Parasite Eve

released on Mar 29, 1998

Parasite Eve is a survival horror role-playing video game developed and published by SquareSoft (now Square Enix) for the Sony PlayStation console. The game follows the story of Aya Brea, a rookie NYPD officer who becomes embroiled in a series of bizarre and deadly events related to a genetic mutation known as mitochondria. The game combines elements of horror, science fiction, and RPG gameplay, featuring real-time battles, exploration, puzzle-solving, and character development. The game's plot is inspired by the novel of the same name by Hideaki Sena, and its gameplay mechanics were influenced by the Final Fantasy series. Parasite Eve was critically acclaimed upon its release in 1998, and is widely regarded as a classic of the survival horror genre.

Also in series

The 3rd Birthday
The 3rd Birthday
Parasite Eve II
Parasite Eve II

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It's like Resident Evil if it were an RPG and it's a lot better than it sounds. The music is absolutely amazing with Out of Phase being on the best chill tracks in gaming.

This game sucks its the greatest game I've ever played

Fantastic First half and ending, but the Days 4 and 5 were a huge slog. I really like the combat, but it overstays it's welcome. Lower the encounter rate by 2/3rds and it'd be perfect, but still, excellent game. The FMV's, cool horror-jungle soundtrack, make this a compelling aesthetic piece.
Aya is a cool (sexy) character, but the supporting cast is a bit dull. Daniels jumping off the fucking helicopter at the end there though was an amazing moment. I really appreciate how experimental square got with turn based combat in the 90's with stuff like this and Vagrant Story,
wish we got more of that instead of moving directly into action combat.

the weird jrpg and survivor horror lovechild i didn't realize i needed

FINALLY A JRPG THAT ISNT SET IN A FANTASY WORLD WITH A GIANT FUCKING TREE IT TAKES PLACE IN THE LAND OF THE FREE NEW YORK CITY🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈🔫🔫🔫🔫🔫🔫🔫!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm going to preface this review with a complaint: Any game that finishes on a four phase bossfight and follows that up with a multi-faceted escape sequence that can end in a game over if you move slightly too slowly through its intended sequence deserves a strongly worded letter and discerned frowny face. Parasite Eve, here is your frowny face :(.

Parasite Eve was one of those games that I had been greatly interested in but had long escaped me because I didn't grow up with or embrace the Playstation ecosystem until the PS4 came out so I could jump on the FF7R bandwagon. This means I lost out on a lot of the mid to late 1990's classics and favorites from developers in their golden ages, in this case that was Square Soft and the nearly endless hits it seemed to release. Parasite Eve, a JRPG horror game with much of its development DNA being rooted in Final Fantasy was an immediate piqued interest to me. I knew absolutely nothing about the gameplay going into it, zero as to what the story was about, and again very little about runtime. What I got out of finally playing the 1998 classic was a quick and easy b-movie with a simple (yet enjoyably so) gameplay loop.

Taking place over six days, Parasite Eve's story revolves around a parasitic growth named Eve who is hellbent on creating and perpetrating the reign of the "Ultimate Lifeform." Unfortunately this story does not involve Shadow the Hedgehog's origin story. What begins as an NYPD cop named Aya Brea going on a date to the opera quickly morphs into a race against the clock to save Manhattan, and in turn the world. Aya begins her investigation immediately after the entire opera house is morphed into gloop by the demonic Eve on stage. Collaborating with the lead detective in her NYPD precinct, the military, and a Japanese scientist she embarks on a desperate mission to understand the mystery of Eve's origin and goals so that peace can be restored. I appreciate the limited scope of the story, as I mentioned previously this title only takes place in the one borough in New York, allowing for the story to move at a hastened yet measured pace. There's no moment where you think you should be in a zone longer than you are, and you don't miss out on anything by only hitting a few of the marquis locations within Manhattan. In your investigation you'll visit the zoo, the Museum of Natural History, the Statue of Liberty, and the Chrysler Building should you choose. I've said it before, and as a fan of Metal Gear Rising I'll say it again, games that pace themselves well are a dime a dozen and it's a severely underrated way to craft a solid game.

