Happy Halloween everyone.
Corpse Party – Tortured Souls is a series I have seen multiple times. I even reviewed the four episode OVA. For the longest time, something kept drawing me back to this story. Each time I made a return, I always came away with three opinions:
- It was violent.
- It was gory.
- It sucked.
I do not like Corpse Party – Tortured Souls. It is a pitiful attempt at horror that tries to replace scares with blood. More than that, it was an unfortunate waste of an interesting premise, solid animation, and a talented voice cast. Having now done my official review of the series, I doubt I will ever find the urge to go back to the anime ever again.
Be that as it may, and perhaps against my better judgment, I’m still not quite ready to give up on Corpse Party yet. Deep down, part of me wants to believe there is a reason behind this franchise’s cult status beyond its sheer brutality. Nevertheless, I can’t find what I am looking for in the anime adaptation. I must look elsewhere.
To find the answers I seek, I must change gears and change mediums.
It’s time I look at Corpse Party’s video game roots.
To give a bit of background, Corpse Party was a survival horror game created by Makoto Kedion. The first entry in the series was released on computers in 1996. Since then, Corpse Party has spawned several remakes and sequels. These subsequent installments saw releases on platforms such as PC, the PlayStation Vita, the Nintendo 3DS, and iOS.
Along with video games and the infamous anime, Corpse Party has also inspired manga, as well as two live-action films.
I won’t promise I will ever get around to reviewing anything else from this franchise.
For the purposes of this post, I will be playing Corpse Party – Blood Covered; the 2008 remake of the original game on PC.
To test my fate: What’s the worst that can happen?
At the time of me writing this section, I had not played the game. With that said, the following are my impressions of Corpse Party – Blood Covered:
***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Corpse Party – Blood Covered. Reader discretion is advised.***
Corpse Party – Blood Covered was good, and the anime adaptation it got was a goddamn joke. I didn’t think it was possible, but I dislike Corpse Party – Tortured Souls even more now.
I want to start by saying: I enjoyed this game. But before I go on, here’s a quick rundown of my gripes with it:
- Puzzle mechanics were reused too often.
- Chase sequences were laughably easy.
- In-game hints were often needlessly complicated.
- Spamming the search button was sometimes more efficient than actually trying to solve a riddle.
- Finding objects was a headache because you had to be exceedingly precise.
The previous problem then became super annoying when a timer was added, and one mistake ate away a butt ton of seconds. Except making a mistake was very likely since you were basically blind guessing. Therefore you would fail. Thus you would need to do the same section all over again and get through the dialogue, pre-searching, and forced time wasters FIVE TIMES.
F@&$ THIS POOL SEGMENT!
This game was not without its flaws. Despite that, things were never impossible. It didn’t take long to adjust to Blood Covered’s intricacies.
In the beginning, I said I wanted to learn why the Corpse Party franchise has managed to gain a following. A few minutes into Blood Covered, and I started to get it. Then once it was over — having earned the True Ending on my first-ish attempt I’ll have you know — I, at last, understood.
Apparently, there is a lot more to Corpse Party than violence and gore.
Granted, that isn’t to say Blood Covered was filled with sunshine and rainbows. Don’t go fooling yourself. This game was dark, deranged, and menacing.
In fact, I would argue that Blood Covered was more brutal than Tortured Souls.
One of the positive points of the show was its animation. You could see every ounce of gruesomeness. It is, no doubt, one of the bloodiest anime I have seen.
Blood Covered, on the other hand, only had pixelated sprites. It looked great for what it was, but it inherently lacked the fine detail of a fully-animated sequence.
Nevertheless, it was Blood Covered, not Tortured Souls, that made me squirm. The anime relied on shock value alone. The game, instead, went with building an eerie atmosphere and developing characters that were more than cannon fodder.
Regarding the atmosphere: There were moments in Blood Covered that scared me. That was something Corpse Party had never done before.
This game had a ton of buildup. You could never guess when the tension was going to break.
Not only that, this rendition of Heavenly Host Elementary School was far creepier. There were many places I didn’t feel safe exploring. My worst — by which I mean my favorite — was the second wing. The lightning effects in that area did their job.
Everything was grosser, more vial, and more dilapidated. In the anime, Heavenly Host was a rundown school. In the game, this place was freaking haunted.
Regarding the characters: Corpse Party – Tortured Souls can suck my ass. The anime screwed this cast up much worse than I had initially given it credit for.
The people seen in Tortured Souls existed to die. They were empty shells. There was no reason to care about their safety and well-being. Moreover, they were morons who often failed to grasp the true perilousness of the situation they found themselves in. Whenever any of them met their end — no matter how graphic it was — I never once batted an eye.
Supposedly, the characters from Blood Covered were the show’s inspirations. Bull crap. Satoshi, Naomi, Yuka, Ayumi, Yoshiki, and the rest from this game were not the jackasses seen in Tortured Souls.
I will admit, Blood Covered’s characters were partially more likable because you, the player, had a lot of control over not making dumb choices. More than that, though, this game’s story took the time to get to know everyone; something the anime completely neglected to do.
By the way, this had nothing to do with time constraints. To be fair, the anime could have greatly benefited from being a full-length series. Even still, Tortured Souls had no respect for these characters.
As an example: In both the game and the anime, there was a character who was absent throughout most of the story. They then showed up at the end only to be instantly killed.
When this happened in the anime, this character felt pointless. Their death was cheap, as well as oddly tame given the show’s standards.
In the game, this character’s death was bloodless. However, it was also a hundred-times more tragic because this character died in a way that complimented the personality that had been previously established.
I believe Corpse Party – Tortured Souls could have been good. After all, it was based off something that was. Unfortunately, the anime decided to focus on a side of this franchise it mistakenly thought was the reason why people were fans of the series.
Speaking from what I saw, the reason people liked Corpse Party was because it was the horrifying tale of a group of close friends who had to escape a dangerous hellhole that was ready to kill them at any moment. Yes, some of these characters died, and some of them died in nightmarish ways. However, their cause of death was secondary. What mattered was the suffering and anguish felt by the survivors.
Heavenly Host Elementary School didn’t kill people. It drove those who entered its halls to the brink of insanity. Death didn’t become the only option. It became the better option.
What were my impressions of Corpse Party – Blood Covered? Don’t waste your time with an in-name-only horror anime. Grab your headphones, turn off the lights, and see if you can survive.
But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you played this game? If so, what you’re your impressions of Corpse Party – Blood Covered? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.
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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.
Post Editor: Onions