World Showcase: Monstro
Now this is a world that isnâ€™t very popular amongst Kingdom Hearts fans and this includes me. Itâ€™s not that this world is poorly used or is bad in concept, but when itâ€™s compared to the other worlds it just doesnâ€™t match up. Still thereâ€™s a lot to admire and a lot to get annoyed at. Welcome fellow interworld travelers to the innards of Monstro!!!
ORIGINS: Monstro is a gigantic whale found originally in the world known as Pranksterâ€™s Paradise (Pranksterâ€™s Paradise is going to appear in the upcoming Kingdom Hearts game coming out later this year). Sometime after the events of Pinocchio and Jiminyâ€™s encounter with him, Monstro left and had the ability to travel through space. Monstro was a boss battle as a mere hologram in the Mirage Arena in the Final Mix version of Birth by Sleep. Then Pranksterâ€™s Paradise was destroyed by the Heartless. Jiminy ended up in Disney Castle where as seen in the very beginning of Kingdom Hearts 1 is appointed by Queen Minnie to be the Royal Chronicler of the journey and thus starts the Journal option in the gameâ€™s main menu.
REUNION WITH PINOCCHIO: After traveling to the worlds of Wonderland, Olympus Coliseum, Deep Jungle and returning to Traverse Town to seal the Keyhole the player can find Pinocchio in Traverse Townâ€™s Accessory Shop. Jiminy is reunited with Pinocchio and they both ask where Gepetto is, but neither has seen him. Pinocchio wants to go look for Gepetto, but Jiminy insists that Pinocchio stay in Traverse Town where he will be safe and leaves it to Sora, Donald and Goofy to help him find Gepetto.
SWALLOWED BY MONSTRO: After defeating Jafar and sealing the Agrabah Keyhole the party gets back on the Gummi Ship to travel to the next destination (which would have been Atlantica), but a big unidentified object is seen closing in on them. The party realizes that itâ€™s a huge whale and Jiminy identifies it as Monstro! Monstro doubles back and the Gummi Ship canâ€™t take any evasive maneuvers and gets swallowed by Monstro. While unconscious Sora has a memory of his friendship with Riku to give us more backstory on the two friends (itâ€™s about halfway through the game and the original characters are being fleshed out). When Sora wakes up Donald and Goofy are surveying the new surroundings (Monstroâ€™s Mouth) and are shocked to see Pinocchio looting a chest (how Pinocchio got there I have no idea. Maybe he went outside Traverse Townâ€™s main gate and tried to take one of Cidâ€™s Gummi ships and got swallowed). The party goes to the boat where Gepetto has made camp and the humble carpenter/clockmaker thanks you for looking after Pinocchio in his absence. Just as the group is about to discuss a plan to get out Pinocchio wanders off into the depths of Monstroâ€™s innards. When Sora and company follow him they meet Riku who is tricks Pinocchio into following him and basically playing a game of chasing and tagging inside of Monstro. Sora and company follow them while Maleficent appears to Riku and asks â€œWhy do you still care about that boyâ€ and she wants to continue corrupting Riku until he is filled with nothing but hate and jealousy towards Sora. Riku tells her to buzz off, but itâ€™s clear that her words did get through. After Sora and friends catch up with Riku and Pinocchio, Pinocchio gets trapped by a Heartless called the Parasite Cage and Riku, Sora, Donald and Goofy team up to take it down. The Heartless releases Pinocchio into a hole that leads back to the mouth and Riku follows. Sora and company go through the hole back to the mouth and see Riku kidnap an unconscious Pinocchio despite Gepettoâ€™s pleas to return the wooden boy. Riku believes that since Pinocchioâ€™s heart was stolen by the Heartless (not really, but at the time it was believed so) that he could study Pinocchioâ€™s lifeless body and hopefully restoring Kairiâ€™s heart. After opening a chest and learning the High Jump ability the trio go into the next level of the whaleâ€™s innards and ends up in the stomach where Sora is ready to put aside their friendship to protect Pinocchio and Riku is about to take up that challenge, but the Parasite Cage shows up and Riku departs to Captain hookâ€™s ship where Kairiâ€™s body is located and Maleficent and Captain Hook await to give him further instructions. The destruction of the Heartless caused Monstro to sneeze the Gummi Ship out and the player is able to continue onward. Gepetto and Pinocchio can be found in a newly added small house. Gepetto and Pinocchio explain that Squall Leonhart built the house for them and are now a valued addition to the Traverse Town community of refugees. You can go back into the house and Gepetto might give you a blueprint for new types of Gummi Ships to fly (not that you would actually use them, but itâ€™s the thought that counts).
Monstoâ€™s musical themes are very simple and quaint. They are catchy enough to warrant multiple listening, but itâ€™s far from anyoneâ€™s favorites. I am very fond of the piano version of the traversal and battle themes. Then again I love the music to this series especially the piano tracks. The music is composed by the great Yoko Shimomura!
The design of Monstro is very unique and has a very kind of gooey like texture to it. It certainly feels like youâ€™ve been eaten by something. One of the main reasons why this world can get frustrating is simply that all of the chambers look the same making this a world that one could easily become hopelessly lost in. But if youâ€™re like me whoâ€™s played the game about 20 times then you have pretty much memorized the whole world. Despite the sometimes confusing layout itâ€™s still a solid world and they certainly get points for creativity. They also completely disregard the rules of anatomy. I guess the trick was to purposefully make it hard to navigate so you simply couldnâ€™t just follow the digestive system of a whale to reach the goal they wanted you to run around a bit.
This is a very interesting and creative world. It may not be the best one under any circumstances, but it does force you to memorize paths, which is good for getting a sense of direction anywhere and it has a solid story. As for my next destination I believe that Iâ€™ll set a course for Wonderland! Join me next time where I celebrate my favorite show at any Disney theme park. HAPPY 20THÂ ANNIVERSARY FANTASMIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!