Parasite Eve | Forgotten Gems


When it gets cold and snowy in the northern hemisphere, there’s nothing better than cozying up with your favorite Christmas video game. Yes, just you and maybe some loved ones, a mug of something warm and wholesome, and the flickering blue glow of your TV as you hunker down under a blanket, controller in hand. But out of all the classic Christmas games out there, to me, none of them can quite top what maybe one of the greatest overlooked survival-horror games of all time. and one of my favorite forgotten gems Parasite Eve Oh, you didn’t know that it was a Christmas game? Well let me tell you, this classic action-RPG is packed with more holiday spirit than Die Hard, so yippee-ki-yay motherfucker. Parasite Eve, the video game, is actually the sequel to the 1995 novel of the same name by Hideaki Sena. Sena was an undergrad pharmacology student at the prestigious Tohoku University when he wrote the Parasite Eve novel, And his background in microbiology shines through in both the book and game. Unlike its J-Horror contemporaries that often focused on ghosts and folklore The Parasite Eve novel laid down some unique sci-fi and body horror concepts that were also prominent in the game. Namely, how the mitochondria that exist in the cells of all living things on Earth are actually a sentient, demonic life form of unknown origin. And after lying in wait for millions of years, they have begun to take over their hosts. At the center of this invasion-of-the-body-snatchers is the embodiment of the mitochondria Eve, who can control or kill any living being by manipulating their mitochondria It sounds like a ridiculous and over-the-top concept, but there’s more than one grain of truth here rooted in real science It is believed that mitochondria were indeed a separate organism that evolved symbiotically alongside life on Earth And eventually became incorporated into the natural biology of all living things. After all, the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the c… are, ARE the powerhouse of the cell. It’s, it’s, it’s plural The character Eve in the novel is named after the so-called ‘mitochondrial eve,’ who is theorized to be the African woman from whom all humans are descended These pop-science references present in the book made their way into the game, including one memorable monologue from Richard Dawkins’ famous 1976 book on evolution, ‘The Selfish Gene.’ Like the novel, Parasite Eve the game tells a smaller and more personal detective story for most of its runtime Before finally ramping up to an epic conclusion. The player fills the shoes of rookie NYPD officer Aya Brea, a strong-willed twenty something who’s still just learning the ropes. On Christmas Eve in 1997, New York City, Aya and her unnamed escort attend an opera at Carnegie Hall When her date proves to be a completely useless coward when all hell breaks loose but he *does* get to be the butt of a great early character-building for our fearless protagonist When all of the sudden, the lead singer’s aria causes the entire audience to spontaneously combust in an orgy of grisly death. Aya is thrust into an apocalyptic race against the mitochondria threat as the NYPD attempts to track down the source of this mysterious and otherworldly outbreak It’s a detective story with clear stakes and an immediate emotional hook Which does a great job of drawing the player in and keeping your attention as you dig deeper into the mystery Parasite Eve’s mechanics are a satisfying blend of action and RPG With a turn-based combat system similar to Chrono Trigger or Vagrant Story Parasite Eve’s sphere-based, 3D combat system also required a degree of strategic thinking to overcome enemy resistances or exploit their weaknesses The game no doubt informed and inspired the development of Vagrant Story, which came out 2 years later And has a similar but greatly expanded gameplay system. I actually made a video on it a couple of months back so if you’re interested check the link in the description. Along with these excellent and engaging mechanics, there’s a surprising depth to the ways you can customize Aya’s loadout And add special abilities and bonus effects to her guns and gear Which can give you a serious edge in battle There’s also a limited magic system of offensive and defensive spells called ‘Parasite Energy’ That adds another tactical layer to the mechanics. The game greatly rewards this kind of player experimentation, to the point where you can completely break the difficulty and steamroll every enemy But you’ll need that edge if you plan to beat the Chrysler Building The 77-floor post-game secret dungeon And see the true ending. The presentation notch is for it’s time, top-notch: The game’s art style and character designs still look expressive and charming And the soundtrack features some extremely engaging melodies that mix trance-electronica with operatic vocals It’s clear there was both money and care invested in the creation