hahahailtotheking: (I just took cocaine and I feel GRRREAT)
Mickey Mouse ([personal profile] hahahailtotheking) wrote2012-09-07 04:52 am

Dream Drop Distance Let's Play Part 8: The Tale Of The Final Mindbreak

-Okay, this is it. With only one world left to tackle, it’s about time we got this mindscrew-party wrapped up. This… is the World that Never Was. And Sora goes first.

-You fight the bee-boss from previous drops in this one, and while she kicks my ass the first time around I learn how to destroy the minibees she spawns much faster the second time. Believe it or not I get a Gold Star on my first attempt and earn the Meteor-spell. This can only mean delicious things.
-Sora as he slowly floats into town: ”Wait, isn’t this…”
*Que ominous title-screen declaring “The World That Never Was”.*
Nice timing there, Square.
-Sora is confused, because why is the Organizations world sleeping? He then claims that he’s already found the seven keyholes, so he should be home and in the real world by now.
-And only NOW do I realize that yes, I have locked seven keyholes so far. The first was the TUTORIAL stage, Destiny Islands.
-No wait that doesn’t work at all wasn’t that the Keyhole I opened to travel into the Realm of Sleep? And didn’t I lock Traverse Town twice? That’s… eugh Nomura. Nomura why.
-Gotta admit that it doesn’t feel like I’ve been playing this game for over fourty hours.
-As Sora stands pondering a familiar voice informs him of how wrong he is… Xigbar. Or is it Braig now?
-“Let’s hit these plot points in order”.
-He actually says that.
-Braig actually says he’s going to do an exposition-dump. Oh Nomura.

-Long story short: Braig tells Sora that the new Org hijacked his “test” from the very beginning, and they’ve been steadily leading him on ever since. He mentions something along the lines of how “dream or awake doesn’t really matter anymore”, hinting that Sora might be caught in some kind of limbo?
-Basically he says that Sora could time travel back to Destiny Islands before it ”became a sleeping world” WHICH MAKES NO SENSE ARGHBLRGL because there was a version of himself there, but there was also a version of Ansem there and so he could hijack Soras time-travel somehow?
-“That’s ridiculous!”
-“It sure is, it’s too perfect. Who’d ever believe it? Which is why you idiots never saw it coming.”
… No, Nomura.
-They “didn’t see it coming” because so far this plot seems to revolve entirely around concepts you’ve pulled STRAIGHT out of your narrow ass at your leisure. I don’t know about you, but I don’t make a habit of expecting people to do that.
-Anyhow: Braig says that he’s got “a few more hoops to jump through”, whatever that means, and teleports up into the air, firing thirteen shots that turn into 13 black robes standing in a circle… and then Situation XIII holds out his hand and beckons Sora to follow. Sora falls asleep inside the dream world and Xigbar bids him pleasant dreams…
-Huh. Oookay then.
-And then things got even stranger. Remember that old trailer with all the falling Soras? We just got our “explanation” for that one.

-Sora first “wakes up” in Destiny Islands, and we see this entire cut-scene from his eyes. But he is not alone - he observes the young version of Xehanort being approached by the Brown-Robed Man, whereupon Situation XIII pipes up to tell us that “back then, I didn’t understand I had been talking to myself.” Brace yourself for what comes next folks. The brown-robed man is Xehanort, who has shed all of his existence but his heart. He is apparently a pure heart now… which is what he had to do in order to TRAVEL BACK IN TIME AND TELL HIS YOUNGER SELF ALL ABOUT HIS PLAN AND SET HIM ON THE RIGHT PATH.
-So when old Xehanort split himself into Heartless and Nobody, his heart, which I don’t know if it’s different from a Heartless, and which SHOULD have Terra and master Eraqus’s heart inside as well UNLESS that went to Xemnas, donned a brown robe for some reason and TRAVELED BACK IN TIME BECAUSE THAT’S SOMETHING YOU CAN DO IF YOU’RE A PURE HEART APPARENTLY, then talked to his younger self and… started him on the path to darkness.
-Time travel man. It makes baby Jesus cry. However… did the cut-scene showing young Xehanort in Birth By Sleep also show us the Brown-robed man? Or did they add that for this game?
-Situation XIII then talks about how ”Ansem” couldn’t predict EVERYTHING that would happen when he came to Destiny Islands, but he possessed Riku and saw a ton of things from his point of view which … apparently proves something? Sora asks how Ansem knew he would be on the island the day that Destiny Islands fell into darkness, (presumably he means that if he hadn’t wouldn’t the whole plan had been screwed?), and the scene changes with a ”Simple”, from Situation XIII.
-But I think we know that there is no such thing as ’simple’ in Kingdom Hearts.

-Suddenly, Sora falling into Traverse Town… dozens of Soras. Sora sees himself, Mickey, Pluto, Donald and Goofy run around town, and we get a nice flashback to when Goofy and Donald pointed up to the sky in KH1 as Goofy remarked a star was going out, except we see it from “Soras” perspective. All while dozens of Soras are roaming around.
-Situation 13 then appears and tells us what the hell is going on. “You have been here many times. Your first journey, your voyage through memories, in the datascape… in your dreams”. So every Sora running around is some kind of alternate Sora?
-There must be no less than FIFTEEN different Soras. How are ALL OF THOSE SORAS a different version? Or are they not all a different version? Then what the hell are they?
-Sora then falls asleep completely as he tries to open a door, and the game immediately drops to Riku… and we never did find out the answer to Soras question either.

