Corpse Party Review
Corpse Party Review
What do you get when you mix teenagers with complicated relationships, terrible earthquakes, and a strange ‘friendship’ spell ritual? If you’re thinking this sounds like the plot of a bad teen horror movie, you are not wrong. However, Corpse Party – a top down survival horror game – has taken that exact idea and made it truly, truly terrifying. With a complex cast of characters and scares that will send chills down your spine, Corpse Party is truly a one-of-a-kind entry into the horror genre.
Set in an alternate reality Tokyo, the game starts by introducing a terrible urban legend of the violent events that took place at the since-demolished Heavenly Host Elementary School. The legend speaks of the children who went missing and were presumed murdered, and sets a perfect stage for these events to be realized in the present day. The group of teens retelling the story have gathered in their school, Kisaragi Academy, which just so happens to have been built on Heavenly Host’s remains. The teens are soon joined by their kindly teacher and one student’s concerned younger sister and the group is suddenly thrown into dark chaos with one single earthquake.
When the teens come to, they find they have been separated both into groups and, as they find out, different planes of the same reality. Determined to find their friends, the various groups work to try to navigate their way through the maze of a demented version of the elementary school of legend. With unique characters and dozens of possible fates, the game is a wealth of story.
Controlling an assigned member of the group at various stages, the player views the game from a third-person top-down perspective, navigating hallways with no real idea of the school’s actual layout or where they are headed. Along the way, the player can pick up useful items and must be aware of their HP getting too low and leading to their untimely death. One of the most interesting aspects of Corpse Party’s narrative is the fact that the characters can die in unexpected and avoidable ways that will earn them a ‘Wrong Ending.’ The game even rewards the player for discovering all the wrong endings in addition to the one ‘True Ending.’
Traversing through the school is done in a way that keeps it interesting, and the futher into the school the player goes, the more gruesome sights the player will find. The corpses or skeletons of students from many different times can be found throughout the levels, each with an I.D. badge to identify them and usually a note or sign of some kind to indicate how they died or their thoughts prior to death.
Despite featuring 8-bit sprites and cute Japanese school girls, Corpse Party is easily one of the eeriest games out there. The writing is well done and engaging and the imagery is evocative. The feeling of dread the characters experience is bound to travel to the player through gameplay and the music and added sound effects help to emphasize that dread. Corpse Party, released for PC late last month, is a welcome addition to the story-driven horror titles on Steam, and for those faint of heart the cute designs may make the terror and gore a bit more bearable.