Can I get a hell yes for Pranksters Paradise? Roller coasters without safety rails, hypnotic merry-go-rounds and clowns with their very most safest faces on, and we’re sending Sora there because this game really seems like it’s gonna be nothing but taking everything that makes Sora happy, innocent and childlike and strip it away until only naught remains.
-Also there’s Jimini Cricket.
JC: *exposits on who he is and what Pinnochio is and what being a conscience means to no one in particular, but I can’t even be bothered to be mad because at least SOMEONE’S explaining stuff today.*
Sora: "JC my homeboy!"
JC: "Never seen you kid, but you do look familiar…"
Sora: "Man, that reminds me of that time when-"
*QUE THE FAMILY GUY CUT*
Yen Sid: ”I AM OLD AND CRUSTY AND FULL OF PRETENTIOUS WORDS but basically the worlds you visit will pretty much make stuff up on the fly.”
Okay seriously he’s saying the sleeping worlds will fill in gaps and create copies of people, even if they weren’t trapped inside the worlds that were sent to sleep. So we meet people like JC who acts like the real deal but is something the worlds dreamed up.
-And this would probably make a lot more sense if I at any point had been told WHAT a dreaming world is because as is I am still at a total loss as to what separates these worlds from the waking worlds.
-Like is anyone real in these worlds, are they ALL dreamed up?
-Why wasn’t the Grid a dream-world?
-And if it wasn’t a Dream World why could we still do reality shift?
-And should I just stop questioning this and get on with fun-times at Trauma Land?
-Yes. Yes I should.
Sora: ”But how can this place be bad, it has clowns! Clowns are an always-happy!”
JC: ”This place is terrible because it lets little boys run around and make total jackas-
JC: ”-jacka-MULES of themselves.”
-No that happens. He actually says Jackamules.
-Jiminy says he recalls hearing Soras name before and ANOTHER FLASHBACK.
-So we’re doing that scene with Pinnochio in the cage, telling lies that makes his nose grows. But when he says that he met a man in black coat that told him to play a trick on ”Sora”, it doesn’t grow at all… looks like Situation XIII is up to no good again. Also the Blue Fairy shows up to gently chastise Pinocchio for being a little brat and arbitrarily decides that she can only help him this once. Ah well, that’s fairy tale logic for you.
-We cut back to the present where JC asks Sora how HE knows Pinnochio… and Sora goes:
”Uuuh LOOK OVER THERE IT’S PINNOCHIO.”
-What I really love is how he’s not lying. Pinnochio is actually just wandering around.
-Sora can’t even tell a ”LOOK OVER THERE” lie.
-Then we see Pinnochio… except his clothes are suddenly the wrong color and he’s actually a Dream Eater. If this is going to be a running theme I may groan into my palms.
-At least the subsequent miniboss fight gives me an upgrade to my health. I like that, lets them throw in fights that are basically just mindless attrition wars and still make them have SOME kind of tangible reward.
Sora: ”Man how do we find the real Pinnochio?
JC: ”I sure am stumped… is what I would be saying if I didn’t suddenly see another Pinnochio on top of a tower he would have no logical reason to be in!”
Sora: ”And his clothes are visibly the same color as the other Pinnochio copy we just met!”
JC: ”Why if that isn’t a surefire sign that it’s that little rulebreaker dressing up like the enemy JUST to mess with our heads, I don’t know what is! Let’s go after the real Pinnochio Sora :D”
-And thus, palmgroaning was had. This is a recurring theme.
-At least they made the themepark real fun to move around. They got this roller coaster-track that works as a grind-rail going through the whole park, it is pretty damn awesome to just zoom around the stageit.
Alas we end up dropping on the Ferris Wheel, where you can jump between cars and find treasure. Time for Riku to get his share of the fun…
-Rikus drop is basically about hitting small bullseyes for massive amounts of points. Brake too often and you end up low-ranked, so learn to hit tiny holes as often as possible with the least margin available I guess?
-Training Riku will have much use of in the future. IF HE WAS THE ONE TO TOP THAT IS HA HA HA I kid, I kid.
-For all I know Sora and Kairi may want him to be the top every now and then and then training like this will be useful.
-Anyhoo, on with the show.
-We’re in Monstro again. I have to admit that I honestly think Monstros stomach (the part that’s NOT technicolor navigation nightmare) is one of the better looking stages in Kingdom Hearts 1, it’s really atmospheric and moody. I could use a whole stage like that.
-Not Riku though. Because he suddenly realizes that he’s in Monstros stomach with Gepetto. And they, as you may remember, have a certain history with one another…
-Also I cannot lie, I receive an almost vicious and vindictive pleasure from being able to glide around Monstros stomach which is recreated EXACTLY as it was in the first KH game, and just bounce around and grab all the chests as soon as I walk in the room.
-That’s the pleasurable sensation of progress.
-Progress and Fuck Yo High Jump.
Gepetto: ”Oh my diir dahlink boy, vere oh vere kould he be?”
Riku: ”Okay you did not have that accent last time we met.”
Gepetto: ”Ve haff met before, son?”
RIKU: ”NO. LET ME REDEEM I MEAN HELP YOU FIND YOUR MISSING SON.”
Jiminy: ”Golly, then I think I can help you. I saw him walk off with a man in black coat…”
Riku: ”Situation XIII… Jersey Shores corrupting influence has already spread this far. No time to waste.”
*Jiminy jumps up on Riku’s shoulder*
Riku: ”… but why do you upset my personal space fairy?”
JC: ”Because if some talent scout is trying to drag Pinoke into the seedy world of reality TV, you betcha his conscience is gonna put a stop to that! Also your shoulder is comfy.”
And so we set out on an adventure that I’m sure won’t be MASSIVE LEVELS OF AWK at all.
-Oh my god it’s back.
-It’s the technicolor nightmare again and it’s just as eyebleedingly bad as before.
-Okay so it’s a lot more wide open space so that’s nice, not that big a risk of getting lost. We fight and we jump and we skip and suddenly we’re face to face with Pinocchio and Situation XIII…
-… Except he just lets Pinnochio go when we ask him.
-Man Riku must feel so awkward now he probably had all this righteous indignation built up and then just nothing.
-And then Pinnochio is real apologetic for running off and promises he'll never sign a contract or trust seedy talent agents ever again, and I don’t know why he did it in the first place if he knew it was bad…
-Holy hell it’s the Replica.
-Or at least someone who looks JUST like Riku.
-… Riku’s reaction is to go on this long schpiel on how that was the darkness in his heart.
”I gave in to the darkness once, and it has haunted me ever since. Ansem, The Seeker of Darkness who stole my body-”
JC: ”JESUS kid, mind reignin’ in the TMI in front of Pinoke will ya?”
-Oh NOW he mentions the Replica.
-Seriously that would be my first guess.
”And now I’m facing myself…”
-Like I know that he probably doesn’t think it’s the Replica because he’s dead but come on Ansem lived, what are the odds it’s NOT your replica dude? Way to be self-centered.
-Pinnochio asks if Riku doesn’t have a Jiminy like he does (actual quote, kinda adorable), a friend who teaches him right from wrong. Riku’s response:
”DARKNESS HAS NO FRIIIEEENDS”
-Okay I lie that’s just what he’s thinking. What he says:
”Yeah, I do. That stupid grin he’s always wearing… I couldn’t ask for a better teacher.”
-… I have no idea if he means Mickey or Sora right now. But I’ma go with Mickey and be both aww and hrm-hrm about this.
-Also, NOW we get a recap of Chain of Memories, increasing the likelyhood it’s a reference to Mickey.
-The recap says the replica ”SEEMINGLY VANISHED”.
-Oh this is either a massive red herring or this is about to get good.
-End up in massively tall room and drop back.
-The impostor turns out to be an impostor, but Sora spots Pinnochio AGAIN and even Jiminy is getting tired of this schtick. BUT AWAY WE GO ANYWAY.
