Barroom Gamer

Rants and Reviews while drinking brews!

Parasite Eve (Playstation): A wonderful blend of magic, science, and survival horror presented in RPG form (B)

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Parasite Eve TV Spot

As some of the older gamers may know, Square-Enix, formerly known as Squaresoft, was one of Sony’s biggest 3rd party power houses in the days of the original Playstation. Square dominated the role playing genre with games like the critically acclaimed Final Fantasies VII, VIII, IX, and Tactics. Of course it wasn’t only the Final Fantasy franchise that was successful for Square. Other titles like Brave Fencer Musashi, Xenogears, and Vagrant Story were also entertaining role playing titles that may have not received the praise I feel they should have deserved. One RPG in particular might be considered the most underrated Squaresoft title of them all as the storyline ventured away from the traditional RPG cliché-storytelling elements, creating a plot taking place in modern time. This title was unique in that it was indeed a role playing game, but mixed with survival horror elements, which without a doubt was released to compete against Capcom’s successful Resident Evil franchise. Of course I am talking about Parasite Eve. Serving as a sequel to the Japanese novel of the same name by Hideaki Sena, Parasite Eve was released in September of 1998 exclusively for the Sony Playstation.

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The storyline tackles real life biological concepts manipulating them in order to make the story behind Parasite Eve seem realistic. Integrating concepts and theories of cellular respiration, endosymbiosis and selfish gene, the biology behind Parasite Eve might be a little hard to follow. Basically, an evolved form of mitochondria organelles, seeks the host of cells from living organisms in order to give rise to the ultimate being. The FMV sequences are amazing; at least if you’re going into this game knowing that you’re playing a PS1 title. The sequences visually do a fantastic job in telling you what it is going on by basically grossing you out with some pretty graphic content. The in-game text will also go into detail trying to explain this “Mitochondria” phenomena, so with a little patience, you should eventually understand what is going on.

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In Parasite Eve, you take on the role of NYPD rookie Aya Brea as she tries to enjoy an opera at Carnegie Hall that starred actress Melissa Pearce. During the show, Melissa begins acting strange during her solo as the audience and the other actors begin to spontaneously combust in flames. Immune to the combustion, Aya confronts Melissa, who begins to call herself Eve. Aya is warned that her immunity to the combustion is a result of under-evolved mitochondria, throwing Aya for a loop. Without understanding what Melissa meant by being under-evolved, the story of Aya Brea and the parasite, Eve now begins. It’s a real good story; one filled with plenty of action and puzzles well presented for that particular time in video games. I went over the first ten minutes of the game just in case you’re worried about spoilers. It will take you several sittings to complete this gem so kick back, relax, and enjoy the story presented to you.

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There is a slight learning curve with Parasite Eve, but once mastered, I feel you should find the experience very pleasing. Aya starts fighting almost immediately following the introduction so getting well acquainted with the game’s controls is highly recommended. The environments are for the most part linear, and the battles, like in most of Square’s RPGs, are randomly encountered. The fights are turn-based, except Aya has the ability to move around and dodge enemy attacks. At the end of each battle, you earn experience points, which then help you level up, developing Aya’s health and defense as well as gaining special abilities. Don’t expect to go into these battles wielding the traditional sword or staff. Aya is armed with a pistol from the start, and can later modify it to become a much more powerful weapon of destruction. Of course the pistol isn’t the only weapon Aya can wield as there is a plethora of weaponry to choose from. I recommend finding the gun of your choice and work on maxing out its specific attributes.

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Once you beat the game, you’ll want to beat it again. It’s that good! Plus the game rewards you with a limited new game + option where you can roll your old weapon into the new game. There are new areas in the game, which were unreachable during the first play-through, but now unlocked and open for you to explore in the second. Once you had your fair share of Parasite’s Eve, check out the other two sequels, Parasite Eve II and the Third Birthday (on PSP). They may not be as good and as memorable as the original game, but it’s definitely worth checking out. My grade for this game is a solid B. The story was excellent, and the gameplay mechanics are unique, but it does suffer in how slow the game progresses. Aya isn’t exactly the fastest character in the world, and that can become pretty dang frustrating. Alright friends, it has been a while since writing a review, please feel free to comment below or on Twitter with your thoughts about this review, or the game itself. I’m getting back into the flow of things so prepare for more reviews and top 5s soon. Cheers!

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Image Mike H., the founder of BarroomGamer.com  is a 30 years old, married-with-kids, undergraduate at the University of California San Diego. He enjoys playing and talking video games with anyone, as well as enjoying delicious alcoholic beverages to accompany him in his gaming experiences. He’s new to the realm of blogging, but  loves the idea of sharing his thoughts about video games, or anything related to them,with the world. He loves to discuss, find him on Twitter @barroomgamer

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