Parasite Eve is an American biological horror themed turn-based action RPG developed and published by Squaresoft (currently Square Enix) for the Sony PlayStation in 1998. The video game is a detached sequel to the novel Parasite Eve, written by Hideaki Sena. It is also labelled as a PSOne Classic and was re-released on the North American PlayStation Store on March 15, 2011.
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.
Aya Brea, an N.Y.P.D. rookie, attends 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.
Aya confronts Melissa backstage, and Melissa states 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. Outside Carnegie Hall, Aya learns that she is the sole survivor of the incident and the only she and her unrequited date survived, as everyone else burned to death.
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), 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. Eve begins to transform animals and organisms into Neo-Mitochondrial Creatures or NMCs. Aya kills NMCs in order to end their suffering and eliminate the danger they possess.
On Christmas, Aya and her partner Daniel Dollis visit a scientist named Dr. Hans Klamp at the American Museum of Natural History. He tells them things about mitochondria that they find useless for their purposes. Later that day, they hear that Eve is in Central Park. 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, Aya awakens in an apartment 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, the trio 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, Aya witnesses the orange mass of people from the park enter the city water supply. She visits Dr. Klamp again, and discovers that Dr. Klamp has engineered special sperm for Eve so that she can create the Ultimate Being. He then spontaneously combusts. 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, Aya rests on a naval vessel. The Ultimate Being is born and attacks the surrounding ships. Aya does battle with 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.
After the events in the game transpire, she, along with her friends, try to compensate for a lost Christmas by going 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."
This leads up to this ending possibly being non-canonical, where if the player plays through the Chrysler Building and defeats the Truebred Eve, Aya will lose her mitochondrial powers (albeit gaining newer, less superior ones leading up to the sequel) thus, saving the audience as well as all of mankind once again.
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)
Upon the player walking over a "hot spot," there's a constantly diminishing chance of a random encounter. Enemies materialize suddenly and though there is no shift to a separate battle screen, the player 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." It is different from the normal game in various aspects:
- The player has access to every item stored in the police station.
- 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.
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 elder sister, Maya. This final boss 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.
Maya's body is not physically present in either scenario, only Eve is. What actually happens is arguable due to the scene's lack of camera angles for certain characters.
- 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.
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. It received a score of 76.72% on GameRankings and 81/100 on Metacritic. IGN called the game "Good", citing its beautiful graphics and cinematic sequences, but noted the game's linear plot structure and limited replay value.
- 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.
- 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.
|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|