Corpse Party was a doujin game originally released back on the PC-9801 in 1996 by Team GrisGris with a variant of RPG Maker. It was then remade years later in 2008 as Corpse Party: Blood Covered for Windows, with that version getting an enhanced port for the PSP called Corpse Party Blood Covered: Repeated Fear in 2010. This version then ported to iOS, with the following 3DS version featuring more content. This new Steam version of Corpse Party is more or less the Windows version from 2008, with a few extra features not present in even the 3DS version.
Corpse Party is about a group of high-schoolers who are having a farewell party for one of their friends, who is moving and transferring to a new school. During this party, they do a charm that they believe will have them remain friends forever. To crush that belief, they are whisked away to a nexus, which is a nightmarish version of an elementary school called Heavenly Host, where they are split up into several different but similar dimensions. Now they need to find each other and escape this malevelent dimensional hellscape, and avoid being consumed by darkness.
The game is setup like a top down 2D RPG much like it's PC-9801 origins, but there is no combat whatsoever. Instead, you wander around looking for clues and reading the fates of the unfortunate souls who came before your group. There are five chapters, owing to the original PC game's episodic release schedule, but there are some EX Chapters for some more background info on the game's cast.
Corpse Party's story and atmosphere were very creepy and unsettling, but the script was sometimes a bit off. Some characters would need to go to the bathroom, but they couldn't bring themselves to just go anywhere despite being in a school from hell. (Or there's Seiko's infamous 'butterin' up her pooper' line from the PSP's Western release!)
The PSP version in particular also had extra voice acting and new art to flesh out the characters and story. Since this version is based on the Windows release, the character art is definitely not up to par with the various Repeated Fear ports. The game does have a better dialog box with a neat looking animation, though, compared to the bland blue boxes from Repeated Fear.
There are some things that the Steam version does that the other versions don't do that are worth noting, however. There is now a fast-forward text button to zip through previously viewed dialog. This is especially helpful in Chapter Five, as there are quite a few bad endings to get, and Chapter Five in particular has an ending that requires you to play through a majority of it before getting the ending. Doing the correct path means replaying the entire chapter differently, so being able to speed through the text without mashing X is a godsend.
The other addition is a new EX Chapter that is a recreation of the 'Tooth Chapter' from the follow-up visual novel game, Book of Shadows. However, without the better artwork and extra scenes to help flesh out the story, players will have to use their imaginations a bit more as much of what goes on in the game is described in text anyway. This might make the game creepier for some, but more visual people might not appreciate this change.
At the end of the day, Corpse Party for PC is a good game, but the lack of content might make getting the PSP or upcoming 3DS release a better preposition. Although if you are really strapped for cash or want to play the Steam version for historical curiosity, by all means pay the cheap $15 price tag. Just make sure you play any version of this game with headphones to take advantage of the binaural sound system.
The Good: The fast forward feature is much appreciated.
The Bad: Missing extra scenes and voice acting from the PSP version.
The Ugly: Character Sprites aren't as good as the PSP or upcoming 3DS versions.
SUMMARY: For those who haven't picked up the PSP Version and don't have one, this version of Corpse Party is pretty much your only option. It's missing features that were added into later versions, so it's harder to recommend. However it's also cheaper and has a fast-forward option. This PC port exists mainly for historical curiosity.
Review code provided by Marc Bianshi of XSEED Games