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Kingdom Hearts Chain of Memories Retrospective



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Blackdrazon

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Technically my Marluxia advice will be up in an hour twenty, but it's been so long since I played Sora's Story on the GBA that I'm not sure how much it will help! R/R yes. SS not so much.

but still, it feels great that not only am I so close to finishing Sora's story for the first time, but that I'll finally be able to play through the original Reverse/Rebirth as well. :)

Good luck and congrats! The original R/R is a very different experience, and I hope it finds you well, because sometimes...
 

FudgemintGuardian

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and like Ansem Seeker of Darkness, the Spectre has given Marluxia a guardian that looks like some kind of angelic psychopomp while Marluxia stands rooted in place,
This has kinda always bugged me a tiny bit. Aside from the "why the alternate forms" bit you mentioned, here you have the angelic, feminine, Nobody Specter, that I can only see as meaning to be a counterpart to the demonic, masculine, Heartless Guardian, and nothing is done with it.

Thank goodness we have Days in the future, isn’t that right, fellow fans? Days, an entire midquel game with plenty of opportunity to teach us about Marluxia and how he built up this kind of power! All our questions will be answered!
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Good luck and congrats! The original R/R is a very different experience, and I hope it finds you well, because sometimes...
Thanks! Beaten the stupid flower clone jutsu (seriously, what was the point of doing that??) last night so I'm almost there. Can't wait to see how different R/R is in the original.
 
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BlackOsprey

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It's funny. Every step of the way, you took time to praise CoM for its clever narrative, but now that we're at the end, that carefully constructed plot just kinda fell on its face.

Oh, the "erase the memories" scene. I was always bothered by that scene too, though I can't say that I was particularly "disturbed"... I just really, really wanted to reach in there and slap the characters upside their heads. C'mon, did you not hear ANY of what Marluxia just said? It's not just a simple memory wipe... the flower creep said it would DESTROY YOUR diddlyING HEART. There's a much better solution to this, which involves shutting flower creep up by bludgeoning him to death, and we all know you are fully capable of that.
 

Blackdrazon

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It's funny. Every step of the way, you took time to praise CoM for its clever narrative, but now that we're at the end, that carefully constructed plot just kinda fell on its face.

Nothing's perfect.

Sometimes catastrophically so.
 

ShardofTruth

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Yeah, they story kind of falls apart at the end but there are some things I can use in its defense which don't necessarily make the result better in any way, but at least share some perspective:

1. Sora's interaction with the world was and always is kind of special, he embraces things completely even if they are lies. This lead to his (temporary) downfall in DDD and sometimes makes me wonder if we (as the players) are really on the right side of the story.
This doesn't make the situation where he claims to keep the promise, even though it was fake all along, less absurd, even more so when you rightfully mentioned how Naminé isn't involved in the conversation at all.
Promise-keeping is really one of the central themes of Kingdom Hearts, for better or worse (usually worse).
What I'm trying to say is you shouldn't always judge these scenes from a logical standpoint but from Sora's perspective instead. There are normal thinking people in the universe of Kingdom Hearts, it's (too often) just not our protagonists.

2. Marluxia's forms and his end-game powers are really strange but apart from "this isn't even my final form"-nonsense they may suffer from being tied to abandoned concepts.
Technically Marluxia's Spectre is the first lesser Nobody we ever saw, so maybe they weren't envisioned as stronger Heartless back then but as something more unique.
Also there is a high possibility the fight against Marluxia is happening in the Realm of Nothingness, a place that is mentioned by Ansem the Wise in his secret reports and briefly seen in the beginning (the white space where Naminé talks to Roxas on the 3rd day) and ending (the place where Xemna's Final Form is fought) of KHII but never by Nomura himself or the games that came after this.
So maybe there once was an explanation for this stuff but it was too convoluted even for Nomura.
 

Blackdrazon

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makes me wonder if we (as the players) are really on the right side of the story.

Yeah, I wondered about this a lot when I was writing this section, but since Sora's take on the scene was actually quite dangerous and probably would have gotten me talking about abusive relationships (specifically, when I mentioned my "adamant no"), I did my best to skirt it. We'll be getting to scenes like this again, I'm afraid.

