The 3rd Birthday

Date Completed: 10/5/2012

The science behind how an evil Kidney transplanted into an Opera singer can cause human beings to spontaneously combust was so far beyond plausible that even as a long time Final Fantasy fan I had a little trouble buying into it.  For that reason I was never a huge fan of the Parasite Eve series when it was fresh on the market.  Even so it was welcome news when I heard that Parasite Eve was being brought back after a 10 year hiatus.

I’m not sure why they felt they needed the name change but ‘The 3rd Birthday’ is ‘Parasite Eve 3’.  Once again you play the role of Aya Brea and you are on a mission to save the world from funky looking mutants. Once again implausible science and twisted plot lines are combined but this time a little time travel is thrown in to get things good and mixed up.  It’s been 10 years since the last Parasite Eve and while I remembered the names of the main characters (Eve and Aya) I had forgotten pretty much everything else.  I didn’t understand anything that was going on and I didn’t understand the history of the characters.  I’m not sure if the game would have made more sense if I could have remembered all the details or not.  I am going to say probably not.

Game Play was quite a bit different than I expected.  Instead of the RPG style combat of the previous games this is a straight forward action game.  Most of the game play involves running around and shooting at monsters.  The interesting part is that Aya has the new ability to ‘dive’ into different creatures.  She’s never physically present on the battlefield.  Her spirit form dives into (Possesses) someone else on the battlefield while her physical body is back in a lab somewhere.  This is where time travel comes in – her spirit form can travel around in time, so she can go back and change the outcome of events.  Aya can also dive into weakened enemies which does huge amounts of damage.  Diving can also be used as a means of transportation.  If you are on the ground and you want to be on top of a building dive into another soldier and you’re there instantly.  The diving mechanic was my favorite part of the game play.

Preparing to dive into a weakened enemy.

There are frequently other soldiers on the battle field and Aya can ‘dive’ into them to escape being mauled to death by one of the monsters in the game.  Early on there is a giant invincible monster chasing Aya and she has to dive into different soldiers to escape death, leaving the previous soldier to be helplessly ripped apart by a stampeding twisted.  You really feel like a huge hero.

The game itself is OK but the presentation is sleazy.  As Aya takes damage her clothes are literally blasted away.  By the end of the first level she was wearing nothing but the tattered remains of what had been a black tank top and distressed jeans.  I was surprised to find that between levels my clothing didn’t repair itself.  It took my awhile to find the secret button to repair Aya’s clothing.  Maybe they didn’t think the target audience would want to use that feature.  There are several other outfits of dubious utility that Aya can switch into ( see the Parasite Eve Wiki ) but most of those are locked until after beating the game so I wasn’t able to use them.  One is the ‘Business Suit’ which makes you wonder – what sort business do they think Aya is in?  There is also a hidden shower scene that I never encountered in normal game play.  Morbid curiosity led me to look it up on YouTube.  Luckily it’s a little hard to find 3rd Birthday videos that aren’t the shower scene on YouTube.

Aya in her battlefield attire.

The game is really short.  Only 6 levels with about an hour of content each.  I read on GameFaqs that after leveling up the game can be defeated in under an hour.  The PSP controls felt especially clumsy after having most recently played Uncharted on the Vita.  It was fun enough for a single play through but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re really into CG boobs.

Pros

  • Fun combat system.

Cons

  • Controls are limited by PSP hardware.
  • Short missions.
Is it fun: Yes
Score: 6/10
Length:  ~6 hours
System: PSP
Genre: Action / RPG