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Magic is one of two forms of basic offense that Sora and many other characters in the series can perform, the other being weapon-based attacks. Although the use of magic is limited by the character's remaining MP, it is, in most cases, perceptibly more powerful than physical attacks, as well as capable of inflicting elemental damage. Party members who excel with the use of magic include Donald Duck, Ariel, and Jack Skellington. Most summoned characters will use some form of Magic as a primary form of attack, with summoning being regarded as a form of magic in Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories but becoming tied to the Drive Gauge in Kingdom Hearts II.
Magical power seems to be at least vaguely related to intelligence, as noted by the descriptions of the the Dream Rod and Struggle Wand, as well as by the name of the Wisdom Form. Unlike fighting, which seems to be able to be mastered by practice alone, it appears that magic must be taught, learned, and studied. Magic is often associated with the color blue, with MP being represented by a blue meter in the status bar. In Kingdom Hearts, there is an additional gold bar called Charge Units overlapping the blue MP Meter to represent MP Recovery, and which could be used as additional MP; however, in Kingdom Hearts II, this bar does not appear, and upon expending his MP, Sora must wait for the magic recharge gauge to be refilled before he is able to cast any further spells.
MP may be recovered by dealing damage to enemies; by stepping into a Save Point and allowing the MP gauge to refill; by the use of an Ether, Mega-Ether or Elixir; by the use of a Tent (Kingdom Hearts II) or a Cottage (Kingdom Hearts I); or by picking up the bubble-like MP Orbs dropped by enemies and by the wisps appearing in the Underworld.
Magic-heavy playing styles are considered to be among the more difficult to use effectively, largely due to the attention that must be paid to elemental differentiation, as some enemies will not be harmed and may even be healed when attacked by certain elements, and the clear limitation imposed by possessing a finite amount of MP, which is only partially remedied by a large stock of restorative items and further by abilities such as MP Haste and MP Rage
The amount of damage caused by an individual spell is governed by the spell's base power combined with either the caster's max MP (in Kingdom Hearts) or magic power (in Kingdom Hearts II) through a set formula, in addition to any elemental strengths or weaknesses possessed by the target of the spell coupled with any abilities that boost the power of certain element.
Each standard magic power, with the exception of Holy, appears in three tiers of increasing power denoted by a particular suffix appended to the end of the spell's name. Base-tier spells bear no special suffix, but set the precedent for the names of other spells of the same element. Second-tier spells generally append -ra or -ara, sometimes dropping the final syllable of the original spell (cf. Blizzard > Blizzara; Reflect > Reflera etc.), whereas third-tier spells will generally append -ga, -aga, or -ega. Once he has acquired all of the first-tier spells in Kingdom Hearts, Merlin will present Sora with the Spellbinder Keyblade.
A pair of negative suffixes, -gun and -agun, make an appearance in the battles against the Blizzard Lord and Volcanic Lord, and are seen in fourth-level magic armor. They do not appear to have originated with Final Fantasy titles, but rather to be exclusive to the Kingdom Hearts series, though whether or not these are spells is debatable.
List of Magic Spells
- (Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, and Kingdom Hearts Re:coded.)
- (Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, and Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep as "Zero Gravity".)
- (Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, and Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep.)
- (Kingdom Hearts II, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, Kingdom Hearts Re:coded.)
- (Kingdom Hearts II, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep as Aqua's "Barrier" Defense Command.)
- The King's Limit Break, and Kingdom Hearts Re:coded as a Finish Command.) (Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days as
- (Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, Kingdom Hearts Re:coded, and Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance.)
- (Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, Kingdom Hearts Re:coded.)
- (Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, Kingdom Hearts Re:coded.)
- (Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep.)
- (Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance.)
- (Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance.)
Certain abilities may also influence the power of magic, though these generally have more weight in Kingdom Hearts II, in which the Keyblade, Donald's staff, and Goofy's shield held abilities themselves. Abilities that affect magic include:
- MP Recovery
- MP Charge
- MP Haste
- MP Rage
- Fire Boost
- Blizzard Boost
- Thunder Boost
- Magic Lock-On
- Crime & Punishment
- Magic Haste
- Magic Spice
- Master Magic
- Endless Magic
- Leaf Bracer
Some party members also possess abilities that mimic the effects of spells, which include the following:
- Healing Herb
- Blazing Fury
- Icy Terror
- Bolts of Sorrow
- Ghostly Scream
- Cure Potion
- Aero Potion
- Dark Shield
- Dark Aura
- Lady Luck (HP Block Recovery)
- Hidden Dragon (MP Rage)
- Photon Debugger (Thunder Boost)
- Mysterious Abyss (Blizzard Boost)
- Fatal Crest
- Circle of Life (MP Haste)
- Bond of Flame (Fire Boost)
- Ultima Weapon (MP Hastega)
- Wisdom Wand
- Shaman's Relic (MP Rage)
- Save the Queen
- Save the Queen+
- Akashic Record (MP Haste)
- Save the King+ (MP Rage)
Defeating multiple enemies
Offensive spells, such as Fire (in Kingdom Hearts II), Blizzard (in Kingdom Hearts), and Thunder can enable Sora to attack or even destroy multiple enemies with a single stroke, as well as to pierce physical defense. The defensive spells Aero and Reflect can also cause damage at higher levels, and possess numerous strategic uses.
