|Genre(s)||Role-playing video game|
Koudelka (クーデルカ?) is a role-playing game developed by Sacnoth for the Sony PlayStation. The game was released on December 16, 1999, in Japan, November 30, 1999, in North America and September 29, 2000, in Europe.
The plot is split up into several storylines that all interwine with each other: The history of the Monastery itself as a Prison for heretics and political adversaries of the current Super Powers, where the inmates were ruthlessly tortured and killed. The tragic fate of Charlotte, who was locked up in the monastery from birth and was executed at a young age, never knowing why, who believed she was never loved and now haunts the mansion. Ogden's past as the captain of the sunken ship "The Princess Alice", his friendship with the kind Elaine and the events occurring after Elaine's death.
- Koudelka Iasant - A gypsy woman being summoned to the monastery by a mysterious voice.
- Edward Plunkett - A young man looking for adventure and money.
- James O'Flaherty - A bishop being sent to the monastery by the Vatican to recover an item of great value.
- Ogden and Bessy Hartman - The caretakers of the monastery.
- Patrick and Elaine Heyworth - The owners of the monastery.
- Charlotte D'lota - A young girl who's spirit appears throughout the monastery.
- Roger Bacon - A monk and warlock that used to be in the services of the Vatican.
- Alias - A thief.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (September 2013)|
In 1889, Koudelka, a young gypsy psychic, arrives at the ruins of Nemeton Monastery. Trying to find a way inside, she loses a pendant, Koudelka's most precious possession. After forcing the window, she notices an injured man who mistakes her for an angel. Koudelka, on her guard with a dagger hidden behind her back, mocks him and notes that he can't even hold his gun steady. He is aiming at a monster behind her. Startled by a growl, she turns and stabs the monster, which screams and knocks her away. The man throws her his pistol.
Koudelka manages to kill the monster and she returns to the dying man. He asks her to pray for him as he fears Hell. Koudelka declines his request and heals his wounds. She tells him that she's only a medium with some healing powers, she's not like him at all and that Nemeton Monastery is no place for people like him.
The man introduces himself as Edward Plunkett. He had heard rumors about a rich family buying an old monastery and converting it into a brothel. Annoyed by the fact that Edward only seems to be a foolish adventurer looking for money and girls, but knowing that they have a better chance if they team up, she warns him to stick close to her as they start exploring the ruins.
They find an elderly couple, Ogden and Bessy Hartman. Surprised to have visitors, they immediately show kind hospitality by offering them some soup. Edward gratefully accepts their offer, while Koudelka politely declines. Ogden and Bessy tell them they are the caretakers of Nemeton Monastery and that it was built in the ninth century by a saint named Daniel Scotius, as a place of worship and to appease monsters and evil spirits. After hearing from Edward that he and Koudelka actually saw a monster on the way there, the old couple informs them that they've been taking care of the building for several years, but recently monsters have been appearing. Ogden offers Edward some spare bullets, after which Edward and Koudelka go into a large kitchen. Helping himself to some of the rations he finds there, Edward asks Koudelka why she declined the soup, while she must also have been hungry. She casually remarks that she would have had some if it wasn't poisoned. The couple had added a poisonous plant to the soup, which Koudelka recognized the scent of. If Edward cannot get an antidote, he will die. But Koudelka is strong enough to cure him. While healing him, again, she says that she doesn't know why the couple tried to kill them, but that they were obviously used to doing it this way and that it's best to let them think they're dead so they can resume their explorations.
They go to the herb garden where they find a man unconscious. When the man recovers, Koudelka asks what happened to him. He introduces himself as James O'Flaherty. He was searching for something at the monastery when he was shocked to find out it had become a breeding ground for demons. When James says he had been let inside through the main gate by the caretakers, who welcomed him, Edward asks slightly shocked about any poison in James' soup and tells him about the couple's intentions to kill him and Koudelka. James replies that he has no idea what Edward is talking about and that he finds it unbelievable that he would try to dupe a Christian. When Koudelka and Edward leave, James notes that, even though he is under the protection of the Lord, he will accompany them.
