The 3rd Birthday: Introduction — What Came Before

Trigger Warning: This article discusses rape.

The 3rd Birthday

Developer: Square Enix/HexaDrive

Publisher: Square Enix

Format: PlayStation Portable

Released (Japan): December 22, 2010

Released (NA): March 29, 2011

Released (EU): April 1, 2011

Knowing plot details about the earlier installments in the Parasite Eve franchise is not necessary for enjoying The 3rd Birthday, but it does help, even though the games are not really direct sequels to the original novel. It’s… complicated.

Parasite Eve – The Novel (1995)

A young Japanese woman named Mariko Anzai was chosen to the unwilling incubator of the Ultimate Being by “Eve”, a creature that evolved within the mitochondria of a woman named Kiyomi Nagishima. Eve awakened inside of Kiyomi’s body and caused her to crash her car, leaving her alive but brain dead. Kiyomi’s widow, a doctor named Toshiaki, is influenced by Eve to ensure that Kiyomi’s kidney is transplanted into Mariko’s body. The kidney suppresses Mariko’s immune system.

Eve also influences Toshiaki to grow some of Kiyomi’s liver cells so that Eve can manipulate the cells, creating a new host body for herself. She uses this to possess Toshiaki’s assistant, Sachiko Asakura. During a conference presentation speech, Eve uses Sachiko’s body to announce her existence. Eve then leaves Sachiko’s body and escapes to the lab. Toshiaki follows her, and she rapes him to steal his sperm and use it to impregnate Mariko, who gives birth almost instantaneously. That’s all sorts of messed up.

Eve wanted to use Mariko’s body to create a new race of beings that would be able to change its DNA on the fly for ultimate adaptability. However, Eve did not account for the “male” mitochondria in Toshiaki’s sperm. The male mitochondria fights for control of the UB’s body, and it switches between male and female forms before going into death throes. To stop its bursts of psychokinetic power from killing innocent people, Toshiaki merges with the UB, causing them both to die.

Hideaki Sena’s novel was the first to win the Japan Novel Horror Award. However, in Hardcore Gaming 101’s PE article, the writer criticized the book for pages upon pages of dry biological technobabble.

In 1997, the book was adapted into a live-action film. It was released in North America by ADV Films in 2000. It has a different ending from the book; the UB is not even born. Instead, it squirms inside of Mariko’s uterus while Toshiaki confronts Eve. The love that Kiyomi has for Toshiaki saves the day, stopping Eve long enough for Kiyomi to commit suicide with Toshiaki by spontaneously combusting and killing them both. This also kills the UB. Kind of sappy, but kind of sweet.

Parasite Eve – The Game (1998)

The game messes up the timeline because the book took place in 1985. The game implies that Mariko is also the mother of heroine Aya Brea and her long-lost sister Maya, and that they inherited special mitochondria from her. But the game has it so that Mariko died in the 70s after moving to North America. It’s confusing, but the Breas’ parentage is also key to understanding the explanation behind their powers.

Mariko, Aya, and Maya were in a car crash; only Aya survived. Maya’s cornea was transplanted into Aya’s eye, and her kidney was transplanted into the sickly opera singer Melissa Pearce. Both transplants were overseen by an anthropologist named Hans Klamp, who had ulterior motives for transplanting Maya’s kidney into Melissa.

Melissa is just one of the tragic victims of PE; Klamp prescribed her immunosuppressants so that the evolved mitochondria lying dormant in her transplanted kidney would cause Eve to awaken. Klamp also (ahem) supplied Eve with his sperm, then removed the male mitochondria from it, so that the mutated Eve could use Melissa’s body to incubate the new UB. I’m no biologist, so I have no idea how anyone could remove mitochondria from reproductive fluids.

The Manhattan Blockade Incident

Eve did not truly awaken inside of Melissa until they made eye contact (heh) during a Christmas Eve concert at Carnegie Hall in 1997. Then, the other actors onstage began to burst into flames, with several audience members falling suit. Aya stepped up to face Eve, who mutated Melissa’s body, giving her weird hair, long arms with huge clawed hands, and vestigial legs. Aya has no idea why she is immune to the spontaneous combustion that most suffer when they are too close to Eve. Nevertheless, with the help of her partner Daniel Dollis and a biologist named Kunihiko Maeda, Aya persists, pursuing Eve as she rampages across New York, mutating animals and killing people along the way.

