"The shooter is back, baby!"
Boy, this takes me back to the days of R-Type and Darius. The days when you couldnít turn around in an arcade without touching a drug dealer or a new shooter game. Now you have these LBEís (Location Based Entertainment Centers) where the drug dealers are now the owners and shooters are hard to find. Things have changed, yes-sir. Anyway, I will stop waxing poetic on my youth, and get to the point. Squaresoft returns the side scrolling space shoot-em-up in style to the PlayStation and all is well.
We all know the 16 bit systems were bombarded by these sorts of games and itís easy to see why the genre lost popularity. However, Einhander re-invents the wheel, jazzing up old school gameplay in pseudo 3D environments with sweet polygon graphics. What more could you want? Of course, games like Starfox and Colony Wars have taken the space shooter into complete 3D, which may be more realistic, but you canít compare that style to this style. They both work.
I was floored by the graphics and the speed at which the environments (3D backgrounds) moved. These BGís are streamed from the disc on the fly so everything clips by at a nerve wracking pace. Youíll play this game again just to get a glimpse of the amazing environments like the city level where things are blowing up all over. Around every turn, awaits some new beautiful graphics or weapons. The attention to detail is amazing. Seeing the enemy search lights hunting for you in the darkness or dust in the bosses headlights, is a real visual treat.
The Einhander is your craft, which is armed with the usual weapons. However, it does sport one new enhancement and that is the ability to grab your enemies weapons! What a great idea for a shooter! Youíve got to get used to this maneuver, because it is totally necessary to beat the bad guys with.
Everything about this game is top-notch and that includes the difficulty. Youíve got a limited amount of continues and youíll be blowing those just figuring out the first bosses weak spots. Yes, itís one of those, find the weakspot and attack, but Einhander throws some gameplay curveballs your way that werenít possible back in the sprite based days of video games. Some of these bosses donít react like youíd think they should or could for that matter. I wonít spoil it here mind you...
Einhander isnít a bundle of innovation. Think of it like Castlevania SOTN; old style gameplay graphically updated for the late nineties, that works perfectly. Aside from the high level of difficulty (which letís face it, is pretty common in these sorts of games) there isnít anything I donít like about Einhander. Gameplay based on fast reaction times, weapon choice and nerves of steel canít be a bad thing. This game gets your blood pumping just like RE2 does, except for different reasons. I highly recommend this high quality game. Itís a keeper, especially if you are tired of fighters, 3D platformers, sports games, driving games and Spice Girls games. Itís one of those no-brainer kind of games that is good to sit back and relax with. Yeah, right. If you can relax through this one, have someone check your pulse. BUY IT!