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Old 04-25-2008, 09:03 PM   #25
Mistatee
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Rain Central, WA
Posts: 4,836
Parasite Eve
Classic Squaresoft Action on Ps1.

Note: For this review, I replayed this classic to see how it held up. I only completed the story this time through, and did not play through EX Mode to do the Chrysler Building. But that extra content does rock!

Story
Parasite Eve has a pretty interesting story for an RPG. It takes place in New York, and has to do with mitochondria rebelling against humans. Yeah weird. Anyways, I was surprised to find out when watching the credits that this is based off of an actual book. But back on topic.

The story is pretty intriguing, and is paced really well. There some weirdness going on, but thats not too surprising given the initial nature of the tale and thus is pretty acceptable. The story is also depicted often with CG movies (typical of Squaresoft now, but back in the day it was still new) and these tend to throwback (like most elements of this game) to Resident Evils: very morbid and gruesome. Extra jack that violence rating up 10 fold, these can get pretty vivid in their obliteration of the objects they once were.

Looking back, these CG sequences still hold up today, and are still a blast to watch.

The Story in Parasite Eve gets a 86 * 40% mainly for its uniqueness and excellent delivery.

Characters
There is a slim cast of characters in this game, but each are surprisingly distinguished and fleshed out. Everybody has at least one past event that gets thrown around to explain why they act like they do which is enough to get the job done here. No body is extremely quirky or annoying which adds to the realistic motif the game is aiming for, and their bickering between each other further reflects this.

However, I wouldn't say the characters are amazing either. I probably wont remember Daniels name a few months from now, but being a short Action-RPG, characters were obviously not the primary focus. Still good to see life thrown into these characters during the short time they are on screen, as it really makes the game more well-rounded.

The Characters in Parasite Eve gets a 83 * 20% for their surprising depth for the amount of screen-time they have

Gameplay
Like most Action-RPGs, here is the main focus of Parasite Eve. Before I explain combat, it would probably be a good idea to explain the exploring part of the game.

First and foremost, the camera-work and environments of this game are VERY reminiscent of Resident Evil. Furthermore, your tank movement speed reflects this. Also, the primary focus is to run around, solve problems, and collect things from chests (and the classic Resident Evil Sparkles), and handle inventory management. Pretty much Resident Evil right there.

Okay... not really. First and foremost, the inventory management is more like an MMO than resident evil. You have limited slots, and once they are full you need to drop/use items. I'm not really sure it was necessary for the game, but since there was some extra customization choices/more thought becuase of it, I guess its alright. But not perfect. When your inventory is full and you open a chest, it asks you to select an item to replace it with with out showing you the item your replacing. Since the item you replaced it with goes back into the chest, I guess its only a minor peeve, but that pretty much is how it is for the rest of the mechanics in the game: just minor peeves.

Continuing my description of the exploration, I will now look at the puzzles. Most of these were simple, but at least realistic (I hate Resident Evil's classic find this gem to open this door puzzle scheme. Who locks doors with gems?). Some complaints I have are the fact that they do not promote enough backtracking (another comparison to Resident Evil) and some of them are really vague and pretty-much frustratingly guide requiring. I guess this is a good time to bring up the final puzzle. Your running from *something* and die if it catches you. Except your in a maze, and there is no save point, and when you die you have to redo a boss fight all over again... Pretty gay...

Speaking of save points, they are phones. Pretty clever...

So onto customization. You get a plethora of weapons and armor during the game, each of which have different effects and bonuses. Using tools found throughout the game, you can move these bonuses from one to the other at the cost of the tool and the item itself. The catch is, you can only move stat bonuses, or 1 (of 4) effects, making the choice kind of hard. What this promotes is holding onto 1 weapon and graphing everything onto it, and likewise for armor, but there comes a time when you need to move on, and will. Overall the system works out well, but not as good as another Squaresoft game, Vagrant Story. Also customizable are your stats...kinda. Your stats are Attack, Defense, Status Recovery, AT, and Inventory (yes thats a stat.) However, with bonus points (you get for leveling) you can only upgrade AT and Inventory (or stats on weapons/armor). This makes displaying the other stats 100% pointless, and very confusing the first time you try to use your Bonus Points. So your options are between smaller gap of time between attacks, more inventory space, or improving a weapon. Pretty much improving the weapon or armor is best, but when space is tight you seem to always put it into inventory...

And now: Combat.
So there are a mix of random encounters and scripted encounters in Parasite Eve, both utilizing the same fade into combat sequence which kind of makes bosses more ominous. (except when there is actually a boss model in the level beforehand.) I kind of like this method, becuase it makes the new, really big, enemies scarier than they need to be, and you usually use bigger attacks on them needlessly.

Continuing, you fight these encounters on the same environment as exploration. This can create interesting fights on tight corridors or over weird terrain features. You have full control over the character's movement allowing you to doge enemy attacks while waiting for your AT bar to charge. One its charged, you can attack anytime or use spells. Attacking brings up a half-sphere indicating your range, using spells brings up the spell menu. Attacking is handled really well. measuring range, arming time, and enemy movement to determine if the enemy will still be in range when you can fire keeps the combat from getting tedious. The spells are all mostly unique (though some seem useless) and generally add a good amount of choice to combat. These spells are governed by a regenerating PE bar under your AT bar. Most spells require a set amount of energy and you have to wait until your PE bar has enough to use them. Furthermore, the more spells you cast, the slower it regenerates making boss fights get pretty frantic towards the end. Also worth mentioning is the fact that the game actually can be hard at times.

Hopefully I made the combat sound pretty cool, since it is, but it isn't without problems. First, since it uses the same quirky camera angles as exploring, some fights can be really hard to do anything. This is a huge problem for some fights, especially those involving status ailments. Another issue is, some attacks are ridiculously hard to dodge, but the game kind of expects you to. Its nothing game-breaking, but it kind of makes the combat less enjoyable at times. Also, the final spell in the game transforms you and you unleash super destruction onto your foes. This would have been so awesome to control yourself, but alas they missed that opportunity.

More or less, Parasite Eve is fun and new (well old now) deserving an 86 * 40%. It should be higher, but a lot of the problems mentioned above drop it a bit.

Overall Parasite Eve earns an old-school 85%!

Bonus:
The EX Mode (which is basically replay the game but harder, keeping only your items and your Bonus Points, and the ability to do an extra dungeon at the end) is always a good addition to add a bit of replay value. (+1 point)

The soundtrack, as usually mentioned, is pretty catchy (+1 point)

Final Score: 87%
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