Corpse Party (2021) – Destructoid

Who would have guessed irregularly distributed phrase could be so scary

My first experience with Funeral was apparently back in 2011 on PSP. I want to swear, it was a few years earlier, but I’m mistaken. It made me so nervous that I do not think I got through the first chapter. But here I am, impenetrable for fear of horror games, and with a new remaster, it’s time to return to Heavenly Host Elementary School and unravel its mystery.

This is basically the game’s millionth remaster, give or take a few hundred thousand. Funeral was originally made in RPG Maker back ’96. In 2006, they tried to turn it into a mobile, but when it stopped, it was turned into a PC in 2008. The remake completely reviewed the game’s history and structure, and that’s how it’s been presented ever since. An improved version was then released in 2010 for PSP and iOS, then again in 2016 for 3DS, which brings us here.

This is technically just a port of the 3DS version, Corpse Party Blood covered:… Repeated fears with a little extra on. What you get out of this release is going to depend on whether you have played one of the previous versions and how much you like voice acting.

The corpse skeleton

Funeral (Contact [Reviewed], PC, PS4)
Developer: Team GrisGris, MAGES
Publisher: Xseed Games, Marvelous USA Inc
Published: October 20, 2021
MSRP:: $ 19.99

The crazy teenagers; interferes in the occult again. The story goes that eight children and a teacher come together to tell ghost stories after school. They love their friend who is moving away and they decide to try the Sachiko Ever After charm that one of the girls read about online. They screw it all together and end up trapped in the dilapidated remnants of Heavenly Host Elementary School.

Heavenly Host was shut down decades before, after a gruesome murder was revealed, followed by vicious rumors and further tragedies. It was subsequently torn down, but here are these nine unhappy young people themselves.

It’s kind of Quiet hill situation. The locality of this horror story is the general antagonist. Students from all over the world have made the same mistake and have been sucked into an educational hell. Eventually, they have either starved, succumbed to insanity and killed themselves or killed each other. There is also a chance that they ran into one of the many tortured spirits roaming the crumbling halls. Good times.

Funeral is divided into five regular chapters (and about a million extra). The goal of the game is to get through each of them without hitting a bad finish, which usually involves someone dying when they should not. The fifth chapter is its own beast, but we come to it.

The gameplay jumps from character to character as they try to figure out how to escape the dilapidated school with their lives. It’s something between an adventure game and a visual novel, despite the fact that it was originally made into RPG Maker. There is quite a bit of dialogue, sometimes just presented on a black screen, and other times over an illustration. The actual gameplay parts essentially make you just cross the school and try to find out what will trigger the next event. It’s certainly narratively focused, but it was the exploration in between that made me so terrified the first time I played it, aided by a disturbing soundtrack.

Corpse dialogue

The narrative is generally entertaining. Funeral makes a decent way to set up the characters, their despair and the school background. Little by little, it gives you information and misleading about what’s going on before it loses a dragon’s horde of information about you in the last chapter. At the same time, it is reasonably fast-paced and well-told.

The biggest problem I had was the last chapter. Previous chapters could only be completed in a single way, every other way is a bad ending, and you cannot proceed to the next chapter until you are successful. However, there are several endings and this is where the finale comes in.

The finale is like trying to follow a partner’s dance steps without the opportunity to predict what’s coming next. If you want the best ending, you will play this part over and over again. I once derailed things in a bad direction because I triggered a cutscene before picking up an object. Reversing the order triggers a completely different cutscene, almost arbitrarily. It continues like this where you have to figure out exactly what the game wants from you without any indication that anything you are doing is wrong.

Lig Party Pooper

The story itself has problems, but nothing serious. For the most part, I was somewhat bothered by its obvious descriptions of bodily functions. I understand there is a gruesome death everywhere in this game and I should not be bothered. All pops. It’s the way it’s presented that bothers me. One of the characters describes having “bloody BM.” Do you mean that there is blood in your stool? You sound like a mother telling the school why her child will not attend that day. Another spirit writes about the way she died, and will certainly include that she soiled herself and that it was embarrassing. Okay, so you want to include it in your own autopsy? It often brings the body’s process of emptying its intestines up after death.

The language choice is rather strange, which may be a problem with the translation, and not the writing itself. But I could not get past the idea that dialogue fetishizes these human processes. This is made more annoying by the fact that there are multiple pantyhose shots of the minor female protagonists more than once. Listen, I’ve said it before, I do not care what your search history looks like. I just do not want you to show me that.

There is also the voice acting, which I find unnecessary. Not because it’s entirely in Japanese, and I’m not fluent enough to understand it, but because a large part of it just screams and grunts. Much of that. Funeral user a lot time screams at you. Suitable for a horror game, I suppose it’s just a little … a lot.

Gross

The accessories that come with this port of Funeral is not that exciting. There are a few extra side chapters, and others that were added to the 3DS version have got voiceovers that I, as I said, were not great at first.

With all that said, I can clearly see why Funeral is a cult classic. It’s a gloomy, oppressive horror game that sinks you into the hell it’s built. It presents a thick, sticky mystery to wade through and presents it with panache. It may not be the most essential remaster of a game, but the same eerie tale of hopelessness is still present. I just wish it would keep its obvious fascination with human excrement to itself.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]

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