Video Game Review: Einhander 1998


SquareSoft as known for their amazing game design and role playing games. In 1997, Square Soft released a groundbreaking game entirely different from games they had previously released. This game is known as Einhander, a 3D Shooting game with difficult, precise gameplay, and an amazing soundtrack.


Einhänder takes place in a dystopian future during a war between the Earth colony, Sodom, and the Moon colony, Selene. The “First Moon War” resulted in the total destruction of the majority of Earth’s surface and the creation of a totalitarian regime on the planet. The game recounts the events of the “Second Moon War” in which the Moon attacks Earth, trying to gain its natural resources. Selene’s tactics consists of sending a one-man fighter spacecraft called “Einhänder” on kamikaze missions to cause as much damage as possible on the planet before being destroyed. The player takes on the role of one of these pilots attacking Earth’s capital city. The game’s narrative skips to one month later, when the pilot re-emerges in space flying an armed Einhänder spacecraft. Hyperion, the game’s final boss, communicates that the player is committing an act of treason and must remove their  surrender. Still, the player endures Selene fighters and faces the Hyperion. The ending sequence depicts the player’s spacecraft damaged and drifting in space. The pilot engages its thrusters and dives into an army of Selene spacecraft with the Moon in the background. An epilogue shows the actions of the lone Einhänder pilot ending the war by destroying the armies of both sides eventually leading to peace. Yet, the pilot’s name and deeds were stricken from the records and they are remembered only by veterans of the war. After the end credits a lone Einhänder spacecraft is shown powering up.


The gameplay of Einhänder is unlike any other shooter on the market, similar to the game R Type Delta, but better. Einhänder is a 3D on-rails space shooter with destructible environments, diverse and good-looking polygons, and impressive spaceship graphics considering its release date. Players are also equipped with three side weapons that will aid them in battle, such as a machine gun, rockets which can shoot from in front and behind of you, and a “perfect defense item” when you have enemies trying to flank you. Einhänder has many bosses and mini bosses that will try to stop you on your way. Einhänder has different levels and the places you explore are very diverse and dynamic; like under the earth, with space, and even in the city. The different enemy designs are unique in their own way, with weaknesses and places where you can shoot to get more damage.


The soundtrack of Einhänder is composed by Kenichiro Fukui who made a “techno electronic” album for it that is still impressive to this day. The soundtrack incorporates vocals and disco hip hop tracks that keep the game going, and help it feel fresh. Some tracks involve slow music, as well as haunting tracks that soon ramp up to powerful, exciting music. Even if one is not interested in playing the game, the soundtrack alone is worth a listen.


The graphics of Einhänder can be described as nothing less than stunning. The 3D backgrounds and the polygonal airships appear clear and crisp, and the lightning and overall graphics prove the game was truly ahead of its time.

Final Thoughts:

Einhänder is a unique game full of amazing features and fantastic graphics that still hold up to today’s standard. The game is full of memorable soundtracks as well as fun game designs, but it also includes very intense boss battles. Overall, Einhänder earns a 9/10 from me, since it’s a good, underrated, and inexpensive game.