Like Ven (though unlike Aqua), Terra begins his trip to Deep Space in a glider combat sequence, this time against the Jellyshade swarm. Like with Ven’s battle against the Metamorphosis, you can’t heal or use any other technique that would simplify this, so it’s best to just dash through the swarm from one side and then again out the other. Hell, since the dash is Terra’s only attack, and because it carries him forward while the jellies barely move, I’m not sure there can even be another strategy?
You don’t nearly clear out the swarm before the game declares your work complete and moves on to the arrival of the ship. In fact, the ship sneaks up on Terra (arguably the reason for this opening battle in the first place) and sucks him up with some sort of tractor beam. After the title card, we discover that Terra has been put in prison.
Captain Gantu arrives in the prison block along with the Grand Councilwoman, whom I’m surprised to learn has no personal name despite the sheer bulk of Lilo & Stitch sequels. She’s voiced by her original voice actress, Zoe Caldwell. Caldwell is primarily a stage actor, and a great one, with four Tony Awards to her credit. Indeed, her 1982 Tony Award-winning performance of Medea was recorded for broadcast and you can check it out at this link.
The jail block is arranged like a corridor with cells along two parallel walls. The two officials ride an elevator up to Terra’s cell, where he appears to be sleeping, possibly sedated. Gantu says he doesn’t know what Terra is, which is surprising considering that matters of species have never been raised in Kingdom Hearts in the past, and here they’re being raised by a space-traveller from a council of multiple species, despite the KH universe having such a large population of humans! You know, there are a lot of fans who protest the potential inclusion of Star Wars properties into Kingdom Hearts after Disney’s 2012 acquisition of the property, and they cite the universe’s large scope as incompatible with Kingdom Hearts. But just because it might be a bad idea is no proof that Square Enix won’t do it anyways, and as example, I’d like to present this sequence of Kingdom Hearts not giving a fuck.
Terra wakes up some unknown time later, after which the Grand Councilwoman and Gantu have returned to ground level. He goes up to the prison door and looks down to see the two of them under attack by Unversed, Gantu beating a fighting retreat back to the door! Terra immediately uses his Keyblade to unlock the door, and it’s time for another of those generic combat waves I never bother to describe, including Terra’s debut of UFOs.
After the battle, Terra hears a voice and discovers that he’s not alone in the cell block. The only other prisoner is Doctor Jumba Jookiba, voiced by his original voice actor, David Ogden Steirs, whom you may remember as the voice of Cogsworth. What with Jookiba being locked in a cell and all, Terra just walks away from him, but he protests that he’s been imprisoned on “ridiculous charges,” and tries (rather poorly) to sell his greatest creation, Experiment 626 (aka Stitch) as an innocent creature. Dr. Jumba finally manages to convince Terra by intuiting that Terra might, like 626, also have frightened others just by being stronger than them. Of course, Terra’s real problem has been his seemingly-inescapable use of darkness, but since Master Xehanort has conflated the idea of darkness and personal strength (as have I, back in KH1), this is enough to win Terra over and he sets Dr. Jumba free.
You know, it kind of underwhelms Terra’s “constantly corrupted by villains” thing that they’ve allied him with someone who not only became a mostly-protagonist in the sequels, but doesn’t even stay all that evil across the course of his original movie.
Dr. Jumba urges them that they “hurry” and then begins slowly, slooooowly walking in the direction of Stitch. Of course, the player probably won’t follow him, since they have access to the whole cell block now, and there’s so much to explore! They can ride the elevators and open any of the lighter-coloured doors to find all sorts of prizes, like some kind of normal adventure-platformer instead of Kingdom Hearts! The most powerful item here is Terra’s long-delayed High Jump upgrade, but you’ll need to level it up a bit to get to the prison’s final few prizes.
