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The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever  

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2.4k votes 487 voters 83.5k 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.

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list ordered by
1
R-Type is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
1987
2
Einhänder is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
1997
3
Thunder Force IV is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Jan 01 1992
4
Raptor: Call of the Shadows is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
5
Tyrian is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
riza-emet added 1995
6
Raiden II is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Jan 01 1993
7
1942 is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
1984
8
Thunder Force III is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Jan 01 1990
9
Ikaruga is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
2001
10
Terra Cresta is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
RicardoH added Jan 01 1986
11
R-Type III: The Third Lightnin... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
12
Radiant Silvergun is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Jan 01 1998
13
Gradius is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
1985
14
Darius is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
1986
15
Salamander is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
1986
16
Super R-Type is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
17
Strikers 1945 is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
18
Thunder Force II is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
19
Z-Out is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
thormageddon added 1990
20
R-Type II is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
1989
21
Gaiares is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Jan 01 1990
22
Mushihimesama is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
23
Gunbird is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
Jan 01 1994
24
Thunder Force V is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever
25
Last Resort is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Horizontal & Side Scrolling Shooter Games Ever