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Koudelka (game)

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Koudelka is a console role-playing game for the PlayStation. It is the first game in the series that would become Shadow Hearts.


Hiroki Kikuta, most known for composing the music to Secret of Mana (Seiken Densetsu 2) and Seiken Densetsu 3 while working at Squaresoft, created Sacnoth in 1997 with funding from the video game company SNK. Unhappy with what he considered as the disjointed, juvenile, and stagnant nature of most RPGs, Kikuta had intended to take the genre in a whole new direction. Koudelka was to be his magnum opus, the game that would show the world just how far RPGs could go.


Set in 1898 Wales, the game follows the mysterious occurrences surrounding Nemeton Monastery and the three protagonists who, by chance, are forced to investigate its dark history.


Koudelka (クーデルカ, Kūderuka) is a console role-playing game for the PlayStation developed by Sacnoth for the Sony PlayStation. The game was released on December 16, 1999 in Japan, June 29, 2000 in North America and September 29, 2000 in Europe.

Gameplay Edit

The style of the game is a composition of survival horror games and tactical RPGs with a grid-based system for combat.


Plot Edit

Set in 1898 in Aberystwyth, Wales, the game follows the mysterious occurrences surrounding Nemeton Monastery and the three protagonists who, by chance, are forced to investigate its dark history.

After a series of troubling visions, Koudelka Iasant, a young gypsy girl with supernatural powers, arrives at the Monastery. There she meets and rescues Edward Plunkett, an American adventurer, and Father James O'Flaherty, a bishop on a Holy Mission from the Vatican.

The plot is split into several stories that all intertwine with one another, one featuring the history of the Monestary itself as a Prison for heretics and political adversaries of the current Super Powers, where the inmates were ruthlessly tortured and killed. Focusing on the particular tale of a young girl, Charlotte, the child of a Noble Woman born out of wedlock and murdered on her ninth birthday who believed that she was never loved and now haunts various areas of the Mansion, killing anyone she can find in bitterness and anger.

The tale of Ogden and Bessy, an old couple very much in love who are the caretakers of the Mansion yet possessing a dark and tragic past. When he was younger Ogden used to be the Captain of a Cruise Liner called the 'Princess Alice', during a voyage the Alice was caught in a horrible accident involving fire, the death toll was astronomical and Ogden was blamed for the whole grim ordeal. He retired soon after, unwilling to deal with the harassment and bad treatment he received from the perceived wrong, and became the Caretaker of the Monestary along with his wife Bessy where they would meet Patrick and Elaine, the young couple who owned the building. Believing the accident was in no way Ogden's fault, Ellaine became a very special and precious person to Ogden and Bessy for her kindness.

In her youth though, Elaine was caught between two men both of whom she loved dearly, her dependable husband Patrick and the passionate young James O'Flaherty - who, with his absolute love for her, stepped back and allowed Patrick to take her hand in marriage believing himself to be unsuitable for her. James would then leave and join the Church, never to know of her murder at the hands of Burglers who broke into the Monestary while Ogden and Patrick were away on business in London. In his grief over her death, Patrick would resort to the blackest of magics to bring her back to life and he would find a willing partner in Ogden to make it happen. Procuring a book stolen from the Vatican (one of the three mentioned in Shadow Hearts to have been taken by Albert Simmon, hinted to have sold it to Patrick and then later to the mentally unstable Jack who attempted to bring his mother back to life via sacrificing Orphans such as Chris, Sharon and Joshua of the London Rats.) Patrick would acquire a cauldron with which to bring her back.

With Elaine's corpse preserved, Patrick and Ogden could take their time in gathering Prostitutes, thieves and the homeless with which to sacrifice to the cauldren, filling it with the collected blood, bodies, souls and malice of some two-hundred people the pair tortured and killed. However, in much the same manner that Jack's mother from Shadow Hearts revived, Elaine's corpse became the victim of the 'Sickle of Life' and returned as a soulless monster with the image of an angel. Despite this, the malice and hatred of the sacrificed people lingered in the Monestary, enhanced and mingling with the remnants, the echos, of those long dead while it was still a Prison (as evidenced in the Game when Koudelka is possessed).

Horrified and defeated, Patrick endevoured to destroy the abomination he had turned his beloved wife's body into along with himself, he cooked up high grade explosives and walked to his death. (It is debatable as to whether or not Patrick died in this fashion. There is a Corpse seen outside of the Cathedral Hall, severely decomposed and somewhat charred, this could be Patrick. But there is also some kind of plant-like being hidden behind a statuette of a woman in the underground walk-way up to the Graveyard. The origins of this creature are unknown but there has been speculation that this could also be Patrick after Elaine's reanimated corpse dealt with him.)

After Patrick's death, an undetermined length of time passes before the three protagonists arrive on the scene.

Koudelka, in particular, is summoned by the spirit of Elaine whom she heard calling and begging for help. Edward claims he is there because he heard rumours of a rich aristocrat partying with a lot of Prostitutes in a Holy Place and planned to put the fear of God into him - though it is more likely he planned to either join the party or rob the place. James (who is at this point unaware of Elaine's death) was sent there by the Vatican on the trail of the book that Patrick used - Shadow Hearts suggests this could be either the Book of Rituals or the Emigre Manuscript.

During their 'adventure' through the Monestary, the group of three dig up the past of the building and it's occupiers, culminating in Ogden and Bessy's deaths - incidentally Bessy shooting Ogden with a shotgun to protect Koudelka and then committing suicide so she could be with her husband - laying Charlotte to rest by returning to her the letters her mother wrote that the Prison guards kept from the little girl - showing her that she was loved and seeing her off to the afterlife, discovering Roger Bacon alive and well within a coffin and eventually doing battle with Ellaine.

There are three endings to Koudelka, the bad ending - in which everyone dies within a few seconds of meeting Elaine when she spits either some kind of corrosive acid or black magic that melts their faces off. The canon ending - in which James sacrifices himself to kill Elaine and allows Koudelka and Edward to flee from the burning building, this ending results in the two of them spending a night together where it is quite heavily implied that Halley is conceived before Edward leaves on Koudelka's horse the next morning and she remains behind with Roger Bacon. And the good ending - where everyone survives including James.

Koudelka is later seen in Shadow Hearts as one of the main driving characters, communicating with Yuri using her Psychic powers to encourage him to protect Alice. At the end of Shadow Hearts, she is seen leaving on a ship from Southampton with her son Halley in search of Edward in America - the rest of the London Rats in tow.

Development Edit

Hiroki Kikuta, best known for composing the music to Squaresoft's Seiken Densetsu 2 and Seiken Densetsu 3, while working at Square Co., Ltd. established Sacnoth in 1997 with funding from SNK Playmore|SNK. Unhappy with what he considered as the disjointed, juvenile, and stagnant nature of most Computer role-playing games, Kikuta had intended to take the genre in a whole new direction.

Internal quarrels within Sacnoth had led to a compromised product. Kikuta had wanted to develop an action-based battle system, citing Resident Evil as a source of inspiration. However, his employees were adamant about releasing something closer to the kind of games that Square had been making.

The game was fully voice-acted, and starred Vivianna Bateman as Koudelka, Michael Bradbury as Edward, and Scott Larson as Father O'Flaherty. The game also featured several FMV cutscenes.

Legacy Edit

Koudelka is the precursor to Sacnoth's Shadow Hearts series. Shadow Hearts takes place in the Koudelka universe and features various locales and characters from Sacnoth's debut work.

Manga Edit

A manga sidestory, written and illustrated by Yuji Iwahara, was published in Kadokawa Shoten's Monthly Ace Next.

For more information, please see the Manga article.

Novel Edit

The Mansion's Scream
"The Mansion's Scream"
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Written in January 2000, "Koudelka - The Mansion's Scream" is a novelization of the main story, written by Japanese author "Nahoko Korekata". Unfortunately, due to its rarity and that fact that it was only produced in Japanese very little is known about it, other than it being a supposedly lackluster novelization.

What is known is that it expands somewhat on the character of Charlotte, as she recites nursery rhymes her mother taught her, and delves slightly deeper into Koudelka's relationship with Edward.

  • Publisher: Ascii
  • Label: Famitsu Bunko
  • ISBN: 4-7572-0665-8

IllustrationsEdit

CD Drama Edit

Published by "Pony Canyon", the game was adapted for a brief six-part radio drama. The first few episodes are set before the events of the game and involve interactions with "original characters". The remaining episodes are a straight dramatisation of the game script. The music is the same as that used in the game.

Product Code: PCCB-00403

CastEdit

  • Yui Horie as Koudelka Iasant
  • Ryoutarou Okiayu as Edward Plunkett
  • Sakiko Tamagawa as James O'Flaherty
  • Ofurahati Ryutaro as Elaine Heyworth
  • Rokuro Naya as Patrick Heyworth
  • Satoshi Takashi as Roger Bacon
  • Ehara Masashi Nakao as "Worker"
  • Sasamoto Yuuko Asuka as Alias "Red"
  • Miyuki Uehara as Alicia Iasanto (Koudelka's mother)
  • Masago Katsumi, Kobayashi Kazu and Daisuke Ishikawa as Villagers/ Extras
Drama
Drama CD Cover
0001Added by 0001

ChaptersEdit

  • First night: "Between Life and Death" (11:15)
  • Second night: "The Other Me" (09:14)
  • Third night: "The Prison of the Soul" (10:38)
  • Fourth Night: "That Which We Protect" (08:23)
  • Fifth Night: "Running against the Moment" (11:01)
  • Sixth Night: "In Distant Memory..." (11:21)

Total Length 61:52

Reception Edit

Dutch magazine Power Unlimited gave the game a score of 6.0 out of 10, praising the cutscenes, but criticizing the combat sections and calling Kikuta's music "a disaster".

GalleryEdit

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