is for.... forward to


By Square Playstation 1997


Squaresoft surprised everyone when
they released the stunning Einhander..
a thoroughly remarkable 'Next-Gen'

OK.. I know it's not a sprite-based game, but at
heart Square's Einhander is a traditional old-fashioned
shooter given the 32-bit polygon treatment, and the
rather spectacular results are more than worthy of inclusion here. I was rather sceptical when I first
heard glowing preview reports about
Squaresoft, they of legendary RPG fame, producing a shooter.. but 5 minutes after seeing an import copy in action I coudn't pay the guy behind the counter fast enough, it really is a stunning achievement in shoot-em-uppery..

So what makes Einhander such a stunning title? Well, firstly the graphical quality is excellent and incredibly detailed. Although the polygon backgrounds are sometimes a little bland, the alien ships are nicely rendered, with plenty of neat touches (you can blow different bits off of them leading to varied alien deaths) and the explosions are also most impressive with shrapnel flying all over the place when
things start to get hectic.

The very first boss in the game is this nasty cop-ship
which is equipped, like most Einhander bosses, with
a blimmin big gun! Avoid..


A rendered version of the giant level two
boss (above, top) and his in-game counterpart
in action. This is probably the largest boss in the
game, a real nasty piece of work equipped with
every weapon of destruction the Square
designers could pack onto it.. ouch!

This spider-mech sub-boss is definitely
one of the most irritating stages in the
game due to its complicated spinning
attack pattern and the lack of space in
which to maneouvre. Most satisfying when
you do pop him off though (below)..hehe

More in-depth info on Einhander
in Basi's
review in the reviews section!

The many bosses are magnificent also, including
sub-bosses and some huge end of level bad guys, all of
which have several weak points and can be taken out in
different ways (there's nothing like taking a huge boss
apart piece by piece..) Sometimes the view switches
around to a 'Zaxxon-like' perspective on reaching a boss
or to give you a dynamic vantage point from which to see
a bad guy go down in flames, which really does add a
whole new extra dimension to the feel of the game.


This is the first Stage end-of-level boss which you
get to fight in a three-quarter 'Zaxxon-style' perspective
He looks hard but is a bit on the wimpy side though..


The very best thing about Einhander however is the equipment at your disposal during the game: your ship itself and the array of weapons at your disposal. Your ship is equipped with a single mechanised 'arm' (hence the title of the game) which can grab and mount enemy weapons, allowing you to switch between various items in your arsenal as you wish. This is a far better system than many earlier shooters in which once you had picked up a certain weapon you were effectively stuck with it.. and leads to a certain strategic element as you try to collect and store the right weapon for a particular section or boss.


I could have done with a few more boss pics really
but never mind.. This is another sub-boss which
attacks at a point at which you are also surprised
by the whole room suddenly starting to rotate
around you.. Don't lose your cool.. get killing!


What's more, the weapons themselves are great, with standard inclusions such as homing missiles, a rapid fire cannon and spread lasers backed up by wholly original gear such as grenades, hedgehog mines and even a ship-mounted lightsabre! Overall cracking stuff from Square, especially when you consider that Einhander was (I think) only their second shoot-em-up ever. (Note: I've since found out that this is untrue, as well as the cool Japanese mech-shooter Front Mission 2 (Snes) Square released at handful of early Jap-only NES shooters, I can't vouch for their quality though as I've never seen them -Mike). More info on the game and its awesome weaponry can be found in a seperate review
on this site.

I can also thoroughly recommend the site below for Einhander info, illustrations and other resources:

David's Einhander Site

Einhander players should also definitely take a look at Zach Keene's Einhander FAQ available in HTML format
here or downloadable in text format here.

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