-Riku has to catch stars and earn points in his Dive. Only earned a Silver Star but that’s cool: you only get a command once when you first hit Gold anyway.
-Riku has QUITE a different welcoming. He simply arrives at a platform at some lower level of The Castle That Never Was, wonders why he’s there since he SHOULD have awakened after unlocking the last Keyhole and returned to the world he came from, and promptly starts exploring him some desolate castles.
-Enemies are hella tough and environments are mostly grey corridors, except for a puzzle area where Riku has to climb a wall that you CAN’T Flowmotion-jump up, since the surface of the walls hurt you. Instead you wait for blocks to slide out of the wall so you can climb up on them.
-Aside from that there are special globes you have to perform a Reality Shift on, and the attack here is PRETTY DARN NEAT. You use the touch-screen to cut moving chain-links and if you succeed in cutting all links in three swipes two keyblades will appear, one gold and one blue. These then fuse together into one giant Keyblade as Sora and Riku grab the Keyblade-handles and swing it in unison. It’s pretty darn neato.
-This place is basically all puzzles and no plot, and nothing happens to move the story along until I drop back to Sora.

-Sora wakes up in an alleyway somewhere, dressed as he was in Kingdom Hearts 2 for a reason I’m sure exists. He spots Mickey, Donald and Goofy running down the alleyway and pursues them, but they disappear only for him to run into… Namine?
-Sora catches up to Naminé and starts telling her the message he was supposed to tell her (so he remembered it?) after “this was all over”, but right before his eyes Naminé turns into Xion. Sora asks her who she is, but a sudden tear falling from his eye is all the distraction Xion needs to shake herself loose and run away. All while a very distant, echoing voice tells Sora that “he gotta wake up”.
-Folks, this is dream in a dream territory. We have to go DEEPER.
-And deeper we go. Sora moves around the neon skyscrapers of The World That Never Was, and I have to admit that it’s looking awful purty. He can use his Reality Shift to dice up whole skyscrapers just like in Kingdom Hearts 2, and the buildings here are TALL. You can Flowmotion jump for AGES without reaching the tippy-top parts, but I persevere. Not much to say here until Sora gets to the end of the first segment, where he suddenly runs into Roxas. Is this where the stage starts making sense? Wouldn’t bet on it.
-And then I won that bet. Cryptic conversations ensue as Roxas tells Sora he has many hearts connected to him, and that “this could be the other way around. But it has to be you.” Sora responds with confusion, and tells Roxas that he too has the right to exist as his own person. Daww-meter is off the charts. Roxas simply smiles, tells Sora that’s why it HAS to be him and takes his hands… whereupon he unloads all of his fake Twilight Town memories into Sora, and judging from his pained expression the sudden memory overload is NOT a pleasant one.
- Que Sora shouting at the sky, wondering why he’s being shown this, accusing someone of causing “all this pain”… and then again the faint sound of a voice, telling Sora that he can’t chase the dreams any further: they will only lead to an abyss from which he will never wake up. Eeerieee…

-It is however time to drop now. Riku doesn’t do much in this Drop either: he just walks through a room that’s like an Escher painting come to life, but after Reality Shift-slicing a couple of orbs to pieces he actually manages to shatter the whole room and turn it into a linear tunnel. And the name of the room? Walk of Delusions. I see what Square-Enix did there.
-Reaching that point, however, leads to dropping back to Sora…
-Aaand back to Riku because plot didn’t lead anywhere in particular and I really just walked along various Skyscrapers hovering in the air, laid out to form a path to… somewhere.
-Riku ascends a big tower by gliding vertically, because gravity is and forever will be Kingdom Hearts bitch. Once on the top he slides on a tube onto a balcony where he finds a sleeping Sora, suspended in mid-air. He observes Sora having several dreams and tries to shake him awake, but what he gets is far less pleasant: the Anti Black Coat Nightmare, and isn’t THAT a mouthful and a half to say?
- It’s essentially an Organization coat with large, glowing red eyes, purple tinges on the edges of his coat and brandishing a similar sigil on his back as Riku. Riku asks him if he’s the one keeping Sora in sleep, and if he is…
”I’m what nightmares fear!”
-Yes. Yes. YES RIKU. You are one step closer to becoming Batman. Everything is going JUST as planned…
-But now I drop back to Sora because I want them both to be at the scene of their boss-fights and have full drop-meter.

-Sora moves a bit further, then ends up at the Nightmarish Abyss… and holy heck.
-I don’t know what it says about me that the sight of a toppled van blocking off an alleyway actually feels FRESH and novel. Like, in almost every other game that’s a common sight but in Kingdom Hearts? It’s just eerie.
-Sora proceeds along a suspiciously ominous path (save point and moogle store before it, that makes me feel supersafe) and what do you know… he runs into Riku and Kairi! However we saw this scene from Rikus perspective before, and thus know it to be one of Soras dreams. Sora tries to greet his friends but they suddenly turn into Aqua and Terra, and Sora turns into Ven! They try to take SoraVens hand but turn back into Kairi and Riku before Sora can grab back, and as they turn around to leave Sora does that thing you do in dreams where you just run on the spot without ever moving forward. And then we start flashbacking to when he and Riku first met Aqua, a long, long time ago on Destiny Islands. And immediately after that, a vision of Ansem, Seeker of Darkness…
-And after THAT merry little jig on sanity we’re suddenly crashing back into Nightmarish Abyss (we literally fall from the sky like a shooting star), where Braig is oh so generously waiting for us. He lets us know Riku almost managed to wake us up, but not quite. And now begins what may be his LAST info-dump, if Nomura is merciful.
-Braig tells Sora they didn’t put the images he just saw in his head, that was his dream- they can’t put stuff in his head. Sora says he felt what all the hearts connected to him(”Axel, and Roxas, and Namine… and that other girl”) felt, then that meant they MUST have had hearts of sorts, how else could they have cried? And who would show up to agree with him… but Xemnas.
-For while the body can be separated from the heart, it will almost immediately seek or create a replacement. And while each individual member had different rates of growth they all had the potential to feel emotions and grow hearts of their own! The Nobody state? Just a temporary thing.

