Title: Corpse Party
Release Date: November 22, 2011
Publisher (Developer): XSEED (Team GrisGris)
ESRB Rating: “Mature” for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Sexual Content and Strong Language
Pros: The story can be genuinely scary. There are also quite a few random hilarious moments. CG shots are detailed and disturbing. Can collect nametags from dead students. Japanese voice acting is good and the overall audio and music is very creepy. Calls back to old SNES style adventure games. The translation is really well done. It’s a really substantial game and will take a week to complete. Lots of different endings. Mini chapters are also available and unlocked as you play. There are helpful blue ghosts and hurtful red ghosts scattered around.
Cons: Only available as a download. There’s no skip function to fast forward through seen text. Can only save at save candles. Almost all puzzles are really easy to solve. Graphic descriptions of gruesome scenes may be too much for some people
Overall Score: One thumb up and one thumb sideways, B-, 80/100, * * * * out of 5
It figures. I knew it. When the PSP is on its deathbed, it starts getting localizations of some of the most unusual and unique games. Fate/Extra, Hakuoki and now, from XSEED, Corpse Party. Corpse Party may just be the most unorthodox of the three. First of all, because it is a visual novel/adventure game made in RPG Maker that was originally an indie doujin game, which means it’s incredible that it was actually even localized. It’s also quite an odd duck because it is an unbelievably dark and genuinely unnerving experience, even though all the characters are drawn in an cutesy, anime style. If you’re a gamer with eclectic tastes or an interest in the horror genre, then you’re in for a treat with Corpse Party.
Oh, this school is haunted? You don’t say! Sounds like the perfect place to hang out late at night!
Moments in, you can tell Corpse Party isn’t going to be a happy story. And that isn’t just because the game happens to be called Corpse Party.
A group of seven Kisaragi Academy students, along with one little sister and a teacher, have decided to hang out at the school at night. Now, that on its own doesn’t seem right. Now, let’s make it even more ominous. Kisaragi Academy was built on the ruins of Heavenly Host Elementary, a school torn down because students and teachers were being kidnapped and killed. I think it’s time to start locating the exits!
Apparently, Satoshi, Naomi, Ayumi, Yoshiki, Yuka, Seiko, Mayu, Sakutaro and Yui don’t think that’s a big deal! These students and their teacher have no trouble being there alone at night.
And what does a group of individuals do when hanging out at a supposedly haunted school at night? Tell ghost stories, of course! Initially, anyways. After a short while, the group decides they want to cement their eternal friendship with a ritual. Yes, that sounds like a fantastic idea. Except, after performing the Sachiko Ever After ritual that’s supposed to make them BFFs forever, an earthquake hits and the group is now at Heavenly Host Elementary, a dilapidated, haunted, bloody school. They’ve also been separated from each other, which is awesome. Now they have to all find a way to survive, reunite and escape Heavenly Host Elementary before the ghosts get them.
Think before you act and never trust a ghost.
Okay, technically that isn’t exactly true. The part about not trusting ghosts. There are some ghosts in Corpse Party that you can trust and will want to listen to; they’re blue ghosts. The thinking part is absolutely accurate though. Even though Corpse Party‘s puzzles aren’t terribly trying, there will be a lot of situations where your decisions as a player will determine if your characters survive the chapter and maybe, just maybe, make it out of Heavenly Host Elementary alive.
Corpse Party is an adventure game first and foremost, though it does have visual novel elements and a few mild RPG elements. Players have to explore the school, learning more about each area and acquiring items that will help them solve puzzles and do more exploring. Every once in a while, scenes will come up that may require players to make a decision that will influence characters’ fates. Also, all characters have HP, which can be lost due to unforseen environmental circumstances. You know how poison just always happens to be lying around the floors in old schools! It all blends quite well together, even though the puzzles are usually quite easy to solve and rarely require any thought.
That may be a good thing though, in some people’s eyes. I thought so, because it allowed me to focus on the story and atmosphere. Yes, all the characters are cute and look like they could been taken from a daily-life anime series. Sure, the environments are all 2D and pixelated. That doesn’t mean Corpse Party isn’t scary. The audio especially is very well done, with good Japanese voice acting, plenty of creepy noises and sounds and music that does a nice job of maintaining the overall atmosphere. Plus, the story itself is very dark and disturbing. Unsettling too, now that I think of it. There aren’t really any moments where you’ll jump in fear, though some sounds are quite creepy. However, if you use your imagination and pay attention, the general atmosphere, story and visual images you conjure up in your head will do a nice job of keeping you on edge.
The only thing that really hampered my enjoyment of Corpse Party was the complete and utter lack of some kind of skip function. In most games with visual novel elements, you can choose to skip seen text, either by checking something in the options menu or pressing a button. Corpse Party lacks that and, since it can be pretty easy to meet an untimely end, that can mean seeing a lot of text you’ve already seen before. Now, XSEED did a fantastic job translating and localizing the game and I appreciate that. I do. (I especially love how funny segments and jokes even show up at the strangest times!) But sometimes, you just want to skip past the less enthralling segments and get to the portions you haven’t seen or want to see again.
It may not always be scary, but it is interesting and definitely unsettling
Corpse Party is definitely an experience, one that North American gamers have never seen before and may never see again. Whether it’s a good or bad experience depends on the level of patience and tolerance players will have for this unique game. People who love horror and unusual games will be all over Corpse Party and will relish all the different endings (both bad and good) that can be unlocked as you play. People who prefer more concise and speedy narratives and are unnerved by the thought of really cute characters dying will wonder why they even would bother with it. Honestly, I think Corpse Party is definitely cool and applaud XSEED for its brilliant translation and for even just releasing it overseas. If players give it a chance, I think they’ll find it worth their time.
Site [Corpse Party]