Part 3: Episode III: Welsh HospitalityEpisode III: Welsh Hospitality
The dark scourge of stat chat and the mechanics malaise is behind us for the moment. Mostly. Lets continue our exploration of this monastery grounds our duo has taken upon themselves to intrude into and rummage about for vague reasons. Koudelka was released far enough in the PS1s lifecycle (just months before the PS2 was released) that survival horror-esque tech had advanced to the stage that stairs were within the realm of things that could be climbed with no loading screen. It is still a button prompt to use em. But small wonders.
If you were curious as to what that lunchbox looking item on the floor was, it is a box of pistol rounds. Of course there are 20 rounds when pistols only can be loaded with six at a time. Its like hotdog packs and hotdog rolls coming in different numbers.
Heading up the ladder does summon a quick loading of a new area. Hey. Quick quiz here. There is a collectable item on screen right now. It is actually a somewhat important one and the only real reason to crawl into this musty attic. Can YOU spot it?! Ill give you a couple seconds.
If you guessed that cloth draped over a barrel that looks completely indistinguishable from a background detail, give yourself a pat on the back! Koudelka will actually look towards the item here as she passes by the barrel. The trouble is, Koudelka will also tilt her head toward room exits on occasion. So its easy to think shes just trying to pivot her neck toward the ladder down.
The only thing youd be missing is a minor little thing in the form of a map of the entire area. No big deal. Lets venture into the menu screen to take a gander at our surroundings.
Welp. Seems like weve got the third floor licked. Seems a waste of parchment paper for a single room attic to get its own entry. Stick that shit in the corner of the second floor like it were Nemetons Hawaii or something. Sheesh.
Well... that is one way to design a map. I suppose I appreciate all the rooms arent in a neat adjacent square configuration. But it does make it a touch hard to remember where the hell weve been or were going at a glance. But it isnt like this game is beyond being obtuse for the sake of it. An X on the map indicates a room where a story event happened... I think. Rooms with check marks indicate rooms weve entered but nothing major happened beyond randomly punching giant bugs or pilfering wine.
Before we depart this decrepit attic, it is imperative we nick this stale bread roll left for lord knows how long. Bread is the weakest curative consumable, healing only 150 HP. That
Before the pair can escape the attic, another random battle is triggered. I wont go into detail over every random battle. Just ones that feature new enemies, since the monster designer is the same one that persisted through the Shadow Hearts series and there are some... really bizarre and creative enemy designs. This is not one of those times...
Yep... That is just a floating trio of assorted chairs. It is called... EVIL CHAIRS! The Welsh even their furniture is infused with pure malice.
The Evil Chairs smack Edward square in the jaw, inflicting the Silence status effect upon him. Personally, Id probably yelp some aww fuck! variant if a chair was smashed over my head. But Im not a battle designer on Koudelka. Silence is, as in most RPGs, a status that prevents Magic from being cast. But since Edward doesnt use that witchcraft nonsense...
Edward speaks with his fists. Werewolves are one thing. Giant bugs are another. But Evil Chairs? Hell no! FUCK that! Edward is having none of these evil ass Welsh chairs bullshit.
Barring that, it turns out wooden furniture, evil or not, is highly susceptible to being set ablaze. Take that shoddy stiff 1800s woodwork! We may see other evil furniture variants in the future. Of course Evil Furniture is its own genre of enemy in this game. Why wouldnt it be?
The blood stained jester here accompanying the Evil Chairs is a Joker. This guy just exists to be an enemy buff and player character debuff nuisance. Ive not actually seen this hopping boy do a real attack. But hes useful to demonstrate debuffs on our characters.
Here he used a Vitality debuff which lowered Edwards vitality by 5 AP. Which means for the duration of this fight, unless counteracted with a Vitality Ability Fortify spell, Edward only has 121 max HP. So thats a fun thing that can happen. Especially when coupled with an enemy that can inflict Silence and long before we get any status ailment nullifying items (also mostly found from random drops.)
I was actually wrong about there being no victory poses. It seems to be a randomly triggered event at the end of battles. Edward is very proud of himself despite getting a chair bashed over his head so hard it broke his jaw and a court jester wizard briefly giving him brittle bones. I mean he did punch those chairs real good that one time. Hurry it up with the celebration, Ed. These random battles already take a million years.
Music: Level Up!
Edward manages to Level Up this go around. Koudelka did have that extra fight with the werewolf that he didnt participate in. If youre wondering, Koudelka (the game) is naturally one of those titles where KOed party members receive zero experience points at the end of battle. That never seemed fair. Getting knocked the fuck out is certainly an experience.
We are going to pump Edward's Strength, Vitality, Dexterity and Agility to make him strong, take a hit better and be somewhat faster in combat. All good things for a punchman.
Our exploration of the third floor attic is concluded. Before we run into any more battles, lets head back down the ladder and out the door downstairs. Were now presented with a couple options to explore. Theres a door at the end of this path and also stairs leading down to the mansions first floor. But first... there is another item hidden somewhere in this shot. Can YOU guess where it is located?
Naturally its in a hidden shelf behind the painting in the hall. Everyone knows the first thing you should do when entering any decrepit structure larger than a mobile home is to immediately tear down every painting or poster you come across. You never know when there is going to be a pile of gold bars, magnum ammo or medieval stabbing implements.
Well check on the Dirk in a moment. Id just like to point out another mechanical quirk here before we do. Youll notice that wasnt just any Dirk. We acquired a Mystic Dirk. As well as a Dark Knife from that fight against malicious chairs and clowns. You see, every weapon drop or pick-up in Koudelka also comes with an elemental attribute randomly assigned (this was a Fire Dirk in an earlier recording.)
Thats right, there is an elemental alignment component to battles in Koudelka on top of everything else. This is absolutely not explained at all in-game or in the manual, for that matter. There is Normal (Non-Elemental), Fire, Water, Light, Dark, Air and Earth elements. Fire and Water, Light and Dark, Air and Earth are opposite elements and will take bonus damage from one another. Likewise, enemies of a particular element will take reduced damage or even absorb damage and gain HP from being attacked by the same element.
Ill note right now that there is no Scan equivalent spell in the game nor any visual cues for enemies elemental alignment most of the time. Just try and see!
You might notice Mystic isnt included in the elements. Thats because there is also Mystic and Vital type attributes that can be assigned to weapons randomly. Mystic steals MP on strike in addition to doing damage. Vital does the same with HP. There is also Poison Hit of which you can guess the result. Paralysis Hit which can potentially stop enemies from moving or attacking. And Specialty Hit which gives weapons a 95% chance to not whiff (but they break faster!)
Why dont you just throw the Risk system from Vagrant Story or a stamina meter somewhere in the mix while youre at it, Koudelka? You seem to have thrown in every other mechanic of the era.
Back on track, heres the info on a Dirk. Its an entirely unremarkable short sword. Stronger than a knife, I suppose. Not sure why youd stash it behind a painting like that. But Im not Welsh. What do I know?
We are going to opt to head downstairs to the first floor for now. There are two doors in the corridor down here. The first one is our destination. As that leads to...
...who say they are the caretakers of the Nementon Monastery.
How unusual that you two have decided to come to our rural district. There is really nothing interesting here.
It has gotten so cold outside, we weren't expecting any visitors...
What with it being the late evening as well as the gate barred shut across the property grounds.
<motions to table> The soup is all we have. Please have as much as you want.
Oh yes, please.
Youre quite fortunate Mondays is the only night we sit down to eat near midnight. Very old tradition, you see.
Thanks! It smells great!
<turns to Koudelka> Wouldn't you like some dear? Don't you like potato soup?
<quickly raises hand> No!
<lowers hand> Err... it's not that. I'm all right for now. Thank you for your hospitality though...
No trouble at all. Please let me know if there is anything we can do. We are the only ones who live here and it's so rare we get any visitors.
Ever since Aberystwyth outlawed roads the guests to the district dried right up.
So are you two really the only ones that live here?
...Why do you ask?
Well it was pretty foggy, so I couldn't tell for sure, but this it seemed like an old church or something. Seems a little big for just the two of you.
As I recall we did introduce ourselves as the caretakers of Nementon Monastery when you intruded on our supper. But...
In the ninth century, a saint from Ireland named Daniel Scotius built a place of worship here to appease monsters and evil spirits. That was how the Nementon Monastery started, or so I've heard.
Monsters. Is that right...?
Yes. What about them?
We Welsh have a proud tradition of the best in monsters and poltergeists in all of the isles.
You might not believe this... but we saw a monster on our way here.
Is that so? You saw it too?
You mean... that monster has been around for a while?
Hmm... Yes. The animated skeletons have been quite troublesome of late.
...This wasnt any kind of skeleton.
Oh? Was it the headless man then? Such horrid abomination.
What...? No it was...
Oh darling, he must have run into the Giant.
A giant...? No thats not... It was a warlwolf!
He means a werewolf...
<slaps knee> Ah. The werewolf! Terrible beast...
Too true. It makes such a racket late at night while were trying to sleep.
Thats not all... there were these giant insects!
Oh, those are just native to the region. Such pests...
And a chair floated up and hit me in the face. Damn near broke my jaw!
Rotten luck, that. Count your blessings it wasnt the haunted end table. But I digress...
Well, we have been taking care of the monastery for a number of years, but... From about six months ago... monsters have been appearing.
We saw more and more every night.
And I used to be a sailor, and I'm not afraid of any monsters!
Back in my day I once bare-knuckle boxed a lizardman who roused me from my sleep while adrift. Showed him what for!
Oh dear, what if something terrible happens to you.
We almost got killed back there! And now we're out of bullets.
I actually just picked up a box of about 20...
That's not good. The monsters might try and attack you again.
<starts getting up from table> I'll spare you some bullets.
Thanks. That'd be great!
Ogden gets up and walks off screen. Hes heard rummaging around in the background.
Looking after others. He's so wonderful like that.
So, have you two been together long?
Yes... Quite a while. Now all he does is paint and maintain this old building. Thats his daily routine.
He could afford to do more work on the roof...
What was that, dear?
But back in the old days...
Ogden trots back with a box of revolver bullets.
Thanks Ogden. I owe you one.
Sometime later, were abruptly dumped back into the previous hallway, presumably after Edward stuffs his face with potato soup and counts bullets to the gun he no longer is carrying. Ogden actually did give us an additional 20 bullets. So that was nice of him. Regardless, trying to re-enter the couples dining room gives us a prompt indicating the door is now locked with the Red Key. Not sure how video game protagonists can always determine a keys shape or color just with a cursory glance at a knob.
Anyway, the Hartmans didnt ask how the hell we got into their dwelling and dont seem to have asked us to get the hell out. So were free to continue exploring. Lets try the door at the end of the hall...
A crackling fire emanates from off-screen. Trudging up the nearby way too wide stairs leads to a final scene for this update...
Now this would make good rations. We'll take some with us. <walks up to table>
I can't believe it... Are you still hungry?
Youre really going to shove the first bit of bloody meat you find in some backroom table into your mouth?
Werent you the one who snagged that loaf of bread from the attic?
At least I usually know what bread was made out of...
I didn't have anything to eat or drink for three days! Of course I'm hungry! Speaking of which, you wasted all of that food. What's wrong with you?
Yeah... If it weren't poisoned then I would have had some.
I said: If... the soup... weren't poisoned, then I would have had some. Got it?
Not huge on potatoes in soups either, really. But the poison was the big sticking point.
<crosses arms and nods>
Heh... No way.
Just a little bit. I smelt some poisonous plant.
<clutches stomach> Uh... What's happen...? Ohh...
<walks past Edward toward the fire> Oh... I can tell you how you will feel. In about half an hour, you won't be able to move your body.
<retches and falls to hands and knees>
If you don't find an antidote you will definitely die.
So... they were trying to kill us. But why..?
Could just chalk it up to Welsh cooking...
But it seems they are quite used to doing it this way. Hmph... They must be hiding something.
Listen, Edward. Im going to try and cure you now. But you have to promise that when I do you, won't get mad and rush back to that couple right away!
Can you do that...?
<foams at the mouth and rapidly shakes head in convulsions>
Ill take that as a yes.
It is safer if we pretend we are dead and continue exploring this building. I think we'll find something interesting for sure...
Tune in next time for further adventures in Welsh hospitality, preventing Edward from shitting his pants and continued trudging about a dusty mansion with perhaps the first boss battle waiting in the wings as Koudelka continues.
Video: Episode 3 Highlight Reel (Voice acting is pretty decent in this game considering it's an RPG from 2000. It's at least significantly better than Final Fantasy X several years later.)
Ogden Render Dude learned to how to do ties the same place Adam the Machine Man did...