-Man I have to admit that I freaking love Pranksters Paradises design. We enter this circus tent that is meant to take us to Pinnochio, and the walls have these little miniature model displays of dancing dolls that Stromboni used in Pinnochio, and the stage is just FULL of interesting stuff like that to just take in. They don't do anything which is a little bit of a shame, but it really helps make the stages look interesting.
-We finally arrive to a great big set of trapezes where Pinnochio is hiding at the top platform... somehow. Sora gets him out licketysplit and turns to fight the bouncing bears bearing down on him. The first one who jumps while standing on the trapeze stuns his opponents, so you have got to be careful not to let the bears get the JUMP on you. Eheh. Beating them nets me the High Jump and then a visit from Situation XIII… and Xemnas.
-Even Sora can’t believe this bullshit.
-And yet all Xemnas does is pontificate on Pinocchio. Sora asks him why he couldn’t grow a heart if Pinnochio could, even though he seconds before that said that Pinnochio was nothing like a Nobody… which prompts Xemnas to reply that Sora himself is not that different from a Nobody. And then he leaves. Just like that. All we get is a recap of Kingdom Hearts 2, and a glossary describing Nobodies and Organization XIII. Nothing new here, just stuff we already know.
-Also, a minor detail I forgot. At one point in the tent-corridor, there’s a tunnel where the ground gets all wobbly and the walls are full of stars (you probably know it from other amusement parks) an one part where there is a GIANT CLOWN STATUE. And it’s freakishly huge head is at eyelevel with Sora, and the eyes follow you.
-That day, Sora learned that clowns are not an always-happy.
-When we leave the den of horrors we find out the blue fairy told Pinocchio and Gepetto that Gepetto went out in search of him and got SWALLOWED BY MONSTRO. They then immediately set off for Gepetto instead of wait for Sora, and the fairy did nothing to stop them.
-Soras actual reaction: ”That’s crazy!”
-What he should have followed up with: ”You let a little boy walk off to fight a WHALE all on his own? Lady what is your MALFUNCTION?”
-flashback to JC and Pinocchio, now sporting donkey ears, jumping, together and united, to their watery grave. I would be touched if I wasn’t so traumatized.
-Interesting. For the second time (first was with Riku in Notre Dame) I have encountered a frog-dream eater armed with a rapier, who challenges us and then summons hordes of other frog dream eaters. He has health bar upon health bar and after whittling him down somewhat he escapes… after throwing us a kiss. That. Sure is a thing that happens. Recurring bosses have been weirder, wonder what he’ll give us when we beat him…
-We end up walking on the bottom of the ocean. Kay. That happens. Time to drop back to Riku.
-I simply walk down a path until I come across the boss, Monstro-part is mercifully short this time around.
-The boss itself is a giant lobster who fights in a VERY long room. You essentially run up and mash the attack button. It should be noted I am five levels higher than is reccommended, but I had no problems or tricks to use on this one. You can hit a special lever to flip the room upside down which may be useful since the lobster sometimes crawls on the ceiling, but there was no real strategy here. Just run up to it, hit it with everything you got (preferably from behind where it can’t attack you with it’s claws and MANY fireballs), then follow it when it runs away and start the whole shebang anew.
-Time to drop back and finish the fight…
-And since I have no bonuses to keep me going I have to drop and drop back. Lovely.
-But man oh MAN, Monstro swallows Jiminy and Pinnochio, but that’s not the end by far! An ice lobster shows up and actually freezes Monstro solid, and now I have to fight the lobster ON MONSTROS FROZEN BODY on the middle of a giant ice-floa!
-Okay this boss battle is supremely awesome.
-Not so much for mechanics because it’s pretty much like Rikus fight except harder, but in terms of spectacle.
-You start off on icefloes surrounding Monstro, and basically runa round in an oval fighting the ice lobster. Different floes have different heights, and he is MUCH quicker to take flight and escape you this time around. You spend most of the fight running after him, so don’t use any attacks that have you standing still. I pretty much just wailed on him with keyblade combos while dodging his ice beams, poison bombs, ice waves and crushing body slams.
-Oh man then.