of this game Parasite Eve is a time capsule from when Square was still flush with cash from Final Fantasy 7 And therefore willing to take a chance on slightly unconventional concepts. It’s a shame that this willingness to bet on something different is less common in the games industry today Because when these kinds of games do actually make it to release They usually end up being some of the most special experiences out there. Just wanting to say thank you for Nier: Automata, Square Parasite Eve shows just how weird and inventive the still-young survival horror genre could be at that time Right down to how the Christmas time setting of a near-empty city gives the game a kind of lonely, sorrowful feel perfect for a horror game And despite the clear influences of Resident Evil Parasite Eve’s strong art direction and clever use of RPG mechanics make it a truly memorable and unique experience. It’s also hard to talk about this game, Without equally mentioning the hallmark of late-1990s and early-2000s Squaresoft: Their legendary CGI cutscenes While many of Square’s games are famous for their CGI work, Parasite Eve in particular Features many striking sequences of suspense, action and body horror As well as some scenes that are just… Weird But a good weird, if you ask me It’s been nearly 20 years since Parasite Eve came out, and these cutscenes *do* show their age a little bit. But it’s important to remember that at this time Square was considered perhaps THE greatest CGI studio in the world Surpassing sometimes even Pixar in terms of sheer technical wizardry Many of Parasite Eve’s stages and cutscenes overtly reference the visual language of blockbuster Hollywood cinema And this was right around the time that Square started having blockbuster aspirations for their games And they wanted you to know they could go toe-to-toe with the best that Western entertainment had to offer That same larger-than-life experience of the cutscenes is matched by the immersive attention to detail in both the setting, the art style, and the mechanics And all of these smaller details The deep game systems, the consistently strong art direction, the pop-science flourishes Combined to become truly greater than the sum of their parts The game lovingly re-creates (or reinterprets) real-world locations in New York City Recasting the empty city as a stage upon which this tale of horror will play out. The story even frames this theme by starting out in a theater, and then returning to that setting late in the game. In many ways, Parasite Eve is an ideal game for someone who isn’t necessarily a fan of RPGs, or survival horror, or even both. Compared to its contemporaries, it’s far less opaque than the original Resident Evil And much more accessible than an epic RPG like Final Fantasy 8: for instance. A perfect mitochondrial synthesis if I might say so. It’s also quite short by 1990s RPG standards You’ll have it finished in between 12 to 15 hours. Upon release, the game actually took a hit in reviews for being ‘on the short side.’ Now honestly, nowadays, a well-executed RPG that tells its story in under 20 hours sounds just like heaven for a busy adult with a full schedule. Parasite Eve was just popular enough in Playstation to get a ‘Greatest Hits’ re-release And there’s an emulated version of the game available for download on PS3, so it’s pretty easy to get a copy… That is if you’re in NTSC regions; if you’re in PAL regions, I’ve sadly got bad news for you PAL. *laughs* Heh get it? This game is a ‘forgotten gem’ in every sense of the phrase SquareEnix seemingly has no interest in doing anything with this cult classic series And that’s a shame, because while the game’s 2 sequels each had their own appeal in some way Nothing has ever really matched the first Parasite Eve’s unique blend of systems, story, and setting. But at least we’ll always have one of the best classic survival horror titles And maybe the greatest Christmas game of all time in our library So I hope with this video, I could make Parasite Eve a little less of a Forgotten Gem Thank you so much for watching I hope you enjoyed this little excursion into video game oblivion This game was selected because you suggested it, So if you happen to have a suggestion for a game That you think need to be covered in Forgotten Gems, let me know in the comment section and add #GemSuggestions A thank you, goes out to all the people who supports me on Patreon If you’re interested in supporting this channel, please consider pitching in and following the link to my Patreon in the description This time a special thanks goes out to these top tier supporters: (Referring to The following names on the left, that gets read out in order for appearance)

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100 thoughts on “Parasite Eve | Forgotten Gems

  1. Still play this on my phone via emulator to this day. Think its better than the 2nd one story wise, atmosphere even if 2nd had improved graphics.

