Final Fantasy maestro Square and animation king Disney have joined forces to create Kingdom Hearts, possibly the most epic and unique game of its type ever produced. Adopt the role of Sora (voiced by Haley Joel Osment, of The Sixth Sense fame), a young boy who is whisked away to the Disney universe when his idyllic homeland is beset by a storm created by a horde of sinister shadow beasts known as The Heartless. Teaming up with Court Wizard Donald and Captain Goofy, themselves searching for the mysteriously absent King Mickey, Sora embarks on a grand journey that will see him encounter literally hundreds of Disney and Final Fantasy heroes and villains. An action game with the depth of an RPG, Kingdom Hearts will melt the hearts of even the most cynical gamer.
Finding himself in a strange, new world and separated from his friends, Sora somehow gains possession of the Keyblade which, like Squall Leonhart's Gunblade in Final Fantasy VIII, is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. A formidable weapon with as-yet undiscovered potential, the Keyblade is your only defence against the ever-increasing droves of Heartless who threaten to link the various unconnected Disney worlds and cause total chaos. Donald and Goofy, although computer-controlled, are also a bit handy in combat, the beaked wizard being skilled at defensive and offensive magic spells and the buck-toothed royal knight not afraid to dish out some rough justice with his shield.
Unlike its Final Fantasy titles, Square has forsaken turn-based combat in favour of a real-time battling method that echoes the satisfying hack and slash gameplay of Capcom's Onimusha. With a highly intuitive 'lock-on' system, Sora can easily switch his focus to whichever foe he wishes and beat them into submission with simple-to-activate combo attacks. That's not to say that the game is totally without RPG elements; Sora can still 'level up' by gaining experience from defeated enemies, which also results in you learning valuable new moves and magic spells. At some point you'll also gain the ability to summon, although this too is given a unique Disney spin in that you'll be calling upon the likes of Simba, Bambi, Tinker Bell, Mushu and even Aladdin's Genie to aid your efforts.
You'll have plenty of time to make the most of your new-found abilities as you journey from world to world in Donald and Goofy's Gummi ship, meeting, greeting and/or defeating the colourful occupants you encounter along the way. Locations include Halloween Town (The Nightmare Before Christmas), Deep Jungle (Tarzan), Agrabah (Aladdin), Hundred Acre Wood (Winnie the Pooh), Never Land (Peter Pan), Olympus Coliseum (Hercules), Wonderland (Alice in Wonderland) and Atlantica (The Little Mermaid), all of which are packed with host of familiar faces, both friendly and hostile.
Gaming crossover titles are a rare breed indeed, and with the advent of Kingdom Hearts it's difficult to think of anything that could ever wish to top this legendary combination. Who else but the creators of Final Fantasy could create a cohesive tale that not only has you encountering Disney characters as far-reaching and diverse as Winnie the Pooh and Jack Skellington, but also manages to seamlessly insert the likes of Cloud Strife and Sephiroth into the mix? Exciting combat, stunning graphics, celebrity voice actors, hundreds of legendary characters, an amazing story... do we really need to go any further? Thought not. When you wish upon Kingdom Hearts, your dreams will come true.
- Interact with characters from both the Disney and Final Fantasy universes
- Celebrity voice actors, including Haley Joel Osment, James Woods, Danny DeVito, Billy Zane and David Boreanaz
- Multiple worlds based on classic Disney movies
- Fast-paced, real-time combat seamlessly blended with RPG sensibilities