Review by opium inferno

"Square and Disney in the same game? What could go wrong?"

Well, not a lot could go wrong really. You have Square, who is known for their great RPG’s with fun and interesting characters and Disney’s…well, fun and loveable characters. But, did they succeed in a problem free game? Read on and find out.

Story
I could say the story was the best story ever written for a videgame but of course I’d be lying.
The story is actually pretty simple but kept me going for days.
Sora, a young boy on the ‘Destiny Islands’ along with his best friends Kairi and Riku all want to get out of the place they call home and visit other worlds such as Kairi’s. Kairi however, doesn’t know where she came from and the group of friends decide to find out where she came from by building a raft and travelling to other worlds. They seem to achieve this up until little baddies of the game decide to take over the Destiny Islands. Sora, Riku and Kairi are flung into different worlds, separated and with no idea what to do.
Meanwhile, in another world King Mickey has gone missing and left a note for whoever finds it reading something along the lines of ‘The worlds are being destroyed by the heartless, must find the keyblade, look for a man named Leon for more information.’ Mage Donald and Knight Goofy find this note and set off in their Gummi ship (Worst.Thing.Evar!) to find the. Coincidentally, one of the first places they go to look for their contact Leon is the same world that Sora has been stranded on.
After meeting each other in un-avoidable circumstances, they decide to set out on a journey to stop the heartless from taking over the worlds, find King Mickey and find Sora’s friends.
Rating = 8/10

Gameplay
As with most games, there are good points, and bad points in the gameplay. For some strange reason, I can’t seem to come up with that many good points (Like the ghey way that Sora jumps and seems to float!) yet the game kept me going for ages.
Bad point number one about the gameplay is the extremely bad camera angles.. There are 2 types of camera angles (Targeting Systems) in the game and although the second type is easier to use, it can still be a pain in the ass.
The first camera angle is used more when fighting a number of different monsters. This angle picks out the closest enemy and proceeds to lock onto it, this can ensue in a number of combos or special attacks but gets extremely annoying when you’re getting attacked left and right while you try and kill the one little bastard you’re targeted on.
The second, more useful camera angle is used more when fighting single enemies or getting rid of powerful enemies in amongst the weak ones (That’s what I use it for anyway). Instead of the game choosing a target for you, you can pick one yourself by pressing the L1 button which will cause ‘Lock On’ to appear on the bottom left of the screen letting you know that you have a target locked on. The only problem with this is that you have to look directly at the target to get a lock on the target which can be annoying when there’s a group of enemies.
I can think of numerous times that the camera has swiveled around 3 times looking for the person I had targeted. This can get especially annoying when fighting lots of enemies because you are basically running around in circles until you can find the enemy you’re looking at. Another problem I had was when fighting some of the bosses (Cerberus for example, not too sure if I spelt that right.) with powerful attacks. With your target locked on, you can normally move around freely to do whatever needs doing, but on some occasions, the camera would spaz out and move around in circles making me get absolutely destroyed by his attacks.

One of the unique parts about this game that I like, which a lot of people disagree on is the battle system of the game.
Instead of having an ATB or turn based system like the Final Fantasies, this uses a more active battle system (real time?) where you attack the enemies unleashing combos, critical hits and magic. This is exactly like the Final Fantasy series apart from the fact that it is in real time.
In this, a problem arises. The fast paced battle action can sometimes cause trouble when trying to use magic, items or special attacks as instead of the action slowing down for you or being able to make more shortcuts than the 3 they have, we get stuck having to move from the analogue stick (used to move around) to the D-Pad (used to select commands). So while you’re busy getting the crap beaten out of you by a group of enemies, you’re still trying to get to Curaga in the magic menu, you finally get it selected and beginning to cast but….BOOM, you get attacked, spell cancelled, have to start again.

