Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories

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Not to be confused with the other card-game playing kid with Anime Hair.

Adventure is in the cards.

Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories is the second game in the Kingdom Hearts series. It's a sequel to the original Kingdom Hearts and bridges the gap between that game and Kingdom Hearts II. The only game in the series on the Game Boy Advance, it follows Sora, Donald Duck, and Goofy in their adventures in Castle Oblivion. Rather than the usual Action RPG style of combat, Chain of Memories uses a combination of action and "card battling". A deck of cards must be prepared before battle, and every action in battle requires a card. Cards can also be combined in "sleights" or special moves.

This game introduces Organization XIII, the main antagonists for both Kingdom Hearts II and Kingdom Hearts 358 Days Over 2. (Though they were also the protagonists for the latter. Wrap your head around that one.)

Chain of Memories was later remade as a PlayStation 2 game (called Re:Chain of Memories) as part of the Japan-only release of Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix+. It was (much later) released as a standalone PlayStation 2 game in North America. However, Europe and Australia never got it.


Tropes used in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories include:
  • Another Side, Another Story: Reverse/Rebirth.
  • Artificial Human: Vexen made one, Riku Replica.
  • Ascended Extra: Jimminy Cricket has a significantly bigger role in this game compared to others, appearing in almost all scenes.
  • At the Crossroads: There's one in front of Castle Oblivion. This is where Riku Takes a Third Option regarding walking the path of light or the path of darkness.
  • Awesome but Impractical: Half played. Warp Break on Riku mode has a chance of randomly one-shotting trash mobs. However, it doesn't work on bosses for obvious reasons.
    • When you play as Riku, you actually get to use Dark Aura. You remember That One Attack move as possibly having screwed the heck out of you on Sora's story (not to mention KH, where it was one of the reasons Riku was That One Boss in that game). Unfortunately, when playing as Riku, it tends to fall into this category - it's unavailable for a large percentage of the game because to use it you need to A) be in Dark Mode, and B) stock three 9-cards (the rarest and strongest cards) together. And if you can pull it off on bosses, you'll have to get them in just the right spot for them to not dodge it or break it. Still, though, it's very useful for clearing out trash mobs.
  • Batman Gambit: The whole game is one of these for Axel. While in the short-term, it worked perfectly... it didn't last.
  • Berserk Button: "No, I'M me." is all it takes to send the Riku Replica over the edge.
  • Beta Test Baddie: The Riku Replica. So much so that he wanted to kill the original to have a sense of originality and self.

"As long as you're around, I'll never be anything other than a shadow!"

  • Big Bad: Marluxia
  • Bigger Bad: The leader of the Organization (i.e. Xemnas), who serves as the Big Bad in the next game. You played KH: Final Mix, you already encountered him as the Unknown.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Marluxia, Zexion, and Xehanort's Heartless are defeated, but Sora has to go into a coma until Kingdom Hearts II in order to regain his lost memories, Riku ends up Walking the Earth (albeit with King fricking Mickey helping him [well, at least for some time]), and the Organization is still out there...
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Any cards you get during a new game after completing Reverse/Rebirth mode once such as the Ultima Weapon and Ansem cards are these, because you've already beaten every challenge the game has to offer at that point.
  • Breather Level: The 100 Acre Wood once again.
  • The Chessmaster: Zexion. He might have actually succeeded had it not been for Axel.
  • Cloning Blues: Riku Replica.
    • And Vexen in the manga.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Sora's last 2 fights with Riku Replica has him cheat. In order for you (playing as Riku) to use Dark Aura, you have to use three "9" cards. Riku Replica can use it with any values, so long as he uses 2 of "Card A" & 1 "Card B."
    • However, it's possible for you to cheat against Ansem in the original. Go into Dark Mode, activate Maleficent or Jafar, double jump, then attack. You hit Ansem multiple times, and you don't deplete Overdrive or Attack Bracer's counts, while still having the effects!
  • Damsel in Distress: Naminé. Half of this distress is real, while half of it is bait for Marluxia's trap for Sora.
  • The Dragon: Larxene to Marluxia, and Lexaeus to Zexion.
  • Dreamworks Face: Donald and Goofy sure look smug about something.
  • Dummied Out: Deep Jungle was almost featured in this game, but was more or less removed from the series (sans the first) because of copyright infringements with Edgar Rice Burroughs's estate.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Even though it's part of their plan, the Organization members seem genuinely confused as to why Sora would strive so hard to protect Naminé even though his memories of her are fake. Justified, since they have no hearts and therefore have only a theoretical understanding of emotions.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Many of the Organization members are working against each other, even though they're all villains.
  • Exploding Barrels: The Barrel Spider, a type of Heartless Chest Monster that likes to explode in your face during battle.
  • Fake Memories: A major plot element.
  • Fight Like a Card Player
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: While you slowly obtain them, three of the six villains have an element each at least until Axel kills Vexen.
  • Five-Bad Band: An odd example in which the Five-Bad Band is just as much antagonists to each other as they are to Sora and Riku. The basement dwellers (Vexen, Lexaeus, and Zexion) are actually in opposition to the others and their coup, with Vexen pretending to provide assistance to them. Axel is actually working to counteract Marluxia and Larxene as well, but ends up killing Vexen and Zexion too for reasons disclosed in 358/2 Days.
  • Forgotten Friend, New Foe: Naminé. Or is she?
  • Gambit Pileup
  • Glamour: Namine's power to insert herself as a trusted friend of Sora's.
  • Glamour Failure: The screen will flicker when artificially created memories start failing.
  • Glass Cannon: Zero cards. They can break any card regardless of value, and against bosses can halt their sleights instantly stopping their attack and staggering them. However, zero cards in turn can be broken by a card of any value.
  • Gratuitous Italian: The titles of a few pieces on the soundtrack.
  • Hot-Blooded: Riku Replica, arguably more so than Riku in KH.
  • Interface Screw: In the Game Boy Advance version, Lexaeus knocks the screen down so you fall towards him - Don't ask how he doesn't destroy Castle Oblivion, considering he's doing this in the basement.
  • I Will Protect Her: Sora and Riku Replica towards Naminé. Even when they both discover their memories of her are fake and that Riku is a replica of the real Riku and created by Vexen, they still resolve to protect her.