After avoiding shots from the caretakers, they enter a neglected bedroom. Koudelka notes the presence of spirits throughout the building. It was actually the voice of one particular female spirit calling her that had led her to the monastery, and also told her that she can let the spirits possess her body so they can talk. She channels her powers and some spirits, through Koudelka, scream out their pain. When Koudelka recovers from the experience, she explains: the monastery used to be a prison for hundreds of years, kept in secret. Whoever went against the authorities or misconducted themselves in any way was locked up here and eventually killed... Not finding anything else of interest they move on when later in a hallway Edward notices a small girl and chases after her. Koudelka prevents him from falling to his death. The child hovers over the gap and disappears into the wall.
Entering a small chapel, they discuss the number of bodies they have found, old and new. One who was shot, one who had been cracked in the head with an axe and some with no visible signs of injury. Probably being fortune seekers like Edward, Ogden and Bessy must have killed them. Some time later they also find dead women, cut up and pretty fresh.
Later on in a dark room near a crypt, Koudelka's investigating something on the floor. When the other two join her there, the floor gives way under their combined weight and they fall to the room below which appears to be a prison cell strewn with dead bodies. Bars are blocking their way and there's on apparent way out when a ghostly figure of a girl appears on the other side of the cell door. The spirit, saying her name's Charlotte, says that she died there, hundreds and hundreds of years ago. They locked her up right after she was born and beheaded her the day she turned twelve. She's been trapped there ever since and no-one even knows who she is... James shows pity for her but she laughs at him and tells him to save his pity for himself as all three of them will be dead within three days. He says to her that though he doesn't know her circumstances, but that her mother loved her very very much. Charlotte shouts at him that she doesn't even know her mothers face or name or where she came from and that from her birth to her death nobody ever loved her and she never wanted to be loved and that all of them should just die. She disappears afterwards.
While walking through a large hallway with stairs leading up, there's the sound of gunfire and the chandelier falls from above, almost hitting them. Noticing the man responsible for the attempt to kill them, they catch him and after a struggle they defeat him. Koudelka asks him if he's the one that killed all the people they've come across. The man explains he's an immigrant and a thief and he did drop the chandelier on them because he wanted the loot in this place for himself. But all the other people were killed by the old couple. He's been down here a long time and has seen them... They usually use an axe... The other thieves come unarmed... They are stupid and get caught from behind... He stresses out he's telling the truth and yells: "Those two are Satan incarnate and that the more wholesome they look on the outside, the colder and uglier the heart is. Just look at him!" He points at James. Edward says that he believes the guy, as thieves can be exceedingly honest. Still, he did try to kill them and not willing to take the risk of him finishing the job, he shoots and kills the thief.
Later in the care-takers' rooms, Koudelka notices all the pictures against the walls are of The Princess Alice, a pleasure boat that went down in a terrible accident on the Thames, after which she has a vision of water and bodies drowning.
When the trio enters a room near the library area they find old printing presses and papers littering the floor. Koudelka's psychic powers activate in response to strong emanations. A confused kaleidoscope of images of magical notation, Hebrew letters and symbols and a man's voice. A knife falls wielded by a man and red blood splashes. The voice says he will now be able to sleep in peace with his wife. He calls her name, Elaine, and that he just wants to make her happy and asks her to marry him. Koudelka sees the image of a beautiful fair haired woman who accepts his proposal, after which she hears her call out for help and scream. Koudelka realizes that Elaine is the woman who summoned her to the monastery.
After more exploring they find some archives in the library where James starts to examine the books. He's ecstatic about the collection and explains his find to the others. Ancient books on mysticism and alchemy, ancient science. They're all about making gold from lead. Just a ruse peddled by power hungry tricksters blinded by greed. But, in amongst the trash there are some valuable works illustrating basic useful experiments for predicting the laws of nature. Predicting a time when all men will be treated equally. God's will. No room for this argument nowadays. He then gets agitated that something specific isn't there and it should be there. When Edward gets angry at James ignoring him asking what he's looking for and he should tell them what is going on, James calms down and says that they all have their reasons and shouldn't delve into each other's personal affairs.
