Part 9: Episode IX: Poor Little Angel
Episode IX: Poor Little Angel
Welcome back to Koudelka. That was a rather unceremonious disc transition. It didnt help it was one of those lousy ones that contains no save spot. So if your disc is a bit dirty or your emulator has trouble swapping discs on the fly, that can be... problematic.
I may as well mention a fun quirk of playing Koudelka on a physical disc. Koudelka is a four disc game, mostly due to it having a decent amount of voice acting and FMVs (movie files being the usual culprit for multi-disc games.) A couple of these FMVs are the splash screens for the publisher, Infogrames (which is the current incarnation of the corpse of Atari these days) and Sacnoth, the developer. These can both thankfully be skipped. The trouble is that Koudelkas main menu defaults to New Game on all four discs.
Overzealous skipping can easily lead to hitting New Game which sends the player to an Insert Disc 1 screen. The issue is that there is no backing out of this screen without resetting the console. Remember, this game lacks the handy hold all the shoulder buttons plus Start and Select that many games had to soft reset. So thats fun!
So where has our trio of chucklefucks landed, you ask? Why a prison cell full of another corpse pile, of course. For a dungeon, the upper levels were really lacking in the whole confinement space thing. Glad to see they sorted that out on the lower levels.
Unfortunately, theres no obvious way out of this room. So lets investigate the prison bars and have another snippy conversation in the meantime.
How does it look? You think we can get out?
I dont think so. Youd need the strength of a bear to break those bars with your hands.
OK. Ill give it a shot.
...Give what a shot?
Punching the bars.
I just said youd need the strength of a bear to break those bars with your hands.
<puts up fists> Im getting pretty good at punching stuff.
Edward, you cannot punch those bars down...
Well not with that attitude bringing me down. Tch. Forget it.
<starts inspecting cell bars>
What do you mean we cant get out?! How hard can it be?
<motions to corpse pile> Why don't you ask these guys?
<jumps back> Dammit! Did you see that? Someones in here.
Someone alive I mean and not a ghost or mummy. I... think...
Will you shut up and get us out of here? How hard can it be for thieves like you to get us out of a place like this?
<puts hand on hips and adopts a stance of letting Edward beat this guys ass this time>
<pokes James in the chest> Try saying that on the East End, holy man. Your severed head would hit the ground before you even finished the thought!
This is worthless... I cant believe Im even wasting my time on you. Im on a mission from God.
<scoffs and backs off to fume> Next time... Im telling you... Im gonna use my bear strength bare fists and thatll be that...
<high pitched ringing> Hehe. What a waste... Such a terrible waste. Hehe.
My name is Charlotte. Not that it means anything. Not that you have a prayer. Im talking to three dead people. Nobodys going to save you. No one.
So you died here as well?
No, I just became a spirit in this cursed place for a giggle.
OK... Dumb question.
Yes. I died here too. Hundreds and hundreds of years ago. They locked me up in here right after I was born. They beheaded me the day I turned nine. Happy birthday... Ive been trapped here ever since. And nobody even knows who I am. Hehe!
Did you just say your name was Charlotte?
Nice work. You remembered my name. Who am I beyond that?
A err... little girl that was in prison all her life and died here? Aint exactly filling a book up with that biography.
<ghost scowl> I hope you take the longest to die...
<approaches the bars> My poor little angel...
Hah! Poor little angel? Me? Save your pity for yourself. Youll be dead within three days.
Not true... I dont know what your circumstances are but I know your mother loved you very, very much.
<floats toward James> I dont know her face... Her name... Where she came from... Nothing. Youre telling me that means nothing. From the day I was born to the day I died... no one ever loved me. And I never wanted to be loved. Just die... All of you! Just die!
And with that, Charlotte fades away. What do you know? James is capable of not being a dick to someone. And that somehow still makes the party in question hate him more. Speech checks were Jamess dump stat.
Charlotte doesnt depart without leaving us a present. A new mid-boss appears as soon as the cutscene ends the Noblemans Spirit. A fancy ghost lad with a rapier. Is the rapier a ghost too or did it go out and acquire one for its haunting? That seems like it would be inconvenient if youre incorporeal and have to keep remembering not to float through a wall and drop your weapon.
Despite the rapier, Noblemans Spirits (theyre actually a common enemy type beyond this fight) are elemental casters that rarely perform physical attacks. So I guess the rapier is more of an ornate wand than a sword. Noblemen are weird like that.
Magic attacks (other than Geyser, which it absorbs) and good old fashion fisticuffs will quickly put this noble ghost into the ground. Edward leveled up his Barefist weapon affinity to Level 3 during this fight. He now has a random chance to do three strikes in a row if the RNG Gods smile upon us. They rarely do...
Our reward for defeating the rapier sporting 1%er ghost is a... rifle? Koudelka, Im not sure Im following the logic of this here. But if you say so. This is a guaranteed drop from this mid-boss. Rifles are lumped into the same class as pistols in the Guns banner (Koudelka being actually Level 2 at Guns thanks to just taking potshots during random battles where magic would be a waste.)
The Rifle holds 12 shots versus the Single Action Army pistols six rounds. But while the SAA and Rifle is the same class of gun, Rifles take their own bullet type which leaves us a bit dry on ammo when using this going forward.
In any case, the Noblemans Spirit was evidently a load bearing mid-boss as the left hand wall of the cell crumbles as soon as the battle is completed. Well that was an easy jailbreak. Lets see where our freedom takes us...
Oh... the torture chamber. Lovely. This must have been where the guard from that diary hung out a lot while he was on duty. The flayed corpse in the center of the room is the only thing Koudelka will remark on. But there are a couple new weapons we can pilfer here. Lets take a closer look.
I knew the Welsh would end up being Templars. It was obvious from the start. The Mace is lumped into the Clubs weapon category along with the pipe and hammers weve picked up earlier.
To the bottom right of the torture chamber is a pair of Knuckles. Bare-hand has its own class of weapons, despite Edward going it unequipped. These tend to be the most durable of the weapon classes, even if there isnt a huge increase in stats while equipping em. We may find ourselves slipping these on Edward for a boss encounter or particularly tough run of enemies in the future.
No sense in hanging out in a torture chamber. I cannot imagine the smell in there is anything resembling pleasant. Heading out leads us to a hallway and the first Temporary Save point of Disc 2. For some reason the early part of Disc 2 really lays on heavy with the temporary save locations. Thats not the interesting part of this corridor. Instead, lets investigate those two corpses next to the door here.
You see something green and shiny between the two bodies. It looks like the Green Key, but you cant get to itValna and Vigna are in the way. Do you want to pull the Green Key away from Valna and Vigna?
As you try to take the key away, the mummies begin to speak. Valna says Give us back our dolls, and Vigna says Run! Get away while you still can!
Were now thrust into battle against Valna and Vigna a pair of spectral dolls. This is not another midboss fight or... even a real fight. This is a unique little battle meant to serve exactly one purpose: grinding out magic/weapon proficiency.
You see, Valna and Vigna have flawless defenses. Absolutely no attack in the game can hit them. You can Gameshark all stats up to 99 and theyll still shadow step past anything thrown at them, whether it be physical attacks or magical spells. Likewise, while they can attack. They do so maybe once every dozen of our partys turns and its only a very weak spell for maybe 30-50 HP of damage. Theyll then return to no-selling everything again for another dozen turns.
The thing with Koudelkas battle system is that even if an action whiffs, it still counts just the same towards leveling up proficiency in that category. So our party can hang out to their hearts content flailing at a pair of ghost dolls like dinguses and get way more skilled while doing so.
The only way to end this battle is to Escape from it. The trouble is that Koudelka doesnt actually tell you how to escape from battles. Its a hidden menu option accessed by hitting O when a character gets their turn. Definitely didnt have to look that up when I played this the first time.
As with all things in Koudelka, escaping has a random chance of succeeding and if it fails, the character just wastes their turn. Even if its against a pair of dolls that barely fight back and specifically tell you to escape before the battle begins.
That said, enjoy Jamess naw fuck this noise escape animation.
The door next to the mummified corpses of Valna and Vigna just happens to be opened by that Green Key theyre guarding. Seems were going to have to return here with their dolls if were going to see whats behind that door.
Well just make a mental note of that for now and continue into the next hall. Which is also a temporary save spot for... some reason. While theres not much to be said about these couple of corridors, there are quite a few new enemies stalking about in Disc 2. Lets take a brief look...
Weve got your poisonous Zombie Dogs skulking about. Little to say about them beyond the poisonous bites and being surprisingly damaging for a rotting dog headbutting a guy. Theyre no Cerberuses, Ill tell you what. Survival horror dog enemy not smashing through a window to introduce itself? Shameful.
The only real noteworthy bit about these ill-mannered puppers is their death animation is amusing, since they fall on their butts like a human and just seem to be kind of bummed out you beat them. Maybe theyre not the worst dogs...
Next up weve got the Exploded Corpse. It is err... a walking corpse whose upper torso has exploded. Pretty self-explanatory, honestly. Apparently, the only reason the lower torso and legs are intact is because they were durable as hell. For some reason, these enemies have more HP than the last couple bosses we faced at 1300 HP each.
These bombed out husks attack in two ways. Either by spilling their guts... quite literally... for a ranged attack that is technically considered to be Earth elemental for reasons beyond my understanding.
Or by just sort of violently rumbling in a shower of guts, viscera and giant maggots at a target in front of it. This, on the other hand, is considered to be a physical attack. The inner works of a decaying human body are a mysterious subject indeed.
Finally, we have the Pricktails which are some manner of crude man-scorpion fusion which resulted in a... giant scorpion with awkward frog legs and only a single claw. Not sure what youre playing at with this one, Koudelka. That's a decided downgrade from just a big ass scorpion. This is some Z-Tier bio-organic weapon that even Umbrella would have tossed in the dumpster. These dinguses can poison with their sting, but theyre incredibly slow moving and are unlikely to get the chance.
Getting back on track, beyond that previous Underground Tunnel, we come upon a Mortal Kombat stage in a skeleton filled acid pit. That escalated quickly from the secret torture dungeons, huh?
To right of the entrance is a device that gives us the option to acquire some acid for reasons that arent entirely clearly. Unfortunately, we cannot use any of our partys thick skulls to transport said acid at the moment. Well just have to remember this device is here when we inevitably stumble upon an empty container capable of handling a vague highly acidic liquid.
This room is somewhat confusing to navigate thanks to the cinematic camera angles. Here we are further down the perimeter of the central acid pit. There is a door further ahead.
If we head through that door (which leads to yet another Temporary Save room) well find a gate at the far end that is being held by some mysterious force aka go beat a boss before this path will unlock.
OK, then... well just return to the main acid pit room and continue to the far end where... the gate is all caved in and its a dead end too. Huh...
As it turns out, if we retrace our steps and run towards the camera on this screen, theres another path which leads to progress. I definitely... DEFINITELY didnt get mildly confused as to where the hell I was supposed to go and ended up fighting an extra half dozen random battles the first time I played this game. No sir...
In the obscured by the camera angle room, we come upon... Yeah... something definitely isnt right with this room. Its looking just a touch evilish what with the sickly purple vines and blood flowing along the floors and ominous statue at the far end.
Were going to just quickly top off everyones health and perhaps switch Edward over to an Earth based weapon we have in our inventory. No reason... just feeling earthy, ya know?
So lets step onto the occult rune in the central platform and face the next major boss fight. Fun fact: Given the lack of temporary save points in the Japanese version of the game, this is the first one on Disc 2. So if the player gets a Game Over at any point here up to and including this boss, theyd have to re-insert Disc 1, walk one room over to trigger the disc transition and re-insert Disc 2 to give it another go. Developers that didnt put save points at the end of discs during the PS1 era should be tried in the Hague.
Music: Incantation Again
Aww CHRIST! This thing is a bit of an escalation from our previous boss encounters of large plant, elemental eyes, wedding zombie and ghost clones... Real step up from that to some bulbous Lovecraftian alien abomination.
Meet the Mad Fly. Jeff Goldblum this aint. This big boy comes packing 3025 HP and is a Wind Elemental enemy, although it also absorbs Dark Elemental attacks. Not that the latter would be much of an issue unless we switched to a weapon that randomly obtained that element.
Being a Wind elemental boss, its extremely weak to Earth elemental attacks. Which is why we equipped Edward with that rapier. Too bad Ed has never once in his life held or seen anyone wield a rapier (ignore that ghost earlier, it didnt know how to use that thing.) As such, Eddie just bludgeons enemies over the head with it like its a stick. Cmon Edward. You stab with a rapier in video games. Everyone knows that. Get it together.
Koudelka is the heaviest hitter here with Megalith doing nearly 500 HP of damage a turn. Dont ask me how a ground based magic attack hits a flying enemy. Koudelka plays by its own esoteric set of rules only it is privy to...
While Koudelka and Edward are leading the offensive, James is on back-up support duty. Particularly, boosting the Agility of his two companions. James has managed to upgrade Fortify Agility to Level 2, so thats a decent kick in our step. Boosting Edwards Strength and Koudelkas Intelligence isnt a bad idea either. Assuming he gets a chance past his secondary duty...
...Healing Edward. Our tank is definitely putting in some work during this boss fight. While Mad Fly does possess a couple long range spells, it mostly focuses on physical attacks. Which means Ed is eating them all as long as he remains up front. Mad Flys humanish head-butt is the more damaging of its two physical strikes. But the attack with its legs can cause poison damage. Which isnt the biggest of issues, but it certainly doesnt help when Edward is already getting comboed regularly.
As I said, Mad Fly does have some magic attacks which come possessing random elemental affinities. These arent a big deal if they hit our back row fighters. The only real issue here is occasionally these spells can cause Silence and thatd put a big kink in our battle plan. Thankfully, I didnt encounter that this battle.
So James remained in the back row keeping Edward on life support so he could chip away with melee attacks with the seldom buff if the heat stayed off our tank for a turn.
Koudelka moved up a couple rows to better her casting since the stupid knockback mechanic for critical strikes by Edward meant the Mad Fly was pushed nearly to the back row on the grid. A little bit risky. But it worked out alright.
Meanwhile, Edward never did figure out how to use a rapier right. But he put in a good amount of work bashing the abomination with the sword hilt and acting as a competent meat shield for his allies. Rest in peace, Mad Fly. You weird disgusting abomination you.
Mad Flys passing brings with it a Level Up for our entire party. But more importantly, weve discovered yet another piece of jewelry for a statue weve yet to even lay eyes on. At this rate were going to have an entire closet full of jewelry and clothing for this lousy statue before we even locate it.
And that concludes our first dip into Disc 2 of Koudelka. Tune in next time for ill-fated treasures, ill-looking creatures, plant vaginas and other unpleasantness as Koudelka continues!
Video: Episode 9 Highlight Reel
Charlotte DLota Render This torture dungeon was really big into letting folks keep their elaborate dresses. No shoes though. Thats taking it too far.