A Story Continued
Here we have part two of Kingdom Hearts – Chain of Memories. The section that I’ll be discussing in this installment occurs at the same time as the main story line, but is unlocked after the main story line. Everything is the same in terms of gameplay, except that you can no longer edit your decks, they are preset for each world that you explore, likely to match how strong the protagonist was in this story line, compared to different points in Kingdom Hearts. This time, we’ll be exploring the very short story of Riku.
The Basement of Darkness
The last time we saw Riku, he was trapped behind the Door to Darkness with King Mickey, allowing Sora to close it and prevent darkness spreading to more worlds. Unfortunately, as he was traversing the realm of darkness, he was engulfed and consumed, leaving him drifting in a dark slumber in the Realm Between, until a voice wakes him up. The voice offers Riku an opportunity to seek the truth, leaving a card in front of him to awaken to the light. Riku accepts, and is transported to the 13th basement level of Castle Oblivion.
Holding the card that was given to him, Riku entered the door in front of him, transporting him to a place all too familiar, Hollow Bastion. The voice manifested again, telling Riku that this Hollow Bastion was one of his memories. Riku asked if he would meet people again, to which the voice replied ‘ordinarily’. Riku fought through hordes of heartless in an attempt to meet anyone, visiting his old room and being reminded of the time he spent there. Eventually, after meeting no one, Riku called out to the voice, asking why no one was around. The response was that because Riku threw away everyone in order to gain the power of the darkness, there is only darkness in his heart, so he will only encounter entities of the darkness. Progressing further through the castle, Riku meets Maleficent, and defeats her after being reminded of her rhetoric of darkness. Walking through the door, Riku enters the 12th basement level, and is chastised by the voice for not using the power of the darkness. The voice manifests into the body of Ansem, who had previously possessed Riku, and was attempting to again. A fight ensues, and as Riku is about to lose, King Mickey appears as a small orb of light, attempting to help Riku out. Once defeated, Ansem leaves Riku more world cards, and intensifies the power of the darkness inside Riku should Riku ever need to rely on the strength of darkness again. Before King Mickey disappears from Riku, he tells Riku to rely on the light, and that there will always be light available in even the deepest darkness. Riku presses on alone, to seek the truth.
Arriving on the 10th basement level, Vexen faces Riku in an attempt to create a perfect replica. Riku asks who Vexen was, smelling the darkness from him and associating him with Ansem. Vexen replies that it is Ansem, but not the Ansem that Riku is familiar with, a Nobody. Launching into battle, Vexen draws out the darkness that Ansem amplified, leaving Riku to fall in despair after defeating him. Vexen thanks Riku for the research and fades away, leaving Riku to press on.
Making it out of the additional worlds and onto the stairwell to the 8th basement level, Riku appears face to face with the Riku replica that Vexen created. The replica boasts that he is better than the real Riku because he isn’t afraid to use the darkness he was given. A fight ensues with Riku using the light to fight the replica. Once defeated, the replica laughs, stating that his power will only grow with time, and runs away. Riku chases after him onto the 8th basement level, where he encounters Ansem again. Ansem goades Riku, telling him that the replica is more real than he is because he’s using the power of darkness. Not giving in, Riku is given more cards to explore more worlds, and proceeds to climb the basement levels.
Nothing happens between floors until the 3rd basement level, where Riku encounters Lexaeus. After the Riku replica is rendered useless for Lexaeus, and Vexen has been defeated by Sora, Lexaeus attempts to enlist Riku to help maintain the organisation and to either accept the darkness in his heart or else be defeated then and there. Riku refuses and charges into battle with Lexaeus. As Lexaeus is about to defeat Riku, Ansem possesses him, ultimately eliminating Lexaeus. As Riku falls to the darkness again, King Mickey saves him and drags him out of the darkness. Sensing that Marluxia has been defeated, Zexion, another organisation member, appears on the scene to inform Riku about Marluxia’s defeat. Zexion asks if Riku is even able to see Sora again considering the darkness in his heart, and provides him with a card to see the memory of Destiny Islands. Inside the memory world, Zexion explains to Riku that all his friends won’t speak to him because of the darkness, as he creates a Darkside for Riku to defeat. Once it has been defeated, Zexion pretends to be Sora, and requests Riku to be eliminated by the light. Drifting into the light, Naminé, in the image of Kairi, tells Riku that he can’t be defeated by the light or the dark, and that he should accept both. Waking up, RIku awakens his dark powers and defeats Zexion, who then begins to fade as an attempt to run away. However, he is instead eliminated by Axel and the Riku replica.
As Riku is about to fall to Ansem again, King Mickey appears in person to help Riku out. Confused on how he arrived, King Mickey explains that he found a card that showed Riku’s heart, and that he followed it. Using the card, Riku is led to Twilight Town where he meets the voice at the start of his journey, claiming to be Ansem. Riku states that he doesn’t smell like Ansem, where the stranger then introduces himself as DiZ.
DiZ tells Riku that he has to decide whether to align with the darkness or with the light, and that Naminé will help him decide. As Riku attempts to find her, he encounters the Riku replica who is determined to become real and fight Riku to the death. Once defeated, the replica is worried on where he will go, but Riku comforts him, saying he will go where his real heart is, as the replica vanishes out of existence. Meeting up with Naminé, DiZ and Sora in his memory pod, Naminé offers to put Riku in a pod to seal away the darkness. He refuses, wanting to win by himself, and Naminé is satisfied with that answer. DiZ then gives Riku a card to draw out and defeat Ansem. Riku wins, defeating the last remaining parts of Ansem. However, Ansem states that he will return and that he is always going to be a part of Riku. Leaving the castle through the front door, DiZ gives Riku a choice, to walk the path of light or to walk the path of darkness. Riku chooses neither, but to walk in between, on the path to dawn.
Reaching Hollow Bastion, Riku realizes that he can’t ever defeat the parts of Ansem that remain. He leaves King Mickey and offers his help to DiZ, donning a blindfold so his eyes can no longer lie about using the darkness.
Riku plays a huge part in a lot of the workings around the universe from this point on, but a lot of it is in the background. During 358/2 days, he acts as an important catalyst for many events, as well as a lot behind the scenes in Kingdom Hearts II. But that’s where we’ll cut his story for now. Catch me next time, where we’ll look at the lore of a year or so of work.