Parasite Eve II is set three years after the events in the original game. In her new adventure, Aya Brea is pulled into a new battle in the American southwest against the NMC creatures she battled in the Manhattan Incident. While fighting these advanced NMCs, Aya discovers a conspiracy that seeks to replace humans as the dominant species on Earth.
Gameplay diverges from the previous game as battles now occur in real time and in open areas. The gameplay is typical of the survival-horror genre, although RPG elements of EXP, MP, supernatural abilities resembling magic spells (but with a scientific basis), armor, and leveling are present.
- Note: This plot summary follows the True/Good ending route.
Three years after the Manhattan incident, in September 2000, Aya Brea is an FBI agent working in the Mitochondrion Investigation and Suppression Team (MIST) and has been dispatched on an urgent mission in Los Angeles, California after reports of NMC activity. Aya is in charge of investigating the Akropolis Tower where she finds a slaughtered SWAT team and an NMC infestation. During her investigation Aya discovers that the NMCs have taken human form before reverting to their normal state and slaughtering the patrons and S.W.A.T. members. After battling her way through the top levels of the tower, Aya encounters a mysterious creature; a humanoid Artificial Neo-Mitochondrial Creature (ANMC) called No. 9 GOLEM. After battling the new creature, No. 9 triggers a series of bombs, destroying the Akropolis Tower. However, Aya along with her colleague Rupert Broderick, who arrived at the scene after her as back-up, escape in a police helicopter last minute.
After returning to M.I.S.T.'s headquarters in L.A, Aya is tasked by her boss, Eric Baldwin, with investigating strange incidents occurring in the desert town of Dryfield in the American southwest. The town consists of a truck-stop on a seldom used highway, with a motel, garage and diner. Upon arriving, she finds that Dryfield too is infested with NMCs. She later encounters a survivor, Gary Douglas, and his dog Flint, who acts as her source of news and equipment for much of the game. She later rescues Kyle Madigan, a private investigator who claims to be on a case that involves investigating the "Shelter", a nearby underground facility that may hold the answers to the recent outbreak of NMCs.
During her investigation in Dryfield, Aya discovers where the entrance to the Shelter is located. Before leaving Dryfield for the shelter, Aya fights and kills a large ANMC. Prior to the battle, Aya finds gas for Douglas's old truck which Douglas himself fixes in the mean time. Once at the Abandoned Mine, the supposed entrance for the Shelter, Aya and Kyle successfully fight off a group of Desert Chasers outside the mine's entrance. During the heated battle Kyle is injured and stumbles into the mine as Aya finishes off the last of the ANMCs. Entering the mine, Aya is unable to locate Kyle and assumes he is dead after finding his pistol inside the mine where she defeated a large, powerful enemy.
Finding a hidden door inside the mine, Aya finally gains access to the Shelter. She fights the Glutton and reunites with Kyle. When Kyle is following Aya in the sewers, Aya opens the Full Moon Gate via a control panel using the passcode "15". She returns to Dryfield from the shelter, follows Flint to the Water Tower and saves Pierce by bringing him three ice bags.
Aya returns to the shelter. As Aya explores the Shelter she discovers that the ANMCs are the result of genetic engineering in an attempt to artificially create superior life forms, and that in some way she is closely involved. After accessing a computer belonging to Fred Bowman, Aya discovers that the ANMCs were created from her own DNA.
Eventually Aya discovers the game's fourth and final area, the Neo Ark, the entrance to which is concealed in the shelter. She finds out that the Ark facility was intended to be a showcase of ANMC technology, divided into different habitats, with zoo-like visitor commentaries and viewing platforms throughout the area. Habitat containment has broken down and the ANMCs are loose. This area is now infested with the creatures too. The goal in this area is for Aya to disable two power generators (Beta Generator and Proto Generator), which allows access to an area that could not be reached in the shelter.
Aya returns to the shelter, which is now swarmed with GOLEM cyborgs. After descending elevators, Aya defeats the Puppet Stinger and is reunited with Kyle. Aya rescues a girl that has been manipulated into controlling the hostile NMCs. She also learns that the girl, Eve, was created from her own DNA, making her Aya's twin clone. Shortly after escaping an attack by unknown hostile forces, Aya and Eve find themselves back in Neo Ark, where Eve is kidnapped by No. 9 in a submarine tunnel. Returning from the Neo Ark to the Shelter, Aya finds a path leading out of the Shelter to the outside world.
Emerging from the Shelter, Aya encounters a large force of GOLEMs, but is rescued by a battalion of U.S. Marines that have been activated by Aya's contacts at MIST. She later receives a gift from Mr. Douglas, via Flint, of supplies. She decides to use Flint to help her find Eve, using Eve's teddy bear in order to give him a scent to track. He leads her back into the Shelter, tracking Eve's scent, but is sent back to the surface in order to lead a blinded Marine to safety.
