• Einhander
  • A surprisingly good Play Station 1 side-scrolling Shoot'Em Up from Square Soft (the same ones who made the gut-crushingly popular Final Fantasy series). The player takes the role of an anonymous fighter pilot sent by the moon nation Selene against Earth's forces, raiding its only city (called Sodom in Japanese version). Initially armed with nothing but a weak machine gun, the fighter can nevertheless grab weapons called gunpods from enemies, including plain old cannons and missile launchers as well as a lightning gun and energy sword. What follows is single small fighter cutting a huge swath through huge installations defended by endless numbers of aircraft and turrets.
  • A surprisingly good Play Station 1 side-scrolling Shoot'Em Up from Square Soft (the same ones who made the gut-crushingly popular Final Fantasy series). The player takes the role of an anonymous fighter pilot sent by the moon nation Selene against Earth's forces, raiding its only city (called Sodom in Japanese version). Initially armed with nothing but a weak machine gun, the fighter can nevertheless grab weapons called gunpods from enemies, including plain old cannons and missile launchers as well as a lightning gun and energy sword. What follows is single small fighter cutting a huge swath through huge installations defended by endless numbers of aircraft and turrets. Most likely, you have heard of this game because of how dissonant the game is compared to other series made by Square Soft, since this is a rare case of Square Soft doing something other than the RPG genre. As a result, it became a cult classic later on due to how fun and impressive it really is. The composer (Kenichiro Fukui) for the game would later go on to compose songs in Advent Children, produce the theme song for Final Fantasy XII, and play as the keyboardist in The Black Mages, so you might have heard of this style before. The soundtrack from the game combines several genres (ranging from Techno to Rock) in unique ways that would be comparable to the likes of Yuki Kajiura. The most notable song from the game is "Shudder" (which would be the other reason you are here), which combines Fast Rap, Techno, Rock, and other genres all for the first boss in the game. Tropes used in Einhander: * Two and a Half D: As mentioned below, one of your weapons can fire into the fore- or background, as well as enemies sometimes appearing from said locations. The game makes this clear in no uncertain terms in the opening mook force, which appears in the foreground, before spinning around and entering your 2d plane. Interestingly, the camera also spins back and forth in various angles relative to your craft, even as you stay in the same plane (so that you are looking from a rear 3/4ths view at one moment, and then from below and to the side in another moment. Several boss battles even have the camera pan before the boss uses some attack or another, not to mention many points in the levels themselves. * You even get a short first person view point just before the first boss, but only if you didn't get Secret Bonus 3. * Above Water Boss Battle: The Mini Boss of Stage 4, Salamander, attacks you from the water below in its first phase. * Action Bomb: One of the enemies in stage 5. They don't attack on their own, but if given enough time, will self-destruct. Green-lined ones will explode into a plasma Sphere of Destruction, while the more dangerous red ones will explode into a starburst of projectiles. * After the End: The events of game take place years after the great war, there's nothing on Earth but wasteland outside the Cyberpunk city. * All There in the Manual: The only real indication to explain why the Earth forces speak German (otherwise, one could easily assume they only speak German in *THAT* part of the world), and where the capital city is located is because the instruction manual barely mentions that the city was built over the ruins of an autobahn. * It also mentions briefly that Germany (or what's left of it) set up a One World Order after the bombs fell, while the defeated eventually became Selene. * Animal Mecha: The monkey mecha Ausf A Gestell, who is ironically not named after an animal. * Animal Motifs: Almost all the Earth forces are named after animals, including the bosses and Mini Bosses. The bosses and minibosses also share traits to the animal they're named after. And then there is also that deranged Humongous Mecha monkey... * Animal Theme Naming: Almost all the Earth Federation's units are named after animals... in German. * Armor-Piercing Attack : The Riot