It’s hard to remember a time when shoot ‘em up games weren’t popular. Providing gamers with plenty of thrills and spills, developers are constantly on the lookout for how they can take their shoot ‘em up game to the next level.
So, whether you’re looking for a shoot ‘em up game to play on your PC or you fancy trying to turn your hobby into a money spinner, here are five of the best shoot ‘em up games you’ll want to have a go at:
Released for Nintendo 64, Goldeneye is a favourite amongst gamers and James Bond fans alike. In fact, it was that popular that many are still talking about it with fondness today (20 years on).
So why was it so popular and why do people still enjoy taking a trip down memory lane with Goldeneye today?
Well, part of the appeal lies in the fact you have to complete a variety of missions to progress from level to level. This isn’t just a point, shoot and hope kinda game. Even though some levels are comparatively easy, enemies are everywhere so you can’t rest on your laurels.
And even if you do get bored (which we don’t think is possible), you can get your friends involved because this game caters for 2-4 players, too.
2. Radiant Silvergun
This classic is still available to buy from various marketplaces, and for some, it’s the best shoot ‘em up game going. Released in Japan in 1998, this shooter features some out-of-this-world graphics, smart controls and epic pacing.
It was produced by Treasure, who also hired GONZO to bring intrigue to the story by fleshing out the animated extras, which just adds to the magic of this game.
3. Wild Wild West: The Great Train Heist
Of course, no top list of shoot ‘em up games would be complete without taking a trip to the Wild West. This brilliant slot game has a simple setup (it’s only got 10 paylines) but that doesn’t mean the game itself in simplistic in any way shape or form – in fact, far from it.
With great animations, fantastic audio and graphics and a whole host of bonus features, you won’t want to get off this train when it starts steaming into the Wild West.
What’s the aim of the game?
To capture the four train robbers so you can bag all the riches yourself. And if you’re lucky, you might trigger the wild feature, which sees a wheel of fortune appear on your screen. This decides whether you’ll get spreading wilds, multiplying wilds, expanding wilds or a fixed wild with every new spin you make throughout the next round.
And the best bit, the minimum bets are just 0.10 and the maximum are 100, so it’s perfect for everyone from low- to high-rollers.
4. Gradius V
Made for PS2, the Gradius series is often hailed as being the best horizontal shooter game around. With diverse enemies and a unique power-up system, this is the game you need to choose if you want to put yourself up for a big challenge.
This was also designed by treasure (who designed Radiant Silvergun) and brings together the Gradius series wonderfully. Like each of the other games, this one borrows environments, enemies and music from those who have gone before it, but we think that can only be a good thing.
The amazing graphics have the ability to transport you deep into the Gradius world, which is sure to provide you with plenty of nostalgia, too.
5. Giga Wing
This arcade game is a vertical shooter and one that seems to get things spot on. The level design’s great, the graphics boast great clarity and the game is challenging yet simple. And that’s without even mentioning the gun you play with which creates an invisible shield around you for a short time after you’ve fired the shot button. This means any bullets heading your way are directed back towards the enemy, turning into points if they hit them.
You can’t just keep pressing the trigger, though, as you’ll have to wait for this force field to gain strength again. But make sure you get it right, because if you shoot too soon that could lead to your downfall, but leave it too late and you might not get the protection you need from the bullets.
And with four ships available that offer different missile and bullet patterns, you can choose a style of play that suits you.
So there you have it, our top list of shoot ‘em up games. As you can see the ‘shmup’ genre is one that still effortlessly holds on to retro gaming, while still making those all-important advancements that all of the other genres are making.