Developer: Team GrisGris
Publisher: Xseed Games
Genre: Horror Adventure
Release Date: December 14, 2011
Corpse Party was not originally a PSP title, in fact this game was originally developed using RPG Maker Software that was released in 1996 for PC-9801 (basically a 16 bit microcomputer that was released in Japan) with a remake for Windows PC in 1998. The Windows remake was ported to the PSP mid 2010 in Japan then North America late 2011. The remake not only included improved graphics, but 4 additional characters which also meant more game play and story which is always a good thing when looking for a longer game. Overall, this is the much improved version of Corpse Party.
In Corpse Party you're a student of Kisaragi Academy but specifically you're part of a class consisting of high school students that just love to tell a good horror story in the dark, at night when all children really should be in the safety of their homes watching some anime while eating dinner. It's OK though because tonight is special... or should I say sad. One of your fellow students is transferring to a new school so this is your final chance to make some creepy memories with her. One of the best way to make memories is to not only tell ghost stories, but take photos try out a nifty paper charm that involves a doll and repeating a set of words a specific amount of time. Nothing can go wrong, right? ...right? I'm right aren't I....
Considering Corpse Party is a doujin soft game consisting of exploration elements, the graphics are not too shabby. Also taking into consideration this game is a port of a 1996 computer game you can't expect graphics that compete with today's games simply because the technology was not around at the time, but I digress.
Corpse Party consists of what I consider around 4 types of graphics- 2 kinds of background, character, and sprite. The character graphics could also be called illustrations. These do move at certain moments but the character graphics themselves do not have lip flap movement while the sprite graphics do.
Backgrounds consist of either what I'm going to call sprite backgrounds (these come into play during most of the game) or illustration backgrounds. Sprite backgrounds in this game are actually really detailed. Walls are made up of multiple shadows, blood stains, flickering lights and more. I was thoroughly impressed that each class room, even the specialty ones, didn't seem like they were copy and pasted from a base model. This is a major plus due to the fact that Corpse Party has exploration elements. I would have been thoroughly frustrated if most of the rooms looked too similar as this would cause me to think I've been in a room when I really haven't or even when looking for a specific room having next to no distinguishing features would have made exploration take a lot longer than it should. The illustration graphics in this game are honestly nothing special. If you've played any remotely good visual novel or doujin soft game you know most of these illustration backgrounds are Photoshopped pictures taken from real life classrooms, pools, storage rooms and more. At least they aren't bad.
The sprite graphics are almost as impressive as the sprite backgrounds. I've never seen sprites as detailed as the ones in this game. They are so detailed there's an actual lip flap and clothing movement! These were nice touches that kept my eyes from getting bored. A good chunk of the game play involves these sprites, so having this much detail was a nice breath of fresh air. The character illustrations like the background ones aren't anything special. If you've played a visual novel or doujin soft game you know what to expect- nice designs, consistent coloring and minimal movement. Each character has a few poses they take during dialogue and narration scenes but beyond this the character illustrations do not do much.
Normally with doujin soft and visual novel type games I'd be quick to say this part of making a review is where the game would be lacking, but in Corpse Party's case I'd have to say music is one of the games strong points. The main theme may have been a bit repetitive, but I felt no need to rip my ear drums out in frustration and actually felt the repetitiveness helped with the "you better hurry and find out what's going on" factor of this game. Also, different areas have different theme music such as the music room.
Corpse Party is unique compared to other horror doujin soft games I've played because it combines exploration with a ton of reading. Let's break this part into two considering the game honestly relies on two main game play elements- choosing an option after reading a bunch of text and finding items, specific rooms, doing things in a certain order plus more. Basically reading or exploration.
Reading: Being a doujin soft game, you'll have to do a lot of reading. Often times amongst chunks of text you'll have a few questions you can ask that will either progress the story in a positive or a negative direction sometimes even ending in a "dead end" where the story can't progress anymore because you've ended up being killed.
Exploration: Exploration is a huge chunk of game play that progresses the story or leaves you wondering around for long periods of time. Lots of times there are specific items you'll need to find before being able to progress to a different part of a building, or even in a room. One of the most frustrating parts of this game was being in a room trying to run away from a ghost in a specific pattern while grabbing an item. This didn't happen often, but when I had to grab something while running from a ghost I found the game got increasingly harder than it was before.
The game play is also broken down through different groups of people (you get separated after a certain event)... I can't say much though because a lot of the reasons behind this actually turns into a spoiler for the games story.
Being a doujin soft game, Corpse Party has multiple endings- 27 in fact. 3 of these are "good" while 24 are "bad" endings that consist of you not being able to progress further into the story. Due to this, playing this game once really isn't an option. For one, you're pretty much guaranteed to get a bad ending your first time through. I myself got about 15 before getting a good end (then again, I was aiming for getting every ending so I made bad choices on purpose).
The only real downfall Corpse Party has is the level of difficulty isn't consistent. I found beginning levels to be harder than middle ones and then was thrown for a loop at the last few challenges as they were much harder than anything in the game to a degree that I ended up having to put the game down to take a break from playing. Saving is a must anytime you can because of this, and due to the multiple endings you'll want to save often so that if you make a mistake you can go back to a save point rather than the beginning of a chapter.
Overall, being a doujin soft game Corpse Party is a really enjoyable experience. though it is very short. Each main chapter (there are 5) only takes about 2-3 hours to complete which is very speedy since most games of it's type that I've played I can easily clock 25+ hours. There are 10 EX or extra chapters but the length of those vary.