You start The Coma
as a student named Youngho. On his way to exams at school, he sees a student being taken away in an ambulance - an apparent suicide attempt. The school continues with exams anyway, and Youngho continues on to his classroom. Youngho has had some problems with his grades, and is (gently) confronted by the sweet Ms. Song, who asks him to stay after school. All of this makes a strange start to an already stressful day, but it only gets worse. Somehow, Youngho manages to fall asleep during his exam, and wakes to an empty, dark school. Is it night time? Did he really sleep through all the tests and no one woke him? Before he can figure out what happened, Ms. Song shows up. The problem is, she pulls out a knife, starts running after Youngho, and from there, itís all you can do to try to survive.
Youíll find that there is more going on than just a simple nightmare, and the story is rather intriguing. Youíll meet other people in this nightmare world such as the abrupt, but intriguing Yaesol. And while she may be a rather uncooperative guide, she gives you the vital information that there is a reason why you are trapped in this hellish world. You need to find that reason - the key to allow you to leave. But why does Yaesol know so much about this place? And for what terrible reason would anyone be trapped here?
The basics of this game are running from Ms. Song and hiding, but The Coma: Recut has a lot more going on. Maybe it has a little too much going on, in fact. Youíve got a flashlight that you can turn on or off, but you can probably guess that leaving it on is not beneficial to your stealthiness. You can attempt to crouch and be very still and quiet, but that takes stamina. Mess up, and youíll get stabbed and lose health. What restores stamina and health? Itís water and various drinks and food, but if you can guess, thereís a short supply of such items. You can also be affected by status effects such as poison and bleeding. So in addition to the stress of finding a hiding place, managing stamina, health, and status effects, and moving through the school, youíll also have to budget your money, manage your small inventory, and scavenge. Youíll need to do this all while being under the stress of running from a murderous, demented shell of your teacher.
Youíll explore the school, looking for clues and a way out, all the while keeping an eye out for Ms. Song. Not all hiding spots (cabinets, bathroom stalls, etc.) are real hiding spots. Some doors are broken and some lockers are stuffed with no room left for you, for example. Some doors take time to unlock. Since you never know when the crazed teacher will find you and start chasing, youíll want to scout out hiding spots in advance.
If I had a main criticism, itís that itís quite hard to tell the difference between the endless similar classrooms. And some doors can lead to completely new areas, so this will throw off any sense of direction you might have had. I get that is part of the challenge, and it takes some practice to learn, but it still seems needlessly hard and memorization-heavy. As a second criticism, one could say that the main scare gets a little stale after a while. After all, you are always being pursued by your teacher. However, I think those pursuits are intense enough that it remains frightening until the end.
The main draw of this game is the mystery. Why is this happening? Am I a ghost or am I still alive? Yaesol tells you that this world is connected to the real one and may affect what happens there. What will the effects be? And who are the other strange people here? Why is there a person obsessed with taking notes about this place? There are also multiple endings to achieve, so there is replay value as well.