June 28, 2001
NA December 12, 2001
PAL March 29, 2002
|Genre(s)||Console role-playing game|
ESRB: M (Mature)
Shadow Hearts (シャドウハーツ Shadōhātsu ) is a console role-playing game developed by Sacnoth and published by Aruze Corp in Japan and in the United States and Europe by Midway in 2001. It is the first official game in the Shadow Hearts series and Koudelka is its prequel. Shadow Hearts follows the adventures of Yuri Hyuga, a Harmonixer guided by a mysterious voice in his head. He finds himself thrown into the conflicts prior to World War I where he must save the woman he loves and the world from destruction.
Released in North America only one week before Square Enix's Final Fantasy X, and unhelped by Midway's nominal marketing campaign, Shadow Hearts initially struggled to gain the attention of gamers. The use of 2D pre-rendered backgrounds rather than a full 3D environment drew criticism as well. The game was praised for its original battle system. Shadow Hearts gained a cult following for its quirky use and misuse of historical facts and situations in a form of secret history.
With a linear storyline, random encounters, turn-based battles, and traditional elements such as hit points and magic points, Shadow Hearts plays similarly to other console RPGs. The Judgment Ring, designed to incorporate an element of chance in various outcomes based on the player's skill, is unique to the genre. There are also side-quests and an option for an additional playthrough (or New Game Plus) with the previous game's data saved to allow for completion of the monster library, to attain further collectible items or equipment, and for a statistical side-by-side comparison of the first playthrough.
The player maneuvers a 3D character in the submap, a 2D pre-rendered background representing the environment. Many items are found in the submap, typically in the form of chests, while others are marked with a shining dot. There are also items noticeable only when the player is directly in front of them. To change locations in Shadow Hearts, the player can choose from a World Map. The world map is a stylized map of Europe and China with locations indicated by dots.
Shadow Hearts uses a turn-based battle system where the player chooses actions from a menu. The list of actions include many basic commands such as Attack, Items, and Escape. Enemies are encountered randomly and are not visible in the submap. Battle commences in a 3D environment modeled after a section of the current location. The characters and enemies stay in their respective positions and only move from their position when executing an attack. The characters are controlled by the player and the enemies are controlled by the CPU.
The party is made up of three characters and can be changed, with the exception of Yuri, by speaking with the NPC Meiyuan. Characters can be positioned either in the back row or front row. The back row is suited for characters with lower physical defense and attack while the front row is suited for characters with higher physical defense and attack. Another aspect of the battle is the character's base statistics. There are the traditional Hit Points (HP) and Magic Points (MP) plus the new Sanity Points (SP). Like many other RPGs, the character's HP will decrease every time they receive damage and their MP decreases when a skill is used. SP decreases every turn and dictate how long a character can last in a battle before they become 'mentally unstable'. When SP decreases to zero, the character automatically goes into a state of Berserk and the player will lose control of that character. At the end of every battle all the character’s SP is replenished. Each character gains HP, MP, and SP every time they gain a level and there are many items which help restore lost HP, MP, and SP. There are also items which alleviate status ailments as well as revival items.
The Judgment Ring is a unique element in Shadow Hearts and is used in many aspects of the game including battles, minigames, and even shopping. The success of the characters actions is dependent on the outcome of the Judgment Ring. Essentially, the Judgment Ring is a circle with different colored segments and a rotating needle which is stopped by the player's input. When an action is chosen, the Judgment Ring is presented on the screen. Players then have to watch the rotating needle carefully as it rotates and hit the colored segments.
Every character in Shadow Hearts has their own unique special abilities. These abilities include offensive, restorative and supportive spells. Every character, except for Yuri, will gain their abilities as they gain experience and level up. Yuri, on the other hand, must acquire his Fusions by collecting Soul Energy.
Malice in Shadow Hearts is the vengeance of the enemies that the party has killed. Malice accumulates every time the player finishes a battle. Most enemies give one point of malice while bosses give higher amounts. Yuri possesses an accessory called a Talisman that can display how much malice has accumulated. It changes color from Dark Blue (lowest) to Red (maximum). Once it has reached the maximum, the door to the dark side opens and the Grim Reaper is summoned to the real world. The Grim Reaper manifests itself as the one Yuri fears the most. Once this occurs, the party will randomly encounter the Grim Reaper forcing Yuri to fight him alone.
