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Parasite Eve II

The evil mitochrondria monsters return.

By Christopher Koeppel


Parasite Eve II

Set on September 4, 2000, the plainly-titled Parasite Eve II features the heroine from the first game, Aya Brea, battling a new breed of mitochrondria creatures in Los Angeles. The story begins in a skyscraper called the Acropolis Tower, where a new crop of beasties have been sighted. The SWAT team that was sent in to investigate the building is missing in action. Hmmm. At this point, one must ask oneself: who should be sent into this perilous situation? After all, an entire SWAT team is missing within the Acropolis Tower. Stands to reason that whatever took out that SWAT team is pretty powerful. Wait...what's that you say? Send in Aya Brea? Sounds like a plan! Now that she's a member of the FBI's anti-mitochrondria team, MIST (Mitochrondria Investigation and Suppression Team), she must be fine for the job. So the acronym-laden heroine goes off to presumably investigate and suppress the...ummm...mitochrondria. And thus the story begins.


Explosion
Blammo!

In terms of gameplay, Square seems to be determined to make comparisons between Parasite Eve II and the Resident Evil series even more apparent. Whereas the first Parasite Eve game had transitions from normal "walk and do stuff" screens to the battle screens much like typical RPGs, Parasite Eve II ditches that in favor of realtime combat on the normal screen. The screen will momentarily flash black and white twice to indicate an incoming battle sequence. Being a realtime battle engine, enemies and players can move around and attack at the same time. In a nod to the first game, Aya still has hit points and earns experience points at the end of each battle. However, she can now run from fights at the cost of losing "Bounty Points." What a "Bount Point" can be used for (aside from losing them if you run away) is a bit unclear at press time. However, it is known that Aya can recover BPs by sleeping.

Battle
Cue showdown music.

In terms of play control, Resident Evil appears to be the flavor of the day. The design team has decided to streamline the control mechanics since Parasite Eve, as the controls will not vary depending on which way the character is facing. For example, moving forward is always done by pressing up on the controller. So if the camera angle suddenly changes on the next screen and Aya is facing left, moving forward still requires pressing up, not left. This continuity continues with the transition from exploration to battle sequences. Forward is always by pressing up, no matter what.


Ready for action
Ready to suppress some mitochrondria.

The graphics engine remains similar to that of Parasite Eve, with fully polygonal characters moving over prerendered backgrounds. The backgrounds more interesting this time, as they are a mix of FMV and hand-drawn artwork. Similar to Fear Effect, Square plans on working in film sequences into the backgrounds, this time at 60 frames per second. Also similar to Fear Effect is a dynamic camera angle. As Aya walks from room to room, the camera changes direction and creates a more dramatic effect.

As in the first game, Parasite Eve II allows the player to customize their weapons. A flamethrower may be combined with a machine gun, for example. New weapons are also introduced, including an MP5 submachine gun, the M4A1 assault rifle, an AS12 combat shotgun, a tonfa, an MM1 grenade launcher, and the 93 R handgun.


Blood
Bloody, chunky goodness.

Parasite Energy also makes a return. Much like Parasite Eve, the sequel uses Parasite Energy as most RPGs would use spells. Aya may use Parasite Energy "spells" to attack enemies or heal herself, all at the cost of Mitochrondria Points, as MPs. New Parasite Energy "spells" emerge in the sequel, including: Antibody, Apoblosis, Combustion, Energy Shot, Necrosis, Plasma, and Pyrokinesis.

Smaller changes make their debut in Parasite Eve II. Radar gets implemented so players can keep track of mitochrondria monsters in relation to themselves. The battlefields are also more interactive, as Aya can shoot elements such as explosive barrels and electrical circuits.


Fuggly woman
She looks healthy.

Then comes the NPCs. It seems that instead of offering long-distance support (read: NPCs are plot devices, nothing more), NPCs will now join Aya and fight alongside her. There are at least eight characters this time around: Aya Brea, Jodie Bouquet, Rupert Broderick, Pierce Carradine, Gary Douglas, Eve, Kyle Madigan, and the enigmatically named No. 9. How Eve fits into the picture remains a mystery.

With the gameplay streamlined for the sequel, Square looks poised to make an intriguing entry into the newly christened "cinematic adventure" genre with Parasite Eve II. With its release date of September 12 coming ever closer, fans of the series will have very little time left to wait in anticipation. Having already received a lukewarm reception in Japan, Parasite Eve II should have an easier time in North America, having a style that is acceptable to Western tastes. Of course, only time will tell.

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