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Kingdom Hearts

aka: KH, Wangguo zhi Xin
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Description official descriptions

Sora's world is shattered when a violent storm hits his home, and he is separated from his two closest friends. The storm scatters the three to unknown worlds. At the same time, there is turmoil in the Disney Castle. King Mickey is missing, and Court Wizard Donald and Captain Goofy are out to find him. On their travels they meet Sora, on his own search for his lost friends. The three are told of ominous creatures called Heartless, being without hearts derived from an unknown dimension and are the ones responsible for the devastating storm.

The Disney villains, enticed by the power of darkness, manipulate the Darkness to help them gather the princesses of heart, who are needed to open a mysterious final door. Upon discovering the link between the Heartless, the storm, and the disappearance of King Mickey, Sora, Donald, and Goofy join forces and help familiar Disney heroes to save their worlds from the Heartless.

In Kingdom Hearts players step into the very large shoes of Sora, wielder of the keyblade. Sora can attack with the blade, and as he levels up he will gain more attacks that are automatically chained together. Sora can learn magic and put healing items into a quick menu, and both can only be used in real time. Donald and Goofy (as well as an additional character exclusive to each world/disney movie) will follow Sora. Their equipment and AI can be adjusted, but they can not be directly controlled. Defeated enemies will drop many kinds of items including synthesis materials. Sora can take these to the Synthesis shop in Twilight Town to turn them into usable items, accessories, and weapons.

Traveling between each world requires Sora's party to fly through space in a Gummi Ship. The Gummi Ship can be completely customized, from speed and armor to weapons and shape, out of parts picked up from destroyed Gummi Ships, found in worlds, or bought from a store. Larger, more complex ships can be built as the game progresses, and plans can be found from destroyed enemies or from an NPC that will automatically build a Gummi Ship of specific specifications.


  • キングダムハーツ - Japanese spelling
  • 王国之心 - Chinese spelling (simplified)
  • 王國之心 - Chinese spelling (traditional)

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Credits (PlayStation 2 version)

555 People (485 developers, 70 thanks) · View all

Theme Song (Simple and Clean)
Cast (Japanese)
[ full credits ]



Average score: 84% (based on 38 ratings)


Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 138 ratings with 14 reviews)

It's all about the adventure!

The Good
Visiting Disney Worlds and interacting with the characters who live there is very entertaining.

The real-time combat is a lot of fun and often very challenging.

Visuals are nice and colorful. Enough variation to keep you interested.

The bits of Final Fantasy spread throughout the game are fun to keep an eye out for.

Lots of exploration to be done and secrets to be found.

The Bad
The exposition and overarching story can be embarrassingly poor at times.

Flying to each level is very repetitive and dull.

I recommend grinding as much as you can, or else you will get really stuck on some parts.

The pacing could really have been better.

The Bottom Line
In Kingdom Hearts the player takes on the role of Sora, a young boy who spends his days playing on an island with his friends Riku and Kairi. They do typical kid stuff, like play-fighting and racing, but their true wish is to build a raft and explore what lies beyond the horizon. This wish is partly granted when the island is attacked by shadows and Sora is teleported to a city he has never seen. As it turns out, an evil force known as "The Heartless" has been invading worlds and making them vanish, just like what happened to Sora's island. Furthermore, a mystical weapon known as the "The keyblade" has chosen Sora as its master and thus he teams up with Donald and Goofy to try and stop the world-vanishing shenanigans of The Heartless and their masters.

As everybody probably knows by know, these worlds are all themed after famous Disney movies, with the exclusion of some later stages and Traverse Town, which serves as a shopping district. These worlds are the game's biggest selling points, as they have the player meddle in the affairs of well-known Disney characters and thus become part of their stories. It's very entertaining to do stuff like training with Hercules or proving Alice's innocence before the unfair rule of the Queen of Hearts. The progression of each stage is also designed to give the game an adventurous and varied feel, often relying on having the player explore areas in order to progress.

There is an overarching plot where famous Disney villains, acting in service of Maleficant, are trying to capture the princesses. This may seem like juvenile villainy, but instead of locking them up in a tower, they wish to use their hearths to open a way into a vaguely explained paradise that is said to grant wishes. This overall plot is alright for the most part, but it gets very cheesy in later stages, when words like "heart(s)" and "destiny" become more common than commas. Most people also played this game at a young age and, like me at the time, didn't really give two fucks about all that shit. Since this game is a cross-over between Disney and Squaresoft, I naturally expected some Final Fantasy influences, but please keep that stuff limited to side-plots, will ya?

Gameplay is also somewhat of a mixed bag. It's really fun and challenging when you're fighting bosses, but when casually exploring levels or grinding, you start to notice how unpolished it is. Sora can attack enemies with his keyblade by hammering the X-button, but the trick is that, in true Final Fantasy fashion, you have to select your spells, items and abilities from a menu. Since the game is real-time, this means that you have to stop attacking in order to navigate the menu via the arrows or right analog stick. If the right analog stick has to serve menu-duty, then that means camera controls are bound to the shoulder-buttons, leaving you at the mercy of an auto-target function with a serious grudge against crates and barrels.

