Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 9.5

Sound: 10

Gameplay: 9

Overall: 9

einhander1ps1.jpg (35624 bytes)If you were to ask the average gamer what company produced the greatest side-scrolling shooter of all time, the last answer they would probably give would be Square. Well known for their classic RPG's, who would've guessed their one and only shooter would be one of their best playing games ever? While it may not break any new ground, it's mix of flawless game design, outstanding graphics, and harmonious soundtrack combine to make Einhander one of the best shooters of all time.

Right from the start, players are dropped into a futuristic Earth at war with a suicidal enemy from the moon of Selene. The action moves at a brisk pace, but never to a point of intensity that it's completely overwhelming. Players have the ability to pick between three different ships to take into battle, each with their own features.

Power-ups come in the form of "Gunpods". These are dropped from destroyed enemies and are attached to your ship if you so choose to grab them. Each of these pods have limited ammo, so they must be used wisely in conjunction with your standard weapon.

The look of the game is unparalleled, thrusting players into the world right from the start. Players will crash through neon signs, blow up a train, and take on some stunning ships that are all innovative in design. Each of the enemy ships are blown apart piece-by-piece, a spectacular effect that most shooters would wise to copy. Flames from the exploding ships light up the screen with unprecedented lighting effects for the PS One.

Square has certainly cornered the market on video game soundtracks, and Einhander is one of the reasons why. The haunting chorus in the first stage is only the start of better things to come. A mix of classical and futuristic sounds, it simply needs to heard to be understood. Explosions will cause a sub-woofer to cower in fear, not to mention the mechanical sounds that are present during the boss fights. Absolutely remarkable.

Tons of hidden items are buried within the game and getting them is certainly not easy. An art gallery, hidden weapons, and hidden ships are all ingeniously included. Certain tasks need to be completed in order to find these items, but these are all part of the gameplay, never obvious to the player. You're simply rewarded for playing well. If anything is wrong with this package, it's the lack of a two-player mode. This would've put it at the upper-most echelon of shooters.

While it may not re-invent the genre, it sets a new standard. It's one of the few games that will make you turn your head in disbelief. It's just looks too good to be a PS One game. Add in the ridiculously good soundtrack, impressive weapon selection, ideal challenge level, and enough replay value to more than justify a purchase, you'll have one of the greatest games ever designed for the console.


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Last updated: Tuesday, October 04, 2005 11:55 PM