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Parasite Eve: Scientists and Ghosts, or Where the **** is the Zoo Key?


Before I get into the recap, I finally saw the 3rd birthday trailer from TGS: I don't know.
Aya looks nice in modern graphics and all, but there wasn't really anything of substance in
the trailer. Plus I can't understand for the life of me why this isn't on the PS2. Though
I don't know enough about the game to know this for sure, I predict that this is going to
be another sequel like PE2-- meaning, while a good game in it's own right and quite
polished, it will be a title apparently made in ignorance of what made the original
Parasite Eve so damned good. PE2 can be the subject of another rant, but let me just say
this: PE managed to somehow get together a really nice supporting cast in what is actually
a very short game. And what did they do in the sequel? Throw them all away and move Aya
to the LA desert. Yeesh.

To keep this from being too negative, I have to say this: No one will be happier than me
if Squeenix can prove me wrong.

Dr. Hans Klamp: Putting Some Science in this Fiction

Klamp's line here is something like "You know nothing about the mitochondria's true nature...DO YOU?" That's cool, right? It's not just me?

When we last left our heroes (hey, writing segues is hard), they were going to the Museum
of Natural History to talk to Dr. Hans Klamp about mitochondria. After the security guard
tries to covertly pick up Aya's phone number, Aya and Daniel enter Klamp's office. Klamp
is diligently typing away and seems content to ignore them, until the pair force the issue.
When she sees Klamp's face, Aya has another one of her interminable hospital flashbacks;
More subtly, Klamp does a double-take when he sees Aya as well.

What follows is a fascinating lecture on the nature of mitochondria from the cranky and
condescending Klamp, with occasional interjections from our two incredulous cops. Adorably,
Aya and Daniel exchange several long looks during this conversation. Thanks to the old
graphics, you have to imagine what the "Can you believe this asshole?" expressions on
their faces look like, but if they'd tried to do this scene today it would probably be
undermined by uncanny-valley-weirdness anyway. You don't have to dig too deep in this
scene to see Klamp's low opinion of Aya and Daniel is the condescension that highly
educated people tend to show towards people whom they consider simple. Most hide it, Klamp
is just too much of a misanthrope to care. Like quite a few things in PE, it's disturbingly
true to life.

I have so much love for this scene I almost posted a full transcript, except I couldn't find a script FAQ anywhere that had all of the text. It's scary when the internet fails like that.

Most of the information that Klamp provides in this scene is actually true, which ties into
another point I've been longing to make for a long time: Parasite Eve is good Sci-Fi. I've
read criticisms of this game that argued that the hugely improbable plot is a glaring
weakness, but I disagree; not only that, I think that having that attitude means that
you've completely missed the point of how sci-fi works. No one has ever said that Wells'
The Time Machine is a bad book because of how unlikely it is that we'll ever invent a time

What Sci-Fi does is start with a sound concept, backed by scientific fact, and then
extrapolate it for the sake of creating drama. In PE the concept is that we don't know
nearly as much as we'd like to about the various organisms that inhabit our bodies (true),
and there can be big problems when those organisms can potentially turn against us (also
true).PE does extrapolate very liberally by making it's mitochondria sentient and taking
over a brain (even if our mitochondria did kill us, chances are it wouldn't gloat about
it), so if you want to make the argument that "Science Fantasy" is a bit more apt than
Sci-Fi, fair enough. The fact remains that the concept at the core is sound, and you
needn't look any further than cancer to see how scary parts of your own body turning
against you can be.

For those sticklers for realism who can't tolerate the fanciful exaggerations of PE, well
I'm sorry, but "Get cancer and die" is always a hard concept to base a game around. Things
tend to fall apart during the funding stage.

Klamp clams up once Eve's name comes up, and Aya and Daniel head back to the station. I
reckon that they will regret not shooting him and hiding his body when they had the chance:
If video games have taught me anything, it's that all scientists should be shot on sight.

The Ghost of Manhattan

I confess, I couldn't find a screenshot to go here, but these entries look so much better if I break them up with pictures! So I drew one in MS Paint. At least it's a picture.

Back at the station, the NYPD learns that people are still gathering at the stage for
"Melissa's" concert in Central Park, even though the concert has been cancelled in lieu of
Melissa transforming into Eve and becoming public enemy No.1. It may seem unlikely, but
keep in mind this was before ubiquitous cell phones and mobile devices; I can buy that in
the '90s, a lot of people might not have made the connection between Melissa what's-her-
name and the hellish Carnegie Hall incident. It wouldn't have been in the newspapers since
Aya didn't tell anyone that Melissa WAS Eve until the press conference, and a lot of people
weren't online much at that time. Isn't it strange that 1998 wasn't that long ago?

Chief Baker is insistent that they can't let another massacre occur, but before he can
make any plans, Daniel freaks out and runs out of the station-- apparently, his son and
ex-wife were planning to go to the concert. In fact, Ben is especially determined to go
because it was supposed to be a reunion of sorts for their broken home (awwww). Baker
sends Aya out after a guilt-ridden Daniel, and the two of them speed off in the squad car
to Central Park. We even get a nifty FMV of Daniel driving like a lunatic.

