Date: 12-22-2011 07:55
Reviewer: MrDetective

Type: PSP
Genre: Survival Horror, RPG, Text Adventure
Developer: Team GrisGris, XSeed

History :

Corpse Party has a long and amazing history of development before it arrived on the PSP platform. First released for the PC in 1996 by Team GrisGris using RPG Maker, the game was successful and received mostly positive reception. Twelve years later, Team GrisGris decided to remake the game on PC with a new expanded plot, additional characters, and a few minor twists in graphics and gameplay along the way. After two more years, the game made its debut on the PSP handheld with vastly improved graphics, even though it still retain a similar story and character cast from the remake version. Once again, the remakes were a huge success and followed by two more sequels : Book Of Shadows and Blood Drive.

Not only that, there are currently three manga adaptations of the game : Corpse Party Musume follows the original version, while Corpse Party Blood Covered follows the PC and PSP remakes. The most recent is Corpse Party Another Child, which is unknown if it will follow upcoming game Corpse Party Blood Drive or not. In 2011, the PSP version finally found its ticket to North America under the localization of XSeed. Now that the game is available globally, let ‘s see how much it truly lives up to the creepy trailers and successes back in Japan.

Presentation :

Now, let me get this straight : This game is an absolutely amazing masterpiece ! When it comes to scaring people, the Japanese really know what they should do. The game has a cute anime styled graphic design, and the characters are displayed as 16-bit sprites. When a dialogue is spoken, all characters have their own artworks with different facial expressions depending on the situation, also in complete anime style. Don’t be fooled by the how the game first looks, however, you will constantly be creep out every single moment while playing.

Out of the three original versions, the PSP version has the best graphics and background designs. Everything is incredibly detailed, such as cracks on the floors and walls, or a decayed corpse, or a horrendous murder scene. When a certain character is hurt, the screen will be blinking in red to emphasize the attacks. Sometimes, as you bypass an area, the lights will disappear, leaving only a small portion covering your character and surprise you with something really scary ahead. The dark, flickering effects at the corners of your screen also contribute to the mysterious feelings as you wander around the haunted and badly damaged hallways of the school.

All these factors play an extremely important role in establishing the creepy atmosphere throughout the game. However, the atmosphere won’t be complete without the excellent music tracks, but we will get to that later. When a character is dead, a horrendous picture accompanied with texts will be displayed to tell you the exact details of him or her at the moments of death. This might not always be the case, sometimes the screen will completely black out with only the texts presented to let you further imagine how your character died.

Story :

Unlike the 1996 version which was released on PC, this PSP version featured a somewhat different storyline, supported with a few new characters. The plot starts out with seven students from Kisaragi High school who are telling ghost stories after a fun day at their school festival. As the story gets intense, their homeroom teacher arrived at the scene along with a student ‘s younger sister just in time to save a guy who is freaking out by the ghost story. After some brief conversations, it was then revealed that one of the students has to transfer to another school and today is her last day at Kisaragi. Saddened to see her go, the class rep persuaded everyone to perform a mysterious charm which she claimed to found on the internet from a reliable source.

Even though the opening storyline may seem quite innocent at first, things will quickly go horribly wrong in a matter of seconds. After performing the charm, a big earthquake occurred and the group found themselves unwillingly being transported to a haunted elementary school of another dimension. As all nine of them are separated, they must do whatever they can to reunite with each other and find a way to go back to their world. The task proved to be nearly impossible, since many blood-thirsty ghosts and traps are waiting for them to make a mistake and take their lives.

As each chapters pass by, the characters’ personalities will slowly grow bigger inside you and it won’t be too long until you eventually fall in love with at least one of them. Also, here ‘s a heads up : Just because you are trapped in a haunted school of the anime world, doesn’t mean you won’t need to use the restroom.

