A Look Back At Parasite Eve's Great Dialogue

I love weird games, ones full of FMV cutscenes, mix-and-matched RPG battle systems, and nonsensical science fiction plots. Parasite Eve has given me all of those things, along with something I didn't expect: Great dialog.

Parasite Eve follows NYPD officer Aya Brea, the sole survivor of a mass murder spree during an opera at Carnegie Hall. The culprit is a powerful mutant woman named Eve, who has psychic powers as a result of sci-fi mitochondria in her cells. Following the destruction at the opera, Aya reports to work at the NYPD's 7th precinct. This sequence largely serves as an introduction to Aya's co-workers, as well as Parasite Eve's crafting system. The player can walk around, talk to fellow officers, or modify weapons in the workshop.

Waking in the hallway, Aya comes across a small boy named Ben, who is the son of Aya's partner Daniel.

Here's the full conversation:

Aya: So this is Ben.

Daniel: Ben, this is Aya. Now, what are you doing here?

Ben: Here… *Ben hands something to his father.*

Daniel: Tickets? Oh... yeah. The concert… Sorry son, daddy's real busy today. I promise I'll make up for -

Ben: - FINE! *He storms off angrily.*

Daniel: Ben! Guess every kid needs a mother...

Aya: That's not true! I was raised by my father too, after my mother died. I'll always be grateful for him.

Daniel: Yeah, well, his mother's still alive…

I'd heard from some friends that the game's script was pretty good - they even mentioned this scene and I can see why. This dialog is straightforward and natural. It's short but accomplishes a lot. Within that small exchange, we learn that Daniel has a son, that his job makes it difficult for them to spend time together, that Daniel is estranged from his wife, and that Aya was raised by her father after her mother passed away. It's eight lines of dialog but there's a lot of information packed into it.

Better than that, it sounds like a believable conversation. Video games often rely on contrivances to deliver exposition. In Dead Space, team leader Hammond explains how player character Isaac Clarke's zero gravity suit works while prefacing the entire conversation with a throwaway "As you know..." Persona 5 is fond of sitting the player down for a five minute refresher on Palaces and phantom thievery multiple times per heist. Parasite Eve finds plenty of moments to inundate the player with biology lessons and villainous rants, but this short conversation is a great example of strong, informative dialog.


Comments

    Parasite Eve 2 is still one of my favourite Ps1 action RPGs. The only thing that sucked was the power upgrade system.

      I really couldn't get into Parasite Eve 2 when it first came out. Was just too... American western which is a genre that bores me for the most part. It also lacked the feel of the original which was closer in tone and content to the original novel and movie that the game is a sequel to.

        I hear you, it took a bit for me to get in to.

        The sun baked desert seemed boring and completely tame, at the time I equated scary to night and darkness so I was (or thought I was) completely unfazed.
        By the end of that portion I had come to realise that horror wasn't only about night and jump scares, the silence and seclusion was something else entirely while the safety of a bright environment faded and even added to the tension by the end.

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