Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories
Description official description
Chain of Memories kicks off where the PS2 original left off, with our hero Sora and his companions Donald and Goofy stripped of their powers in a sudden introduction of a new mystery. Sora must go it alone within a dangerous castle to discover the secret behind the sudden loss of power, with Donald and Goofy lending a hand when needed through the use of attack cards.
During a battle, Sora can choose his attacks and character aids through a card system, combos and special attacks can be performed as well with the right timing in card choice. As an enemy is defeated, further items and cards can be found to increase abilities.
This unique collaboration between SquareEnix and Disney returns the characters of the animated world into an epic RPG and continues the story exclusively on the GBA.
- キングダムハーツ チェインオブメモリーズ - Japanese spelling
Credits (Game Boy Advance version)
316 People (263 developers, 53 thanks) · View all
|Director + Concept Design|
|Event Planning Director|
|Character Modeling Director|
|Art Director (Character)|
|Art Director (BG)|
|BG Modeling Director|
|Menu Design Director|
|Boss Battle & Menu Directors|
|Producer (Square Enix Co. Ltd.)|
|Character Art Supervisor|
|[ full credits ]|
Average score: 78% (based on 27 ratings)
Average score: 3.6 out of 5 (based on 39 ratings with 2 reviews)
I enjoyed the original PS2 "Kingdom Hearts" game immensely. It remains a noteworthy title, and shows how easily Square can blend their worlds with others (the previous attempt being Super Mario RPG). That said, this game ties the first and second game together in a gorgeous package.
From the first second of the game beginning, players are treated to a several minute full FMV of Sora, Donald, and Goofy's new adventure. The effect is so jarringly unlike anything seen on Game Boy that you have to pause for a moment to fully take it in. Even when the normal gameplay starts, the effects are no less impressive. The characters have a SNES Square style to them, are well animated, and instantly recognizable. The locales? Beautifully animated. It's easily one of the most gorgeous GBA game out.
Sound-wise, it has voice clips from the actors and actresses from the first game and movies. Brief, but recognizable and effective. And the music is extremely well done, with the tunes from the PS2 game. Again, it makes for a pleasant and surprising audio experience.
Story? There are some changes, mostly with the card battle system and more notable how Sora and Co. can now walk in Atlantica. But changes are not ignored, and explanations are placed within context of the story, so players can buy into it. Even with the major absence of most voices, the text is well written, and emotionally resonant. Typical Square. You feel for these characters. Smart dialogue, and everything sounds in place.
The card battle system is the most radical change, and though I do miss the hack/slash style of the first game, the battle system still makes sure action is the emphasis. Different, but once you get into how it's done, it becomes second nature.
Given the impressiveness of the title, there's not much to complain about. However, there are a few things:
The card system has one flaw: In long battles, once the cards are gone, they're gone until the end of the battle. So if you run out of the most necessary cards, you're out of luck. This happened during my fight with Oogie Boogie, and was painful.
Battles in general are attack or avoid, but some creatures will decimate you if not careful. Captain Hook went off with his bomb attacks, and corned me to the point where I could do little more than watch helplessly as my entire life bar was drained away. That's frustrating. Especially when you have to cycle through all of the pre-fight dialogue again.
The last notable thing is that as good as the worlds are in KH:COM, I wish there had been some new worlds instead of the same worlds from the first game. Tarzan was strangely missing from the mix this time. Still, Square adds some new spins to keep at least the ideas fresh.
The Bottom Line
It's an extremely recommended game for GBA, well into the "must-own" category. An extremely well-crafted action/adventure/RPG that pushes the technical limits of the system like no other. The CG opening is stunning, and it's not the only movie in the game.
This is a title that shows off what can be done with the system if placed in the right hands. A good looking and sounding game that balances it all out with solid gameplay and an intelligent, thought-provoking story.
Easily one of the best GBA games of 2004, if not THE best. Highly recommended.
Game Boy Advance · by Guy Chapman (1746) · 2004
The music is of a pretty good quality for Game boy standards, combine that with the the masterfully composed songs that come with every Kingdom Hearts games and your ears are in for quite a surprise. The list of songs contains some new tunes such as "Axel's theme", "the 13th dillema" and "memory in pieces", as well as a handful of familiar tunes like "Dearly Beloved".
This is the first game in the franchise where Organization XIII was introduced, this is a group of people who have lost their heart, but were able to live on. In my review of Kingdom Hearts 2 I made the point that they never seemed evil to me, but to Square's credit, they did throw the most evil members of the organization at us in this installment. Larxene especially is an unimaginable bitch that you genuinely want to kill.
