Boredom does actually help. Given that you have a laptop and have boatloads of Steam games that you bought but never planned to play anyway.
So I found myself alone inside my dormitory here in Japan. With nothing but a laptop and with the absence of the internet, I decided to boot up and see what games I can play. Two were just in stalled in my ROG laptop: Total War: Shogun 2 and The Coma: Cutting Class. Deciding between the two wasn’t easy but it then feel that I got tired of hearing clashing samurais and then proceeded to wake up as a young student in South Korea. Say hello to The Coma: Cutting Class.
In the Philippines, I’m actually surprised if I come in on time.
In The Coma: Cutting Class, the player takes on the role of a young Korean student, Youngho. A student on the verge of failing his first year in highschool, he decided to cram before his final exams. The weight of his eyelids proved to be too much and he overslept. With a little maligned luck, he manages to get to school just in time as the normal schedule was disrupted by an accident. A young student decided that examination period is a best time to commit suicide inside the school. Snaking his way through the commotion, Youngho manages to get in time for the exam. While answering, he falls asleep due to his prior cramming. What he wakes up to is a school that’s dark and with windows and doors seemingly plastered shut. To make it weirder, his voluptuous English teacher chases after him with a razor everytime he sees her. Apart from that, the school is also filled with weird poisonous plants and heaps of corpses of students.
Movement is two-dimensional. Either you go left or right.
As a side-scroller, the controls of The Coma: Cutting Class are limited to the basics. You have two buttons for left/right movement, a use button, and some others for maps and logs.
Youngho’s descent or apparent exile into an unknown world is a mystery that the player must solve. But for Youngho, the goal is simple and straight: escape. Although the corridors remain the same, a haunting apparition in the form of his appealing English teacher, stalks the halls. Being seen by this “teacher” of his, spurs into a chase that would only end if the player manages to hide Youngho inside a cabinet or establishing a great distance from threat. Or if Youngho gets caught and either skewered, sliced, or decapitated.
The player can only run for a limited (but generous) amount of time. Items found throughout the school can lengthen or revitalize Youngho’s stamina.
Four floors, three buildings, and a lot of going back and forth
Also lying around the school premises are bandages and antidotes should he catch a bleeding wound or be poisoned by hostile plants.
I am actually appalled by how coins can take up a large space inside a rucksack.
The game makes use of a light morality system. In some parts, Youngho is conflicted by cheating to get better grades or doing right in submitting on time. The dark school also serves as his reflection of his real-life woes. The ending of the game depends on how Youngho and the player decide on how he tackles these things.
Notes scattered throughout the school informs the player of the recent happenings in school. From the reason of why a kid committed suicide to a political power struggle happening within the academe’s administration. These notes are snippets that the player can pick up as he/she travels through the darkness, enveloping the game into a much deeper mystery.
Hiding in toilet stalls and cabinets help in surviving against threats that don’t even try to open doors.
The Coma can also be taken as the developers’ woes in Korea’s system of education. The notes show that the elites are treated as the best, but one small mistake might prove to be their undoing. Through the notes provided in the game, the player can see or at least glimpse how the youth are plagued with a constant insistence to be at the top, with promises of punishment to those who cannot take the grind.
The Coma: Cutting Class employs a method that we’ve seen and have grown accustomed to. Sad to say that it does nothing to reinvent the side-scroller/horror genre. But the charm of the game doesn’t lie there. It’s how they manage to tell a story that’s squeezed-in with real-world problems. The rotting smell of school pressure and bullying are just part of the grotesque sandwich that makes up The Coma: Cutting Class. There are also multiple endings can be seen depending on the player’s choices in the game.
Told you it was gruesome
To be honest, I wasn’t keen on playing it. But the story and the progressive placement of the notes encouraged me to trudge on and finish the game. It was good and the ending does tease of a coming sequel. So best check this game out if you’re in need of a tale to wrap your head around.