Critic Reviews 65% add missing review
Gameplay RPG (91 out of 100)
Le concept Koudelka n'a pas son pareil dans l'histoire du jeu vidéo et pour définir la composition, nous ne saurions dire qu'il s'agit véritablement d'un survival-horror, ni même d'un RPG d'ailleurs. En fait, je diagnostiquerais pour l'heure une sorte de symbiose entre les deux symptômes, un hybride récalcitrant de tout type prédéfini.Oct 2000 · PlayStation · read review
Jeuxvideo.com (17 out of 20)
Une réussite indéniable pour un soft original et presque dépourvu de défauts qui tire son succès d'une ambiance époustouflante et d'une réalisation de qualité.Sep 19th, 2000 · PlayStation · read review
Quebec Gamers (8.2 out of 10)
Si vous ne connaissez pas Koudelka et que vous êtes un fan de jeux d'horreur, je vous le recommande fortement. C'est vraiment une expérience unique et spéciale. Ce jeu fait définitivement partie des classiques obscures sur PS1. C'est un jeu pour joueurs matures avant tout, autant pour les thèmes abordés qui touchent la religion et la littérature, que pour les images qu'on y voit. Koudelka peut être autant sombre et bizarre, que flyé par moments, et ça, c'est une bonne chose!Aug 25th, 2011 · PlayStation · read review
Video Games (8 out of 10)
Wer über kleinere Ungereimtheiten hinwegsehen kann und sich lieber von der genialen Story fesseln lässt, darf bedenkenlos zugreifen - alles in allem fehlt aber zum Top-Spiel noch einiges an Feintuning.Aug 2000 · PlayStation
PSM (4 out of 5)
Those of you who are into strategy RPGs, like Final Fantasy Tactics, should definitely give Koudelka a try, as it certainly has a lot to offer. Just keep in mind that a majority of the game plays a lot like Resident Evil and you'll be ready for one dark but truly enjoyable ride.Aug 2000 · PlayStation
Gamer's Pulse (79 out of 100)
Overall, I really wanted to love this game. I absolutely loved the plot, the script, the animated cut scenes, and the CG movies. I really liked the graphics, as a whole, and the sound effects, although I hated the battle music more that I have space to write about. This was one of those rare opportunities where you can escape the real world and throw yourself into a world utterly fantastic, mysterious and adventurous, albeit filled with horror, death, and bizarre undead creatures. The main thing, amongst the tiny flotsam of idiosyncrasies, the real and true villain and nightmare, was the battle sequences. In fact, they were so bad on many levels that it completely ruined any fun I could have experienced while playing this game. While running through the eerie monastery, not knowing what to expect around each corner, the thing that really brought a knot to my stomach was the sound and graphics signaling yet another turn-based, slow-paced battle scene.Sep 7th, 2000 · PlayStation · read review
Computer Bild Spiele (2.12 out of 6)
Kein Spiel für Angsthasen: In den düsteren Gewölben versteckt sich so manche unangenehme Überraschung. Zwar sind die Kämpfe etwas langatmig, doch langweilig wird die Geisterjagd trotzdem nie. Dafür sorgt allein schon die gruselige Atmosphäre, die unter die Haut geht. Die verwirrend weitläufige und verwinkelte Klosteranlage liefert eine äußerst schaurige Kulisse. In jedem Raum gibt es Interessantes zu entdecken oder Anlass zur Beunruhigung. Fantasievoll verunstaltete Monster und ein großes Geheimnis, das nach restloser Aufklärung verlangt, vermögen den Gruselfreund langfristig bei Laune zu halten. Testurteil: „gut“.Jul 2001 · PlayStation
Video Games (73 out of 100)
Sorry, Leute: Ich kann es nicht genau begründen, aber für mich persönlich stellt Koudelka wie seinerzeit Parasite Eve ein aus dem Einheitsbrei herausragendes RPG dar, obwohl es ganz offensichtlich mit den vielen kleinen Design-Fehlern nicht über Top-Hit- und somit Classic-Qualitäten verfügt. Und dennoch ist diese herrlich düstere Atmosphäre, verbunden mit der zumindest bis zur dritten CD tiefgründig erscheinenden Geschichte rund um das verfluchte Nemeton-Kloster und den grauenvollen Geschehnissen, die sich dort unter dem Deckmantel der heiligen Kirche zugetragen haben, cool: Ich „musste“ Koudelka nun für den PAL-Test bereits zum dritten Mal durchspielen - was bei der geringen Spieldauer aber auch nicht zu schwer ist. Wenn ihr neben all den anderen großartigen RPG-(Import-)Perlen der letzten Zeit noch ein paar Stunden investieren wollt, dann gebt Koudelka eine Chance – vielleicht geht es euch ähnlich wie mir.
RPGamer (3.5 out of 5)
In summation, Koudelka is an odd mix. Horror fans would pass it over for being too dull, Tactical fans for being too simple, but if approached with an open mind, it can be a very satisfying experience. It features a wonderful atmosphere, an intriguing plot, and very good visuals and music. While its short length may steer one away from purchasing it, it's at least worth a rent if you're in the mood for something different.1999 · PlayStation · read review
Mega Fun (69 out of 100)
Da Koudelka von ehemaligen Mitarbeitern des Rollenspiel-Giganten Squaresoft produziert wurde, waren meine Erwartungen an diesen Titel sehr hoch. Zugegeben, Koudelka bietet eine faszinierende Story, hübsche Rendersequenzen und eine gute Synchronisation. Aber was nutzt mir das alles, wenn sich die Kämpfe zäh und langatmig gestatten? Den Fights fehlt es an jeglicher Dynamik und der Einfallsreichtum, den man von einen Quasi-Square-Titel erwarten könnte, ist ebenfalls nicht gegeben. So langt es bei Koudelka leider nur zu einer durchschnittlichen Note. Der Versuch, Rollenspiel und Action-Adventure miteinander zu kreuzen, ist bei Koudelka eindeutig fehlgeschlagen.Nov 2000 · PlayStation
VicioJuegos.com / uVeJuegos.com (69 out of 100)
Koudelka es un juego difícil de catalogar. Nos consta que existen multitud de fans en todo el mundo de este juego y no negamos en que puede gustar e incluso se convierta en el juego favorito de alguien (hay gente que disfruta jugando aberraciones como Resident Evil Survivor). No negamos el atractivo de su argumento, trama, diálogos, conversaciones, ambientación, gráficos, doblaje en castellano y una presentación muy cuidada. Pero el juego falla en su principal eje, los combates aleatorios. Aparte de que interrumpen el juego cada dos por tres, los combates son lentos y aburridos, por lo que se convierten en un lastre importante para disfrutar de su interesantísimo argumento y personajes. Si lográis superar el bache que suponen estos combates y sois mayores de edad, Koudelka es una experiencia irrepetible.Jul 25th, 2009 · PlayStation · read review
IGN (6.8 out of 10)
When I first heard about Koudelka it immediately jumped onto my PlayStation most wanted lists. First, I had high hopes for the game because there was a lot of hype surrounding the fact that Sacnoth is made up of many talented ex-employees of Square. And secondly, the first footage of the game that was shown featured some of its amazing CG movies. In some ways, the game actually lived up to my expectations. The story, CG, and even the voice acting were all very good. On the other hand, the gameplay is just so bad that it makes it extremely difficult to find any enjoyment in the game. If it weren't for the monotonous and boring battles, Koudelka might've been an "A" quality title. As it stands, it's just slightly above average.Jun 29th, 2000 · PlayStation · read review
GameSpot (6.7 out of 10)
Overall, Koudelka falls short of expectations in the gameplay department, but the beautiful CG work in the game's movies definitely makes the experience a memorable one. With a little more polish on the gameplay, this really could have been a nice, complete package. But even with the lackluster gameplay, it's still a journey worth taking if you're craving an RPG.Jan 14th, 2000 · PlayStation · read review
GameCola.net (6.5 out of 10)
The replay value also suffered from this, as I would have had much more fun and thus have been inclined to play it more and more if they didn’t have this in the game. In any case, if you do not care about such things as much as I do, go ahead and read my score a couple points higher. In any case, I won’t say that Koudelka is a completely lost cause, It’s just another case of a video game that could have been a lot better if just one little thing was different about it. Still, if you are at all interested in gothic horror games, or even RPGs in general, I would recommend at least a rental of Koudelka.Jan 2005 · PlayStation · read review
Absolute Playstation (65 out of 100)
Koudelka is a mixed bag. On one hand you have a story that is told with great acting and passion, but you have mediocre sound. The battle system is actually fun, but the inventory filling up with key items is a drag. Also, the graphics are so-so in while in battle, but pretty good in the story scenes. The shortness of the game is also a little disappointing. All in all, this could have been a lot better than it is, but even with its problems, Koudelka is still surprisingly fun to play. I guess that's what counts. If SNK had done some extra polishing this title would have really took off.Sep 2000 · PlayStation · read review
Just RPG (64 out of 100)
Koudelka is a game with a lot of potential, and it could have turned out to be a masterpiece. Despite the excellent writing, stunning plot, solid sound, and nice cinema scenes, the game fails in the most important department. Gameplay comes off as unoriginal and tedious, with a battle system that is far too drawn out and exploration segments that involve backtracking through many dark and bland environments. Koudelka still delivers an intriguing experience, and the story will make the player want to finish the game, but playing through it will not be as pleasant of an experience as it could have been.Dec 16th, 1999 · PlayStation · read review
RPGFan (60 out of 100)
As far as RPGs go, Koudelka's feel is most similar to Square's Parasite Eve, so fans of that game may find something appealing about Sacnoth's debut. However, it plays so poorly that I can't recommend it at all to anyone.Jun 29th, 2000 · PlayStation · read review
Power Unlimited (6 out of 10)
Vier schijven vol prachtig gerenderde filmpjes en professionele voice-overs nemen nog niet weg dat Koudelka bijna onspeelbaar is door de steeds terugkerende turn-based vechtscènes. Helaas hagelslag.Nov 2000 · PlayStation
Super Play (Sweden) (6 out of 10)
Ett problem med grafiken än dock att det ibland ör svårt att urskilja vilka föremål som går att plocka upp och vilka som bara är delar av miljön. Och eftersom det inte finns några affärer kan det vara väldigt tidsödande att få tag på rätt nyckel, glasbit eller vapen. Därför är det extra viktigt att man lyssnar på alla råd, både de man får av sina följeslagare och de främlingar man möter. Många gånger är det ett måste för att man överhuvudtaget ska kunna komma vidare i jakten på sanningen.Aug 2000 · PlayStation
Legendra ( )
Koudelka n'est pas exempt de défauts mais possède suffisamment d'atouts pour que l'on s'y attarde. On notera ainsi des combats atones qui s'avèrent sans réel défi et au final peu passionnants, des musiques quasi inexistantes qui s'effacent au profit de bruitages assez efficaces. Heureusement, la force du jeu réside dans son ambiance survival horror parfaitement maîtrisée tout au long de l'aventure, et dans ses personnages atypiques et hétérogènes qui ne manqueront pas de vous faire sourire, vous surprendre, vous révolter, mais qui ne vous laisseront sûrement pas indifférent.Oct 31st, 2009 · PlayStation · read review
Computer and Video Games (CVG) ( )
Koudelka's not big on scares but it is very creepy and the story and acting keep you hooked. The game is full of good ideas and supremely stylish. There are problems though, and they may prevent you sticking with it. The battles are highly tactical and can take ages to win even against the weakest monsters, slowing down progress considerably. If you like your tactics as we do, you'll enjoy the fights but their complexity and frequency will annoy less hardcore players. Koudelka is original, dramatic and highly playable, but you can't ignore the fact that the two different playing styles don't always gel.Oct 2000 · PlayStation · read review
Defunct Games (C+)
Koudelka had all the parts needed for a great horror RPG, but they just didn't come together the right way. The atmosphere and combat kept me going, but the dialog and exploration nearly stopped me dead. It may be worth checking out if you like ghost stories or are a fan of the Shadow Hearts games (Koudelka is the predecessor to that trilogy). Otherwise, you're better off just playing Final Fantasy while listening to Michael Jackson's "Thriller".Oct 29th, 2016 · PlayStation · read review
Svenska PlayStation Magasinet (5 out of 10)
Egentligen två olika spel - ett 3D-äventyr och ett rollspel - ihopsatta till ett. Det kanske inte faller samman totalt men det sitter inte heller ihop tillräckligt bra. Man spelar hellre Vandal Hearts II eller Resident Evil 3 istället.Oct 2000 · PlayStation
Adrenaline Vault, The (AVault) ( )
The game has amazing cutscenes, but these scenes expand it to an unwieldy four discs and overshadow the actual gameplay with their frequency. The end result is a 15 hour offering that must have spent more of its development time on auditioning the excellent voice actors than actually expanding on the gameplay. For all its overbearing nature, the story is quite compelling, but graphical slowdowns and over simplified rules during the turn-based combats mean that only the most dedicated players will be willing to progress through all the movies to discover the ending. On top of this, Koudelka also suffers from a weak sound track, a clunky interface that ignores the analog controller, and a simplistic AI that fails to make correct decisions even within the fairly limited combat options. Despite all the potential greatness in a game that blends exploration of creepy environments with strategic turn-based combat and RPG style character growth, Koudelka ultimately lets down all expectations.Nov 4th, 2000 · PlayStation · read review
Privat Computer PC (50 out of 100)
Det søvndysende kampsystem er så rigeligt nok til at spolere Koudelka totalt, når størstedelen af spiltiden bruges på dette. Hvilket enormt spild af så mange gode elementer!2000 · PlayStation
Console Obsession (5 out of 10)
Koudelka’s survival horror half is executed to a decent enough level, whilst it has the strong characterisation and narrative that plays such an important role in the best RPGS. It’s the bland combat system that is the real failure, dragging the game into the realms of mediocrity. Sacnoth (later renamed Nautilus) would go on to craft much better things with the vaguely related Shadow Hearts series, but, as long as you’re able to tolerate its considerable flaws and dated nature, Koudelka is still worth a look for its stronger elements.Jan 8th, 2011 · PlayStation · read review
Just Adventure (C)
It seems to me that Sacnoth took one game (a great-looking gothic horror adventure) and combined it with another (using a sorry excuse for an RPG engine), resulting in an unpleasant gaming experience. Unless you're a hopeless survival horror addict or a fervent completist, I'd recommend that you stay away from Koudelka. If you want to play a good RPG, go for Final Fantasy 8 or Parasite Eve (probably the original survival horror RPG)--you'll be much happier. A final reminder that Koudelka is definitely for mature gamers only.2000 · PlayStation · read review
Thunderbolt Games (4 out of 10)
It’s actually a good thing the game was so short. The fusion of survival horror and a turn-based RPG is unique idea, but the execution was not successful. Despite the riveting plot and refreshing setting, Koudelka suffers from obnoxious faults such as poor graphics, obnoxious battles and an uneven balance. I have a feeling this game would have turned out much better if so much of the budget wasn’t allocated to the many cutscenes.Mar 27th, 2005 · PlayStation · read review
Quel dommage. Avec son démarrage vraiment poussif et ses combats franchement ennuyeux, Koudelka parviendrait presque à faire oublier son scénario solide et son ambiance fort réussie, horrifique à souhait. Il faudra bien de la patience pour passer outre ses défauts qui vont malheureusement durer jusqu'aux multiples fins incluses dans cette première réalisation de Sacnoth. Des notes auront cependant été prises du côté de l'équipe de développement qui s’assurera de revoir sa copie - sans Hiroki Kikuta cette fois-ci - pour ce qui deviendra le premier et excellent épisode de la trilogie culte des Shadow Hearts, où on l'on pourra d'ailleurs croiser Koudelka en tant que personnage non jouable. En somme, un RPG marquant, mais pas nécessairement pour de bonnes raisons.Sep 8th, 2021 · PlayStation · read review
Surviving the horror of random battles
by Unicorn Lynx (181289)
Koudelka is a bold mixture of RPG and survival horror, spiced by an impressive narrative and an original setting.
At first sight, the game seems to succeed in capturing essential elements of both genres. On one hand, you have a dark enclosed area with all sorts of weird and mildly horrifying creatures popping out at every opportunity; on the other, there are some interesting touches in the role-playing system that go beyond the automatized mechanics of most Japanese games.
Weapons are not "glued" to your characters, and you can freely exchange and experiment with different kinds of weapons, switch them between the characters and see how they affect your attributes. There are also many different weapon types in the game - various types of guns, swords, knuckles, and others. There is also weapon development and endurance system: the more you use a certain weapon in combat, the higher your proficiency level becomes and the more damage you inflict next time you use a weapon of the same type - but after a while, that weapon will break and you'll need to find another one.
You can also manually allocate experience points to raise your characters' main attributes. These grant you all sorts of advantages in combat, which is done in an interestingly tactical style (including turn-based movement on the field). You have action points, which are the core of the system. The more dexterity you raise, the more action points you get per turn. Actions include not only attacking or using items, but also reloading long-ranged weapons, and moving closer to the enemy.
The game has very good writing; that came to me as a total surprise after I had already made peace with the "soap opera" style of Japanese RPG. The characters discuss their lives and philosophical topics - sometimes ironically, sometimes passionately - and their conversations, delivered with convincing voice acting, are always well integrated into the narrative and the setting.
The game's setting is unusual for RPGs: it is an accurate historical environment, the "stylish" nineteenth century, and the characters are adequately presented types, not some multinational and chronologically messed-up hybrids like most Japanese RPG heroes. The story is suspenseful, generally well-paced, and contains some nice twists, including a surprising optional ending.
Unfortunately, Koudelka throws all its cool ideas out of the window once the player is confronted by a contradictory combination of genres that essentially neutralize each other.
The essence of role-playing games is world exploration and character-building. But Koudelka won't give you that because - per survival horror standards - it locks you inside a single mansion with almost zero variety in location design. You'll be crawling through the same decadent golden-brownish rooms throughout the entire game. Exploration is severely limited even compared to real survival horror games such as Alone in the Dark. There is nobody to talk to and very little to find.
Vagrant Story got away with location monotony and overall "loneliness" thanks to its vastly superior level design, challenge, and depth of gameplay. On the other hand, the appealing features of Koudelka's role-playing go down the drain because of the insanely fast leveling, which eventually leads to an embarrassingly low difficulty level. Manual attribute-increasing becomes much less relevant when experience points come in such abundance that your choices don't really matter any more.
Making battles slow and tactical was perhaps the worst possible choice for a game that is supposed to rely on atmospheric immersion. Every battle begins with the (usually disappointingly unimpressive) enemies slowly marching towards you from the dark corners of a drab 3D map. No matter how overpowered you are, you'll need time and way too much patience to maneuver your heroes towards those pesky foes and hit them hard with assorted magic or your well-developed knuckles.
If you hate random battles, you'll hate them twice as much in Koudelka. They disrupt the already minimized exploration and utterly destroy our immersion in the otherwise fairly atmospheric world. Monster encounters are scary when they are scripted, i.e. when every monster is carefully placed in a specific place at a specific moment. They can also be scary when they come in masses, leaving you vulnerable and dependent on quick reaction and thinking. But you can't be scared by apathetic animated tables and sadly twisted body parts who slowly cast fire magic at you while you stand safely in your squares.
The Bottom Line
There are quite a few games out there that focus on the artistic aspects of design more than on actual gameplay. I usually have no problem with that if said artistic content is very convincing and if the gameplay at least doesn't impede the process of enjoying it. Unfortunately, Koudelka shoots itself in the leg with its disjointed and tedious mixture of two genres, resulting in a price that is too high to pay for occult references and semi-historical horror in a gothic mansion.
Sep 13th, 2014 · PlayStation
Disturbing the Priest
by Zovni (10617)
Genre completionists always make a point to make some room in their libraries for games like Koudelka: A quirky, commercially unsuccessful game that attempts to blend two genres within a unique setting. This is the kind of stuff that makes a retro gamer drool.
Koudelka chronicles the adventures of the titular character as she is summoned by some spirit or whatever to a haunted monastery. In there she'll hook up with a couple of supporting characters and attempt to unravel the plot behind the haunted location. So far so good. As mentioned Koudelka's strongest asset is the use of somewhat unique primordial elements: The game is set in 1898 on a gothic monastery built along Wales's coastline, the title character is a gypsy girl with latent psychic powers and the ability to commune with the dead, the plot deals with occult magic forces brought about by pagan rituals and so on...
Being a horror game first and foremost, characterization is greatly emphasized, and to my delight Koudelka's characters come off as well rounded individuals fit for the adventure at hand. The game might be pushing the PS1's capabilities graphics-wise, but the great animations, superb voice-acting and solid dialogue scripting breathe life into each of the characters,. Particularly the main character herself, Koudelka, who avoids the stereotypical cutey-pie routine and comes off as a hard-boiled take-shit-from-no-one teen. Her graphic design might put you off (more on that later) but she has lots of character-driven memorable scenes that help build her as a likeable character, such as her constant clashing with the dogmatic priest James or a particularly interesting drunken sequence.
As I mentioned, the game is probably ill-fitted for the PS1's hardware, seeing as how the gothic ambiance relies so heavily on the graphic department. One must take note nonetheless of the efforts made by the creative team to squeeze moody backgrounds and some unique visuals.
Koudelka "the game" is unfortunately a pretty drab and lifeless affair. It manages to combine two different and beloved genres and sap the life out of them.
As a survival-horror title it fails miserably. It may borrow the "3D characters over pre-rendered backgrounds" formula from the Resident Evil franchise, but other than that, everything is done wrong because of the incursion of the RPG elements. All sense of suspense and intensity is thrown out the window when health, supplies and weapons are found in ample supply after defeating the randomly-generated baddies that fight you in generic arenas a la Final Fantasy. This might sound contradictory, but a monster encounter has much less drama involved in it when it ceases to be that and becomes "another grinding exercise till I get to the boss". Exploration is practically non-existent as aside from some secret items the game throws basically no puzzles your way and your objective is to grind your way to the end of the monastery as if it where all just one loooong dungeon.
Grinding by the way is the word that best describes the game's RPG elements, but unfortunately in the most bland and uninteresting way possible (as a proper grind-fest dungeon-crawler can still be an enjoyable experience). Combat is about as boring and unimpressive as it can be, falling back on all the cliches of Console RPGs from the menu-driven turn-based interfaces to the good ol' "hit the water-based enemy with the fire magic" concept of strengths and weaknesses, with your enemies being a puzzling mix of about 20% unique, inventive creatures and 80% of generic, unimpressive designs. The game earns points for allowing you to customize each character's stats and there's also a weapon/spell leveling system which increases the power of each particular weapon or spell after continuous use. Unfortunately none of these mechanics get to stretch their legs due to the ridiculously low difficulty level. Save for an impossible optional boss you'll find that Koudelka is an embarrassingly easy game, leveling-up seems to be an almost constant feature after fights and you'll find that there's no enemy in the game that needs more than a couple of hits to go down (but still the game drags you through the menus and forces you to stand by watching the battle animations, forcing you to contemplate drinking a bottle of cyanide to just end the whole ordeal). Players who entertain themselves grinding a bit just for fun will find out that by the end of the game they are practically demi-gods, able to defeat even the final boss by staredown.
For as interesting as the source material is, the overall execution is also significantly flawed. The game is set on the late 19th century, yet Koudelka is dressed as if she had just come out of "gothic lolita night" at her local goth club, a design that clashes with the strong characterization in the wrong way by confirming yet again that if you are a female star in a JRPG you have to look like an innocent, dewey-eyed cutey chick, even if your character acts nothing like that. James (the priest) is also a particularly baffling character, as he acts as the stereotypical religious fanatic in a way that seems to ignore everything that happens around him. That someone keeps negating the supernatural while they are casting fire spells at a floating eye is puzzling to say the least.
Finally, I know the game is set on a single location and all, but many other titles have managed to include more varied stages with similar formulas. Alone in the Dark had a haunted house, yet also managed to take the player into Lovecraftian hell for a bit of a change of pace. Same with Resident Evil and the underground research facility. Koudelka has the monastery and... that's it I guess. There are different sections and places to explore, but all feature the same designs, the same drab palette over and over.
The Bottom Line
As far as quirky titles go Koudelka has its merits and really stands out from the rest of the crowd. Not necessarily because of its quality but there's a certain unique flavour to it. If you feel curious about the roots of the Shadow Hearts lineage or feel like you can put up with lackluster gameplay for the sake of some decent characterization and ideas be my guest. But the reality is that Koudelka's novelty factor wears thin really fast and while I can't really say that it was a dreadful experience I can certainly think of dozens of better things to do rather than play it.
Jun 25th, 2008 · PlayStation
Amazingly pretty for the original Playstation, but boring and repetitive as a game
by weregamer (167)
In atmosphere and production quality, this is an amazing game. Although it came out well after the PS2 was available, this PSX game really competes in graphic quality with a PS2 game; I would guess that the art staff were just real masters of digital imagery. The sounds and music worked well, it was a sensory feast.
Sadly, as a game it was just not worth the time. The combat interface was so clumsy that I never felt like I knew what was going on, and the combats themselves were boring and repetitive - almost a parody of all the complaints real-time combat fans (one of which I'm emphatically not) have about turn-based RPG combats. Only a couple of hours into the game, I reached the point where the terrible combat system made me shelf the game.
The Bottom Line
A landmark for production values, and perhaps the last game we will ever see where talented developers squeeze amazingly good production values out of a limited machine instead of just waiting for a newer platform to make it easy. Sadly, the game itself is near unplayable because of a tedious combat system and boring, repetitive opponents.
Jan 19th, 2004 · PlayStation
A Finely and Carefully Crafted Interactive Experience
by D P (136)
"Koudelka" was an underrated title when it was released on the Playstation in 1999. The development team, Sacnoth, was made of many talented designers, including many former Squaresoft employees. Their influence is felt through the highly polished visuals, both in-game and in cut-scenes.
"Koudelka" is a game that succeeds on many levels. The visuals, (gothic-horror), are beautiful and interesting, and keep the player's attention through the entire adventure. The story elements are bold and mature and are manifested in the superior writing. In association, I claim that "Koudelka" is, so far, the best voice-acted videogame ever. Special attention needs to be paid by the player when the characters of Koudelka and Edward are sharing a drink while sharing their pasts. In conjunction with the excellent writing and acting is the best execution of motion capture in any game. Often times motion captured characters seem to the player as a fractured set of movements forced together to produce familiar yet odd character movement. "Koudelka's" motion captured actors succeed to a degree that the player never question the use of the motion capture. Interwoven among the visuals and writing is an excellent score. The music is very reminiscent of recent "Castlevania" games that integrate gothic melodies with modern beats.
The combat system is fun but not stand out. It does not, however, detract from the overall gothic-horror themes in the game. It is more than adequate.
Usually, the only negative comment one will read about "Koudelka" is the combat system. I do not think this is a result of the combat system being deficient, instead I claim that because the rest of the game was so finely crafted and extraordinary, that the basic and adequate combat system has a gigantic shadow cast over it.
The Bottom Line
Koudelka was one of the greatest videogames released for the PSX. The title succeeded in nearly every category. The visuals, writing, acting, and music are extraordinary. The level of maturity has yet to be matched in any videogame. (The game coming closest would be "Final Fantasy X"). This is a true gem amidst the very average franchise titles released in the late life of the PSX. Thankfully there were enough sales to warrant a sequel, entitled: "Shadow Hearts", for the PS2.
The gothic-horror atmosphere is omnipresent, the characters, via their writing and acting convince the player of their reality, and the music glues the videogame together. For fun that has yet to be duplicated by any other game, with a close exception being "Shadow Hearts", give a look to "Koudelka".
Jan 1st, 2006 · PlayStation
Contributors to this Entry
Critic reviews added by Alsy, Jeanne, Patrick Bregger, Lain Crowley, Unicorn Lynx, Big John WV, Alaka, nyccrg, vedder, Parf, Tim Janssen, Maner76, Cavalary, Apogee IV.