Fans of classic YouTuber Angry Video Game Nerd may be familiar with a little title called Corpse Killer. Of course, it’s entirely possible you heard about it somewhere else, so wide and bizarre is the ‘net, but James Rolfe’s videos certainly propelled it to a sort of cult stardom in the mid-2000s. In his review of the SEGA CD, AVGN regretted that he couldn’t cover the game as it kept freezing regardless of how many copies he tried or fixes he attempted. “Consider yourself lucky, Corpse Killer,” he concluded, and for many years there it sat, becoming something of an urban legend within the community.
Finally, in 2021, thanks to the wonders of modern technology and over a decade having passed (criminy, I feel old) since the retrospective, Rolfe was finally able to fix up the game and review it. The long-awaited verdict? Well… it blew. Chunks, specifically. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Corpse Killer (that paradoxical title should itself be a warning sign) sees you mowing down zombies in an otherwise tranquil tropical environment. Though it seems like a basic arcade shoot-em-up in principle, and a fairly tongue-in-cheek one at that with its insane set-up and corny FMV cutscenes, the game soon tips its hand and you find that the thing is damn near unplayable. The controls are woolly, slow to respond and insufficient to allow proper reaction times. The plot is impenetrable and, in places, offensive. The UI is largely useless, and there is often no way to distinguish targets from the background as visual glitches and transparency issues abound.
And yet! And yet. Despite all this, the game retains a certain analogue charm in the vein of similar cheesy endeavours like Mad Dog McCree and Night Trap. Something about the terrible 90s attempts at cinematography and the extent to which it commits to its ludicrous premise (shooting the zombies apparently cures them as the bullets are coated with a ‘zombie reversing herb’) make the whole package circle back round to brilliance. Don’t get me wrong; it’s terrible. But it is also brilliant. Chew on that one.
So: options for playing it. Since I know you’re all salivating at the idea now. For the longest time, the game was understandably shackled to a range of 90s systems – mostly ones few people owned, like the Panasonic 3DO, the 32X and the aforementioned SEGA CD. You could technically play it on PC, but it melted into slag on anything more powerful than an early Macintosh, so that wasn’t viable for much of the 2000s. It’s this scarcity, I feel, that contributed to its status as a cult entity. Sure, there’s been the odd quiet port to modern systems, albeit nothing major.
But now, with demand for terrible old FMV games evidently on the rise (say hello, official Switch release of Plumbers Don’t Wear Ties and sweet Lord I can’t believe I am typing that), Limited Run Games has dropped a bombshell. It’s coming to the Nintendo eShop. Yes, really. What timeline is this?
You can check out the Tweet which broke the news below:
On the game’s official Nintendo page – hold me, I can’t breathe – the remaster promises to allow you to play Corpse Killer “in a way that has never been experienced before with enhanced video quality and never before seen bonus content.” Awful-quality, grainy behind-the-scenes footage, perchance? I’m there. The description also hawks the game’s “all-star cast, such as Jeremiah Birkett, Bridget Butlet, Vincent Schiavelli, and Bill Moseley.” I’m sure those will all be as big names today as they were in 1994.
Now, while we’re in the business of resurrecting ancient FMV-based games, can we bring back Laser Lords on the CDi? I would slap down fifty quid for that in a heartbeat.
What do you make of this remaster announcement? Did you ever play the original Corpse Killer? Any similar games you’d like to see re-released? Let us know!