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You can emulate most of these games released before 2002 with MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator). Some games (Capcom, SNK) run better on WinKawaks and/or FinalBurn Alpha Playstation/Namco-based hardware runs better on ZiNc. NAOMI and NAOMI 2 games can be emulated in Demul, nullDC and Makaron, with varying compatibility. Nebula also has additional optimization for SNK, Capcom, Konami and PolyGameMaster systems, as well as the Sega Model 2 Emulator.


The List Edit

Shoot 'em ups Edit

Art Title Year Description Screenshot
150px 19XX: The War Against Destiny 1995 Fourth in the 19XX series. The War Against Destiny is arguably the best entry from Capcom. Its mainstay is the level ranking system which tallies your performance (boss clear time, miss percentage, medal catches) and grants levels based on how well you do. Holding shot and releasing on a bigger enemy locks on to it and fires homing missiles, whereas holding the bomb button charges them up to more destructive effect. Does away with the wing gunners seen in previous 19XX games, things that needlessly added two extra hit boxes. 150px
150px After Burner II 1987 Fly a plane and shoot other planes. INCREDIBLE in an actual sit-down arcade machine.

Rereleased all over the goddamn place. You'll more often see Climax at arcades, although it is also available on XBLA.

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150px Armed Police Batrider 1998 A funky Raizing shooter with TONS of content and depth. Features nine standard hover bike riders (batriders) across three teams: Police, Psychics and Criminals. The player can select a team of 3 or hand pick their own (the button used in character select powers characters up differently, e.g. A = powers up shot, B = option). Has an extremely complex ranking and scoring system where firing or collecting anything raises difficulty, while grazing bullets and dying reduces difficulty. Also has a hilarious Australian announcer ("LUVUL AHP!").
Brotip: get (Korea, version B) for extra content. It has a boss rush mode, solo batrider option, and all of the secret characters unlocked from Battle Garegga/Mahou Daisakusen.
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150px Battle Bakraid 1999 Battle Bakraid compounds the solid framework of Battle Garegga with the much needed neon flair of Armed Police Batrider. Includes nine ships, half of which need to be unlocked by codes in versions other than Unlimited. Refines elements like the charged shot, grazing (by making hit boxes smaller), and dynamic difficulty present in most Eighting/Raizing shooters. 150px
150px Battle Garegga 1996 Holy fuck, this game. Get ready to flip some shit when you can't differentiate real bullets from debris. That's right: REAL BULLETS. None of that kawaii uguu~~ neon shit. Amazing art style aside, Battle Garegga is sure to hit the sweet spot for challenge seekers and enthusiasts alike. Has some incredible music that really gets your adrenaline flowing. Also features characters from Mahou Daisakusen after entering a combination similar to the Konami Code.
Available on the Sega Saturn as a faithful port.
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150px Boogie Wings 1992 Also known as The Great Ragtime Show, Boogie Wings is a comedic adventure set around the time of World War I. You pilot a biplane with a hook attached that can be used to pick up objects and drop them on enemies. Has a lot of silly levels, involving propelling a ferris wheel along a roller-coaster track and even a giant, mecha Santa. There's a ton of vehicles, destructibles, and on-foot portions where you're somehow hulk strong and spiking 2-ton crates on things. 200px
150px Dangun Feveron / Fever SOS 1998 "FE~VER! Can you feel it?"

Your body's not ready to behold the magnificent fusion of manic shooting and disco. Dangun Feveron is an insanely fast-paced shooter from Cave. Before you roll into the club you're able to configure your ship's speed and weapons. Little dancing men appear when you dispatch enemies quickly and drift down the screen to serve as a score multiplier. The music for the levels is 80's disco, and your smart bombs harness the power of disco itself to blast enemies. What are you waiting for? Get dancing!

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150px Dimahoo / Great Mahou Daisakusen 2000 ARE YOU GREAT?

Dimahoo is an outstanding, medieval/fantasy-themed shooter by Eighting/Raizing. Gameplay consists of intelligent use of the magical fire and ice polarity system to reap the most loot. Unleashing a charge on the opposite element will yield extra damage and produce loot, while bullets of the same element can't kill you but instead reduce your shot level. There are roughly a hundred unique treasures including secret boss drops, which adds to its replayability.