To clear the malice the player must go into the Graveyard in Yuri’s mental realm. Once inside, there are four masks (Sword, Grail, Staff, and Gold) that will allow the player to fight a monster to clear the malice. This monster is a manifestation of the accumulated malice. Depending on the amount of malice, the monster will be different.
Shopping in Shadow Hearts is similar to most RPGs. The player can buy items or equipment using the in-game currency, Cash. The element that sets shopping in Shadow Hearts apart from other games is the use of the Judgment Ring. Throughout the course of the game, the player can collect certain Guild Cards to attain different ranks. Once the player has a card, they are automatically given an option to get a discount when buying or a price rise when selling. By collecting different guild cards, the player can receive different privileges.
Once the player chooses to receive a discount a ring with three Hit Areas is presented. To be successful, all three hit areas must be hit. Depending on the item being bought or sold, the size of the hit areas and the speed of the needle changes. When the player aims for higher discount or price raise rates, they must complete individual rings for each level.
Shadow Hearts takes place in an alternate reality of the real world in the year 1913. The major areas that are visited include many real locations in China and Europe. Here is a list of the different locations found in Shadow Hearts:
Shadow Hearts moves considerably ahead of Koudelka and starts in late 1913 on a branch of the Trans-Siberian Railroad in Manchuria. The game begins with Yuri hearing a voice in his head telling him to rescue a girl named Alice Elliot, whose priest father was recently murdered in a most brutal fashion in Rouen, France. After an English gentleman by the name of Roger Bacon attempts to abduct Alice from the Japanese army himself, Yuri saves her, and starts a quest through China, and eventually Europe, to discover Alice's importance, Bacon's intent, the identity of the mysterious voice, and his own relevance.
Throughout their journey in China they meet Master Liu Zhuzhen, an adept. They also meet Margarete Gertude Zelle, an English spy who is trying to hinder the Japanese invasion of Shanghai. Along the journey they discover that Dehuai, a warlock, is behind all of the demonic happenings that they have encountered so far. Dehuai reveals his plans - to perform the Demon Gate Invocation to summon the Seraphic Radiance, a powerful entity to destroy Shanghai. He kidnaps Alice for this and the group faces him off at Kuihai Tower. The group manages to defeat Dehuai but is unable to stop the summoning of the Seraphic Radiance. In the end, Yuri and the group are separated.
The second part of the journey takes part in Europe. Alice and the gang continue on their search for Yuri. They are eventually reunited while meeting new friends along the way which includes, Halley, the son of Koudelka and Keith Valentine, a vampire. A shocking truth is revealed as they continue the journey - the man who named himself Roger Bacon is actually Albert Simon, a disciple of the real Roger Bacon. They also discover that Albert's true intention is to raise the Neameeto Float, which is a beacon capable of drawing God to Earth so that it can cleanse the world. He was originally attempting to capture Alice to raise the float, but then changes tack and captures Koudelka instead, and raises the float with her power. The group is teleported to the float by Roger Bacon, and they fight their way through it to find Albert at the pinnacle, where they engage him in battle. He repents for his misdeeds and uses the last of his power to send Yuri and company to intercept God before it can reach Earth. The group manages to destroy God and the world is saved.
There are two endings to Shadow Hearts: the "good" and the "bad" ending. The good ending occurs when Yuri fights alongside Alice in his mental realm, the Graveyard, and defeats Atman, the protector of the Four Masks. The "bad" ending occurs when Alice fights an impossible battle against Atman and "dies" in the dream.
The difference between the two endings is only seen when the game credits are rolling after one has completed the game. Alice and Yuri are seen sleeping on a train back to her hometown, Zurich. In the good ending, Alice wakes up on the train after a while. In the bad ending, Alice does not wake up since she has sacrificed her soul to Atman to protect Yuri's life. Shadow Hearts' sequel, Shadow Hearts: Covenant, dictates that the bad ending of this game is canon.
The brainchild of Matsuzo Itakura (art director of Koudelka), who succeeded Hiroki Kikuta as the president of Sacnoth, this game plays more similarly to standard console RPGs than Koudelka yet features some innovations that set it apart. It marks the introduction of the "Judgment Ring" system as well as Sanity Points, a somewhat Lovecraftian addition.
Shadow Hearts only features vocals during certain cut scenes and full motion videos. Most of the game consists of written dialogue accompanied by emoticons to display emotions or reactions. In the North American and PAL versions, some of the battle cries for spells and item use remain in their original Japanese.