That's not even the worst part; the AI for Goofy and Donald is very poor and usually only serves to get in the way. I've lost count of how many times Donald wasted all his mana casting the useless Gravira spell on every enemy on the field, or how often Goofy would die by pursuing a single flying enemy while ground-based Heartless pummeled him mercilessly. Even when taking matters in my own hand, I often noticed the two would cheekily knock an enemy out of my combo or block my view while playing charades with the White Mushroom enemy.

Furthermore, enemies are usually designed to be as obnoxious as possible. One very common trick a lot of them pull is vanishing whenever they want and reappearing somewhere else. This often comes with a brief moment of invincibility, which often caused me to swing at the air before taking an undodgable hit right into the face. Other filthy tricks include jumping around, flying too high for me to see or constantly creating distance while preparing charge-attacks. It's a shame, because the visual design on enemies is very creative and varied, with lots of cute creatures to face off against.

Visual design as a whole is a very strong point. The graphics look nice, characters are modeled very well, there is plenty of color and the level-design is, once again, very good. The music also brilliantly matches the style and feel of each world and it always changes into something more exciting when combat starts, which is a nice inclusion. Facial animations on side-characters is, perhaps, the only visual flaw I could point out.

Of all the Kingdom Hearts games out there nowadays, I think this one would be the best to start and stick with. It's the only title in the now long-running franchise which actually succeeded in marrying the two cooperating studios in a happy marriage, whereas later entries would reveal the dominating nature of Square (Enix). The story may sometimes be cheesy and the gameplay is not very refined, but fans of Disney will love it and the exploration-heavy stages are going to make a lot of veteran gamers very happy.

PlayStation 2 · by Asinine (957) · 2013

One of my favourite games

The Good
I loved the sound and graphics, the battle system, music, story, almost everything.

The Bad
The only thing that annoyed me was the camera .

The Bottom Line
Well, you just need to get this game if you like Final Fantasy, because... well... it's Squaresoft who makes Final Fantasy, and this is just a brilliant game.

Score: 5/5

PlayStation 2 · by michael mccafferty (2) · 2005

Simple and Clean

The Good
Two points share the upper hand in the applause section, and that is of music and graphic. Graphical elements are like hardly ever seen in such detail on PlayStation 2 or any other platform for that matter. Dynamic backgrounds will constantly keep you at the edge of reality whereas carefully chosen textures will make you believe the unbelievable. Looking at the character movements, ocean waves, sun rayed sandy beach, or swinging palms circled by a seagulls can easily make you wanna be at that place, feeling exact essence of nature Sora does. And graphic really has the strong effect to make you closer to the game so you won't feel yet that far away.

Worlds are taken to extreme detail level, and all Disney 'toons are so well balanced that you will eagerly anticipate the next one to come. Worlds aren't too small and will provide you with what you'll expect from this game, in a vast wave at that. Don't take the graphic lightly as it can by no means be compared to childish, as a matter of fact it can easily leave superb graphic such as of Final Fantasy X or Silent Hill 2 pretty far behind. So no, this is a not just a whacky idea for a cartoon, this is every player's experience.

Soundtrack if so great that every worlds has its own theme, and so unique at that. Each song is so different from another, each one is so full of feelings and ambience towards the place it's played at, it is by far one of the finest soundtracks to listen during gameplay, and I believe, as an audio compact disc just as well. Utada Hikaru's song "Simple and Clean" is awesome, and techno beat for the intro is really perfect to fit the opening cinematic. However, the original Japanese version, "Hikari" (also by Utada Hikaru, duh) is much nicer for an ending song. They are both alike, but something's lost within translation, and instrumental version wouldn't sound that much same. If you can manage to get ahold on both, that would be achievement.

Controls are well balanced and the real fun will start when player gets ahold of some party abilities such as floating on the air, jumping higher, or flying. The hole manual versus auto-targetting system rocks and is perfect just the way it is. But controls won't be just for walking mode, there is a mode when you get to dive (think Little Mermaid) or fly (think peter Pan) where you get whole new set of controls, and might become easier (flying) or complicated (diving) until you get ahold of controls. Perfect thing is how all three main characters (Sora, Goofy and Donald) change outfit according to any new world they visit, either get a fish tail for water world, scary outfit if in halloween town, or whatever comes with a certain world theme.

Voice-acting is no less but equivalent to the soundtrack. Although there will be equal use of text-only as voice-overs, English version fits perfectly for every single character. Donald and Goofy even sound as in cartoons (be lucky to have subtitles all the way when listening to those two, lol), Sora's voice is joy to listen (although I didn't think it'll be that good when I saw who's the voice-actor), and Kairi is a music to ears. Not to mention that all the villains are pretty much as you may hear them in their original roles.