-You use the worlds reality shift on MONSTRO once you’ve got enough hits in.
-The worlds reality shift has you blowing bubbles at an enemy until they are encased in a huge ass bubble you then get to control and roll around like a gigantic Katamari.
-Fun with regular enemies.
-Aweinspiring when you’re ROLLING EFFING MONSTRO.
-Essentially you just stalk the lobster who’s trying to slow you down with his shots. Get in close and… well.
-You crush the thing. And then Monstro eats it.
-The ending is actually the most CLEAR and concise explanation of what the hell is going on that I’ve seen so far, to boot! Sora is washed up on shore, and realizes that after the events he just took part in happened, this world must have fallen into darkness. Monstro survived because he’s just hardy like that, and the others got lost- Jiminy got sent to Traverse Town (where Mickey picked him up and took him to Disney Castle?), and the others remained inside Monstros belly. Thus, their world was never actually restored after the events of KH1. The worlds heart remained sleeping, and dreaming. Sora is essentially just reliving the dream as it happens, until the Dream Eaters lead him to the Keyhole that lets him wake the world up.
-Riku had similar thoughts in his ending, wondering why events in that world seemed to repeat itself- the world was simply slumbering so the events of KH1 just keeps repeating apparently, and THAT’S what a sleeping world is.
-… So. Why was Destiny Islands a part of this game?
-Why was that part even there?
-How is Destiny Islands NOT an awake world?
-Like, Traverse Town was apparently not the real Traverse Town, just a little resort Joshua built to regenerate his crew (if my interpretation is correct), and this world is a genuine sleeping world… but what was the deal with the Grid, then? A data-world can’t be asleep, or so Situation XIII told us. He said we were not in a sleeping world. Why did he split the worlds into two? Is this all a giant mind-screw or just flawed writing? Because the world DID have a Keyhole… why would it have that unless it was sleeping?
-All in all- they should have had Sora explain this in small words from the beginning because fuck Yen Sid and his pretentious words that don’t actually MEAN anything. On with the rest of the ending.
-Sora unlocks the world, thereby freeing it… but then we cut to Yen Sids tower. As Donald and Goofy look out to the stars and hope Sora’s okay and that they’ll get a bigger role in the next game, Mickey suddenly seems like he’s figured something out but what he suspects we don’t find out as a raven appears with a letter… and a queens diadem. Maleficent is back again bitches- and this time she’s kidnapped Minnie.
-Mickey orders Goofy and Donald to stay put and the immediately salute and say they’re coming with him!
-This was a heartwarming moment in Kingdom Hearts 2 because disobeying the order then meant that Donald and Goofy believed in Sora enough to stick by him during the Thousand-Heartless Battle, instead of evacuating him as Mickey suggested.
-Here it just makes it look like Mickey can’t order his subjects worth shit because I suppose that he wanted them to stay there in order to cover for Yen Sid/assist Sora in case he came back. This is a good thing to do because Mickey is more than capable of handling Maleficent on his own. That he then immediately gives in to Donald and Goofy just feels… weak.
-And if he gave in that quickly what WAS even the point to ordering them to stay in the first place?
Does Mickey just not trust in Donald and Goofy?
-Of course, then again…
”Alright fellas, you stay here to keep an eye on Sora while I go solve this!”
”Gawrsh, we’re comin’ with ya Mickey old pal!”
”Ya said it Don!”
”Uh… ah, okay guys, but are ya really sure ya wouldn’t like to stay here?”
”Exactly, we’re with ya through thick an’ thin!”
”Gee, that’s… real swell of ya…”
”Just wait here, we’ll be back with the gummi ship in no time flat yer majessttYYYYYYYYYAAAAAOHOHOHOHIIEEEEH”
*Painful sounds of tumbling down stairs*
”… Told you you should have hired the lucky duck instead.”
”Not now Yen Sid. Not, now.”
-Anyhow, they’re off to beat themselves a witch while Yen Sid pontificates to no one in particular that there’s a reason Maleficent is on the move- she must have sensed Xehanorts movements and thought its time she cuts herself a slice of the pie…