Now that we’ve finished with the GBA version of CoM, it’s time to go over to the 3D version and also the ending of the floor. Like in KH1, Re:CoM’s 100 Acre Wood is full of mini-games. First you have to find Piglet, which involves talking to him as he dashes between bushes and is more random than anything. This once again gets you the Confuse sleight, and considering how little work you did, you got a trifling reward to match! Isn’t it nice how things come together?
One major, probably unintended bonus of the 3D version is the sheer number of Moogle Points stored here if you’re willing to smash jars all day. Have fun, and remember: talent scouts for the next Legend of Zelda will be on hand to watch your progress.
The plot leading into the first proper mini-game starts when Rabbit clocks Pooh with a pumpkin that’s bigger than him, and reveals that he’s tossing vegetables errantly down a hill (…towards his vegetable garden?) and would appreciate you striking them with your magic sword so to sort them into two piles? I… you know what, Rabbit, fine. Fine. I’ll dice your fucking salad. Don’t say I never did you a favour.
The mini-game, Veggie Panic, is uninspiring. You hit incoming heads of lettuce with one button and pumpkins with another. That makes up most of the gameplay, but if Pooh prances into the middle of the path after a butterfly, you get to / have to hit Triangle to use Strike Raid, the Keyblade boomerang technique, just to keep him from getting flattened by another overgrown squash. The mechanics behind the Strike Raid sequence are erratic: Pooh and the vegetable have to be lined up vertically, with the vegetable higher up the hill than Pooh if you even want to use it (you’re screwed if a vegetable comes in from the side). On the plus side, sometimes – but not always! – Sora will take out vegetables between him and the target while using Strike Raid. As a result, the Strike Raid sequence can be easier than the rest of the mini-game in some ways and harder in others, and it mostly comes down to luck whether you get the helpful or unhelpful version of the sequence.
After the segment with Pooh, you’ll get a few more vegetables, only for an avalanche of carrots to come down at you. Carrots? You weren’t told what to do with carrots. It turns out they’re an obstacle, one you can occasionally dodge but often have to swipe away. You’ll be in a bit of a hurry, as a pumpkin the size of a blimp bears down at you. You have to balance dealing with carrots and throwing Strike Raids at the pumpkin. Rabbit, maybe you could just not throw the carrots?
After you’ve missed a certain number of pumpkins and lettuces, the point are totalled. A score of 30 will get you Rabbit’s new prize, Cross-Slash+, an alternate Sleight for the Cloud Summon. It was a Bounty prize in the GBA version, so Rabbit’s gone through a considerable downgrade. After all, he had a Room of Rewards-level card in the GBA version! 120 points will get you a Fire card, which you can repeat if you’ve decided to collect Fire spells in the slowest way imaginable. The other 100 Acre Wood minigames have similar, worthless prizes for high scores, so I won’t go into them. Of course these mini-games are tied to trophies in 1.5, and you’ll need 150 points to get this one, which is a huge pain.
Next mini-game is Balloon Glider, which has you slowly rising up and around a hunny tree to collect floating hunny. This game uses really lackadaisical Balloon Fight-style controls. There are so few dangers,, it’s almost relaxing! You lose balloons every time you or the balloons hit a swarm of bees, but can pick up extra on the track (but can’t go over the max). Getting the prize is as simple as making it to the top alive, where you find Owl, but you’ll need every single bit of hunny to get the achievement. The prize, Firaga Burst, is a magic Sleight. I’ve never used it so can’t really speak to its virtues (there’s a reason I don’t talk about every single Sleight and Bounty in the game).
I should probably also mention that this game has a really morbid voice clip, where if you take a hit, Pooh might say: “Is this how I want to go?”
Tigger’s mini-game is Jump-A-Thon, a Simon Says clone where you have to jump across a cross-shaped set of trees. Tigger starts with a pattern of three, then adds 1 or 2 stumps each time he repeats the pattern. You’re graded on the number of steps you complete, so if you lose without completing a pattern, don’t worry, it counted at least partially. You need to land 25 points to get Idyll Romp, or 120 for the achievement, yikes. Bring a friend to make notes on a sheet of paper if you’re having trouble. Oh, and by the way, in Re:CoM, Tigger also knows Sora’s name all of a sudden, just like Pooh! What is up with that?
Before leaving the room, you might want to look around: a chest with the Spellbinder can be found here if you’ve already been to Neverland and have Glide. It’s probably the only Metroid-like moment in the entire game, a single trifling shamble of what was once an over-arching design pattern in KH1.
The next room is the room that used to host Pooh’s Muddy Path, and now holds two separate mini-games. The first is a blustery well, which blows you into the atmosphere for a sky-diving game, and I can’t believe I’m typing this. Anyone who’s played KH2 will realize this game, Whirlwind Plunge, is probably best described as a sibling to one of KH2’s mini-games, Hunny Slider. Whirlwind Plunge involves dodging a tornado’s worth of debris in over the shoulder 3D to collect hunny, but only so long as you’re still holding hands with Pooh. Should you lose him (as in the screenshot), you can’t retrieve any hunny and will have to reconnect with him using Triangle. Once you get a hand on the basic controls, you’ll find that the score requirements to progress through the game aren’t very high. I don’t think I’ve ever failed to get the Mega-Ether from Roo, so it may be there aren’t any score requirements at all! On the other hand, you need nearly all the hunny (2000) for the achievement, and that’s going to depend at your skill in the game.
The Mega-Ether is like a Hi-Ether, which is funny, because Hi-Ethers don’t exist. What I’m saying is, like Hi-Potions, the Mega-Ether restores magic cards lost “for the rest of the fight.” It also restores you reload gauge! They’re worth keeping around for boss fights, at least until you get Mega-Potions (which do similar) or Megalixirs.