The game has many surprises, and that is one of its stronger side, it keeps you going from one story to another, never know who to expect next, never know what evils to fight next, and you get to have a journal all along the way. It gives a details on how many which types of enemies you perished, who did you meet on your journey, and when and where did they appear first time on screen. It was really fun to read as how they wrote something about everyone.

Story is a typical one where you must prove the darkness that light in our hearts can be seen in any dark corner, and as such it cannot be dimmed. The characters are so cut and likeable that you cannot imagine to start hating even the bad ones. More to the point you always win over them, and that in case you loose some fight, you don't have to reload way back but usually start from very near place of conflict. The way how your party members help you all the way is brilliant, and they do help you a lot sometimes. 'Tis a game which you simply get to like, it gets you and gets you until you say 'okie'.

The Bad
Knowing SquareSoft and how they must make extra-tough battles against villains, I expected they will make it a bit softer to the fact this game came out after Final Fantasy X which didn't trouble you that much when compared to all of its prequels. Well, this thing is, there are countless boss battles in this one, but none of it that hard. Well, none of it that hard so you won't be able to pass it after 3000-5000 times, bust still. Certain fights were simply hard, and although you could always get into position of status-quo where nemesis wouldn't be able to do much harm, nor could you. Sometimes you could only depend upon your companions, and that was kinda too hard. Also, since this battle system cannot compare to those of other Square's RPGs, this requires constant care and precisement from player's coordination. Sometimes there was simply pay-attention strategy which usually lasted for like half-an-hour, and pressing pause button was a constant consideration.

Being more action game that requires reflexes as much as it requires well planned strategy may come to my advantage, but the end battle which consists of only too many in a row was not light at all and I cannot even begin to think of replaying it again. Took me 2+ hours to pass countless bosses and what all not, yet I didn't even get the opportunity to see the ending cinematic whenever I wish after passing all that. Square always stays Square, and they will never make you see something unless you either replay it and have a hard time again, or know how to extract the prise. The game had only too many beautiful scenes, and form what the ending presented, this seems like a game split in half, and this, of course, if the first half. That sounds already fine if the sequel's coming, but kinda leaves you sort of 'empty' in the ending of it all, with only extremely cute ending cinematic with great background song.

The Bottom Line
To say Disney can come up with something so wonderful (yeah yeah, I'm talking beyond the limits of contents for kids and other fans) and to make me proclaim that I like this game so much is definitely beyond my limits of belief. Square and Disney, Disney and Square... tsk tsk tsk, somehow it always tended towards sounding as hilarious attempt to make something which is only meant to catch a failure. Creating a worlds so distinctive and bringing them to life by a merge of their inhabitants, on one side Square's characters from well known Final Fantasy game series, and on the other Disney's characters from numerous of cartoons from Little Mermaid to Tarzan.

Seems like many people were sort of skeptical towards this idea of joining the best of both worlds, on one side western giant, Disney with their art, and on another eastern giant, SquareSoft with anime art. But just as many people mistrusted that idea in general, they sought to try it and see how much they can laugh at all this. The thing is, they were all sort of converted with completely altered final thought upon the grand finale. This mix doesn't just seem nice, but really and undoubtedly perfect with no range left for errors. This is a very good step towards creating something that might attract sub of all fans, both of Disney and SquareSoft.

When something surprises you so much like this game, it is only fair to take one step back and acknowledge thy own mistake, embracing the world of Kingdom Hearts with both hands opened, 'cos, who knows how soon can we hope to encounter such a well thought combination like this one.

PlayStation 2 · by MAT (238613) · 2012

[ View all 14 player reviews ]


1001 Video Games

Kingdom Hearts appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


Aside from Disney characters that are not surprise to encounter, you will also encounter several other characters from SquareSoft other games, such as Squall (main protagonist from Final Fantasy VIII), Selphie (a party character from Final Fantasy VIII), Tidus (main protagonist from Final Fantasy X), Wakka (party character from Final Fantasy X), Aerith (from Final Fantasy VII), Cloud (main protagonist of Final Fantasy VII), Sephiroth (nemesis in Final Fantasy VII), and other.


The secret boss Kurt Zisa in the US version is named after the winner of a contest held by Squaresoft to promote the game.

Theme song

The theme song, Simple and Clean (English) and Hikari meaning "light" (Japanese version), is written and performed by Japan's pop artist Utada Hikaru. After the release of the game's original Japanese version, Hikari was released separately and, according to IGN, sold about 860.000 copies.


  • GameSpy
    • 2002 – Best Use of License of the Year (PS2)

Information also contributed by monkeyislandgirl and Sciere

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Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 7341


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by vism.

Additional contributors: MAT, Unicorn Lynx, Apogee IV, Guy Chapman, monkeyislandgirl, Solid Flamingo, DreinIX, Patrick Bregger, FatherJack.

Game added October 2nd, 2002. Last modified August 8th, 2023.