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150px DoDonPachi 1997 A brilliant, refined sequel to the original DonPachi. Everything was improved in DoDonPachi (lit. "angry leader bee") -- the level design, the action and explosions, the sprites and sound -- making it truly one of Cave's most well known master works. Level layouts now complement the combo system (improved to 1s fade time compared to the 0.0001s timer seen in the original) and huge chains are not uncommon. Great game, go play this shit even if you have a passive interest in shmups.
Ported to the Sega Saturn as well as PS1.
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150px DoDonPachi Dai Ou Jou 2002 Take everything that made DoDonPachi great, add in hyper items, crank the bullet spray up to eleven and you have Dai Ou Jou (lit. "peaceful death"). There isn't anything peaceful about this, however, as this game doesn't fuck around. Be prepared to get manhandled on the later levels/second loop. Black Label is markedly easier compared to White Label.
The PS2/Xbox 360 versions are recommended as they have training and boss rush modes. Playable on MAME.
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150px DonPachi 1995 DonPachi (lit. "leader bee") marked the beginning of one of the greatest shmup series of all time. It may look less action-packed when compared to DoDonPachi but you'll find yourself swamped in bullets with that relaxed outlook, as this game was the forerunner of the bullet hell (“danmaku”) subgenre. Its chaining is pretty shitty though with a split second combo timer. All things considered it's a rock solid game, with fluid sprites and amazing sound work, on par with that of DoDonPachi.
Ported to the Sega Saturn as well as PS1.
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150px Dragon Blaze 2000 Choose one of four dragon riders (it's even got a dwarven thunder dragon rider named Rob, where's my Thor?) and blast through a bunch of mythological bosses. Unique to this title is the use of your dragon. It works as a separate, invulnerable entity in that it can be shot like a piercing weapon causing high damage. Your dragon will stay where it was shot and collect coins, power-ups and fire on enemies until called back. 150px
150px EDF: Earth Defense Force 1991 You pick one of four main weapons for each level and gain experience as you shoot down enemies. Leveling up enhances your weapons and introduces new togglable formations for your secondary gunners. Has an amazing soundtrack which is especially resonant on the later levels; like something out of an RPG.

Ported to the Super Nintendo with four more weapon types, but the music didn't quite transition intact.

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150px ESP Ra.De. 1998 Set in a not-too-distant future Tokyo, ESP Ra.De. illustrates the rebellion of society against the oppressive rule of psychic subjugators known as ESPers. You play as one of three teenagers gifted with extraordinary psychic powers. Each character has a unique, quickly refilling piercing shot. Bombs, instead of clearing the screen, are now used as a chargeable, invincible shield that releases a high-powered beam. Extremely easy compared to most shooters.
One of the few Cave games to see no localization or ports whatsoever.
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150px Espgaluda 2003 Fantastic feel good shooter. You're a pair of fairies on a warpath, blasting the shit out of robots, innocent bystanders and whatever-the-fuck-else is unlucky enough to get in your way. Gather gems to swap genders momentarily and burst enemy bullets into treats (no, really). Staying in Kakusei mode with zero gems initiates Overmode, where bullets turn pink and accelerate, and enemy deaths yield ingots. Score fetishist's delight. Spiritual prequel to ESP Ra.De.
Also available on the PS2 as an import and, more recently, MAME.
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150px Giga Wing 1999 Notable for its ridiculous scoring system where scores in the hundreds of billions are commonplace. Has an ability known as Reflect Force that repels bullets back at enemy ships when the shot button is held, producing medals for all enemies hit. Features dynamic difficulty depending on where your first death occurs, something that can retard or severely increase the difficulty and volume of bullets.
Ported to the Dreamcast along with Giga Wing 2.
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150px Gokujō Parodius! / Fantastic Journey 1994 A hilarious parody of Gradius and many other Konami shmups. Characters are all overloaded with cuteness (even the Vic Viper, d'awww) and have their own distinct shot types and options. Gameplay is completely absurd and never takes itself seriously (a Kitten Submarine? EXTREEEME!), which is good as it makes Parodius one of Konami's crown jewels.
Rereleased on the PS1 and Sega Saturn.
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150px Gradius / Nemesis 1985 "Shoot the core!"

One of the games that revolutionized the scrolling shooter genre, Gradius was Konami's spiritual successor to the arcade title Scramble. You play as pilot James Burton aboard the Vic Viper on a mission to purge the universe of vile Bacterians. Features slow scrolling across several diverse levels with bacterion enemies, Moai heads and the iconic Big Core. Pay your respects; or nostalgia, if you're old enough for that kind of thing.
Rereleased all over the place, including the Wii's Virtual Console and the PlayStation Network.

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150px Gradius II / Vulcan Venture 1988 Second in the Gradius series, Gradius II improves upon the original in every way: better graphics, more enemies, more firepower and an unforgiving difficulty. One major change is having to choose your weapon set before taking off, choosing between an array of bomb types, double shot/tailgun, and the laser/ripple laser (incorporated from Salamander). Relatively unknown as it was released in Europe as Vulcan Venture and never made available to North American audiences.
Rereleased on the Wii's Virtual Console and as part of the Gradius Collection on the PSP.
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150px Gradius III 1989 Third in the Gradius series, Gradius III is a step down from Gradius II. While all of its usual elements are there, the arcade version is mind-numbingly hard. It also has a weird 3D stage where you maneuver through obstacles with no enemies. Despite its faults it did introduce more weapon types and the lovely Edit Mode, where you can tailor your own arsenal.
Play it only if you enjoy the antique arcade feel and challenge, otherwise pick up the much superior Super Nintendo version. Now with less 3D and sand lions!™
Rereleased on the SNES, Wii's Virtual Console and PSP.
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150px Guwange 1999 Guwange is a relatively offbeat, stylistic and unique venture for Cave. Set during the medieval period of Japan, you play a handful of characters who must liberate themselves of the shikigami possessing their fates. Your character is entirely on foot while your shikigami can float through objects, hit distant enemies and slow bullets. Sports a punishing combo system that leaves no room for error. The game is entirely in moonspeak but no one really gives a shit about the story of arcade titles.
Rereleased on XBLA with modes "Xbox 360" (very easy, dohoho) and "Blue" (masochists only).
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150px Ketsui: Kizuna Jigoku Tachi 2003 Ludicrously hard shooter by the masterminds at Cave. The scoring system is somewhat of an acquired taste as it requires "point blanking". The closer you are to an enemy when it dies, the higher the value of its dropped cubes.

Available on Xbox 360, MAME and DS (Boss Rush only)

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150px Kingdom Grand Prix / Shippu Mahou Daisakusen 1994 F-Zero in the form of a scrolling shooter. It's as good as it sounds. Tear through a dozen stages in typical shooter fare while maintaining the pole position. Prequel to Dimahoo.
Also available on the Sega Saturn.
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150px Mars Matrix 2000 "Why can't I hold all these bullets?" ‒ You

It's a big disgusting sloppy mess. Of purple. Also features the Gravity Hole Bomb which can attract and repel bullets and destroy everything on-screen, should it be depleted. Horizontally-aligned with vertical scrolling, something unique to shmups, which allows more bullets than your anus has room for. Go play Mars Matrix.

Rereleased on the Dreamcast which adds a shop mode!

