Corpse Party: Book of Shadows Review
Corpse Party: Book of Shadows Box Art
System: PSP
Dev: GrindHouse
Release: January 15, 2013
Players: 1
Screen Resolution: 480p Intense Violence, Blood and Gore, Sexual Themes, Strong Language

This is a title dependent on its overbearing sense of dread. While playing it, each move through the school is accompanied by the fear that it will lead to an irrevocable mistake, each decision fraught with the danger that it might prove terminal. These don’t serve to punish one’s progress, since the game allows the player to save at almost any time, even mid-decision. The tension is still there, though, because the results of one’s decisions can border on traumatizing. I really didn’t want to take a step and find out I’d been beheaded with piano wire, or ripped apart by Sachiko, my skull crushed by Yoshikazu and his giant hammer. Maybe that’s just me, and others will actually derive perverse pleasure from the myriad means by which it is possible to meet one’s end. It’s certainly necessary if players hope to get the most out of the game.

Corpse Party: Book of Shadows Screenshot

Unless one has a completed save of the original Corpse Party to import into Book of Shadows, the eighth chapter of the game, Blood Drive, can only be accessed if one achieves every possible ending in the other seven chapters. For those who beat the original Corpse Party, the bonus chapter will open up after receiving every true ending. Blood Drive directly continues the plot of the original Corpse Party, and is also the source for the titular “Book of Shadows.” It’s really just a prologue for an upcoming Corpse Party game of the same name (not to be confused with Corpse Party 2: Dead Patient, which is developer GrindHouse’s current focus). That it thus ends with numerous threads unresolved is not at all surprising.


Corpse Party: Book of Shadows is not a game for everyone, or even for all horror fans. It will appeal to those in the very narrow center of the horror/visual novel Venn diagram. Those people, however, can expect an extremely well-written, disturbing set of mostly-disjointed tales that are united by the terror they propagate.

Shelby Reiches
Contributing Writer
Date: February 4, 2013

Extremely well-drawn CGs and creepy backgrounds are only slightly marred by a somewhat clunky navigation interface.
There isn’t usually a lot to control, but it would certainly benefit from a device with a touchscreen. It does the best with what it has.
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Absolutely wonderful. Or terrible. What I mean is that the sound of awful things happening to decent people is extremely well produced. And the voice acting is terrific.
Play Value
This is an iffy area. You’re looking at maybe eight to ten hours just to “finish” the game, plus another couple unlocking “Wrong Ends,” and then the final chapter. It might not manage to hold your attention that long, though.
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • More realistically proportioned and immersive first-person environments with ending routes based solely on player decisions eliminate reliance on reflexes over strategy.
  • Characters gradually become frightened and unstable, distorting the game's graphics and altering their decision-making abilities.
  • The already robust cast from the original is further humanized, adding to the game's immersion and preying on the player's sense of empathy.
  • Original Japanese voices are kept intact for authenticity, and players can feel like they're part of the action by hearing speech, screams, and spooky sounds coming from literally all around them when played with headphones.
  • Players caught by "wrong ends" can easily redo whatever actions may have damned them by skipping and fast-forwarding through any scene in the game, as well as keeping ample saves on hand at crucial turning points (even if they're in the middle of conversations).

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