Corpse Party (3DS) Review
Corpse Party published by XSeed/Marvelous of America is a well-known cult classic for those that are into J-horror adventure games. Originally published in 1990 on the PC, there have been numerous remakes of this title with the most recent one on the Nintendo 3DS. With a dark a twisted plotline filled with child murder, cannibalism, and ominous undertones, Corpse Party brings about a mood of uncertainty as you lead a group of high schoolers to their ultimate fate.
The story revolves around a group of friends from Kisaragi Academy who after conducting a seemingly innocent online ritual, found themselves warped into a haunted decaying elementary school. The school is filled with dead corpses and trapped souls of school children who had mysteriously vanished years ago. To make matters worse, the group of friends has been split up in this old school that seems to be a time-twisted maze. The ultimate goal is for the group of friends to escape the school safely.
The game is broken down into several chapters in which you get to control one or two characters on a tile based map (i.e Zelda for NES) with a visual novel aspect. Choices made at the beginning of each chapter will dictate the outcome of the story. Things will begin to get more complicated since choices made at the beginning of the chapter will not indicate if it was the right or wrong choice until later on. With each chapter on average being an hour long, you might be stuck playing the chapter over and over till you clear it. As such, there is a lot of backtracking until the correct choices are made. As the story progresses, you rediscover back stories to the main characters and of the souls that are trapped in the school. The graphics are 16-bit-style sprites but some are animated videos and HD stills which lend well in bridging the anime of the same title and game. Despite the dated visuals, the game doesn’t shy away from detailed images ranging from grotesque blood stained walls and the horrific fate of your team.
Audio plays a big role in the game, changing pace as you are getting close to discovering something new. This is especially prominent with headphones as it enhances those jump scare moments. Since the ambient music changes with your every move you are sure to find yourself listening to the slightest change or the floorboards creaking and such for hints to progress the game. Like most J-horror titles, there are not very many jump scares but rather, it is the overall atmosphere that makes the game so eerie.
This game has a lot of replayability for those who are a perfectionist. There is a challenge of collecting all the nametags from the dead bodies around the school, another challenge is to unlock all the dead ends or bad endings to unlock bonus items in the gallery. This can keep you replaying the chapters over and over, but for those that can’t keep playing the same stage repeatedly, this might present itself as a nightmare since you will have to keep a mental note of the choices you have made to decide where you went wrong.
Overall, I found Corpse Party enjoyable for the puzzles and J-horror element but it did get bothersome when I arrived at a dead end. In this case, I would have to retrace my steps and reconsider my choices, making the game rather repetitive and somewhat frustrating at times. Furthermore, to get the whole back story players will have to play the entire game over again to unlock different endings. This can take a while and may not be for everyone. However, if you just play the game once you will still get most of the story so there isn’t much to worry about. For fellow fans of the horror genre, check out Corpse Party remastered on the Nintendo DS. Solid storytelling paired with top notch Japanese voice acting and HD audio turns this 2D tile based cult classic into something quite interesting.
Review copy courtesy of XSEED games