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|This article is about the cards from Kingdom Hearts: Chains of Memories. You may be looking for Kingdom Hearts Trading Card Game, Ending Cards, or Luxord's Cards.|
From the battle system itself to progressing to different rooms within a world to traversing between the different available worlds, the cards serve as both the ubiquitous gameplay mechanism and the storyline progression element.
The eponymous cards first appear when Sora begins his journey into Castle Oblivion and new cards are thereafter obtained through plot events, found in the environment (for example, breaking open a barrel), bought in Moogle rooms which are unlocked by a specific Map Card, or won in Battles.
If playing the game as Riku, the card types and the availability of certain cards change, but the essential gameplay mechanism and method of storyline progression remains the same. Riku is given a set amount of cards per world, and his deck is unable to be customized.
As the gameplay mechanism and storyline progression centers around the usage of cards, there are therefore different types of cards available for Sora and/or Riku to use and these types can be divided into two categories - Battle Cards and Map Cards.
These Cards are used during battles and depending on the type of card, they are randomly assigned value points which determine the 'strength' of a card and may cost Sora Card Points (CP) to add to a Deck if the card can be added in the first place. In the case of Riku, however, he is unable to customize his battle deck, and is instead given a preset battle deck.
Magic Cards either let Sora use a spell or use a summon, and are colored bright blue. Like with Attack cards, there are different types and when two-three Magic cards (of the same kind) are stacked up, the result is a more powerful version of the Magic attack.
Item Cards restore attack and magic cards after use, and are colored bright green. There are three different types.
Enemy Cards enable a status effect, which can change Card Value, increase speed, and make Sora invulnerable to certain elements, among other things. They are colored black.
Friend Cards are green cards that appear randomly during battles. They summon one of Sora's party members once retrieved and used.
Gimmick Card only appear during Boss Battles. These cards are colored Green, like item Cards, and have the Mickey Mouse insignia on the card. When used, the colors on the screen invert, and the flow of battle changes in Sora's favor, though the former does not occur in Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories. For example, the floor acid disappears when battling the Parasite Cage.
The Reload Card is used to reload all reloadable cards. Unlike all the other cards, however, Sora must charge this card to use it. Riku, however, doesn't need to. In Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories, Sora can lose his reload card when battling Marluxia's third form.
These Cards are used outside of the battlefield and are used to help progress the storyline by allowing movement between rooms within a floor/world and allowing movement between different floor/worlds within Castle Oblivion.
Map Cards allow Sora to open doors that lead into unexplored rooms, or can be used to change a room that he has already opened. (Example: If Sora has already opened up a Calm Bounty room and taken the treasure, he can leave the room and strike the door again to change it to a new Calm Bounty Room, granted he has the card.) Certain Map Cards can trigger events that advance the plot while other Map Cards can open up special treasure rooms while still others can open up a Moogle room or a save point.
The mechanics of card usage vary depending upon both the situation they are being used in and who is using them.
By building decks of cards from the Battle Cards Sora has collected throughout his journey, Sora is able to engage enemies in card battles where, depending on how he stocks his card deck, he can choose to attack, use magic, use items, summon friends, and/or add status effects.
A more detailed explanation of the card battling system is given below:
Cards are needed to attack, use magic, use items, summon friends, and/or to add a status effect to Sora. Moving, dodging, and jumping are outside of card use.
Sora can create Decks of cards to use in Battle using CP, or, Card Points. Each card has a CP cost, except for those that appear randomly in battle. If you exceed the Maximum CP, the Deck cannot be used. Riku does not have CP, as he fights with a loaded deck.
Sleights can be used when stocking three cards together. You must stock a certain combination of Cards, depending on Card type, Card Name, and Card Value. All cards except Enemy Cards can be stocked during battle.
All cards used in battle (with the exception of Enemy Cards) have a small number in the corner, which is the card's Card Value. The higher the card value, the more versatile the card is in breaking other cards, but the more CP it costs to have.
When Sleights are involved, the added Card Value of the Sleight becomes the total card value, meaning if Sora stocked three 9's, the total Card Value would be 27, the most powerful aside from 0. 0 Cards are the most powerful, and can break any card that comes before it, but can be broken by any card that comes after it. 0 cards can break Sleights, regardless of the Sleight's Card Value.
Card breaks only apply to the card-based battle system of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories. All cards have a certain value, which may be nullified, or "broken", by a card of equal or greater value. Cards may also be broken by another card with a value of zero. Most often this is used to break Sleights (three cards stocked together to produce certain combat moves or a higher card value).
However, neither combatant will attack if both play with equal numbered cards, which results to a very quick temporal stun for the one who played the card first. In Re:Chain of Memories, if Riku acts quickly enough in breaking an opponent's card, he gains a boost in attack power.
Cards are used to progress through the storyline and to progress through the different floors of Castle Oblivion by using them to open doors to new rooms (or re-open old doors) on a given floor/world and to open new floors/worlds.
When Sora clears a floor/world, he is able to choose which floor/world he wants to journey to next and can choose which world he wants to go to by selecting the appropriate World Card. Sora may choose to journey to whichever world he wishes in whatever order he chooses as, for the most part, there is no set requirement or specification for which world must be encountered at what time in the game.
Once he has visited each of the worlds/floors once, he may return to these worlds by going to the landing/lobby area of the floor he is on and selecting the appropriate world/floor from the blue world globe on the right hand side of the lobby. This action does not require the World Cards as he already used them to unlock the world/floor on the first run-through.
In the case of Kingdom Hearts: Re:Chain of Memories, you can control Riku. In this case, Riku just can choose the order of world that he wants to visit four times, the cards that he can use to choose are, Traverse Town, Mostro, Neverland and Agrabah, the rest of the World Cards are set for him.
When Sora enters a world/floor, he must progress through a series of rooms to clear the world/floor by using Map Cards to open doors. The doors to these rooms are all labeled with either a number specification or a card type specification and so the Map Cards - with the exception of special room cards - are all labeled with a number value ranging from 0 to 9.
To open these doors, Sora has to first strike the door with his keyblade and then match the specifications of the given door with the appropriate Map Card(s) which can be numbers-only or a combination of numbers and a special card.
For example, if a door has a requirement of 5 or higher, the Map Card used must have a number value of 5 or higher.