-But then why tell them they had no hearts and had to follow Xehanort in order to get one? Why… so that Xehanort could use the artificial Kingdom Hearts to turn them into VERSIONS OF XEHANORT.
-The Organization was going to be Xehanorts luxury garage of SPARE BODIES.
-Like maybe they would have all turned into identical copies but what if they HADN’T?
-”That’s nuts” indeed, Sora. That is the whole damn nut-silo.
-At any rate, rather than contemplate THAT potentially disturbing piece of speculation, Xemnas goes on to describe that the original members of the Organization failed in their mission due to being lameos who couldn’t even kill three Keyblade bearers. But even this was apparently something he had a backup plan for, and they have achieved their ”other goals”.
-Don’t know what ”other goals” involve having the organization you spent time and resources assembling disassembled, but I’m sure there’s a good explanation for that.
-Sora flies into a tizzy and tells them they can’t just treat hearts like bottles on a shelf, and that his heart makes him strong because of the ties he has to people. Braig turns this on Sora by saying that he’s right- the Keyblade didn’t choose him, he just happened to be nearby and a suitable host for it’s intentions. But if they join their club he too can be super-special secret awesome!
-Sora good God how hard can it be to refute their little body-snatching club scheme, SERIOUSLY.
-Okay, Soras hesitation was just him overcoming his own selfdoubt and tell them that it doesn’t matter to him that he isn’t the original chosen one- he is simply proud of being a small part of something bigger. The people it did choose..
-Que zoom out and Sora suddenly standing backed up by Donald, Goofy, Kairi, Riku, Mickey, Roxas, Terra, Ven, Aqua and Xion. Namine doesn’t have a Keyblade, so she doesn’t get to be part of the power-pose.
-This sight is apparently inspirational enough that it weakens Braig, who tries to shake Soras resolve but is unable to do so. He ends up teleporting out and leavess the battle to Xemnas, who is not pleased at all this cheeky insubordination. And so… we drop back!

-Aaand that was quick.
-Truth be told I think having Once More, an ability that makes it so that no combo can take me below 1 HP, eliminated one of the Nightmares most powerful attacks which scatters my HP around so it can heal. Aside from that it mostly fires Nightmare-emblems from which red tendrils erupt and try to slice me up. It also uses purple light-sables, magic projectiles that I think causes poisoning, and teleportation and TONS of red tendrils from the floor. But in between my Dream Eaters barrage of attacks (I have a T-Rex, I call him Grimlock, and he is MASSIVE and acts as a powerful meatshield), and generally lashing out with powerful combos and ice-based attacks the Nightmare dies quicker than I expected… but it isn’t over.
-Sora can’t be awakened, and when Riku tries he suddenly sees the whole world start to waver. He then hears Ansem and the next thing he knows he’s hovering in a dark abyss next to him. As you do.
-Here Ansem drops another bomb: Riku apparently saw brown-robe Ansem at the start of the test and, get this- dove into Soras dream. Riku became a Dream Eater and… that’s why there are two versions of each world? Because Riku is inside Soras dreams? But in that case, why was Riku capable of seeing sleeping Sora, and how did the interactions between different versions of the world work, and… okay, let’s just not think about this anymore.
-Ansem tells Riku the standard schpiel. Let the darkness in you loose, and you can get the power to wake up and save Sora. But Riku, as he is wont to do, turns it on Ansem. He says that seeing Ansem makes him remember a certain man he once met, who he gave a promise that he was to keep secret… and strengthened by this revelation (?) he intends to consume Ansem, the darkness, and turn it into light!
-I guess that he’s in a better place mentally than he was in Chain of Memories and capable of taking more control this time around, but I seriously hope this is the last time Riku waffles between darkness, light and the road to dawn. He says that he feels worthy of the Keyblade now, and shall return to the waking world and to Sora! Ansem simply crosses his arms and readies himself for battle.

