Total Nerd The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever  

Reference
1.8k votes 379 voters 73.3k views 85 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
84 28
R-Type is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
R-Type 1987

2
58 24
1942 is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
1942 1984

3
42 14
Raptor: Call of the Shadows is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

4
32 7
Tyrian is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
riza-emet added Tyrian 1995

5
23 3
Gradius is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Gradius 1985

6
33 8
Raiden II is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Raiden II 1993

7
41 16
Einhänder is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Einhänder 1997

8
33 10
Ikaruga is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Ikaruga 2001

9
18 2
Thunder Force IV is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

10
30 10
Darius is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Darius 1986

11
30 12
R-Type III: The Third Lightnin... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

12
20 6
Radiant Silvergun is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

13
24 10
Thunder Force III is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

14
26 12
Gunbird is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Gunbird 1994

The Best Side-Scrolling Games of All Time

15
21 8
Thunder Force II is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

16
19 7
Salamander is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Salamander 1986

17
21 9
Super R-Type is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

18
25 13
Gradius ReBirth is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

19
17 6
Strikers 1945 is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

20
15 6
Gun.Smoke is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Gun.Smoke 1985

21
15 6
Twin Cobra II is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

The Best Slots in Vegas

22
14 6
The Raiden Project is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

23
15 7
Imperishable Night is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

24
10 3
Sexy Parodius is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

25
15 8
R-Type II is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
R-Type II 1989

26
16 9
Gaiares is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Gaiares 1990

27
18 11
Raiden Fighters Aces is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

28
20 13
Space Harrier is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

The Best Flying Pokemon of All Time

29
7 1
Pulstar is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Pulstar 1995

30
9 3
Raiden Fighters is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

31
12 7
Silpheed: The Lost Planet is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

32
11 6
TwinBee is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
TwinBee 1985

33
9 4
Phelios is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Phelios 1988

34
12 7
Thunder Force V is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

35
10 5
Nemesis 2 is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Nemesis 2 1993

The 100+ Best Video Games of All Time, Ranked by Fans

36
9 5
Cotton is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Cotton 1993

37
9 5
Super Xevious is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

38
6 2
Mushihimesama is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Mushihimesama

39
8 5
The Guardian Legend is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

40
8 5
Blood Money is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

41
8 5
Sparkster is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Sparkster 1994

42
7 4
River Raid is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
River Raid 1982

The Best Super Smash Brothers 4 Characters (Wii U & 3DS), Ranked

43
7 4
Bio-Hazard Battle is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

44
6 3
Slap Fight is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Slap Fight 1987

45
5 2
Dragon Blaze is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

46
9 7
Thunder Force AC is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

47
8 6
Omega Five is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Omega Five 2008

48
7 5
Gley Lancer is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

49
7 5
1944: The Loop Master is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

50
6 4
Dangun Feveron is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever