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Review - Koudelka

Started by Nightcrawler, December 03, 2007, 02:45:47 PM

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In what's probably only the third or fourth game I've played through this year (Thanks to hacking games instead of playing them), I have played through and beaten Koudelka!

I have played a little bit of the Shadow Hearts games and thought they were really unique and pretty cool. After reading some more information, i found that Koudelka for PS1 is actually the prequel to the series. I figured I may as well start at the beginning if I'm thinking about playing through the series. So, a few months later and here we are.

Koudelka really is a mixed bag. I really enjoyed the characters, the voice acting, and the story. Getting those elements right, it had the potential for greatness. While those elements were enough to carry me through a play through of the game, they weren't enough to live up to greatness, that's for sure. You can thank that on lousy music, and slow gameplay.

Nightcrawler says:


The graphics were OK. Typical earlier gen PSX 3D fare.  From somebody who's played through the original Dragon Warrior, graphics don't hold a lot of weight in my book. Most any graphics after 1982 are usually good enough for me! With that said, they were pretty bland though. The pre-rendered backgrounds were nice and detailed. Unfortunately, the character models and battle graphics weren't.  In fact, the battles had so little detail, I almost didn't even care to look at the screen while playing other than to know what I was doing! Every battle had the exact same giant stone square with blank black background. The only other thing on screen present was your 3 characters and a few monsters, usually no more than 3.

I must admit, the monster design was some of the most interesting things I've ever seen. I don't think I've ever seen a game with monsters quite like this game. Anything from some mutated, headless freak to tables and chairs. They have to be seen to be believed.
So, you get a mixed bag with graphics. The FMV movies were good, the pre rendered backgrounds were good, but the battle graphics were pretty bad, and the character models leave some to be desired.


The sound, what there was of it, was awful though most of the game. I guess through the exploration part, they were trying to go for ambiance, so there was no music. Ok, I can dig that, but the execution here didn't create much atmosphere for more. All I heard was drippy water, footsteps, and clanky doors. Other games have done this much better.

So let's get to the music. Battles have exactly ONE song. The same one plays every time until the last boss. The music was god awful. The sound effects were god awful. I would have played this game muted if it were for the FMV's or voice acted scene that could happen at any time.

The voice acting was great. Koudelka and Edward were excellent. James was OK, but was annoying, however I think his character was supposed to be annoying. The other side characters were adequate as well. Voice acting was better executed here than in most games.


The gameplay had some potential, but failed for being so slow in execution. This game was like a hybrid Resident Evil/Silent Hill mix with your typical turn based RPG. It was a refreshing blend actually. I liked having the adventure horror type exploration and then slower paced, RPG like battles.

The exploration portion of game was pretty decent. Most puzzles were easy enough you could solve without a walk through, however sometimes I did need a walk through because I just didn't understand the puzzle. Perhaps a more verbose script would have helped that. I'm all for puzzles that make you think, but when i didn't even understand what the puzzle was, that irritated me. Luckily, there weren't many of them that fit that category. Most were OK by me.  There was a decent amount of back tracking, but all in all not too bad. I expect backtracking to some degree in a game like this. You could run at a decent pace as well to get to where you needed to o fairly quickly. The map could have used some help, it was just barely adequate for me to get around to where I needed to go.

This game also had the big boss you had to lose to. I hate this when the game doesn't just quickly obliterate you. Instead, it let me fight for a long time before I ran out of everything. Then, I'm allowed to continue, but I lost all my good items and weapons! Dammit! Must restart and lose quickly to have a chance in hell of beating the game after that. LAME!

The second thing that bothered me was you need the Pendant to fight the last boss or you automatically die. The game gave NO indication of this. Thankfully, I happen to pick it up the first time through. Had I not, I would have quit playing for sure. I don't know why the game couldn't have told you that you needed it.

Battles were interesting since you were able to level up each individual magic spell and weapon. Unfortunately, the battles made this otherwise good game into a mediocre one. Loading times were awful and the battles played out with more time spent waiting than doing anything. Absolutely poor mechanics here. It sucked all the fun out of the otherwise decent battle system. Battles took 5 minutes or more instead of say 30 seconds or a minute or two. And it's not like you spent those 5 minutes fighting because 3 of them were spent just waiting for load times after each turn of each character. Awful.


The terribly slow battles kind of ruined the game for me, but I still ended up playing through the whole game because the story and voice acting were that damn good. I'm hoping Shadow Hearts continues in this fashion. I know it seems to have improved with game play. The judgment ring system was OK by me. I kind of like those gimmicky systems like that.

I'd recommend you try the game and if you can handle the battles, play through it. If you don't like the battles after an hour, quit immediately because the entire game will just as painfully slow.

By the way, you have to loose to the final boss for the GOOD ENDING. What the hell? This game is just plain weird. - The central hub of the ROM hacking community.


I've never heard of Koudelka before this but it sounds interesting.

QuoteThis game also had the big boss you had to lose to. I hate this when the game doesn't just quickly obliterate you.

I hate that too, it's especially annoying if you haven't saved for awhile, so if you decide to load your game you have to play a long time to get back to the boss.  Some examples that I can think of are Tiga from BoF2 and Kratos from Tales of Symphonia.

P.S. I'm pretty sure that loose in the first post should be lose.


The only reason I sat through and finished Koudelka is because it is the prequel to Shadow Hearts, although the similarities are there, it wasnt entirely worth it. Apparently half the team at Sacnoth wanted to make a strategy RPG, while the other half, (mainly consisting of the ex=square members,) wanted to make a turn-based RPG, the hybrid was a slow, confusing, failure unfortunately. Unlike Shadow Hearts, which I really think was what Kikuta envisioned from the start. With the help of Yasunori Mitsuda.