1998 was an interesting year. I was single again. I bought a house, and the PlayStation was bringing out a few games that I really enjoyed playing. One in particular was my absolute favorite console game of all time. Why did I love Parasite Eve so much? I really couldn’t say for sure, but I suspect it appealed to my inner nerd. I’ve never played a game like I played that one. I destroyed every location, killed every creature, and even played through again with the bonus levels; after you win the game the first time. My oldest son begged me for the chance to play the game, but I told him that it was too mature for a 10 year old and kept playing. Every now and again, I would feel the gaze of a couple of pre-adolescents burning into the back of my neck, but I remained undaunted. At least until the PlayStation broke. Then it was back to my PC, while the children whined about getting a new console system.
Years passed, and I heard that there had been a Parasite Eve 2; but I never played it. I did my RPG fun in Baldur’s Gate 2, and didn’t miss the console games, though I admit that there was a pang about not playing PE anymore. I really haven’t thought about that game much until my now 21 year old son informed me that the PlayStation Store was offering Parasite Eve for download. I decided that it was time to see how well an old-school console game has stood the test of time.
My first thought as I started playing, “My Gawd, these graphics truly suck”. Then, remembering that this game was old, I let myself get into the flow of the game and tried to remember how to use the new controller configuration on the game. Fairly, quickly, I forgot how bad the graphics were, and went into the flow of the story once again. I’m going to make a statement here that reflects my whole philosophy on gaming. It really doesn’t matter what the game looks like, as long as it doesn’t detract from the story and gameplay. After five minutes of playing, it didn’t matter that the game graphics were dated and looked jagged. The story was king and it grabs you by the throat and takes you in. In that respect, Parasite Eve is still a winner.
For those of you who have never played the game, it revolves around the central character, Officer Brea of the NYPD. Her discovery of changes happening to her as New York City dissolves into chaos is the backbone of a compelling storyline. I won’t go into too much detail, but as you increase in level, the story becomes more interesting and the gameplay remains addictive.
I would however, like to point out a couple of areas about this game. One, it doesn’t fit easily into a category of game type. I’m guessing that this is a turn based combat, action/horror game. There are RPG elements, but they don’t affect the game in anyway. Two, there are a couple of cut scenes in this game that children under ten might have nightmares about. DO NOT LET THEM WATCH THEM! I can speak from personal experience that younger children had nightmares. I say this as the cut scenes in this game were extraordinary for the era in which they came out, and still hold up very well. If you’re willing to let your kids see a bunch of people melt into slime while they die screaming, or see a dog change into something looking like a really bad acid trip; it’s on you.
After playing through the 5th day on the game, I’m giving this old school console workhorse a thumbs up again. It still is great. Want to spend a few bucks on a good memory. Head over to the PlayStation Store and spend six bucks for the download. It certainly is worth the money.