So it’s Halloween Town, of The Nightmare Before Christmas fame. Another franchise I didn’t even realise was Disney (but I do know, thanks to half the internet, that the director was Henry Sellick and not Tim Burton).

Given the crossover betwen NBC fandom and Square RPG fandom, I imagine this level is quite popular. It also happens to be one of the few movies in this game that I actually remember watching.

The music in this level is an instrumental remix of ‘This Is Halloween’, and the gang gets special Halloween outfits:

Sora, Donald and Goofy in their halloween outfits. Donald wears bandages, Sora is in a kind of black leather outfit with tiny batwings and a small pumpkin mask at the corner of his face, and Goofy is Frankenstein's monster with a large bolt on his head.

Goofy is one of the two monsters from Frankenstein, Sora is a pumpkin vampire (I don’t even know), and the illusion has worn off Donald Duck revealing his true form as the Archlich.

Unexpectedly, the Heartless in Guillotine Square are not enemies. Perhaps they’re fake Heartless for Halloween purposes. Anyway the name of this square raises questions! Did they stage a revolution? Has Jack Skellington been beheaded? Is that why he’s a skelligton?

In any case, Jack makes a dramatic entrance out of a pool of slime. But he’s unsatisfied with halloween prep. I feel like the ‘taking over christmas’ plot of the original film is going to be changed up a bit here. And who is the villain? I don’t remember really have a villain.

Jack, apparently, found a book on the Heartless. Presumably, the research journal I’ve been looking for, and gathered a few pages of. (Maybe I should check in on Squall with that?)

Mainly to move the plot along, Sora helps Jack and the Doctor unlock a heart-shaped device to help them make the heartless dance. This seems… questionably wise.

The experiment inevitably goes awry, and Jack’s plan to fix it is…

Sora, Donald and Jack Skellington speaking to Sally the ragdoll, with Jack saying 'All we need now is your memory'.

…yeah, that’s gonna go well. But maybe we’ll learn something of the nature of the Heartless?

At this point, three kids called Lock, Shock and Barrel jump out of a coffin. I kind of feel Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is a bit of an adult reference for this game/film? But then, they do literally have a guillotine in the square. It’s weird how execution devices are kind of considered kitchsy not-actually-scary these days. Like, a state decides it needs to dispose of so many people it decides to mechanise the process?

It turns out this movie did have a villain? A creature called Oogie Boogie?

Anyway, after a quick trip through a coffin(???) we get the final ingredient for the heart after memory, ‘surprise’, here meaning a jack-in-the-box. I feel like if they wanted to be really surprising, they’d do something to break from the Halloween theme, or indeed the Kingdom Hearts milieu. For example, I would be pretty surprised if the final ingredient turned out to be a readable copy of Jennifer Diane Reitz’s webcomic Unicorn Jelly.

A walking bathtub with the three children Lock, Stock and Barrel sitting in it, walking along a tentacle-like hill in front of an enormous full moon.

The three nefarious children make their escape in the most visually striking way possible, fittingly.

After some platforming mishaps, I get to making my way up Oogie Boogie’s mansion. Who is in charge of Halloween Town anyway? The Mayor has the formal authority, Jack seems to be the de facto leader, and Oogie Boogie has the biggest house.

Then it’s back to the activity that began the game: beating up children! We defeat Lock, Shock and Barrel… but I’m going to type this sentence before resuming the cutscene: it’s too late and we have to fight Oogie-Boogie anyway. Am I right?

Indeed, though we need to descend the manor and enter the torture chamber first. It does weird me out that something as deeply horrible as a room where human misery is automated is something that we can treat as one of those charming middle-ages kitsch things.

Anyway, the roulette-wheel themed boss fight isn’t too hard once you figure out the mechanic. However, like a number of recent bosses, OB has a second phase where he’s much bigger. In this case, he assimilates with his house, resulting in more of a platforming puzzle than a traditional boss fight. The result is actually pretty fun!

And, in a shock to everyone, beating the boss reveals the keyhole and allows Sora to seal it.

Onwards! Tomorrow, anyway, because I have to sleep.