I’m going to make these posts a bimonthly feature. They’ll go up every other Sunday, to fit with CIB Sunday on Twitter. CIB stands for complete-in-box, and it’s commonly used to describe video games. If a game includes the cartridge, case, instruction booklet, and everything else it originally came with, it is considered to be CIB.
With one of their own soon moving away, a group of friends tries an occult charm in the hopes that it’ll keep them together forever. However, the ritual goes awry and the group soon finds themselves trapped in a cursed elementary school haunted by vengeful spirits. Among otherworldly horrors, unimaginable nightmares, and even malicious classmates, the friends must try to solve the school’s dark mysteries and make it back home. But, will any of them survive?
Corpse Party is a series I’d heard about for a long time, being a big fan of horror video games. However, the games were only available on Steam and PS Vita for a long time, and I didn’t have access to either back then. A few years ago, I was browsing 3DS video games on Amazon, when I saw that a remake of the original Corpse Party was available for pre-order. Since I’d heard such great things about the series, my interest was immediately piqued. I ended up being gifted the game that same year for Christmas, and of course, started playing it right away.
Did it live up to all the hype, though? I certainly think so. There are several key reasons why the game is so good, a few of which I’ll be going over in this post. Read on to find out more!
First, Corpse Party is excellent at establishing and maintaining a suitable atmosphere. The school is dim and dilapidated, with floor planks missing, blood splattered throughout empty halls, and barely any human life to be found. Fantastic sound design also helps set a spooky mood, including eerie ambient noise and unearthly wailing in the distance. These factors contribute to the feeling that you’re never quite safe and always have to be on edge, no matter where you are or what you’re doing. Additionally, there is a lasting sense of dread throughout the game, due in part to the aforementioned aspects, and the fact that you can very easily lose characters. As you can probably imagine, this keeps the game incredibly tense and terrifying through its entire runtime.
Secondly, this game is unflinching in both its bleakness and brutality. Of course, this won’t appeal to all players, but I feel that Corpse Party really embraces its dark subject matter and uses it quite effectively. Aside from brief instances of humor here and there, it’s very much a serious, mature game. As suggested by the title, Corpse Party doesn’t shy away from violence and graphic depictions of it. Although those depictions are mainly just text, they’re frighteningly visceral and disturbing, which fits well with the environment the students are in.
The game never lets you forget that it’s primarily rooted in classic, slasher-like horror and sticks close to that distinct style. If you let your guard down at any time, it’s fairly likely you’ll lose a character or at least meet a gruesome fate in one of the game’s many Wrong Ends. Stuck in an abandoned elementary school haunted by murderous spirits, and where death lurks around every corner, this type of dismal tone matches perfectly with the writing and atmosphere.
Furthermore, the story of Corpse Party is one that’s somewhat predictable, but also entertaining to experience. It definitely has some commonly used tropes, but they’re presented in a way that’s refreshing and unique. I found myself genuinely interested in finding out more about the school’s history and past occupants, along with unraveling each mystery lurking within the school. As you learn more about what transpired in the past, everything starts to come together and make sense. You may not agree with their actions, but you understand why the spirits are as restless and angry as they are; they had definite reasons for changing and becoming what they are in the present timeline of the game. I’d say this is a wonderful use of story and characterization.
Last, but certainly not least, Corpse Party has a wide array of endings that add to the replayability value and overall lore. Some video games with multiple endings have conclusions that barely differ from one another, whereas this title features many unique, differential endings to the story. There’s a huge selection of endings to discover, ranging from the True Ending to countless Wrong Ends that result in a ‘Game Over’ state. Even the Wrong Ends have good variety to them and can be triggered by any number of actions, sometimes just by examining a specific item. All of the main endings are original and satisfying in their own way, even if most of them aren’t all that positive. Each conclusion truly feels worthwhile to work towards and eventually achieve.
Overall, Corpse Party is a video game that won’t appeal to all players, but will really capture those who are invested in it. It’s widely regarded as an amazing series, and with good reason, too. Because of its suitably creepy atmosphere, unwavering bleak tone, wildly entertaining story, and large amount of varied endings, Corpse Party is a video game that not only lives up to its genre, but exceeds many other games in it. So, what are you waiting for? If you haven’t played this classic yet, then give it a try and see if you can survive the horrors of elementary school.
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