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Tune-Ups

A major (and fun) element of Parasite Eve is customizing your equipment (weapon or armor).  Usually this means upgrading your equipment, but also applies to changing existing Effects.  Throughout the game, you should be constantly upgrading your equipment to deal with the ever-more-difficult enemies you will face. There are four ways to upgrade your equipment:
  1. Acquire new (often "better") equipment
  2. Increase the Statistics of existing equipment (use BP)
  3. Add Slot(s) to existing equipment
  4. Tune-Up (add Effects and/or boost Statistics) of existing equipment


Previously "UNDER CONSTRUCTION",
but now, mostly finished!
See Also PE Save Files

The first (method 1) is to acquire "better" equipment.  For our purposes, "better" means the equipment has Statistics with higher values.  Of course in some cases you might consider one piece of equipment better than another because of an Effect, even though they both have the same Statistics.
 
The second way (method 2) to upgrade your equipment is to increase its Statistics.  With the menu option "Distribute BP" (represented by a BP icon) you can increase any statistic on any equipment (exceptions: a Club's Range and Rocket Launcher's Bullets) using BP earned during the game.  Not related to this article, you can also distribute BP to Aya's Statistics.
 
The third (method 3) way to upgrade your equipment is to add Slots.  All equipment (except a rocket launcher) has one or more Slots.  Each slot can hold one Effect.  On most equipment you can increase the number of Slots (the maximum number varies by equipment).  This has to be done at NYPD weapons department by either Torres or Wayne (whomever is behind the counter).  Torres requires a Mod Permit in order to add a Slot.  Wayne will accept a Mod Permit or a Trading Card.  Wayne will offer to add a second Slot if you give him a Rare Trading Card (only available in the Crysler Building of the Ex-Game).
 
The fourth (most versatile) way to upgrade (method 4), as Wayne explains to you near the start of Day 2, is to use the menu option "Tune-Up" (represented by a wrench icon) to modify your equipment.  However, if you are careless or ignorant, you may actually "tune-down" your equipment.
 
Because of Wayne's explanation, you should already know that using a Tool item to move an Effect or Stats Bonus from equipment A onto equipment B will destroy equipment A.  "Destroy" means the equipment is permanently removed from your inventory, as if you had used the option "Discard."
 
There are two very important things Wayne does not tell you.  These are very beneficial things to know:
  • The rare SuperTool works like a Tool but does NOT destroy equipment
  • Stats Bonus adds to (not replaces) the Stats Bonus on the target equipment
 
I hope the first benefit is obvious.  Please use a lot of thought before using a SuperTool.  These are rare and I only know of two places in the game where you can definitely get one: in the Sewers and in the Museum.  There are two places in the normal game where you might (random occurrence) get one: in Central Park and in the Warehouse.  (In the Ex-Game, there are some storage rooms that might contain one.)
 
I'll explain the second benefit in case it is not clear with an example.  Suppose weapon A has the following Stats Bonus:
 Attack  +2
 Range  +1
 Bullets  +0
and that weapon B has:
 Attack  +10
 Range  +4
 Bullets  +6
 
Without knowing the second benefit, it would seem stupid to move the Stats Bonus from A to B.  However, because the Stats Bonus add up (the second benefit), it is a good idea to move the Stats Bonus from weapon A to weapon B.  This results in a weapon B Stats Bonus of:
 Attack  +12
 Range  +5
 Bullets  +6
(Obviously if you use a common Tool, weapon A would be destroyed.)
 
Besides those two benefits and the general principle of upgrading, there are no definite rules for customizing; you get to choose the type of equipment you want to use and are able to customize it with Effects and a Stats Bonus. However, there are strategies you can apply to maximize your combat effectiveness.
 
Whenever you find (or a character gives you) equipment or you select one from the menu, a box showing the Statistics and added Effects (if any) will appear.  Some bosses will drop equipment; in such cases, use the menu to view the Statistics and Effects.  First let's consider the statistics.
 
 Weapon Statistics   

There are 4 (four) Weapon Statistics; 3 of them are explicit (customizable on most weapons) and 1 is "secret/fixed" (not customizable). These are:

Statistic Customize?
 Attack  Yes
 Range  Yes (except Clubs)
 Bullets  Yes (except Clubs and Rocket Launchers)
 Speed  No (Fixed/Secret... depends on weapon type)

The "speed" of each weapon type has a dramatic effect on your possible play style. Select the one you like most! NOTE: I am not a professional PSX hacker, so I do NOT know the real values used by the game. Below is my best guess based on playing many games of Parasite Eve (and some analysis from video-capture software):

Weapon Hits/second
 Rocket Launcher  0.3
 Club  0.5
 Grenade Launcher  1.0
 Riffle  1.0
 Shotgun  1.0
 Handgun  2.5
 Machinegun  7.5

If you are a "hard core" gamer (somebody that wants max damage in minimum time) then a machine-gun is an obvious choice... but you also need to consider some nasty effects that come standard with all machine guns in the game (see below...).  Also, even if you manage to balance "speed" with "effects" you need to consider the amount of ammo you have available...