-The first stage of the fight is every Ansem battle ever. You float around (and thus can’t block, just dodge attacks which is a pain), and then hit him hard until you can do a Reality Shift, which summons a platform beneath your feet and brings your Spirit-pals to your sides. Grimlock, Max… let’s waste this suckah.
-And the suckah is wasted! The first round is, as I’ve said, every Ansem fight ever and quite simple. I pretty much just wail on him, heal when necessary, repeat.
-But then comes phase 2 of Ansem.
-Oh boy, phase 2. I died thrice here, and that is no small feat in a KH-game.
-Riku tells Ansem to GTFO and let him have his power, Ansem tells him he’s forever a pawn of the darkness, and then he is suddenly inside some black orb connected to his guardians lower half. The orb also has batwings for some reason.
-I have NO idea what power this is supposed to represent. Ansem hooked himself up to a gigantic ship in the past, but that was a giant Heartless. That I can understand. This, not so much.
-Anyhow we’re fighting inside a long hallway of darkness, and it looks a little like what’s behind the door in Kingdom Hearts 1. The fight is HARD because Ansem has a bunch of attacks I’m unfamiliar with but which look pretty cool. Most of the fight is about running up to Ansem and knocking him around, but this is made difficult by him either pounding Riku down with his guardian (can’t block these), shooting out several dark fireballs that split into smaller fireballs and are a PAIN to dodge, AND he shoots out crescent-shaped projectiles that will fly right at Riku. They can only be blocked with precise timing, and when they reach Rikus location are they will curve and fly upwards. This is not a pleasant time.
-Couple this with one attack in particular in which Ansem flaps his orbs batwings and sends you to the furthest part of the corridor. You have walls that you can Flowmo-jump and dash between to quickly get up close, but he ALSO summons two gigantic orbs in front of him that will send out beams of darkness. These beams remain active for about three seconds, and it is a PAIN to dodge them or accidentally dash into them. But it’s an even bigger pain to dash all the way past them because Ansem has a nasty surprise in store. He will send out tendrils from the orbs that will drah Riku into them, where he will sustain MASSIVE damage. Prioritize attacks that keep you mobile, keep a Curaga handy, and dodge rather than block.
-I think that if I had just been clever enough to equip Rikus Dark Aura command which lets him block attacks in all directions I would have had a much easier time, since I honestly got hit by many small projectiles that curved in and hit me from behind more often than his big, flashy attacks.
-But in the end, I defeat him. The Guardian slowly crumbles away, and as reality does that wavy thing Riku suddenly finds himself in the square in The World That Never Was. He HOPES that this time around he’s actually, honestly awake… and it seems like you can actually exit the place and leave for other worlds. Even if you are no longer in Soras dream? How does THAT work? Weren’t all the worlds that Riku visited in Soras head? Will all his achievements in those other worlds just be null and void?
-Or wait, it’s one of those portals that Joshua made. So… Riku created a portal into the dreaming world, somehow, so he can jump back inside Sora? Weird. I should press on… with Sora, this time around. Because when I try to move forwards with Riku he is overcome by fatigue, and we drop back to Sora!

-Holy BALLS things got trippy there.
-So the battle with Xemnas turns out to be like previous battles, except harder. Xemnas uses his dual light-saber thingies, summons forcefields that block Soras attacks (and one special version in which he summons four at once to surround Sora), circles him and shoots a ton of laser bullets, teleports to where Sora is in order to generally kicks and punches and beat him up… it’s like his first battle in KH2, except he hits harder and MUCH faster.
-He does have one new move up his sleeve though: he will telekinetically drag HUGEASS SKYSCRAPERS from around him and try to crush Sora with them. The first wave of these, at the start of the battle, can only be dodged. When he then does a special attack in which he suddenly takes flight and goes beyond reach, then SMACKS the skyscraper we’re standing on so it flips around and we’re hovering in thin air, then throws one right at our face. You do a Reality Shift, cut the scraper up, then ride the parts that you just cut up as part of a new path right up to a stunned Xemnas and mess him the EFF up.
-Apart from that there’s really not much different from the first KH2 battle, except his attacks get more and more intense and quicker throughout the whole fight. When he’s got one bar left he goes NUTS and you can barely get any room to breathe, but just keep to small attacks that don’t leave you wide-open to retaliation and you’ll eventually wear him down.
-And then it’s back to trippy things.
-Because even if Xemnas fades away, another appears in his stead. Situation XIII, come to reveal another part of the master plan as Sora is overcome by some kind of dark aura. Apparently they have been picking the worlds where Sora ended up the whole time, guiding him along the Seven Keyholes (who Situation insists have NOT been leading Sora in the dreaming world) and keeping watch on him through… the X-shaped mark on his shirt.
-Yes. That is correct. Situation XIII was the one who changed Soras clothes, and gave him a shirt with a sewn-in GPS-tracker.
-How does the X-shape on his shirt help them track Sora? NOT EXPLAINED! :D
-Situation XIII then goes on to talk a little more about time travel, because THAT is just what we need right now, and I’m sure it will clarify SO MUCH.
-So much..

-Okay so, apparently you can’t affect time, says Situation XIII. Even if he can travel through time it was all to have all of his ”selves” gather and include Sora in the fold. What happens after this, apparently fated, point is beyond his knowledge. He is destined to return, become all the others, and forget everything he’s seen in the future.
-Situation XIII is Xehanort, right before he set out from his little island in the intro from Birth by Sleep. He was apparently approached by his future self during that time and has been working up to this ever since… but he did NOT know the future because knowledge can’t be imparted, he just got set on the path of searching for other worlds and continued down it ever since. So I think it’s fair to say he’s been bad since the moment he left town.
-Situation then reveals that Sora is to be the ”thirteenth vessel”, whatever that means, and the centerpiece of a gathering of various Xehanorts. The last thing Situation says before it’s time to return back to his time is to wish Sora a deep sleep… for now, he will be a fresh vessel for Xehanort.
-Oh and Sora has been lying on the floor this whole time, overwhelmed by darkness and weariness after fighting Xemnas wore him out. So yeah, that whole fight was apparently just a distraction. Joy.
-But even as we see Sora sits comatose in the middle of the Organizations conference hall, inside him we see a light approach him: Ventus, there to put his armor on Sora to protect him from the encroaching darkness, letting him land safely in that weird stained-glass platform we’ve seen so often before. A light still exist, and the fight is not yet over…

-When we drop back to Riku, who is suddenly standing on the square again instead of in the alleyway he fell asleep in, we have some glossary-reading to do: The Resusicants Sigil, and Hearts Connected To Sora.
-The latter is basically just a walkthrough of the different connections Sora has with Ventus, Terra, Aqua, Kairi, Roxas, Namine and Xion, and mentions how Xion, Namine and Roxas still slumber in sadness.  The former talks about the X-mark that Sora wears on his shirt, which the entry claims has been seen in various obvious and insidious shapes along Soras journey. No explanation of how they use it to track him though! Because why would we need that, am I right?
-Also, the story journal says that we have still sealed the Seven Keyholes, so that DID happen… I think. I’m honestly not very sure of anything that’s going on right now.
-Moving forward brings Riku to the hovering castle of the Nobodies, but he has no way inside… or DOES HE?
-For Riku says that he still has his Dream Eater powers, meaning that Sora is still asleep. Now here’s an interesting part: Meow Wow suddenly appears at the base of the castle, and Komory Bat soon appears on Rikus shoulder! Together they create a grind-rail for him to cross and enter the castle!

