Who would have guessed that the irregularly spaced composition could be so terrifying
My first experience with Corpse Day was, apparently, back in 2011 on the PSP. I would swear it was a few years earlier, but I guess I’m wrong. It pissed me off so much that I don’t think I passed the first chapter. But here I am, oblivious to the fear of horror games, and with a new remaster, it’s time to go back to Heavenly Host Elementary School and unravel its mystery.
This is essentially the millionth remaster of the game, close to a few hundred thousand. Corpse Day was originally made in RPG Creator back ’96. In 2006 they tried to remake it for mobile, but when that failed it was remade for PC in 2008. The remake completely overhauled the story and structure of the game, which is how it was. presented since. An upgraded version was then released in 2010 for PSP and iOS, and then again in 2016 for 3DS, which brings us here.
It’s technically just a port of the 3DS version, Corpse Party Blood Covered:… Repeated Fear with some added extras. What you get from this version will depend on whether or not you played any of the previous versions and how much you like the dubbing.
Corpse Day (Switch [Reviewed], PC, PS4)
Developer: Team GrisGris, MAGES
Editor: Xseed Games, Marvelous USA Inc
Released: October 20, 2021
MSRP:: $ 19.99
These crazy teens; to meddle again with occultism. The story goes that eight children and a teacher get together to tell ghost stories after school. They see their friend who is transferred and decide to try out the Sachiko Ever After charm which one of the girls has read online. They screw it up and find themselves trapped in the decaying remains of Heavenly Host Elementary School.
Heavenly Host was shut down decades ago after a gruesome murder was discovered, followed by vicious rumors and new tragedies. It was then demolished, but here these nine unfortunate young people meet.
It’s kind of silent Hill situation. The place of this horror story is the general antagonist. Students everywhere made the same mistake and were dragged into educational hell. Little by little, either they are starving, they have succumbed to madness and committed suicide, or they have killed each other. It’s also possible that they’ll encounter one of the many tortured spirits that roam the crumbling hallways. Good time.
Corpse Day is divided into five regular chapters (and about a million additional chapters). The object of the game is to get through all of them without having a bad ending, which usually involves the death of a person when they are not supposed to. The fifth chapter is its own beast, but we’ll get to that.
The gameplay changes from character to character as they try to find a way to escape the decrepit school with their lives. It’s something between an adventure game and a visual novel, although it was originally made in RPG Creator. There is a lot of dialogue, sometimes just presented on a black screen, and other times in an illustration. The actual gameplay parts basically have you going around the school trying to figure out what will trigger the next event. It’s definitely storytelling focused, but it’s the investigation between the two that terrified me so much the first time I played it, helped by an unsettling soundtrack.
The story, in general, is entertaining. Corpse Day makes a decent way to set up the characters, their desperation, and the school context. Little by little, he gives you information and misinformation about what is going on before dropping a dragon’s horde of information on you in the last chapter. At the same time, it’s reasonably well paced and well told.
The biggest problem I had was with the last chapter. Previous chapters could only be completed one way, any other way is a bad ending, and you can’t move on to the next chapter until you pass. However, there are multiple endings, and this is where the finale comes in.
The finale is like trying to follow a partner’s dance steps with no way of predicting what’s to come. If you want to get the best ending, you will replay this part over and over again. I once derailed things in the wrong direction because I triggered a cutscene before picking up an item. Reversing the order triggers a completely different kinematics, almost arbitrarily. It goes on like this, you have to unravel exactly what the game wants from you without any indication that something you are doing is wrong.
The story itself has problems, but nothing serious. Most of the time, I was somewhat disturbed by his overt descriptions of bodily functions. I get it, there is a gruesome death all over this game, and I shouldn’t be disturbed. Everyone poops. It’s the way it’s presented that bothers me. One of the characters describes having “a bloody BM”. You mean there is blood in your stool? Looks like someone’s mom is telling school why her kid won’t be there that day. Another spirit is writing about how she died and will certainly understand that she got dirty and that was embarrassing. OK, so you want to include it in your autopsy? He frequently refers to the body’s process of emptying its bowels after death.
The choice of language is quite strange, which may be a problem with the translation, and not the writing itself. But I couldn’t get past the idea that dialogue fetishizes these human processes. This is made more awkward by the fact that there are several times several panties shots of the underage female protagonists. Look, I said it before, I don’t care what your search history looks like. I don’t want you to show it to me.
There is also the dubbing, which I find unnecessary. Not because it’s all in Japanese and I’m not fluent enough to understand it, but because much of it is just screaming and growling. A lot. Corpse Day spent a lot time yelling at you. Appropriate for a horror game, I guess, it’s just a little… a lot.
The extras that come with this port of Corpse Day are not that exciting. There are a few more subchapters, and others that have been added to the 3DS version have received voiceovers, which like I said I was not very good at initially.
With all of that said I can clearly see why Corpse Day is a cult classic. It’s a gloomy and oppressive horror game that plunges you into the hell he has built. It presents a thick and sticky mystery to wade through and presents it with panache. It might not be the most essential remaster of a game, but the same spooky story of desperation is still present. I just wish he kept his obvious fascination with human excrement to himself.
[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]