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  -KH Main
  -Part 1 :: [12.06.02]
  -Part 2 :: [12.29.02]
  -Part 3 :: [01.26.03]
  -Part 4 :: [02.13.03]
  -Part 5 :: [05.26.03]
  -Part 6 :: [10.18.03]
  -Part 7 :: [01.19.04]
  -Part 8 :: [03.09.04]
  -Part 9 :: [08.08.04]
  -Part 10 :: [02.17.05]
  -Part 11 :: [06.06.05]
  -Part 12 :: [02.17.06]
  -Part 13 :: [08.15.06]
  -Part 14 :: [04.01.13]
  -Part 15 :: [11.11.13]
  -Part 16 :: [04.27.14]

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"Back at the castle, Cid leads Garnoa back to the throne room. He asks about her mother. Garnoa says, 'Since Father died, Mother has been acting very strangely...' Imagine that -- acting oddly when your spouse dies."
     -Jeanne, Final Fantasy IX Part 4

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Kingdom Hearts : Part 12
By Kelly
Posted 02.17.06
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3
So we've finally come to this. In order to get to the SUPA-ELITE-I-AM-A-TWOO-GAMER ending for this game, we have to take part in some soul-sucking and sanity-raping mini-games and a few more Coliseum battles. I will leave the latter part to Sam, and will hereby fall on the Sword of Twee, spilling my ruby guts all over the floor in an attempt to make my readers happy. I'm sure you've all wanted this for a long time now anyway.

But first I have a confession to make. Brace yourselves, for it may come as a shock. You see, my friends, my foes, my beloved readers, I am not the gamer you thought I was. Oh, no. I am a far less worthy soul, whose fumble-fingered button mashing and analog stick abuse is no match for the tests of mad gamer skill contained in the Hundred Acre Wood. Yes, I will now hang my head in eternal shame and confess to you that I didn't play one bloody minute of the hour and someodd footage from which this recap's bounty flows. Oh yes, it's true! In my weakness, I had my husband do it for me. But wait! Before you toss me into the Everlasting Pit of Sucky-ass Gamers, before you burn your Auntie AG in effigy, before you come to my house with flaming brands to run me out of town on a rail, let me say this in my defense -- I did spend the entire time my loving spouse spent playing me through the mini-game hell of the Hundred Acre Wood reading the section of the Brady Guide that pertained to this benighted world of Kingdom Hearts. And that, I think, would be punishment and suffering enough for anyone.

Yeah, I suck at mini-games. I suck ten tons of putrid ass. Who are you to judge me?

Annnyyywaaayyyyy, moving on. Let's get this show on the road. After some off-camera traveling (i.e. I was lazy and forgot to record the footage), Junior, Goofy and @$#!!! once again find themselves outside the Magician's Study in Traverse Town. Along the way, they stopped off at Pongo and Perdita's to snag one last torn page for rescuing so many goddamned puppies. No, I still don't care about the puppies, and you can't make me. I'd say I don't care about a cute goth-y Riku, but I'm already in enough trouble with the Kingdom Hearts forum-squee contingent as it is, and I'd be lying through my teeth. I still don't have a hissy-fit over finishing a game with less than 100%, but my friend Jon does. He does it not out of love for a prepubescent bishounen-in-training, but just because. It's a Jon thing, and the sight of him getting worked up about completing a game with 100% or above is just adorable.

Once inside the Magician's Study, Junior heads straight to the old book that Mr. Magician just so happened to leave lying around all by itself. The book has no title or artwork on its tantalizingly blank cover and the clasp is in the shape of a keyhole. The subtlety of the symbolism here is just blowing my mind, people. The book also appears to be missing a few pages according to the Obvious Text God. Might one of the six Torn Pages in Junior's hot little hands fit the bill? It appears that they do, and suddenly Junior finds himself in the book, all by his little lonesome. That's right. For the rest of this recap, it's going to be me, Junior and the fanciful, whimsical creatures to be found right here in this literary world of wonder.

As we've covered in previous recaps, I can manage to get myself lost on a clear game screen while circles and arrows shimmy in a conga line, the on-screen map screams "Over here, dumbfuck!" in sparkly writing and the Hand of God tapping his index finger impatiently on the place I need to go. However, the game designers take pity upon me and there's only one place I my husband can go -- a suddenly three-dimensional-looking area that looks like one of those campfire teepees made of sticks that Boy Scouts use to set on fire in their unholy rituals. Those Boy Scouts, you just can't trust 'em.

