A Summon is a special character that can be magically called on to aid Sora in the Kingdom Hearts series. They have been present in Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, and Kingdom Hearts II, although the mechanics of using them differ from game to game.
Summon Items are found throughout the Kingdom Hearts universe. They are used to forge different magical aids called Summons that help Sora and his party in battle. In Kingdom Hearts, the items must be forged by the Fairy Godmother in Merlin's Study at Traverse Town before they can be used.
Kingdom Hearts II brings back the summon item; in this iteration, Sora immediately obtains the summon when the charm is found. In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, summons take the form of cards in Summon Cards. They can be combined with other cards to create powerful sleights by stocking multiple Summons Cards of the same type.
In the original Kingdom Hearts, most of the summons are obtained by finding special gems called "Summon Gems" in various worlds. The gems can then be given to the Fairy Godmother, staying at Merlin's House in Traverse Town; she uses her magic to restore their spirit forms and release their powers, thus making the summon creatures available.
All of these summons are victims of the Heartless' quest to destroy the worlds. As explained by the Fairy Godmother, the summon gems are the crystallized forms of strong, good-hearted denizens that did not fall victim to the darkness during the destruction of their worlds, and so are able to be called into battle for a limited time.
Two summons out of the five, Genie and Tinker Bell, are allies from worlds Sora has visited, and join him of their own free will upon locking the Keyhole of their world. They do not need to be released by the Fairy Godmother before they can be used.
In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Sora can obtain Summon Cards during his ascent of Castle Oblivion. These Summon Cards are essentially Magic Cards that enable Sora to perform summons. They are created from Sora's memories, so the summons are the same ones from Kingdom Hearts, with the addition of Cloud.
They also differ in how they play out, as playing or stacking a different number of cards has different results, much like Magic and Friend cards (for example, one Cloud card will use a normal slash, while two make a Cross-slash, and three make an Omnislash). However, Sora is unable to activate cards while the summon is active, contrary to Enemy Cards. In addition, the Summon can be broken (or break other cards) at any point in its duration.
In Kingdom Hearts II, summons come from special charms found scattered throughout the worlds, which Sora can immediately use without having to unlock them. The charms from Kingdom Hearts II work differently than the summon gems from Kingdom Hearts. While most of the summon spells in the first game gave a temporary body to the soul contained within the gem, the charms on the other hand actually teleports the summonable characters directly from their world.
In Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, a new form of summon is featured, known as the Dimension Link (shortened as "D-Link"). Players can draw power from non-playable characters or summon one of the three main characters wirelessly from other players to aid them in action.
The Summon menu in Kingdom Hearts is located within the Magic menu during battle. Each summon requires a specific amount of MP to be performed, and the summon lasts until its MP bar is fully consumed (or until the player dismisses it manually).
In order to perform a summon, the player needs to have two friends in the battle with him, and they both must be conscious. This means that Sora cannot perform summons during battles he is fighting if he is alone or when one or both of his allies are knocked out.
When Simba's world, Pride Lands, was destroyed, Simba, thanks to his powerful heart, didn't disappear, but was turned into a gem instead. Leon had been keeping the Earthshine until he gave it to Sora, knowing that it held a special power but not the specifics of the gem. Upon taking it to the Fairy Godmother, Sora learned the ability to summon Simba.
The fact of Leon having Simba's summon gem is an allusion to his connections with lions, most easily seen on his pendant, which depicts a lion, Griever, a summon from Final Fantasy VIII.
Although it is unknown what Dumbo's world was, it is noted that the Heartless consumed it. As a strong and pure soul, he was transformed into the gem, which eventually landed in Monstro's body. Sora can find the Watergleam in Monstro after obtaining the High Jump ability from Gepetto.
It is unknown what Bambi's world was, but it is noted that Heartless consumed it. Despite this, Bambi had an innocent heart and was preserved as gem. Sora can obtain Naturespark in the 100 Acre Wood after completing the first mini-game. When taken to Fairy Godmother in Merlin's Study, Sora gains the ability to use Bambi as a summon.
After The Land of Dragons was swallowed by the Heartless, Mushu was transformed into the Fireglow Gem due to his heart full of determination, and fell into the hands of Maleficent. Sora ventured to Hollow Bastion some time later and fought Maleficent in the form of the dragon. After her defeat, Sora then receives the Fireglow summon gem. When taken to the Fairy Godmother, Sora can use Mushu as a Summon.
Summon Cards appear in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories as a type of playing card which summon magical creatures. They can be identified by their blue borders, which they share with Magic Cards. Six of the seven Summon Cards in the game represent the summons Sora obtained in Kingdom Hearts, and are used in much the same manner. The seventh, Cloud, is a new Summon unique to the game.
