Corpse Party Review

Terrifying moments make Corpse Party a get-together worth attending.

by

When it comes to scaring people, the Japanese do it right. Be it book, film, or game, some of the most shock-intensive experiences have been brought to us by their creative minds. The latest entry in this category is Corpse Story, a game that's filled with unbelievable moments and keeps your attention until the bitter end.

The story revolves around a group of eight students and one teacher. One of the girls in the group is transferring to another high school, so they all decide to perform a ritual to keep their friendship intact, even if they can't be close to one another. Unfortunately, thirty years prior, the school was the site of a horrific kidnapping and the murder of innocent elementary school children. After the events, the school was torn down, and the new high school was built in its place. But the horrors remain.

As the group performs the thought-to-be-harmless ritual, an earthquake occurs, which transports them all to the old school. They've been split up and are unsure if this is just a nightmare, if it's really happening, or if the true nature of their predicament lies somewhere in between. Now they must try to figure out how to reunite and escape before they succumb to the spirits that haunt them.The plot of Corpse Party is broken up into five chapters, and in each one you control different members of the gang. For the most part, this is a story-driven, puzzle-solving game where you need to scour the school looking for specific objects to progress the story.

What makes the game so interesting is how the environments change from chapter to chapter and character to character. These students are technically all in the same school--it is explained that they have been split up into different dimensions--but the layout for one group may be entirely different from that of another group. In one chapter, you may have easy access to the infirmary, but in another one it is completely out of reach. Not only does the school shift from one chapter to the next, but even within a given section, earthquakes might occur that alter where a character can go. Other tricks include having areas magically appear or disappear; you may visit a section and a door materializes, but when you return, the door is mysteriously absent. Because of theses changes, it can be easy to get lost while walking, especially later in the game when parts of the school change a few times.

You never know what you might find while searching for your friends.

While Corpse Party's narrative is fairly linear, there are many ways it can play out, and your decisions can alter the adventure. At the same time, there are numerous ways of making a mistake and ending your game. In each chapter, there are multiple ways to finish. There may be items that can help your character in certain situations, but they are not necessarily required to progress. Decisions such as giving items to certain characters, reading journal entries and visiting certain locations over others can impact the plot. Each chapter has one correct outcome that moves the story, but there are also multiple mistake conclusions that result in the character's death and the appearance of a "wrong end" pop-up.

Even when the character has technically died and you are forced to reload the game, you don't get a basic end sequence or death animation if you don't reach the correct ending. These "wrong end" situations have you watch and/or listen to the characters scream for their lives as they face impending doom. There are more than a dozen different "wrong end" sequences throughout the game and very different ways of getting them. In fact, there are many wrong endings that conclude the story, so getting the correct finale requires you to make the right choices.

There are also plenty of shocking moments in Corpse Party. Not only are the various "wrong end" scenarios quite gruesome, but there are numerous situations as you progress that may be a bit unsettling. These include bloody rooms, lynched students, headless foes, and other horrifying sights. These situations add to the feeling of craziness that these children are immersed in.

Although the story flows at a nice pace and the various endings in each chapter strongly encourage a second, third, or fourth go-round, the placement of save points makes having to go through a particular area multiple times a bit of a hassle. In one area in chapter four, a character has only a limited amount of time and is faced with a situation that could play out three ways. If you make the wrong decision or fail to complete the task within the given time, you have to go through the entire lead-up sequence from the previous save point, which can be annoying. Replaying these moments again is even more noticeable considering that most ending sequences, good or bad, last at least a minute. Add the fact that you must return to the main menu and reload the earlier save, which wastes time that could be better spent elsewhere.

Just one of the many shocking discoveries you may uncover.

The original Corpse Party was released back in 1996 and has seen two remakes since then. While the game still retains the 16-bit look, new character designs for the dialogue sequences have been incorporated. The game also retains the original Japanese voice actors, and they play their parts well. Considering these are school kids, their screams and the horror in their voices only add to the intensity. Music also plays an important part in the game. Early on, the music repeats itself, but as you progress, new tunes add that extra layer and reinforce the crazy circumstances these children are in. On top of that, there are even moments when no music is used; they rely instead on sound effects, such as creaking floorboards, chimes, and other sounds, to keep your attention.

