In 1998, developer Square and publisher Square Electronic Arts released Parasite Eve for the PlayStation. The action-role-playing, survival-horror game came after the massive success of Final Fantasy VII, another Square title. Swords and magic were traded for guns and parasite energy. It was a vastly different tone and rivaled the eerie nature of Resident Evil. Parasite Eve would spawn two sequels, but the series hasn’t seen a release since 2011. Should it be revived? We’re melting your brain and body in this Parasite Eve review!
Parasite Eve Plot:
Parasite Eve begins on Christmas Eve, 1997. You play as Aya Brea, a New York Police Officer who is new on the force. She decides to go on a date to the opera in Carnegie Hall to see a Christmas show. During the show, the star, Melissa Pearce begins to act strange and everyone in the audience along with her cast catches fire and dies. Aya is the only survivor not affected by the mysterious spontaneous combustions. Melissa transforms into a floating humanoid monster and runs away to the back of the theater.
Aya gives chase and fights Melissa in the rehearsal room where Melissa declares her name is now Eve and runs away into the sewers. During her encounter with “Eve”, Aya kept hearing her talk about mitochondria. The next day, Aya and her police partner Daniel, decide to investigate further on that lead and head to the Museum of Natural History to speak to a doctor named Dr. Hans Klamp. Dr. Klamp seems irritated with Aya and Daniel entering his workspace. He gives them a small amount of info on mitochondria and sends them on their way.
Later that night, Aya and Daniel investigate Central Park where Melissa Pearce was supposed to have a show. Daniel’s ex-wife and son, Ben, are expected to be in attendance. Daniel starts to catch fire when he enters the park so he lets Aya enter instead, who is immune to the fire. She makes her way to the auditorium to witness the entire audience melting into a pile of orange goo as Eve sings. Aya battles Eve on a horse-drawn carriage and is thrown from it.
She wakes up in a strange apartment next to a Japanese man and her partner Daniel who reveals to her that his son escaped before the audience was melted to goo due to his mother acting strange and him not feeling well. Unfortunately, Daniel’s ex-wife was not as fortunate. The apartment that they are in is Kunihiko Maeda’s, who was keeping track of the events surrounding Eve and believes he can solve the mystery surrounding her. As a scientist from Japan, Maeda witnessed something similar a few years back and believes the events are connected. Essentially, mitochondria are taking over Melissa’s body and have been controlling her. Eve’s new plan is to give birth to the “ultimate being” for evolutionary purposes of surviving.
The three of them venture to St. Francis hospital to try and stop Eve from getting sperm but when they arrive they discover that Eve is already there and escapes with the sperm. The next day, Aya travels to the sewers of New York after witnessing the massive orange goo pile from Central Park make its way down into the sewers. She cuts off the water supply to try and protect the rest of the city from being burned up by the orange goo.
Aya, Daniel, and Maeda travel to the museum again and speak with Dr. Klamp who has refused to leave his lab. It turns out he has been working with Eve all along and manufactured the perfect sperm for her which she took at the hospital. It is also revealed that Aya’s sister Maya died in a car accident when they were young and her kidney was transferred to Melissa when they were children. The mitochondria that took over Melissa’s body are actually Maya’s and because Aya and Maya share such similar mitochondria, Aya is resistant to the powers that Eve holds.
With the Air Force and Navy unable to get close to the orange blob that has now taken a humanoid form and protecting Eve as she gives birth, the commander makes Aya pilot a helicopter to launch missiles at the mass of goo. Aya is successful in her attack and fights Eve on the grounds of the Statue of Liberty, successfully killing her.
Unfortunately, the massive orange goo protected the ultimate being from being killed and the baby hatches from the encasing. Aya returns to the navy cruiser to fight the ultimate being as it rapidly evolves into four stages. Finally, Maeda tells Daniel that Aya needs a special bullet to kill the ultimate being and hands Daniel the clip before he departs from the helicopter to throw the clip to Aya.
With the clip, Aya damages the ultimate being enough to run away. She enters the cruiser which is now abandoned and rigs the boiler to explode. The ultimate being gives chase as Aya runs from it and jumps off the ship before it explodes. In the explosion, the ultimate being is presumed dead.
In the closing scene, Aya, Maeda, Daniel, and his son Ben attend an opera performance. When the show starts, Aya’s eyes begin to glow red as her mitochondria “wake up”. The rest of the audience’s eyes begin to glow too. Cue the credits.
Parasite Eve Gameplay:
Parasite Eve took me by surprise as an action RPG. I was expecting the action but didn’t realize the RPG nature of this game until I went into battle during m Parasite Eve review. I loved it!
When you enter a battle, you’ll face multiple enemies at once in most instances. Unlike other RPGs, you aren’t stuck in one spot as you select your commands. This game was way ahead of its time. Think of the battle system for Final Fantasy XV and you’ll get the idea. You run around on screen avoiding attacks while your attack meter charges. Once it’s full you can attack, use an item, or use your Parasite Energy which is essentially magic.
I liked that the story took place on Christmas. I’m not sure how many other games have Christmas elements but walking around buildings and parks, I saw many decorations that added to the atmosphere during my Parasite Eve review. It was unique to play a survival-horror action game with Christmas trees lit up and presents around the tree.
Most characteristics in Parasite Eve are customizable including your name. You’ll spend time putting together the perfect gun with added elements, attack power, bullet clips, and parasite energy. I didn’t use the parasite energy during my Parasite Eve review until the very end of the game, but boy did it come in handy. It may be a bit complicated to gamers new to the genre but there is a tutorial that you can take before the game starts that should help.
The game is presented without voice acting, and I prefer that. Unless the voice acting is top-notch like Metal Gear Solid or Uncharted, then I prefer to read the text myself and imagine the characters talking. There are small decisions to make like jumping in a hole to chase after Eve or waiting for backup. I aired on the cautious side and waited during my Parasite Eve review. After obsessing over the decision for five minutes I ran out of the building to meet more police officers who handed me extra ammo and health. Turns out that was the right decision and it didn’t affect the outcome of the game either way.
Cut scenes are a big part of the story-telling, and for the most part, they were well done for the time. I liked watching them during my Parasite Eve review but it got annoying to rewatch them if I died because you can’t skip them. Another thing I loved was saving via the phone. The only way to keep your progress in check is to phone the police station and check in. It just reminds me of those peak 90s games that have you save your game in unique ways.
You’ll be able to choose where you want to go to Manhattan with a city map. In your police car, you can cruise to the police station, a museum, hospital, theater, SoHo, a warehouse, and more places to investigate if you feel you haven’t snatched up every item or clue.
Some environments are easy to get lost in like the sewers and museums. Thankfully I didn’t get lost during my Parasite Eve review, but I think I managed to make it through the sewers by dumb luck. Speaking of dumb, the plan to blow up the monster with missiles was terrible. Aya is just a police officer. She has no experience as a pilot and they just send her up in one like it’s no big deal? Come on! I died a few times fighting Eve, but discovered that if you use the PE “Liberate” you deal MASSIVE damage. Wow, that was a game-changer! I wrecked Eve and the ultimate being with that power!
It was HILARIOUS watching Daniel jump a thousand feet from the helicopter, catch on fire, throw the bullet clip to Aya, and then land in the ocean. After you defeat Eve, there are no signs of any injury, none!
The final battle isn’t easy for my Parasite Eve review. You’ll need to carefully pick when to use the power “Liberate” as it takes a long time to recharge. Once you damage the ultimate being enough a chase will begin. You’ll have to navigate to the boiler room and honestly, it’s almost unfair. You can take so many wrong turns so once I beat the ultimate being, I looked at a walkthrough to see the correct course to take to the engine room so I didn’t have to fight the ultimate being again for the fifth time.
I remember as a kid seeing the cover for Parasite Eve and hearing all kinds of things about the game. Eve is iconic in her attire and appearance but I never knew what she was from until I played the game over 20 years since its release. I was expecting a horror game like Resident Evil but was pleasantly surprised when an RPG fell before me. It only took me a day or two to beat the game, but it was worth the wait of playing it.
Parasite Eve Review Score:
Parasite Eve’s combat system is well ahead of its time. Everything feels manageable and there’s plenty of enemies to gain experience on before facing one of the bosses. The customization goes a long way into defeating opponents and the atmosphere on Christmas was terrific. Parasite Eve has a fun cast of characters and a story that has you thinking…” well, maybe that could happen”.
Parasite Eve scores an 8.8 out of 10.
What would you write for your Parasite Eve review? Do you remember when Parasite Eve first came out? What did you think of the cast of characters? How about the combat system? Was Eve a great villain? Let me know your memories and thoughts, I’d love to read the comments!