Corpse Party is a Japanese survival horror adventure game that was first created for the PC-98 in 1996 but was later ported to mobile phones, the PC, PlayStation Portable and the Nintendo 3DS by Team GrisGris. The game follows a group of students, along with their teacher, that become trapped in a haunted elementary school after jokingly performing a ritual in their classroom during a rain storm. XSEED published the PSP edition of Corpse Party as a PSN exclusive title in the United States on November 22, 2011, followed by the PC and 3DS ports in 2016.
Corpse Party was originally a horror themed RPG for the PC-98 that was created by Makoto Kedouin and a composer named Mao Hamamoto in 1996 while they were still college students under the name KENIX SOFT. The title was made using TPG Tsukuru 98, the first entry in the RPG Maker series, and was submitted to the second annual ASCII Entertainment competition in 1997 where it won first place.
Team GrisGris, a doujin circle founded by the creators' of Corpse Party, later remade the title for mobile phones in 2007 under the title Corpse Party: New Chapter which removed all the game's RPG elements. New Chapter was to be released as five separate episodes but only four installments were ever finished before the game was ported to the PC as Corpse Party: Blood Covered in 2008, which was also released episodically from March 8, 2008 to July 28, 2011. Blood Covered contained several improvements over the mobile phone version including having larger maps, new character portraits, and voices done by amateur actors.
An enhanced port of Blood Covered was developed by Team GrisGris and 5pb for the PlayStation Portable in 2010 called Corpse Party Blood Covered:...Repeated Fear. The PSP port included redrawn artwork, a new professional voice cast and a fifth chapter (before it was released on the PC) that ended the story. This was the iteration of Corpse Party that XSEED localized in 2011, marking the first time the game had been published outside of Japan. Finally in 2015, another port of Corpse Party Blood Covered:...Repeated Fear was released on the Nintendo 3DS which added new character sprites, a remixed soundtrack and four bonus chapters written by the original creator.
Corpse Party has since spawned an entire franchise including Corpse Party: Book of Shadows along with many other spin-offs that were developed by 5pb and Team GrisGris. The story has also been adapted into several other media including manga, light novels, two anime OVAs and live-action films. A numbered sequel to Corpse Party, called Corpse Party 2: Dead Patient, is currently in development by Team GrisGris's new studio, Grindhouse, which began releasing episodically for the PC in 2013.
The game's main cast consists of seven senior high school students, their English teacher, and one junior high school student. They've been brought to an otherworldly school called Heavenly Host Elementary after performing a ritual called the 'Sachiko Ever After' charm.
Here their lives are threatened not only by those responsible for its existence, but also by the vengeful ghosts of previous victims. In an effort to survive the player will have to explore, choose dialogue options, solve puzzles, and escape enemies. Failure can lead, either immediately or eventually, to getting one of the game's many bad endings, which involve gruesome deaths.
The game starts on a rainy night following the day of the Kisaragi Academy cultural festival. Seven friends; Satoshi Mochida, Ayumi Shinozaki, Yoshiki Kishinuma, Mayu Suzumoto, Sakutaro Morishige, Naomi Nakashima and Seiko Shinohara, have stayed behind to hang out and tell ghost stories in their final gathering before their friend Mayu leaves for a new school the next day. Ayumi, the group's resident horror buff, tells ghost stories when they are interrupted by their teacher Ms Shishido Yui who seizes the opportunity to try and scare them. Joining her is Satoshi's sister, Yuka Mochida, who was on her way to the school to bring her brother his umbrella. As it is getting late the students are asked to go home. Before they leave Ayumi wants to try an occult ritual called the ‘Sachiko Ever After’ charm, so they can be friends forever. She states the ritual must be carried out precisely or it will fail. Unaware of the consequences the group perform the ritual by saying the incantation and tugging at a paper person that represents the spirit of Sachiko. The paper breaks into 9 pieces, one for each person and the incantation is repeated 9 times - once by each person. Upon finishing the ritual a violent earthquake begins to tear the school apart, and the group falls into the darkness below.
Naomi wakes up alone and soon finds Seiko. The two set off together to try and find the rest of their friends and find out where they are and what happened to them. As they explore they begin to find cryptic messages scratched into the walls, and notes left by supposed former students caked in blood. As they continue further they begin to find the bodies of students from high schools all across the country who seemingly have also been trapped and either died from starvation, exhaustion, have commit suicide or have been murdered. The gruesome scenes along with the possibility of eternal entrapment begin to put a strain on Naomi until she eventually lashes out at Seiko. Naomi’s outburst leads the two to split up, and once Seiko is out of her sight Naomi begins to panic and desperately begins trying to search for her.
