By Brian Huntley

Globe columnist

Four years ago, Disney and Squaresoft (now Square-Enix) made an unlikely partnership to produce and develop a game called “Kingdom Hearts.”

It had a wonderful story that intertwined both the Disney and “Final Fantasy” universes. All the actors and actresses from the original Disney movies and from the “Final Fantasy” games lent their voices, including Robin Williams, James Woods, Danny DeVito and Eddie Murphy.

Each world that you played through takes place in some part of a number of Disney films. You play as Sora, a young boy who is trying to keep creatures called the Heartless from taking over this world as well as other ones. The game was simple to pick up on and incredibly entertaining.

So, is “Kingdom Hearts II” a worthy successor to the original? Definitely.

The Heartless are back along with some guys called the Nobodies. As Sora, voiced by Haley Joel Osment, you must once again fight off the evil horde and save your world. As in the first game, you won’t be traveling alone. You fight alongside two other comrades, including Donald Duck, Goofy, Jack Sparrow, Aladdin, the blue guy from Tron, Hercules and many more from the Disney and “Final Fantasy” side.

The only glaring problem is that the game never gets too hard. Even without the help from your partners, you could still beat the baddies. And like the first game, it will make you a button-mashing master. Aside from that, the number of bad guys and bosses you will encounter is staggering and each level should take from 1 to 3 hours to complete.

All the voice actors are back for a second round, with the inclusion of Christopher Lee (the evil white wizard from the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy), which helps make it a great sequel. The graphics are a little cleaner this time around but not a huge improvement over the last game; they still look really good, however. All the worlds are highly detailed and reflect their movie counterparts, which makes them easy to recognize, and they their own unique music that you will undoubtedly be familiar with if you have ever watched a Disney flick.

With Disney telling the story and Square-Enix providing the graphics muscle, there is no way that this game could fail. And with a reported 40-plus hours of gameplay, it makes for a game that’s at least worth a rent. Even if you’re not a Disney or “Final Fantasy” fan you would still enjoy playing this game — it’s that good.

My score: 8.5 out of 10.



Address correspondence to Brian Huntley, c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802.

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