Riku Replica: "What can you possibly think I ever had? Both my body and my heart are fake. But there is one memory I'll keep, even if it's just a lie. Whether it was a phantom promise or not, I will protect Naminé!"

Axel: "Remember the order: 'You must eliminate the traitor.' I always follow orders, Marluxia."

  • Limited Special Collectors' Ultimate Edition: Re:Chain of Memories. Which was, for once in this series, actually released in America. It wasn't in Europe.
  • Lip Lock: Hits the remake hard, leading to weird pacing or dialogue that doesn't match the lip movements, possibly owing to its use of pre-rendered video instead of in-engine cutscenes like previous games. The fact that the scenes are superficially identical to in-engine rendering just makes it grind even more.
    • Arguably applies to the GBA game's ending videos as well, although it's not as noticeable because they're not actually voiced.
  • Living Memory: The characters in the castle (other than Sora, Donald, Goofy, Jimminy, and the Organization members plus Naminé) are all memories of Sora's.
  • Lovable Traitor: Axel.
  • Mad Scientist: Vexen, the Chilly Academic.
  • Magic Misfire: There is a sleight where Donald screws up a Fire spell. He then runs around the screen while on fire.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in the manga when Donald (having being set on fire by Axel and driven over the edge), spams Blizzard multiple times until the whole room is an ice rink.
  • Mind Screw: The scene in Destiny Islands when Sora talks to the two Naminés. Just look at this beauty of a line:

Second Naminé: "No, Sora! Don't listen to me!"

Axel: "Now, Sora! Naminé! Riku! Marluxia! Larxene! It's about time you gave me one hell of a show!"

  • Psycho Electro: Larxene. One of the most out and out CRUEL people in the series. Even Maleficent comes across as more sympathetic in the next game, and she's the freaking "Mistress of all evil!"
  • Pun-Based Title: Reverse/Rebirth. Transliterated into Japanese, both words would be "ribāsu".
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Marluxia is probably supposed to sound elegant and sophisticated, but it really just sounds like he's throwing words together in the English dub of Re:CoM. Could be justified Trope by the Lip Lock effect.

Axel: "You give a challenge like that to Vexen, and he'll... seriously want to eliminate Sora."
Marluxia: "That would be an unfortunate denouement."[1]

    • Vexen does this as well.

Vexen: "As if you have such a heart to speak of yourself!"[2]

Vexen: "If you remain bound by the chain of memories and refuse to believe what is truly found inside your heart, then throw it away."
Marluxia: "Imebeciles! You would knowingly shackle your heart with a chain of memories born of lies?!"

  • Took a Level in Jerkass: As Sora's heart is manipulated by Namine, he definitely becomes more Jerkass compared to his original self.
  • Trading Card Lame: Sadly, this page used to have Collectible Card Game, but, after less than 2 years and 4 sets(in the US), it folded.
  • Trick Boss: Marluxia's third form in Re:Chain of Memories.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Sora spends thirteen floors walking straight into the Organization's trap.
  • Use Your Head: Using Goofy as a battering ram in a sleight exclusively for the PS2 version.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Castle Oblivion's thirteenth floor. All the previous levels have been changed to appear as one of the worlds from Sora's memory. For the final level, all the illusions have been stripped away, and it is simply... Castle Oblivion.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Zexion.
  • Voice Grunting: The GBA version features this in battles only. The trope is applied more literally in the English version, where all voice clips containing actual words by newly introduced characters like the Organization were cut (seeing as they were in Japanese, which would jar badly with the English-speaking recurrers, of course) and only the grunts, laughs, etc. were left in.
  1. Translation: That'd be a bad outcome.
  2. Translation: You're one to talk!