Monday, January 18, 2016

Luchalma Library - Parasite Eve

Games are fun. You know what the best part of games are? Not playing them. The second best part? Words. With those truths in mind, companies have gone forth creating all sorts of fiction to describe in thousands of words just what Master Chief does on his days off. Video game books have an opportunity to enrich a video game's universe in ways the games themselves can't. It gives gamers an opportunity to connect with their favorite characters on a deeper level. It also mostly sucks.

I've read a fair bit of video game literature, and I'll be telling you the good from the bad and fugly.

First up is Parasite Eve, an appropriate enough book considering it immediately contradicts the premise. Rather than being based on a video game, it was itself adapted into a video game. How or why this was allowed to happen I could not say.

My god, where do I even begin with this book.

Let's start at the top with this: This book is the WORST. Worse than Caliban Cove, a "canon" piece of Resident Evil fanfiction filth that I've tried on too many occasions to finish and gave up every time. This book put me to sleep at least three times, though I had hoped my wife (who was reading it to me) didn't notice. In fact, having someone you love read it to you is its one saving grace. I can't imagine that's what author Hideaki Sena had in mind, so I refuse to give him credit for that. 

So what exactly is wrong with this book?

Figure 1.1 - It's Boring

Literally 319½ pages of its 320 page run time are dedicated entirely to describing, in excruciating detail, the intricacies of advanced medical procedures. The remainder of the book is an eclectic mix of lectures on the history of mitochondrial evolution, and exhaustive commentaries on the colours of various things. An excerpt, from the pages of Parasite Eve:

Yoshimitsu stared at the wall. He stared at the white wall absentmindedly. It was white. He stared at it. He pondered its whiteness. It was not white exactly, but it was a kind of white. Not quite Ivory, but closer to it than it was to Eggshell. It reminded him of white things he had seen before. Milk. Paper. Snow. Its whiteness evoked a sense of emptiness. Suddenly a pain struck Yoshimitsu in his abdomen. He imagined a white ball of healing light. Not unlike the white wall...

And it just goes on like that. But that's far more exciting than the aforementioned medical terminology being vomited out for pages on end. Whether you like it or not, by the time you are finished reading Parasite Eve you are legally a practicing physician. You will surprise even yourself with how adeptly you perform unexpected kidney transplants.

There is a sequel to this book out there, but I will be staying far away and I recommend you do the same.

Kids, let me tell you about the time I performed an emergency tracheotomy on your aunt Robin. 

Figure 1.2 - The Translation

I am convinced Tyran Grillo was given the job of translating Parasite Eve on a Monday, and told to have it done later that Monday. Spelling and grammar mistakes, repeated sentences, and an over-reliance on the few words in Grillo's vocabulary mar what could have been only a terrible book in the right hands. I'm very certain Hideaki Sena could have translated it into English himself with far better results. An excerpt, from the pages of Parasite Eve:

Toshiaki absentmindedly clenched his abdomen. He urinated at the site of the thing. He could bearly move. He clenched his abdomen. The gentle curve of the monster's pubic mound aroused him. He ran absentmindedly to the cultivation room...

Figure 1.3 - It's Not Scary

When you dive into a novel described to you as belonging to the horror genre, you may expect a few things. If not a total shattering of your psyche, then at the very least a general sense of unease. Parasite Eve delivers neither, and couldn't be farther from the mark in both respects. The only suspense is in waiting for something interesting to happen; the only horror Tyran Grillo's flippant disrespect for the English language. By the time something does happen that one may describe as trying to be scary, it's so bogged down by 300+ pages of nonsense that you can't be bothered to care. Hell, even the monsters wax lyrical about the growth rate of cells. An excerpt, from the pages of Parasite Eve:

The monster snarled at Toshiaki. "Tooooshhhhiiiiaaaakkkiiii" it bellowed. 
"What?" Toshiaki answered absentmindedly. 
"In order to grow in size, cells must fuse new lipid vesicles with the cell membrane", the monster growled. "The vesicles are transported to sites of fusion on actin cables". 
Toshiaki screamed.

It baffles me that someone would read this book and think "Yeah, this is just waiting to have a video game adaptation. And surprisingly, the video game turned out alright. It's far scarier than the book could ever hope to be, and just an all around great survival horror/RPG game in its own right.

Parasite Eve, copyright 1998 Squaresoft

Conclusion, and Reflections

It was a long road. At some points during the book, I thought it would never be over. At others, I slept. But it's all behind me now. I forget a lot of things in my life, but with my luck Parasite Eve will not be one of them. The only positive I can make from this is hoping that I can prevent even one person from reading.


  1. I was expecting Caliban Cove to get a mention.

  2. Gorilla, clean in 2012February 23, 2016 at 10:52 PM

    If I wanted to read, I'd buy a goddamned book