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150px Progear / Progear no Arashi 2001 Cave's very first horizontal shooter. Choose one of two ships with differing speed and shot capabilities, powered by the self-propelling technology known as the "Progear". Ships are fitted with a loli gunner of your choice which fires a lock-on, piercing shot. At the end of each level you get a quick newspaper report and seemingly extraneous ACTIVE/SAFE/LOVELY data about your gunner waifu. Features a complex as fuck scoring system. 200px
150px Pulstar 1995 A prettier R-Type with usage of pre-rendered 3D. The level design is remarkably poor; a single death is usually unrecoverable as power-ups and options are few and far between. High powered weapons and intelligent use of the charged blasts are essential on the later portions of levels. Has an easier sequel known as Blazing Star.
Ported to NeoGeo and NeoGeo CD.
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150px R-Type 1987 One of the pillars of the arcade generation, R-Type innovated all over the original shmup formula. It introduced a shield known as a "Force" which can be attached to either side of the ship for protection and new shot types. It can also be shot like a piercing weapon where it stays in place continually damaging enemies; something that makes quick work of almost every boss.
Re-released all over the goddamn place.
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150px R-Type Leo 1992 READY? 3.. 2.. 1, LET'S GO!
Removes the charged shot and reworks your Force, now focusing its primary powers into your two side ships known as "Bits". Bits drastically improve your shot type and can fire in the opposite direction you move. They can also be fired where they will hunt enemies and revolve for a set duration, doing incredible damage, until called back. It's still a strategic challenge and well worthy of bearing the R-Type name.
Exclusive to arcade.
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150px Radiant Silvergun 1998 Treasure's first venture into the chaotic realm of scrolling shooters, Radiant Silvergun shattered the mold by removing power-ups altogether. Every weapon is available from the start and level up with successive color chaining, making this more of a puzzle game than a shoot 'em up. The game rewards the player greatly when weapons are used intelligently for bonuses.
Japan exclusive. Ported to the Sega Saturn, and available on XBLA soon.
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150px Raiden 1990 It's Raiden, I ain't gotta explain shit. 150px
150px Raiden Fighters 1996 Raiden Fighters is a spin-off to the original Raiden series. It allows a lot more customization with ship select and random stage order. There's 5 standard ships, all with varying attack power, movement, rapid fire capabilities and weapon types. It also has the titular Raiden mk-II and the Judge Spear (from Viper Phase 1) as unlockables who can use lasers and missiles simultaneously, at the expense of losing the charged shot.
Ported to the Xbox 360 compilation title Raiden Fighters Aces.
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150px Raiden Fighters 2 1997 Second in the Raiden Fighters series. Same great laser wagglan, now with lots more ships and content. It has 14 ships in total: 7 standard, 7 unlockables. A few of the standard ships underwent aesthetic overhauls but no attribute changes. This game is actually incredible fun with two players as the game has what's known as a "hybrid attack". When flying next to one another you can unleash a supercharged beam in tandem which will destroy anything, even bosses, almost instantaneously.
Ported to the Xbox 360 compilation title Raiden Fighters Aces.
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150px Raiden Fighters Jet 1998 Easily the best Raiden title in the entire series, and its polish shows. A lot of the ships from Raiden Fighters 2 make an appearance. One of the biggest changes is the medal system. Airborne medals now follow your slave ships when they graze bullets. When the tethered medal comes into contact with other medals it grows in size, culminating in a gigantic 2 million point medal should you combine enough. Despite the brutal scoring system there are multiple secrets, level paths and endings to reward your efforts. Don't pass this gem up.
Ported to the Xbox 360 compilation title Raiden Fighters Aces.
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150px RayForce 1993 3D done right. Utilizes the background as an isolated field of battle which normal weapons can't reach. Lock onto distant enemies in the backdrop and annihilate them with your laser before they even reach you. Requires some solid strategy as your ship is slow as molasses, forcing you to deal with the ones you can't lock-on to in time up close. 150px
150px RayStorm 1996 Sequel to RayForce, RayStorm features more believable 3D, scaling, and introduced a host of new content*. There's a new intermediate (and secret prototype model*) ship available and a special, all-out homing attack that charges with successive lock-on kills. Once you get out of Albion and beyond Stage 3 the space battles are simply amazing.
(* Home extras only) The PS1/Saturn RayStorm and PSN/XBLA RayStorm HD make the arcade version obsolete.