The game is quite strong in terms of graphics too, sprites are very detailed and the environments look top notch. I also like how most locations genuinely get the same atmosphere as on the Playstation 2 across, it shows that with enough hard work, a game can still make the jump to handheld systems.
Instead of the awesome real-time combat we had in all the other Kingdom Hearts games, we get a mix between turn-based and real-time this time around. During combat we take direct control over Sora, but at the same time you have to select cards from a deck in order to launch attacks. Now, I want you to try this: Go into combat and constantly dodge attacks from 6-8 enemies while simultaneously browsing through a deck of cards looking for the spell that you want to use. It's not fun, it's not challenging, it's just very tedious and awkward to control.
You don't have a dodge or block move in this game, instead all the aforementioned cards have a number on them. When you and an opponent attack at the same time, the one with the highest number on his cards wins and gets to do his or her attack while the other is stunned. It sounds like a clever system, but this demands that you constantly combine high-level cards for devastating attacks. The combat is however still as fast-paced as it was in all the other Kingdom Hearts games, so you are at the same time encouraged to button-mash the attack-command, creating a massive conflict that is present all throughout the game.
Cards are also used to open doors: each door demands a card of a certain level and to open it you have to give a card of that level or higher. The card that you choose affects what the room you arrive in will look like. This may seem like a novelty, but in reality this makes the levels boring because it demands that each room contributes as little to experience as possible or else the overall story wouldn't make any sense. That aside though, it also created the problem that you need to luck out in order to find shops, this meant that four levels into the game I was still using the starter pack of cards and simply couldn't win from a boss that only used level 9 cards.
Okay, so the card-system doesn't work at all. What else is wrong with this game? Well the story is pretty much a cut-down version of the first Kingdom Hearts game with a new overall narrative. Sora finds himself in a castle where he slowly loses his memory and to progress through the castle he has to revisit his memories. This means that you have to replay your adventures in Wonderland, Traverse Town, Halloween Town and many other locations from the original game, but cut-down to like one hour of playtime each. The stories there are mild variations on the ones we already know and mostly circle around the characters not knowing each other anymore. It carries no emotional weight anymore and that really hurts the experience, hearing Sora and Aerith exchange awkward dialogue in an attempt to remember stuff is boring and tedious and the fact that nothing of it is real saps all the urgency out of the game.
The stories in each world are also very bland and mostly follow the same route we walked before. In Traverse Town you walk around a bit, meet with the Final Fantasy crew, visit Cid, fight with the giant Heartless. It doesn't sound too bad and maybe the game could stand as a nostalgia-trip alone, but the story suffers from the gameplay that is put in between. Every major event and cut-scene is hidden behind a special door that only opens to a very specific card, you get one card at the start of each stage and the next one is always given to you in the cut-scene. This means there is no exploration at all, all you need to do is drag yourself from cut-scene to cut-scene to get the next card and everything in between is just needless grinding that you can do.
The lack of voice-acting really hurts the presentation and it's obvious that a Kingdom Hearts game can't stand up without it. The biggest problem is the long and drawn-out cut-scenes that involve lots of dialogue. The explanation given by Yen Sid early in Kingdom Hearts 2 was also long, but because it had voices, you didn't have to put any effort into reading any of it.
The Bottom Line
As you might have guessed: I am not the greatest fan of Chain of Memories. I first played it right after Kingdom Hearts 1 and didn't get any of it. The whole card-business is so needlessly complex and forced that it took me four hours of playing to finally understand what I was doing and after that I quickly grew bored of it. For the sake of completion I decided to replay it, which was not very entertaining at all. While a lot of work has gone into keeping the music and graphics at a high level, the gameplay clearly deserved more attention and has fallen to the point of it becoming unplayable.
With that said: Is this game worth playing? For the casual gamer this is most certainly not the case, the game is far too awkwardly put together to be enjoyable for more than a few minutes. The die-hard fans of Kingdom Hearts however, may be able to look past this and enjoy the story that does lead up to events of Kingdom Hearts 2 and later becomes a part of the masterful 358/2 Days.
Game Boy Advance · by Asinine (957) · 2012
All worlds from Kingdom Hearts are revisited in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories - with the exception of the Disney's Tarzan-inspired "Deep Jungle" level. (That's right, even the 100-Acres-Wood is featured in the GameBoy Advance game!)
Related Sites +
- MobyGames ID: 15798
Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history!
Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Kartanym.
Game added December 12th, 2004. Last modified June 17th, 2023.