My consoles however are mostly covered in dust since I've been focusing more on handhelds for many many reasons. Mostly because there are some really great games on them.
Contrary to my nature I've found myself playing "horror" games. This is actually beyond contrary because I'm a giant wuss who gets scared quite easily. (I quit Dead Space at chapter 2 cause it was freaking me out too badly)
So I started with Corpse Party. I had heard it was pretty scary but when I started playing it what I saw were cute little chibi sprites. I actually laughed a little. How could this possibly be scary?
Well, not the first time I've been wrong about something. That game scared the bejesus out of me. The main thing that had me freaking out was the sound. Playing this with headphones on and the amazingly done binaural sound...its an experience.
I promise not to spoil the game for y'all but I'll give you a quick summary in case you've never heard of the game.
Corpse Party started off as a PC game made with RPGMaker and has kind of picked up a cult following. There are multiple fan made PC games which you can find here: http://www.memoriesoffear.com/games.html Including a remake of the original game. After finishing Repeated Fear (the PSP remake) I did start Corpse Party Rebuilt on PC but, I kind of missed the newer additions to the game and therefore kinda drifted off to play other things. But, I digress.
This summary will be based on the PSP version of the game that includes a few characters that were non-existent in the original and a slightly different background story.
|They have no idea the mind fuck they're about to experience|
The premise of the game is that you are a group of students from Kisaragi Academy who have gathered together after a school festival to clean up, tell ghost stories and say your goodbyes to a student who is transferring away. To cement your friendship you all participate in a chant called Sachiko Everafter which is supposed to guarantee your friendship for life and ensure you meet again. Instead it transports the students and a teacher to Heavenly Host Elementary School.
Heavenly Host Elementary school had been shut down and eventually torn down after a gruesome multiple murder had occurred on its grounds and eventually Kisaragi Academy was built on the grounds.
The students quickly find out that they aren't the first to end up there and that no one else has ever made it out. Your job is to find the others and find a way out of the haunted school while piecing together what happened there long ago.
|Kishinuma-kun was my personal favorite character|
& I spent half the game wanting to slap the hell out of Ayumi
Once I started, I could not put the game down...I also freely admit I slept with the lights on. Its hard to describe...its not that the game is really..scary...I mean it is but...
Ok, see the sprites aren't scary of course, but the cut to some gory CG images, the sounds, the text, the atmosphere...it does get to you and it stays with you long after you turn the game off. I swear I was hearing some creepy ghost bitch saying "SACHI...." for about a week after i stopped playing every time I turned the lights out, lol.
The game is told from the perspective of each of the different characters by jumping back and forth between their situations and so you become emotionally invested in everyone pretty much equally, though I do have my favorites. Seiko, who was not in the original game, is absolutely hysterical. Seriously, I'm gonna be quoting her forever. She adds some much needed levity to the game. I wish I could say the same for her partner Naomi who plays a very big part in the game and who I never really connected with me, but maybe I'm biased due to other things going on in the back story.
|If I had to be stuck in a haunted school with someone|
she would be my first choice.
While the game is slated as a "Survival Horror Adventure" its more Adventure than anything else. What I mean is if you're looking for action...look somewhere else. There are a few frustrating (well frustrating to me because I tend to panic) chases but thats pretty much as intense as the "gameplay" gets. its mostly dialogue (which is voiced in its original Japanese and incredibly well done) with some light puzzles scattered about.
If I have to say anything negative about the game it would be that some of the "wrong ends" you can get seem out of left field. In a game where exploring everything, looking at everything is crucial it seems unfair that if I look at the wrong thing I can end up dead suddenly. Some puzzles could do with being a bit more intuitive. But other than that, I loved every moment I spent in Heavenly Host elementary...even if I did cry a few times.
But the fun didn't end there....
There's a sequel! Corpse Party Book of Shadows!
Book of Shadows covered is a bit different from its predecessor. Its told in 8 separate vignettes and its also first person. BoS is a weird one...A lot of the chapters are "What If" situations. You replay key moments in the first game but by making different choices you can explore a different outcome. Other Chapters deal with backstories and expanding on the stories of characters you came across briefly in the first game. Should you manage to get through all of the good endings to these chapters you unlock the 8th and final chapter Blood Drive which sets you up for the upcoming sequel of the same name. I wish I could tell you more about it since its an utterly twisted and jaw dropping experience but, I don't wanna spoil it.
|How I felt while playing Corpse Party|
I enjoyed the story a lot in Book of Shadows but I don't know that I liked the first person thing too much. It felt claustrophobic, which i guess is good for a game of this nature but it also felt a bit limited. There is much less exploration in this game given the first person view and the way the chapters are set up and the overmap you use to navigate your character is a bit...awkward... but its still well worth the time and money and I'm looking forward to Blood Drive impatiently.