The last mini-game is Eeyore’s, and it’s protecting that precious Elixir card, which is probably why it’s such a pain. This is Bumble Rumble: Pooh wants some hunny and now every bee in the forest is after him. You’re given a special, pre-set deck to fend off the bees, which includes a special Wind spell (which appears to be Aero or possibly even Aerora), and some time-consuming healing “spells” that involve more hunny. You probably already guessed that you’re on a timer for the achievement, but just surviving is going to be a chore. Keep in mind that Sora retains any Keyblade Sleights during this game that he has outside of 100 Acre Wood, provided the Sleight allows you to use the same Keyblade on every card. He also gains a few Sleights unique to this battle: Hunny+Hunny for double healing, Wind+Hunny in any order for a powerful version of the Wind spell (Aeroga, if I’m not mistaken. Also, I recommend you stick a Keyblade at the front of the sleight so that you don’t lose your only Wind card). The minute-forty time limit for the trophy is murder. While I’ve earned this trophy, I believe the PlaystationTrophies.org guide writer, Setsuna, who figures this mini-game comes down to luck even with the best strategy.
Finally, you come to the room with the log from the start of 100 Acre Wood in KH1. There’s a save point here, thank goodness. You have to move up to the log to proceed, which is unintuitive and only makes sense in the context of the GBA game. In the 3D version, it would make more sense to, say, cross the grove, but all paths out of the grove, no matter what direction you take, go back to the Muddy Path. That’s creepy. When you get to the log, Sora notes that he can’t go any further. Shit, it’s like we’re back at 100 Acre Wood’s trademark existentialism, because he already seems to be aware he’s in four-dimensional space!
Sora says he’s going to go on… somehow… to find his own friends, and Pooh asks if this is goodbye. Sora says that of course it’s not, he’ll “always know where to find you. …If I don’t forget…” Pooh then repeats his promise from the original in this new context: “Don’t worry, Sora. You can count on me. Even if you forget Winnie the Pooh, I won’t forget you.” It’s an old point, but good to hear it the context of Castle Oblivion, and it is changed enough to account for new circumstances. In your goodbyes you’re given the Bambi card, and are returned automatically to Castle Oblivion.
Woohoo! We’re done the Disney Worlds!! It is all uphill from here! Well, maybe a little rocky. But uphill!
Speaking of uphill from here, here’s a man who wants to murder you!
Vexen introduces himself (how polite for an assassin), and says he’s come to collect Sora’s “debt.” Goofy gets another funny clueless moment where he really thinks Sora owes Vexen something. Bill Farmer makes it sound like he thinks Sora borrowed a twenty off this guy, if only for a second. Vexen explains that he’s responsible for bringing Riku here, and Sora quickly concludes that “You’re the one who’s been controlling him.” Sora thinks mind control is involved, eh? Sora demands to know what Vexen did to Riku, but Vexen just opens the fight.
Now, it’s my third time saying this, but I promised I would teach you some advanced techniques when the endgame bosses first showed up. Vexen is definitely the first of those endgame bosses, and in fact I was forced to put my advanced tactics into play during the Retrospective playthrough. Nevertheless, I’m still going to hold off on explaining my advanced techniques: I only used those techniques in the Retrospective playthrough because I’m used to them, and because I’m lazy. There’s a much better way to approach Vexen: Vexen’s element is Ice, and that means if you’re having trouble, the best solution isn’t advanced tactics. It’s Fire. It’s as much Fire as you can stick in your deck. Three or five 0 Keyblades, 4 or so Cure cards, and then nothing but flamethrower. Not good enough? Go Agrabah, get more Moogle Points and any Red Nocturne cards you can find. Bring two flamethrowers! If you’ve got the Clear bonus in 1.5, you might have some Enemy cards with Ice resistances as well, but you won’t need it.
For those actually… fighting fair, Vexen can be a pain. His weapon is a magical ice shield, the Frozen Pride. It automatically blocks attacks aimed at his front, and he’s good at keeping it between you (remember, in 2D his shield will cover him half the time!). The best way to stop him is to break his cards, and the best way to do that is to use Lethal Frame and Sonic Blade. Over and over and over again. And don’t you be afraid to throw in a few Fire cards while you’re at it! Fighting fair doesn’t mean fighting stupid. Try to keep Vexen from getting off a Sleight. One of his sleights will just chase you around the room, not very hard to dodge, but the other, Freeze, will catch you instantly and any damage that follows is out of your hands. Best to catch both with 0 cards just to be certain.
Clearing Vexen gets you the Mega-Ether in the GBA version, the Freeze Sleight he was using against you in Re:CoM.
After the fight is over, Vexen reveals that he wasn’t fighting at full potential, but believe it or not, that’s not a bullshit excuse to prolong the game this time. It seems he, like the Unknown in KH1 and Marluxia in this game, has sampled your memories, and he’s found a little something strange. Vexen hands you a World Card, depicting a town with red-brown brick buildings at sunset… and you’ve never seen it before.
Vexen insists that this card was “crafted from all the memories that are locked in the other side of your heart.” In the GBA version, Vexen says that Sora should go into the world if he wants to fight Vexen for real, but in Re:CoM the game is happy to let you stew in the mystery, and he simply leaves, leaving you to wonder what’s going on.
This retrospective’s 2D screenshots come from RickyC’s longplay of the GBA version of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories at World of Longplays (YouTube), while 3D screenshots come from BlueGator’s longplay of the 1.5 HD version of Kingdom Hearts: Re: Chain of Memories at Temple of the Azure Flame (segmented version).