July 24, 2012

A Key to Unlock All Worlds

[Celebrating the release of Kingdom Hearts 3DS this week, Enix Hearts is currently running an article series looking back at the previous Kingdom Hearts games. Since I wrote a piece for them revisiting Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, I feel compelled to do posts for the rest of the games as well. Below is the story of the first Kingdom Hearts games.]

Yesterday, we planned to get on a boat and leave our island in pursuit of the unknown. Today, our home no longer exists, I have no idea where I am, and I have no clue how to find either of you. After those shadow-like creatures separated us, I saw our home unravel right before my eyes. As you both disappeared into the darkness, gone to some place I can’t quite reach, I fought to save our world. But I was too weak. And now I’m lost too.

 I refuse to believe you’re gone completely—after all, I can still feel you both in my heart. There has to be some trace, some clue as to what’s happened to the both of you. I’ll find you again. Maybe we can’t rebuild our home, and maybe there’s no home for us on any of the worlds out there, but as long as we coexist in each others’ hearts and stay out of the darkness, we’ll never have to rebuild ourselves—just our surroundings.

And if you’re still stuck in the darkness, if you’re blind and you can’t see the light I can…well, then I’ll cast off this light, come after you and drag you out of the darkness myself.

Kingdom Hearts is the story of a boy, Sora, who gets separated from his childhood friends, Riku and Kairi, after his home world is attacked by a collection of shadowy creatures know as the Heartless. Sora is given a strange key-like weapon (called a Keyblade) which he uses to fight back against the Heartless. However, Sora lacks the strength to defeat the Heartless that invade his home, and as a result, they devour his entire world. The destruction of his home ends up relocating of Sora, Riku and Kairi to different worlds they never knew existed. Distraught and alone, Sora attempts to reunite with his friends and find a way back to their home.

During his journey to find his friends, Sora meets two other travelers, Donald and Goofy who also lost someone—their friend and ruler, King Mickey. They come to the conclusion that it would be easier to search for their missing friends together, and decide to team up to find them. Along the way, Sora, Donald and Goofy continue to run into the Heartless and are tasked with eliminating them from each world that they find.

As they fight the Heartless, Team Sora finds a group of Disney villains, led by Maleficent, attempting to control the Heartless in order to kidnap the Princesses of Heart and use their power to open a door to Kingdom Hearts, which would let them rule over all worlds. Team Sora methodically defeats various members of this nefarious organization while continuing their search for Riku, Kairi, and Mickey.

Eventually, Team Sora crosses paths with Riku to find that he has become an agent of the villains that they have been trying to defeat. Furthermore, Maleficent reveals that Kairi is one of the Princesses of Heart and attempts to use her to open Kingdom Hearts after kidnapping the other six Princesses. Team Sora defeats Riku and Maleficent, but in the process Sora is turned into a Heartless. A new villain, Ansem, emerges from the shadows as the puppet master controlling Maleficent and reveals his desire to open Kingdom Hearts and unleash darkness on all the world. Kairi ends up saving Sora, and after he transforms back into a boy, Team Sora fights and defeats Ansem. In his last moments of life, Ansem succeeds in opening Kingdom Hearts, however, and it is up to Riku (and a late appearing Mickey) to sacrifice themselves for all worlds by closing the door to Kingdom Hearts from the inside.

Sora, left with the choice between returning to his home with Kairi or continuing his quest to find Riku and Mickey, chooses the later, promising to return one day to Kairi with Riku by his side.

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