 
 Effects (weapon & armor)   

This section gives some details on Effects that may not be obvious. I will not bother to describe every Effect in detail as many of the Effects are described adequately in the tables below.

The second part of selecting / customizing good equipment is understanding the various Effects that can be added (or come standard for some equipment). Below are two tables, the first showing Weapon Effects and the second showing Armor Effects; a more in-depth discussion follows them.

The tables include icons that are 'enhanced' versions of the icons from the game because at first I noticed my icons looked 'crummy' and I thought it was due to my video capture card. But no -- other websites and even the official BradyGames Strategy Guide have the same crummy look! So, for your HTML viewing pleasure, I have enhanced the images. I hope you like them.

[ w e a p o n   e f f e c t s ]
Icon Name Description Pros Cons
unnamed Fills up a slot in equipment. Simply a place holder for equipment capable of an odd number of effects. None None
Acid Rounds Inflicts poison status on enemies. Enemy dies quicker if affected; normal damage if enemy is immune Not 100% reliable
Cyanide Rounds Chance to instantly kill enemies. Kill affected enemies with 1 shot; normal damage if enemy is immune Not 100% reliable
Freezing Rounds Add Ice Element to weapon attacks. 50% more damage to affected enemies No damage at all to immune enemies!
Explosive Rounds Add Fire Element to weapon attacks. 50% more damage to affected enemies No damage at all to immune enemies!
Tranquilizer Rounds Inflicts Sleep status on enemies. Affected enemy does not move or attack; normal damage if enemy is immune Not 100% reliable
Burst Shot Attacks all enemies within a cone emanating from your weapon. Standard for shotguns. Attack multiple enemies in one shot, each with normal damage Difficult to target a single enemy
Command x2 Execute two commands per turn. More actions per turn You may spend more time standing in one spot
Command x3 Execute three commands per turn. More actions per turn You may spend more time standing in one spot
Counter Attack Chance to automatically attack (with equipped weapon) any enemy that attacks Aya. Inflict extra damage without using a turn Less than 50% chance; Aya must pause to target (perhaps twice); an extra shot may cause a reload
Critical Up Increases the probability of inflicting critical damage with your weapon. More damage per shot Not 100% reliable
Quick Shot Greatly increases the probability of starting any battle with a full AT gauge. Enter command(s) at the beginning of battle Not 100% reliable
Random Shot Attack command results in Aya shooting 50% more (rounded down) bullets than the normal ROF. More shots/command without penalty of increased ROF Targeted enemy(s) chosen at random; Aya must pause to retarget when switching between enemies
Random Shot 2 'Shoot All'; this comes on some machine guns. Aya attacks all enemies, each with full ROF. Shoot more times in a turn (if more than 1 enemy) without penalty of increased ROF The order that enemies are shot is random (no priority!); if there are a lot of enemies, Aya will spend considerable time in one spot
ROF x2 Rate Of Fire is 2 shots (max) per command. Inflict more damage per command; pin down enemy while AT and PE recharge Reduced efficiency (damage / shot); more time spent in one spot
ROF x3 Rate Of Fire is 3 shots (max) per command. Inflict more damage per command; pin down enemy while AT and PE recharge Reduced efficiency (damage / shot); more time spent in one spot
ROF x5 Rate Of Fire is 5 shots (max) per command. Inflict more damage per command; pin down enemy while AT and PE recharge Reduced efficiency (damage / shot); more time spent in one spot
ROF x7 Rate Of Fire is 7 shots (max) per command. Inflict more damage per command; pin down enemy while AT and PE recharge Reduced efficiency (damage / shot); more time spent in one spot
ROF x10 Rate Of Fire is 10 shots (max) per command. Inflict more damage per command; pin down enemy while AT and PE recharge Reduced efficiency (damage / shot); more time spent in one spot
Steal Steal item from enemy during attack; clubs only. Obtain more / rare items Not 100% reliable; Inflicted damage reduced by 50%; Item varies
Steal & Attack Steal item from enemy during attack; clubs only. Obtain more / rare items Not 100% reliable; Item varies
 
