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Corpse Killer: Did This FMV Shooter Spook Critics in 1995?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on September 29, 2014   |   Episode 101 (Show Archive)  


Corpse Killer (Sega CD)
Ever wonder what Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro and other popular magazines thought of your favorite 8-, 16- and 32-bit games? Now you can find out, thanks to Review Crew! This is the only show on the internet that is willing to go back in time to find out what old school critics thought of retro games at the time. Did they pan your favorite game? Did they love something terrible? Find out every Monday, Wednesday and Friday as Defunct Games presents Review Crew!

Today we're starting five solid weeks of horror-themed games. Between now and the end of October, the Review Crew will tackle 15 very spooky games for 8- and 16-bit consoles. We kick things off with Corpse Killer on the Sega CD and 32X. Were critics into this intentionally B-rate action game, or were they completely over the whole full-motion video genre. We dig through old issues of Electronic Gaming Monthly, Video Games, Next Generation, GamePro, Game Players and Mean Machines Sega for the answer to this important question.

(NOTE: Although we occasionally cut for length, no other edits are made to the reviews. Defunct Games does not change any of the wording, grammar or punctuation use. Keep in mind that our score is the average of all critics at the time, not just the sample that is reprinted on this page. For more details and answers to common questions, we encourage you to read the Review Crew FAQ. There you'll find information on review guidelines, how we convert scores, magazine covers and more.)

Corpse Killer
[ Company: Digital Pictures | Console: Sega CD & 32X ]

VIDEO GAMES (January 1995)
8 out of 10

SEGA CD: "I've never been impressed by games like Night Trap or Double Switch that depend on lots of full-motion video but are light on interaction. Corpse Killer gives you a good dose of "multi-media" without ruining the gameplay. The game is not without its problems. It's exciting when zombies are flying at you from every direction (yes, they fly!), but you'll see the same backgrounds over and over. Anyway, it's a good shooter." -Betty Hallock

GAMEPRO (January 1995)
3.5 out of 5

SEGA CD: "The 'B-movie' reflects the CD's production values -- your affection for low-budget horror seriously affects how much you'll enjoy Corpse Killer. The disc even features a B-movie regular, Vincent Schiavelli (don't worry, you'll recognize him), as a mad scientist. Corpse Killer ... appallingly mundane or fiendishly clever? Take your pick." -Game Over Man

GAME PLAYERS (February 1995)
69% out of 100%

SEGA CD: "Kill off thousands of undead Jimmy Pages, Robert Plants, and yes, even Kurt Cobains in this boring, uninventive shooter that has absolutely nothing going for it. You'll have even more fun holding your breath until you pass out."

63% out of 100%

SEGA CD: "Let's face it, FMV games don't have a great track record. What is usually built up as the next fully interactive experience, ends up being a fuzzy outing for second-rate actors. So when it came to sitting down with Corpse Killer, naturally I feared the worst. However after playing for a short while, I found myself strangely drawn into the world of gunning down zombies. One of the better products on the Mega-CD market, but still no much have." -Paul

6 out of 10

32X: "There is plenty of full-motion video footage in this game, os if you like campy, bad B-movies, you are half way to liking this game. Unfortunately, you also have to be the type of person who likes shooters of the Virtually mindless variety in order to get the last half of the way there. I can tolerate the B-movies, but there should be more to this game. Okay, but not great." -Ed

5 out of 10

32X: "Well I'm not a big fan of full-motion games. It always seems to me that they leave out a lot of action in trying to make the footage quality as good as possible. The story line is cool and the footage is decent , but there isn't enough for me to do. Call me impatient, but I like more action or more detailed footage if it's going to serve as eye candy. Live action fans may dig it, but I couldn't get into it." -Sushi X

1 out of 5

32X: "The exclusive FMV developers of Night Trap bring you the 'zombie shooting thrill' (heavy sarcasm here) of Corpse Killer. And what is the verdict? It's lousy. What's awful is that you've filled every orifice of your Genesis and this is the best you can get. The only difference between the Sega CD and the 32X CD version is a miniscule improvement in the video, but the upgrade is so small that only an expert could notice."
REVIEW CREW AVERAGE: 58% - Before we jump into analyzing these reviews, can we first acknowledge how ghoulish it was for Game Players to make a Kurt Cobain joke not even a year after his untimely death? I'm not sure I would have gone that direction.

With that out of the way, I will confess that the range in in scores really surprises me. On the low end, Next Generation gave the game 1 star out of 5, while Video Games recommended it with a score of 8 out of 10. It's hard to imagine two critics further apart on any game. While few critics went as low as Next Generation, none were as riveted by the action as Video Games critic Betty Hallock. As you can tell by the average, most critics felt the game was better than most full-motion video titles, but not on par with other light gun shooters.

There is one review that troubles me. Game Players notes that Corpse Killer has "absolutely nothing going for it" and "you'll have even more fun holding your breath until you pass out." Those are harsh words, especially when you realize that they gave the game a score of 69% out of 100%. It's one point away from 70% and it's less fun than holding your breath until you pass out? What kind of sense does that make? This suggests Game Players would give passing out at least a 70%, which is absolutely ridiculous. Hyperbolic reviews are fine, but the score needs to match the rhetoric.

MORE ABOUT DIGITAL PICTURES: Digital Pictures not only has an interesting history, but it also had a crazy spokesman. Don't believe me? Check out this Interview Reenactment featuring Jed Pressgrove as Tom Zito.

ON THE NEXT REVIEW CREW: Wednesday brings yet another spooky episode of Review Crew. We continue our month-long look at horror games with one of my favorite pinball games of all time -- Devil's Crush. Were critics into the demonic theme back in the 1990s, or were they turned off by the pinball theme? Find out when we dig through old issues to see what critics said about Devil's Crush on the TurboGrafx-16. Make sure and check out the Review Crew archive for more old school reviews, and don't forget to tweet me @DefunctGames to let me know what games you want to see next!

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