As Naomi continues searching she ends up outside the girls toilets. She hears movement inside and goes in to investigate hoping to find Seiko. As Naomi approaches the toilet stalls one of the doors opens to reveal Seiko hanging from a noose. Naomi tries desperately to find a way to get her down she is too late and Seiko dies.
The chapter opens with another group; Ms Yui, Yoshiki and Ayumi. Ms Yui determines as the responsibility of the teacher it is her job to go and investigate and she leaves to try and find the rest of her students. During her search she is attacked by an evil spirit who pins her to the floor with a bookcase. Yoshiki and Ayumi begin to get worried when she doesn’t return and set out to find her. As more aftershocks rock the building new pathways open up herding the two through different parts of the school, revealing more cryptic messages and more bodies. While the two try to come to grips with the situation they begin to encounter the ghosts of more victims, including the ghosts of three children, who are revealed to be the victims of a bloody murder 30 years ago.
As they search they eventually find another friend, Mayu, who is being held prisoner by two ghosts. When they try to free her they are approached by an older student, Naho Saenoki, who Ayumi knows as the author of an occult website, the same site she learnt about the ‘Sachiko Ever After’ charm from. Naho tells them they need to find a way to show the ghosts repentance if they want to try and save their friend.
They eventually find a doll believed to have belonged to the children’s killer. When the doll is pieced back together it seems to show the remorse of the murderer and so they take the doll back to the ghosts. Upon showing the doll to the ghosts they become enraged and smash Mayu into a wall, killing her instantly. Ayumi is terrified and runs off leaving Yoshiki behind. He is then attacked from behind by a larger figure with a hammer and dragged away as the chapter ends.
Satoshi and his sister Yuka are shown in another part of the school. They learn that the school is broken into different dimensions so even though physically the building appears the same to all the people trapped within, they may not actually occupy the same space and thus cannot see or make contact with each other. Satoshi however is determined to somehow meet up with them and sets out with Yuka to find a way. Eventually they come across Morishige in the hallway where Mayu was killed by the ghosts in Chapter 2. Unaware that the remains are of one of their friends they continue their search separately to cover more ground. Further along they discover a previously sealed area of the school has opened up revealing a large hall leading into a second wing. Yuka interrupts the search needing to go to the toilet and so Satoshi takes her to the walkway between the two buildings so she can go outside. Although apprehensive she abides and steps outside quickly where she is confronted by the ghost of one of the murdered children. Running back inside she finds Satoshi is gone.
Searching for her brother she bumps into Morishige again who is standing over a fresh corpse taking photos. He pities her and offers to help find Satoshi. Yuka nervously declines, opting to find him herself, but Morishige insists and begins advancing upon her. Terrified, Yuka runs but before escaping the building she bumps into another student, Yuuya Kizami. Kizami claims he is looking for his little sister and offers to help her search for Satoshi. She agrees and the two begin searching. Whilse Yuka goes to the toilet Kizami is approached by Kensuke Kurosaki, a friend from his high school. Kurosaki tells him he’s found more of their friends dead but Kizami seems uninterested. Instead he pulls out a knife and stabs Kurosaki and kicks him through a hole in the floor.
Satoshi wakes up inside another unexplored part of the school where he is confronted by Naho who tells him the reason why the charm failed. She takes pleasure seeding the blame on one of his friends for intentionally sabotaging the ritual. Satoshi adamantly denies they would, telling her that he will continue his search. Naho warns him to hurry as someone important to him is in danger.
Satoshi wakes up back in the original building and sees an apparition of Naomi on the staircase to the upstairs toilets. Hearing voices he investigates and overhears a conversation coming from the toilet stalls. He interrupts and the conversation stops but as he turns to leave he hears a loud crack. He runs back to find Naomi hanging from a noose. He successfully gets her down in time and she joins him to try and find Yuka and the others.
Ayumi is alone after being separated from Yoshiki in Chapter 2. While she explores the school she meets Naho again and berates her for suggesting they try to appease the ghosts using the doll. Before she can continue she is reunited with Yoshiki who escaped from the hammer wielding killer. Naho reiterates that the spirits may need to be appeased individually. They also must find a way to quell the killer’s anger using the doll. The two set out again using the doll to find the tongues of the murdered children. After finding and returning each ghost’s tongue they are returned to the real world.
