Corpse Party is a top-down adventure horror game. Developed by Team GrisGris, and published here in North America by XSeed on the Nintendo 3DS, this iteration of the game – originally published in 1996 – is subtitled BloodCovered: …Repeated Fear. This version includes extra stories and characters, lending to longer playtimes. This version was originally published back in 2010 on the PlayStation Portable.
The story of Corpse Party follows a group of nine Japanese students who unsuspectingly commit a dark ritual and get sucked into an alternate reality that will test their will and their sanity. In each of the five chapters, you will play different characters as they find themselves in separate “closed spaces” as you the player attempt to unite the nine and escape this nightmare. In these kind of Japanese adventure games, there are some action elements, but mostly it is decisions you make – actions and in dialogue – that lead you either to finishing the chapter or directly to your death. These last situations are called Wrong Ends.
There are ways of advoiding the Wrong Ends, but they aren’t always apparent. Scraps of paper and sound cues are available, but they don’t always exactly point out where you went wrong. It’s as if the game had a particular recipe for the order in which the ingredients go into the pan, but the recipe is full of blanks and there are no measurements on it. This is not uncommon in these types of Japanese adventure games, but in the case of Corpse Party, it happens often enough to be a detriment.
Corpse Party really shines in way it utilizes its visual and audio cues to deliver a gruesome tale. And that is one thing I will give Corpse Party, it is brutal. The deaths are more than just gore, the game does its best to invoke a visceral reaction out of the player. It does this through a minimalistic approach of color, effects, and sound, using the player’s own imagination to fill in the gory details.
The problem with Corpse Party is that it feels dated. The original Corpse Party is now 20 years old and this re-re-make is from 2010, but there are other games that just do this better. Games like Danganropa and Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward, which take this concept and flesh it out to a greater degree are better in storytelling, as well as gameplay. Much too often during a playthrough of a chapter in Corpse Party, finishing was a relief rather than an impetus to keep playing.
Overall, Corpse Party on the Nintendo 3DS is not going to wow you with shiny graphics and inventive gameplay. It will take you on a suspenseful adventure, but there isn’t a lot there to keep you invested as a whole. Fans of the franchise will want to pick this up, although they did little with the 3D functionality of the 3DS. But unless you are really intrigued by the Japanese adventure genre, you can pass on Corpse Party.