Top 10 Side Scrolling Shooting Games (Run and Gun)

As a huge fan of side scrolling shooter games I thought I would put together a list of the top 10 side scrolling shooters (aka ‘run and gun’) to share with you all.

All of these games are compatible with the JXD S7800b- available now on our website (and don’t forget discount code ‘NEWS5’ to save 5%)!

10Earthworm Jim

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Earthworm Jim is without a doubt the funniest game on the list. It had an abundance of shooting and platforming action with buckets of humour thrown in. It has some great cartoon-style animation and catapulting cows!!! At its core it is a great game – it was lightning quick as the development team actually developed new graphic techniques that nobody else was using, quality!

9. Super Star Wars

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Super Star Wars was an epic adventure on the SNES console – I remember spending hours and hours on this one! It was the first one I remember that had a “growing” health bar – where as you progressed through the game you could increase your overall health level.

I loved the variety of shooting/light sabreing/flying/riding etc! It has everything!

8. Megaman

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Megaman was always in the category of “hard no matter what difficulty setting you are on”, but I still loved it. The original Megaman was pretty revolutionary, I think it was the first game to allow you to choose which level you wanted to start at, as well as being able to steal the abilities of defeated bosses. Genius!

7. Alien Soldier

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I remember Alien Solider being pretty much an endless boss battle and after some research there are apparently 31 (!) bosses to destroy. It also had a lot of humour (I’m not quite sure if it was as “intentional” as Earthworm Jim) in the crazy looking monsters (check out the R2-D2 looking monster with a huge grin above).

6. Alien Storm

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Alien Storm was another of my favourites. There was some definite intentional humour here (aliens with bins on their heads – see above) and the game play was fast paced and really fun. There’s a wide variety of aliens to fight and you need to vary your strategy based on the monster you are fighting against. It also incorporates the obligatory “super weapon” which was very apparent in the early years of the SEGA Megadrive – with one button press you can wipe out pretty much everything on screen!

5. Contra 3

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Contra has always been one of the top side scrolling shooters, often number 1 in most people’s lists and rightly so! My favourite was the 3rd one (on SNES) which borrowed a lot more heavily from Metal Slug (in a good way!). It was hectic and difficult but most importantly very fun. Some of the bosses were also hilarious!

4. Doom Troopers

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Doom Troopers was always a dark horse in this list. I liked the fact it utilised RPG elements (such as upgrades/new weapons etc) and it was pretty hectic too! You fight against a combination of zombies and mutants (always fun!) and it was quite “graphic” at the time (although would be considered quite “tame” compared to modern games). It was relatively short (around 25mins to complete) but the re-playability was huge due to the RPG elements.

3. Gunstar Heroes

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Gunstar Heroes was the “PG” version of Metal Slug in my eyes. However, it was a lot more hectic. There were RPG elements and the variety of combos was cool and it has a great sound track. It’s the perfect one to go for if you are looking for something quite like “Metal Slug” but isn’t a direct clone.

2. Metal Slug

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Metal Slug on NeoGeo is (in my opinion) the godfather of all side scrolling shooters – it set the bar of which all others aspire to. The graphics were impeccable (due to the insane processing power of the NeoGeo at the time) and the gameplay was endlessly fun.

It was packed with humour and an insane amount of attention to detail. It is still one of the all time great side scrolling shooters and is often #1 on many people’s list.

1. Sunset Riders

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I chose Sunset Riders as my number 1 for pretty selfish reasons – this is the one I remember playing the most in my childhood. It was set up in my local arcade (bowling alley…) and me and my brother must have completed it over 100x!

It’s got cowboys, horses, trains, bulls, running and lots of shooting. I especially love the stages where you switch to a “shoot out” mode (some of the boss levels for example – see below):


It had some awesome characters to select from – my personal favourites were Billy or Cormano.


To summarise, side scrolling shooters (‘run and gun’) games have always been a lot of fun. They’re challenging to make (as you are fixed to “scroll right”) but I think this forces the developers to be creative in their execution in characters, enemies, settings and weapons.

If you think I missed any, please add them in the comments section below! I would love to find a hidden gem that I have never heard of or played. 

All of these games are compatible with the JXD S7800b- available now on our website (and don’t forget discount code ‘NEWS5’ to save 5%)!

  • TheExoSlasher


    ITS FUN!!!