You’re in a dilapidated school with one of your friends. There are bones and corpses everywhere, and something in the shadows hunting after you. No, it’s not Shia Labeouf, it’s a bunch of scary Japanese ghosts. This is turning into a Corpse Party.
Genre(s): Adventure | Horror
Developer: Team GrisGris
Release Date: April 2016
Played: Full game
Purchase At: Steam
Corpse Party is one of those games I heard of for years. I saw very vicious looking clips of anime adaptations and some of the later games in the series and always knew it was a horror visual novel with some very graphic content, and I don’t mean the “adult entertainment” variety, more the blood and gore kind. But now it released on PC on Steam and is on its way to 3DS very soon.
Corpse Party stars a group of high school students in Japan. They’re telling ghost stories when the game picks up before one of their teachers interrupts them. Saying goodbye to one of their classmates on her last day gives one of her classmates the idea to perform the Sachiko Forever Charm, so they all remain friends no matter what. What they didn’t know was the charm would pull them into a nightmarish dimension filled with the angry ghosts of the children murdered in an old elementary school demolished to make way for their institution. They now have to find a way out, discover what’s going in this dimension and most importantly, try to survive. The game’s story takes place over a few chapters, each focusing on a different set of characters, all of whom you meet at the start of the game.
Corpse Party is an RPG Maker game and handles as other adventure-like games made with the engine. You move your characters, interact with the environment to read and collect items and talk to characters when the dialogues pop-up. There aren’t many choices in conversations but they have a direct effect on what the overall outcome of a chapter will be. You need the “True Ending” in each to progress but most likely you’ll run into the myriad of “Wrong Endings” there are, where you characters meet gruesome ends. There is never anything visually visceral, but the descriptions, voice acting and sound effect more than make up for it. It’s really disturbing, just not as bad as I thought it would be.
Gameplay is fairly simple so you mostly focus on the characters and story. I like how well they’ve defined the characters, with their unique personalities, priorities and strengths, which they show and back up in their conversations with each other. There really isn’t much in terms of gameplay mechanics. It’s pretty shallow.
The plot on the other hand, while being a chilling Japanese ghost story, has abominable pacing. Chapters go by without a single mention to story elements, without contributing to the overarching narrative in any way. Then near the end, you get most of the story crammed in the last couple of chapters.
I liked the music and sound effects. The melodies are creepy, as if they’d taken a standard Zelda or Final Fantasy theme and added notes to them to sound haunted, mysterious and entirely disturbing. It doesn’t go as far as adding dissonant tones as most games of the genre tend to do to mess with you, but the music does feel like it matches the tone of the game perfectly, which is very important.
Voice acting on the other hand is a mixed bag. It’s not that it has bad moments, but it’s entirely arbitrary when it’s gonna come in or not. I went through conversations without a single line of acting and then moved into another that did have it. For the most part, it seems as though they only added voices to one-liners. The disembodied laughing children’s voices though, those game me the creeps!
Corpse Party is an old game, but you can tell what made and still makes it great. If you can forgive the bad pacing, then you’re in for a journey of suspense, mystery and some really creepy stuff!
3.5/5 – Good!