Parasite Eve is an action RPG title billed as the first "cinematic RPG" by its developer and publisher Square. The game is a sequel to a novel of the same title by Hideaki Sena. With the success of Final Fantasy VII, Square had cemented itself as one of the leaders in videogame cinematics. They were attempting to bring their own mix of acclaimed CGI, quirky Japanese gameplay, and heavy plot to the market in a game akin to the Resident Evil series. The final product was acclaimed for these reasons, as well as its soundtrack and was considered of the same high quality of other Square games of the era.
Many features of survival-horror titles are present in Parasite Eve, with the game including similar control schemes, limited survival-based item management, and menacing, grotesque enemies. The included battle system is more akin to other Square franchises, such as fifth generation Final Fantasy games, however Parasite Eve departed from their mechanics by allowing the player to move in battle, but employed an ATB gauge to have the action remain to some degree turn-based.
The game garnered significant praise and acclaim upon release, garnering support for a Western-developed sequel that was released in North America in 2000. An indirect sequel title "The 3rd Birthday" was released for the DoCoMo mobile phone platform as well as the PSP.
Parasite Eve tells the story of the destruction of New York by a mitochondrial menace known as Eve and the military's struggle to defeat it. Set in New York just prior to and just after Christmas 1997, the story follows NYPD officer and protagonist Aya Brea. She finds herself mysteriously drawn to an opera house, and to the lead actress Melissa Pearce. As Pearce is performing, their eyes meet and everyone in the opera house begins to burst into flames. Brea, who is unaffected, finds herself the lone agent able to investigate the scene.
Brea tunnels through the opera house, fighting rats who were horribly mutated by the phenomenon. Searching through the actor's quarters, she finds that Pearce was taking massive amounts of an unknown drug to cement her role as lead actress. Other actresses vying for Pearce's part were mysteriously killed in a fire.
In a showdown between the two, Brea confronts Pearce in the opera house as she is playing the piano. Pearce's body mutates horribly, as her skin changes in pallor and her hands lengthen into talons. Floating above the ground, Pearce proclaims herself "Eve." Brea is able to defeat her with the powers she has mysteriously developed. Before escaping, Eve laughs and warns Aya that her mitochondria have not yet become fully awake.
The plot continues to center around the mystery of "Eve" and how everything relates to Aya and her supposed underdeveloped mitochondria. Aya and her NYPD partner Daniel Dollis, an African American twenty-year veteran of the force investigate the mystery by visiting Dr. Klamp, the leading name behind mitochondrial research.
Soon, the incident with Eve in the opera house turns into an onslaught against New York. In a murderous incident in Central Park, Eve slaughters thousands of people, absorbing them into a blob of mitochondrial biomass. The remaining inhabitants of New York are evacuated, leaving the city barren, and the military is called in to fight the creature.
The game allows the player to traverse freely through designated areas of Manhattan. Once a player encounters a battle, enemies appear inside a set perimeter that restricts movement to that portion of the screen. A departure from previous Square RPG titles, the game has no transition to the battle mode and requires players to dispose of (or flee from) enemies in what is essentially the world map.
The Active Time Bar (ATB) serves as the basis for the battle system--something of a replacement for the turn-based systems of previous RPG titles. This bar system allows the player to move around freely in the designated battle area while they wait for the bar to be filled and computer attacks to be performed.
Attacks are the result of either direct fire of firearms or by the use of Parasite Enegy (PE), which utilizes Aya's special mitochondrial sensitivity and allows her to control the output of her focused attacks. The Parasite Energy has defensive measures as well, allowing the player to use standard RPG conventions in unfamiliar ways.
Parasite Energy allows players to use their learned skills and traits for powerful attacks. Additionally, weapons and armor can be customized with tools, as well as super tools, in order to alter the attributes of each. To upgrade, players are required to sacrifice attributes on other weapons and armors to be transferred to the desired item. This adds a depth of unpredictability to the progression of players inventories, potentially increasing the replayability of the game.
