Total Nerd The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever  

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1.9k votes 410 voters 76.5k views 86 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.

1
95 31
R-Type is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
R-Type 1987

2
20 2
Thunder Force IV is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

3
44 15
Raptor: Call of the Shadows is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

4
45 16
Einhänder is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Einhänder 1997

5
61 28
1942 is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
1942 1984

6
38 11
Ikaruga is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Ikaruga 2001

7
34 9
Raiden II is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Raiden II 1993

8
32 8
Tyrian is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
riza-emet added Tyrian 1995

9
27 5
Gradius is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Gradius 1985

10
31 11
Darius is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Darius 1986

11
31 13
R-Type III: The Third Lightnin... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

12
22 6
Radiant Silvergun is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

13
25 10
Thunder Force III is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

14
21 7
Salamander is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Salamander 1986

15
19 6
Strikers 1945 is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

16
22 9
Super R-Type is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

17
26 13
Gunbird is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Gunbird 1994

18
21 9
Thunder Force II is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

19
25 13
Gradius ReBirth is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

20
19 9
Gaiares is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Gaiares 1990

21
16 7
Twin Cobra II is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

22
17 8
R-Type II is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
R-Type II 1989

23
20 11
Raiden Fighters Aces is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

24
15 7
The Raiden Project is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

25
15 7
Gun.Smoke is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Gun.Smoke 1985

26
16 8
Imperishable Night is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

27
11 4
Raiden Fighters is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

28
14 7
Silpheed: The Lost Planet is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

29
21 14
Space Harrier is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

30
8 2
Pulstar is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Pulstar 1995

31
9 3
Mushihimesama is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Mushihimesama

32
10 4
Sexy Parodius is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

33
13 8
Thunder Force V is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

34
9 4
Slap Fight is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Slap Fight 1987

35
11 6
Nemesis 2 is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Nemesis 2 1993

36
11 7
TwinBee is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
TwinBee 1985

37
9 5
Phelios is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Phelios 1988

38
9 5
Cotton is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Cotton 1993

39
9 5
Super Xevious is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

40
5 1
Last Resort is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

41
10 7
Thunder Force AC is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

42
8 5
The Guardian Legend is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

43
8 5
Blood Money is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

44
8 5
Sparkster is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Sparkster 1994

45
8 5
Gley Lancer is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

46
7 4
Bio-Hazard Battle is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

47
6 3
Nanostray is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Nanostray 2005

48
6 3
Nanostray 2 is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

49
5 2
Dragon Blaze is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

50
15 13
Darius Twin is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever