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Shadow Hearts

by kethryveris

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Original Thread: Shadow Hearts: Because the Voice In My Head Told Me To



The year is 1913. The various small countries of Europe have formed complex relationships based on fragile alliances and promises of mutual aid, little knowing that in one year the house of cards they have built will come crashing down with a single gunshot. Meanwhile in the Far East, Imperial Japan, led by an increasingly aggressive military, is flexing its muscles and establishing a foothold in the continent. And in the dark places of both city and wilderness, monsters and legends walk freely. Welcome to the world of Shadow Hearts.

But first, let's take a look at the game that started it all.

In 1997, Hiroki Kikuta, who had been a composer working under Squaresoft, created his own video game company, Sacnoth, with funding from fellow game company SNK. Their first game was intended to be a ground-breaking RPG, a departure from what Kikuta saw as the stagnant and juvenile nature of most RPGs of the time. That game was Koudelka, released for the Sony Playstation in 1999. A North American version was released the following year.

Combining elements of survival horror games like Resident Evil and elements of tactical RPGs with a grid-based combat system, Koudelka was set in 1899 in an alternate-Earth version of Aberystwyth, Wales. The heroine and namesake of the game, Koudelka Iasant, a powerful psychic, found herself drawn to the Nemeton Monastery by a series of troubling visions. There, she banded together with the adventurer Edward Plunkett, who was exploring the monastery because of rumors of girls and treasure, and Father James O'Flaherty, who was searching for an artifact stolen from the Vatican. The three of them, each following their own motives, traveled deeper and deeper into the ruins of the monastery turned prison turned laboratory, until they finally found what had happened to the previous owner of Nemeton and the result of his bizarre experiments.

Fourteen years later and thousands of miles away in the Manchurian provence of China, our story begins.

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