Kingdom Hearts

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Kingdom Hearts
Missing image
US box art for Kingdom Hearts

Developer(s) Square Co., Ltd.
Publisher(s) Square Co., Ltd.
Release date(s) September 20, 2002
Genre RPG
Mode(s) Single player
Rating(s) ESRB: Everyone (E)
Platform(s) PlayStation 2

Kingdom Hearts (Japanese: キングダムハーツ Kingudamu Hātsu) is an RPG that was released in Autumn of 2002, which is notable for being the result of a collaboration between the video game manufacturer and producer Square Co., Ltd. and Disney.



Kingdom Hearts begins on lush tropical islands called the "Destiny Islands", home to the main characters Sora, Riku, and Kairi. One night, a storm sweeps through the island, and evil creatures called the Heartless appear. The three friends are separated. Then Sora receives his weapon, the Keyblade. Using the Keyblade and teaming up with various Disney characters, such as Donald Duck and Goofy, he seeks to defeat the Heartless and be reunited with his friends.

It is an action-based RPG, featuring realtime rendered backgrounds and scenery. The music is composed by Yoko Shimomura, the ending credits theme and opening orchestration is by Kaoru Wada, and the main vocal theme is "Hikari" (light) known as "Simple and Clean" in Western releases. Both versions of the song were composed and performed by Utada Hikaru.


In Kingdom Hearts, a villain has used the Heartless to tear down the walls between the many worlds. Lead character Sora, as well as popular Disney characters Donald Duck and Goofy, must travel to each of these worlds, using the mighty Keyblade to seal the entrances to the hearts of the worlds before the Heartless can destroy them. The main villain himself seeks to find the door into utter darkness. Sora's friend, Riku, has been seduced by the darkness, and makes several attempts on Sora's life.

Final Mix

In Kingdom Hearts: Final Mix, the Japanese re-release of the game, several events and a number of gameplay tweaks are added. Various new enemies, abilities and weapons are created, and slight changes have been made to affect the game's difficulty. The game ends with what many fans assume to be the teaser trailer for Kingdom Hearts II, a sequel which has recently been announced. In this teaser, titled Deep Dive, Mickey and four other cloaked figures are shown. One of the Unknowns carries two keyblades, and the other has been confirmed as Riku.


The many worlds in which the game takes place include various Disney settings, as well as some original ones.

The Disney-based worlds:

The original worlds:

Voice cast (English)

Note: Most of the Disney Characters are voiced by their orignal voice actors from the movies.

Voice cast (Japanese)



The hero of the game, Sora is fourteen years old and on a quest to find his friends while saving various worlds from the Heartless. He carries a peculiar weapon, the Keyblade, and travels with Disney characters Donald Duck and Goofy who are looking for their king, Mickey Mouse. As a teenager, Sora has his share of concerns, but overall, he manages to keep an upbeat attitude. He seems too simple-minded at times, but he has a strong sense of justice.


One of Sora's best friends, Riku is fifteen years old, and lives with him on Destiny Islands. Although Riku is 'officially' Sora's best friend, but there was a conflict between those two since Kairi came to their island, resulting in a rivalry between them. Riku is older than his friends and much more serious than them. He cannot stand living in the enclosed world of the islands and seeks to find a way out. He and his two friends start to build a raft in hopes to sail to another world at the start of the game. However, when the Heartless attack the islands, Riku seems to have no fear of the darkness they bring and goes into it willingly. After discovering new worlds, he searches in an attempt to find them, but when he finds Sora with Donald Duck and Goofy, Riku assumes that Sora has abandoned him. After that, Riku joined with with Maleficent and starts searching primarily for Kairi. He made several attempts on Sora's life, including stealing the Keyblade and his friends, because Riku was meant to have the Keyblade and he seemingly believed that Sora is far too weak to protect Kairi. But Riku was cast into the World of Darkness after his body was taken over by Ansem. He then assisted Sora in closing the door to Kingdom Hearts, with himself behind it.


Sora's other best friend who lives with him and Riku on Destiny Islands, Kairi is also 14 years old. Sora and Riku often compete for her attention and affection. Kairi also disappears after the destruction of Destiny Islands, and Sora doesn't find her until he reaches Neverland. However, she doesn't react to anything he does and is completely unaware that he is even in her presence. Riku reveals that she lost her heart sometime between the destruction of their home and his finding her, and that he joined Maleficent to locate her heart. Kairi also seems to have some connection to Hollow Bastion and its mysterious keyhole, which is said to need "seven princesses of heart" to open.

Donald Duck

Donald Duck appears as a magician, capable of doing various spells from curative to offensive. He, along with Goofy, go to find their missing king, who has gone on a mission to investigate the bedlam the kingdom is under, as well as the Keyblade Master. He contributes to the party with his repetoire of spells and also brings the comic antics he never seems to lose throughout the Disney series'.