weapon can pierce enemies' facial armour and hurt them directly, something which even the Flash cannot do (on certain enemies and bosses). Justified as it's an electrical weapon and fries them from the inside out. * Attack Its Weak Point: Most of the minibosses and bosses can be defeated quickly if you know where to shoot them in. The same applies to larger enemies that can be defeated by shooting them in their engines and such. * Hint: Shoot the part that has a green glowing thing (such as a visor) on it. Nine times out of ten it's the weak point. * Awesome but Impractical: Mosquito gun pod, a manual-guided missile sounds cool until you find out that the missile is guided by the fighter's movement. * The Python, although one of the most damaging weapons in the game, is shot out in a string of shots somewhat randomly controlled in opposition to the player's motion. As such, it is quite difficult to damage the enemy with it. * Also the Blade - it does a lot of damage and looks really cool, but it requires you to get uncomfortably close to enemies and ate up its ammo rather quickly. * The Flash, which shoots a cool-looking purple beam that slices through everything (bypassing armor and still going after that) but the ammo is ridiculously rare AND limited in amount. Unless you unlock the secret ship that always comes with 9999 ammo with any gunpod * Strangely enough, the most powerful weapons at your disposal appear to be your ship's engines and the manipulator arm you use to pick up weapons. * Ax Crazy: The ape Mini Boss of Stage 5, Ausf A Gestell, attacks your char like a deranged monkey: it frequently tries to swat the player's ship, and if knocked down, throws a crate at the player (similar to a certain ape). * Befittingly enough, the background music when you fight it is called "Madness". * Bilingual Bonus: All the enemies from stages 1-6 speak in German. If you know the language, you can understand that they're trying to kill you. * Wouldn't have hurt them to add subtitles for the rest of us though. Some of the dialogue is incomprehensible due to sound effects and alarms that go off when they talk. * Bolivian Army Ending: And you actually win, as shown after the credits... * Boring but Practical: The Cannon gun pod. * The grenade, to a lesser degree. It's arguably the most powerful weapon in the game. * Breakable Weapons: The gun pods can be destroyed. * Charged Attack: The Riot gun pod. * Chicken Walker: The Star (Starling) and Panzerstar (Armored Starling) enemies, as well as the boss Sturmvogel (Thunderbird). Fridge Brilliance when you consider that they are named after birds in German. * Collision Damage: Partially averted. Your ship does not get destroyed when you contact a hard surface, but will if you continue pushing into it. * Combination Attack: The Mini Boss of Stage 3, Gecko, fires a laser at a Mook, who reflects and amplifies it into a huge laser. * Combining Mecha/Mecha Expansion Pack: Sturmvogel and its armor attachment. * Cores and Turrets Boss: Not a boss, but the turret train cars in Stage 2 qualify. To beat them, destroy their control towers and ignore the turrets. * Or don't. You can get two secret bonuses if you shoot down enough turrets before destroying the control tower. * Continuing Is Painful: With the Schabe. * Deadly Walls: Partially averted. See Collision Damage example above. * Death Is a Slap on The Wrist: Played Straight. You lose the equipped gun pod at death but by choosing a starting gun pod, you can get them with increased damage in your continuation. * Subverted by the Schabe, which can't kill anything stronger than a Mook without lot of gun pods collected. And it gets reset to level 0 each time it gets destroyed... * Death of a Thousand Cuts: The Vulcan gun pod is weaker than the standard machine gun, though it does have More Dakka. * Did Not Do the Research: COMPLETELY SUBVERTED with the Wasp homing missiles. They are really homing- to the point that they actually target enemies in the background AND foreground! * Then you find out that those background and foreground targets happen to be carrying special weapons like the Juno and Python. * Direct Continuous Levels: For levels 1-6. Your craft is shown heading to its next destination while Hyperion directs you to your next objective. * Everything's Better with Monkeys: Sub Boss Gestell is one GENOCIDAL Giant Ape! * Frickin' Laser Beams: Mini Boss Gecko loves to use this one a lot. * Gatling Good: Your ship's basic machine gun, the Vulcan and the Juno all fit into this. Especially the latter two. * Gratuitous German: German becomes