Technically Marluxia's Spectre is the first lesser Nobody we ever saw, so maybe they weren't envisioned as stronger Heartless back then but as something more unique.

I like this idea a lot. I guess we'll never know, but it could have been a very entertaining alternate take on KH2.

Also there is a high possibility the fight against Marluxia is happening in the Realm of Nothingness, a place that is mentioned by Ansem the Wise in his secret reports and briefly seen in the beginning (the white space where Naminé talks to Roxas on the 3rd day) and ending (the place where Xemna's Final Form is fought) of KHII but never by Nomura himself or the games that came after this.

Hmm, that makes a lot of sense. The KH2 retrospective talks about the mostly-dropped "Realm of Nothingness" plot element at length. Since your guess explains a lot of Sora's peculiar actions in the scene that follow's Marluxia's death (as I'll be critiquing on Tuesday), so I can't help but think that you're right. I should probably include this scene in that KH2 discussion.
 
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Veritas7340

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When Namine altered the gang's memories in Castle Oblivion, the process wiped out Jiminy's journal. If Jiminy had tried to write anything other than the vague statement, "Thank Namine," it would have just been erased.
 

FudgemintGuardian

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Well, that fight was...underwhelming.
Marluxia barely did anything. At the beginning he'd attack maybe 5-6 times and just stop. He wouldn't attack anymore until I destroyed the scythes. And even then, he didn't do much. With so many low Attack cards I shouldn't have bothered the 10 seconds making a deck of zeros.
The fight just didn't come off as a final boss.

and Sora returns to the hall, where his first response is to… seal the door with the Keyblade? I don’t think the game really did a good job of implying there was anything beyond the door worth sealing away. Am I wrong? Is he afraid of the room itself and its starry expanse? Or is he just that angry? You can tell from this screenshot and the events of the last entry that Sora is furious, I don’t doubt that, but I still don’t see what this accomplishes. You could say he’s just behaving irrationally, but hold that thought because Donald and Goofy pre-empt his actions by closing the door in the first place! You have to make up an answer to make this work, because the game isn’t talking. Sora’s response isn’t that extreme on its own, but it is an extreme response to the stimulus, which is to say: no stimulus at all!

Let’s not even begin to talk about why Sora doesn’t just imprison villains in rooms to begin with. From what we see in the series, while the Keyblade can unlock anything, it’s only ever used to lock specific locks… I’m just not sure why this is one of them.
Made funnier in that if Marluxia was still alive, he could just teleport out.

Couldn’t she just unlink her false memories from the real memories of the Castle? I guess the memories come in larger Platonic “chunks” than I initially assumed?
In an ideal world, yes. Namine removing herself shouldn't remove the non-Namine parts of Sora's experience in Castle Oblivion. At the very least he would remember that he went into a weird castle and fought black coat-wearing badguys.
Least when it comes to the Riku Replica, the false memories are probably the only memories he has, as he may not have even been active until the false memory input.

If nothing else, I feel I understand the real-world reason for this ending. My guess is that CoM’s was designed such that if the game didn’t sell very well, Square could ignore it in future games. If Sora doesn’t remember the game, no one should need to remember the game, and so CoM becomes optional.
But as with you, I feel this was the case.

And that’s Chain of Memories! Wow, two whole games behind us. Two games absolutely, one-hundred percent, top-to-bottom completed and we can move happily on to Kingdom Hearts 2–

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MOTHER FU—
Remember the good ol' days when the CoM instruction booklet was so secretive on who you play as in R/R that they covered him with a big question mark, but you could clearly see the Soul Eater sticking out?

You could also probably guess that there's more to the game because Billy Zane is listed in Sora's credits.

I believe the commercial even had a shot of Riku and Ansem.

Kingdom Hearts has never been very good at secrecy.
 
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Antifa Lockhart

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Remember the good ol' days when the CoM instruction booklet was so secretive on who you play as in R/R that they covered him with a big question mark, but you could clearly see the Soul Eater sticking out?

You could also probably guess that there's more to the game because Billy Zane is listed in Sora's credits.

I believe the commercial even had a shot of Riku and Ansem.

Kingdom Hearts has never been very good at secrecy.

