|Genre(s)||Role-playing video game, survival horror|
Koudelka (クーデルカ?) is a role-playing game developed by Sacnoth for the Sony PlayStation. The game was released on November 30, 1999 in North America, on December 16, 1999 in Japan, and on September 29, 2000 in Europe.
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. 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, 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; and 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 whose spirit appears throughout the monastery.
- Roger Bacon - A monk and warlock that used to be in the services of the Vatican.
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. 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); and ISBN 978-4-04-713361-7 (released on September 2000).
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.
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