Kingdom Hearts review

When Disney worlds collide: the most implausible-sounding game ever is among the most memorable, as well


  • Disney and Square are great together
  • Awesome characters and locales
  • Graphics aren't bad at all


  • Fighting is surprisingly shallow
  • Uncooperative camera
  • Gummi ship shooting levels suck

Who wins in a fight between Pikachu and Darth Vader? Does a 50 foot-tall gorilla weigh more than a robot that transforms into an 18-wheeler? If Goku from Dragon Ball Z teamed up with the Hulk, could they out-eat Pac-man?

Oh, one more. What if cartoon super-power Disney teamed up with Squaresoft, creators of the Final Fantasy role-playing games, to make a new game? What if they made something that mixed classic Disney characters and worlds with new, Square-created cast members and Action RPG gameplay?

Most of these questions will never be answered - the impermeable boundaries between fantasy universes just won't give - but those last two actually have an answer. The game would appear on PlayStation 2, and it would be completely bizarre, totally captivating, and ultimately rockin'.

Kingdom Hearts is the story of Sora, a young boy separated from his best friends Kairi and Riku when their island home is attacked by world-gobbling darkness and shadowy creatures called Heartless. Simultaneously, King Mickey Mouse is missing, and the many worlds of Disney are being eaten by the darkness one by one.

Things get rolling when Sora, Goofy, and Donald Duck meet up and join forces against the roiling evil. It seems that Sora's magical weapon, the keyblade - literally a giant key that he uses to clobber enemies over the head - canbanish the Heartless.

Thus, the three set off in their Gummi spaceship - which looks like it's made of LEGOs and which you can upgrade over time - and battle across most of the Disney galaxy, meeting the Square/Disney all-stars along the way. Hercules, Pinocchio, Squall Lionheart, Simba, Belle and Beast, Jack Skellington, Cloud Strife, Hades, Winnie the Pooh, Aerith, Peter Pan ... you can even find Sephiroth in here.

The amazing thing is, although there's certainly a sense of the surreal hovering about, the combination of the Disney and Square universes also manages to feel simply right. Seriously, re-read those two paragraphs above. Does it make any sense at all that this works beautifully? Of course not. But it does.

More Info

GenreRole Playing
DescriptionWhen Disneyworlds collide: the most implausible-sounding game ever is one of the most memorable, as well.
US censor ratingEveryone
Release date17 September 2002 (US), (UK)
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