The launch commercial spilled the beans on Reverse Rebirth, it showed Riku, Ansem AND Mickey - which at the time was a giant shock to the fanbase, as we weren't sure if the one-scene-per-game rule had still been in effect.
 

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Soooo, that's the end of Sora's Story, huh? This was really great, and I appreciate your work. :D
 
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BlackOsprey

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Blackdrazon said:
And that’s Chain of Memories! Wow, two whole games behind us. Two games absolutely, one-hundred percent, top-to-bottom completed and we can move happily on to Kingdom Hearts 2–
Blackdrazon said:

MOTHER FU—


This ending. I'm dying. XD

Looking forward to you tearing this to shreds~
 

Hirokey123

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Also there is a high possibility the fight against Marluxia is happening in the Realm of Nothingness, a place that is mentioned by Ansem the Wise in his secret reports and briefly seen in the beginning (the white space where Naminé talks to Roxas on the 3rd day) and ending (the place where Xemna's Final Form is fought) of KHII but never by Nomura himself or the games that came after this.

Uh I don't think either of those are the realm of nothingness. The white room was pretty much for all intents and purposes a debug room. You know like those rooms in video games you're not suppose to get into but if you do what you encounter is broken bits of data used for testing. Namine either warped us there or created that place but it was very much a part of the digital world that Namine had hijacked. As for the white area in the final battle if the game data is to be believed that white area is the same place as the other parts of the battle, specifically known as the world of nothing. I think the idea was that those giant vortexes that appeared (one which the giant dragon was half drawn into) and sucked the parts of the world away leaving a white void (you can even see vortexes are still spinning in the final battle sucking in some little remnants).
 

ShardofTruth

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Uh I don't think either of those are the realm of nothingness. The white room was pretty much for all intents and purposes a debug room. You know like those rooms in video games you're not suppose to get into but if you do what you encounter is broken bits of data used for testing. Namine either warped us there or created that place but it was very much a part of the digital world that Namine had hijacked.
The white "debug" room (called "The Empty Realm" in the game files) shares the same kanji with the world of nothing: 虚無の世界. I don't think it's a debug room at all given how always these digitizing animations with the 1 and 0 are always shown when something enters or is created in the datascape. It's more metaphysical like the Station of Awakening Roxas visits.

As for the white area in the final battle if the game data is to be believed that white area is the same place as the other parts of the battle, specifically known as the world of nothing. I think the idea was that those giant vortexes that appeared (one which the giant dragon was half drawn into) and sucked the parts of the world away leaving a white void (you can even see vortexes are still spinning in the final battle sucking in some little remnants).
I don't think you can get any closer to "realm of nothingness" with the name "world of nothing", especially giving how kanji is the same, the NA translation is just different. I also don't see how this is contradicted by the vortexes.
Maybe I'm wrong here but the final area is actually the creation of Xemnas in his (or from his) artificial Kingdom Hearts, the worlds send Sora & co this door at the end so he can enter it. This world inside created by a Nobody is just empty itself, a world of nothing, and collapses at the end.

As for Marluxia, he says "Soon the emptiness will shatter your heart-here in this world of nothingness!", and again it's the same kanji (一切の心が消えた無の世界―――おまえの心を…虚しく散らせ!).

Of course since this realm is only mentioned in the fourth Secret Ansem Report and never directly by any of the characters this is mostly speculation, but it doesn't contradict anything.

The realm of nothingness seems to be connected to the existence of the Nobodies.
 

FudgemintGuardian

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Was gonna wait until Saturday's Retrospective before I started playing Reverse/Rebirth for myself, but I thought I'd have a little taste beforehand.

Which also leads into a question, as the videos you're using won't play for me (probably 'cause of the length:)
Does Riku say "taste" or "smell"?
I was watching a different video of the GBA version before I started playing and Riku said smell. Didn't think anything of it of course, but when I got to my copy and he said taste, aside from laughing so hard I couldn't breathe, I wondered if you knew he says this.
 
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Veritas7340

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He says "smell" or "scent." Riku is able to detect other darkness users just like DBZ warriors are able to detect others' power levels or how Jedi can sense each other through the force.