Gameplay in Parasite Eve is fairly basic, with combat utilizing a classic Final Fantasy ATB system where you can choose to either use special PE powers or simply shoot your gun at the opponent. The PE powers cover all the bases like healing yourself, giving Brea a shield or speed buff, and eventually moves that do devastatingly large amounts of damage to the opposition. These moves are strong and bolster your survival arsenal quick a bit, but need to be built up over time in battle. I liked this balance, forcing you as the player to dish out damage in the random encounters and boss fights while you're PE gauge built up and you could add some survivability into your kit. Because the game stayed at a lower level of difficulty throughout, I never felt like the system of running around in a fight to build up my gauge felt unfair or busy. World encounters (which are random to an extent) are often remedied through simply gunfights, but the bosses will require more planning and usage of the paranormal.

Weapons in Parasite Eve are limited in diversity but do give you an interesting way to complete the game. There's a few categories of guns you get: Pistols, rifles, machine guns, shotguns (I think,) and grenade launchers. Each come with their boons like how rifles have a longer range and machine guns have a higher rate of fire, but also have their cons that seem to balance them out. Rifles with that range have a lower rate of fire and maybe a smaller clip size, whereas machine guns dish out more shots but do less damage per shot and aren't as effective from further away. This leads to a chief complaint I had with PE, and that's how customizing rate of fire on your weapon felt rather... pointless? This is because the more shots you get in your "turn" to attack, the less damage each shot does. I remember upgrading one of my weapons to have seven shots per turn, only to find out I was doing twelve damage per shot. I was mystified and thought I'd reached some random difficulty spike, but I soon discovered that my error lied in trying to do more damage per turn. Though there is some reasoning you could give to have more shots per turn, I felt like the ability to blast through the opposition as quickly as possible with fewer, high damage blasts felt a lot better.

Playing PS1 era games nearly thirty years after they've come out is often a crapshoot because of how far visual fidelity has come. Even within the genre, think about how expansive the differences in Final Fantasy VII and its Remake title are. Even though Parasite Eve shows its age on the polygonal front, the FMV cutscenes that it hangs its laurels upon are to this day still pretty impressive. Many horror games from the 1990's simply don't "feel" scary because they can't impart an actual element of visual horror on the player, but Parasite Eve goes to an incredible extent to make the disgusting transformations, deaths, and general grime of its cinematics feel visceral. Multiple times through my playthrough I made an exhausted uneasy face at what I was seeing, coupled with impressive soundtracking work to make the moment feel eerie. Square since time immemorial has known how to do work in the CGI space and its vindicating to go back and see how great they've always succeeded in that space. Nearing conclusion, I felt like I played a grotesque version of Final Fantasy VIII.

I do want to shoutout the legendary Yoko Shimomura here for her OST. For a game this short, it's filled with certified BOPS and BANGERS that make each area and moment feel distinct right from the opening crawl all the way to the end credits. It may be an interesting take for a lot people to hear but I think this is her best work yet, even in a career that includes Kingdom Hearts, FFXV, Live A Live, and Super Mario RPG.

Before I close, one thing that nearly ruined this game for me is that I named my protagonist "Gherkin." I don't like pickles... as a matter of fact I hate them but for whatever reason when the chance came to name my protagonist I thought of a sloppy, large, green gherkin. I couldn't stop laughing any time her name came on screen, and anytime I told my buddies I was going to go "Gherk" it erupted myself into cacophonous laughter. I guess my lesson here is that most players should probably keep their first name as "Aya" or go with something less abrasive. It reminds me of when I named my Tidus "Chad" in FFX and completely forgot his name wasn't Chad for months after I played.

Parasite Eve is a quick and fun JRPG experience that should not be missed if anyone still has a Playstation 1 around. I recommend this game to anyone with a knack for the golden age of JRPG's or the older Resident Evil title.