Goofy appears with Donald on the same "find the king" mission. He appears as a warrior, a master in physical stats (HP, strength, and defense). He is the Captain of the Royal Knights and despises weapon usage, so he uses a shield to attack and defend, and is the king's most loyal subject. He is a great help and is the group's pack mule (he carries the most accessories and items). Like Donald, his comical antics never seem to die out.

Disney villains

The villains of Kingdom Hearts. Led by Maleficent, they are composed of Jafar, Hades, Ursula, Oogie Boogie, and Captain Hook. They use the Heartless for their evil plans in order to obtain seven maidens of the purest heart, called the Princesses of Heart, and to dominate their resident world under their rule or vengeance, etc. As Ansem's journal said, once they had obtained all seven such Princesses, they will be able to unlock the Final Keyhole. Other Disney villians that also appear but are not affiliated with Maleficent are Clayton(Who used the Heartless to hunt Gorillas) and one of the villains from Wonderland (it is debatable whether the Wonderland villain is the Queen of Hearts or the Cheshire Cat, but neither used Heartless.).


The true villain of Kingdom Hearts, he was hiding in the shadows until Maleficent gathered all seven Princesses of Heart. He was the ruler of Hollow Bastion (where the villains set up their base of operations), but he went insane due to his research on the Heartless, believing that only the power of darkness rules existence. He entered the darkness, losing his body in the process, but had a will great enough to withstand becoming a Heartless himself, and instead became something more. Deceiving Riku into letting him possess the boy's body, Ansem regained his physical form and purged Riku's heart from him when he tried to fight back. Sora followed Ansem to the world beyond the Final Keyhole, the End of the World, where the door to Kingdom Hearts awaited, and defeated him before Kingdom Hearts was fully opened. Although Ansem dies in the end of the game, he lives on in Riku's mind and returns in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, the sequel. In addition, Ansem's original body which he abandoned before plunging into darkness - DiZ - is a major character in later games.


A mysterious cloaked figure who appears at Hollow Bastion in Final Mix as an optional boss. He serves as a prelude to the game's sequels, being the the first member of the organiziation Sora encountered. he doesn't talk. He speaks to you in your mind.[1] ([2] ([3] ([4] ([5] (

The Heartless

The Heartless are creatures born of the darkness in people's hearts. When they consume a person's heart, their body vanishes and their heart falls to darkness. Almost all of them are branded with the same symbol ( The Heartless with that symbol was created by Ansem, using a machine that artificially creates Heartless. They pursue the wielder of the Keyblade, Sora, although their reasons are not entirely clear.

Types of Heartless

Shadows: The most basic of Heartless, they are found everywhere. They sneak up to their enemies and strike them with sharp claws. They are extremely tenacious, often chasing their prey to the end.

Darkside ( Enormous Heartless that appeared in the Destiny Islands with Shadows. Although Sora defeated it, the island was swallowed by the darkness. Sora would face it again during the fight with Ansem.

Soldiers: Shadows dressed in armor. Found in various places.

Guard Armor ( Living suit of armor, it was the first Heartless Sora fought with Donald and Goofy by his side.

Red Nocturne ( Fire-casting Heartless.

Large Body ( Overweight Heartless, they seem tame and laid-back but go berserk when they are low on health, causing them to be ticked off.

Trickmaster ( A Heartless Sora and company encountered while they searched for Alice in Wonderland. Moves rather erratically with it's juggling batons.

Blue Rhapsody ( Blizzard-casting Heartless.

Powerwild ( Monkey-like Heartless that have great physical strength and agility that they use in combination attacks.

Bouncywild ( Monkey-like Heartless that, unlike Powerwilds, attack from long-range with a slingshot. They scamper about during battle, making them difficult to hit.

Black Ballad ( Spell-casting Heartless exclusive to Final Mix. Found in Deep Jungle, it can create four duplicates.

Stealth Sneak ( A chameleon Heartless Clayon used in battle. It somehow manipulated the light to turn invisible. It crushed Clayton to death before it faded away.

Air Soldiers ( Winged heartless found in various places. They fly over their enemies and dive to strike them. Their high endurance and quickness make them tough to beat.

Yellow Opera ( Thunder-casting Heartless.

Green Requiem ( Cure-casting Heartless, able to asborb most magic attacks. Their weakness is Gravity.

Opposite Armor: A stronger version of Guard Armor, it guarded the keyhole in Traverse Town.

Bandit ( Heartless that mostly appear in Agrabah. They can travel under the sand and weild sabers.

Fat Bandit ( Heartless that mostly appear in Agrabah. They are well balanced offensively and defensively. Besides strong physical attack, they use fire and they block attacks against them.

