I'm in total agreement with Dale on Koudelka. The game gets a slight boost of life from the unusual, Pulp Fiction-esque characters and from Koudelka's unbelievable made-to-appease sexy outfit (if looking good was a crime in the middle ages, she'd be burned at the stake in no time). I was surprised at how all three main leads are pretty much sinister in their own right. This quality made the trio of would-be adventurers one of the most genuine group of anti-heroes to come together for a videogame in a long time.

It's too bad their characterizations and somewhat decent voice acting all go to waste on utterly poor design that never properly bridges the RPG and survival horror genres. What makes survival horror games so annoying is how exploring and finding items in the prerendered backgrounds almost always proves to be a rigid and awkward experience. Koudelka makes this quality about a thousand times worse by adding random attacks—more typically found in RPGs—to the mix. So not only is spotting necessary objects in the backgrounds nearly impossible, but its further compounded by nagging attacks. Of course this wouldn't be so torturous is the battle system was good, but sadly it isn't. Dale pretty much mentioned all the negative aspects of the battle system, and there isn't anything I can say in its defense.

What hammered in the final nail in the coffin for me was how poorly the puzzles were setup. Players are basically forced to run around and recover objects that don't really make sense, and for some sick reason the developers thought it would be fun to have players do a great deal of confusing backtracking. Either the developers were just plain mad, or they were unnaturally trying to stretch the length of the game. The answer to that question will remain a mystery, but it doesn't take a detective to know that Koudelka is a wretched experience and has about as much redeeming value as its cast of rogues. Rating: 3.5 out of 10

Chi Kong Lui

Chi Kong Lui

In the 1980s, Chi grew up in small town on the outskirts of New York City called Jackson Heights. Latino actor, John Leguizamo referred to the town as the "melting pot of the world," and while living there, Chi was exposed to many diverse cultures, as well as a bevy of arcade classics such as Pac-Man, Space Ace, Space Harrier and Double Dragon. Chi's love of videogames only seemed to grow as his parents finally caved and bought him an 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System (after being the only kid in the block without one). In the 1990s, Chi finagled his way into the prestigious Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts.

Somewhere between all the gaming, Chi some how managed to finish high school and get into the New York Institute of Technology. At the same time, Chi also interned at Virtual Frontiers, an Internet software consultancy where he learned the ways of HTML. Soon after acquiring his BFA, Chi went on to become the lead Web designer of the Anti-Defamation League. During his tenure there, Chi was instrumental in redesigning and relaunching the non-profit organization's Web site.

Today, Chi is the webmaster of the American Red Cross in Greater New York and somehow managed to work through the tragic events of September 11th without losing his sanity. Chi considers GameCritics.com his life's work and continues to be amazed that the web site is still standing after the recent dotcom fallout. It is his dream that GameCritics.com will accomplish two things: 1) Redefine the grammar of videogames much the same way French film critic Andre Bazin did for the art of cinema and 2) bring game criticism to the forefront of mainstream culture much the same way Siskel & Ebert did for film criticism.
Chi Kong Lui
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