One thing that IMO, is good about the game is the fact there is so much to do. There is the fact that you have to find all 99 Dalmatians that have been separated and stranded in separate worlds, molding items and weapons thanks to the help of the moogles and my favorite part of the game, The Coliseum (sp?).
In the coliseum, there are a range of different cups to go through ranging from the amazingly easy to the exceptionally hard.
3 cups are available to compete in initially, these are the Phil Cup, the Pegasus cup and the Herc cup.
This is pretty easy (and enjoyable) and once you beat them once, you can do it in time trial mode to gain prizes of bigger value!
The main fun factor comes in later though when you eventually get to the Hades Cup. 50 rounds of pure fun and entertainment, with such deadly combatants such as Yuffie, Hades, the Rock Titan and Squall & Cloud.
This is probably the best place to level up as the enemies are tough, you gain decent experience and you can’t die or lose items (unless you use them.) so this gains a huge advantage over some of the other places to level up.
The entertainment factor really comes in throughout the next few battles in the coliseum though as you get the next few levels as you get the challenge rounds. These test your wits, reflexes and creativity as you try to take down 2 foes, one a worthy opponent, the other is the toughest foe in the game, the greatest swordsman in the world and a face that I’m sure many of you know. The battle that ensues when you fight this man is long, tedious but at the same time incredibly enjoyable. This would of course add to the already great coliseum and make it an easy 11/10 (for the coliseum anyway).

The difficulty of this game is not really very high. It seems well balanced throughout the game (except for certain parts which will send your controller flying across the room in fits of frustration) except of course if you level up your character up like there’s no tomorrow. I, myself had to level up the characters a couple of times for the first few bosses as they seemed so powerful but that was soon over as I progressed throughout the game
Rating=9/10

Graphics
As I am not really a graphics nut, I can’t really say much for this.
From the small amount of attention I give the graphics, I must say they are quite detailed throughout the game. One of my favorite parts of the game is the opening movie. The graphics and detail is great, water flies realistically through the air, characters swim through the water like fish and everything else is just plain great.
One of my favorite levels is the jungle of Tarzan. The detail is great in here as you parade through the jungle with your bunch of misfits. The best part of this level is when you beat the boss (Forgot his name, the hunter guy) and you have to go through some underwater cavern filled with waterfalls. The detail in here is fantastic and indescribable as you dodge the waterfalls, puddles and other stuff.
As for other in-game graphics, detail is high in each of the levels, lights flash and spin when you walk past them and just about everything else is done perfectly.
The absolute worst graphical area of the game is definitely the gummi ship areas. Using your highly advanced gummi ship you must travel through space (looks more like a bowl of fruit loops) until you come across another world. The graphics in this particular area are pitiful and surely the games worst graphical area.
As you can see, I’m not the best at describing the graphics in games, so we’ll just leave it at that. :P
Rating=9/10

Sound and Music
The sound and music in this game is also great with only some minor upsets.
The soundtrack of this game is very ‘Disneyish’ but that’s understandable seeing as it’s a Disney game. The music in each of the levels suits it very well though at some times can get repetitive (like that bloody ‘Under the Sea’ Music) but overall is quite good.
The better part of this game is the voice acting. The voice acting for characters like Donald, Goofy, Hercules, Ariel and other Disney greats are pretty much spot on. The character voices of Sora, Riku and Kairi are great too, all displaying emotion when needed. The most annoying voice in the game goes to that of Sora seeing as how you hear it all the time and he just whines so much and it eventually gets on your nerves.
There must be at least 60 characters in the game, each with their own superb voice actors which just immerses you into the game even more than it did previously.
Of course, there are no voice actors every time someone speaks in the game, but of course if there was, the experience would get very old, very quickly.
All in all, a great soundtrack with character speech to match.
Rating = 10/10

Replayability
The replayabilty of this game is fairly good IMO.
Once you’ve leveled up your character to 100, found all the dalmations and got all of the spells, you may think there isn’t much to do.
You of course, were wrong. After beating the boss of the game, you can either go to the worlds to get newer high scores in the various mini games scattered around the worlds, go kick the bosses ass…again!
Or you can even fight in the coliseum, which I think, never gets old.
Basically, this game has some pretty good replayability left in it once you’ve completed it once.
Rating=8/10

Buy or Rent
If you’re not really a fan of RPG’s or adventure games, or even if you are, I really recommend buying this game. This was the first game I got when I bought my PS2 and I’ve been enjoying it ever since.
I don’t really have that much else to say in this review so...BUY THIS GAME NOW!!! *cough*

Final Verdict
Well, I guess there’s not much to say here really. This is really a great game with only a few minor flaws and I recommend for anyone looking for something new and different to play, to buy this game now.
A worthy game to add to anyone’s collection and an excellent game for everyone of all shapes and sizes, ages and genders, all races and…..

Final Rating=9/10


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 03/25/03, Updated 03/25/03


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