After escaping the prison, Terra uses some kind of transport device so that his exact clone can continue his adventure without him. Here, he’ll find himself in a room familiar from Ven’s trip to the ship, but he can’t leave through the door Ven used because he hears voices on the other side. Instead, Terra must go to the opposite side, a door that was locked to Ven. Here, he finds himself on the outside surface of the ship himself! Donning his Keyblade armour and Glider and shoving Jookiba into his pants, Terra has to navigate the small, circular areas on top of the ship while using his high-speed race-winning Glider, all while being attacked by Glidewinders. To help you fight the Glidewinders, you can hit various devices on the surface of the ship to launch yourself around the room like a pinball. This is also the only room in the game where you actually fight Glidewinders. Curiously, Glidewinders have different elemental resistances depending on their colours, which suggests that they were meant to be used in other parts of the game besides this Keyblade glider sequence, where you can’t use elemental magic at all!
Once through to the next airlock, Terra finds himself in the Launch Deck, which is just next to Ven’s boss room! Geeze, Ven! If you had just been willing to go out of order you’d have been wrapped up in just a few minutes! Naturally, Terra’s destination is near the room where he heard whispering, but at least his motivation wasn’t arbitrary!
Next up is the Ship Hub, which you enter from the top this time around. So long as you aren’t playing Terra-first, navigating this anti-gravity room in reverse will be a breeze: just fall carefully, grab every chest with Air-Slide, and don’t fall to the very bottom of the room if you can help it. But for anyone who isn’t playing Terra-first, while they might recognize all of this from context cues, I think accident and curiosity might drive them to the anti-grav control console on the first floor and complicate everything without realizing it.
Terra’s mission ends in the long, circular corridor where Ven was caught between alarm-triggered blast doors. Say… this room seems kind of… modular, wouldn’t you think? And that’s exactly the idea, with Ven and Aqua getting one layout and Terra getting another, leading him to the room where Stitch is imprisoned. Experiment 626, as you may recall from Ven’s story, is being held in a bell jar-styled prison with two oversized, robot rocket launchers waiting nearby. Dr. Jumba can’t help but brag about how 626’s only instinct is to destroy, quite unlike Jumba’s half-hearted attempts to cast his creation as an innocent at the start of the world. Because Terra is a dumb sack of rocks, he can barely catch on to what Jumba has said, Jumba frees 626 and 626 jumps onto Terra and scrambles about, stealing Terra’s Wayfinder in the process. Jumba neutrally declares that this means 626 will destroy the Wayfinder, and Terra suddenly breaks out in genuine emotion that “My friend gave me that!” and is just surprised that he said it as the audience might be.
Jumba is not so moved, and laughs at the idea that 626 might listen to the plea, but Stitch looks confused and drops the Wayfinder, crawling out of the room. Terra collects it and reflects on how he’s surprised that in his heart-of-hearts, he doesn’t really want to be independent of his family. Terra decides to ask Jumba if he’s so certain about 626, given 626’s behaviour, but Jumba insists. To demonstrate, he pulls a green pill and a flask of fluid somewhere off his person (don’t think about it, don’t think about it…) and drops one into the other, the pill starting to glow…
Jumba’s backup creation – one he snuck into prison by all signs – is Experiment 221 “Sparky,” an unusual but not unheralded addition of a sequel element into a Kingdom Hearts game. 221 debuted in Stitch! The Movie. He’s voiced here by his original voice actor, Frank Welker, whom we last heard as the voice of Abu in KH2. Terra finds himself in combat with 221 the moment he’s released (though 221 somehow appears on the other side of the room from where Jumba was standing).
