Einhander - Square

2player.gif 4.1 K

Squaresoft - The RPG masters blast into shooter territory with style.

Review by Simon Coong

SquareSoft are always well known for their Role Playing games - Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy 7, Secret of Mana - to name a few. So it came as a surprise to hear that they were going to try their hand at a scrolling shmup. Hmmm...

Thankfully, the masters that is Square have got the classic of the late nineties on the cards. Einhander is a splendid little shooter which plays much the same way as most of the other horizontal shmups, but with a few subtle differences. First, the name of the game - Einhander - means 'one-armed' in German (GCSE's came in handy!), and is exactly what your ship is equipped with - one arm, or 'manipulator'. It is this manipulator which is the key to the game, as it carries one of your weapons. The type of Einhander craft you pick at the start of the game (you can pick three types) determines the amount of weapons you can hold.

Second, the weapons are slightly different to conventional shooters. Instead of having infinite ammo for all weapons, you now get a limited supply for them. Now you find yourself dashing around trying to find some more ammo for your weapons to waste the big metal thing lumbering upscreen! The best weapon of the lot (and one which doesn't require ammo) is the Blade, which is a ship mounted LIGHTSABER!! In the true style of Star Wars, you can wield the weapon of the Jedi and maim all those annoying little gits who dare to shoot at you! Use the Force! You are not my father etc etc...

This game may disorientate those who are veterans of the 2D style, as the perspective shifts like crazy to get the best viewpoint. However, the game is well 'ard and very playable, blending in R-Type style gameplay (easy to get into, hard to master) with Square's own brand of ingenuity. This has got to be contender for best shmup of the nineties, and the only game standing in its way is Irem's much sought-after R-Type Delta. Well worth the cash I spent on it.

(Gratuitous montage of the box art I made while I was bored - by Malc)


You get three types of ships to choose before you begin... each one has different weapon carrying and deploying capabilities, and significantly affect how you play the game. Click on the above pics to see them a tad bigger with some info on them.

Looks nothing like a hedgehog to me.

The weapons themselves are varied, from Spreaders (does exactly what it says on the tin) to Cannons, from Hedgehogs (mid-air mines) to Riotbeam (an electrical charge cannon).

Each has different attributes, some can be very powerful but run out quickly, and others are quick firers, but with low damage capability. Getting the right weapon for the right baddie is essential!


Because its in full 3D, expect pant-wetting enemies to appear, such as this massive wall guard. The viewpoint shifts smoothly to bring it into view.


Look at all the pwetty colours daddy...ahem. Lovely colours distract you, so watch out for the weapon carrier obscured by the colours.


Expect things to hot up pretty early in the game. I was buggered at this point, due to the fact that I had RUN OUT OF MISSILES!


This bast hangs from the ceiling and when you get close, it drops and smacks you in the face! Take a Cannon in your eye!


One of the few sub-bosses. Don't let 'em get close, or he'll smack ya full on with his claws.


This rather large enemy Einhander faces you off during the first level. Being a bast, he has much bigger guns than you do, and tries to blag you with a nasty shot.








Last Boss:
Boss Showcase!

There are a lot of bosses in Einhander, some of them take up most of the screen! They all have two things in common - first, they are all basts, and second, they don't go down without a fight. To stay prepped, click on the links on the left for a sneak preview!


Thanks Simon! Lovely stuff eh?

Einhander, by Squaresoft, is available on import for Playstation now, and will be in Europe in the late Summer.

Thanks to PSM Online and others for the use of their pics.


shmups!   © 1997 - 2007  Malcolm Laurie