Horror games have been getting a lot of attention in recent years, as it's a trend that's slowly becoming more popular not only in videogames, but also in movies and books. With an amusing horror story, Corpse Party is an experience that fans of the genre will enjoy. However, this Steam release isn't the game's first release. Corpse Party was originally released on PC in Japan way back in 1996, with game getting re-releases and sequels on other platforms. In addition, a 3DS version of Corpse Party is also currently in development and is expected to release soon.
The game starts at Kisaragi Academy on a stormy day. While a group of students are finishing their tasks at school, they start telling horror stories about a teacher who died in an elementary school several years ago. The group is later joined by their teacher and the younger sister of one of the students. However, things take a turn for the worse when an earthquake hits the school and the group is split from each other and teleported to alternate version of the school.
This alternate version is actually Heavenly Host Elementary, a school where several students were murdered decades before the events of the game. As you will soon realize, the school is haunted with evil spirits and deadly traps around every corner. Trapped in this hellish place, the students must find a way to leave the school before they are killed by the horrors of this place.
The gameplay focuses a lot on exploring the academy, finding items in order to progress and occasional puzzle solving. However, this doesn't mean the game doesn't provide any challenge, as you will also have to avoid deadly traps and run away from evil spirits that want to kill you.
There's also some RPG elements in the game as well, as some of your choices will have influence on the outcome of certain events. Despite this, aside from the last chapter, which features different endings depending on your actions in previous chapters, most your choices have an almost immediate effect. Your decisions are either wrong and result on your death, sometimes in really messed up ways, or correct and allow you to continue the story.
Although the gameplay is simple and straightforward, it's by no means a boring experience. The story, atmosphere and mystery are probably the game's strongest aspects and what surely will keep players playing the game until the end, especially if you are a fan of the genre. While these aspects of the game are strong, I found the soundtrack to be the "icing on the cake" as it sets the tone for each moment almost perfectly.
The game also excels when it comes the characters and their reactions toward this whole situation. Featuring five different chapters, the game has you in control of different set of characters throughout the first three chapters. This allows the story to show us how this place is messing up with the mind of each character. While they all try their best to remain positive and return home, you also see that some of them start to feel lost and hopeless in this situation, which results in them gradually lose their own sanity.
In addition to the five story chapters, the game also features a few short extra chapters where you get to learn more of other people that were previously sent to Heavenly Host Elementary, which is always a nice bonus from a story perspective. Overall, the game packs enough content to keep players occupied for 10-15 hours. Unfortunately, it's a shame that the Steam release of the game features slightly less content that the 2011's PSP version and no CG images.
From a presentation standpoint, the game remains faithful to the original release on PC with its 16-bit style and overhead perspective. Even with this visual style, the overall atmosphere of the game will still give you chills with the horrific deaths and pixelated ghosts. The experience is made even better with some great voice acting, and like I said before, an amazing soundtrack.
With its amazing story, soundtrack and simple gameplay system, Corpse Party is a survival horror game that is specially recommended to fans of the genre. While there's nothing new here for those that played the PSP version, in fact there's even less content, newcomers will find a fantastic and horrific experience that will put them on the edge in every moment.