Earth's global language. Starting with the federation being called "Gesetz" (German for "Law")... * The folks of Selene, meanwhile,still speak some good English. * Guns Akimbo: The first Sub Boss, Greif. * The Astraea fighter allows the player to wield two gunpods simultaneously. * Headshots Kill Robots: Played straight almost all the time- opponents have a glowing green spot that happens to be the weak-armoured cockpit, and that spot is usually the head. Destroying it will destroy the Mook/Miniboss/Boss. * But not always, in the case of Gecko the weak spot is the bottom, and for Schwarzgeist it's the middle section. * Heavily Armored Mook: The enemy in stage 2 called "Star" (Starling in German) returns as a tougher-to-beat armored version in stage 5 called "Panzerstar" (Armoured Starling). * Heel Face Turn: You pull this off once you find out the moon forces declare that you are no longer needed once you complete stage 6. * Helpful Mook: The Accidentally Assisting type, they are your source of ammo. * High Altitude Battle: Stage 6 has your ship fly near outer space in order to destroy a rocket that transforms into the boss. * Homing Projectile: The Wasp weapon, which can home in on enemies in the background AND foreground!!! * The side weapon of the Schabe when it collects a wasp will also home in on enemies, background targets and foreground targets alike. * Humongous Mecha: Earth forces just love them. * Infinity+1 Sword: Astraea Mk.II, one of the secret fighters; it functions like default Astraea Mk.I but starts with 9999 ammo for both gun pods. Now arm it with the rare gun pods, Juno and Flash... * It's Up to You: Partially averted, while the intro animation only shows a single fighter, Selene actually sent a team of fighters. You can assume that they're off doing their own thing while you do yours. * Kaizo Trap: One of the bosses appears to create such an explosion after you defeat them, you'll get caught in the blast if you're in the way. As well, soon after, the section with the battleship before the ensuing stage's mini-boss has the cockpit detach from the body upon defeat, firing a solid spray of bullets. * Kill Sat: Two of 'em. On crack. * La RĂ©sistance: Selene really isn't this. It's revealed to be The Empire before the final stage. * Lethal Joke Character: Schabe, the other secret fighter has nothing but a machine gun, but picking up gun pods will upgrade it. While the Schabe might seem weaker compared to the basic Einhanders (e.g. it does not have any defenses whatsoever), it gains a different secondary fire as different gunpods are collected to level it up. If the Schabe happens to pick up a Wasp or Mosquito gunpod... hoo boy, it gains INFINITE HOMING SHOTS OF DOOM! * Meaningful Name: * Most of the bosses and sub-bosses: * Greif (german for Griffin), has the top half of a robot and the lower half of a hover ship, not unlike the griffin being half a lion and half an eagle. * Drache (german for dragon) looks like a dragon without arms or wings... until its claw-like "head and neck" is destroyed. * Garnele (Shrimp), is best described as a cross between a shrimp/prawn/lobster and a motorbike. * Spinne (Spider) a train with four "arms" that carry a flamethrower, a vulcan cannon, a homing missile launcher and a drone dispenser. The other four "legs" are its train treads. * Gecko is a Spider Tank that crawls on the walls and ceiling, true to its name. * Salamander is an amphibious submarine that attacks you from the water and later on climbs out as a last-ditch attempt to destroy the player. * Sturmvogel (Stormbird/Thunderbird) looks vaguely like a mechanical bird. Alternatively, it looks like a large version of a robot Mook known as "Starling" in german. * Schwarzgeist (Black Ghost) is a strange, eerie-looking satellite-like robot. And it's black. * Your ship, called an Einhander (one-handed sword), has a single arm-like extension that can equip different gunpods. * Mook Maker: The military train cars in the second stage spawn lots of small shooting drones and attack vehicles. * Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Salamander can best be described as a "Stingray submarine with arms that hangs onto monkey bars". And it has a kickass Wave Motion Gun to boot. * Nonstandard Game Over: Several. They range from taking too long from stopping a missile, which causes your ship to shut down and plummet to Earth. * No Export for You: PSN-wise, that is. While Einhander was released to North American markets in 1998, it has yet to see a PS One Classics rerelease on the NA PlayStation Store. Naturally, it has