[ a r m o r   e f f e c t s ]
Icon Name Description Pros Cons
unnamed Fills up a slot in equipment. Simply a place holder for equipment capable of an odd number of effects. None None
AT Down Decreases your AT charge speed. None You have to wait longer between turns
Atack Down Decrease Aya's offense statistic by 2 None Less damage with weapon and Liberate
Atack Up Increase Aya's offense statistic by 2 More damage with weapon and Liberate None
Auto Cure Good chance that an item will automatically be used from your inventory to remove any negatve status inflicted by an enemy. Save a turn otherwise required to use item or parasite energy Always uses most powerful item; not 100% reliable; may use an item when you wouldn't
Auto Heal Good chance that an item will automatically be used from your inventory to restore HP when damaged by an enemy. Save a turn otherwise required to use item or parasite energy Always uses most powerful item; not 100% reliable; may use an item when you wouldn't
Anti-Confusion Increases your immunity to Confusion status effect. Prevent Confusion Not 100% reliable
Anti-Darkness Increase your immunity to Darkness status effect. Prevent Darkness Not 100% reliable
Anti-Stiffness Increase your immunity to Stiffness status effect. Prevent Stiffness Not 100% reliable
Anti-Poison Increase your immunity to Poison status effect. Prevent Poison Not 100% reliable
HP Up Increase Aya's maximum HP by 15%. Ability to sustain more damage Regen takes longer / consumes more PE
Items +1 Increase Aya's inventory capacity by 1 item. Carry more items Aya may not be able to change armor
Items +2 Increase Aya's inventory capacity by 2 items. Carry more items Aya may not be able to change armor
Items +4 Increase Aya's inventory capacity by 4 items. Carry more items Aya may not be able to change armor
PE Light Reduces amount of PE required for most of Aya's special abilities. Use PE abilities more often None


 Effects Details   

This section gives some details on Effects that may not be obvious. I will not bother to describe every Effect in detail as many of the Effects are described adequately in the tables above.

One con (negative aspect) of every Effect not mentioned in the tables above is that it uses an available slot. Since slots on equipment are limited, you should consider which Effects are most important to your style of play and the enemies you are confronting. A related con of all added Effects is you (generally) need a rare SuperTool to remove an Effect you don't want on a piece of equipment (a normal Tool will destroy equipment when you remove an Effect).


 ROF: Rate of Fire   
Since you must wait for your turn, the ability to shoot more bullets in a single turn is often considered to be a good effect. A major con not realized by many is that the damage of each shot is reduced as the ROF is increased! This means, on average, it will require more shots to kill an enemy which has two disadvantages:
  • you spend more time standing in one spot
  • you will use more ammo

In particular, standing in one spot while firing can be deadly (to Aya!) when facing multiple enemies. Although she will 'pin down' the enemy she is shooting, other enemies can (often will) attack Aya while she stands around shooting. So the more time she spends standing to shoot, the more likely she is to be injured or killed.

But the same aspect can be turned to your advantage! When facing a single enemy you don't need to worry about being attacked while shooting. By using a large ROF, you gain time for both your PE and your ATB to recharge while firing. In fact, with an appropriate ROF and weapon type, you can spend so much time firing that your ATB completely refills by the time you finish firing!
 
Be careful to consider how much ammo you have in your gun since Aya must pause to reload (giving the enemy a good chance to attack) if you empty your gun in the middle of a command.  Note there is no time penalty for Aya to reload between commands. 

The second disadvantage, using more ammo (reduced bullet efficiency), applies even if you don't take advantage of the extra ROF. For example, say that a ROFx2 reduces bullet power by 33% compared to a single ROF. If you choose to fire only 1 shot instead of 2 when your turn comes, that single shot still suffers from the 33% penalty of ROFx2. On a positive note, the total damage per turn does increase assuming you use the full ROF. In my opinion, this is not worth the extra risk when facing multiple enemies. Even against a single enemy, this is a bad Effect if your ammo is limited.

The damage-per-shot (efficiency) factor, according to my experiments, is based on the fraction 2/3 raised to a power according to the weapon's ROF. I won't give a detailed explanation but simply present the results in a table followed by some notes.


[ R O F   e f f e c i e n c y   &   d a m a g e ]
ROF  n  (2/3)n
Effeciency %
Example Damage
per shot
Example Damage
Total
Damage %
None  0  100%  145  145  100%
 1  66.7%  97  194  134%
 2  44.4%  67  201  139%
 3  29.6%  41  205  141%
 4  19.8%  29  203  140%
 5  13.2%  21  210  144%

My 2/3 formula is only approximate since, if you do the math, you will notice some of the damage values (from a real game) are off by one or two points from a calculated value. The total damage assumes that all shots hit with normal damage. The total will obviously differ if a shot misses or you score a critical hit. Due to rounding, the Damage % is often greater than the Efficiency % times the number of shots.