Corpse Party's main story can take roughly six to eight hours if you manage to stay alive and avoid mistakes. There are student ID cards littered throughout each chapter that can be collected. These don't serve much purpose outside of giving you an idea of the other kids who have also fallen victim to the horror. Completing chapters and experiencing certain endings, both good and bad, unlocks additional chapters that shed some light on those fallen characters. These chapters vary from having you complete a task to having you watch little vignettes. These are nice additions that help explain some of the actions of the characters you meet along the way.

Given the rarity of scary and shocking games, Corpse Party is once again a fresh and welcome experience. It's not a difficult game by any means, instead relying on keeping you interested through its gripping story, unexpected twists, and horrific situations. If you crave something that will keep you up at night, this is it.

The Good
Engaging story with plenty of twists and surprises
Offers genuine, unsettling scares
Rewarding even when you die or make mistakes
Nice audio cues and voice work
The Bad
Easy to get lost in certain areas
Having to restart a scenario takes too long
7.5
Good
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Discussion

9 comments
Anema1986
Anema1986

never though a game using 16 bits graphics could have an scary effect on me, the narrative, the VA, the SF, the story and the characters made this game the best of his genre, not cheap scares like the old good survival horror games, this kind of scare is much more deeper 


the only bad side is the backtracking when you do something wrong

Atermi
Atermi

This is a very, very good, creepy horror game. A REAL horror like the Ring, JuOn, Silent Hill, Siren, Fatal Frame; not a 'claims to be scary' bullshit. One flaw is you will waste a LOT of time in vain after each death just to get to the same place again, and perhaps just to die there again and have to load again. This is frustrating as there is no way to speed up the pace of the game at scenes you already saw 25 times before dying, and you will die A LOT. Corpse Party - Prepare to Die edition welcomes you. 

monicker
monicker

Great game. If you enjoy anime, and off beat games, then you'd be nuts not to scoop this bad boy up. It's the kind of game that handhelds were made for. They pushed the graphics on the PSP (and the hardware should be admired for it's efforts) but FPS and third person shooters are best left to the consoles, at least for the PSP generation, the Vita, is pretty amazing, but the PSP isn't a Vita. This game is totally entertaining, graphics are neat (in a totes retro way) and even with the limited presentation, it's often scary as hell. Pick this sucker up today. Too bad Nintendo gave up on these types of games. Sorry for my rant, but it just pisses me off to have to HUNT down games like this,and 9 Hours, 9 Doors, 9 Persons, often paying inflated prices because of limited production runs, while there are like 5478903486780786 billion copies of Toy Story 2: The Quickening, and Mary Kay and Ashley Go Shopping on the shelves at my local stores, and now even amazon. Just disgusts me. This game should get a 10, not because it deserves it, but just to encourage developers to keep taking chances and making games like this. It's obvious a lot of care went into this game, and it;s equally obvious the makers knew this wouldn't even fully return on their investments, even if it does hit Cult Classic status.

thattotally
thattotally

I'd say I'm interested in getting this game and playing it, but only if they drop the price to as low as $5 on the PSN store. I'm sorry, I just can't see myself paying anymore considering some of the flaws the game presents. It's as generous as I can be.

otanikun
otanikun

Definitely loved the game, creepy indeed and even more so with headphones on, the HD voice acting really pops.

fend_oblivion
fend_oblivion

Sounds like a very interesting game. Definitely need to get this one.

Terenigma
Terenigma

There are some great scares in this game and the consistantly disturbing atmosphere will keep you worrying whats around every corner.

ficha13
ficha13

To Marko Care!! Dobra recenzija!

Corpse Party More Info

First Release on Nov 22, 2011
  • NEC PC98
  • PSP
Corpse Party is an adventure game that uses hand-drawn 2D sprite and tile art to tell the story of a group of Kisaragi Academy High School students who are trapped in a haunted elementary school.
8.3
Average User RatingOut of 112 User Ratings
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Developed by:
Team GrisGris
Published by:
Kenix Soft, 5pb, Xseed Games
Genres:
3D, Open-World, Action, Adventure
Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
Mature
All Platforms
Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Sexual Content, Strong Language