So, onto the game itself. Parasite Eve is an oddball. It was released by SquareSoft, known for its fantasy role-playing games, as a third person horror/RPG hybrid set in the real life setting of the at-the-time contemporary New York City. I don't think anybody expected this game to be made, and it was likely inspired by Capcom's very successful Resident Evil series, which kickstarted the "survival horror" genre. News Bot makes the claim that "Parasite Eve II was directed and written by Resident Evil planner/writer Kenichi Iwao, with art staff comprised of RE1 and RE2 artists. That's why it feels like a Resident Evil game. They were pretty much asked to make a competitor and did very well." The game's parallels to Resident Evil are entirely intentional, and it shows.
|The game takes place in New York City, set during the Christmas holiday season in 1997.|
|You can customize your weapons, adding to their stats, or even adding additional effects, such as frost.|
|Mitochondria functions as the center of the game's narrative.|
|Aya shares a special connection with Eve. What could it be?|
The game's artwork is done by SquareSoft character designer Tetsuya Nomura, perhaps best known for designing characters such as Cloud, Sephiroth, Tidus, Yuna, Lightning, and the rest of the Final Fantasy cast in many games from Final Fantasy VII and onward. The timeframe that Parasite Eve was released places this as what was arguably Nomura's prime, right around the time that he designed the characters for Final Fantasy VII, which is what put him on the map. Aya Brea and her supporting cast all evoke Nomura's signature style, and bear much resemblance to his other works of the time, which is a huge plus for fans of his original style. The character design is distinctly Nomura, but also manages to fit with the more grounded look and atmosphere of Parasite Eve, adding to the unique visual identity that the game has become known for. As an added treat for fans of the old SquareSoft team, the soundtrack was also done by Yoko Shimomura, who has since become well known for composing the Kingdom Hearts series.
Having recently replayed this game, I took my experience to NeoGAF, where I received some interesting responses from other users who had enjoyed their time with the game.
"This is one of my favourite PSX games, I've played through it about 4-5 times. Every time, I always enjoy the blend of survival horror, action, and RPG. The plot is great, and it's really refreshing having a strong female character who isn't overly sexualized."
"Excellent story. Excellent setting. Excellent narration via the day system. Freaking New York under siege by monsters. I loved how the police precinct would be your basic town hub."
"It's a fantastic game with some refreshingly brisk pacing. That, New Game+ and the weapon and armor upgrading system help the game lend itself well to replays. And on a personal level, I loved this game a lot as a kid. I always thought it was so cool to have a JRPG take place in my home city.
Probably Shimomura's best OST behind Legend of Mana, too. Some of Nomura's best art is on display here, too."
"I loved this game and the ambience it gave off. The soundtrack was amazing.
I often just sat in the police station listening to the theme music."
"Game was enthralling, ominous as hell... I've never been able to really enjoy it a second time because the atmosphere is so dependent on its mystery, but that first time playing it back when it release was rather intense. Great environment art, especially the city buildings. Haunting soundtrack, too."
"This game gave me a head start in middle school science. My 7th grade biology teacher was amazed I was familiar with mitochondria."
"Oh wow, I had forgotten about this game, but it was amazing. Since I was still a kid at the time, it scared the shit out of me. Seeing that rat mutate gave me nightmares and forced me to put the game down. I remember spending so much time in the police station, since nothing would go wrong there and the music settled my racing heartbeat."