Since the first Kingdom Hearts game was a commercially successful product,it’s natural that a sequel was already being made for the series.However,the series takes a detour before the inevitable sequel.Nomura planned to make an intermediary sequel for the franchise. It was being conceptualized by Nomura because he wanted to use the theme of memories for the next game in the series.The intermediary sequel was planned for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance(GBA),a 32-bit handheld system developed by Nintendo.
Initially, this raises concerns for Nomura since he was worried how the gameplay would translates to a 2D plane.However,he became convinced when he heard the excitement of gamers on the thought of being able to play a Kingdom Hearts game on-the-go.Thank god for enthusiastic gamers.The team made changes to the core gameplay of the handheld game by making the battle system an action oriented card battle,where each actions are dictate by the cards used by the player.
The game was announced publicly during the Tokyo Game Show on September 2003,along with the announcement of the next installment of the franchise,Kingdom Hearts II.It was appropriately titled, Kingdom Hearts:Chain of Memories.
Kingdom Hearts:Chain of Memories was developed by Jupiter and Square Enix and it was released in the year 2004.The game was a technical masterpiece for the GBA, boasting with 3D FMV sequence and fluid gameplay.The critics praised the high production values in the game,especially the FMV sequence and the beautiful animated sprites.However,the new card based battle system received mixed reviews from the critics.Some of them called the new battle system as original and interesting,while the others called it awkward and troublesome at best.Overall the game gained an aggregate of 76% at metacritic,a favorable review score.
The game sold reasonably well,with up to 1.5 millions sold worlwide at the end of 2005.The game was considered as important in the storyline of the franchise,as it bridges the events of Kingdom Hearts 1 and Kingdom Hearts II.Generally,the story follows Sora as he enters Castle Oblivion,which causes him to lose his memories.His memories are transform into ‘world cards’,where he uses it to help him regains his memories by visiting various Disney locales from the first game.The game introduces important characters such as Namine and Axel,two characters that would appear later in the next installment of the franchise.
The game was later ported to the Sony Playstation 2 system,remade using the Kingdom Hearts 3D engine and was released in Japan on March 2007,titled Kingdom Hearts RE:Chain of Memories.It was bundled with Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix.Sadly a game that was not released in North America.It was released without Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix in North America the following year on December 2nd.
This was the first installment of the handheld Kingdom Hearts game.This game indicates that later in the future Kingdom Hearts series would branch into the handheld gaming system,filling the desires of fans alike.Interestingly,the battle system of KH:COM also inspired the battle system of a new IP from Jupiter,The World Ends With You for the Nintendo DS .The team decided for a card battle system for that game,but later modifies it into a new and interesting dual screen battle system.
To be continued to part 3…