Gravity, Magnet, Slow, and Stop affect how an enemy moves. Gravity grounds aerial enemies, making them easier to hit with standard attacks in addition to inflicting a rather sizable amount of damage to enemies with high HP, and can, at higher levels, destroy several enemies in a single casting. Magnet brings enemies together at a certain point, making stationary attacks easier to execute, whereas Stop freezes enemies in suspended animation, allowing for an easy kill, though the damage acquired while frozen in time does not appear until the end of the spell's duration.
Attacking at a distance
Blizzard, Thunder, and Fire often change depending on the game in question.
- Fire: Acts as a homing projectile, not as powerful as the other spells perhaps, but has great range and moderate speed.
- Blizzard: Acts more like a shotgun, firing several weak shards of ice that spread to affect a large area
- Thunder: Strikes straight down, so it can sometimes be blocked if the target is under a ledge, but this also allows the player to magically attack an enemy behind the front lines.
The elemental spells do not really change from the first Kingdom Hearts, a decision made to help reflect the direct continuation of events that this game serves as.
- Blizzard: Change from being a shotgun-style spell to flying a short range and then causing a minor explosion of ice that can, if timed right, hit multiple enemies. This was changed because the battle area is much much smaller than previously encountered, and it is likely that the developers didn't want the shotgun spread of Blizzard to make it too useful. However, Blizzard remains the same from its Kingdom Hearts counterpart in Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories.
- Donald has a sleight called Magic in which he casts two spells, either Fire, Blizzard, Thunder, or Cure. The power of the spells depends on how many Donald cards were stocked. If two Donald cards are stocked, then Donald will perform two second-tier spells, either Fira, Blizzara, Thundara, or Cura. If three Donald cards are stocked, then Donald will perform two third-tier spells, either Firaga, Blizzaga, Thundaga, or Curaga.
With the introduction of the panel system, the spells all make another change. First and foremost, each level of spell acts differently, giving the player new options and choices when loading their panel board with magic to better face the mission challenges.
- Fire: Sends a homing ball of flame at the enemy. Can ignite to sap more HP.
- Fira: Sends a ball of flame straight forward, cutting straight through enemies.
- Firaga: Flies up and then down in an arc, with slight enemy seeking capability, then explodes on contact.
- Blizzard: A seeking chunk of ice that moves slowly and in short bursts, making it more of a short-range spell and allowing it to hit the target multiple times before dissipating.
- Blizzara: Falls straight down until it either dissipates or makes contact with an enemy.
- Blizzaga: When cast, becomes a mine that stays in place and explodes when an enemy (or ally if the players have friendly fire activated) comes within range.
- Thunder: Becomes a line of fast-moving lightning bolts that travel straight and can hit multiple enemies. It will only stop when an object blocks it (i.e., walls, boxes, etc.)
- Thundara: Creates a field around the character wherein multiple lightning bolts shoot down, attacking friend and foe alike.
- Thundaga: A giant bolt of lightning that hits twice, first as the bolt itself, then as a secondary radial attack from the epicenter.
- Cure: Restores a small amount of your HP.
- Cura: Restores a small amount of your HP over time, with the possibility of complete recovery.
- Curaga: Creates an HP Recovery Field where you and other members of your party can recover HP over time if you stand in it.
In Kingdom Hearts II, Fire, Blizzard, and Thunder act very differently from previous games.
- Fire: Surrounds Sora with a rotating circle of flames, harming all enemies right next to him; its range and power grows as the spell upgrades.
- Blizzard: Flies straight ahead and hits with a minor explosion, although it does not harm enemies near the explosion site.
- Thunder: As usual, fires straight down, but in KH2 the player doesn't have to worry about ledges providing cover. Also, Thundaga has an excellent 'spread' on the ground, hitting any enemies too close to the target.
- Aero Shield: It summons a tornado around Data-Sora which acts as a shield, protecting him from damage.
- Blizzard Arrow: It allows Data-Sora to shoot zigzag-homing arrows of ice.
- Fire Lunge: When it is used, Data-Sora dashes forward, swinging his Keyblade in a spiral of flames.
- Fireball: It allows the user to launch several fireballs at enemies.
