Total Nerd The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever  

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1.9k votes 429 voters 78.2k views 89 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
102 33
R-Type is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
1987

2
49 17
Einhänder is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
1997

3
47 16
Raptor: Call of the Shadows is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

4
63 30
1942 is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
1984

5
36 10
Raiden II is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
1993

6
23 3
Thunder Force IV is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

7
33 8
Tyrian is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
riza-emet added 1995

8
38 12
Ikaruga is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
2001

9
28 5
Gradius is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
1985

10
32 11
Darius is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
1986

11
32 13
R-Type III: The Third Lightnin... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

12
23 6
Radiant Silvergun is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

13
26 10
Thunder Force III is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

14
22 7
Salamander is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
1986

15
23 9
Super R-Type is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

16
19 6
Strikers 1945 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
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
20 9
Gaiares is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
1990

21
16 7
Gun.Smoke is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
1985

22
16 7
Twin Cobra II is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

23
17 8
R-Type II is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
1989

24
20 11
Raiden Fighters Aces is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

25
12 4
Raiden Fighters is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

26
15 7
The Raiden Project is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

27
16 8
Imperishable Night is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

28
11 4
Sexy Parodius is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

29
14 7
Silpheed: The Lost Planet is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

30
15 8
Thunder Force V is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

31
21 14
Space Harrier is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

32
7 1
Last Resort is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

33
8 2
Pulstar is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
1995

34
9 3
Mushihimesama is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Mushihimesama

35
10 4
Slap Fight is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
1987

36
11 6
Nemesis 2 is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
1993

37
11 7
TwinBee is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
1985

38
9 5
Phelios is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
1988

39
9 5
Cotton is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
1993

40
16 13
Darius Twin 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
9 6
Super Xevious is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

43
9 6
Blood Money is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

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

45
8 5
Sparkster is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
1994

46
8 5
River Raid is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
1982

47
8 5
1944: The Loop Master is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

48
8 5
Gley Lancer is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

49
7 4
Bio-Hazard Battle is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever

50
6 3
Nanostray is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
2005