In summary, ROF x2 is the best in my opinion, offering 33% (or slightly more) extra damage at the cost of 100% more ammo. With ROF x3, you get another 5% or 6% (39% total) extra damage at the cost of another 100% (200% total) more ammo -- not a good deal. It gets worse as the ROF increases. Compared to ROF x2, the ROF x10 gives only another 30% more damage at a ridiculous cost of 400% more ammo. ROF x7 is the worst, giving a lower Damage % than either ROF x5 or ROF x10.

In my opinion, the general rule of ROF to use should be based on weapon type:

  • ROF x3 for machine guns, consider x5 if weapon has Critical Up and you have a lot of ammo
  • ROF x2 for handguns, consider x3 if weapon has Critical Up
  • ROF x2 (or none) for all other weapons
Note this is only a general rule. Feel free to make exceptions based on your playing style or the particular circumstances. In particular, if the same weapon has the rare Command x2 (or x3) Effect, my rule changes to:
  • ROF x3 (or less) for machine guns
  • ROF x2 (or none) for handguns
  • No ROF for all other weapons

Finally note that unlike most Effects, the ROF Effect can be virtually removed without using a SuperTool. I say virtually because although a normal Tool can be used to change the ROF, it can not completely remove it. Say for example you find a shotgun with a ROF x3; you can use a normal Tool to replace the Effect with ROF x2 from a grenade launcher (of course this will destroy the grenade launcher).


 Multi-Target Effects   

The three multi-target Effects (Random Shot, Random Shot 2, and Burst) are mutually exclusive. This means you can not have more than 1 of these Effects on a particular weapon. The best result of this is you can replace a bad Effect (like Random Shot) with a good Effect (like Burst) using a common Tool. I wonder how many SuperTools I wasted removing Random Shot from machine guns before learning about this...

Most people consider Random Shot a negative Effect with no benefit since Aya will target enemies at random, and must pause to aim each time she decides to switch from one target to another. With a high rate of fire (common on machine guns which are the only weapons which come with Random Shot) this means Aya will spend more time firing than normal. As always, spending more time in a given spot is bad news, especially against multiple enemies.

The random nature of the Effect is the worst aspect. No priority will be given to closer or more dangerous enemies. Aya will, from time-to-time (according to Murphy, at the worst time) choose to shoot enemies that are out of range. Obviously targeting enemies out of range while ignoring the one beside you is never a good thing.

However, Random Shot has a benefit often overlooked -- increased damage without reduced bullet efficiency. Specifically, this Effect makes Aya shoot 50% more bullets per command (rounded down) than the 'normal' rate of fire but with no efficiency penalty. For example, if a weapon has ROF x5, this means she should fire

5 + Int( 5 x 0.50 ) = 5 + Int( 2.5 ) = 5 + 2 = 7 shots per command.

Each of these shots will have the ROF x5 efficiency (27%) which is 35% better than the ROF x7 efficiency (20%). Note: since the extra number of shots calculated is rounded down, no extra shots will be fired if the weapon has a ROF of one (i.e., no ROF Effect).

It must be mentioned that increased ammo efficiency is only a potential. Obviously efficiency will be reduced if Aya decides to shoot an enemy that is out of range. Also important to note is that she may actually fire fewer shots than normal on random occasions. For example, with ROF x5 and the Random Shot effect, you would expect her to shoot 7 times per command, but against 2 or more enemies she will often shoot less. My theory is she kills an enemy too quickly. For example, she decides to shoot monster A six times and monster B once (seven total shots), but the first shot to monster A kills it. In this case only two shots would be fired. Of course this is something you might do manually, but most players do it far less frequently than occurs with Random Shot.

So generally Random Shot is a bad Effect. Against a single enemy however, it is useful to deal greater damage per command without reduced ammo efficiency.

Random Shot 2 is what I like to call Shoot All. With this Effect, Aya will pump lead into every enemy (assuming she doesn't miss). This is arguably better than Random Shot(1) which may completely ignore an enemy. The only thing random about 'Shoot All' is the order Aya chooses to attack enemies. So like Random Shot(1), she may target an out-of-range enemy before shooting a nearby enemy (this situation usually results in damage to Aya).