When they enter a room hidden behind a clock, they find a coffin. When they approach it, the lid rises and falls to the floor, revealing a figure with a wizened and very old face. The mummy suddenly sits up and speaks: "Holy Saviour. The secret of the Formors from the bottom of the sea... Emigre!" The mummy collapses back into the coffin and James gets very agitated about what he just heard. He tries talking to the person inside the coffin, asking him about the Emigre document, what it knows about it and where it is. By doing this he reveals to Koudelka and Edward that this Emigre document is what he's been looking for and Edward asks for an explanation, even threatening to "slit James' holy throat" if he won't talk. Saying he has no choice, James tells them he's on direct instructions from the Vatican to find a manuscript that is said to be somewhere in the building. This manuscript is called the Emigre Document and for hundreds of years it was kept deep inside the Vatican Library. No-one was allowed to read it, in fact many people thought it didn't even exist. Then someone from the Vatican got bribed by the wealthy gentleman who had purchased the monastery, to steal this manuscript for him. The wealthy man was Patrick Heyworth, a personal friend of James, who for years had been dabbling in mysticism and alchemy and on the brink of crossing the line and playing God by creating life. It is thought that the ancient Druid's forbidden secrets on eternal life and resurrecting the dead are contained in the Emigre Document. This still being silly superstition, James has come to Nemeton Monastery to try and convince Patrick to drop his dangerous experiments and return the manuscript to the Vatican. According to the caretakers, Patrick lives in the building next to the temple. Koudelka is skeptic about the old couple revealing this information to James, but he explains to her that they're terrified with all the crazy things going on here, but that they've not seen Patrick yet feel indebted to him. They've asked James to go there to see if he can save Patrick.
Bells start ringing when they're in the church nave. James notes that the bells mark the passing of another day, but then shouts that today's All Saint's Day! The spiritual energy being empowered by this holy day summons a monster resembling a gargoyle. In an attempt to run away, Koudelka falls and her way now blocked by the gargoyle, she has no choice but to go another way. Koudelka, now on her own, enters a building in the center of the garden. She goes down a ladder and has a vision of a man wielding an axe and a terrified girl. Without any vision, she just hears a voice talk about preparing a ship to set sail. "Don't be unreasonable. We can't handle that many passengers. The sky is getting dark...We're sinking! Bessie, Bessie! The rig is burning its burning! No, it's not working. No. Hurry, Hurry. Where are you going? Where are you going? You. Hey you. You...we're sinking! My boat! My boat!!" Koudelka gets knocked out and awakens to find herself tied to a guillotine. Ogden is nearby, sharpening an axe. He mumbles, calling Koudelka a harlot with no shame and sighing that they wouldn't be in this mess if only Elaine had been saved. She was merciful, he says, benevolent. She believed him and was fond of his paintings of the Princess Alice. He gets agitated when Koudelka asks about the paintings, stating that it wasn't his fault, that a steamship appeared out of nowhere and there was nothing they could do. It sank so fast. He then starts screaming at Koudelka and prepares to finish her with the axe, when there's the sound of a shot. Bessy appears with a gun. Not wanting to let her husband suffer from the madness, she kills him. She explains to Koudelka that he was the captain of the Princess Alice, until the accident. Many people died and everybody blamed her husband. It was so difficult for him that he started drinking heavily, though it didn't make him forget such a tragedy... But then he met Elaine. She believed he was innocent and helped him carry on. Elaine had died so early though... While her husband Patrick was traveling, a robber broke into their house... She then places a knife in Koudelka's hand, cocks the gun and says that her husband is waiting. She then puts the shotgun to her chin and fires.
Using the knife to free herself, Koudelka makes her escape and comes across a door where she hears Edward's voice. Not being able to open the door, Edward suggests they follow the wall and try to find a place to meet up again and agree the best place to go to would be the library. Koudelka passes a fountain in the courtyard where she notices something shiny in the water. It's her pendant that she dropped while trying to enter the monastery. She heads over to the graveyard where she finds the grave of Saint Daniel where she kneels down and starts praying. The "mummy" from the coffin suddenly appears behind her, though Koudelka's not frightened and just lets the figure ramble on. Koudelka rises to her feet and asks the figure who he is. The polite figure apologizes for his manners and introduces himself as Roger Bacon, a monk from the Franciscan order who used to be hailed as the foremost warlock, though his profession seems to go in and out of fashion with the passage of time. He cannot answer any questions concerning his existence though, as he has yet to figure out exactly what he is for himself. As a token of appreciation for her tho, Roger is going to keep the metal gate unlocked and urges Koudelka to go through the gate. When Koudelka asks why he would do this for her, he states that her friends are running amok inside the monastery grounds and making so much noise. He asks her to kindly tell them to keep it quiet.
