Today, Square is remembered not with a breath, but rather with a sad sigh, because over the past decade it has upset fans too often. The company that once made great, memorable games has now screwed up repeatedly, sold off its Western business for a pittance, and is back where it started, operating only in Japan. But remember the years when almost every PS One owner remembered Square with warmth in his heart and waited with trepidation for the release of a new hit from the Japanese, about the times before the merger with its main competitor (Enix), when the company had not yet turned into a typical corporate monster chasing only profit. This was the era when such gaming titans as Front Mission, Final Fantasy, Chrono Cross, Xenogears, Vagrant Story and Parasite Eve thundered, which will be discussed in this article.
The plot of the game is a continuation of the events described in the novel by Hideaki Sena – “Parasite Eve”*. Every living cell contains mitochondria, whose job is to generate energy. They have a largely independent life activity and even their own DNA. The main idea of the novel is the proposition that mitochondria are a conscious form of life that, once mutated, awakens in the form of a collective mind. He was given the name Eve, in honor of the woman from whom all modern humanity inherited mitochondrial DNA. (read about “Mitochondrial Eve” on the Internet, it’s very interesting!)
Hideaki Sena is a pharmacologist by training, which means that you won’t see a drunk screenwriter on LSD in the fantasy plot – almost everything in the game has a scientific basis, which contributes to even more immersion!
*For many years, the novel “Parasite Eve” was not available in Russian, but as far as I know, thanks to the fans involved in the translation, it is now available in the great and mighty, and you can check it out.
December 24, Christmas Eve. Young NYPD detective Aya Brea and her beau go to Carnegie Hall for an opera performance. During the performance, an inexplicable event occurs: all people begin to embrace the flames, and they are burned alive, for no apparent reason. Only Aya survives, the young man who came with her and managed to escape in time, as well as the actress who plays the main role in the production. Aya, considering the actress guilty of what happened, tries to detain her, but in the process of confrontation and a short dialogue, hitherto unknown forces begin to awaken in her: “Parasite energy”. Due to an unexpected flashback from the heroine, the actress manages to escape, turning all living things in her path into charred bodies or terrible monsters.
Trying to stop her and figure out everything that happened, Aya gives chase. Thus begins a week of nightmare, a week of loss, fear and unexpected discoveries.
Parasite Eve is the kind of game that immerses the player in their world and doesn’t let go until the end credits, after which they say “Wow!”. And then, having launched New Game+, he will realize that he saw a non-canonical ending…
“New Game+” will repeat the events that were in the usual passage, with the exception that there will be a new “dungeon” – a 77-story Chrysler Building labyrinth building, in which, in addition to new weapons, monsters and bosses, you can see true ending. But believe me, you will have to work hard to cope with this challenge!
The cinematics also contribute to the immersion in the story, in some places very reminiscent of the cult film John Carpenter’s “The Thing”, so if you are a fan of his work, the game will pleasantly surprise you.
If it looks cool these days, try to imagine how cool it was in 1998.
Most of the time you explore locations and progress through the story, while simultaneously looking for secrets, useful things and new equipment. At these points, the gameplay and building of locations is similar to Resident Evil or Dino Crysis. But as soon as the fight starts, the game immediately becomes like a cross between a Vagrant story and Final Fantasy XII. You have an action bar, but it is only responsible for the possibility of using any ability of the main character. This can be a normal attack, using Aya’s abilities called PE (Parasite Energy), which, in fact, are magic, using items, and so on. In this regard, everything is standard. Not standard, at that time, the fight itself. The point is thatABOUTMost of the battle you run around the field, dodging enemy attacks and waiting for an opportunity to attack yourself. I note that each weapon has its own radius of destruction, and if rifles shoot far, then, for example, a police baton hits in a very small radius. All characteristics and abilities of any ranged weapon or armor can be upgraded, expanding the capabilities of your equipment.
Weapons are divided into two types: melee and ranged. If everything is simple with the neighbor (this includes knives, police batons, and so on), then ranged weapons are divided into subclasses that differ in damage, range, rate of fire, and reload time.
You are free to carry pistols, shotguns, machine guns, rifles, grenade launchers and even rocket launchers. Despite such a large selection of weapons, the developers did not get smart with cartridges, and there are only two types of them: bullets and rockets. This greatly simplifies inventory management and allows you to focus on more important gameplay details.
Sometimes you will encounter bosses. As a rule, these are giant mutants, which you need to choose your tactics for and remember the timings of their attacks in order to dodge. I guess I’m not wrong to say that some of them will force you to replay battles more than once before you can win. But at the same time, the complexity is sufficient so that the battles do not turn into torture.
By participating in battles and gaining experience for victory, you will increase in levels. The main character receives skill points when she is promoted, and also learns a new “Parasite Energy” (magic). Skill points can be spent both on leveling up Aya herself and on leveling up her equipment. There is no special depth in character leveling, you can improve the speed of filling the action bar, increase your inventory, or improve basic characteristics.
With the pumping of weapons and armor, the situation is already more interesting.
In addition to the basic characteristics and bonuses, there are additional special properties. These can be poison/incendiary bullets, the ability to use two abilities at once in combat, the automatic use of first aid kits, protection against poisoning, and many, really MANY other properties. Thanks to certain tool items, by upgrading your weapon or body armor, you can transfer all the upgrade and some properties to any other piece of equipment. On the other hand, if you like a certain item, by upgrading it, you can complete the game using only it.
There is no official Russian translation.
I hope I will please you if I say that there is, if not perfect, but rather high-quality, unofficial translation of the game, thanks to which you can comfortably immerse yourself in the story. And so that you do not have to look for the desired image with the translation, I posted it in your telegram channel link to archive. It contains the emulator that I use, the image with the game, the BIOS to run and the game cover, with which you can decorate the visual appearance of the emulator.
The music of the game is magical. Being either melancholic or full of drive, it perfectly correlates with the atmosphere of the game, and the main opera theme runs like a leitmotif through the whole game, creating the right mood. It seems to me that the melody from the intro of the game will best understand my words. While watching it, I get goosebumps, it is so exciting, and the music is charming.
The soundtrack for Parasite Eve was composed by Yoko Shimomura, who later became a well-known video game composer through her work on the Kingdom Hearts series. She wanted the music to be experimental, somewhere between ambient and techno. One of her main goals was to create something “inorganic” and recognizable. Well, I think she did the job perfectly!
The main disadvantage of the soundtrack, as in many subsequent Square games, is the lack of voice acting for the characters. It’s not that it’s a big deal, but for someone it can be a negative moment.
In fact, the game does not have many cons. In addition to the usual graphics for a PS1 game and the lack of voice acting for the characters, I can only add a not always clear location of the key items for passing. There are only two such moments in my memory, but in the most extreme case, passing on the Internet will help you out.
When you play a game about the present, in which something unusual or fantastic happens, and almost every aspect of the game can be explained from a scientific point of view, you begin to believe in the world of the game, in its events, which means you get more and more immersed. If you add to this an interesting combat system, as well as a pumping system, several endings, a lot of amazing cutscenes, an additional dungeon that opens after passing, and a lot of other interesting things, then you understand that the game is truly a diamond of its time. Despite the fact that I tried to play it as a child, I only completed it that year, and it was very cool, literally in one breath. The game is almost not aged, in modern realities it is played pleasantly and comfortably. I hope that Parasite Eve will do the same as the first three classic Resident Evil, namely a fan-made HD mod (google HD mod by Teamx). I think she deserved it! Personally, for me, like the movie “Die Hard”, the game creates a New Year’s mood, and I’m sure that the exciting plot and addictive gameplay will make you return to it more than once. And therefore, as a conclusion, I strongly recommend that you familiarize yourself with the game if you missed it at one time, and those who have already played do not need any recommendations, they already know how great this game is.
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