The version of Manhattan that PE takes place in is really a ghost-Manhattan; you barely see
any people, and after Day Two the police officially evacuate the city, meaning there are
about a hundred people total left in the city. You really start to notice the emptiness
during this part of the game, when you're traversing the hugeness of Central Park with
no NPCs in sight. Of course a big part of this was motivated by technical limitations, but
nevertheless it adds an interesting feel to the game: they very purposefully set the game
in Manhattan, then equally purposefully took out all of the people. After a while you
start to long for even one of those greedy-bitch-NPCs that sell you potions at three times
normal price.

This may be because I happen to have lived within a short train ride of NYC for my whole life,
but just the thought of that crowded place being devoid of people is scary. It's just wrong
on some primal level I can't explain.

Central Park: It Would Be So Nice If You Could Detect This Collision

I used to think this part of the game looked NOTHING like the real Central Park, but I was wrong: It looks ALMOST nothing like the real Central Park.

Daniel can't go into Central Park because his arm starts catching fire as soon as
he gets near it. He makes a fuss, but eventually agrees to stay put while Aya goes in and
hopefully saves his wife and son. No pressure or anything. After the very cutscene-heavy
segment we've just finished, Central Park is one long, long dungeon, made even longer by
the fact that the game's extremely fussy collision detection can lead to you missing key
items and getting stuck. If there's one flaw I have to call this game out for, even as one
of it's biggest fans, it's the collision detection; I think a lot of people stopped playing PE
around this point because they couldn't find the Zoo Key, and that's a shame. It's in a
drawer that requires such a precise position to open, I usually mess it up a few times
even though I know exactly where it is.

I'll finish up Central Park and Day Two next time; I was going to do the rest of Day Two
all as one entry, but with the amount of story in this section that wasn't a great idea.
Next time: Two (count 'em, TWO!) boss fights, more things are lit on fire, and Aya freaks
out. It's about time, really.

Yaaay More PE!
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About GamingGoddessone of us since 12:13 AM on 08.27.2008

Links to all things Me:

My Personal Blog
Because I occasionally think about things other than games (I know-- for shame!)
Currently doing a 20-year history of Nine Inch Nails, because apparently I don't have enough projects that are HUGE TIME-SUCKING MONSTERS. Anyway, I try to keep anything that's videogames-related on Gaming Goddess, but there's a little bit of inevitable crossover.

My graphic novel, Sterling
There is some videogame-related stuff in Sterling, particularly Final Fantasy, but that's not really the focus. Meant for adults, so don't say I didn't warn you:).

My Twitter I'm very conscious of twitter-spamming, so I try to tweet only when I update one of my blogs or comics. Some people can get away with constantly tweeting charming little witticisms and it's neat, but I think if you have any interest in my twitter at all, it should be useful, never a nuisance.

About the name Gaming Goddess: No, I do not have delusions of grandeur! At least, not about games!
The origin of GG is this: My boyfriend's Mom is REALLY good at Space Invaders and games like that, leading me to dub her the "8-bit Goddess". We decided that 8-bit Goddess would be a really good name for the gaming blog that I wanted to start, except it would be false advertising since I personally suck at 8-bit games. So I changed it to the more general Gaming Goddess-- so I'm good at some type of games, I just don't have to specify which ones:).

Of course, if my boyfriend's awesome mom wants to start a blog, she can be the 8-bit Goddess, and I will bow to her in humble submission.

Favorite Games:
Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy VIII
Final Fantasy X
Final Fantasy Tactics
Azure Dreams
Vagrant Story
Parasite Eve
Tomb Raider
Tomb Raider II
Resident Evil 2
Metal Gear Solid
Izuna: Unemployed Ninja
X-Men Legends
X-Men Legends II
Tenchu: Stealth Assassins
Tenchu 2: Birth of the Ninja
Diablo II
.hack (the first batch)

Currently Playing:
I have decided to change this section to only what is in my consoles AT THE MOMENT as opposed to every game I'm technically in the middle of. Accuracy FTW.

DSi: Final Fantasy IV (It's amazing! Why did I wait so long?)
DS: ARMY OF MOOGLES, I mean, Final Fantasy VI
PS2: Odin Sphere
PSOne: Azure Dreams, Parasite Eve, Tomb Raider

Latest Fan Art:

Yeah, something new! Rydia's cool, people complain about the graphics in the new DS version of FFIV but I love the way the characters look...well, except for Rosa. The girl could use pants.

About Me:
I'm a starving artist/freelance writer/comic book artist/insert other vocation that makes very little money. If you're on Destructoid, chances are I am older than you. That kind of pisses me off.

Anyway, I'm working on some projects that I think might be of interest to some Dtoid readers, but I think I'll keep most of that stuff in my profile section, so the Cblogs won't be taken up with self-promotional posts from me. I'll add the info to my profile when I start my new comic and things like that.