After some backtracking, Koudelka rejoins the two men in the room with the printing presses. She informs them about Ogden and Bessy's fate and that they had been killing off the thieves and desperadoes sneaking around the monastery, trying to avenge Elaine as a thief was responsible for her death. James calmly and without anger tells more of his story. He met Patrick at university where both of them were studying chemistry and embarking upon similar paths. They both fell for the same woman though, Elaine, and had a falling out. Though loving Elaine with all his heart, he soon discovered for himself that he lacked the social status and inheritance money necessary to properly care for someone so well bred and sheltered as Elaine. So he made way for Patrick, joined the church where the Vatican made him a bishop and put him in charge of some very important matters. Now knowing about Elaine's faith he asks to himself why this happened. Patrick promised him he would take care of Elaine and make her happy. What could have happened? Koudelka also having a hard time believing that the caretakers were acting on revenge alone and the monsters that keep appearing, believes there is a bigger secret they have yet to uncover.
Coming across Charlotte's cell, the spirit of the young girl appears. NOTE: during the game you[who?] can find letters from a woman to her child. The next scene differs depending on whether you have these letters or not.
When NOT having the letters: Charlotte argues with Koudelka about why she was treated the way she was. On the day she became twelve, a priest came to her and said "dear Lord, please accept into your glorious kingdom this poor sinful one. Asking Koudelka to tell her what she did that was so bad, if it was her fault that she was born and if she was born only to be killed why her mother even had her. Koudelka tries to calm her down by telling Charlotte that she also had been left behind by her mother, but Charlotte interrupts her, angered by the fact that she is dead and Koudelka, though claiming they're alike, is still alive. After this Charlotte curses Koudelka and her friends and shouts that she will kill everything. And when everything is dead and gone, then they will be the same and they will understand her pain. Charlotte, taking on a gruesome physical form, attacks Koudelka who has no other option than to slay Charlotte.
When having the letters: Koudelka hands over the letters to Charlotte. Apparently Charlotte's mother was the queen of Hannover. After she was born in secret, her mother was locked up in the castle where she wrote many letters to the monastery, meant for Charlotte, but they were never passed on to her. She was never informed of her daughter's death so even after Charlotte died, her mother kept writing letters, hoping that one day they would get the chance to meet. In these days it was believed that the sins of the parents were born upon the children. Charlotte, the result of an affair, was "born in sin" and therefore was locked up from birth and eventually beheaded, as punishment for her mother's sins. After finding out her mother actually did love her very much and simply didn't know about her daughter's fate, Charlotte is confused and scared because of the emotions she's suddenly feeling. A light appears and though she shouts "I hate you", she screams and disappears. Koudelka is left behind and out loud asks Charlotte how it feels to know she was loved...
Further into the story, the trio finds a portrait of Elaine and Koudelka channels her powers to summon her. She tells them her story: eighteen years ago she was murdered by thieves that broke into her home. Both Patrick and Ogden were out so there was nothing anyone could do. Patrick could not accept her death and spent many years perfecting his craft of wizardry, trying everything in his power to bring her back to life. He had learned of the Emigre document and with it and Ogden's assistance, he held a resurrection ceremony in Nemeton Monastery. But he only resurrected Elaine's physical body. Her soul was still doomed to roam the universe, forever separated from her body. The body that was resurrected was only a heartless monster and even though it looks like her, it is not her. She begs James to turn her body into ashes with his power. James is unwilling to do this as he will not be able to bring Elaine back to life if he destroys her body. But she reaches out to comfort him, telling him that she was robbed of her life by those thieves and that she could hate them as mortal enemies, but that she chooses to think her death was pre-ordained by the Lord. She says it was wrong for Patrick to try to resurrect her, to undo the work of God and pleads again to destroy her body as its existence defies the wise providence of Heaven and mustn't exist in this world. She then disappears.