-Once inside Riku immediately arrives at the conference room, where he finds Sora… except Situation XIII soon arrives and informs him that he is not to touch ”his” vessel, blasting Riku away with what I swear is an actual Force Push.
-He then reveals that Riku’s been a very naughty boy, because Xehanort wanted his sweet bod for himself. But when THAT didn’t happen because Riku was lame and wouldn’t get inside Xehanorts metaphorical white van, they decided to follow the Keyblades example and move on to the next young bod in line – Sora. The thirteenth vessel of Xehanort, part of the ”real Organization XIII” consisting of thirteen Xehanorts.
- What follows next is some exposition regarding the rules of time travel- one must discard ones body first, there must be a version of yourself at the destination you travel to, once you arrive you can only move forward in time as per usual (or so he says) and you cannot change what is ”predestined”, which according to these chuckleheads is the X-Blade being recreated and Xehanort winning. I think NOT, especially since even Situation himself admits that he doesn’t know what happens from here on out. Oh, and you forget what happened when you return to your point in time, which is apparently also inevitable.
-According to Situation the people present are versions of Xehanort, himself being the youngest, and Oldanort is soon to arrive from… wherever he may be. Which means that since Braig said he was already ”half Xehanort”, what with the yellow eyes and pointy ears… he’s already well on his way to clone-conversion.
-Which makes me wonder because didn’t he kind of want to have a Keyblade of his own? Is he willing to sacrifice his identity JUST for a shot at the Keyblade?
-They have all arrived from the streams of time to this exact moment for unknown reasons, because I doubt THEY can become new vessels for Xehanort as was planned from the start. Because aren’t they already him?
-Note: the only ones dehooded at this point are Braig, Xemnas-Xehanort and Ansem Seeker of Darkness-Xehanort.
-After telling Riku on how he and Sora showed them that the original organization wasn’t up to par since they, you know, got iced, the time has now come to make Sora the thirteenth vessel…
-And he casts ”Stopza” which creates a bubble of time that freezes THE WHOLE EFFING ORGANIZATION.
-Mickey tells Riku that standing around in slackjawed admiration isn’t gonna cut it right now, they have a Sora to rescue! But just as soon as that happens, Mickey is suddenly knocked away from behind by Situation XIII! Riku wonders aloud how he can move, while Mickey seems to figure out WHAT this Young Xehanort is… and supposedly, how he can move around while under a time-freeze.
-And. Oh my.

-The boss fight starts inside a mysterious void, where Riku and Situation XIII are standing on what looks like a clockface. Around him hover differently colored crystals that I am sure will be important somehow, the music is the exact same as the secret boss in Birth By Sleep, and the Keyblade that Situation uses is the same Keyblade that you win from the secret boss in Birth By Sleep… this isn’t looking too good.
-I am about to fight the secret boss in birth By Sleep and I do not have access to a dodgerolll that lets me phase through shots.
-I may be boned.
-The main gist of this bossfight is that Situation XIII has several of the secret boss’s attacks, but not all of them which I thank the heavens for. His weird day-glo keyblade can fire crescent-shaped projectiles with each swing, elongate ala Terras attack in Kingdom Hearts 2 (it even glows!), and he can in rare cases do that thing where he suddenly disperses several spheres which shoot spears of light and which hurt like HELL.
-He also frequently fires several dark projectiles that causes Slow if they hit you, and he can summon huge chunks of ice from the ground in a circle. One circle around Riku which attacks Riku at the same time, one circle around himself which protects him.
-He also effing LOVES to teleport. He is often capable of teleporting himself right out of your attack combo, so long attacks are not recommended. Strike fast with quick attacks like Dark Fire, Thunder Dive, etc. Have a Curaga on standby and for the love of GOD make sure you’ve equipped both Once More and Second Chance. Without them (and Stop/Slow Block), you will be overwhelmed by his numerous attacks and terminated in short order.
-During this battle I had Grimlock and Max at my side and they performed admirably in battle, mostly acting as healer and heat-drawing meatshield. Not very well mind you, but they definitely helped. Sometimes they even managed to catch him at the tail-end of his teleports and stun him. And they are also helpful since you have a MUCH higher chance of stunning him and trapping him in your long combos if you’re Dream Linked to a Spirit.

-There’s really not much more to this battle but dodge the attacks, get quick licks in. EXCEPT when you lower his health to the lowest point… something strange happens.
-He turns to the center of the arena and a clock appears behind him. Hit him FAST here, and be prepared to swipe your finger over the touch screen quick because OH BALLS there is NOT much time to cancel this attack with a Reality Shift. If you fail he will turn back time and regain three health bars out of eight or so, and you don’t want that… especially since when you succeed, you enter some kind of weird time warp where the clock can be attacked, and if you defeat it you win. HOWEVER he will now send out several clones of himself like he did in Birth By Sleep, and they will attack with fire cyclones, X-shaped projectiles, dual light-saber combos and other attacks. The first time I entered this zone I failed to destroy him, and he was once again brought back to three lifebars. I THINK that I managed to lower the number of health bars on the clock because I can swear he had much less health the second time I managed to bring out the clock. Again: quick attacks and distance attacks are the best, because if you stay close to the clock you will be assaulted by his clones which are endless and seemingly random.

