Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sora in Naboombu.

Since there’s been no major Epic Mickey news in a while, I thought I’d move on to my other Mouse-House gaming obsession today: Kingdom Hearts (not that there’s been any notable developments on the third installment of that series either, but that doesn’t mean I can’t make wild, random speculations in the meantime.)

Rob Bricken, my fine feathered friend over at Topless Robot, has compiled a list of ten hitherto-unvisited Disney worlds he’d like to see in upcoming Kingdom Hearts games – amongst them, the Horned King’s Castle from The Black Cauldron, Romney Marsh from Scarecrow of Romney Marsh, and Notre Dame from The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  It’s really quite an insightful list and probably at least partially prophetic, since I can’t imagine The Princess & The Frog’s New Orleans or the Isle of Naboombu from Bedknobs & Broomsticks not being touched on at some point in the future by Square Enix.

Inspired by that list, here are a few suggestions of my own:

5. Sleepy Hollow, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

More than any other Disney movie, Legend of Sleepy Hollow scared the bejeebus out of me as a kid.  It was aired every Halloween, and was just part of the spooky tradition for me – trick or treat, come home and gorge on candy while watching Ichabod Crane try to hold onto his head, and then have Headless Horsemen nightmares.  Sleepy Hollow would fit in well with KH’s naming traditions (Hollow Bastion, Twilight Town, Castle Oblivion) and would almost certainly feel more natural than the awkward Port Royal\Pirates of the Caribbean levels in Kingdom Hearts II.

4. Bald Mountain, Fantasia

Fantasia deserves to be mined even further in the KH universe.  It’s been touched on briefly (with the presence of Yen Sid amongst other shout-outs to the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” bit) so there’s some precedence there, and Bald Mountain in particular would make a fantastic end level.  I mean, think about it: ghosts, skeletons and goblins would be scary enough, but HEARTLESS ghosts, skeletons and goblins?  That’s like two orders of badassery in one.

3. The Jungle, Jungle Book

In my mind, Shere Khan is one of the greatest underappreciated villains of the Disney pantheon.  He seemed far more complex and malevolent than the power-hungry Scar from Lion King, because unlike the latter, Khan is motivated purely by animal instinct. Given the predilection for wilderness levels in Kingdom Hearts (the Jungle from Tarzan and the Pride Lands from Lion King) a nod to Jungle Book seems like it would be entirely appropriate.

2. Andy’s Room, Toy Story

I’m assuming the reason why the Pixar\Disney films never made it into any of the Kingdom Hearts games was due to convoluted copyright situations, but… Considering the presence of both Halloween Town and Port Royal, I can’t see why I should be so quick to assume anything Pixar-related will never crop up.  Anything from Wall-E to The Incredibles would make for excellent KH fodder, but Toy Story takes the gold, in my mind: imagine articulated, toy-jointed, miniature versions of Sora, Donald and Goofy running around in a gigantic house fighting toy-Endless alongside Woody and Buzz Lightyear and try to tell me this isn’t the best idea you’ve heard all day.

1. Green Town, Something Wicked This Way Comes

I’m not sure I can justify this, because Something Wicked is more tone than action and it may be too grim even for Kingdom Hearts, but I would sell my left kidney to see it happen.  Mr. Dark, Mr. Cooger, The Dust Witch, and all manner of sideshow freaks and carnival folk are cartoonishly overwrought antagonists, and while the film doesn’t offer an iconic central hero the way, say, TRON does, Green Town is a perfectly self-contained small-town environment that actually bears a lot of similarity to Hollow Bastion and some of the other non-Disney worlds in the games.  Given Square-Enix’ tendency to dip into the occasional obscure reference, I’d like to believe this could actually work.  A guy can dream, can’t he?

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