Gameplay :

Being a text adventure game, gameplay is not the main focus point of Corpse Party. Throughout the game, you will control different characters to explore the school and progress the storyline. You will have to go around the designed area, examine dead bodies, talk to ghosts, and solve a few puzzles along the way. Despite playing as an RPG game, there will be no actual battles encountered. Instead, you will sometimes get into chase scenes, which are moments when you have to escape a ghost before it can kill you. These chase scenes can be easy or hard depending on the situations and the player ‘s skills.

Although you won’t have to engage in any battles, your characters still have 30 HP in their statuses and this will serve a small role in a few special occasions. Since there are absolutely no hints given out at anytime, you will have to use common senses and information gathered from the story ‘s dialogues to determine where to go next. This can easily lead to those “Where am I suppose to go” moments as you wander endlessly around the school not knowing what to do. This may sound as a downfall of the game at first; however, I find it to be the opposite. The developer intentionally designed the game this way to make the players know the feeling of getting lost and hopelessness just as the characters they are controlling. If there was a hint system, it would decrease the surprise elements in game and make it less interesting.

By the way, just because this is a heavy story driven game, doesn’t mean you can just chill and read through the dialogues. You will usually have to choose one between two choices given during a dialogue occurs, and each decision you made will have a big impact on the storyline. Choosing a correct choice will advance the chapter to a true end, but a wrong choice will leads to a wrong end where your characters experience their gruesome deaths.

Another interesting aspect of the game is that although all the characters are trapped in the same school, they are actually separated in multiple closed spaces and can’t physically see each others. You might be controlling different characters going around the similar-looking areas, but they will never meet each other and the events that took place in one space can be seen before or after they occur in another space.

Once you finish the main storyline, the game isn’t over yet. You can go back and achieve many different endings by choosing a different choice than you made during the first play through. There are also ID tags retrieved from dead bodies that can be gained by choosing different paths and choices. Lastly, you can also play Extra Chapters to know more about the back story of Corpse Party before, during, or after the main characters arrived.

Music :

Now here comes the most important factor in establishing this game ‘s atmosphere. The music tracks are absolutely incredible and they really fit into the moods. Each chapter will have its own track which suits the current situation the characters are put in. They also rise on a sense or survival and urge you to complete whatever tasks necessary to get out alive.

I am not lying, every time I heard those tracks while playing, I felt very hyper for whatever reasons. Not only that, but some tracks will make you want to cry your heart out during an emotional event. The opening, ending theme songs, along with an inserted song at the end are among the best I have ever listened to in my life.

Sounds :

Just like the music tracks, the sound effects are also top-notch. The sounds of blood dripping, the cold wind, a cracked floor or a piece of wood being shattered, a door being opened or unlocked, and the screams of your characters at the verge of deaths are amazingly done. All of those combined with the intense music is already enough to make you shake in fears.

The voice acting was also done by an all-star cast from Japan. If you are a big fan of anime or Japanese media in general, you will notice many familiar voices from the game such as Satomi Arai, Rina Sato, Asami Imai and possibly the whole cast. The game features voice acting for every single piece of dialogue from the characters, including their thoughts. There is no English voice acting, however, since XSeed wanted to keep the experiences the same as the original Japanese version.

I definitely enjoyed the Japanese voices in this game, they all sound realistic and convincing for the situations. I would have no problem if the game used English voice acting that can match the original works, but I also won’t complain about hearing cute Japanese teenage girls screaming.

Summary :

In conclusion, Corpse Party is an absolutely amazing masterpiece. Yep, I just copy and paste my statement from the opening. It contains a gruesome but interesting storyline that I have never encountered from any other games I played before. The characters’ personalities are consistently well developed throughout the game. The cute artwork, incredible music, amazing voice acting, and the horrendous atmosphere the game always put you in really provide an intense experience that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Hm… Maybe I should correct that to “on the corner of your bed with a blanket covering you”.

I also appreciate the adequate amount of fan services presented at the right time and place. If you only have a PSP or just imported a Vita and are trying to look for a new game, this is a game you must check out.

Graphics : 10 / 10
Gameplay : 10 / 10
Story : 10 / 10
Music : 10 / 10
Sounds : 10 / 10

Final Score : 10 / 10 – Perfect !
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