been available on Japan's PlayStation Store since 2008. * One-Hit-Point Wonder - Get hit by anything, you will explode. Although walls and floor WILL NOT kill you... instantly... * Fortunately, if you are skilled and/or lucky enough, you can use gunpods and your grabber arm as ablative shields. * The Schwarzgeist fires a large burst of missiles at you. If your arm is empty, you can go into the top left corner, hold up and left, and block all 20-odd missiles which will hit the arm and explode but not do any actual damage do you. * One-Man Army - By the end of the game, you've single-handedly ended the war by shooting down anything that can fight on BOTH sides. And lived. * Outrun the Fireball / Out of the Inferno - If you get a secret bonus on the right stage, you end up going up a tunnel with the explosion just behind you. Then right before the boss, the entire thing goes up and you begin the boss fight exiting a giant pillar of fire. Badass. * There's also a rewarding detail: If you fight the regular boss, the paint job is shiny smooth. If you unlock the secret, the boss's body will be burnt and (cosmetically) damaged. * Palette Swap: The first boss Drache has two versions. The one you go up against depends on whether you unlock the secret bonus while fighting the Greif- he's normally green, but is blue if you got the secret bonus. * Not exactly. When the claw part is destroyed, Drache flips over and will either shoot lasers from its weak point or a spray of orange shots from its butt. For the latter, the green version will only shoot shots forwards, but the blue version can shoot diagonally backwards as well. * Power Equals Rarity: The Flash, Juno, Python and Mosquito can only be obtained very few times per playthrough, although the latter two are Awesome but Impractical due to their weird trajectory and control scheme respectively. * Protagonist Without a Past: The Japanese version includes images of two pilots; they were removed in the English version. * Rewarding Vandalism: Aside from enemy Mooks, there are some containers that hold gun pods inside. * You also get Tech Points added to your score by destroying the environment such as the neon signs in the first level, or causing a nuclear meltdown by shooting some support struts located above a reactor and letting gravity do the rest. * Certain special weapons can be acquired by destroying certain parts of the enemy. Part of the fun in playing the game is seeing just how far you can strip the bosses naked. The Ausf A Gestell has about 20-some separate weapon and armor points you can remove before you destroy it or run out of time and move on. It just looks like a bare-bones frame when you're done. You can acquire the Flash gunpod if you allow it to kick enough boxes at you in the process. * Robeast: Drache, the first boss seems to fit. The background story notes that its AI emulates beasts' behaviors. Hence why the robot roars when you defeat it. * Don't forget Ausf A Gestell, the mad ape mecha which roars in its intro, every time it's knocked down, and upon death. * Secondary Fire: The Wasp gun pod can be switched from regular rockets to guided missiles. * Space Zone: Some levels have multi-directional scrolling, but the fighters can't turn around. * Spider Tank: The Sub Boss Gecko. * Spread Shot: The Spreader gunpod, of course. * The Federation: Gesetz * Theme Naming: Almost all of the Mooks (including bosses) are named after animals. In German, no less. * Timed Mission: The battle against the rocket in stage 6, failing to destroy both engines before time runs out will net you a Nonstandard Game Over. * Time Limit Boss: All the bosses will quit attacking after a certain point of time, if you "beat" them this way you will lose out on boss repulse points. * Wall Crawl: Gecko does this, true to its name. * Wave Motion Gun: A LOT of them. See all of them here. * The Big Bad Hyperion * Drache fires one of these OUT OF HIS ASS!!! * Mini Boss Gecko who does this in a Combination Attack with a Mook. * Salamander does this while clinging onto two overhead bars above the water. * A Mook in stage 5 is able to use this. * Weaponized Exhaust: The rocket chase sequence on stage 6. Touch the exhaust and you're fried in an instant. * The Player Character has this too- everytime you change speed, you fire out a burst of exhaust which can actually do very decent damage to anything unlucky enough to be behind you. * You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Hyperion pulls this on you at the end of Mission 6. Considering that you were actually sent on a suicide mission...