-Keep this up… and the ending cutscene is yours for the taking. And what an ending it is.
-Mickey’s Stopza gets dispelled by the arrival of Old Xehanort, who reveals to Mickey his plan (of course!)
-Oh man this is kind of glorious. Long story short: Xehanort reveals that his previous plan was ”a bit rash”.
-”Eh, you know how it is, I’m old and cranky and I wanted to hurry things up. Mistakes were made, I think people on both sides did wrong, we have to move past-”
”-See this is what I’m talking about, I’m being the bigger man here (not that it’s hard considering present company) and moving on, and yet all you can do is think about the past. Really, a weak little loser kid who couldn’t even be part of my sword-recipe, some nosy broad who sacrificed herself for nothing and the dumb jock who trusted in the wrong people were just gonna drag you down anyway, this was how it was supposed to be : ) ”
-He insults them right to Mickey’s face and Mickey’s seething fury is glorious.
-Mickey admits he should have seen the plan from the moment when Maleficent first gathered the seven princesses of light (as manipulated by Xehanort, apparently). Why?
-See, long ago there were the Keyblade wars, and light was lost to people and yadda yadda. The X-blade wasn’t able to be reforged ten years ago because there was only one piece of light, and one piece of darkness: Ventus and Vanitas. Xehanorts back-up plan is to create the REAL X-blade by gathering thirteen hosts of darkness (which will be insured to be dark since they’re, you know, ALL XEHANORT) and seven hosts of light. And Sora shall be the thirteenth vessel in this time-loopy gathering, because…
-You know I have no idea how they’re going to have thirteen vessels of darkness when most of those vessels are Xehanort-versions, and as Mickey states- the only ”lights” are Sora, Mickey, Riku, Terra, Ventus, Aqua. That just makes six… except Xehanort then says that he is CERTAIN that the seven pieces of light WILL gather in time due to destiny and whatnot. Because Destiny Says So is Xehanorts entire motivation and plan. That’s… nice.
-Mickey and Riku try to save Sora but are embarrassingly easily taken down by Ansem and Xemnas, with Situation XIII having returned to his seat completely unshaken.
-And we still don’t know what Mickey realized that made Situation XIII immune to his time-spell.
-And just as Xehanort is about to put himself into Soras young, nubile body…
-”There’s only room for ONE manhandler of shotas around here!”
”The Lea Formerly Known as Axel- got it memorized?”

-Oh yeah- Lea shows up and screws up the script, and Braig panics and asks Xehanort what now since he ”wasn’t supposed to be here”. Xehanort merely nods to one of the coat-people… and out leaps Isa, swinging his claymore right at Lea who blocks it with his chakrams.
-So apparently he does NOT have a Keyblade. Neato.
-Lea breaks the clash and lands back on the platform, where Mickey and Riku have freed themselves from their captors grips.
-”Why are you here Axel?”
”-No I told you my name’s- agh, whatever, Axel, fine. Now let’s get outta here!”
Actual quotes again.
-I think this is the most I’ve ever liked Lea.
-But they’re not out of the woods yet as Ansem summons his guardian who… snags Riku and Mickey with embarrassing ease. AGAIN.
-And the reason he does that is so that Goofy and Donald can suddenly come tumbling down, land on the guardians head, and make it go away.
-Yes. That just happened.
-I don’t know if I’m to be happy for the fan-service fo seeing Donald and Goofy actually DO something, or bemoan that they had to make Riku and Mickey seem incompetent for it to happen.
-Though they do have a funny little exchange after knocking out the guardian that almost makes their appearance worth it. Almost.
-And just like that… it’s over. The window of time has passed, and everyone present fades away from existence.
-I have no idea if that means Braig and Isa actually WHERE Saix and Xigbar though. Shouldn’t they be whole people now, and not fade away with the time-warp closing?
-But Xehanort is not deterred- heck, he doesn’t even act like he cares they just lost. He just goes on about how he knows the seven of light and thirteen of darkness are destined to clash, and that even if it didn’t happen now it will happen one day.
-And so our heroes are left standing in the empty hall…

-Cut back to Yen Sids tower, which actually gets a stage title drop NOW for some reason.
-Sora is still sleeping, and Yen Sid assures Mickey that no, this isn’t yet another spiky-haired victim of darkness coma. There is a way to save him… namely if Riku dives into Soras heart to wake him up.
-See, the point of unlocking the seven slumbering keyholes were to rouse those worlds from slumber and thereby gain the power to release someone who’s heart is sleeping. But whereas Sora unlocked the ACTUAL Keyholes and so gained that power, Riku unlocked those keyholes in Soras dreams. Hence, Yen Sid argues, Riku should be able to unlock SORAS heart from slumber.
-So why could Riku see Sora when he was sleeping in The World That Never Was? Was he awake then or still part of the dreaming Sora?
-How could Sora see him in Yoshuas Traverse Town?
-I should really just get on with it, shouldn’t I?
-Mickey offers to go instead since Sora’s heart is deep in darkness and he fears for Riku’s safety. Yen Sid says Mickey might succeed, but Riku is much more likely to do so. After all…
”You have been deeper into Soras heart than anyone else.”
”… I know. I shall do what-”
”You have touched each other in ways no one else has.”
”… Y-yeah, I am just about-”
”The rate of which his kokoro goes doki-doki for you is so sugoi it cannot be meas-”
”And be snappy about it, I do so dislike having vagrants sleeping on my floor.”

