Unfortunately, I lost most of what I’d written to some kind of memory leak that completely froze up my browser (it’s always Tumblr, too). So this is rewritten, not a liveblog.

So, the Big Ben Heartless.

A big black robe with a stylised glowing heart floating in front of it. Behind is the clockface of Big Ben.

Not that hard once I got a handle on the mechanics. Got a bit repetitive even. I can paralyse people better now. Not much use for it at this point, but yay!

Anyway…

A double door opening, revealing blinding white light.

We open that door that we saw earlier. Behind is not darkness, but light… the poor videogame camera is getting overexposed.

Behind the door is…

Sora, Donald and Goofy on the tropical island from the start of the game.

and you may say to yourself… this is not my beautiful island

You can’t climb on all the things you used to be able to climb on, and there’s an invisible wall on the beach. Health and safety these days, I tell you. The only place you can try to go is the hidden room under the tree.

But then some VFX happened and the sea goes purple. Sadly it does not stay purple, but it does get all Heartlessy.

Riku standing looking out to sea on a fragmented beach, with purple material replacing vegetation in the background.

And guess who’s here?

Riku again, but from the back.

It’s that guy!

Ansem/Riku has an argument with Sora about the properties of hearts. Ansem cannot speak anything undramatically. It’s great. He says all hearts are born from darkness. Sora is skeptical.

Ansem, back in his real form, saying 'You see, darkness is the heart's true essence.'
Ansem saying 'Every light must fade, every heart return to darkness', with equations of entropy added around his head.

Something about him - the long coat, the lack of shirt, the extraneous straps, the long white hair with weird pointy bits that don’t make a lot of physical sense - is reminiscent of Sephiroth, isn’t it?

Ansem floating, arms crossed, in the air with a Heartless behind him, while Sora runs forward to attack.

Anyway we fight him. He floats around with his heartless bf, and we hit him with sharp things. He’s not hard in comparison to the side bosses.

Ansem floating up into a tree, his cloak spreading out to show the red lining.

He goes flying into a tree. But oh no! It all explodes! Sure enough, this is a boss with phases.

A huge purple hole in the landscape, with the edges twisting into little spirals.

I have to say, I think Ansem has done some nice stuff with this purple curly hole. Maybe if he survives, he can go into landscaping instead of uh… whatever his endgame is. Darkness something.

Sora in the large purple cavity, fighting a big Heartless with a tentacled face.

Sora gets split from the party and the first boss comes back! I guess it heard there was a fight on and wanted to join in. After all, it did invade this island - perhaps it lives here now. In any case, despite some new attacks, it’s even easier once you have magic and powerful weapons.

Then, round 2 with Ansem. This time, I’m solo and he has more attacks, so it’s not quite the same cakewalk. I get close to dying a couple of times, but it’s not too bad. I beat him!

Then Ansem takes us to see his cool abyss. Time for a title drop: we see the Kingdom Hearts itself, the ‘heart of all worlds’ where all hearts come from. This kind of reminds me of Humanity and Darkness/The Abyss in Dark Souls a great deal actually. They use a lot of the same aesthetic markers. I guess it’s not uncommon imagery.

A greyscale image of a void. Pointy shapes are floating near the centre, next to a small white double door.

I have to quibble with Ansem there, on account of a number of things being visible on account of light.

After showing us the Kingdom Hearts, Ansem has us check out his sweet boat.

A huge fleshy red-and-blue boat, with a scowling face on the front, ridges along the back, and a complicated pattern of platforms at the top. It looks kinda phallic.

You gotta respect someone who puts that many skulls on a boat. It could be a metal album!

Ansem himself is wired into the crotch of the big skeleton at the back(???)

At the top of the boat is another skeletal figure. A bunch of tubes extend from the pelvis, connecting to Ansem's back and holding him suspended in the air, where he's swinging some kind of puprle staff.

Does it like represent… the umbilical cord… or something? Why there?

Anyway this is an aerial battle. Donald and Goofy are lost in the abyss. You have to destroy bits of the boat (mostly giant faces and skulls) one at a time by flying through portals into some properly dark areas:

Sora running through an area that's completely black except for a blue pattern on the foor. Two yellow dots represent the eyes of a Heartless.

It’s very reminiscent of the abyss areas in Dark Souls, such as the caves in Artorias of the Abyss, or that boss fight that’s just a huge dark infinite space. The Heartless totally vanish except for their eyes, which is a cool visual. Donald and Goofy are each trapped in one of these rooms.

Once you’ve fought through one of these things, a red doodad appears:

Sora facing a glowing red orb in a dark void.

Destroy that, and part of the ship shuts down, or even blows up.

The first time you do it, Ansem some kind of rebirthing thing, just in case you thought there was a fetish that Kingdom Hearts won’t explore.

Ansem emerging from inside the big demon at the top of the ship in a fetal position.

Snug as an evil scientist in a giant skeletogoth.

After you do that a couple of times, you have to destroy this purple thing:

A large sphierical unit surrounded by scary skulls. It also has a tiny face, that looks kind of gormless.

Aw, lookatit. On a ship covered in scary skulls, this one is pretty endearing. Sadly, you have to wreck it.

Once you’ve done that, Ansem pops out… and I need to eat, so I paused the game. Thrilling conclusion later this evening!