Aya tracks Eve down to a room containing an enormous cocoon, where No. 9 is attempting to meld Eve with the creature; Kyle at No. 9's side, complicit in his actions. Kyle suddenly turns on No. 9, wounding him with a gunshot before the cocoon creature devours him. Moments later a satellite weapon is fired with authority by the President; decimating Dryfield. Aya and Kyle find themselves separated by a hole that has penetrated all the Shelter's levels. One of Kyle's legs has been obliterated and he passes out. Aya looks down to see Eve hanging onto a piece of debris on the edge of one of the lower levels.
Eventually, the cocoon breaks open, having being dislodged by the impact of the weapon, revealing the largest ANMC in the game. After defeating this creature, mutated Eve emerges from the lake of mitochondria and biomatter below as a fast and powerful winged NMC resembling a large butterfly. With her last enemy in sight, Aya battles for one last time. After the final battle, various cutscenes are shown depending on the actions of the player during the game.
- True/Good ending: Once the bosses are defeated, Aya and Eve awaken surrounded by medics. Aya has a monologue about what happened to the characters. A year after the game's events, on September 1, 2001, after being given passes by Piece, Aya and Eve visit the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, remembering the outbreak of mitochondria. Kyle meets up with them and it is implied he has a prosthetic leg under his jeans. The situation implies that Kyle and Pierce contacted each other and wanted Kyle's appearance to be a surprise. This ending is the happiest - however, although the game was released before 9/11, 9/11 is only 10 days away, making it a sort of bittersweet ending in retrospect. To obtain this ending:
- Save Flint from the Burner in Dryfield.
- After defeating the Glutton, when Kyle is following Aya in the sewers, open the Full Moon Gate via a control panel using the passcode "15". Return to Dryfield from the shelter. Follow Flint to the Water Tower and save Pierce and give him three bags of ice ASAP.
- Read Pierce's memo in the Pod Service Gantry. Immediately call Jodie.
- Get the Teddy Bear by No. 9's motorcycle.
- Get the note from Flint, and give him the Teddy Bear.
- Rescue Pierce in Golem Freezer.
- Save the blinded soldier in the shelter.
- Normal ending: Once the bosses are defeated, Aya and Eve awaken surrounded by medics. The game ends on a cliffhanger.
- Flint must be saved, but don't call Jodie after reading the memo, or rescue Pierce from the Golem Freezer.
- Sad/Bad ending: Once the bosses are defeated, Aya and Eve fall down a pod. Aya and Eve awaken surrounded by medics. As Aya is falling, she looks at Kyle to tell him something, but can't because she passes out.
- Obtained automatically if Flint is killed in the Burner boss.
Parasite Eve II shifts from its cinematic RPG roots to the survival horror genre, while attempting to insert RPG elements into the mix. The RPG elements present are the use of:
- EXP (experience) to gain Levels, as well as obtain and strengthen Parasite Energy
- HP (Hit Points, or health)
- MP (Mitochondria Points used to power Aya's Parasite Energy abilities)
- PE (Parasite Energy, the game's equivalent of spells)
- BP (Bounty Points, which are earned by killing enemies - BP can be traded for weapons, armor, items, and ammo at shops.)
Character controls have been changed to tank style controls, allowing fighting to be done in real space versus the limited battle area present in the original game. These controls eschew the turn based fighting present in the original, giving the player a more dynamic and free fighting system.
Camera movement is not controlled by the player. When moving around, there are sudden shifts in the pre-rendered backgrounds as opposed to the pan and zoom present in the original. These fixed camera angles can make battles tenser as the player may not always know where the enemies are off-screen.
Unlike Parasite Eve, there is no Active Time Bar that governs the order of actions during a battle. Battles take place in real time, so the player is free to act as they see fit. Another contrast is the absence of the 'range dome' seen in the first game, allowing the player to shoot at off-screen targets and engage targets from a safe distance, although when Aya uses some offensive Parasite Energy, there is a green "field" which will miss enemies not in it. There are also no random battles; enemies will be found wandering in plain view, hence allowing the player to avoid confrontations and plan strategies. Aiming, as with most other games of this genre, is accomplished by cycling through the various 'lockable' targets within Aya's range.
For many battles, Aya can run away, although this will lose minor BP, Aya will gain minor MP.
- Main article: Parasite Energy#Parasite Eve II
Parasite Energy can be obtained and strengthened using EXP. Although the player may choose to upgrade what they want, maxing out Pyrokinesis (many enemies are vulnerable to fire attacks), Healing (as healing Aya is very important) and Energyshot (raises Aya's damage) should be the highest priorities, especially for beginners. Necrosis (poison) at at least level 1 is also useful as some bosses are vulnerable to poison and will take damage over time.
They are divided into four areas:
- Fire - Offensive. Fire is perhaps the most useful method of attacking due to its devastating power and good range. It is composed of the fireball Pyrokinesis, the wall of fire Combustion and the explosive Inferno.
- Wind - Offensive. Wind comprises electrical attacks that have less power but higher tactical value because they are capable of immobilizing and poisoning enemies. These are the electric ball Necrosis, the electric pulse dome Plasma and the thunderstorm Apobiosis.
- Water - Defensive. Water involves healing energies; these are the status curing Metabolism, the HP restoring Healing and the offensively-used HP draining Lifedrain.
- Earth - Defensive. Earth relates to physical energies, so is most useful for defense, but can also give Aya a decent attack. The energies are the magnetic armor Antibody, the bullet-power improving Energy Shot and the offensive/defensive balls Energy Balls.
Equipment and items
- Main article: Parasite Eve II Weapons
- Main article: Parasite Eve II Armor
- Main article: Parasite Eve II Items
- Main article: Parasite Eve II Ammunition
Equipment can be obtained by purchasing it, prize from successful battles, or finding it in predetermined areas of the game. BP can be also traded for weapons, armor, items, and ammo at the shops.
Unlike most other survival horror games, ammunition is almost never in short supply. While Aya can only carry limited amounts of equipment with her, inexhaustible ammunition boxes exist in most areas and can be revisited as often as required for a top-up. This encourages the player to fight rather than run, which is essential to the gameplay as it is the only way to gain experience and thus for Aya to become powerful enough to succeed.
Players lose the ability to modify or create weapons and armor as was the case in the original. While equipment follows the original game's concept of being customizable, in general the weapons and armor are quite limited in the alterations available. For weapons, some can be accessorized with various attachments; i.e. attaching a grenade launcher to the M4A1 giving the user a secondary fire mode. Armors vary in their defense and specials but can be augmented by adding special items, such as Holy Water into the attachment slots. These items are not lost or destroyed if the armor is sold and the armors cannot be modified by taking stats from another.
Once the game has been completed, bonus items become available for the player should they choose to redo the game in Replay mode. Other modes also become available, such as Bounty Hunter and Scavenger which are more difficult for the player to complete. The most difficult mode "Nightmare" only becomes available after completing the game in Scavenger Mode.
- Main article: Parasite Eve II Original Soundtrack
Parasite Eve II Original Soundtrack is the soundtrack album of video game music for Parasite Eve II. The music was composed by Naoshi Mizuta.
Parasite Eve II received generally positive reviews from critics upon its release in 2000. It received a score of 78.46% on GameRankings and 79/100 on Metacritic.
It received praise for an interesting new battle system and its suspenseful intriguing plot. The game's graphics were also praised, especially considering how it was released at the end of the PlayStation One's lifecycle in preparation for the PlayStation 2.
However, it was criticized for;
- Outdated, sluggish, awkward and clumsy tank controls.
- Massive amounts of backtracking, and players often being unsure of what to do next.
- Often confusing and vague puzzles.
- Some criticized the game's setting for being boring (after Akropolis Tower), as the rest of the game is set in an abandoned desert town or a laboratory-looking maze (near the end), a contrast to exploring the whole city of New York City.
- Fans of Yoko Shimomura's work on the first game were disappointed as her melodic music is replaced by silence or uninteresting ambience.
- The game's difficulty can be quite challenging, as it is arguably a level above than the first game. An argument can be made that Parasite Eve II is a "hard" game. Some players never finish the game because the final two bosses, fought back-to-back, can be extremely challenging, especially without a strategy guide.
- 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 game lacks significant voice acting, with the only voice acting in the game being limited to a few sparse grunts, screams, laughs, and short phrases, while previous PlayStation One games showed that voice acting was possible during the era, although in the game's defense, mainstream voice acting was just becoming a standard. The game was also released on two discs, since CDs at the time could only store a limited amount of data.
- Like the first game, Parasite Eve II also features phones as save points.
- Square released "Parasite Eve II: The Official Lunchbox".
- The game contains Coca-Cola advertising. Aya can find a Coca-Cola bottlecap magnet which helps her out in the game. She can also drink Coca-Cola bottles to restore her HP. This had led to the conspiracy theory that Square secretly partnered with Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola funded the game, although it could simply be because the developers wanted to convey the game is set in reality.
- There is a Einhänder pinball machine in Dryfield's restaurant.
- The game references Square's Final Fantasy franchise, particularly Final Fantasy VIII, with an unlockable Gunblade weapon and reference in dialog to Cactuars.
- Similar to the Final Fantasy series, its title name officially has a Roman numeral (II instead of 2), while Parasite Eve 2 is an alternate name.