Today I am bringing you a Parasite Eve Retrospective Review, taking a step back into the 90’s, for some good old gaming nostalgic fun. Parasite Eve was released in 1998 by Square Soft and featured Hironobu Sakaguchi as its producer and released for the Sony PlayStation. The game was based off the novel ‘’Parasite Eve’’ by Hideaki Sena first published by Kadokawa in 1995. This novel was then adapted into a movie in 1997. The video game franchise Parasite Eve acts as a pseudo sequel to both Novel and the Movie adaptation of said novel. The video game itself then inspired its very own short running manga series titled ‘’Parasite Eve Diva’’.
First M-Rated Game Due To The Gore.
Parasite Eve was Square Soft`s very first M-Rated game due to the gore in the games cutscenes. These scenes typically involve everyday living things like rats and dogs undergoing harrowing transformations into huge formidable foes. Imagine a Licker from Resident Evil 2 transforming in front if our eyes using the beauty of a Square Soft Final Fantasy FMV.
In the year 2000 Famitsu Magazine ranked Parasite Eve 16th in the top 100 PSOne games of all time. Later, In 2010 GamesRadar chose it as one of the top 7 1990s games that need HD Remakes. The game got a sequel in 1999 with an entirely reworked gameplay design and then in 2011 there was a loosely connected third installment into the franchise titled Parasite Eve: The Third Birthday. The First installment of Parasite Eve Returned to the Play Station Network as a ‘’PSOne Classic’’ in 2011,
JRPG Meets Survival Horror.
Parasite Eve was beautiful blend of JRPG meets Survival Horror which is what makes this game an interesting title to pick up in today’s DLC and Microtransaction filled gaming scene. Parasite Eve is a definite throwback to a time when game development was an art rather than a business model. This game pushed the boundaries between genres rather than playing it safe and colouring inside the lines as to not risk monetization and sales like developers do today.
Rather than fighting hordes of clumsy zombies, the enemies you will encounter are the everyday wildlife you would find in New York (The games setting). Although that may not sound intimidating these animals have undergone genetic mutations and have grown in size, intelligence as well as ferocity. This mutations also include the games protagonist Aya Brea is is able to utilise the power of her mitochondria to more or less cast spells and heal her wounds.
A Raging Lunatic Over Taken By Her Own Mitochondria.
The game’s main villain is a simply actress from Carnegie Hall who falls ill while on stage during a performance and quickly turns into a raging lunatic that has been taken over by her own mitochondria. You see! Parasite Eve is somewhat based on a real scientific theory. Mitochondria are the organelles within each of our Cells. Each living things Mitochondria actually have their very own DNA sequence separate from the DNA within the nucleus of our cells. This has led some scientists to deduce that Mitochondria were at some point microscoping parasites that leeched our energy from us from within our cells. At some point these ‘’mitochondrial parasites’’ found themselves entrapped within our bodies and forced to assist our cells in producing energy to ensure their survival.
So we have DNA right? DNA changes overtime, DNA that produces negative traits tend to not be passed on due to the organism not being fit enough for survival. This process of Natural Selection causes a slow evolutionary change within a species in order to ensure the species survives.
This is when things become interesting. These Mitochondria are as a result forced to Evolve with us their hosts! Parasite Eve takes this fact and runs with it and shows us what could happen if this Mitochondrial Parasite Theory were true and at some point the Mitochondria within our Bodies rebelled against us and where to seek their freedom from millions of years ago.
A Unique Take On JRPG Combat.
Parasite eve features a unique take on JRPG combat. Rather than your character being immobile and awaiting their turn to perform an action Parasite Eve features a unique for its time take on an action based system. This system allows a player to move freely within the area which a fight occurs while waiting for an ATB bar to fill in order to perform an action. This allows the player to actively dodge incoming attacks as well as move into range before attacking. Each weapon you have equipped has its own range which is important to take note of before attacking.
Due to its somewhat realistic setting the game doesn’t exactly contain spells rather, the main protagonist has unique abilities that perform much like magic due to mutations happening within her Mitochondria.
Parasite Eve Weapon Modification System.
One of the more Survival Horror aspects within the game is the unique weapon and armour modification system. All of the firearms within the game have a base range, damage, and ammo capacity as well as modification slots. You can add bonus points to these three stats by distributing BP awarded to you after battles.
Things get interesting when you start adding modification slots to your weapons and transferring weapon abilities into them. Abilities very with some changing a weapons rate of fire which allows for multiple hits with each attack command, some typically attached to grenade launchers add an elemental effect to an attack, others allow you to preemptively attack or increase your odds of a critical hit. Should a player choose to combine all these you can quickly find yourself in possession of a unique and highly powerful weapon. This same concept can be applied to armour making you almost impossible to kill.
Overall Parasite Eve has an amazing survival horror setting with a JRPG feel. The game takes place on Christmas Eve with the player navigating an abandoned new york city with mutant beasts around every corner, but adds a classic JRPG method of stat growth and a level progression system. In retrospect Parasite Eve was a Unique game that appeared to be way ahead of its time. The game has a massive amount of beautifully rendered cutscenes you would expect to come from a company like Square. Had it released a console generation later and been a longer game it could have flourished a lot more than it did. It’s available for purchase digitally if you still have an operational PlayStation 3 and copies are readily available for purchase on sites like Ebay for only a few dollars. If you have an old school survival horror itch you need to scratch we here at Gaming LAD highly recommend this title!
‘’If you weren’t aware final fantasy VII was at one point going to take place in New York City, the main protagonist was going to be a blonde haired detective trying to solve a conspiracy. This idea as well as the inspiration from the Parasite Eve model led to the conceptualisation for this title. It’s clear from visuals the game served as a proving ground for the art styles and sprites used in Final Fantasy VIII.’’ – An Interesting Thought