Pot Spider ( Heartless in the form of ordinary pots, they lie in wait as ordinary pots then reveal themselves and attack when their enemies draw near.

Pot Scorpion ( Exclusive in Final Mix, it is Heartless in the form of a giant pot. It lies in wait as a ordinary pot then reveal itself and attacks with its poison and claws.

Pot Centipede ( A Heartless whose long body is composed of a number of Pot Spiders linked together. Even if its body comes apart, it can regenerate itself by gathering other pots. Casts Thunder.

Search Ghost ( Ghost-like Heartless that appear in various areas. They roam in dark areas and emit light from their eye to target their enemies. They can warp from one place to another.

Barrel Spider ( Heartless in the form of a Gunpowder barrel. They explode when hit enough.

Grand Ghost: A giant Search Ghost exclusive to Final Mix. Impervious to all attacks and offensive magic, only cure-spells can hurt it.

Parasite Cage ( Heartless that appeared inside Monstro. It's known to swallow its enemies. Sora and the others rescue Pinocchio who was trapped inside it.

Sheltering Zone ( A giant jellyfish Heartless, Shetlering Zone ( breaks up into many smaller forms calledSea Neons ( when defeated by physical attacks.

Screwdiver ( Heartless that acts with Aquatank. Basically shadows in SCUBA gear. Casting Thunder on them will make them faster for a short time.

Aquatank ( Heartless resembling fish that calmly swim the seas. They are often carrying Screwdivers.

Wight Knight ( Mummy-like Heartless that mostly appear in Halloween Town. Their jerky, dance-like attack moves are fairly easy to dodge, but cause large damage.

Gargoyle ( Winged Heartless that mostly appear in Halloween Town, they can move from one place to another almost without notice. They attack with strange balls of light.

Pirate ( Heartless that mostly appear in Neverland, that are master swordsmen.

Air Pirate ( Winged Heartless that mostly appear in Neverland. They are extremely combative and are hardly ever caught off guard. They attack with martial-arts-like techniques.

Battleship ( A Heartless that is fused onto a pirate ship. They attack with homing and magic projectiles.

Jet Balloon:Flying versions of Aquatank, exclusive to Final Mix.

Missile Drivers: Flying versions of Screw Divers, they are exclusive to Final Mix.

Defender ( Knight-like Heartless that mostly appear in Hollow Bastion. They each carry an eerie shield with a lion head on it. It will bite if a target is too close and can cast Blizzard and Fire out of its mouth.

Stealth Soldier: A black-skinned version of the Stealth Sneak, exclusive to Final Mix.

Wyvern ( Dragon-like Heartless that attack from the air.

Darkball ( Heartless born purely out of darkness.

Wizard ( Heartless that attack with various powerful spells. Gravity and stop are the only spells that will hurt them. If any other spell is cast on them, they will heal and deflect the spell back at you.

Spider Wild: A monkey-like heartless exlusive to Final Mix. Found in Traverse Town after the Keyhole is opened, they have great aim and never miss a target.

Behemoth ( Immensely huge and powerful Heartless that can only be damaged by striking their horns. Can perform meteor and cause earthquakes.

White Mushroom ( Non-attacking, friendly Heartless that plays charades. Cast magic on it. If cast on the same spell 3 times that help it, it may drop Mystery Goo but always will drop Arts. It depends what kind of spell you cast. Mostly found outside the Tent in Deep Jungle.

Black Fungus ( Hostile Heartless, unlike White Mushrooms. They attack with poison mist and turn into stone making it invincible.

Rare Truffle ( Non-attacking mushroom Heartless that are rarely found. They like to jump. Hit them while in mid-air to help them jump. But in Halloween Town, cast Aero and let them jump on your 'shield'. Renew 20-25 times.

Pink Agaricus ( A giant pink-topped green-bodied colored mushroom Heartless exclusive to Final Mix. Attacking causes it to disappear, until you cast Stop on it.

Phantom ( Ghostlike Heartless that haunted Big Ben (the Clock Tower) in Neverland. The only way to beat is to cast magic depending on the color of it's 'heart'. White means physical attack. Can cast 'Doom' on party members. To stop Doom, cast stop on Big Ben.

Kurt Zisa ( Exclusive to US and Final Mix versions, this giant cobra-headed mechanical Heartless appeared in Agrabah. Weilding two large sabers in its middle arms, Kurt Zisa uses different attack patterns.

Chimera ([6] ([7] ( A boss exclusive to Final Mix, it it a strange robot-like creation with a test-tube style "head" that contains three decapitated heads. It it found at the ruins of Oogie's manor once the Keyhole of Hollow Bastion is opened.