  2. PE 2 was my first one actually, and gave me Nightmares. The first boss inside the cafe and its cutscene freaked me out, and so did Golem . I was afraid that nutball would chase after me during night time and I would imagine the scraping of his gunblade on the walls!

    Still, awesome Ass kicking Games, my favourites!

  3. I also always thought it was pronounced Aiy-uh buts it's actually Eye-uh. Didn't find out until after I named my daughter Aya. Now she asks why everyone pronounces her name wrong…fuck LMAO

  4. Im 42. I played and beat this game back in the days in my 20s back around the same time i beat RE Veronica. I had a lot of fun with PE.

  5. One of my all time favorite games and probably the one game I played the most growing up but is so clearly forgotten about by so many and even more people never knew it existed. It remains to this day one of the most intelligent games ever made. As you pointed out it is probably the most ripe classic in the modern landscape of shorter time commitments for a possible sleeper scenario if it were ever rereleased to more modern consules (or smart phones) with even the slightest hint of ad promotion it could potentially fly off the digital shelves. I whole heartedly enjoyed ypur video even teaching me something I overlooked growing up, mostly due to age of course. Awesome Vid!!

  6. When you say those names, you seem to do all the accents pretty well. Although I don't speak these languages so I can't say for sure. But it seems like you spoke each name in their native accent.

  7. Gonna say it: Parasite Eve deserves a remake more than any other PS1-era RPG, including FF7.

    In terms of systems, theme, plot and aesthetic, absolutely nothing about about Parasite Eve is dated. Even with 90s CGI, the enemy transformations are creepy as hell and would be downright disturbing with modern graphics. The only things that hold it back now are the hardware limitations and slightly sluggish movement on account of using pre-rendered backgrounds. Tweak the combat to make it just slightly faster and 3D friendly and the whole game will feel brand new.

    (Leave it in 1997, though. 90s nostalgia is here and you won't have to make an excuse for cell phones not working.)

  8. if I ever won a lottery I'd hire a team to remake/update this game Just a remaster no touching characters story or gameplay Maybe hire voice actors

  9. MAN I love the music soundtrack of this game.. it's perfection… and the atmosphere they create in this game is sooo good. MAN nostalgia it makes me cry

  10. I remember borrowing this game from my cousin when I was 4, back in 99. My mom was watching me play the first part of it, and when she seen that nice scene of everyone in the theatre bursting into flames she took the disk out of my PS1 and smashed it. After that it was about 10 years later when I finally had my own laptop with a CD burner in it and modchipping my PS1 to play burnt games was I able to experience this classic. Few years later I came across a pristine copy of the game and snatched it up and played it though to completion

  11. It was my first for at into rpg's.
    This needs to re-released with graphics upgrade, it would definitely be a welcome remake!

  12. Omg I wish they would do a remake of Parasite Eve. It just sucks the created of the comic book refuses to sell the rights.

  13. I only played through this once, back in 8th grade. I didn't appreciate it at the time, but looking back it was so thematic and had such great atmosphere. I really should go back and play this again OR call up Square Enix and tell them to remake the damn thing. Imagine a Parasite Eve on PS5?

  14. Except that square has refreshed the copyright on Parasite Eve recently and there’s a poster of it in Midgard in the ff7 remake trailer with art never seen in game.

  15. Man gaming in the 80/90's was so good. When creativity was pushed. Now everything is "BATTLE ROYAL COD FAST PACED NO SCOPES WITH DLC"

  16. Now that Capcom showed the world how to do a remake, maybe someone in Square will be like.. Oh, shit, the world needs a modern PE

  17. The best example of survivor horror RPG; simple yet deep gear/combat system, engaging story, sensational soundtrack, and tons of extra content (if you haven't been the Chrysler you are missing the best part of the game).