Riku said that even in the midst of fake light, he could still smell the foul stench of Zexion's darkness. In another scene, he said darkness this foul could only belong to Ansem. Those scenes would've been extremely awkward if it was "taste" lol
 

FudgemintGuardian

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He says "smell" or "scent." Riku is able to detect other darkness users just like DBZ warriors are able to detect others' power levels or how Jedi can sense each other through the force.

Riku said that even in the midst of fake light, he could still smell the foul stench of Zexion's darkness. In another scene, he said darkness this foul could only belong to Ansem.
I know what Riku can do with his schnoz. I was asking if in the videos Blackdrazon's using, it says that or "taste" like it does in my copy (as a video I watched has it as "smell".)
Though I don't know if it continues to use taste or not in the original CoM as I've only finished the first floor (and I can't tell if you're quoting from the GBA version or not so I don't know if my question's been answered.)

Those scenes would've been extremely awkward if it was "taste" lol
You and Kairi taste the same.
 
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Veritas7340

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I know what Riku can do with his schnoz. I was asking if in the videos Blackdrazon's using, it says that or "taste" like it does in my copy (as a video I watched has it as "smell".)
Though I don't know if it continues to use taste or not in the original CoM as I've only finished the first floor (and I can't tell if you're quoting from the GBA version or not so I don't know if my question's been answered.)

You and Kairi taste the same.

Oh my bad. I can remember the Re CoM version. It's been so long since I've seen my GBA. I think it is the same.

That version of Riku's line strays into rated M territory lol
 

Hirokey123

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The white "debug" room (called "The Empty Realm" in the game files) shares the same kanji with the world of nothing: 虚無の世界. I don't think it's a debug room at all given how always these digitizing animations with the 1 and 0 are always shown when something enters or is created in the datascape. It's more metaphysical like the Station of Awakening Roxas visits.

Spoiler Spoiler Show
Spoiler Spoiler Show
 
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Blackdrazon

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On the subject of The Empty Room, it's worth noting that in the very next scene, DiZ and "Ansem" say that "that Namine" was made of data. Personally, I drew similar conclusions to Hirokey about it when I first drafted the KH2 retrospective, but I also have a section that wonders why "the cloaked figure" is using Dark Corridors inside the data, and that is suspicious too...

Given the way most of the Realm of Nothingness plot elements were dropped along the wayside, it may be possible that they started out making The Empty Room one thing (the Realm of Nothingness) and then made it another (a debug room)? KH2 seems to have made a lot of curious, rushed changes when you look at it under a lens.


When Namine altered the gang's memories in Castle Oblivion, the process wiped out Jiminy's journal. If Jiminy had tried to write anything other than the vague statement, "Thank Namine," it would have just been erased.

Ah, that does make sense. Still, I can't help but think there was some way around it.

Least when it comes to the Riku Replica, the false memories are probably the only memories he has, as he may not have even been active until the false memory input.

This makes a lot of sense, too, but I wish they had said it.

I know what Riku can do with his schnoz. I was asking if in the videos Blackdrazon's using, it says that or "taste" like it does in my copy (as a video I watched has it as "smell".)

Riku typically says "smell" but in one instance in the original, he does in fact say "taste!" It's stunning.


You and Kairi taste the same.

Oh god, the actual line is bad enough.
 
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Hirokey123

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I'm looking over the end of this CoM retrospective and I have to say I never saw the need to explain why Sora had to go to sleep. Namine is going to be de-linking all this memories all the way back to childhood, then gathering up the missing pieces, and sticking them back in. I mean that alone I can only imagine being awake to experience your entire self be pulled apart piece by piece, and then rebuilt would be a hellish experience she doesn't want him to experience. Like I always shuddered at the end as a kid because the whole process seemed terrifying to me.

Also I'd assume they are using Corridors because they aren't really data.
Spoiler Spoiler Show


Just… “Thank Naminé.” He doesn’t plan to write any explanations. He’s not going to provide a way to confirm that he wrote this and not an imposter that locked them in alien death pods. He apparently hasn’t put down a word of the events in the Castle in his entirely blank journal.

Also this had me laughing for a good few minutes, kudos for calling out this plot point that seems to be so often overlooked.
 
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