Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories (RPG Special) (Game Boy Advance) Preview

By Adam Riley 22.03.2004

Squaresoft is well known for its Final Fantasy series and Enix is renowned as having the immensely popular Dragon Quest franchise under its belt. However, now that the two developers have joined forces to create the ultimate role-playing development company, Square Enix, it requires a brand name that can be identified with it as a whole, rather than two separate entities. Therefore up steps Kingdom Hearts, the supposed 'third pillar' that will sit next to both Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest - and following the PS2 original Nintendo fans are being treated to a new GBA RPG, subtitled Chain of Memories. Read on to find out whether it looks to be a hit or yet another Disney-themed flop...

For those unaware of exactly what Kingdom Hearts is all about - most probably a lot of Europeans, since Sony and Square Enix were too arrogant and did not promote the title thinking that its reputation from the US and Japan would automatically proceed it, thus sales across Europe (especially the UK) were relatively low in comparison to what they would surely have been given the correct exposure. Anyway, you take control of a young boy by the name of Sora and are thrown into a strange world that consists of familiar Disney characters, such as Donald Duck and Goofy, as well as a prime selection of the Final Fantasy cast. Whilst this may sound like a very unusual amalgamation, the PS2 d

The game itself is set between the two PlayStation 2 outings, starting where Kingdom Hearts finished off and then concluding just before the commencement of the forthcoming PS2 sequel. Gamers that had the first title done and dusted many months ago will be itching to get their hands on this GBA version simply to find out what happens after the brilliant ending of the original. But fans of the gameplay styling will find that Chain of Memories is actually quite different as this time around enemies can be seen running around the actual playing field and then once you run into them the screen will quickly change to a new battle screen where the recent trend in RPGs is encountered.

As found in several new titles like Phantasy Star Online III and Baten Kaitos, Chain of Memories takes on the idea of card-based battling. Action remains in a 'real-time' format (

Finally, a point that cannot be overlooked at all, is the use of the GBA's power. Square Enix, the Squaresoft side in particular, is associated with splediferous graphical abilities on any system it lays its hands on - just witness the work on FFX-2 on the PS2 and FF: Crystal Chronicles on the GC. Now the same is true for the GBA, not with in-game graphics (like with the beautiful Final Fantasy Tactics Advance) this time though, but with full scale video playback that almost manages to equal the FMV in the PS2's first Kingdom Hearts. That is no joke, by the way - the nice general graphics are completely overshadowed by the pseudo-3D video sequences that can be viewed at various points in the game. Sheer brilliance...

Final Thoughts

Information on Chain of Memories will likely start to pour out as the May E3 event in Los Angeles draws closer, but the game has already managed to stir up great interest in our minds for several reasons. With the intrigue over the storyline, the improved card-battling play mechanics and gorgeous cinematics that have been squeezed into the game so far, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories has quickly shot up the ranks to find itself as one of the most wanted GBA games of 2004! Fingers crossed nothing drastically bad happens before its release...


Jupiter Corp


Square Enix





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (10 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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