One of the biggest surprises at the Tokyo Game Show in September was a near-finished version of Square's graphically intense new polygonal shooter for the PlayStation, Einhander. Had it not been sitting in the same booth as the incredible videos of Parasite Eve. Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon, Soukaigi and more, it may have easily been given recognition as game of the show from otherwise distracted showgoers.
In EinhSnder, you can choose from one of three ships, each with different features and abilities. From there, the main aspect of gameplay (and the one that makes it so unique) involves you destroying enemies and picking up their weaponry for your own use. Background graphics are simply gorgeous (similar to Philosoma), and the gameplay is just super tight, with action-packed shooting and intense enemy animation. The viewpoint changes during play many times, and the transition is so smooth, you'll be amazed to realize you're not watching a movie. Einhander looks hot, and we'll be sure to keep you updated on its status in the U.S.
- MANUFACTURER - Square Co., Ltd.
- THEME - Shooting
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1
Although it is superbly packaged in brilliant 3D graphics, Einhander really plays like a traditional side-scrolling shooter. Well, t traditional only in the sense that you move back and forth and shoot things on a single plane of existence. You see, Square's new shooter takes the gameplay of classic 2D shooters, and attempts to juice it up in every way possible.
You control a ship that comes equipped with a nose-mounted gun and, strangely enough, a grappling arm. By the press of a button, this extendible arm can be used to reach out and take your enemies' weapons away from them for use on your own ship. Sound ironic? Perhaps. Deadly? Definitely. There is a wide variety of weapons that can be picked up, and right when you think you've seen them all, a new one pops up that you haven't seen before. Grenades, Light Sabers, Spread guns, huge Cannons and Vulcan guns are just part of the arsenal that can be pillaged and used within the game. Even better, the weapons serve different functions, depending on how they are mounted on your ship. For example, if the rapid-fire Vulcan gun is mounted on the bottom of your ship, it will only fire a stream of bullets forward. If it is switched to the top, it becomes an auto-aiming, rapid-fire weapon. Adding even more depth to the gunplay are different ships that you can choose. Each ship has a special way of handling these weapons. Some ships can mount two at a time but can't carry extra ones, while others can only fire one at a time, but can store acquired weapons for use later (selectable via the shoulder buttons). Suffice to say, it's a great crash-course in weapon management.
Like all shooters, the action in Einhander becomes quite frantic. But this game might take it to all-new highs. Because the game's graphics are polygonal, the enemies are rendered in specific pieces--pieces that make pretty explosions when shot. Just about any enemy in Einhander can be destroyed in a number of ways. Take an enemy walker for example. Blow up his legs and he clumsily collapses to the ground. Hit his head, and he short-circuits. If he flies in the air, take out his back-end thrusters and watch him fall to the ground. How you destroy enemies is fun, but also important. If something has a weapon you want, you must take care to render the carrier harmless, but leave his armaments intact. If this sounds intense, just wait until you battle some of the huge Bosses found at the end of each level. Well, almost all of them are huge, anyway.
Great shooters are very rare these days, and after playing this nearly complete version of Einhander, we think there's a good chance that Square's shooter will break this dry spell.
The PlayStation's been without a decent side-scrolling shooter since the system launched. Einhander, however, shatters the genre's losing streak as it screams onto the scene with an excellent blend of arresting graphics and diverse, thumb-busting action.
Einhander is twitch action at its best: You pilot a spaceship through several levels, collect weapons, and face off against huge bosses. Although the gameplay scheme is old school (shoot enemies, avoid incoming fire, repeat), the explosive polygonal graphics, along with the variety of awesome weaponry and ships, kick Einhander into hyperdrive.
Diversity is one of the game's biggest assets. You can choose from three ships, each with varying techniques and weapon usage. You can also retrieve weapons from enemies you destroy and accumulate some awesome firepower. And you're going to need it, too, because the stages are filled with wave after wave of enemies.
If there are any faults in the game, it's that it's too short and lacks a two-player option. Einhander may not be the deepest offering for the PlayStation, but for edge-of-your-seat blasting, it's a hell of a ride.
- Despite its poor range, the grenade launcher is one of the most powerful weapons in the game--it can destroy bosses with only a few hits.
- Be careful when flying in enclosed areas like tunnels; you can destroy your ship or damage a weapon if it smashes against a ceiling or the floor.
- When you get ahold of the WAS.P. gunpod, am it to your ship's top rack so It fires homing missiles.
- For pure firepower,theAs-traea FGA MKI Is the best ship. It can fire two weapons simultaneously and shred enemies in seconds.
The polygonal graphics are excellent The various explosions provide screenfilling fireworks, and Einhdnder's light sourcing is truly out of this world. The only eyesores are some occasional breakup and a little distortion.
Piloting the various Kll ships is a breeze, and switching between the various weapons is just as easy.
The foot-tapping techno music tracks accompany each stage perfectly, and the sound effects shine with a plethora of explosions and other sounds of destruction.
Einhander screams onto the PlayStation to fill the void in the side-scrolling shooter genre. Shooter fans with itchy trigger-fingers will have a blast scratching away at this one.
Not too long ago, side-scrolling shooters were all the rage. They were hot in the arcades and dominated the 16-bit console systems. Today, the next generation systems have been robbed of a decent old-school shooter, until now. It is amazing that after making so many good shooting games in the past, nobody could make a good one today. Anyway, thanks to Squaresoft and Sony, those of use who love the non-stop action of a good shooter finally have something worthwhile to play.