The hall to the second wing has mysteriously vanished so Satoshi and Naomi try to find an alternate way across. During their search they find a way into the custodian’s closet where they find a TV and an article written by Naho’s mentor, Kou Kibiki. In the article he details the lead up to the murders and the police investigation including the kidnapping and murder of the children whose spirits now wander the school. In the police report four children were kidnapped. Three were killed, two girls and one boy. The only survivor, Sachiko Shinozaki was seven at the time. The murder suspect was Yoshikazu Yanagihori, a well liked teacher at Heavenly Host Elementary, and the principal’s son. He was a favourite teacher amongst students until the onset of a debilitating disease caused him to begin to lose his ability to speak. This accompanied a degrading mental capacity that impacted his ability to teach. Kibiki insists there is more to the case than it first appears. People’s testimonies to his kind and gentle nature, even before the disease, and the fact that he had nothing to gain for killing innocent children, there was no motive.
When Yoshiki and Ayumi wake up back in their school they are met by one of the child ghosts, Yuki Kanno. She tells them the story of the day she was murdered, and explains she is happy that she was able to help them escape, but that their friends will not be able to be freed while the dimension exists. It has grown too powerful for her to save them too, and the only way to free them all is to get the murderer to show remorse to the victims directly. When Ayumi asks why the doll failed, Yuki explains she blocked out most of the memories of the event and instead shows her. Ayumi takes Yuki’s place on the night of the murder and experiences it through Yuki’s eyes. As she is attacked she sees the killer wasn’t Yoshikazu, but the fourth child, Sachiko.
Kizami snaps and vows to protect Yuka from the ghosts of the dead by killing her himself. Yuka panics and runs. As she flees she is assisted by the ghost of Sachiko, who leads her to the upstairs corridor of the main building. Behind her, Yoshikazu attacks Kizami and drags him away.
Satoshi and Naomi watch a tape of Kibiki and his assistant Shougo Taguchi documenting their arrival. They are soon separated and Kibiki starts to explain a reverse ritual for them to escape when the tape ends. As they search for more tapes they find Morishige’s phone discovering he went mad and killed himself after realising what had happened to Mayu. Finally they find Yuka who drops another of Kibiki’s tapes. On the tape Kibiki explains the escape method is a reverse ritual - say the line once for each person and once more for Sachiko then put the paper scraps together. He is attacked and killed by Naho as the tape ends.
Yoshiki and Ayumi return to the school to try and save their remaining friends. From reading Naho’s notes, Ayumi pieces together that Naho deliberately posted the incorrect instructions for the ritual to lure more people into the school. The disappearances and the occult mystery around Heavenly Host would be the story of a lifetime for Kibiki’s career. But her plan backfired, making the evil in the school stronger. When Naho entered the school to follow Kibiki she was overwhelmed by a process called ‘the darkening’ and in that soulless state she killed Kibiki. Unaware her spirit now wanders the halls continuing to look for him. Ayumi tells her that she was responsible for his death and she is destroyed. Naho’s research notes reveal to Ayumi that the world they are trapped in exists beyond the school, the reverse ritual won’t work and the only way they can truly escape is by appeasing the spirits of the dead children and Sachiko.
Satoshi gains access to the infirmary and is confronted by the spirit of Sachiko’s mother. Before she can kill him he steals her diary and escapes. The diary reveals how she was accidently pushed down the stairs by the principal. Her daughter Sachiko witnessed the murder and in order to cover it up he killed her too.
Imprisoned in the school where she was murdered, Sachiko's mother gradually became more hateful of the living and got Sachiko to murder more children so she wouldn’t be alone. To help her she curses Yoshikazu, the principal’s son, with a debilitating illness that left him a puppet to Sachiko’s will. Sachiko then used him to help her kidnap the three children who she then brutally murdered. But as Sachiko continues to murder more people, her mother begins to come to her senses and tries to fight her anger, begging Sachiko to stop murdering people for her.
oshi, Naomi and Yuka make their way back to the second wing and see the spirit of the school principal Takamine Yanagihori, jump from the roof. Satoshi notices a key and snatches it from where the spirit fell. With the key they gain access to the principal’s office and find a bag containing Sachiko’s tongue. Satoshi experiences a flashback of the principal in the basement beneath the school digging up Sachiko’s corpse and removing the tongue. In the office they find a secret entrance to the school basement. Here they find dismembered corpses of previous victims. As they continue further into the underground they meet up with Ayumi and Yoshiki before confronting Sachiko. Trying to appeal to her humanity they return her tongue and mementos of her childhood, begging for her to let them go. Sachiko’s power begins to fade momentarily. Yuki then comes to them telling them in order to fully escape they must exit the building before the dimension closes back up again, else they will be trapped there forever. The group run and escape from the building just as it closes back up, disappearing and returning them to their classroom in the real world.