-Oh man.
Oh man Lea.
-The whole crew starts backpatting themselves with how Sora has touched all of their hearts and they’re not going to let him go so easily and other kind things, and then Lea chimes in with, and I’m quoting here…
”And if the darkness gets ya, I promise I’ll bail ya out. ”Dark Rescue” is my middle name.”
-… Lea.
-That line.
-That cheezy, cheezy line.
-The only way it could have been more gloriously cheesy is if he would’ve finished it with Lea ”Dark Rescue”… Alonzo la Darkcoat! *que inexplicable flamenco-music out of nowhere*
-I can’t. This is too much.
-So Riku enters another dive in which you steer into floating Soras. Gather thirty and hit the ring and it’s boss time versus Ventus armor, covered in sticky black goop and calling itself Nightmare Ventus Armor.
-I an actually getting some pretty nifty flashbacks to Epic Mickey here, since the armor turns into this weird black liquid as it teleports around whenever you use a long combo against it.
-BUT the arena is pretty small, so roll up against a nearby wall to use a Flowmotion drill-attack and you take BIG chunks of his health out! Apart from that there’s not much else strategy to this fight. Heal as necessary, use Flowmotion commands when you got a shot, dodge attacks… and when you get him to his lowest point (he only has about four health meters) you fuse with your dream eaters and engange in a little Dragon Ball Z esque fly-by-swee-clash fight. You basically just hit A, at some points you get hit, but you mostly hit him, and then you win the battle!

-The armor cracks to reveal Sora, yet he sinks into yet another dark abyss as Riku struggles to pull him out… to no avail. Sora dissapears, yet his Keyblade remains behind. Riku, struck by some kind of revalation grabs the Keyblade, flips up into the air and unlocks a most shiny Keyhole…
-And when the lightshow is over we’re suddenly on Destiny Island, where Riku meets the three ghosts Roxas, Ventus and Xion in short order (though he first mistakes her for Sora). Roxas asks him what he’s so afraid of (”Losing something that’s important”), Ventus asks him what the one thing he cares about more than anything else is (”My close friends”), and Xion asks him what he wishes for (”to recover something important”).
-It’s kinda hilarious how he gets more and more exasparated with cryptic, out of nowhere questions as things proceed.
-Suddenly message in a bottle.
-EVEN MORE SUDDENLY- Ansem! The real one.
-Or, well, sort of. It’s a digitized copy of Ansem and his research that was hidden within Sora, which we would know of if we played re:coded.
-Because Sora is apparently part USB-stick and can have digital data downloaded into him with no problem whatsoever.
-And MAN did they ever seem to ignore re:coded in this game. Mickey didn’t even talk about the stuff that happened in that game that directly lead into this game! No mention of how he’s located ”two” of the people they’re trying to wake up, no mention of Data Sora and Naminés message, no mention of the fact there WAS research data inside Sora that you had to bring out… guess even Square-Enix wants us to forget about that game.

-ANYHOW moving on… Ansem talks about how hearts grow, and that he apparently figured out that Nobodies do grow their hearts back at some point… but if he had been digitized BEFORE Sora woke up why was he still acting all Completionist towards Roxas?
-Plothole probably. Or his digitized copy received the emotions of his real self due to heart-magic.
-Yadda yadda Sora is special and could reunite with Roxas without destroying him because he has so much lovey-dovey feelings in his kokoro, and he is Jesus who can bring back hearts and existences to those connected to him, recreate those we thought were lost forever.
-I wonder how far this ressurection-power goes. I’m imagining people just rushing headlong into battle because it’s okay, if they die they just have Sora aim his keyblade at himself and insert it and bam, out they wiggle!
-That went to a morbid place. Back to storytime.
-Ansem starts talking about how hearts are everywhere like in trees and water and wind and toys and if we simply had the innocence of a child we could perhaps see them as Sora does. If he puts on a Pocahontas dress and starts swimming in the ocean while singing about the colors of the wind I am officially out.
-To get my camera and get picture proof because that would be hilarious.
-So yeah. The research can save some of the many hearts that have been touched by Sora (because he’s a heartfloozy like that) and all he has to do is be himself. You heard the scientist everyone- the lives of all these people rests solely on the judgment of a little boy who thought Prankster’s Paradise was a happy land with chocolate rivers and gumdrop smiles. We’re boned.

-Riku thanks him for the databottle and the two share a wry laugh as Riku tells him he’s there to wake up Sora from a coma. Again. Ansem informs him that Sora woke up as soon as Riku beat his armored form and answered the three ghosts questions, so Riku opens up a Keyhole and prepares to hover on out. But first…
-”Young man. I do not believe you ever told me your name.”
-”Huh… heh. It’s Riku.”
-And just like that, they ALMOST managed to salvage that clumsy scene in Kingdom Hearts 2 where Riku said he was Ansem for wangsty reasons.
-Riku wakes up with Mickey, Yen and Lea looking down on him as Sora, Donald and Goofy sit by the table and… have a tea party.
-With a big ass cake.
-And Donald almost paraphrases Cid Highwinds infamous ”shut up and drink your tea” –line except with LESS profanity, which just feels WRONG somehow.
-And Sora is wearing Groucho Marx glasses and moustache for no discernable reason.
-I don’t know what is stranger. That he’s wearing them, or that YEN SID of all people own a pair because I don’t think anyone else would bring it inside his tower.