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150px Salamander / Life Force 1986 A strongly divisive spin-off of the Gradius series, Salamander abandons the power-up system seen in the main series. Features horizontal/vertical scrolling, drastic region differences and some damn hard levels. A lot of the mechanical enemies seen in the Salamander JP/EU versions were given a cellular makeover for Life Force's US release to fit the reworked story. The poorly titled JP re-release Life Force returned the power-up bar.
Ported to the NES, TG-16 and PSP.
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150px Salamander 2 1995 Salamander with glorious 3D elements! Weapons can now be overcharged when collecting weapon power-ups at max output and options can be fired as a homing laser. Has some bosses which are both terrifying and tough, like that final boss who will scare you like you've never been scared before! The announcer is REALLY into it, so get ready for some hilarious commentating.Ported to the PSX, Saturn and PSP. 200px
150px Sexy Parodius 1996 What do you get when you mix risque themes with a PG-13 rating? Inanity. Now what happens when you let the monkeys at Konami mix those same elements? YOU GET A GODDAMN GOTY. Something unique to this title is the mission system, where failing or succeeding to complete objectives dictates your stage path and ending. You owe it to yourself as a gamer to experience Parodius at least once. Parodius is known for having sexy themes but this one dosen't really have any more than the rest unless corn and toilets turn you on.
Rereleased on the PS1 and Sega Saturn.
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150px Sōkyūgurentai / Terra Diver 1996 It's the future, and Earth's space mining colonies are at war. Shit's epic, yo. Has a laser-locking system to zap enemies on the background before they can come fly upwards to you, similar to RayForce; some excellent graphics, although not quite on par with Radiant Silvergun. Also on Saturn and PS1. 200px
150px Space Harrier 1985 WELCOME TO THE FANTASY ZONE. GET READY.
Similar to After Burner, but you fly in 8 directions instead of steering. Good luck finding a sit-down machine, but you'll enjoy the hell out of it if you can.Best port is on the 32X
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150px Strikers 1945 1995 Well known, standard fare shmup which serves as the perfect jumping-off point for newcomers to the genre. Set on the tail end of World War II, your "Strikers" squadron combats a secret, futuristic munitions supplier. In some versions, should you score gold medals on every level, you're rewarded with a topless photo of the female pilots when you complete the game. Ask yourself, can you resist the alluring challenge?
Rereleased all over the goddamn place.
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150px Strikers 1945 II 1997 We're not in Kansas anymore. II is a brick wall of difficulty meant to be chiseled out by dedicated players, quite unlike its entry level predecessor. Dozens of aggressive popcorn enemies, artillery and frenzied boss patterns will leave you inundated in bullets. You're not completely helpless though, as you can call in a wing squadron to soak up bullets in valiant sacrifice.
Rereleased all over the goddamn place.
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150px Strikers 1945 III / Strikers 1999 1999 Moderate difficulty, then-modern planes (1999) equipped with lasers and napalm; what's not to like? III introduced a new tech bonus where orbs appear on a boss' weak points after certain patterns. Closing the distance and keeping proximity allows you to obliterate a boss quickly. Also no more pocket squadron clutch, some bombs requiring a whole second to detonate. ;_; 150px
150px Strikers 1945 Plus 1999 Best in show, Plus takes Strikers 1945 I & II and turns them into glorious, horizontal bullet hells. Probably the easiest way to become accustomed to danmaku short of putting your balls in a blender. Almost all of the levels and bosses are identical. Super shots should be depleted liberally with certain ships as they recharge based on damage dealt.
Available on the PSP.
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150px Truxton II 1992 If you've ever played the original Truxton, chances are you're having a mental breakdown at the very thought of an extra long, extra brutal shoot 'em up in the same vein. If you managed to truimph it with your sanity intact, congratulations! you're ready for Truxton II. 150px
150px Twin Cobra 1987 This is the game where Toaplan really started to hit it's stride, and where vertically scrolling shooters really started to take off in general. Gameplay is just like Raiden except you don't have to worry too much about grabbing the right shot color here as you have a separate powerup to level up your guns. 150px
150px V-Five / Grind Stormer 1993 Plays and looks almost identical to DonPachi except that you have a Gradius-style power-up bar and multiple shot types on a single ship.
Ported to the Sega Genesis.
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150px Viper Phase 1 1995 Pretty much Raiden in space. Introduced a bunch of things that have become staple in Raiden Fighters, namely green napalm missiles, Blue Javelin and the goddamn Judge Spear. The original version features limited, maximum power secondary weapons, whereas the New Version (USA) has infinite ammunition that needs to be powered up. Your choice, really. 150px
150px Xevious 1982 Legendary scrolling shooter that pretty much defined the vertical play style from then after. 150px