Parasite Eve was released in a time period just after the North American release of the Dual Shock controller, and was one of the first games to support it. Without the Dual Shock, Parasite Eve utilized the heavily-criticized "tank" control scheme of Resident Evil. Brea's movements were irritatingly slow unless players held down the circle button. Many players were pleased that it offered analog support, making the control of Brea much easier, though it was criticised for rendering the D-pad inoperative.
Disc 1 (52:34)
- 1. "Primal Eyes" - 2:21
- 2. "Waiting for Something Awakens" - 1:12
- 3. "Overture [from opera "La mia verita"]" - 2:16
- 4. "Se il mio amore sta vincino [Vocalize]" - 2:06
- 5. "Memory I" - 0:35
- 6. "Gloom and Doom" - 2:41
- 7. "Theme of Mitochondria" - 1:39
- 8. "Sotto Voice" - 2:07
- 9. "Arise within You" - 2:05
- 10. "Main Theme [Piano Solo Version]" - 2:07
- 11. "The Surface of the Water" - 2:02
- 12. "Memorize of "Aya and Eve" - 1:37
- 13. "Out of Phase" - 4:02
- 14. "Urban Noise" - 1:52
- 15. "Mystery Notes" - 1:01
- 16. "Influence of Deep" - 3:03
- 17. "Phrase of Aya" - 1:14
- 18. "Phrase of Mitochondria" - 0:42
- 19. "Theme of Aya" - 1:34
- 20. "Under the Progress" - 3:07
- 21. "Plosive Attack" - 2:19
- 22. "Missing Perspective" - 3:40
- 23. "Memory II" - 1:09
- 24. "Force Trail" - 1:42
- 25. "Phrase of Eve" - 3:07
- 26. "Memory III" - 1:14
Disc 2 (54:40)
- 1. "Matrix" - 2:44
- 2. "The Omission of the World" - 2:32
- 3. "Wheel of Fortune" - 3:31
- 4. "Kyrie" - 2:43
- 5. "Across the View" - 1:51
- 6. "Femmes Fatales" - 4:42
- 7. "A Piece of Remain" - 1:20
- 8. "Musica Mundana" - 2:13
- 9. "U.B." - 4:52
- 10. "Escape from U.B." - 0:54
- 11. "Main Theme" - 1:49
- 12. "Theme of Aya [Reprise]" - 1:14
- 13. "I Hear a Voice Asking Me to Awaken" - 1:54
- 14. "Somnia Memorias" - 5:58
- 15. "Consensus" - 1:56
- 16. "Someone calls me... Someone looks for me..." - 1:46
- 17. "Main Theme [Orchestral Version]" - 7:53
- 18. "Influence of Deep -CM Version-" - 2:43
- 19. "Se il mio amore sta vincino -CM Version-" - 2:05
Parasite Eve Remixes
Disc - (63:25)
- "A.Y.A. (Theme of AYA Primary Mix)" - 5:10
- "Arise within You (remixedbyTomo)" - 7:12
- "Plosive Attack (CULTIVATE MIX)" - 8:34
- "Missing Perspective (Dan K's Late Night Session)" - 6:42
- "Influence of Deep (DJ Hiraguri's Operattack)" - 8:12
- "Under the Progress (SOMETHING WONDERFUL remix)" - 6:35
- "Primal Eyes (WE ARE ALL PARASITES/CHARLIE HORSE MIX)" - 4:41
- "Across the Memories (DB Remix)" - 4:56
- "Urban Noise (112-80MIX)" - 5:37
- "Somnia Memorias (Platinum Edition)" - 5:56
Once players have beaten the game for the first time a mode called "EX game" unlocks. In this mode players have access to items located in storage, the weapon and armor the player had engraved at the end of the first game, as well as their bonus points. However, the player's level does not carry over and enemies will also be tougher. The biggest difference in this mode is the Chrysler Building a new and more difficult dungeon.
In it is 77 floors with each one (except boss floors and floors 70-77) being completely random. Every 10th floor contains a boss fight and players can only save after they have defeated a boss. The most powerful weapons and armor are located in this dungeon as well as trading cards, which allow the player to customize weapons and collect tool kits and super tool kits. Once players reach the final floor they will be able to fight the true final boss of the game and unlock the true ending.