Our third week edition of Boss Rush enters us into our month of Halloween specials. Its time to avert our prying eyes from cartoonish maliciousness and cast our gaze upon some of the most macabre of figures throughout gaming history. Gamers of the night hold your blanket tight! We’re delving into the era of “survival horror” gaming. A genre that utilizes the sensations of heightened suspense or shock to elicit a strong emotion of fear from its players.
One of the most unsettling examples of this particular genre is an early offering from the company formerly known as Squaresoft. Parasite Eve for the original Playstation console is unnerving and twisted. No greater testament to its terrifying atmosphere can be made than to introduce you to its titular antagonist.
A brief biology lesson before we begin. Cells in our body use energy to help us function. The term Mitochondria is often referred to as “the powerhouse of the cell”. Mitochondria in its simplest form is a helper. It converts the energy in our bodies into different forms that can be used by the thousands of cells inside us for a variety of different actions that we need to do. In essence — This makes it a really great plot device for a horrifying, science fiction story — Mainly due to the fact that it is vague enough in its function that you can tamper around with it. Which brings me to Parasite Eve.
Its quite rare for a game to let you witness the creation of its main villain before your eyes. The opening of Parasite Eve is one of the most haunting cinematic introductions to a character you will ever see. Its where we meet Melissa. An opera singer who comes to find out that Mitochondria can apparently do a lot more than any of us could have ever imagined. During her performance a crowded audience bursts into flames as she sings her song. The mutation of her mitochondria ensnares every part of her being as it seeks to move beyond its host body. Taking its new form that we know as Eve. The goal in mind to expand it’s reach across the world. The beast’s primal need to warp the human race into a worthwhile specimen for its own bidding.
Parasite Eve slots you into the role of no nonsense cop Aya Brea as you endeavour to work out what is causing these sudden mutations and navigate through a hellish version of New York infested by these malformed creatures. The story is told with Eve and Aya being constantly interwoven into the same scenarios. Its a way of giving you this unsettling sense that you share an attachment to the monster that is Eve. The sound design and musical choices in the game were made on the virtue of building up the threat of the mitochondrial monster.
All the enemies you face are different parts of one single entity. They are all created by Eve specifically for the purpose of eradicating you and the rest of humanity. The game itself blends RPG elements with a survival horror vibe in a seamless mix to keep you on edge in this regard. The twisted atmosphere that you feel in every corner comes from Eve.
She encompasses all aspects of the combat due to her being the mother figure of the spawns that you fight. The implications of her presence at every turn is felt when you play. Whilst you fight her main form on many occasions throughout the game, The true greatness of the character comes from the initial shock of the arrival and the suspense that is built upon the next time you will see her.
The survival horror genre is defined by these two principles and if you can bestow both of these aspects into a villain character then you have done a fantastic job.
The final culminating battle with Eve reveals the true history of the women who are affected by the mitochondrial mutations. I won’t spoil the battle itself as it is one that you must experience yourself to understand the meaning behind it. What i can tell you is that it is a satisfying end to a finely crafted story centered around an exceptional final boss.
From the devilish design to the combustible personality, Eve is a true horror to behold no matter what form she takes. Checkout Parasite Eve for the psone and play it in the dead of night. Let the soundtrack wash over you. Its a grand collection of symphonic morbid beauty.