Invisible ( A heartless that wields a large sword. It looks much like a devil, except black. These winged Heartless can move freely through the air. Besides their sword they attack with their tails and turn invisible and lay down their sword. The target who is closest to the sword will be 'locked on' and get damaged. With their high attack power, they often defeat their foes quickly.

Angel Star ( Flying Heartless that mostly appear at the End of the World. They are born of holy spells and attack from long range with magic. They block physical attacks with their wings and absorb all magic spells.

Neo Shadows ( Evolved versions of the Shadows seen in the Deep Dive and Another Side, Another Story, exclusive to Final Mix.

Final Fantasy cameos

On Destiny Islands, the player meets younger versions of Tidus, Wakka (both from Final Fantasy X), and Selphie (from Final Fantasy VIII). In Traverse Town, the player encounters Squall (under the alias of Leon) from Final Fantasy VIII, as well as Aerith, Cid, and Yuffie from Final Fantasy VII. In the Olympus Collesium, the player gets to fight Leon, Yuffie, and Cloud Strife of Final Fantasy VII. In the American and Final Mix versions, the player gets to fight Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII as well, and Final Mix has an additional scene in which Cloud and Sephiroth fight to the death.

The game also uses other Final Fantasy icons. Moogles make an appearance and help you obtain the ultimate weapon (the aptly named Ultima Weapon). Several other weapons, such as Lionheart and Save the Queen, have a Final Fantasy theme. The Final Fantasy Magic Naming System (ie. Cure, Cura, Curaga, etc.) is also in place. The names of various spells are the names of Gummi blocks, and various summons or monsters are the names of Gummi ships.

The Keyblade

The main weapon in Kingdom Hearts, the Keyblade, is wielded by Sora and is the only thing that can lock the worlds, thus preventing the Heartless from consuming the heart of a world. It is the only weapon that can destroy the Heartless completely, though because of it, the wielder, Sora, is constantly pursued by the Heartless. They are mainly drawn to Sora's heart, however, not the Keyblade.

The Keyblade is upgradable via keychains, each of which change its appearance and powers.

List of Keyblades

  • Kingdom Key
  • Jungle King
  • Three Wishes
  • Spellbinder
  • Crabclaw
  • Pumpkinhead
  • Wishing Star
  • Fairy Harp
  • Olympia
  • Metal Chocobo
  • Lady Luck
  • Divine Rose
  • Lionheart
  • Oathkeeper
  • Oblivion
  • Ultima

Final Mix Keyblades

  • One-Winged Angel
  • Diamond Dust

Positive criticisms

Kingdom Hearts received a generally positive response from professional reviewers upon release. Most lauded the game's unique battle system, graphics (both in an artistic and a technical sense) and storyline. The game also received good notices for the voice acting used, as it is an aspect of video games that is considered difficult to do well.

Negative criticisms

Kingdom Hearts has been criticized by some fans for ruining the Final Fantasy characters placed in it (see fanboy). For example, several characters are made younger and do not play a major role in the story. Some of the voice actors for the more popular Final Fantasy characters (for example, Mandy Moore voicing Aerith and Lance Bass as Sephiroth) were seen as another element of error. Other criticisms include the addition of Disney characters (many Final Fantasy and RPG fans were turned-off by elements they considered to be for children), the debatably childish storyline, and awkward camera angles during battles.

Another criticism levelled by reviewers and players alike revolves around the Gummi ship missions, with the main complaint being that they are not up to the same standard of play as the rest of game. The developers seem to have taken these comments onboard as the sequel, Kingdom Hearts II reportedly features an overhaul of this aspect of the series. [8] (


  • The secret boss Kurt Zisa was named after the winner of a publicity contest held by Squaresoft to promote the game.
  • In addition to Kurt Zisa, other additional bosses in the game include Phantom (located in Clock Tower section of Neverland, accessible after you beat Hollow Bastion), Ice Titan, and Sephiroth (both are in the Colliseum and accessible after you beat the Hercules Cup). These bosses do not need to be defeated to complete the story, but are a source of many experience points, items, and money. They are not present in the original Japanese release.
  • Many of the Heartless are modeled after the Black Mages of Final Fantasy.


Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, the Game Boy Advance sequel to the original game, takes place directly after the plot of Kingdom Hearts, and as such is an interquel providing the link between Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II. It was released on December 7, 2004.

A second sequel, Kingdom Hearts II for the PlayStation 2, is in the works. Its planned release dates in both Japan and the United States are confirmed to be in Q4 2005. Despite this, though, Square Enix is a bit vague on the release date, stating that it might not be out in time for Christmas of 2005, maybe even being released in Q1 of 2006.

External Links

Previous game in series: Next game in series:
None Kingdom Hearts Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories
it:Kingdom Hearts



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