Retro Edit

Title Year Genre Description Screenshot
Battlezone 1980 Simulation Tank simulation with wireframe enemy tanks, UFOs and obstacles. Movement and turning is similar to that of a tank: slow as fuck. Once an enemy has you in his sights it's pretty much over.

Some of the old cabinets to this game had an awesome, pseudo-3D effect with a graphical overlay you had to look through.

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Berzerk 1980 Run and Gun / Maze STOP THE HUMANOID. STOP THE INTRUDER.


Maneuver your way through mazes while killing multicolored robots and evading "Evil Otto", the malignant, bouncing smiley face. He's invincible and can run through the electrified walls. Yeah, it's RAPE TIME. The robots aren't so impervious or intelligent however, frequently walking into walls or shooting each other.

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Blaster 1983 Shoot 'em Up OH GOD MY EYES. Pilot a space ship in search of paradise through a bunch of rainbow-flavored strobe levels. Joystick action which is better emulated with an actual joystick. Supposedly the envisioned sequel to Robotron: 2084 though it bears little resemblance. 200px
Bosconian 1981 Shoot 'em Up 8-directional movement with a tail gun that allows you to make quick work of enemy squadrons even when running away. Hunt the green enemy space stations to progress through levels and keep your threat level manageable. Red threat level is when the kamikaze pilots start coming out of the woodwork. 200px
Bump 'N' Jump 1982 Action / Driving
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BurgerTime 1982 Puzzle Make gigantic burgers by dropping ingredients downward and avoiding enemies.
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Centipede 1980 Shoot 'em Up Similar to Space Invaders, but involves bugs and mushrooms instead of shields and aliens.
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Defender 1980 Shoot 'em Up
Dig Dug 1982 Maze Tunnel underground and shoot monsters with a spike that fills them up with air until they explode.
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Discs of Tron 1983 Action
Donkey Kong 1981 Platformer Run and jump through 4 stages to rescue Pauline from Donkey Kong. KILL SCREEN COMIN' UP. 200px
Donkey Kong II: Jumpman's Return 2006 Platformer/Mod

A great mod/sequel to the arcade classic, Jumpman Returns features all of the classic elements of the first Donkey Kong with 4 entirely new levels, and "Cutscenes"


Gameplay footage can be found here

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Frenzy 1982 Run and Gun Fantastic sequel to Berzerk. A lot of things have been reworked for the better: walls are no longer electrified and instead can reflect bullets or be destroyed, single-sprite robots now come in skeleton and.. uh.. octopus variety, and Otto can be killed! That can be seen as a blessing or a curse, because after he dies he comes back faster than before. Markedly weaker voice work, something that made the original so memorable. 200px
Frogger 1981 Action Cross the highway and avoid getting splattered. 150px

Galaga

1981 Shoot 'em Up Shoot aliens. Protip: Get one ship captured and save it, now you have DOUBLE SHOT POWER.
Gorf 1981 Shoot 'em Up
Gravitar 1982 Shoot 'em Up
Gyruss 1983 Shoot 'em Up
Halley's Comet 1986 Shoot 'em Up While it may look painfully basic the gameplay is actually quite fun, well worthy of a quick play. You launch from a planet and scroll vertically towards a hollowed out, alien-infested comet. Enemy ships that make it past you damage your home planet for a set percentage, where 100% damage results in a game over. Tiered weapons, erratic enemy patterns and random warp jumps give the game variety.

Spawned a sequel on the Game Gear: Halley Wars.

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Joust 1982 Platformer You're a knight. You joust.. ON AN OSTRICH.

Joust is a competitive game, requiring precise movement and momentum to eliminate the ever-increasing throng of enemy knights. Elevation is the only factor in rendering a killing blow. The knight flying above at the point of contact kills the opposing one. Contact on an equal level is a draw, resulting in both bouncing away.

