Publisher: Sqauresoft (Currently SquareEnix) Rated: Mature Released Year: 1998
- Sony Playstaion 1
While on an unexpected date to an opera at Carnergie Hall, two people who should never have made eye contact with each other did, as an inhuman awakening takes place, resulting in many people being burned to death. As one of the survivors, Aya Brea must pursue the lady who appears to be responsible for the mass murder, only to be left a cryptic message, "The time for Mitochondria to rise is at hand" ...
The time for Mitochondria is at hand. That is probably the scary feeling in the whole game, the idea that an organism the dwells in all our body could gain sentience and dominate our bodies to doing its bidding; its will. Play as Aya Brea, a New York detective destined to play the crucial role in the fight against Mitochondria supremacy. While her body is afflicted by a similar sentience, she does not seek to dominate others, and as such is the only person who can oppose the new threat to humanity: Mitochondria Eve.
Gameplay: 7 / 10
There is a lot of story/plot to sift through (and like it or not you WILL sift through it), but between each major story development, you will get to play Aya and kick lots of ass in the process. There is a fair amount to do through the "6-day" game, provided you have the patience for Aya to "run" around from game map to game map... (Okay she is not THAT slow, but still...). There is combat, exploration, puzzle solving, and a huge optional quest.
The combat system is interesting. It mixes both adventure-style and turn-based action into an effective medium. Essentially, you have to wait your turn for your chance to shoot the enemy, but at the same time, you have a chance to move around the map you are currently in (instead of being teleported to a convenient battle map like with most RPG games), and evade your enemy's attacks in real time. Your attacks can consist of a cheap "clubbing", though most players will have ammo for their guns, shotguns, machine guns, rocket launchers, etc. (Seriously, how DOES she fit a rocket launcher in her jacket???). You also have access to Parasite Energy (PE) that lets you use supporting abilities including healing, status enhancers and a couple attacks.
The guns and armour themselves deserve a special mention because you can tweak and modify all the equipment in the game and customize your own weapons and protection to maximize their potential (I don't know you can give a pistol a "shotgun" effect, but still... it's cool!).
The biggest 'lacking' in this game is probably the lack of areas to explore. You can still cover a decent amount of ground, but since the game is confined to a few areas (with your only real chance of levelling up is where you are supposed to go), it limits any need to go back to certain places after you beat them. It makes the game quite linear.
Controls: 7 / 10
Most of the game focused on the direction pad / analog stick for moving. There were also buttons for attacking, canceling, menu, etc. I am not sure if the L&R Buttons ever saw any real use. It is fairly intuitive and easy to use, so the learning curve is almost non-existent if you are already familiar with Playstation controls.
Music: 8 / 10
The music was real nice and not just crappy ambience... at all. It had a very dynamic and enjoyable theme. The underlying melody of the game was told more than once, but often in different ways to keep it from feeling boring or repetitive. A little more variety in enemy and boss music might have helped too. I found that was the only part that got really tiring.
Sound Effects: 5 / 10
There was not a lot of the way of real sound effects for the game. Voice acting was practically non-existent, some of the effects like the footsteps were a bit too heavy and in a sense announced to EVERYONE in the room, "Hey! I'm here now! You can hear me, right?!"
Graphics: 7 / 10
The backgrounds went for as realistic an approach as they possibly could, and it added considerable effect to the game itself. The models are a bit less convincing, however, and tend to stick out like a sore thumb. There are a lot of close-up shots to the character faces and they could have stood for improvement, sorry to say.
The Chrysler Building is probably the single most annoying concept I have ever seen for a game add-on, given how it's 70 levels of grinding through the same half a dozen floor maps. Still, there is a TON of good stuff to collect to make replaying the game a breeze (And for beating the boss at the top of the building for the optional ending of the game). Still, it is not a game you play for the gameplay. You play it for the story.