Once Junior's made his way over to the stick teepee, a menu comes up telling me that it's really not a stick teepee at all, but an empty meadow. But how can the meadow be empty if it's got the stick teepee in it? I just know all the Eagle Scouts are hiding out in the bushes, plotting and planning to set it on fire by rubbing two sticks together as soon as Junior's inside, burning our hero to a scorched and bleeding shell. Of course, I can't really see any actual downside to this plan, so why not?

Inside there are no arsonist Eagle Scouts, alas. Junior makes it through just fine, and before him sits a hollow tree on its side, that staple of empty meadows everywhere, at least everywhere that's supposed to be the pastoral English countryside as envisioned by Disney. Yeah, I got nothin'. All I'm saying is that even in gardening-loving Blighty, you just don't find those big hollow logs lying about like that. Atop the tree sits a chubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff, it's -- wait for it -- Winnie the Pooh.

YOU think think!

So now we know where we are, and what book this is, in a general sort of way. It's one of the Winnie the Pooh books. And, it must be said in honor of A.A. Milne, the stories never, ever featured a red-headed tomboy, and in this Pooh fan's eyes, they never will. It's Christopher Robin or nothing, goddammit. Of course, the role of Christopher Robin will be played by Junior from here on out, so maybe I'm being a little harsh on the red-headed tomboy.

Back on the log, Pooh is thinking. The voice actor for Pooh does a good job of imitating Sterling Holloway, but I still remember the qualities of the Pooh voice that makes Pooh, well, Pooh, and some of 'em just aren't there. Ah, misty tinted memories, how they warm the cockles of the elderly heart. Yep, I just wrote "cockles" without making an attempt at double-entendre. I think it's a first in a recap, but you can feel free to snicker.

Junior approaches Pooh to say hello, but Pooh barely looks up from his deep cogitations to acknowledge the greeting. Pooh is trying to think of a way to say goodbye to Pooh, he says sadly, and I wonder exactly how one might say goodbye to oneself while sitting on a cheerful hollow log in a cheerful almost-empty meadow in the cheerful pseudo-English countryside on a bright and sunny day. Why, it should at least be raining or some such if we're going to get all mopey and start planning out literary character suicide, for heaven's sake. Pooh, perhaps you can take Harry Potter back to that cave on the ocean or something, just to set the mood? Then I remember that Junior is standing nearby, and it blows my argument straight out of the water. Never mind, Pooh. You've got all the cause you need. And doctor assisted suicide is now legal in Oregon, so if you need a ride or something, you've only got to say. I just can't stand to see my childhood friends suffer, and that's the truth of it.

But that silly old bear is happy, yes, happy to see Junior's bright and wanky face. He's happier still when our boy figures out that he is indeed Winnie the Pooh all by his little lonesome. This leads Pooh to ask Junior who he is. Pooh-bear, take my advice. No good can come of this. No good at all.

After the mutual introductions are made, Pooh wonders if Junior has come to say goodbye to Pooh, too. Junior is taken aback at the notion. They've only just met, he says. Yes, Junior, it usually takes sane people five minutes or more to want to off themselves after meeting you, but four and a half minutes of that are spent planning the most painless methods with which to do the deed.

Junior wants to know why Pooh is going away, and Pooh explains that "everyone else" has already gone away. He's the only one left in the entire Hundred Acre Wood, just a poor old bear, all alone. It's enough to bring tears to anyone's eyes, if I didn't know that was our cue to go on some sort of benighted quest to find everyone. But still, let's hear him out, just for old times' sake. Pooh rhapsodizes on his former comrades, on their walks together, and how they would often play Pooh Sticks. I don't think I have to tell you what certain people might do with an opening such as that. Simply know that somewhere, someone has written a slash fic where Pooh and Piglet show their love in a special way involving buttsex and honey. And know that way down inside, a part of your Auntie AG's soul just died a screaming, wailing death. Shut up. I do too have a soul. It's in here somewhere, under all the bitterness, rage, and rampant alcoholism.

Pooh concludes his trip down memory lane with a comment about honey, and how much he longs for just a little taste of that sweet golden nectar. Then he repeats the things we already know -- mainly that all the other characters in the Hundred Acre Wood have gone away, he doesn't have any food, and dammit, he's hungry. Pooh wonders one last time how he should go about saying goodbye to himself before walking off without Junior, who's still sitting on the tree, unsure of what to make of the cute insane little bear. With that, it's time for the title screen.

Yep, here we are. Funny, it doesn't look like Hell.

