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Einhander (PlayStation) artwork

Einhander (PlayStation) review


"In an age where mundane RPGs and over-the-top sequels rule the market, it’s rare to even hear the word ‘3D shooter’ out of any gamer’s mouth. The genre that had its golden days back on the Genesis is seldom heard of anymore. When put against the newest Final Fantasy or Silent hill, the old-school game play style simply cannot compete. Most gamers would rather aid the newest fifteen-year-old protagonist through puberty and first kisses than mop the floor with screen-sized space denizens from a di..."



In an age where mundane RPGs and over-the-top sequels rule the market, it’s rare to even hear the word ‘3D shooter’ out of any gamer’s mouth. The genre that had its golden days back on the Genesis is seldom heard of anymore. When put against the newest Final Fantasy or Silent hill, the old-school game play style simply cannot compete. Most gamers would rather aid the newest fifteen-year-old protagonist through puberty and first kisses than mop the floor with screen-sized space denizens from a different dimension. Some of the genre requires close attention to detail or it’s time to start the entire level over instead of just loading a save point from the nearest inn. Einhander, not really using any sissy save points despite being a 32-bit game, is one of the last few great 3D-shooters that attempted to breath life into a genre that’s long ran its course by the late nineties.

Einhander quickly rips you into battle without a second to spare. Hovering space carriers and tiny regiment transporters equipped with Vulcan cannons and Wasp stinger missiles are sure to make mincemeat out of any would-be rough shooter pilot. Keeping the pressure on with rounds of hot machine gun fire will take down such futile resistance in a matter of seconds. Appearing from the debris composed of melted metal and trashed steel falls a flashing weapon. Grab this and press further into the level to be met by even more opposition.

This time the battle will be easier because if you were smart you would’ve grabbed either the Vulcan Cannon or Wasp Stinger Missiles. Go ahead and experiment with both of the weapons to your heart’s content. You’ll soon find out you’re able to have the weapon on top or bottom of the ship. The positioning of your weapon has a direct correlation with how well you do given certain circumstances. Having the Vulcan Cannon positioned high atop the ship will allow you to fire weak bullets at a high rate. On the flip side, positioning the gun towards the bottom will give the shot an angle that can hit ground targets your standard edition machine gun might not be to reach.

However, with the Wasp is different; placing it atop will allow for heat-seeking abilities but a weaker attack while bottom placement gives the missiles a straight path firing area for lots of damage. Of course, any real shooter would have more than just two weapons and one type of ship.

Einhander gives you a few types of ships to choose from at the start of the game. If you’re into absolute destruction you’ll choose the ship that allows you to equip two different weapons along with a single-shot machine gun. The downside to such a ship is that your base attack (read: machine gun) is very weak. Unless you have a few special weapons equipped you’re not going anywhere. The other ship is equipped with one less special weapon port but has two machine guns instead. Since you won’t have to rely so heavily on special weapons you’ll be better off when they’re lacking in a level. This is a great balance in a shooter game and can add lots to the lifecycle.

Vulcun Cannons and Wasp Missiles aren’t the only weapons features in Einhander. In fact, there it quite a diverse selection of weapons that can be found after destroying an enemy or by uncovering a secret. A light saber-esque blade fabricates from the belly of your ship and brutally rips through an enemy’s shield in seconds. Can’t aim? The spreader gun that dispels weak metal bullets across the screen sounds like your type of weapon. How about bombarding ground units into submission? Finding a grenade launcher will put the hurt on any enemy that’d dare think about a ground assault on your ship. There are more, but those are you to find.

Sqauresoft’s only foray into the shooter grounds proves successful. Multiple weapons, different ships and seven levels of exquisite beauty combine perfectly into one amazing shooter package. The only complaint is that sometimes the screen’s darkness can interrupt with seeing enemies. Other than that, it’s one of the best 32-bit shooter to ever be released for the Playstation or any other system for that matter. Pick this one up (despite its high cost.)

Rating: 9/10

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Community review by sclemmons (September 17, 2004)

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