Einhander is the secret code name for a suicide assault by the Selenians. Who are they, you ask? They are the inhabitants of a colony built near the south pole of the moon. Upon their initial colonization, they were confronted by the forces of Earth and an all-out war erupted. Selene bombarded the Earth from above leaving it a virtual wasteland. After years of fighting, the combat slowly came to stop. Half a century later, Selene found that they were in need of an agricultural nitrogen available only on Earth. So what did they do? That is correct, they started the war again. That is where the Einhander comes in. It is your job as a pilot to navigate and infiltrate the Earth. The kicker to the whole thing is that it is already known that the survival rate for an Einhander run is zero. That means you are basically doomed before you even begin. It is up to you to be the first to make it out alive.
Einhander takes all of the ingredients of your favorite old-school shooters and recreates them in today's technology. See, the problem with the shooters that have been released on the next generation systems is that they have not really been that great, with maybe the exception of Nanotek Warrior. This is a totally different type of shooter from Nanotek Warrior, but that is the closest comparison I can make.
Einhander has you piloting one of three available ships in an attempt to make it through your missions and come out alive. These three ships each have different characteristics and abilities making your choice all the more important. The one thing that all three of the ships have in common is serious firepower. Each ship handles a different number of gun pods as well as using the gun pods differently. Now I am sure you are thinking "go for the ship that handles the most gun pods." Well, as with everything, you have to give a little to get a little. The ship that can take on three gun pods is harder to handle and takes much more practice to use.
The basic overall gameplay has you piloting the ship of your choice through a never-ending stream of enemies. The game switches between a side-scrolling view and a 45-degree scrolling into the screen view. You ship can either go up or down on the screen and right or left. This basically means that you are on a predetermined route and you just go along for the ride. You do have the ability to speed up or slow down but I found that sticking at the default speed worked best. As I was playing this game, I was trying to think of an old game to compare the gameplay to, but I could not really put a finger on it. The best I could come up with is a cross between Defender and Galaga. Of course, the game looks and plays nothing like either of these but the reason it made me think of Defender was the way the screen was always moving while I was constantly blasting away. The reason I said Galaga was because it seemed like the enemies came in waves like they did in that game. However you look at it, the gameplay is fast, furious and a blast.
A big part of the game is the weapons system. As I mentioned above, your fighter can carry a different number of weapons depending on the one you choose. These weapons range from a 30 mm machine gun to homing missiles to a riot charge that penetrates just about any armor. These different weapons can be obtained by shooting various enemies and then grabbing the powerup with your extension claw. This is very important because it forces you to concentrate your fire power on a distinct portion of the enemy because if you shoot off its gun, you will not be able to collect it and add it to your arsenal. The other cool thing about the weapons is that you have a top and bottom weapon on all ships. Depending on whether you have the weapon above or below the ship, you will get different results. For example, if you equip the grenade launcher at the top of your ship, it will fire forward in an arc. If you move it to the bottom, it will drop grenades on the enemies below you. This adds a whole new dimension to the game, forcing you to actually strategize the placement of your weapons.
There are two major things that make this game great. The first is the overall pace of the game and the non-stop action. This game is played at breakneck speed and the action is always coming at you hot and heavy. Remember when games were based on reflexes? This game combines quick reflexes with strategy. If you can't master both, you won't survive long. To keep the pace going as fast as possible, the enemies attack in waves and it is not uncommon to have enemies attacking from above and below simultaneously. The screen is constantly filled with shots and if you concentrate on only one area of the screen, it is likely you will get nailed by a shot from another part. If there was ever a game that made you wish you had another set of eyes, this is it.
The other thing that made this game so cool was the bosses and sub-bosses. Every so often, you would find yourself face to face with some badass boss. These bosses were usually huge and very tough to destroy. They were generally broken up into different sections meaning that you would inevitably have to blast away a certain section or two before you even had a chance at killing the thing. Just about every boss I ran into put me in awe and I remember thinking that there would be no way that I could kill the thing. After dying a few times, I would figure out a few tricks and usually ended up beating the boss but it was not easy.
That brings me to my only complaint of the game. This game is one tough cookie. It is not cheap or anything, but it is just plain challenging. You will find yourself surrounded by enemy fire continually. Relief only comes before you face a boss or sub-boss so it is short lived. I will give the developers credit. They must have known how hard it is because they give you a ton of continues. I would have really been pissed if I had only gotten two or three continues because I would have used them up in no time. Also as a side note, I was never able to save my progress to the memory card. I created a file and it only saved my statistics but not the level where I left off. This was lame, because that meant I had to start over at level one every time I played. I may have been doing something wrong but the manual made no mention of being able to save your levels.
This is one of the better-looking games you will find on the PSX to date. The explosions are cool, the worlds are realistic and the enemies are badass. It really looks like the developers are finally tapping into the utmost reaches of the power of the machine and the game suffers no slowdown from it. The bosses are huge, detailed and just mean looking. My only complaint was that at times the screen was a little bit dark. I would have liked a little more background lighting, but other than that, this game will wow you.
Fans of shooters, rejoice! Your video game prayers have been answered. Einhander is a great game that brings so much action to the table you just may not be able to contain yourself. The awesome weapons systems, graphics and bosses will keep you playing for hours. Ok, maybe it will be the incredible difficulty that will keep you playing for hours, but it is still worth it. I suggest you check this one out.