    One of the hidden gems, and a bitter reminder of how great games use to be.

  18. One of my most favorite games. Got extra credit in biology class for 1st person to use a video game as a visual aid on my presentation about mitochondria as I did trivia with the class in the museum.

  19. I’ve always known about this game but only just started playing the first game on PSP a few days ago. I always thought it would be similar to resident evil, which I’m not a fan of, so I never played it. I gotta say, as a huge fan of RPGs, this game is pretty great. It’s kind of weird that it’s named after the book when the game only makes the occasional reference to the book, though.

  20. Hell ya man great video. PE literally tied for my favorite game of all time with FF7 I have beaten it 11 times and this video has gotten me in the mood for the 12th!!! Great vid man got a sub from me just from this vid

  21. How amazing would a Parasite Eve remake be? Although I don't trust square Enix with it sadly. But if they could pull it off in a similar way that Capcom did with the RE2 Remake that would be fucking amazing!!!

  22. I wanted to play this because I was on a Square hype at the time, but it was only released in the US and I didn’t want to chip my European PlayStation.

  23. I still have the 2 Disc set of Parasite Eve. I can play it on my old PS3 console. After watching this I'll play 15 hours on this game. I also have Parasite Eve II as well, but not as great as the 1st one.

  24. I can't express how beautiful I find both PE games. Their soundtracks and atmosphere is just perfect and I'd love for Square to give it an honest sequel instead of a spin off

  25. I was able to find a Japanese copy of the P.Eve music, which is still the best music to a video game I've experienced yet…

  26. I made a american Playstation account and bought a Sony Wallet Card from New York though the Internet for one reason. To download Parasite Eve from the american Playstation 3 Shop from Europe.

  27. The rat mutating has been a thing in my mind for decades now. This game came out when I was seven and I would watch my brother play this game and we would do the voices of the characters. Loved this game.

  28. They didn't have faith enough in it to release it in Europe. Inexplicably they did decide to release the sequel here and to no one's surprise it got panned by the critics and didn't do well.

  29. Please, please talk about more PSone horror. Martian Gothic, Parasite Eve 2, there is so much that isn't talked about enough

  30. I got thsi game Christmas morning 98 , and played it in the loving room in front of my family and visiting family , who were blown away by the graphics at the time. I'd kill for a remake of this.i had asked for wwf warzone, then when I saw this , and read the strategy guide in blockbuster, and read through it, I asked for this instead. My mom actually exchanged warzone so I could get this the day before christmas or something. And I'm glad she did. It's probably more nostalgic to me than ff7.

  31. What the hell is it with games not being available for purchase in Europe? I can't buy this, I can't buy Shin Megami Tensei 3, I can't buy Xenogears. I want the product, am willing to pay for it, but no. No, no that's not an option because of where I live? Who benefits from this?

  32. This game is completely awesome, even if the graphics are dated by today's standards. My college and military buds used to get together on the weekends and we'd play Resident Evil, Parasite Eve, Dino Crisis and the Final Fantasy games and each take turns so we could beat them in time to return them to Blockbuster (for you younger folks, that was a store that let you rent games for a few days if you couldn't afford to buy the game itself.)

    There's some hope at least. With the success of Resident Evil 2 (Remake), the upcoming Final Fantasy 7 Remake and 90s nostalgia as evidenced by all the "mini" systems, at least publishers are taking a look at their IPs to see which ones could benefit from a remake/retelling. Given the void that Silent Hill left in the landscape of psychological horror, Parasite Evil could rival Resident Evil if given the correct treatment.

  33. Regarding Aya's name, it's pronounced "Ah-Ya".
    And Prototype clearly took some notes from Parasite Eve in terms of presentation.

  34. I have been looking for this game for so long. I remember playing this with a friend when I was younger and I always confused it with Silent Hill. Feels good to find this one again.

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