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Gamer Tuesday

December 4, 2012

Pap the Disney Gamer's Highlights Spots Week: 101 Dalmatians on Kingdom Hearts

We just got off our celebration of 100 consecutive weeks of Days of the Week. It is still a surreal feeling knowing that for the last 100 weeks we have talked everything from Hidden Mickeys and movies to characters and, of course, video games. But the number 101 does hold significance in the Disney universe as well. 101, of course, relates to 101 Dalmatians, Disney's animated classic about Dalmatians escaping the wrath of Cruella DeVille.

Much like Wreck-It Ralph today, 101 Dalmatians represented a whole new concept and story for Disney to tackle. It was a story took place in a contemporary setting that utilized the revolutionary Xerox animation process that gave the puppies individual spots and preserve the animator's lines in the drawing. The film was undoubtedly simpler in tone and scope when compared to the movie that came before it, Sleeping Beauty. Yet it was that simple accessibility that made the film a big hit that remains popular to this day. Add to this the exuberant villain Cruella DeVille and you can see how even when it wasn't a fairy tale movie, 101 Dalmatians captured the hearts of audiences worldwide.

101 Dalmatians in Kingdom Hearts

Now, if you have been following my year long Kingdom Hearts retrospective (which will have its grand finale next week), then you know that Square set out to pay tribute to almost every single aspect of the Disney legacy. Disney villains, Disney princesses, Mickey Mouse and friends, classic Disney music, the list goes on and on. These nods and references were presented in unique ways, from worlds you could explore to characters you could interact with. Knowing that, Square decided to put Disney's Dalmatian plantation in a way that benefited the gameplay's longevity.

As with any other game with the same scope and ambition as Kingdom Hearts, the worlds are littered with several quests to go on in addition to the main one. In Kingdom Hearts, you can buy items to create new weapons and armor to equip, find parts for your Gummi Ship and set out to complete Jiminy's Journal. One of these side ventures involves the Dalmatians themselves.

Kingdom Hearts Traverse Town 101 Dalmatians

Traverse Town, which happens to be the first world you visit, later becomes a hub world you return often to in order to gain new pieces of story. It is in here where you meet Pongo and Perdita, hidden in a house in a dark alleyway. Their world has been destroyed by the Heartless, making them lose their puppies in the process. There is hope, though. Sora is a world traveler, and the puppies have been hidden in all the worlds. Knowing this, Sora sets out to rescue all the puppies in this adventure.

The puppies are hidden in pink boxes in sets of three. Every time you collect a set number of puppies, the house you visited Pongo and Perdita gets filled up, and they reward you with a rare item. When all the Dalmatians have been saved, you get the rarest item yet.

Pongo in Kingdom Hearts

This quest is not necessary to fully enjoy the main storyline. It is a side quest created to provide additional activities and thus extend the game's lasting appeal. It is also a very clever way of incorporating a story that isn't exuberantly magical into a world that is reigned by fantasy. Of course, die hard 101 Dalmatians fans want to see a whole world dedicated to the movie, complete with an appearance by Cruella herself. The possibilities of that happening are somewhat high as Square has shown that there are no limits as to what they can present in a Kingdom Hearts game.

For now, though, we have their appearance in Kingdom Hearts to appreciate. Come back next week as our Kingdom Hearts retrospective comes to an end with a personal look at the first game and franchise as a whole.

 

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