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Corpse Party Review

Corpse Party Review

The release of the PlayStation Vita is fast approaching early next year and despite the advent of its successor, the PSP still has a number of titles being pumped out the pipeline. Enter XSEED Games' Corpse Party, a retro SNES-style title featuring old school visuals and gameplay. It's something of a step away from the PSP's original intent of enabling gamers to experience graphically-intense games on-the-go and, at first glance, isn't something you would expect from the aging handheld. However, looks can be quite deceiving.

Corpse Party's origin dates back to 1996 when doujin soft developer Team GrisGris released the game for the Japanese-exclusive PC-9801. Being developed with the RPG Maker software, it featured a very traditional RPG-like visual presentation and movement, albeit with a lack of RPG-style gameplay mechanics save for a surprise RPG-like final boss battle at the end of the game (which didn't carry over into the title's later remakes). These features stayed with the later PC and following PSP ports but were met with improvements in the graphics, voice overs and the sound effects utilized in the game while at the same time keeping the core gameplay focus of the original intact.

From the outset Corpse Party seems like your typically Japanese-style game. Your typical anime stereotypes are all present here: the kind-but-shy male, the short-haired tomboy, the hyper "genki" girl, the serious glasses-wearing male, the young and beautiful female teacher, the younger sister --- the list keeps going on. The story opens up in the local school with one of the group's friends, Mayu, having to move to another town because their father got another job far away, causing another member of the group, Ayumi, to suggest performing the "Sachiko Ever After" charm ritual that she found on a local occult site via the Internet. By making a wish to the spirit of the paper doll it's said that group of friends that perform it will be friends forever no matter what happens. So each member of the group takes a section of the doll in their hands, chants the incantation the required number of times according to the instructions and breaks off their own piece of the doll.

Of course, this would make for an incredibly dull video game, so all hell breaks loose right after the ritual is performed. A massive earthquake hits the school and the very fabric of the room begins to break apart as the floor disintegrates before their very eyes as each and every one of them fall into the darkened abyss. And thus begins the story of Corpse Party as the various characters find themselves separated from the others in their group in a strange and decaying school building that eerily resembles an ominous building known as the Heavenly Host Elementary School, which was the host of a horrible and strange murder scene and was supposed to have been closed up and kept hidden underneath the school from which the group hails.

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