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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published by: Square-Enix
Developed by: Jupiter / Buena Vista Interactive
Genre: Action RPG
Players: 2
Release Date: December 7, 2004
Written by: Matthew Prunty

To this day, many gamers and analysts alike are still amazed over the attention Square’s idea brought. No one until this day thought to combine Disney characters with his or her own into an action packed RPG. And the first system to get a taste of such creativity was the Playstation 2. Kingdom Hearts catapulted Square and Sony’s Playstation 2 to record highs in 2002. Seeing how a lot of gamers that own a Playstation 2, own a Game Boy Advance also, Square-Enix, Disney, and their GBA team decided to release a handheld version of their acclaimed franchise until Kingdom Hearts 2 was ready.

Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories is one of the best-designed titles that you would find on the Game Boy Advance to this day. Square-Enix went all out to ensure that the GBA title could live up to the acclaimed name that made its debut on the Playstation 2. This includes a full-blown intro sequence via full-motion video.

For those who have played Kingdom Hearts for the Playstation 2 have a leg up on others in regards to the story behind the main character, Sora. But for those who haven’t here is a little refreshers course.

“On the night his island home is besieged by a mysterious storm, Sora is whisked away to an unfamiliar burg known as Traverse Town.

There he meets Donald and Goofy and learns of the world’s strange goings-on. Donald and Goofy set off to look for their missing king, and Sora joins them to search for his lost friends Riku and Kairi.

After a long journey that takes them across numerous worlds, Sora and friends find Riku and the king at last. But to save the world, Sora must use his keyblade to lose the door to darkness, even though Riku and the king are n the otherside.”

Will you help me with my dreams?

But to get the true feeling of what this game is all about, I suggest you track down a copy of the Kingdom Hearts for the Playstation2. But for those who have played the Game Boy Advance title and/or have not, I should let you know that Chain of Memories offers up several spoilers in regards to the original plot of Kingdom Hearts.

Chain of Memories is all about the memories that Sora has of the events that took place in Kingdom Hearts. So for those season veterans, don’t expect a lot of new worlds considering you are reliving the memories of Sora. This may be seen as a drawback for experienced gamers, but they will be quick to find out that Chain of Memories story is so indepth that it keeps them glued to their Game Boys for hours on end.

Difference is what Square-Enix tries to pride themselves on when it comes to their Role Playing Games, and that is the case with this title. Chain of Memories uses a card-based system to help progress the story and action. From opening doors, to casting magical spells, everything within the game revolves around cards. But unlike some games; Yu-Gi-Oh, Dragonball Z: Card Battle, Duel Masters, etc., cards don’t depict the gameplay. When you engage in battle, you are actually battling. Cards are just a key for which you use your different techniques.

One example would be the Door cards. They now only allow you to gain access to the next section beyond the doorway, but also allow you to saturate the area with a special effect. So depending on the card that is chosen by yourself, you can stop enemies dead in their place with a freeze affect, to revealing what you think are treasure chest, but in fact are actually monsters in disguise. If you happen to stumble across a special Moogle door card, hold onto those because they allow you to buy special packs of cards that can be used to strength your deck.

Now where did I put that key?

You attacks are also determined by the selection of cards. But you must be full aware of the cards you include in your deck. For the enemy can use Card-breaks against you (vise versa). Basically what a card break is when you use an attack card, and the enemy uses a card of equal or higher value. If you attack with a lower ranked card, you run the risk of getting hurt in battle. So it’s suggested that you put together one of the strongest decks of cards, but be weary not to have only powerful cards, or you can run into a little trouble down the road. So in essence you have to apply some type of strategy to what cards you pick, thus making your battles easier, and without running the risk of dying in the game.

Come get some!!

Early on, the card-based battle system works wonders, but you will be quick to find out as you get deeper into the title and have gone through a few bosses, that the game is no longer a walk in the park. So a strong deck is a must as you get further and further into the game. Once you start getting attack by multiple enemies, you wont have any time to look at what card to use here and there. You will be too busy using this card and that card back to back, and then reshuffling your deck to continue the trend until all the enemies are defeated.

Since all the talking is done via text boxes, the only sounds you really have is the music and the special effects that are used within the game. As far as the musical score goes, each level has its own distinctive soundtrack that keeps you into the action and sometimes have you moving to the beat (only for the fun at heart…LOL). But if you have played Kingdom Hearts from the PS2, then you will recognize a lot of the soundtracks played.

There is really nothing to the controls. But I will say this much, there may be a little bit of button mashing as you progress further into the game because you don’t have time to think about what attack to use here and there. ‘L’ and ‘R’ control the scrolling through the different cards you have available. SO this can become a problem especially if you have a massive deck in use.

Can I help out?

The replay value of this title could have been better. Beyond battling your fellow friend via Game Boy link cable, the only thing really to look forward to is the alternate storyline called Reverse/Rebirth, which features one of Sora’s friends. Both of these modes are made available once you beat the story mode.

Final Thoughts:
This is a great title, worth owning by any fan of Kingdom Hearts, card-based RPG’s, or even Disney characters. Though the game has a few discrepancies against it, its not enough to prevent you from enjoying the experience, whether new to the series, or not. You have to give it to Square-Enix though, they did put the same effort into this title that they did with their fellow Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and Final Fantasy 1 @ 2 titles.


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