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The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever 

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Updated January 29, 2020 2.7k votes 530 voters 86.1k views 91 items

List Rules Horizontal and side scrolling shooter games only.

While it sometimes seems like the days of the best side scrolling shooter games have come and gone, they still are very fun to play. Scrolling shooters initially gained popularity in the 1980s with games such as 1942 and R-Type, which were hits in the arcade. The colorful graphics and fast-paced action kept gamers putting in quarter after quarter. But which are the best scrolling shooter games of all time? See what gamers think in the ranking below.

Both horizontal and side scrolling games are included in this list, as they offer very similar gameplay. The only difference between the two subgenres are the way the games scroll. One scrolls from right to left while the other scrolls from top to bottom.

While scrolling shooter games don’t exactly get much attention today, they enjoyed immense popularity during the mid-nineties. In the late nineties and early 2000s, a special type of scrolling shooter dubbed “bullet hell” shooters became immensely popular. They featured amazingly difficult gameplay that took hours and plenty of continues to master.

But were those bullet hell games the pinnacle of the genre? If you think so, you’d probably like games such as Ikaruga or Mushihimesama. Fans of earlier scrolling shooters will probably enjoy 1942 or Raiden II more. To settle the debate, vote for your favorite horizontal / side scrolling shooters or add any that you think are missing.

list ordered by
1
R-Type is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Released: 1987 (Produce Co Ltd)
2
Einhänder is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Released: 1997 (Square)
3
Thunder Force IV is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Released: 1992 (Technosoft)
4
1942 is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Released: 1984 (Capcom)
5
Raptor: Call of the Shad... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Released: 1994 (Mountain King Studios)
6
Raiden II is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Released: 1993 (Kinesoft)
7
Thunder Force III is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Released: 1990 (Technosoft)
8
Ikaruga is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Released: 2001 (G.rev)
9
Tyrian is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
riza-emet added Released: 1995 (World Tree Games)
10
R-Type III: The Third Li... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Released: 1993 (Irem)
11
Radiant Silvergun is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Released: 1998 (Treasure Co. Ltd)
12
Gradius is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Released: 1985 (Konami)
13
Salamander is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Released: 1986 (Konami)
14
Darius is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Released: 1986 (Taito Corporation)
15
Strikers 1945 is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Released: 1995 (PSIKYO)
16
R-Type II is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Released: 1989 (Irem)
17
Gaiares is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Released: 1990 (Renovation Game)
18
Gunbird is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Released: 1994 (PSIKYO)
19
Super R-Type is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Released: 1991 (Irem)
20
Thunder Force II is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
21
Gradius ReBirth is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Released: 2008 (M2)
22
Mushihimesama is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
23
The Raiden Project is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Released: 1997 (Seibu Kaihatsu)
24
Thunder Force V is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Released: 1997 (Technosoft)
25
Raiden Fighters Aces is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever