Parasite Eve (video game series)
|Date(s):||29 March 1998 (JP); 9 September 1998 (NA)|
|Medium:||Video game (PlayStation, PlayStation Classic)|
|Country of Origin:||Japan|
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Parasite Eve (パラサイト・イヴ, Parasaito Ivu) is a 1998 survival horror action role-playing video game developed and published by Square for the PlayStation. The game is a sequel to the novel Parasite Eve, written by Hideaki Sena; it is also the first game in the Parasite Eve video game series. The story follows New York City police officer Aya Brea over a six-day span in 1997 as she attempts to stop the Eve, an entity who plans to destroy the human race through spontaneous human combustion. Players explore levels set in areas of New York while utilizing a pausable real-time combat system along with several role-playing game elements.
The video game adaptation was part of a resurgence of popularity in J-horror sparked by the original book, and was released alongside a film adaptation and two manga comics—one based on the book, the other on the video game. The original video game was followed by two sequels: Parasite Eve II in 1999 and The 3rd Birthday (for the PlayStation Portable) in 2010, and was re-released on the PlayStation Network in 2010.
Parasite Eve is considered a classic—for J-horror, survival horror, and PlayStation games. In 2000, Famitsu readers voted the game sixteenth in the magazine's top 100 PlayStation games of all time.
...[S]ome 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 a fan-made unofficial font hack.
During the game, Maeda gives Aya three "good luck" charms. Some players were annoyed by this, as the game never explicitly tells the player the use of the charms and they take up inventory space, and there is a debate whether or not they actually do anything (apart from the third being used to reserve one inventory slot for a story event). Due to the game's complicated code, no one has been able to datamine the game to see if they actually do anything, and there are rumors about the charms with some players saying it helps them get rare items and the like. Some players get rid of them as soon as possible, while others keep them just in case. It could be seen as a brilliant commentary on superstition, or a mean joke.
Near the end of the game, Aya will gain the Parasite Energy "Liberate", which is known for being overpowered. Some have praised the ability for making the final bosses easy for those who just want to complete the game ASAP so they can move onto the next game, or for those who never got the game's weapon/armor customization system - others note it can make the final bosses easy and ruin any challenge the final bosses provide. Some claim that a "No Liberate" run is how Parasite Eve should be played, although it is up to individual players whether or not they should use Liberate.
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 an in-game "day" in a real-life day. Usually, Days 1 to 4 tend to be an hour or two long each. 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 II is generally considered to be a worthy follow-up and a good game in its own right, though not a universal crowd-pleaser for fans of the original.
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.
- Often confusing and vague puzzles, almost as if the developers designed the game in order to sell strategy guides. In contrast to the first game's streamlined and straightforward nature, players of the second game are often unsure of what to do next and how to progress the next objective.
- 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 locales 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.
The 3rd Birthday has been nigh-universally disavowed by Parasite Eve fans. Even those who enjoyed the game often consider its merits separately from the previous games, rather than as a legitimate successor. Many take issue with the radical departure in gameplay, the convoluted plot, and the portrayal of established characters.
Contested Sequel: Hoo boy, if you thought debates over the second game were heated, this game took it even further. While Parasite Eve II saw a divide in the fanbase how it changed up things from the first game in regards to focus on the survival horror aspects of the series while moving further from the original game's RPG mechanics, this game took it even further due to another Genre Shift to a third-person shooter, the removal of NMCs entirely from the plot, and the whole deal with Aya's Chickification. Quite a few Parasite Eve II detractors have the opinion of "At least it isn't The 3rd Birthday", and will often agree with Parasite Eve II's fans on that.
Some call the game "garbage that should not have been made" and accuse the game of "killing" the franchise, although it was already dormant for a decade. Others note that it did not make much sense to only release the game as a PSP exclusive at the end of its life cycle, and that a PC/PS2/PS3 port would have helped with sales.
Despite the negative reception, The 3rd Birthday has received defenders who feel that despite the game's shortcomings, it is still a "fun and enjoyable experience with interesting concepts", with some feeling that the game was funner to play than the previous two games. Defenders point that it can be considered a great PSP game, utilizing the PSP's graphical and hardware capabilities to its full potential. The CGI cutscenes show a lot of effort put into them. The enthralling gameplay features a lot of customization and challenge. Many enjoyed the body jumping mechanic, feeling it adds depth and complexity to battle strategy [...] The game's music and soundtrack has been praised. The English voice acting was generally well received, with Yvonne Strahovski voicing Aya and Jensen Ackles of Supernatural fame voicing Kyle, although Strahovski's performance has been criticized for Aya's ridiculous amount of audible breathing and gasping.
The 3rd Birthday, on its own, could be considered a satisfactory and decent game. However, as an official Parasite Eve installment, it could be considered subpar due to numerous reasons, such as having a convoluted abstract storyline, an amnesiac Aya without an attitude, a lack of grotesque body horror and transformation scenes, etc.
Some criticism was aimed at the Over Energy system [...] Another point of criticism was how the game handled its unlockables [...]
The storyline written by Motomu Toriyama can be seen as extremely confusing, nonsensical, muddled and convoluted without motivation and connection...
Almost all of the science-fiction elements from the series are removed in favor of more "fantasy" metaphysical elements such as building a device which somehow allows Aya to time travel into the past by sending her consciousness, consciousness-swapping, time paradoxes, fourth-dimensional alien creatures, etc… The "biological horror" the series is known for has been changed to "cosmic horror" with aliens.
Aya's character in The 3rd Birthday has been criticized for her fragile and "sexualized" nature...
In the story itself, Aya has a very quiet and submissive personality, especially towards Hyde Bohr and Hunter Owen. This was a major change from the modest, but strong, outspoken and enduring character of the previous two games. Many players found it discouraging to see such a well-respected and honored heroine be treated so horribly.
- Parasite Eve METALIZED!! - パラサイト・イヴ ("Primal Eyes") by Spyder1246 (7 Jan 2016)
- Parasite Eve OST: "Out of Phase" - Synth Cover (Mono Memory) by Mono Memory (10 Sep 2020)
- Parasite Eve Font Hack by CUE and GreenGoblin
- Spanish complete translation by GreenGoblin, CUE et al.
Fan Sites and Archives
- FanFiction.Net (FFN): Parasite Eve stories and crossovers
- DeviantArt (DA): Parasite-Eve-Fans, Aya-Brea-Club
- Archive of Our Own (AO3): Parasite Eve tagged works
- Reddit: r/ParasiteEve
- Pixiv: #パラサイト・イヴ, #パラサイトイヴ
- Liberation, Archived version
- Beyond Dreams, Archived version
- Wikipedia: Parasite Eve (video game), Parasite Eve II, The 3rd Birthday
- TV Tropes: Parasite Eve, Parasite Eve II, The 3rd Birthday
- Wikipedia. Parasite Eve (video game). (Accessed 6 Mar 2021.)
- IGN Staff (November 20, 2000). "Famitsu Weekly PlayStation Top 100". IGN. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on May 10, 2015. Retrieved December 9, 2008.
- Parasite Eve Wiki at Fandom.com. Parasite Eve. (Accessed 10 May 2021.)
- Parasite Eve Wiki at Fandom.com. Parasite Eve II. (Accessed 10 May 2021.)
- TV Tropes. YMMV / Parasite Eve 2. (Accessed 10 May 2021.)
- Beyond Dreams.
- TV Tropes. YMMV / The 3rd Birthday. (Accessed 10 May 2021.)
- Parasite Eve Wiki at Fandom.com. The 3rd Birthday. (Accessed 10 May 2021.)