Parasite Eve is an American biological horror themed turn-based action RPG video game developed and published by Squaresoft (currently Square Enix) for the Sony PlayStation in 1998. It is the first game in the Parasite Eve series.
The game is labelled as a PSOne Classic and was re-released on the North American PlayStation Store on March 15, 2011. It is not available on the European PlayStation Store, possibly because it was never released in Europe.
The game is a detached unauthorized sequel to the novel Parasite Eve which was written by Hideaki Sena. Sena notes that he had no input on the video game. It is not necessary to read the novel (or watch its film adaptation) to comprehend the story of the video game, although it adds backstory to the incident of Eve mentioned in Japan.
The story follows an intelligent half-white half-Japanese New York City police officer named Aya Brea, and her struggle against an ancient evil called "Eve" threatening humanity, animals, and all life on Earth. The horrifying bond between Aya and Eve will continue until one of them dies. The player, as Aya Brea, must hunt down the biological entity known as Eve, as well as mutated monsters along the way. The player must upgrade Aya's weapons and hidden mitochondrial powers to save New York City.
The game takes place over a six day span in New York City in 1997. The incident starts on December 24 and ends on December 29.
The first day, "Resonance", begins with Aya Brea, an N.Y.P.D. rookie, attending an opera at the Carnegie Hall with an unnamed date on December 24, 1997. During the opera, the main actress on stage named Melissa Pearce locks eyes with Aya and suddenly, the audience and cast spontaneously combust, except for Aya, her date, and Melissa. This is because a mutated strain of sentient mitochondria, which had lain dormant in Melissa's kidney transplant for years, awakened and transformed her into Mitochondria Eve. Aya discovers she is immune to the combustion and police arrive, but do not enter because of the danger and can only supply Aya ammunition for her handgun.
Downstairs, Aya witnesses a rat mutate into a monstrosity known as a Neo-Mitochondrial Creatures or NMC. Aya also finds a diary that reveals Melissa overdosed on immunosuppressants and despite feeling sick, Melissa avoided going to a doctor and mentioning her illness to others in fear that it would cause her to give up her lead role. Aya confronts Melissa backstage, and Melissa says that Aya's mitochondria need more time to develop. Melissa then mutates into a flying beast and descends into the sewers, declaring that her name is now Eve. After a short trek in the sewers, Aya arrives outside Carnegie Hall. Aya learns that she is the sole survivor of the incident and that only she and her unrequited date survived, as everyone else burned to death. Her partner, Daniel Dollis, picks her up.
Aya would later discover that she was granted great power due to the fact that she possessed Maya's mitochondria (transferred to her body during a corneal transplant as a child), but they either evolved differently to be symbiotic due to geographical separation or they were unable to take control of her as it did Melissa because of Aya's evolved cell nuclei. Over the course of the next few days, Eve begins to transform animals and organisms into NMCs, and Aya kills NMCs in order to end their suffering and eliminate the danger they possess.
On Christmas, which is the second day "Fusion", Aya and Daniel visit a scientist named Dr. Hans Klamp at the American Museum of Natural History. Aya recognizes Dr. Klamp from her memories, but isn't sure why. Klamp informs Aya and Daniel about mitochondria and Mitochondrial Eve. After Aya reveals the suspect of the case called herself "Eve", Klamp seems surprised and refuses to answer any more questions. Later that day, they hear that Eve is in Central Park and Aya pursues her while Daniel stays outside the park due to the danger of him being immolated. At Delacorte Theater, Eve turns the audience into an orange slimy mass.
Aya and Eve battle during an immolated horse ride, but Aya is knocked unconscious during the fight. Daniel discovers that his son, Ben, was at the park, but escaped being turned to slime. His ex-wife, Lorraine, was less fortunate. Manhattan is evacuated due to the threat that Eve poses. While Manhattan is being evacuated, a Japanese man named Kunihiko Maeda manages to sneak into Manhattan.
On the third day, "Selection", Aya awakens in an apartment in Soho with Daniel and Maeda at her side. Maeda reveals the origins of Eve. A scientist tried to culture the cells of his wife after she was involved in a car accident, and the mitochondria in her cells took over her body. Maeda believes that Eve may be trying to give birth to an "Ultimate Being." The three visit Dr. Klamp again, and he tells Aya that the nuclei in her cells are fighting Eve’s mitochondria. After he asks a few questions of her, they leave and return to the police station, which has been attacked by Eve. Aya, Maeda and Daniel rush to save Ben and Douglas Baker from a mutated police dog named Sheeva. They are successful, however, one officer named Torres Owens is killed.
On the fourth day, "Conception", Aya and Maeda head for St. Francis Hospital, where Maeda thinks Eve may try to get sperm for the Ultimate Being. When they arrive, they find that Eve is already there. Eve takes the sperm and escapes.
On the fifth day, "Evolution", while investigating the sewers, Aya witnesses the orange mass of people from the park enter the city water supply. She visits Dr. Klamp in the museum again, and discovers that Dr. Klamp has engineered special sperm for Eve so that she can create the Ultimate Being. Klamp asks Eve to "take him". Klamp then bursts into flames and and collapses. Aya helps him by putting out the fire in his final moments to which he questions the logic and reason for her compassion, but Aya simply says that it is what she as a human being must do. Klamp's cold view and opinion of humanity is unchanged as he dies. Aya finds Eve in another part of the museum, where the orange mass has surrounded her, forming an impermeable shield to protect her while the Ultimate Being gestates in her.
After several failed attempts to attack Eve, the military asks Aya to attack her from a chopper, as she is the only one who can get close without combusting. The plan works, but Aya has to personally finish the fight on Liberty Island beside a now-wrecked Statue of Liberty, where Eve finally succumbs.
On the sixth day, "Liberation", Aya rests on a naval vessel. Maeda and Daniel are relieved Aya is safe. However, the Ultimate Being is born and attacks the surrounding ships. Aya battles the Ultimate Being, but its mitochondria causes it to evolve at an alarming rate, and even fuse with objects onboard the vessel. Aya sets the vessel's boiler pressure dangerously high, so as to destroy it with the Ultimate Being onboard. She then jumps off the ship and the cruiser explodes, killing the Ultimate Being.
At the harbor, Aya says she doesn't understand why she was immune to Eve. Maeda says a part of Maya is inside of Aya, and when Aya's mother and sister died, a part of Maya was transplanted into Aya as a child, due to Aya being born with a defect in her right eye, and what Aya was seeing was Maya's last memory burned into her cornea at her death. Maeda theorizes that the mitochondria in Aya's body underwent a different evolutionary change than Eve, living symbiotically with Aya's mitochondria.
Maeda posits a misanthropic stance, comparing humanity to a cancerous parasite who are killing the planet, its environment and animals. He says, "Starting with the incident in Japan and now with this... I wonder if this is a message to all mankind... If the earth is a single human being, we humans that invade the earth become like viruses out of control. We, in essence, are upsetting the natural balance of the body. This is definitely... utter destruction. You see... humans are, in essence... parasites... You can say that we are parasites and the world is our host."
After the events in the game transpire, Aya and her friends go to the opera at Carnegie Hall again. During this time, Aya communicates with the entire audience's mitochondria and their eyes begin to glow a pinkish red. The meaning behind this ending is ambiguous. One theory is that this is what Eve meant when she told Aya: "The more you use those powers, the more you become like me." It is possible this Carnegie Hall ending scene is non-canonical due to the events of the EX-Game which the player can receive to prematurely "end the game", though it is presumed that the events of the rest of the game continue.
EX-Game Chrysler Building
On the 77th floor of the Chrysler Building, Truebred Eve explains to Aya that Klamp cultivated the cells of the original Eve to analyze. When Melissa was giving birth to the Ultimate Being, she created a nest there. In case Melissa and the Ultimate Being failed, the purebred would remain. Aya speaks with her sister, and they engage in battle against the purebred.
After the purebred is defeated, the mitochondria inside Aya begin to rebel against her. The explanation is that Aya's mitochondria have now reached a higher evolutionary stage than Maya’s, but Maya's personality has suddenly become dominant and begun to fight off the Eve persona. Maya eventually wins, purging the Eve persona from herself. Somehow, Maya protects Aya by preventing the original Eve from taking her over. Aya leaves the building by herself, although she apparently has gained some sort of connection with her dead sister.
Aya loses her mitochondrial powers but comes to terms with her sister's death. Aya claims her body is back to normal before Eve came along. However, this directly contradicts Parasite Eve II and The 3rd Birthday which shows that Aya still possesses them, meaning that this scenario may be non-canon.
Parasite Eve is a survival horror with many RPG elements. Movement in the various environments is free. Movement in the "world map" (which is a map of Manhattan) is limited to specific destinations:
- Carnegie Hall
- Central Park
- American Museum of Natural History
- St. Francis Hospital
- Chrysler Building (EX game only)
Battles are encountered somewhat randomly via "hot spots". A sound of a heartbeat occurs and the screen flashes and inverts black-and-white. Enemies materialize suddenly and there is no shift to a separate battle screen. Aya is bound within a perimeter of unseen barriers until the battle is over, either by defeating all enemies or using the Escape command.
In battle, the player has an "Active Time Bar" (ATB) that sets the time for every turn to take action. Upon each turn the player may choose between attacking with their equipped weapon, using PE (Parasite Energy) for defense, assistance or attack, using items, changing weapon or armor, or escaping the battle. If the player chooses to attack, a dome symbolizing the range of the weapon appears. If the enemy is outside of the range, the shot is likely to fail. Even if the shot lands, the damage will be less than normal.
When the player decides to use Parasite Energy, they must choose from the menu the desired PE skill. The same goes for weapon, armor or items; however, if the player choose to escape, experience will be lost. Parasite Energy is slowly recharged over time.
When not in battle, the player has the option of altering the weapon and armor attributes and effects with tools and super-tools. The player selects the "tune-up" option, choosing the weapon that will be altered and the weapon from which the attributes or effect will be taken.
One of the principle RPG elements of the game is that experience-based levels are present. Each time the player's level increases, their attributes go up and BP (Bonus Points) are given. These points can be distributed to the ATB, item capacity, or attributes of a weapon or armor.
When the game is cleared once, a new mode appears, called the "EX game" which is essentially a New Game + (Plus). It is different from the normal game in various aspects:
- The player has access to every item stored in the police station (plot items, like keys and the charms Maeda gives you, will be gone).
- The game begins with the final weapon and armor the player chose before ending the first game.
- The bonus points (BP) given to the player at the end of the game are now available to use.
- Enemies have slighter more HP (see here)
- Aya is level 1 again
- You'll get more bonus points when you level up, plus you also get a set amount of bonus points at the beginning of each day - 800 on Day 2, 1200 on Day 3, 2000 on 4 and 5, and 3000 on 6. Just playing through to the end of the Museum will get you at least 10,000 BP.
However, the biggest difference from the normal game is the Chrysler Building, a progressive endurance test. The Chrysler Building test allows the player the chance to save only every ten floors and only after defeating a boss. The items, weapons, power-ups and enemies are generally of a higher class. The best items, armors, and weapons are here along with the trading cards that allow the player to make customizations to the weapons and get the tool and super-tool kits. Every floor (except floors 1, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70-77) are completely randomized so each floor is like a maze. The boss in the last floor of the building (77) is the true final boss of the game and has the form of Aya's deceased sister, Maya.
The boss of each floor are:
- 10th floor: Spiderwoman
- 20th floor: Alligator (2x)
- 30th floor: Centipede
- 40th floor: Triceratops
- 50th floor: Cockroach (2x)
- 60th floor: Crab
- 70th floor: Bee (3x)
- 77th floor: Truebred Eve
- Main article: Parasite Eve Original Soundtrack
Yoko Shimomura composed the game's soundtrack, including the intro, "Primal Eyes", and the ending, "Somnia Memorias", is performed by Shani Rigsbee. A score met with great critical acclaim, it is known as one of her more original soundtracks, using influences from both opera, piano, techno and electronica.
Judith Siirila Paskowitz provided opera vocals for songs such as:
- Memorize of "Aya and Eve"
- Se Il mio amore sta vincino
- Influence of Deep
- Femme Fatales
- Memory III
- Someone Calls Me... Someone Looks For Me...
A separate Parasite Eve Remixes album was also released, containing 10 tracks remixed and remastered from the original game by various DJs.
Parasite Eve received positive reviews from critics upon its release in 1998. It received a score of 76.72% on GameRankings and 81/100 on Metacritic.
IGN gave it 7.4/10, citing its beautiful graphics and cinematic sequences (at the time it was released), but noted the game's linear plot structure and limited replay value.
In addition, some aspects of the game haven't aged well such as its low-polygonal in-game models and low-resolution 320x240 pre-rendered backgrounds. The low-resolution can also make some text in the game difficult to read (such as damage on enemies), prompting an unofficial font hack. Parasite Eve also contains no voice acting, except for a few battle grunts from Aya. Parasite Eve was also released on two discs, since CDs at the time could only store a limited amount of data.
- Main article: Parasite Eve (manga)
There was also a two-part manga released exclusively in Japan called Parasite Eve DIVA.
It follows the locations and events listed in the game, however there is an alternate spin with three new characters (one being Aya's romantic interest) and characters live or die in this version that didn't in the game.
- Playthroughs of Parasite Eve become popular in December, due to the setting of the game. Usually, it becomes most popular on December 24th (as this is when Parasite Eve begins on Day 1) and ends on December 29th (Day 6), with the daily goal of playing each "day" in the game per day. Usually, Days 1 to 4 tend to be an hour or two long. Day 5 is typically the longest day, and is around 3 hours long, due to the long nature of the sewers and museum, so the player should find time on December 28th. Day 6 is typically the shortest, and can be beaten in 40 minutes. Parasite Eve is also popular among New Yorkers, for obvious reasons.
- Subsequently, if a player wants to play the sequel Parasite Eve II, they could wait until the next September 4th. However, Parasite Eve II is set over a span of 4 days and attempting to play Parasite Eve II in sync in real time is more difficult, as it could require 3-5 hours a day.
- For The 3rd Birthday, it would also begin on December 24th like Parasite Eve. The 3rd Birthday is also divided into 6 chapters and it is possible to play each chapter per day. However, the chapters are full of time travel, but The 3rd Birthday still ends in December.
- Parasite Eve was Square's first M-rated video game due to disturbing imagery, body horror, sexual themes, and violence.
- Parasite Eve was developed in California with Japanese collaboration.
- Parasite Eve is about a catastrophic event in New York City that will change the world and humanity forever. The game's intro movie depicts a scene of a plane crashing into a pair of two tall buildings (not the Twin Towers), causing an explosion. Considering how Parasite Eve was released a few years before 9/11, this makes an eerie coincidence. Some artwork for the game includes Aya overlooking the Twin Towers.
- The game's save points are landline phones and payphones scattered throughout New York City. Aya calls the police to report her updates and progress. Oddly enough, Aya either doesn't use or have her own mobile phone as a police officer, as police officers in the late 1990s still used phones and radios to communicate, possibly because the developers didn't want an excuse to save anywhere.
Trailers and cutscenes
|Aya Brea - Daniel Dollis - Kunihiko Maeda - Melissa Pearce - Mitochondria Eve|
Maya Brea - Ben Dollis - Lorraine Dollis - Hans Klamp - Douglas Baker - Torres Owens - Wayne Garcia
|Armadillo - Bacterium - Bat - Bear - Cat - Centipede - Chameleon - Crow - Dogman - Flyman - Frog - Mixedman - Mole - Monkey - Parrot - Plant - Pterodactyl - Rat - Ratman - Spider - Scorpion - Squirrel - Snake - Treasurebox - Troodon|
|Alligator - Bee - Cockroach - Crab - Eve - Giantworm - Kerberos - Spiderwoman - Triceratops - Truebred Eve - T-Rex - Ultimate Being|
|American Museum of Natural History - Carnegie Hall - Central Park - Chinatown - Chrysler Building - N.Y.P.D. - Soho - St. Francis Hospital - Subway - Warehouse|
|Weapons - Soundtrack - Remixes Soundtrack|