Buried Treasure: Einhander and PlayStation Underground

Friday, March 20th, 2015

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Buried Treasure

The Sony PlayStation turned 20 years old last year. Being a kid that grew up with the original PlayStation, the brand holds a very nostalgic and significant place in my life. The list of PlayStation games that came to the West is well over 1000. Though this is an amazing library, it caused some really great and maybe just obscure titles to be overshadowed by some of the more popular franchises. This editorial is meant to bring awareness to some of the games that I grew up with in hopes that it gives you that nostalgic smirk of remembering the times you rented/bought these games or maybe introduce you to a title you haven’t heard of and will give it a try. I hope you enjoy and if you have PlayStation titles that you believe deserves a write up, comment on them below and I’ll do my best to share them in an article. Now, to the game!

PlayStation Underground

The year is 1998 and I had just received my very own Sony PlayStation. Being nine years old at the time, the upgrade from Nintendo to PlayStation was mind blowing. A whole new world of gaming opened up to me, but an important question also came with this…what do I play? Being a kid with a Nintendo, you played whatever you rented for the weekend, but you had no real way of knowing what you were getting other than the box art (and we know how misleading that could be). PlayStation had an answer for kids in the 90’s to find out what they wanted to play, and that was the amazing “Demo Disc”.

PlayStation Underground Demo Discs

There were a few different PlayStation demo discs available, but none could top the shear brilliance that was PlayStation Underground. For those new to the term, PlayStation Underground was a magazine on a CD-Rom just for your PlayStation. It does away with that old fashioned thing adults called reading and gave you gaming news in waves of video interviews, behind the scenes videos of game development, and — best of all — demos! For me, PlayStation Underground was the only reason I would ever want to go to the grocery store with my family. Sitting in the magazine isle reading the Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine while those suckers bought me food and waiting for the issues that came with that incredible PlayStation Underground demo disc.

Einhander

In 1998, I got my hands on my first PlayStation Underground disc and I played a demo of a game that to this day I wish for a sequel to emerge. The game was called Einhander, and this game was definitely way a head of its time. Einhander is a 2.5D shmup (shoot em’ up) where you control a ship as you fly past buildings and blow things up in typical shmup fashion. The power up system came with the ability to equip different guns on the top and bottom of your ship as you switch back and forth depending on the enemy you were facing. The premise of the game throws you in the middle of a war between your home planet, Gesetz, and the moon colony. The moon colony wants your natural resources, but you don’t want to give it to them. You fly alone and take on hoards of enemies as you protect Gesetz from destruction.

Excited, yet? Well, you should be, because this game is worth all of your attention.

Einhander

I really wanted to give tribute to the great PlayStation Underground this week and also shed some light on a game that left such a long lasting memory in my head. Einhander is a game that every one should play if they get the chance, its definitely a hidden gem.

Facts about PlayStation Underground:

  • First issue was March 1997.
  • Last issue was in 2001.
  • Ended up merging with the Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine (OPM) after 2001
  • OPM’s final issue was January 2007 (RIP).

Facts about Einhander:

  • Developed by Squaresoft.
  • Used 3D assets acquired while developing Final Fantasy VII
  • Could have been localized by Working Designs under a different name, but back then Sony Computer Entertainment America had a deal with Squaresoft where they had first dibs on Square’s titles.
  • Soundtrack by Kenichiro Fukui, who has worked on various Final Fantasy titles and also composed the soundtrack for Front Mission 5.
  • The game is only available on PSN in Japan.
  • Holds an 85% on GameRankings and a 90 on Metacritic.

I hope to continue this feature so please comment any opinions on this game or PlayStation games you grew up with that you feel didn’t get enough spotlight. Thank you for reading!




  • Josh S.

    I remember Einhander! I still own it 😀 Never beaten it though. Those bosses are intense.

  • zeezee

    “This week’s Buried Treasure features an over looked schmup, Einhander, and the amazing PlayStation Underground.”

    Over looked? Overlooked even? The high prices for the game, even back in the ’90s, show that it’s not overlooked but is in fact in rather high demand. If you look at ownership trends, it tends to exist in 4-5x more gamer collections than something like G. Darius, or Thunderforce V (two real shooter franchises), both of which are generally considered better games by shooter fans. Though neither seem to get nearly as much attention on Metacritic. Those are all modern reviews.

    Honestly, I think that Einhander is probably the most overrated shooter on the PS1. People only really cared about it because it was hot on the heels of the biggest game of the era.

    Not trying to hate on the authors but the hype over the game always seemed to be a product of overexcited Square fanboys at IGN who finally seemed to find that there was a genre that existed beyond RPGs. Einhander did look good for the time, but that’s about all it had going for it. It’s slow, monotonous, and the ship takes up about 1/6 of the screen. I’d rather play the above mentioned games any day, along with the Ray series, Gradius Gaiden, that slow-ass R-Type series, or even something like Gekioh. And that’s really just the mainstream stuff. All of them play and sound better. You can even buy Starfighter Sanvein for less than a buck, and you’ll get both more style and substance.

  • TrueWiiMaster

    I miss gaming magazines and demo discs, even if it is easier to read online articles and download demos. There was something special about getting it in the mail or off the grocery store shelf.

    And I remember playing the Einhander demo. I never got the full game, but the demo was awesome.