Parasite Eve was one of the greatest games of the decade, even though it was released in an era where we praised pixelated graphics and regarded them as being some of the absolute best for their time (isn’t it funny how things change over the course of several decades?). It also had one of the best ending songs I’ve ever heard, not to mention some awesome remixes. It really paid homage to the novel that inspired it, and the movie that came out afterward actually wasn’t half bad. Everything that paid homage did so in a great way.
The sequel to it that came out in 1999 was a bit dustier than the original, but when you have something that groundbreaking to live up to, you honestly can’t — or shouldn’t, for that matter — expect it to be as perfect as the title that came before it. But it was still a good game in its own right. The graphics were more polished, the storyline was still decent, and the tweaks that had been made to the battle engine still made for a compelling game that made you want to play all the way through to the end. And just like the game that came before it, the soundtrack was brilliant. The end song doesn’t quite have the punch that “Somnia Memorias” did, but “Gentle Rays” is still an extremely good song in its own right, and you can tell listening to the songs in Parasite Eve II that a lot of time and effort was put into the soundtrack. Things were still good.
Sadly, all I can say that I liked about The 3rd Birthday was the soundtrack. I played it for completion’s sake, having been an enthusiastic fan of Parasite Eve, wanting to finish the series out when I found out that a new game in the franchise was finally coming out. And when I played through it, all I felt like I was getting was fanservice, the “Parasite Eve label” slapped on a game that desperately tried to bring back old-school fans of the franchise to a game with better, newer graphics, a sharp soundtrack, and perhaps the world’s worst plot (seriously, read up on it if you haven’t already played it or spoiled it for yourself… the plot has so many holes it’s practically Swiss cheese, and it is that bad). You can listen to the soundtrack here if you’d like, as to me, that is the only redeeming quality that the game has. It became a shoot ’em up that tried way too hard to pull old-school fans in to the game, which dismayed those who liked the franchise for what it was, and the fanservice was — is, depending on whether you’ve thrown the baby out with the bathwater at this point — incredibly over the top. For Christ’s sake, the more damage Aya takes during battles, the more holes you see in her clothing, and this is done in so obvious a way that you can tell it was intentionally done. Jesus…
I don’t want any more sequels if this is literally how they are going to be handled. I don’t. Just stop them here.
(And the irony? Because the game’s supposed to be an RPG, that’s the category I put it in.)