(Square, June 1998)

I'm a huge shooter fan of the old school shoot em ups like R Type, Blazing Lazers, Gradius, and many others but I'm not too crazy for Square's Einhander. Despite the fact every shooting fan out there seems to love this game I found a few problems in this amazing looking but hard to play game.

The story is about a war against the earth and the moon. You are part of the Einhander project launch from the city of Selene of the moon. You are the last hope for the people of Selene, because if you fail your mission than the people of the moon may all die without enough resources.

Einhander is not only a new 3D shooter for Square (who are normally known for their RPG's like the Final Fantasy's and the Parasite Eve series) but it's also a 'no stop' game meaning that you'll see no loading screens during game play and you'll fly straight to the next level after the last level is completed. It's cool but you'll still see a lot of long load times on the option screens unfortunately.

In Einhander you have the chance to pilot one of three different strange, but unique, looking fighter jets with the ability to grab weapons from sky thanks to their robotic arm(s). There are 8 different guns (plus 4 secret weapons) the Einhander can pick up, each weapon has different speeds, reach, power and ammo like the Vulcan gun has great speed and ammo but is weak on power while the Cannon gun is fairly strong but has weak speed and ammo. It's up to you to figure which weapon works best for which area so you don't pick up the wrong weapon or weapons by mistake.

Einhander is not a easy game because not only can one hit kill you instantly, but you also have to fight at least one mini boss per stage and sometimes they're actually harder then the actual boss itself. Your guns can guard you briefly from some attacks but you risk losing the gun if it takes too many hits which can be annoying when you're fighting a tough boss.

Square Soft has been known for pushing the PlayStation to its limits (upset for Saga Frontier) and Einhander definitely doesn't disappoint. The game is entirely done in 3D although it still scrolls just like a traditional side scroller, so it's both easy to play and great to look at too. Each level is bound to impress you with its life like backgrounds to the cool 3D angels you'll witness now and again plus not only are the bosses a real menace but they also look and animate great as most of them fill up the screen.

The music is always constantly changing even about half or 3/4 of the level which is very arcade-like. Because this game is highly German based the music is mostly fast paced Techno pop which is a nice change of pace to the average Playstation game.

Bottom line: This is a slick, fast paced shooter with some truly great 3D visuals and some weird but catchy music, but personally, the game play is just too limited for me. I don't like most of the weapons because they're usually just too weak, they don't last very long either, plus you can't even power up your ship like in traditional shooter. You should try it if you like shoot em ups but remember "It's not for everyone!"



*Uncommon Playstation game

overall rating: 71/100

For 1 player only
Rated (E) for Everyone

graphics: 9/10
sound: 7/10
gameplay: 5/10

(Ryan Genno) 2007

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