It’s the end of the school festival and a group of teenagers decide to stop to tell a legend about Heavenly Host Elementary School, which was closed down after years of unexplained disappearances. A friendship ritual called the “Sachiko Ritual” later and these teens, along with their homeroom teacher, get taken into Heavenly Host where they must find each other and escape or die.
Corpse Party was originally created by Team GrisGris on RPG Maker in Japan in 1996 for the PC-9801. It was rereleased for PSP in Japan years later and is now available for download on Playstation Network.
Though only ten hours long, Corpse Party’s story is genuinely creepy and disturbing and worth every minute. The school is dilapidated with broken floors, dead bodies of other students all over the place and sneaky music. Not to mention what happens to the characters is enough to give you nightmares for a few days. The Japanese voice acting fits perfectly with the setting and the screams from the characters may be too much for some players to handle.
In fact, there may be times where you’ll find yourself crying over the death of a character. It’s that effective.
Fair warning: there are plenty of “wrong ends” (bad endings) in this game, so it’s best to save often. Though these wrong ends are worth checking out because they are some of the most disturbing images you’ll see in a video game. Ranging from being buried alive, having your tongue ripped out, to finding out you’ve been eating your friend, they feel ripped out of an episode of the Twilight Zone.
As a light novel game, some players may be turned off by simple puzzles and lack of any other gameplay options. As noted, it is a light novel, which means it is text heavy and should be approached as if it was a novel. The 16-bit style graphics will also turn off some players but this style only adds to the charm and creepiness of the experience.
There isn’t much in the way of extra content in Corpse Party. There are corpses that have student IDs [which you can collect to find how they die and many of these deaths] are gruesome in their own right. The other is Extra Chapters, which consists of short side chapters where we get some extra background information on each character. They’re nice enough if you’re interested in knowing a little more about the characters and can be opened by seeing the bad endings.
Despite some shortcomings, “Corpse Party” offers a short but fruitfully horrific story that’s worth every minute. Plug your headphones into your PSP, turn down the lights and get ready to get freaked out by ghost children without tongues.