-After hugs and reassurances are passed around Sora asks Yen Sid if they passed the test, and after the worlds fastest clean-up (a camerapan is all it takes to remove all the tables and cakes), Yen Sid starts his little graduation-speech.
-”So yes. I would first like to give out, as they say, ”mad props” to you both for surviving my little death-trap- I mean test. I would also extend these props to Lea for pulling our collective bacon-strips out of the fire, for once, with his 80’s action-hero loose cannon antics. Also, regarding to my failing to predict Xehanorts harebrained timetravel scheme- well, my bad. I should clearly ingest more of the hallucinogenic materials I keep around here in order to predict Nomuras plot twists better in the future. While both of your accomplishments gave honor to your houses, Riku went BACK into that maddeningly loosely defined realm of sleep to save his friend, meaning a hundred points for Slytherin and his nomination as our new Keyblade master!”
-Que Riku freezing up until Sora slings his arm around his shoulder and congratulates him (prompting Donald to quip that Sora still needed the practice) and Riku eventually realizes that people DO like him, they really DO like him!
-Lea interjects the asspat-party to let them all know he can’t wait to be Keyblade King-I mean Master, prompting doubtful expressions from Sora and Riku. Lea lets those unbelieving Debbie Downers know that he WAS gonna come swooping in with Keyblade in hand to save them but that he just couldn’t make it appear in time, and that he never seemed to get the trick down-
-Except Lea who’s just kinda goes ”huh, yeah told you I could do it.”
-Notes of interest here: his Keyblade looks like a stylized flame, ala the previous Keyblades you got from him, and it’s also kind of transparent- an indication that he hasn’t QUITE got it down just yet?

-And thus, the credits. Sora unlocks a Keyhole outside of the Mysterious Tower, telling the crew that he’s got to go on an adventure of his own for a while. They wish him the best of luck and careful journeys, as he goes into… what I suppose is the realm of sleep again? He goes off and Sanctuary plays while the credit rolls.
-Did Ansem and Xemnas always have different voice actors?
-Leonard Nimoy was Xehanort, and the credits list James Patrick Stuart as playing Braig, so… that WAS Braig we saw there in the game? Not Xigbar? Okay then.
-Who the hell is Julius?
-Corey Burton was Ansem the Wise… apparently he and Cristopher Lee switch out depending on who is available at the time. Xion was Hayden Penettiere, again. Man what a voice actor mix-up this game is.
-And then we get something else. A minigame as the credits roll where you dive against the credits and hit special golden letters inside the text. Collect them all to spell out ”Secret Message Unlocked” at the bottom screen.
-Following that is YET ANOTHER credits list where various characters show up and do zany antics, but that’s not what’s important. What is important is that they are all playing with letters during their appearances, letters that all add up to a single sentence.
-”This leads to KINGDOM HEARTS.”

-… Then suddenly Sora waking up inside Traverse Town.
-… Surrounded by Dream Eaters.
- So he DID go back into the Realm of Sleep? But why would he do that?
-Should I just stop thinking about things and just adore the sight of all the cute Dream Eaters crowding Sora?
-And THEN Castle Oblivion, where we see Ven… smiling. Huh. Was that something Sora did?

-Huh. Young Xehanort stands on Destiny Islands, but now we see his face as he says that this world is just too small… and so it begins.
-~The Light In The darkness~
-Then Aqua in the realm of darkness?
-~Leads to the last key~
-SUDDENLY MYSTERIOUS TOWER. Goofy exposits on how Sora is late from his journey, Lea hurried back to Radiant Garden-
-And a thought just struck me- does anyone else on Radiant Garden know they’re complete again? Like have they told anyone or are they in for a VERY awkward run-in at the nearest mall whenever Aeleus has to go for a milk-run?
-And Riku got sent away on some mystery errand. Each statement makes Donald groan more and more, and the reason why he groans?
-”Ya think we’ll ever get to do something important?”
-… My God.
-My every complaint about the sidelined Disney characters, right there. Given wings by Goofys own mouth.
-It’s alright Donald. I would groan too.
-But before they can get TOO down in the dumps Riku returns… in the company of someone that makes both Goofy and Donald flip out.

-Mickey listens to Yen Sid recap events so far:
”So the Keyblade Wars happened and everything got right proper buggered as Kingdom Hearts dissappeared, but the light in the hearts of children saved our bums. The X-Blade shattered into seven pieces of light and thirteen pieces of darkness, which we both of course knew ALL ALONG but never told anyone about.”
-Mickey reaches the conclusion that the seven pieces of light became the Seven Princesses of Heart. They now form the source of all light in the world (even if the light in the hearts of children should still be a thing that exists) and thus they are going to be Xehanorts priorities. Even if they don’t try to find seven guardians the princesses will still be targeted- the new Keyblade war is inevitable.
-Hence, they will need seven strong lights to protect the seven princesses, and I’d just like to interject with a ”why”? I know that Xehanort is gung-ho on seven good guys fighting his thirteen bad guys and that he’s supersure that that is what’s gonna happen, thirteen dark people and seven light people will just materialize out of thin air or something, but why do you have to follow HIS script? Bring in all the lights you can find! Thirteen protectors, a hundred protectors, the seven lights that are the princesses are still part of the prophecy! They’re the seven, not YOU.
-Mickey insists they’re missing one guardian of light (because he’s still counting Terra, Aqua and Ven even if they are kinda indisposed of at the moment and Lea is apparently chopped liver), when Riku walks in the door with the guest-
-And apparently Yen Sid apparently didn’t tell him WHY he should bring it in. I suspect he’s just addicted to dramatic reveals.
-Mickey is surprised and impressed for some reason, and Yen Sid informs us that the guest in question can also wield a Keyblade and that he is glad she is here. With the words ”Reconnect Kingdom Hearts” flashing by, the game ends with a flash of Kairis most determined face.
-And while it isn’t SAID; I think it’s safe to say the entire fandom wishes for Kairi to stop being rescued and become an actual protagonist. Could Nomura actually be giving us something we want?

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