Each summon can be upgraded to more powerful levels by stocking multiples of that summon card, though they can also be used in various combinations with other Summon Cards, as well as Attack, Magic, Item, and Friend Cards to perform different spells and summons unavailable in the other games to create new sleights. Many of these new combinations are Kingdom Hearts versions of traditional Final Fantasy spells like "Tornado" or "Quake".
Summon Cards are only available in Sora's Tale, and are not used by any enemies.
List of Summon Cards
|Simba||Clear the Traverse Town Room of Beginnings.||Simba lets out a mighty roar that deals damage to enemies in front of him. Stock more than one and his roar will also stun enemies.|
|Genie||Clear the Agrabah Room of Truth.||Genie casts Thundara, Gravira, or Stopra. Stock more than one and Genie will cast multiple spells.|
|Bambi||Clear 100 Acre Wood.||Bambi bounds around and drops HP orbs. Stock more than one to boost the effect.|
|Dumbo||Clear the Monstro Room of Truth.||Dumbo douses enemies over a set time period, dealing ice damage. Stock more than one to prolong the attack.|
|Tinker Bell||Clear the Neverland Room of Truth.||Tinker Bell restores HP over a set time period. Stock more than one to boost the effect.|
|Mushu||1st Hollow Bastion Reward.||Mushu breathes fire at the enemy, dealing fire damage. Stock more than one to prolong the attack.|
|Cloud||Clear the Olympus Coliseum Room of Truth.||Cloud unleashes two successive sword attacks. Stock two cards to use Cross-slash and three cards to use Omnislash.|
The Summon menu was given its own space in the Command Menu in Kingdom Hearts II because of the inclusion of a second menu that could be accessed during battle. In addition, Kingdom Hearts II summons no longer require MP to be summoned; they now use the Drive Gauge to count down their time instead, and again the player must have two friends in battle in order to perform a summon.
Sora will acquire the Baseball Charm after Merlin explains Pooh's book to him in Hollow Bastion. Upon acquiring the Baseball Charm, Sora gains the ability to summon Chicken Little.
The Ukulele Charm is in a chest in Ansem's Study during the second visit to Hollow Bastion. Upon acquiring it, Sora gains the ability to summon Stitch.
Sora can find the Feather Charm in a chest in the Ship Graveyard: Interceptor's Hold during his second visit to Port Royal. Upon acquiring the Feather Charm, Sora gains the ability to summon Peter Pan and Tinker Bell. So far, this is the only Summon Charm that summons two characters, instead of one.
Leveling Up Summons
Summons in Kingdom Hearts II draw their power from a Summon Gauge, which, in turn, draws from the Drive Gauge. The Summon Gauge can be leveled up, allowing the Summon to remain with Sora for a longer period of time and increasing the Summon's magic skills. One point of Experience is gained for every point of the gauge expended while the Summon is on the field.
A simple way to level the Summon Gauge is by finding a save point, calling on a Summon, and then waiting as time whittles down the gauge. When the gauge is almost at an end, jumping to the World Map will then reset the gauge to MAX. Another good way to refill an empty or incomplete Gauge is to enter a Tournament in the Underdrome, and then immediately quit. This will also refill the Gauge to MAX, allowing a new Summon.
A much faster way to level, however, is to call a Summon to the field and then find enemies to fight. Closely watch the Summon Gauge, and attack enemies the moment the Gauge drops down a level. Each time you land an attack, the gauge will be boosted back up a little bit, so by attacking at the very moment the Gauge drops a level, that level will be regained, only to drop back down again. Using this method expends the time of the summon and grants extra leveling points.
An alternate method that has less potential, but is much easier, is to utilize the Drive orbs in the Checkpoint area of The Land of Dragons. Begin by clearing the area of heartless, then summon Stitch and use fire to break the carts around the area that contain drive orbs. Once cleared, move one zone away and then come back, allowing the items to respawn, but not the heartless. This method only works in Kingdom Hearts II and not Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, as the items do not respawn this easily in the latter.
Another fast method can be deployed near the end of the game, immediately after The World That Never Was has been unlocked. Starting in the Alley to Between, travel out to Fragment Crossing and run forward to trigger the heartless. Run back to stand just before the entrance to the Alley and summon Chicken Little. As fast as possible, activate the FPS Mode limit, and then immediately press to bring the limit to an end. Repeat this same action with FPS until the gauges have almost run out. As FPS uses two gauges every activation, this is a very fast way to run the Summon down. When your gauge is at 0 or 1, depending on your Summon level, return to the Alley to Between to restore the gauges to MAX.
Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix introduces an extraordinarily effective method to leveling up Summons with the addition of Mushroom XIII. Mushroom No. V, located in the Treasure Room in Agrabah, allows Sora to freely attack it as a stationary target. Simply have a summon out and proceed to apply the aforementioned method of attacking when a gauge is about to run out, watching to make sure that No. V is not defeated if Sora is too high of a level, and experience will be gained easily.
List of Summons