Although this was the first game in the series to be released, Kingdom Hearts 1 actually takes place later in the narrative. Are you confused yet? Don’t worry, you will be by the end of this article, which recaps the very first Kingdom Hearts.
After making a series of strange decisions in a mystical place known as the Dive To The Heart, Sora is forced to face a being of darkness known as a Darkside. After it’s defeat, Sora is swallowed by the darkness that has flooded the mystery location, and wakes up on the beach of the Destiny Islands.
He is startled awake by his best friend, a young girl named Kairi who doesn’t seem to remember that she used to leave in Radiant Garden. They are interrupted from their conversation by an older Riku, who taunts them for being lazy and not helping to build a raft. Their aim is to find a way to leave their island home, to take them on a journey to other worlds. After building the raft and gathering supplies, the three friends wonder what lies ahead for them, and make a promise to stay together no matter what happens.
Meanwhile at the Disney Castle, the royal court magician Donald Duck is going to meet with King Mickey for his daily duties, only to find the monarch missing. Pluto hands him a letter, which causes Donald to run flabbergasted out of the throne room to find Goofy, the captain of the royal guardsmen. In the royal gardens, Donald tries unsuccessfully to tell Goofy that the king is missing, without alerting Queen Minnie and her loyal assistant Daisy Duck.
That night, the Destiny Islands are hit by a storm, causing Sora, Riku and Kairi to go and ensure that their raft is safe. During the struggle, they discover that several dark creatures have appeared. Riku is swallowed by dark energy, and Sora awakens to his ability to use the Keyblade. When he finds Kairi, she mysteriously vanishes, and Sora is forced to fight the Darkside once again on the ruins of his island home.
Although he manages to win the fight, Sora is swept away through a portal of darkness to another world.
Back at the Disney Castle, Donald and Goofy set off on a rescue mission to find King Mickey. To ensure the safety of the worlds, the king has asked them to find the wielder of the Keyblade and protect him at all costs. When Sora awakens, he finds himself in Traverse Town, a world where people who have lost their worlds to darkness are given sanctuary.
After meeting with a group of freedom fighters, led by a Gunblade wielding warrior named Squall ‘Leon’ Leonhart, Sora learns of the Keyblade’s power, and the intentions of the Heartless, which are the dark creatures that appeared on the Destiny Islands. Sora eventually joins with Donald and Goofy, and the new allies travel between worlds in their Gummi Ship to search for King Mickey, Riku and Kairi.
Unbeknownst to the group, they are being watched by a group of villainous individuals who have the power to control the Heartless. This gathering of evil is lead by Maleficent, the main villain from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. As well as jumping between several worlds and meeting new friends, Sora and his friends locate and close the Keyholes in each location. These mystical locks are where the Heartless have been able to enter each world, and by closing them, Sora is one step closer to restoring every world that has been swallowed by darkness.
Sora eventually discovers that the villains goal is to locate the seven Princesses of Heart, beings of pure light that have the power to find the Final Keyhole to the source of all darkness. He is also stunned to find that Riku has sided with Maleficent, who has been manipulating him to believe that Sora is being selfish by not appearing to care for Kairi. Eventually, Kairi is discovered to be in a deep sleep, as she has lost her heart.
In a desolate world named Hollow Bastion, Riku takes the Keyblade from Sora, as he was the one who was supposed to wield it, but fell to darkness before he could do so. Sometime during his journey, Riku has also obtained a dark Keyblade that allows him to steal the hearts of others. Forced to follow the wielder of the Keyblade, Donald and Goofy leave Sora and pursue Riku.
Sora eventually catches up to them with help from the Beast from Beauty and the Beast, and takes back the Keyblade when he affirms that he does not need a weapon to be truly strong. Riku’s anger at this event causes him to lash out, causing a dark presence to find it’s way into his heart.
Sora, Donald and Goofy eventually defeat Maleficent, and learn she was only a puppet of darkness herself. The true villain is a man named Ansem, who sacrificed his body to darkness for the sake of research. As such, he is now a Heartless, and has possessed Riku’s body to fulfil his needs. Ansem reveals that Kairi is also a Princess of Heart, and that her heart has been resting inside Sora since she disappeared on the Destiny Islands.
After temporarily stopping Ansem/Riku, Sora uses Riku’s dark Keyblade to free Kairi’s heart from his body. This selfless act restores Kairi’s heart, as well as every other Princess of Heart’s soul that was trapped inside the Dark Keyblade. A side effect of this is that it causes Sora to fall to darkness himself. After pushing his way through the seemingly endless darkness, Kairi helps Sora back to the light and reclaim his heart.
With the healing of the Seven Princesses, the Final Keyhole is now fully open, pouring out darkness at an alarming rate. After going to Traverse Town to prepare, Sora, Donald and Goofy return with the purpose of closing the Keyhole for good. This act will cause everyone to return to their intended homes, and all the darkness will apparently cease to be a problem.
After sealing the Final Keyhole, Sora’s group travels to the End of the World, a desolate place formed from the pieces of the worlds shattered by darkness. They eventually discover Ansem, and fight him to stop him from reaching Kingdom Hearts, which he believes is the source of infinite darkness. After defeating him inside a nightmare world known the World of Chaos, Ansem tries to call the darkness in Kingdom Hearts to his aid.
Unfortunately, his plan fails as Sora summons a beam of powerful light from inside Kingdom Hearts, which vanquishes Ansem from the face of the earth. They arrive at the door to Kingdom Hearts, only to find Riku on the other side, who cannot leave because of his darkness filled heart. He asks Sora for help to close the door on the side of Light, whilst Riku closes it on the side of Darkness.
Just as everything seems hopeless, King Mickey appears inside Kingdom Hearts, and uses a golden Keyblade to help Sora and Riku close and lock the door to Kingdom Hearts and make it disappear forever. After this, Kairi is taken back to the Destiny Islands, and everyone else except Sora, Donald and Goofy are transported to their rightful homes.
The three friends set forth on a new journey to find a way to rescue King Mickey and Riku, whilst chasing Pluto who is holding a letter addressed to them from the king himself.
Previous Chapter – Prologue: Birth By Sleep
Next Chapter – Chapter 2: Chain of Memories and 358/2 Days