Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories (Game Boy Advance) Review

By Adam Riley 26.06.2005 18

Squaresoft originally made a deal with Disney Interactive to create a PlayStation 2 action-RPG that mixed classic Final Fantasy characters with famous Walt Disney ones and a few newcomers. The idea seemed crazy, but the result was extraordinary (if in terms of sales, not quite quality). Finally, after a couple of years of discussions, Disney agreed to let the series continue and a version has turned up on the humble GBA. Does it suffer the problems the PS2 d

The first adventure involved a young boy by the name of Sora who was whisked away to a mysterious place called Traverse Town one night during a freak storm. Here, much to his incredulity, he met Donald Duck and Goofy and joined them in the search for the missing King Mickey Mouse, as well as looking for his absent friends Riku and Kairi. Upon finding Riku and the King, the door to the strange world is locked and the troupe head off on another adventure. However, a mysterious man approaches Sora and tells him there is something ahead that he needs, but to obtain it something must be lost. Disappearing, all that is left is a path to a place called 'Castle Oblivion', so off Goofy, Donald and Sora go on what could be their strangest adventure yet...

Screenshot for Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories on Game Boy Advance

Looking at the Game Boy Advance you would not imagine that it could do much more than the Super Nintendo. However, time and time again the system has surprised the world, with the likes of Golden Sun, Final Fantasy Tactics and Zelda: The Minish Cap looking so impressive that they could easily pass as PSone games or even first

Kingdom Hearts on the PlayStation 2 was a traditional action role-playing game, akin to the Zelda series. However, there were many flaws with the actual gameplay and control aspect of the title, with several complaints being aimed at the way jumping was more than a little erratic and the camera seemed to just lose itself completely at times. Therefore, when it was heard that the game was coming to the GBA, the thought of those problems on a less capable system sounded a recipe for disaster. However, Square Enix off-loaded the development duties to none other than Jupiter, a company that has worked with Nintendo in the past on the Pok

And this control continues with how you play through the game itself, with World Cards being available, so you can choose openly what place you want to visit first. So say you want to do Aladdin's world before The Night Before Christmas or Wonderland, then you can do! Then there are certain special cards you get that give you access to doors that further the story, as well as some other 'secret' cards that let you go back through all the older levels and find some treats. The game is a real pleasure to play through and due to the quick battle mechanic nothing grows too boring, especially when the action is broken up so well with story interludes or off the beaten track play like trying to find Winnie the Pooh's friends in 100-Acre Wood by guiding the podgy bear around. This is a true triumph and far better than the first PS2 game thanks to a completely different approach being taken.

The game starts off quite easily, with many probably being able to make their way through the first few levels by simply bashing the attack button as much as possible, then simple dodging enemies whilst they refill their card base. However, this really does not work when you get further into the game. Some stages require enemies to be dealt with as quickly as possible, meaning that combination moves are required, others bosses have players having to follow a particular sequence before being able to even get near the bad guy. A lot of thought must go into battles, despite their quick nature, and the same goes for the collection of cards and how they are used throughout the whole game. Certain ones can open doors, others determine the order of worlds you visit and the rest can be used for health, as weapons or to call friends to help you out. With so many possibilities scattered in Chain of Memories and the increasing difficulty as you progress, you are getting more than enough value for money!

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

The first PS2 game was a great foundation to build upon and now this GBA version has been transformed into a strong fortress of a title. Fast-paced card battling ensures boredom does not come easily and the creative nature of the worlds makes the whole game lively and intriguing. Definitely one to consider...


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   


Excellent game - the reason for the delay in the review is that I haven't been able to put it down for so long! :-D

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Ouch, excellent review, excellent score.

Another game on my wishlist...

{ Monkey Wii. ~ Nirbis Hater ~ Nintendo Fanboy }

What GBA game has 1st gen PS2 graphics!?

The addition of Disney characters worryed me a bit, but it sounds top notch! I think this is one I'll pick up if I find it going cheap :Smilie

WHAT, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories


This User Has been Banned for offensive posts on the forum. 28.6.2005

I really was in two minds about this, as some stated it was too repetitive, but I reckon that the fact that you can mould the world in your own way keeps things fresh.

As for first-gen PS2 graphics, yeah games like Disgaea as well look similar to this. But the real kicker is that FMV - still shocks me when I watch it again!

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

hmm, i appear to be in a minority in not liking this game at all, i heard it was supposed to be good, boughtit, then returned it after finding it very very dull.

each to their own i suppose.

I can see why some would not like this - but maybe because I dove into it in the opposite way to you, with low expectations so came away with such a positive feeling.

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

I was really close to getting this on Nintendo Europe's Stars Catalogue. However, there was 7 left and i had to register 2000 stars....

360 Gamertag: shiptoncraig
PSN: shiptoncraig
Steam: Guess what?

That'd make a very nice free gift definitely! Didn't know it was up, though...

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

This game is awsome, had it for awhile now. The intro FMV just really shows what the GBA can do. Excellent game.

Nice review Raz agree with pretty much every thing.
Heh my younger brother bought this yesterday as he is a huge kingdom hearts fan, and i was threatning i was gonna buy it lol.I thought he would be turned off by the card battling system but i was suprised to find out he likes it better?! I was suprised the sound has been done really well and does stay faithful to the original, the FMV is pretty cool, dosnt look to shabby on the GBplayer either.
It's definitly a game i'm gonna be stealing off him in the future. Heres hoping the DS gets a kingdom hearts game.

XBL Gamertag: James2t3

Looks sweet!

Thanks Blade - and I was thinking just that, after the PS2 sequel comes out it'd be great to have a DS version!

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Hmmm gotta say I wan't expecting much and for the first few hours I was hooked but then I noticed that all I did was enter another map with a different texture and fight more enemies. There was no plot other than , there was a girl, i forgot her name, who was it, i dunno... and thats it. It started out so good with Aeris and Leon as well :o(

Yes its good but not excellent, certainly not 93% good anyways imo. Still I would rate it highly around 80-85% because its simple, if repetitive. I also dislike limited rpgs that allow you to increase health or card points and nothing else unless that rare occasion when a new feat arrives, boring.

In other words it's great for a few hours then something with a bit more depth and a plot will come along meaning you'll not pick it up for weeks.

I will defenitly be getting this game soon now!
It sounds great! I'm looking forward to seeing Jack in Halloween Town :D

Once in a lifetime.

ooh i love the halloween town music ^^.

XBL Gamertag: James2t3

I just can't stop killing the last boss to hear the ending song, its so refreshing :D

You found the word nipple! And you love touching them!

Come on Raz! A game this good deserved a review much earlier than this!!

You should have got one up ASAP after the game came out. Especially seeing as there are many peeps out there who are still not sure on wether to get the game.

It's great to see they managed to fit the whole "Simple and Clean" theme song on the cart as well as the awesome FMV.

As far as a DS version goes. Tetsuya Nomura hinted at one when interviewed by NoE on their website. He also has a DS (Bought one on launch day) and likes it more than the PSP. With backwards compatibility available with CoM I'm sure he will carry on the portable KH franchise on the DS. I hope so anyway! :-D

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