As soon as Junior can move again, he finds a Mythril Shard in one end of the cheerful hollow tree. What he doesn't find is any evidence of where Pooh went off to. In fact the only thing he does find is way to back out of the book. Not wanting to look a gift portal in the mouth, Junior takes the invitation to leave the cheerful little meadow. All you sleeping Eagle Scouts have missed your chance at ending the scourge of Traverse Town forever. I do hope you're proud of yourselves, you fucking slackers. What were you doing? Making s'mores and singing campfire songs? Tying yourselves up in triple-reverse-lark's-head-and-a-partridge-in-a-pear-tree knots to get your Bondage Badge?

Instead of being transported back to the Magician's Study, Junior finds himself once again standing on the surface of the book's pages. Only now there's a save point just above the twig teepee. Well, thank goodness. I think I'd beat myself to death with a tequila bottle if I had to watch someone play through this thing one more time.

Lucky for Junior, there's another suddenly corporeal area he can explore, where the Obvious Text God tells him that a strange sign hangs above a house. Now the house looks as though it's a door set into the base of a tree, and personally, unless the sign has something like "Squall luvs Rinoa" written on it, I would say that the house itself is probably stranger than the sign. Way to screw up, Obvious Text God. Junior, whatever he may think of the sign aside, heads off to see what's what at the house. The sign, I might add, says "Mr. Sanders" in text that's supposed to look like a child's writing, with the tilting block letters and the backwards "N." It might be a bit odd for a bear named Pooh to have a sign proclaiming him to be Mr. Sanders, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it strange. Squall smiling at a girl is strange. Tidus smiling at anyone is strange, frightening, and wrong. The sign is probably the least strange thing we'll see, to be honest.

See? The difference is clear.

What's the strangest thing you've seen so far in Kingdom Hearts?
The Cheshire Cat
The Purple Helmeted Warrior
Merman Sora - Now let us never speak of it again.
I can't answer. The last screencap ate my brain.


But since we're here at this terribly mundane sign, we might as well get down to the business of getting these stupid mini-games on the road finally. There's a bell by the door of the house. To get in, Junior needs to show some proper breeding and ring the bell, but he's got more important things to do. He heads up the side of the house, bypassing Owl and goes to take a whack at the chimney. The "Hey! You've got something!" Kingdom Hearts sound plays, and Junior heads back down. It doesn't even occur to him that if he'd just taken the time to be civilized and stopped to chat to the nice birdie, he could've "found" Owl, and taken one of the findees off his to-do list. Stupid, greedy Junior.

Back at the front of the house, Junior finally rings the bell and then ruins the whole thing by barging in the door. *sigh* Of course, whatever it was he knocked out of the chimney now resides in Pooh's House, so that might explain some of his haste. Maybe he thinks Pooh's going to eat it or something. He's not too far wrong in that, actually. Once inside Pooh's house, we find that Pooh is indeed, eating. Or at least, he's trying to eat. But OH NOES! There's no honey left in Pooh's honey pot! Yes, you more clever folks out there, I know that the words "honey pot" have been used as a euphemism for a vagina. You don't have to go on the forums and tell me, but don't you feel proud for spotting it?

Meanwhile, Pooh expresses a wish for the Hunny Tree to visit so he could eat. "Hunny Tree" sounds like a second-string stripper's name, which worries me somewhat about Pooh-bear's intentions. Junior listens with half an ear while he's zeroing in on the goody he knocked out of Pooh's chimney before he came in. He gets an Elixir for his trouble, so I suppose it was worth it. Junior also opens the window of Pooh's house, just to let some fresh air in the place.

Outside, Owl has taken it upon himself to pay a visit to Junior McGreedy and poor old Pooh-bear. Owl launches into a long-winded explanation to tell us that in order to advance the thrilling storyline here in the Hundred Acre Woods, Junior is going to have to rustle up more pages to buy us some plot advancement, then, just like that, he kicks Junior back out to the book so he can go find them. Now, lucky for you guys, this part has already been done off-camera, so you don't have to hear me bitching and moaning about going back to get the pages. However, if you would, please ignore the bald, dashingly handsome if somewhat cranky man over there in the corner, holding a rather worse-for-wear controller and looking at me in a funny way. He'll come around to my way of seeing things eventually. After all, I know where he sleeps.


In fact, Junior has to go all the way out of the book and put another page in before he can go anywhere. Wouldn't it be easier, logistically speaking, if bite-sized Junior in the book actually did the page reattachment, rather than leave, become full-sized again, stagger around in confusion as his morphic field reset, put the page in, then go back into the book again? And did I just try to apply some form of logic to the game designer's intentions just now? Oh, gods. I think I need therapy. Next thing you know, I'll be posting political conspiracy theories on the forums and wearing a tinfoil hat. Shiny!

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