- Thunder Rain: When it is used, it sends a rippling stream of lightning bolts raining down both ahead and behind of Data-Sora. If the lightning hits metal blox on the way down, it will be blocked from hitting the ground.
- Thunder Spear: When it is used, Data-Sora raises his Keyblade and summons lighting bolts that spread out radially, destroying everything on-screen and causing the screen to flash white. It is obtained by touching the yellow diamond-shaped power-up, and it has five uses.
- Wind Spin: When it is used, Data-Sora spins with his Keyblade extended, creating a cyclone that propels him upwards and damages enemies and Bug Blox that get caught in it. It is obtained by touching the green diamond-shaped power-up, and it has ten uses.
Cure is used to heal the caster and/or his or her allies, generally acquiring an area-of-effect as its rank increases, and is instantly effective. With the ability Leaf Bracer equipped, the user also becomes invulnerable to being interrupted while casting Cure.
In Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, the different levels of Cure have different effects:
- Cure: The normal Cure spell. Acts like it did on other games.
- Cura: It has a recovery effect that will restore HP over time.
- Curaga: It creates a temporary recovery zone that restores a large amount of HP to every comrade inside.
Some powerful magical abilities, called Limits, may be performed in tandem with a party member, but will drain all of Sora's remaining MP after usage.
Wisdom Form enables Sora to shoot magic bullets in lieu of his normal physical attacks, enabling combos at a distance but at a reduced power considering the other forms, as only one Keyblade may be used in this form. Only the standard magic powers consume MP, however, and spells may be cast with the greatest speed in this form, which also possesses the quickest MP recovery rate, with Wisdom Form being one of only two ways in which the strongest MP recovery skill, MP Hastega, may be equipped, the other being the Ultima Weapon.
Any magic power used in Master Form will cause a slightly different effect than it normally would, usually incorporating some sort of additional Keyblade attack. Sora will charge forward when casting Fire, and performs a dance-like combo while casting Thunder and will cast a double-Blizzard that goes to either side rather than straight forward.
The use of two Keyblades, which combine their magic stats, lends Master form extra spellcasting power, in addition to the Endless Magic ability, which allows magical combos to continue indefinitely, but this disables magic combo finishers entirely. Master form also boasts the second-highest magic recovery rate in automatically equipping the powerful MP Hastera skill.
Sora, in his Final Form, has the strongest magic potential of any party member, despite having the slowest MP recovery of any magic-using drive form. Thanks to the boosts of magic-oriented abilities and the use of two keyblades in similar fashion to Master Form, Final Form Sora can attack multiple times and with much more power with the amount of magic any other form would require to land one hit. Final Form is able to augment the power of the spells themselves for maximum efficiency, calling upon multiple bolts of lightning, or launching two blasts of ice with a single casting. Although it is the weakest MP recovery skill, Final Form possesses MP Haste, in addition to the very powerful magic-augmenting skill Crime and Punishment.
- In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, all of the Organization XIII members involved in Sora's story were of the powers that corresponded directly with Sora's main spells: Axel to Fire, Larxene to Thunder, Vexen to Blizzard, and Marluxia to Cure (note that Marluxia's Power, Flower, is an attribute of death, directly in opposition to Cure, which restores life).
- The magic spell Flare is available to Donald through his Limit, in addition to Shadow Flare being cast by Sephiroth.
- In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Sora is able to cast the recurring Final Fantasy spell Holy through one of his sleights, though this only appears as a powerful engine gummi in Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts II, alongside the ultimate black magic spells of Final Fantasy titles Flare, Meteor, and Ultima. Sora is also able to cast the recurring Final Fantasy spells Quake, Warp, and Tornado as sleights in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and its remake, with Quake and Tornado also appearing in Kingdom Hearts Re:coded.
- The suffixes -ra and -ga are only applied to second and third tier spells, respectively in the English, Italian, German and Japanese versions of the Kingdom Hearts games. In the French version, the second form is noted with a plus (+) sign, while the third is noted with an X. The suffix -gun, present in all accessories with that suffix (Firagun Armlet, for instance), is often represented as XX. In the Spanish version, the suffix -ga is noted with two plus signs (++).
- At the end of a magic combo, the character will announce the name of the spell they are using or a related word, such as "drift" when using Zero Gravity or "freeze" when using Blizzard.
- Abilities (Kingdom Hearts)
- Abilities (Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories)
- Abilities (Kingdom Hearts II)
- Abilities (Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep)
- Enemy Cards
- Limit Break
- Deck Command
- Dimension Link
Notes and References
- ↑ Choosing the Dream Rod in the awakening stage of the original Kingdom Hearts boosts the Magic stat, as well as decreasing the level magic-oriented abilities are learned at.