One of Eve’s key actions in the game is to create a “mito-mass” out of human fluids from several innocent passersby at Central Park. One of the victims is the ex-wife of Aya’s partner, Daniel. The mito-mass assumes the shape of a kaiju-sized human and assists the very extremely heavily pregnant (after barely a day) Eve’s escape to Liberty Island. Aya kills Eve once and for all, but Eve dies with a smile on her lips; she’s the only one who knows that she has birthed the UB. The settled mito-mass served as another uterus for the little hellspawn.

Aya fights the rapidly maturing UB aboard a US Navy carrier, but he just won’t die. Almost casually, Maeda reveals an ace up his sleeve to Daniel – he created bullets laced with Aya’s cells. He tried to give them to her, but Daniel dragged him away to the escape helicopter before he could. So what does Daniel do about it? He grabs the bullets, JUMPS OUT OF THE CHOPPER, throws the bullets to Aya as he’s set ablaze by the UB, and plunges into the freezing winter waters of New York. Damn.

The bullets work well enough to hobble the UB, so Aya decides to descend into the ship’s belly to set it to self-destruct, killing the creature once and for all.

However… this isn’t the canon ending. That lies within EX Mode, which has the optional Chrysler Building dungeon. Ascend 70-plus floors to find… the original Eve in Maya’s body, who says that the Eve in Melissa’s body is just a backup plan while the original built her nest. Ew.

Maya became the “purebred” Eve. Eve briefly lets a confused and scared Maya to the surface just to taunt Aya, while a sad song called “Someone Calls Me… Someone Looks for Me” plays. It also plays throughout the boss fight against the purebred Eve. This ending is less popular than the main story.

Parasite Eve II (2000)

Things get Resident Evil in a hurry as Aya moves across the country to Los Angeles, where she joins the FBI’s Mitochondria Investigation and Supression Team. They specialize in hunting down Neo-Mitochondrial Creatures. Someone is turning unwilling humans into these mutants, making them Artificial NMCs, or ANMCs.

Aya encounters and fights off a not-so-mighty ANMC called No. 9 at Akropolis Tower. No. 9 destroys the Tower, but Aya escapes with her partner Rupert.

Aya’s investigation leads her to a hole-in-the-wall town called Dryfield. It’s quiet; too quiet. It’s devoid of people aside from a survivor named Douglas and his loyal dog, Flint. Aya soon encounters NMCs and discovers Dryfield’s dark secret: a secret underground lab which hides a full-fledged Neo Ark for ANMCs. In the Japanese version, the Neo Ark is called Shambala.

Aya discovers that the ANMCs were created from her own DNA. Not only that, but Aya was cloned. The clone was named Eve, and she’s already in preadolescence. Eve was “raised” in a deliberately cruel environment to keep her on edge. Eve was in charge of controlling the ANMCs.

With the help of a man named Kyle Madigan, whose true loyalties are a complete mystery, Aya tries to get Eve to safety, but No. 9 kidnaps her. No. 9 shoves Eve into a giant cocoon for the new UB, and Kyle stands guard, only to betray No. 9. Things get pretty confusing near the end of the game.

The US President orders an orbital laser attack on Dryfield to destroy the lab. Aya and Kyle are separated, and Kyle seems to suffer a mortal wound.

The orbital laser attack only allows the UB to emerge from the cocoon. Once Aya has killed it, Eve transforms into an adult form and unleashes strange attacks upon Aya. If you completed a few sidequests over the course of the game (unlikely unless you have a playthrough under your belt to unlock New Game Plus), you get more ending scenes. In the best ending, Aya gains custody of Eve as a sister, giving the child a chance at a happier life. One year later, they reunite with Kyle.

Nine years later, in 2010. Aya and Kyle attempt to get married in New York, but an unknown power causes a tragic end to the event, launching the Breas’ strangest trial yet…

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