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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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"Boy apologizes again to Lulu, freaking bows to him like he's actually done something wrong, and hurries after his mistress. And still, after all that, Lulu says, 'Everything I heard about Ironheads is true!' What, that they're polite and mature? I wish pain and pestilence upon Gremio Mark II."
     -Sam, Suikoden III Part 1

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Kingdom Hearts : Part 1
By Sam
Posted 12.06.02
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3 : 4
So it's come to this: a recap of Kingdom Hearts. Before I get into this giant acid trip of a game, I should tell you how this is going to work. Kelly (AG) and I are going to share recapping duties for this one. Meaning I'm writing part one, she's writing part two, and so on. Two brands of snarkiness in one game! You lucky bastards!

Now, then. The game. Before the startup screen, there are the standard Square and Disney logos, and then a page listing about the biggest load of reservations and copyrights I've ever seen for a videogame. I suppose that's what we get when Giant, Self-Referential, Stuck-on-Self Company A teams up with Giant, Self-Referential, Stuck-on-Self Company B, huh? I get to the startup screen, which has some nice accompanying music and an image of a spiky-haired brunette lad. Most notable about our hero boy at the moment are his Mickey Mouse-style red balloon shorts and his gigantic, Disney-esque feet. For no apparent reason, he has a fishbone in his mouth. I'll refrain from making a dirty joke about that. Use your imaginations. I select New Game, and am immediately confronted with a couple options. One: would I like normal or expert mode? This is an action RPG, a genre of videogames I thoroughly suck at, so normal it is. Would I like the vibration on or off? In hopes that there will be some phallic weapon that makes the controller vibrate, I choose "on." After this, I'm asked if I'm sure about these choices. Yes, I'm freaking sure. It's not like this is earth-shattering decision-making.

Whoo hoo, it's FMV time! The cinema opens up with some ominous storm clouds, pierced by the awe-inspiring light of the Square and Disney logos. I'm not kidding--there's a flash of light from the clouds preceding each insignia. Gag. The name of the game itself comes a second later, and zooms at the screen.

The Power of Disney COMPELS YOU!!!

Next, Sora (I'm not going to play dumb about his name this time) slowly freefalls through the air, his crown-shaped silver chain necklace in full view of the camera for at least five full seconds. What would a Square hero be without expensive-looking silver jewelry, anyway? This is the part where all you Square fanboys scream, "I MUST HAVE THAT!!! TO EBAY!!!" I think I just saw one for about $100. Go on. You know you want to. He fades out into the clouds again, and now we get yet another Square staple: the inane FMV text. Haley Joel Osment's voice reads it aloud for us, since we're so retarded and can't read:

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

I've been having weird thoughts too. Like 'Square sure does make awesome games.'

Random words from these two sentences bounce around the screen, in order to produce that breathy "Oh, how artistic!" utterance from the dolt playing the game. Well, this dolt is unimpressed. Back to Sora. More shots of him falling, making sure we see his manly silver necklace and his giant yellow shoes. I hear a faint techno beat. Oh, dear. Some bright blue bubbles emit from his mouth, indicating that he was actually falling through water this whole time. Despite the storm clouds. Whatever.

The techno beat gets louder and turns into a full-on song as Sora is suddenly standing on a beach. I can see his outfit in more detail now: the red shorts are actually a jumpsuit covered by a chest-high, open white shirt, not unlike the thing Tidus wore under his wanky overalls. Running low on ideas, Nomura? As if the game is trying to prove me right, Sora shields his eyes from the sun to spot another boy standing thigh-deep in the water. Square Stereotype #2 has longish white hair, come-hither eyes, and is wearing what looks like a yellow wetsuit. Jeebus. Utada Hikaru's voice starts belting out the opening theme song lyrics, prompting my boyfriend to sing along, except he's singing an Ace of Base song. I like the music and all, but he's got a point. Meanwhile, a big-ass tidal wave is swelling up behind SS2, which freaks out the Tidus-like Sora. SS2 doesn't seem too worried--he, for no apparent reason, holds out his hand. It becomes obvious at this point (like it wasn't obvious from the start) that SS2 is going to either be evil or work for evil. Sora reaches in vain for SS2's hand and falls into the ocean. He's got the grace of a jungle cat, I tell you.

Try as he might, Sora can't grab his friend's hand, and floats to the surface of the water. Standing waist-deep and glistening with water, he helps beat it into our brains just a little more that he is, in fact, Tidus Mark II. I resolve to give him a chance, since the game hasn't even started yet. Now he's waving to a girl on the shore. She is, of course, brunette and perky, though her flat chest is one small deviation from the pattern. I don't care: she is, for now, Square Stereotype #3. Sora wades out of the water to her, but instead of embracing her, he just stands there, panting and huffing and generally looking like a tool. She giggles stupidly at him. Gee, I wonder if she has a thing for him! Not that Square would ever do something predictable like that.

At least he doesn't have the limp sword.

Before she can fall dramatically into his arms à la Rinoa, Sora sees a weird object falling from the sky. Why, it's himself! But he was falling through the water…but now he's falling through the air…bubbles…storm clouds…gah! The falling Sora and the standing Sora suddenly merge into one falling Sora, and he now falls below SS3, who shouts with concern…wasn't there a sandy beach there just now? Wait, now it's sky. Now it's water. Sky. Water.


After about 10 more seconds of falling through what I currently believe is water, Sora lands on a dark…uh…something. He looks around at his surroundings until the dark surface starts breaking up, and turns into doves. I'm so glad they're going in a new direction with their visuals, and not just doing the same thing over and over again. Whoops. Underneath the doves there's a big stained-glass image of Snow White, surrounded by the Seven Dwarves and some happy bunnies and squirrels. Sora gawks like a moron a little bit more, thus ending the most cracked FMV ever.

The actual gameplay starts where the FMV left off--standing on top of Snow White. She doesn't seem to mind it too much. There's some more random text: "So much to do, so little time…" and "Take your time. Don't be afraid." Is there some reason they're telling me this? I didn't ask for a fucking pep talk. Then I'm told "The door is still shut." Oh, Jesus, I smell a running metaphor. Finally (at least for this first segment), the Random Text God says, "Now, step forward. Can you do it?" You, like me, probably assume this is a rhetorical thing. But no. A text box comes up telling me how to move forward; that is, to push the analog stick forward softly to walk and harder to run. Are you fucking kidding me?! Did they design this for people who have never played a videogame in their lives? GOD. But since I need to do what the text box tells me in order to, uh, continue the game, I take a few steps forward.

I would have never figured that out.

Once Sora is in the middle of the stained glass, the game takes control away from me again. Three lopsided stone pedestals ripple upward from the Dwarves, bunnies and squirrels. I'm told that "Power sleeps within [Sora]" and therefore he needs to pick an appropriate weapon or somesuch. Each pedestal, appropriately enough, has a weapon--a sword, a shield and a staff. Well, isn't that nice. To reward me for figuring out how to make Sora walk, I get free swag! I find out that O is used for jumping, so I jump on the pedestal with the sword. It's shiny. "The power of the warrior. Invincible courage. A sword of terrible destruction." Yes. A sword with a Mickey Mouse logo on it is really freaking scary. Nevertheless, I choose the sword. But it's not that simple, is it? I also have to throw away one of the other two. I don't bother looking at the shield and go straight to the staff, which has a blue Mickey Mouse head at its tip. That sounds dirty. The staff is one of "wonder and ruin," but I know I won't get to use magic for a while anyway, so out it goes. Once again, I have to confirm my choice of "the power of the warrior" and my denial of "the power of the mystic." This is so goddamn retarded. There. Can I start playing now?

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