Probably the most interesting thing about the fight with 221 is that he’s quite possibly the smallest boss in Kingdom Hearts history, about the size of a Shadow or Flood. That’s bad news for big-swinging, slow-moving Terra. 221 also doesn’t play small. His weakest attack sees him turning into a flying form and dashing at you, but most of his other attacks include a huge electric area attack, and the ability to fire electric orbs to nearly every part of the screen, though these can thankfully be deflected so long as you’re ready for it. But probably the most frustrating attack in the set is when 221 turns into pure electricity and “possesses” the two robot cannons like some kind of gremlin (and the little sucker always seems to do it the moment I’m ready to use a shotlock!). You can stun the cannons with Block and even wait them out in this regard, but more aggressive players will want to destroy the cannons. That can be tricky, because they have a fair-sized health bar for something that regenerates to full each time they’re destroyed. Nothing at the level of Leechgrave’s claws, but still enough to make you question the strategy!
Winning this battle gets you Terra’s astonishingly delayed Thunderbolt command style, a Level 1 Command Style. Aqua gets her last Level 1 Command Style during Olympus Coliseum (which is maybe even more embarrassing, since we’re talking about Diamond Dust and you’d think Aqua would be good at ice magic given her water theme), but this is the record setter, the latest any character will get a Level 1 Command Style. You can see the thematic reasoning but it’s funny just how long Terra has to wait, especially since Ven gets all three Level 1 Command Styles in his first three worlds! I guess Ground really is immune to Electric!
After the battle, Sparky reverts to pill form and Jumba collects him (you can actually see the number “221” etched on the side), but both he and Terra are surprised to find that Experiment 626 has returned to the room. Jumba asks why 626 isn’t out indiscriminately destroying, and Stitch snarls at him, but Terra decides to presume Stitch is here to ask what a friend is, which is definitely the conclusion I’d draw from snarling and snapping like this. Terra introduces himself, and 626 is even able to pronounce Terra’s name. Terra is only able to say that once you find friendship, you’ll know it. Jumba tries to step in to shut this down before it can start, and threatens to reprogram Stitch, but he’s interrupted by an alarm as someone on the ship seems to have belated noticed that all three of them have escaped. The voice-over here is probably the third and remaining Deep Space voice actor, “Deep Space System,” provided by Stephen Stanton, the voice of Happy the Dwarf.
Jumba and 626 walk off, while Terra resolves not to be caught here and… he puts on his armour, summons a portal of light, and flies off into it! My god! That’s how he gets on and off worlds and even into the middle of them! An answer! An answer to my questions! I don’t even know what to say!
Firstly, I should point out that after you clear Deep Space with Aqua and Terra, you gain access to every room in the world, including some you couldn’t visit earlier, though Aqua can never visit Stitch’s prison. This kind of freedom is not true for Ven, who already had access to most of the rooms but is never given access to the Keyblade Glider segment on the surface of the ship.
Deep Space’s Unversed Challenge puts you up against the Gluttonous Goo, a Blobmob recolour, which is bound to surprise a few players that had never encountered the rare Blobmob to begin with! Like the Blobmob, it’s found on the Launch Deck. The Gluttonous Goo is often compared to the game of Struggle in KH2: you knock orbs away from the enemy and try not to have them knocked out of you in turn. The first difference is that the blobmob starts with 100 orbs and you start with none, and obviously you don’t lose for running out of orbs (only for running out of HP). The second difference is that the Gluttonous Goo is actually programmed to collect orbs, which is more than we could say for nearly all the KH2 Struggle opponents, and even the Vivi clone wasn’t this good at Struggle! The Goo is incredibly aggressive! While we’re on the subject, the Goo also has stupendous hitting power, and could easily kill you if you aren’t watching your back, and will use any time you waste healing to gather more orbs!
Counterattacks are the best way to handle this, though you’ll want to use various powerful attacks to loosen the orbs should the Goo refuse to attack for a few seconds. Your prize for getting 90+ orbs (and keeping them to the end of 2 minutes) is an upgraded Block command that causes Stun to many enemies that hit it. Aqua’s version causes Stop instead! In the original BBS, these Block panels were available through Command Melding, but are now exclusive to the Goo in FM. As BBS goes, I prefer the Focus Block command you can win in Command Board, but to each their own, and goodness knows this is less random to acquire than anything in Command Board!