Continuing our month of Kingdom Hearts Raptor 6s, we thought about how explaining Kingdom Hearts’ worlds to an innocent bystander can often feel like you’re taking them on a tour of the good, the bad, and the bizarre. So today we decided to focus on the bizarre!
MonstroIn my previous Raptor 6, I mentioned that I’m not a huge fan of Pinocchio. However, everyone knows about the scene where they knock off the bible and get swallowed by a giant whale, only to… escape? Maybe? I’m not actually sure how it ends, but I assume they’re alright. While it's an odd location to choose to represent the movie, I understand it's a significant scene, so we'll let that one slide. What really lands this world on the weird list is the design.
The world of Monstro looks like a 60s fever dream threw up on a biology lab culture and then oozed around a jelly factory for a bit. It’s luridly bright, and yet oddly foreboding. If this was going to be a whimsical, fun place akin to Wonderland, it wouldn’t be so weird. What puts this firmly in the bizarre category is the juxtaposition of the very serious scenes between Riku, Sora and Pinocchio, that are all somber and dramatic … while set against the backdrop of several thousand exploded lava lamps. Perhaps most peculiarly of all, after a quick Youtube search I realized that NONE of this was in the movie! I think we may just have to chalk this one up to someone’s valiant effort to try and add some more colors to the game and uh, never talk about it again.
Neverland – Kingdom Hearts 1Ahh, Neverland! You can fly, you can fly, you can, well, glide actually for most of the game. But close enough. Unlike Pinocchio, I am admittedly a huge fan of Peter Pan. You have Neverland, which is the epitome of a kid’s imaginary playground – mermaids, pirates, treehouses, fairies, politically incorrect Indians! Everything you need to have an amazing adventure, all bundled into one single island.
So then why did they decide to take the second most boring part of the whole movie, Captain Hook’s Ship, and make that the level? It’s not like they were short on choices! And while I know the image of the four main characters setting down on the clock hand of Big Ben is iconic, was it really necessary to include that in the game either? Big Ben’s lovely, I’ve been there, but at no time have I ever had a burning desire to run around on top of it fighting Phantoms. While Neverland necessarily wasn’t a “bad” world, it just didn’t make sense. Yeah, pirate ships are fun to explore, but after a while every corridor in this one started looking the same. If you’re looking for the real Neverland experience, Birth by Sleep decided to straighten up and do it right. And, as expected, it’s a TON of fun to run around and explore and have adventures.
Atlantica – Kingdom Hearts 2I realize most of you were expecting this entry. Considering Atlantica was so interesting and so well done in the first game … yikes. Just yikes. The whole world starts off blatantly misleading. After showing a cutscene of Ariel and Eric which makes you think you’ll be playing the movie plot, and then re-learning how to swim and getting targeting advice from Flounder, you end up getting hijacked for music practice. Yep. The actual tunes themselves aren’t bad, most of them are quite catchy though they don’t hold up to the brilliance of the Alan Menken ones from the film. But the lyrics make me believe that something must have gotten lost in translation. The phrase “Finny fun” in particular comes to mind as being cringeworthy.
What puts this world on the list of the weird is not just the strange structure of it but also the fact that it’s wholly unnecessary. Mini-games were also included in the 100 Acre Wood, so why make an entire other world for one mini-game? I bet Pooh could sing if he put his mind to it. And if they wanted to continue the story of The Little Mermaid after the movie’s entry in the first Kingdom Hearts, why not make it a regular world? Thankfully, this seems to have been a one-off experiment.
End of the WorldSo the end of the world is … its own world? How does that even work? Did someone take a page out of a Douglas Adams book and not say anything? In all seriousness, the End of the World is pretty bizarre. It’s made up of bits and pieces from all the other worlds the Heartless have devoured, which makes it kind of a meta-Heartless itself. With other Heartless still living in/on it.
I get that pieces of the conquered worlds have to go somewhere, but what puts this on the list of the bizarre is the fact that it’s one of the pathways to access Kingdom Hearts, ie. The heart of all worlds, but only by going through the one world that has no heart? I’m personally still a little confused, but in retrospect, with the Chernabog and Bald Mountain sequence, Fantasia actually makes much more sense now, so at least there’s that.
Deep SpaceLilo and Stitch is a great movie, don’t get me wrong, and I think a world based on it could potentially be amazing. But Deep Space? Unlike Monstro and Neverland which have their own design flaws in-level, this is on the list for the sheer reason that I’m still trying to figure out why they chose this for the Lilo and Stitch world. We’ve seen Stitch before, as a summon, on happy Hawaiian beaches. Not only is the opening sequence of the movie, which Deep Space is based upon, arguably the most boring bit of the movie, but it’s also the least fleshed out part.
Additionally, let’s look at the fact that the world is even called Deep Space. Does that mean Lilo and the other characters are actually located in another world? Did Stitch travel through the darkness when he stole the spaceship? Or did Lilo and Stitch take place before the worlds were separated? Based on the events that occur in Birth By Sleep, that last option seems unlikely. So now Stitch is apparently an interdimensional traveler, or the aliens of Deep Space have some technology that even King Mickey doesn’t know about it order to bypass the world’s limitations. And also, Deep Space is kind of a generic name. Is it inhabited by other spacey characters? Will we see Buzz Lightyear of Star Command? I have many questions.
Castle OblivionThis is one world that starts out weirder and uh, just keeps getting weirder the more you find out. When it’s first introduced in Chain of Memories, it’s an enormous castle with too many basements, where people lose their memories and, to quote Jiminy’s journal entry, “the cards rule all.” First of all, this sounds like it was designed by an overzealous party magician after a few too many flashbangs went off in front of them. We also then find out that the whole thing is under the jurisdiction of Marluxia, the scythe wielding psychopath that looks like a combination of the Grim Reaper and My Little Pony.
We then find out in Birth by Sleep that it was originally the Land of Departure, and that Aqua created the castle to keep Ven’s body safe while his soul went off accidentally gallivanting around with Sora. Presumably it’s not the power of a keyblade master to change any world as they wish, otherwise I’m pretty sure we would’ve seen some fairly drastic changes by now. So what about the structure of this world says that it’s basically made of Play-Doh?