Tomorrow, Square Enix returns to Manhattan and Aya Brea with her newest adventure, The Third Birthday. It’s been over a decade since the Parasite Eve franchise has been on a console. But while we wait another day to pick up this grand adventure, Square Enix has finally brought this original survival horror role-playing game to the PlayStation network.
Parasite Eve follows Aya Brea, a rookie NYPD cop, as she seeks to stop Eve, an opera singer turned telekinetic mutant by her raging mitochondria, as it seeks to reach out and take over the world! Aya’s own Mitochondria are evolving as well giving her untold powers. New York is quickly turned upside down, as humans and animals alike are mutated into grotesque monsters that Aya has to battle as she tracks down the clues to Eve’s whereabouts.
Parasite Eve is a survival horror game with action RPG elements. Released by Squaresoft in 1998, Parasite Eve came to the market on the heels of Square Enix’s widely popular Final Fantasy VII for the PlayStation. Parasite Eve experienced its own success with noticeably improved graphics, a rich story, mood-making music and fantastic game play elements that helped it to quickly reach over a million copies sold worldwide.
Parasite Eve, like Final Fantasy VII, features 3D characters moving across 2D backgrounds. While moving through the environments you will encounter enemies on a semi-random basis- Meaning by crossing certain areas on the maps you will trigger an enemy encounter. However the type of enemy that you encounter may not necessarily be the same from event to event. The battle system is fairly straightforward, using an Active Time battle scheme as opposed to a turn-based combat which was more popular at the time. While engaged in battle, you could freely move about the area, waiting for your ATB gauge to fill up thereby allowing you to stay out of an enemy’s reach. However, your own range is limited depending on the type of weapon equipped or power you intend to use.
Never fear, though, as your range limits are upgradeable along with a multitude of other characteristics for your weapons and Parasite Powers. Weapons and Armor can be upgraded in a number of ways. First, you can obtain Permits which allow you to upgrade the number of slots that a weapon or piece of armor has. Increasing the number of slots gives you the ability to add attributes to that item, such as increasing the rate of fire, changing a weapon over from semi-auto to automatic, or increasing your HP. Second, you have items that you can pick up called Tools and Super Tools. These Tools allow you to transfer modifiers from one weapon or piece of armor to another, allowing you to make them more effective. Be aware however that if you use a regular tool to strip out the attributes, that item will effectively be destroyed. However, using a Super Tool will leave the item intact. Finally, you can use Bonus Points that are awarded to you as you gain experience. These bonus points are more versatile as they allow you to not only upgrade the attributes of weapons and armor, but can also be used to increase the rate of speed at which your ATB gauge fills up or give you additional slots in your inventory to carry more items. However the application of points is expensive, so use them wisely
Furthermore, when you increase in levels and experience, you also gain new PE powers. These powers range from healing and removing statuses such as poison to offensive powers such as Energy Shot which blasts enemies with PE energy and more. Using these powers requires Parasite Energy which is slowly replenished over time during the battle.
Although Parasite Eve may seem linear in nature, there are plenty of places for you to be able to explore in each given area. As you progress through the game, different parts of New York become available to you on a world map. So after you`ve completed a given section of the storyline in the game, you are free to return to that spot to see if there was anything you may have missed. More often than not, these beaten path areas hold rare gems such as hard to find weapons or the highly coveted Super Tools.
Once you’ve completed the game, an EX mode becomes available to you. This is a continuation of the story with the game’s true ending. In EX mode, there is a new location available to you, the Chrysler Building. You must traverse all 77 floors to meet with the game’s final boss.
It’s been almost 14 years since Parasite Eve was released and this game is still just as good as it was the day it hit the stores. With The Third Birthday releasing tomorrow, this is a good game to have on hand for those who played it the first time through, and those not yet familiar with the Parasite Eve series. Parasite Eve is and always will be one of Square Enix’s true classic legacies.