggers a cutscene. However, if he instead uses the boxes by the wall to jump onto the item shop's roof, then onto the accessory shop's and goes through the door to the Second District without triggering the cutscene first, the game apparently interprets this as if you were much further ahead. Consequently, Sora will never meet Donald and Goofy or get the Gummi Ship that would allow him to leave Traverse Town, stranding Sora there forever. See the softlock in action here.
  • Unique Enemy: Final Mix adds one to each world, which all drop unique synthesis materials.
    • The Sniperwilds in Traverse Town, as described above, are a nightmare that you have to sneak up on and kill before they can sound an alarm. Worse, they leap around like popcorn popping, so by the time you see one alone, often it won't stay alone.
    • The Gigas Shadows in Wonderland. The fun thing is they disappear if they hit you.
    • The Black Ballade in the Deep Jungle challenges you to play five-Heartless Monte.
    • The Pot Scorpion of Agrabah, which spits out globs of poison you can run into and requires blocking or countering its attacks before you can hit it.
    • The Grand Ghost inside of Monstro, which can only be defeated by using healing items on it.
    • The Chimera in Halloween Town, which goes back and forth between two forms. The only way to defeat it is to counter the heads it shoots at you back at it in its second form.
    • The Pink Agaricus in Deep Jungle, which only reveals itself when you cast stop on hidden White Mushrooms around the area. You then have to cast stop on the Agaricus and hit it at least 40 times before it runs out to get the synthesis material it drops. It also appears in Atlantica, but since that world considerably neuters your abilities, Deep Jungle is the more obvious choice for many.
    • The Jet Balloon in Neverland, which operates as a normal enemy outside of being accompanied by enemies that can make you drop Munny.
    • Stealth Soldiers appear only in Hollow Bastion, and are simply invisible, beefier and slipperier versions of Soldiers.
  • Universal Driver's License: Played straight in the game when Sora begins to pilot the Gummi Ship (after the events of Deep Jungle). Averted in the manga adaptation, with Sora ramming it into a meteor near Traverse Town.
    Donald: That's the last time I'm letting you fly our ship!!
  • Updated Re-release:
    • The Final Mix version, which is only released in Japan. It has all of the Regional Bonus from the international versions and adds a slew of new content, including: a Bonus Boss (the Unknown), 11 Heartless varieties, 4 palette swapped bosses for the Coliseum Cups, 2 weapons for Sora, Donald, and Goofy each, 11 abilities, 15 accessories, 6 cutscenes, 3 more Ansem Reports (11-13), more Gummi Ship missions, a Beginner difficulty level, and a new secret ending. All existing Heartless varieties are recolored, cutscenes can be skipped after you already saw them once, and the infamous fixed camera is made movable. The game uses English voice acting with Japanese subtitles, so content featuring speaking parts are either voiceless or use archived footage.
    • Overseas fans finally get their hands on Final Mix after more than a decade with the release of the HD remaster compilation Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX for the PS3. It features HD graphics, a remastered soundtrack, skippable cutscenes, and 2 new abilities (EXP Zero and Combo Master). The Japanese voice track is also expanded to include the content added in the international versions.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: Sora's first encounter with Ansem has him muttering about the darkness to himself, and then at Sora.
    This world has been connected. Tied to the darkness. Soon to be completely eclipsed.
  • Variable-Length Chain: Selphie has a Variable Length jump rope.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: End of the World; in addition to Ansem, the Final Boss, Fantasia's Chernabog also appears here.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • During the fight against the Card Soldiers in Wonderland, you can go over and smack the Queen of Hearts in the face. This actually has a practical purpose, as it temporarily stuns the red Card Soldiers.
    • You can make Captain Hook's day a living hell before you beat him up. Hit him with Fira? Then you light his pants on fire and he starts running around (he will still hurt you if he bumps into you while flying around). Throw him off the ship, and he jumps up and yells, "YOU'LL NOT GET ME OTHER HAND!" For extra fun, he might land off the ship if you light him on fire.
    • Goofy's at just the right height to chuck barrels in his face.
  • Video Game Flight: Glide, and moreso with Super Glide, which isn't obtained until the very end of the game (it's won after defeating Chernabog near the end of the final dungeon).
  • Voice of the Legion: Riku gains this after being possessed by the Big Bad, Ansem, with both of their voices speaking in unison.
  • Wackyland: Wonderland (Alice in Wonderland).
  • Wham Episode:
    • Hollow Bastion, as it's here where many big reveals take place, and where you first fight the true Big Bad, Ansem.
    • Atlantica also has a wham moment. King Triton explains to Sora that a Key Bearer "shatters peace and brings ruin", and Sora enters a small Heroic BSoD after hearing this news.
  • Wham Line:
    • When Sora first confronts Riku in Hollow Bastion.
    Riku: But it all ends here. There can’t be two Keyblade masters.
    Sora: What are you talking about?
    Riku: Let the Keyblade choose...its true master.
    • During the confrontation between Sora and the Possessed Riku, Sora asks just who exactly he is fighting, giving us this:
    "Riku": It is I, Ansem, the Seeker of Darkness!
  • Where It All Began: The game starts on Destiny Islands. The final boss fight begins on a recreated (if slightly dilapidated) Destiny Islands.
  • Where I Was Born and Razed: Riku calls the Heartless at the beginning of the game in the hope of being able to see other worlds, causing Destiny Islands to get destroyed and kicking off the plot. It's also where the final boss was born.
  • Why Isn't It Attacking?:
    • This is how Donald, Goofy, and Kairi figure out which Heartless is Sora's when they're surrounded by them. Donald's a little slow on the uptake, though.
    • Also, to a lesser extent, the Heartless in Halloween Town, which are (for the moment) playing along with Jack's Halloween plans.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Just like in the story (and movie), Captain Hook is terrified of the crocodile.
  • Womb Level: Monstro (Pinocchio), in which Sora and co. explore the giant whale's innards.
  • You Can't Go Home Again:
    • Sora can't go back to Destiny Islands after the prologue, because it is destroyed.
    • The Final Fantasy characters (Leon, Aerith, Yuffie, Cid, Cloud, and Sephiroth) and Merlin are forced to leave their homeworld, Hollow Bastion, which was ruined years before the events of the game. Unlike Destiny Islands, Hollow Bastion is still intact, albeit used as the villains' HQ. Near the end of the game, Kairi is also revealed to have been born and raised here.
  • Zero-Effort Boss: Try to lose to the Rock Titan, just try. The difficulty isn't fighting him, it's simply getting to him. Not to mention you get 1 EXP in the form of Tech by simply hitting him.

Hold me…
Whatever lies beyond this morning
Is a little later on
Regardless of warning
The future doesn't scare me at all
Nothing's like before...

Alternative Title(s): Kingdom Hearts 1, Kingdom Hearts Final Mix


I'm Not Afraid of the Darkness

In the original "Kingdom Hearts" (HD 1.5 Remix), when the Destiny Islands are consumed by darkness, Riku accepts the opportunity to leave his tiny island, telling Sora he's not afraid of the darkness and offering his hand. Sora hesitates and Riku is swallowed up by the darkness.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / TakeMyHand

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