Back in the secret library in Patrick's mansion, they come across Roger Bacon again. He tells the party about the history of the Emigre Document. It speaks of the secret rituals conducted by the ancient race of Formors on immortality. The Formors would claim the lives of the resurrected as their own. They reversed the laws of nature and the cycle of life. When the Druids took over the Celts, Alexander the Great penned the Emigre documents in Greek, for placement in the Great Library. It has long been considered the most dangerous work of literature. It was safely guarded in the caverns of the Supreme Pontiff's quarters. But apparently, the book was not able to withstand the wears of time over generations, and the Pope decreed that a new edition be created by copying the full text. This task was requested of Roger Bacon and when the work was finished, he was supposed to be killed. But he managed to escape and made his way to the secret land referred to in the text of the Emigre Document, where he succeeded in performing the secret rituals on himself. He has been able to escape the hands of death, but his body is not immune to change, hence his hideous appearance. After roaming the earth for three hundred years, he'd seen all he could take of mankind's cruelty and returned to Nemeton Monastery for some rest. When the party returns later with Patrick's research notes, describing his attempts to resurrect Elaine and the cruel things he had to do for it, he tells the trio more about the Ancients. They could never come close to touching the secrets of the soul, so they would resurrect the dead in order to use their physical bodies as a workforce to build the great civilization they ofttimes speak of. This way he concludes it is impossible to restore the dead to life as they were before death. Roger tells them that to lay the resurrected body back to rest, he would need to call forth the sacred powers. He suggests they find the arm of Daniel Scotius, which was stored in a statue on the ground floor. If they throw that into the cauldron, they could successfully destroy the roots of the tree of life, after which they should call upon "the power of fire"
When reaching the door to the temple, they find the large door is locked. James notes that during their search in Patrick's mansion they found various chemicals lying around. He could try to combine them to make nitro-glycerin in order to blow up the door. While James is busy with the chemicals, Koudelka and Edward are relaxing near a fire in Patrick's study and have helped themselves to some bottles of wine. Here, Edward and Koudelka both tell the other about their past. Edward tells he had a strict father who couldn't forgive his son for failing academically. He blamed his failure on the time he wasted inventing adventures, dreaming of utopian landscapes, but was brought up to believe that all that and everything else he loved as a child, were useless. At that time he felt that his father was actually telling him he was useless. He continues: "Oh granted. I picked a few fights along the way. Played with fire. Gambled on my life a few times. But none of that comes close to the truth I'm searching for. I yearn for something far greater. I can't quite explain myself. It is as though I am on a quest for some intangible treasure of sorts."
Koudelka then tells her story to Edward: being born in a small gypsy town in Wales and that her father gave her the nickname Zlato. She refuses to tell Edward what it means though. Later Edward upsets her by saying he envies her, having psychic powers and being born a gypsy so she can choose to live how she wishes. She reveals that she was caused much pain because of her psychic powers. Her father died when she was only a child. She predicted the exact time, place and ending of her father's life. Her mother was frightened by this and even tried to kill her. The gypsy elders got together and decided to excommunicate her. She was only nine then. She felt just like Charlotte and like her, also wished everybody would die. She then mocks Charlotte who's made her peace and has gone to heaven, while she's still alive and still all alone. She then takes comfort from the fact that she can actually do good, with her powers, that she can ease the pain of others and that's when she feels good about living. She wants her life to have meaning and just wants someone to tell her they need her.
Further in the story they use the nitro to blow up the door and make their way into the church, to be confronted by the sight of a huge monstrous tree. In the center of the church they find the dead body of Patrick. James starts pouring empty a tin of paraffin as to "call upon the power of fire" and drops the arm of Daniel Scotius into the cauldron. As the plant comes to life, they run. James turns to throw a lighted lamp at the plant, after which they leave by a broken window. They climb up the outside of the church and at the top of the tree, go back inside to find a large closed flower. As they approach, it opens and reveals the monster Elaine. Elaine let's out a scream and spits out some liquid.
Koudelka jumps forward and holds out her pendant to deflect Elaine's power.
NOTE: if you DIDN'T pick up the pendant from the fountain, the poison will actually kill the entire party.