The OST (Original Soundtrack) of Shadow Hearts was released as two Compact Discs under the name of Shadow Hearts Original Soundtracks Plus1 by Scitron in Japan on July 18, 2001. It was composed and arranged by Yoshitaka Hirota and Yasunori Mitsuda and recorded at TwinTail Studios. Whilst this was Hirota's first major video game music compositional work, Mitsuda is a veteran video game music composer having previously worked on Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross and Xenogears.
The OST packaging was unique in that it was released as a small hardcover book with the CDs contained in cardboard sleeves serving as the first and last pages. The soundtrack was later re-released on January 19, 2005 in a regular plastic CD case and having an altered cover. A review of the soundtrack along with some samples can be viewed here.
The ending theme, titled Ending Theme ~ Shadow Hearts, was composed by Hirota and the lyrics were written by James H. Woan. It features vocals by Hiroko Kasahara and Kyoko Kishikawa.
The 'plus1' in the OST title refers to a bonus track titled Bonus Track ~ true voice. The track was composed by Hirota with lyrics written by Kishikawa who also performed the song.
Shadow Hearts is considered unique by its fans for its quirky style. The setting is an alternate Earth where monsters and mystical forces seem common. Throughout the game, the seriousness of some of the game's subject matter and the horror elements clash with its sense of humor.
Reviews were somewhat mixed, some gave the game a low score claiming that it lacked originality, while others praised it for being original and innovative. 
Shadow Hearts (シャドウハーツ, Shadōhātsu?) is a series of role playing games for the Playstation 2. The original Shadow Hearts was developed by Sacnoth and released by Midway in the United States on December 11, 2001. The sequel, Shadow Hearts: Covenant (or Shadow Hearts II), was also made by the same group, although Sacnoth reformed itself into a company called Nautilus for the project. It was released in October 2004 in the United States. A further sequel, Shadow Hearts: From the New World, was released in Japan on July 28, 2005 and in the United States on March 7, 2006.
The following 3 pages are in this category, out of 3 total.
Midway (NA, EU)
|Release date||June 28, 2001 (JP)
December 11, 2001 (NA)
March 29, 2002 (EU)
|Genre||Console role-playing game|
|Age rating(s)||ESRB: M|
|Credits | Soundtrack | Codes | Walkthrough|
Shadow Hearts is a sequel to Koudelka for the PlayStation 2. It, in turn has two sequels, Shadow Hearts: Covenant and Shadow Hearts: From the New World.
Rude hero. As a harmonixer, Yuri can fuse with many different monsters to gain different abilities. The strongest character of the game you are forced to keep him on your party for most of the game which isn't entirely a burden since his kicking ass abilities are great. He uses knuckles as his weapon.
The heroine of the game. Has white magic that can heal allies and punish evil. Also, it can be funny to see her frantically bash at enemies with her book. Always keep her on the back row 'cause her defense is very low.
A monk who's the smarty pants of the game, he knows pretty much anything you ask, he has some elemental spells and fights with rods and staves.
|Margarete Gertrude Zelle.
An international spy with a twisted sense of good and evil and a predilection for the use of bombs. She is known as Miss Spy Genius and that says it all, a comic relief throughout the game she has a variety of gadgets at your disposal as well as very accurate shooting skill, be sure to get on her good side or she'll make you regret it. Her weapons are tiny guns and shotguns.
An elegant and bored vampire who woke up to help you save the world since he had nothing better to do in his Bistrtiz Castle. A member of the Valentine's Vampire Clan. He has a variety of dark spells that can come in handy very often during the adveture and he can also pummel down enemies with his sword skills, one of the strongest members of the group. He uses swords.
An orphan leader of the London Rats who seems to have a supernatural ability... maybe heritage. The last addition to the group, he's a powerful spellcaster and attacks with a slingshot. This character is one of the main connections with Koudelka, Shadow Heart's prequel and its main character by the same name.
The Judgement Ring is omnipresent in the story of Yuri and company. Skillful use of the Judgement ring is essential for success at the various tasks required throughout the course of the game.
The system consists basically on a spinning wheel in which the player has to hit certain areas with a needle. The place hit determines the amount of damage caused by the character. The ring's speed and the size of the hit areas can be customized according to need. For example: the size of the hit areas can be increased or decreased which will also affect the power of the weapon equiped.
The same goes for magic or special abilities, only that the ring for these kinds of attacks is slightly simpler to hit.
||This article is a stub. You can help by
Stubs are articles that writers have begun work on, but are not yet complete enough to be considered finished articles.