"Kingdom Hearts 1.5 is finally here!"

Finally! A new Kingdom Hearts game! Now just another year until KH2...But let's take a look at Chain of Memories. This game starts off right where the original left off, with Sora, Goofy and Donald wandering down what seems to be an endless path. So what's this game have in store? Read on to find out.

Story -

The game starts off with a very nice looking FMV. Sora, Goofy and Donald and walking on the path and they encounter a black-hooded man. The man shows them a castle up ahead, Castle Oblivion. He mentions that there is something of importance in the castle but they must sacrifice something dearly to obtain it. The trio enters the castle and travel through a doorway. They then find themselves in a familiar place, Traverse Town. Here you'll meet up with some familiar faces, such as Leon, Yuffie, Aerith and Cid. None of them remember each other, but somehow they still remember their names. Your main quest beings here. It's time to find out what happened.

Graphics/Sound -

I'll start off by mentioning that the graphics could very well be the best found on Game Boy Advance. Like I mentioned earlier, the opening FMV is amazing. The in-game graphics are also real nice. The characters are all fairly large, allowing there to be lots of detail. Everything looks very colorful and all the worlds resemble those of the original very well. The sound is also well done. Seconds after turning the game on you'll hear the familiar tune, "Dearly Beloved" playing in the back. All the world and battle themes are the same along with all of Sora's sound effects.

Gameplay -

The gameplay featured in this game is very similar to the first. While you're in a world, you'll have the ability to jump and attack. You can even attack in midair too. When you attack you can engage in combat with one of the Heartless that are wandering around. You'll transfer to a new screen in which the combat will take place. I'm sure you've heard a lot about the battle system being card based, but no need to worry. It feels very similar to the original. When you begin a battle you have a deck of cards. Each card is designated a certain action. You have your basic attack cards, magic cards, item cards and summons. You can easily cycle through them using the R and L buttons. When you use one you will automatically move on to the next one so you're not constantly shifting though cards. If you run out of cards, you must then reshuffle by holding down the A button. The more times you run out the longer it will take to reshuffle.

Each card has a number on it that ranges from 0 to 9. The enemies also use the same system of battle you do. They will also use cards with numbers on it. If both you and the enemy perform an action at the same time, only the card with the higher value will be performed.

When you level up you'll be taken to a new screen where you will be able to choose one of three different things. You can choose to increase your HP, CP (I'll explain that later), or learn a new Sleight (I'll explain later).

As you make your way though the game you will obtain new cards that you can add to your deck. Each card requires a certain amount of CP to be placed in your deck. Similar to equipping abilities using AP in the first Kingdom Hearts. So, to make bigger decks you need to increase your CP at a level up.

You also have the option to learn a new Sleight. It's just a new ability you can perform during battle.

Play Time/Replayability -

From looking at the world map, there appears to be only five worlds, not including Traverse Town. It took an hour to complete Traverse Town and the others are probable a bit longer, so this really isn't that long of a game. It's definitely not going to keep you occupied for long. However, it mentions in the instruction booklet that when you complete the game, you'll have an option of going through a second quest in which you'll play through the game in a different perspective and uncover new secrets.

Final Recommendation - If you really enjoyed the first Kingdom Hearts, you'll probable enjoy this one as well. And even if you didn't, you could still enjoy it, you'll just get a bit confused story wise though, but you could still play it. I say this game is worth buying.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 12/09/04

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