Horror game fans are a peculiar (and dedicated) fan base. There's just something about knowing you're in a mortal danger that keeps horror game fans like me coming back for more. If you're a die-hard fan of the genre, the chances are pretty good that you've experienced just about everything out there worth playing and are on the lookout for the next game to fill the void. If that sounds like you, The Coma: Recut will surely pique your interest. However, is this the next game to fill your thirst for horror or should somebody just pull the plug?
First of all, it should be noted that The Coma: Recut is a remaster of the original Korean horror game The Coma: Cutting Class, something I haven't personally played. The game puts you in the shoes of Youngho, a struggling high school student who stayed up too late studying for exams and as a result is running late to school. Once you get to there, an ambulance takes one of your classmates away after a suicide attempt. It's horrible enough on its own but you'll still have to sit for your exams. Youngho then pulls off one of the dumbest things you can do when taking exams and falls asleep during the test. Oh wow...
Once Youngho wakes up, it's all dark. He begins to explore, wondering how they just let him to sleep through his test (a great question!), and soon finds his homeroom teacher Ms. Song he happens to have a huge crash on. However, Ms. Song is... different than usual. She has less of her normal "hey, I'm worried about your math scores" dialogue and a way more lines like "hey, get over here, I want to carve you up with this knife", forcing Youngho to run for his life. He's stuck in a hellish version of his high school with no idea of how to escape.
The game's story gets into the horror territory fairly quickly and really doesn't let up from there. You'll have to explore a twisted version of the high school while trying to find a way out, and occasionally deal with your classmates and some unknown people. The story premise is actually pretty close to Corpse Party, if you ever played that, except The Coma: Recut doesn't build up Youngho's relationships with his classmates nearly as well. Instead, they're relegated to genre stereotypes of a token jock, a token nerd and a token girl Youngho also has a crush on. However, the premise is interesting and the story itself (while not explained that well in actual interaction or dialogue) is fleshed out quite a bit by collectible notes you can find around the school. I just wish the game had more actual meat to the people Youngho interacts with instead of just relying on the lore and premise the game provides.
Exploring the former high school is fairly simple. Youngho walks around and explores rooms to find locations or items that advance the story. Of course, while you're doing this you're bound to be found by the monster and get chased, which will often require that you return to hiding places scattered around the school. Running and dodging (a nifty forward tumble that WILL save your life) drain stamina, so you'll need to keep an eye on that as well as you play.
And that's all there is to the game. There's NO option to fight here, so exploration and running for your life are all you can really do. You can also find money to buy items that restore your health and stamina, as well as recover your status (some enemies can poison you or make you bleed), but that's about it there's for the gameplay.
The game's 2D perspective is definitely one aspect that makes The Coma: Recut to stand out. Characters are well done and include plenty of details, and the environments look just plain fun (read: spooky) to explore. In particular, I loved the fact that when Youngho runs, he occasionally glances back in horror. A lot of the school is quite repetitive, but thanks to the background details and various horrific effects, it's still fun to explore - and notes and coins you can find help as well.
Like most horror games, The Coma: Recut is much about atmospheric music. Off-tune notes and deep, foreboding thumps here and there do a great job of making you think twice about moving forward and honestly, probably made this game last longer for me than it should have! When you get found, the music ramps up into a frantic pace that really gets your heart pumping. I also happened to really like the safe room music, an off-key super market tune. As you may expect from an indie title, there's no voice acting. Instead, all the dialogue is just done with text boxes at the bottom of the screen, accompanied with giant character portraits.
The Coma: Recut isn't a very long game. If you can overcome the haunting music and push yourself onward - instead of standing in a hallway and telling yourself you REALLY don't want to go down there - you can expect to beat this game easily in about eight hours or less. Having a map for a reference that (sometimes) marks your objective locations really helps to speed things up! The game also has a number of optional objectives but my estimated play time included them as well. It's worth noting that there are multiple endings based on your choices and who you talked to before finishing. Many of your choices are also reflected in the game's trophy list.
In the end, The Coma: Recut delivers a solid (albeit short) 2D horror experience. However, the game as a whole suffers a bit from being a "one-hit wonder" in the gameplay. After being chased 7-8 times in a row, the 9th time just doesn't scare you anymore. It changes the gameplay from a "run and hide horror" to "here we go again” monotony. The game's short length definitely helps enough that I can say if you enjoy these survival horror games with no fighting, and don't mind the repetitive gameplay, The Coma: Recut may be right up you alley.
It's good to meet you! I'm better known online as "Bkstunt_31" and have been writing Reviews and video game Strategy Guides/Walkthroughs for WAY too many years! Feel free to stop my my Facebook page and say hello! Have fun and keep playing!