Elaine breaks free from the tendrils of the plant and runs along the walls like a spider. Edward starts shooting at her and hits, causing Elaine to fall. However she gets back up and chases them to the top of the church. She catches up with them three times, after the last time they injure her enough to get some distance. As they reach the top of the belfry, Elaine suddenly emerges, fully a monster. The trio has no other option than to fight her again.
NOTE: depending on whether you[who?] actually manage to kill her or not, you will get a different ending.
Ending A, IF you manage to defeat her: she will look at James like she is about to say something but falls backwards, down the tower and into the fire. Roger appears stating he's seen the most interesting things happening and it would be a waste to go back to sleep just yet. Koudelka and James are lying on the ground resting. He asks Koudelka what Elaine was about to say. Koudelka replies that dead people don't speak, that it's just in our memories. James, staring out to sea, softly says: "Memories. Somebody told me once that after a loved one's death all we have left is memories. And these will retain an eternal bond with the dead." The sun rises and sends light across the sea to where James is sitting.
Ending B: If you DON'T manage to defeat her: Elaine will be preparing to end the fight. The trio is lying on the ground, injured. James gets up and begins to speak while holding a large cross towards Elaine. "Dear God is this my fault? Do you blame me? Are you punishing me now because the path of my faith was tainted? I accept my fate. If it is your wish then I accept my fate. He who has an ear let him hear. If anyone is to go into captivity then into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword then with the sword he will be killed. I am what I am. I am content with my lot. I always loved you Elaine. James holds up the cross to her and calls upon his holy power. Elaine, covered by the light, transforms into her true self and whispers: "Let's go James. Let's go home. I have such fond memories of those days." Both of them disappear into the light. An explosion follows and Edward picks up Koudelka. Seeing no other option than to jump down the side to escape the flames, he calmly says they'll be fine and asks her to trust him, after which he jumps. The next morning, Edward emerges from a tent. Inside the tent, Koudelka is seen fixing her hair and smiling. She notes the sun came out but that she prefers it a bit hazier. Edward prepares his horse and gets on. Koudelka says goodbye and states they will probably never see each other again. Edward asks about her nickname, Zlato, what it means. A bit shy, Koudelka replies that it means "treasure". Stating that he finds that "rich" and that he'll remember it, Edward rides off. Roger walks up to Koudelka and asks if it's okay for her not to follow him, as obviously Koudelka is "the treasure" that Edward has been searching for. She replies it's okay and that she has a feeling they will someday, somewhere, meet again.
- "Requiem" - 1:32
- "Ubi Caritas Et Armor" - 2:44
- "Dead (Extended)" - 4:45
- "Waterfall (Battle Edit)" - 8:12
- "Incantation again (Boss Battle Edit)" - 5:24
- "Patience (Elaine Battle Edit)" - 4:43
- "Kiss Twice (Elaine's Last Battle Edit)" - 6:38
- "Live Waterfall"
- "Live Incantation"
- "Live Patience"
Hiroki Kikuta, best known for composing the music to Seiken Densetsu 2 and Seiken Densetsu 3 while working at Square, established Sacnoth in 1997 with funding from SNK. Unhappy with what he considered as the disjointed, juvenile, and stagnant nature of most role-playing video 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.
A manga sidestory, written and illustrated by Yuji Iwahara, was published in Kadokawa Shoten's Monthly Ace Next. There are a few differences between the game and the manga. In the first volume, Koudelka's hair was long, before it was cut by the Asian man, making it look short, as similar to the game. And at Joshua's homeland, it is said that Dr. Hans told that name Koudelka Yasant, which is different from Iasant, Koudelka's original surname. Said to be 20 years old with dark brown hair.
The fifteen chapters were collected in three volumes:
- ISBN 978-4-04-713304-4 (Released on November 1999)
- ISBN 978-4-04-713338-9 (Released on May 2000)
- ISBN 978-4-04-713361-7 (Released on September 2000)
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". Although GameSpot's review of Koudelka yielded similar sentiments on the game's cutscenes and combat, as well as a score of 6.7 out of 10, it praised the soundtrack as being "simply amazing".
Koudelka is the precursor (prequel) 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.