Like Random Shot(1), 'Shoot All' requires Aya to pause to aim when switching from one target to the next. However, she always fires all rounds at an enemy before switching to the next. This is more effecient (time-wise) than switching back-and-forth between two targets (which often happens with Random Shot(1)). Also like Random Shot(1), there is no reduced effeciency with the increased fire power (assuming she doesn't miss).

Assuming more than one enemy, 'Shoot All' will always shoot more bullets than Random Shot(1). The more enemies, the more bullets she will fire. For example, against 5 enemies, she will shoot 400% more rounds per command. Contrast this with Random Shot(1) which will shoot (at most) 50% more rounds per command.

In summary, Random Shot 2 ('Shoot All') can deal a huge amount of damage with one command if there are multiple enemies without reduced efficiency. However there is no benefit against a single enemy and, as always, spending a lot time standing to shoot when facing multiple enemies is bad.

Burst is the best multi-target Effect. Many people would say it is the best Effect of all. Unlike ROF and Random Effects which have serious (if not obvious) negative consequences, and unlike status/element rounds which may not work on some enemies, Burst has no (serious) negative attributes and it always works.

If you are familiar with shotguns, you know that firing a single shot will effect a large area as opposed to the pin-point nature of a rifle or handgun, and the area increases in size the farther away it is from the gun. In the game, this works as a 'cone of fire' emanating from the weapon Aya is using. In real life, the power dissipates quite rapidly as the radius of the cone increases (i.e., the farther away from the gun barrel).

In the game, assuming the targets are in-range, anything in the 'cone of fire' will receive full damage (in real life the damage would be distributed). This allows for great ammo effeciency and since all this damage occurs in a single shot, you can spend less time standing to fire (i.e., vulnerable to attack).

The Burst effect comes standard on shotguns. Since shotguns are slow and have a limited ammo capacity, new players (and a few seasoned players) will often overlook this fantastic effect. If you didn't already know, this Effect (quite unlike reality) can be moved from shotguns to other weapons. If you've never tried this, you are in for a nice suprise. Just imagine using the raw power of your favorite rifle against a group of enemies or the speed of a machine gun without the nasty random Effect!

The only negative consequence unique to this Effect (aside from lack of realism) is the difficulty this creates when you want to target a specific enemy (or part of an enemy). Although such cases are rare, when they occur this Effect is troublesome -- potentially deadly.

Also consider that against a single enemy, this Effect has no benefit; it consumes a slot that a more beneficial effect (like Critical Up) could use. However 'slot considerations' are common to all Effects so it can't really be called a con against Burst.


 Other Effects   

Counter Attack sounds like it should be the best Effect available, but in fact it is often more trouble than it is worth! To begin with, the Effect is not 100% reliable. In fact, it works less than 50% of the time!

Aya most often suffers an attack while she is busy attacking another enemy. If Counter Attack activates in this situation, she must pause to target the attacker. This often results in her original target getting to attack. Also, some enemies that attack are quick enough that they can move out of range during the time Aya takes to switch her target to them.

If this wasn't bad enough, and still assuming she was attacked while performing an attack, she must then pause to re-target the original enemy. It gets worse! During the time she used to counter attack, her original target can easily move out of range.

Worse still, the extra shot fired (assuming a gun, not a club) may result in re-load when she resumes the initial attack. Of course a re-load during an attack (as opposed to between attacks) requires her to pause again.

If it isn't obvious, all this pausing on Aya's part gives the enemies plenty of opportunity to get in an attack or two or three. It can be fatal! I recommend you avoid it when confronting multiple enemies. Even against a single opponent, other Effects (such as Command x2 or x3, Critical Up, and possibly ROF x2) should take priority.

Critical Up increases the chances of scoring a critical hit. I don't know the specific probability, but any critical hit (with or without this Effect) means an extra 50% damage (rounded down) for that hit. It makes a noticeable difference in any extended battle (a boss or multiple enemies). Highly recommended.

Quick Shot greatly increases the chance you start a battle with a full AT gauge. This means you can attack or defend as the situation warrants without delay. Since it only effects the start of a battle (and even then not reliably), this Effect should not be a priority for your primary weapon. But if you have an extra slot, it is a good choice!

It is also a good choice on a special purpose weapon. For example in the Crysler Building, if you are expecting a TreasureBox (a nasty monster lurking in treasure chests) or Squirrels (fast and nasty critters) you might equip Aya with a weapon -- any weapon -- that has this Effect. If your assumption turns out correct, you have the upper hand to take appropriate action. In these situations it would be wise to use Barrier when encountering a TreasureBox or Haste when facing Squirrels. Then, if the Effect is not on your primary weapon, you can switch weapons.


© H2Obsession, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2014, 2015
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