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Jungle Hunt 1982 Action
Kangaroo 1982 Platformer
Kung Fu Master 1984 Beat 'em up Aka Spartan-X and Kung-Fu. Kick assholes and save your girlfriend.
Lady Bug 1981 Maze
Lode Runner 1983 Platformer Get gold and escape. Dig holes in front of or behind you to trap enemies.
Mario Bros. 1983 Platformer Collect coins, stun monsters then kick them. Avoid Fireballs. Much more fun in later remixes with 4 players.
Millipede 1982 Shoot 'em Up
Motos 1985 Action
Mr. Do! 1982 Maze
Ms. Pac-Man 1981 Maze If you've played Pac-Man, then you've played Ms. Pac-Man. Fortunately, it's just as good as its predecessor.
Nibbler 1982 Retro
Pac-Man 1980 Maze Eat pills in a dark room and chase ghosts while listening to repetitive techno music.
Pole Position 1982 Racing Drive through a course to get the best time. A lot harder than it sounds.
Q*bert 1982 Puzzle / Platformer Jump on every panel to make them the same color. Avoid enemies by jumping away or jumping on flying saucers.
Qix 1981 Action Try to make a picture by clearing away the cover sheet with careful navigation.
Rally-X 1980 Racing / Maze
Robotron: 2084 1982 Shoot 'em Up Dual-stick shooter, later copied by Smash T.V. Shoot robots and save humanity. This game doesn't pull punches.
Sinistar 1982 Shoot 'em Up I AM SINISTAR. BEWARE, I LIVE. Shoot aliens and asteroids to collect crystals and stop a planet-sized monster from eating you.
Space Invaders 1978 Shoot 'em Up You pilot a mobile cannon tasked to repel an alien invasion. As you kill aliens the music speeds up and they start to descend faster, with the last one styling all over your cannon-y ass. Good luck sniping that swift bastard.

One of the most iconic games on the arcade which helped bring video gaming into the limelight. If you've been living under a rock there's been multiple remakes which are simply AMAZING.

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Space Zap 1980 Shoot 'em Up
Star Wars 1983 Rail Shooter
Tapper 1983 Action Serve (Root) Beer to customers.
Tempest 1980 Shoot 'em Up / TUUUUBES Vector tube-based shmup which utilized a paddle controller. You're a crab-shaped spaceship. There's a bunch of monsters coming up at you from the depths of god-knows-where. Scroll your wheel, slide around the tube, and blast that shit back to oblivion. Also, watch out for pulsars and those goddamn fuseballs.

One of the most addictive shooters of its day. There's not much plot aside from "SHOOT THE LITTLE BUGGERS", but the original designer says it was going to be a sort of first-person Space Invaders until he had this trippy nightmare about monsters coming out of a hole. Take from that what you will.

Has a few direct remakes and ports, like Tempest 2000. Geometry Wars could be considered a mix of this and Robotron 2084.

Screenshot of Tempest
Tutankham 1982 Maze
Vanguard 1981 Shoot 'em Up
Wizard of Wor 1980 Action / Maze Pac-Man with guns. Blast through a labyrinth with weird looking creatures while hunting the elusive Wizard of Wor. Snipe the Worluk/Wizard before they escape to start a double score bonus stage. Shit gets real on the Worlord levels.
Allows for bro-op if you both are well coordinated.
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Beat 'em ups Edit

Art Title Year Description Screenshot
150px Alien vs. Predator 1994 The movie may have sucked but this MOST CERTAINLY DID NOT. Take control of a military cyborg or Predator and lash out at the encroaching alien swarm and corrupt Weyland-Yutani corporation. Developed by Capcom, so expect some very smooth controls and SHOULDER CANNON! JUMP KICK! varied movesets. Bar none the best beat 'em up on the arcade.
GET. PUMPED.
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150px Battle Circuit 1997 Almost similar to Captain Commando, now with 110% more awesome. Has a neat little shop mode in between missions where you can buy improved movesets, extensions to your lifebar and continues. Of the eccentric cast (a child on a pink ostrich? A talking plant monster? The fuck?) only a fraction of them are useful; like Cyber Blue, who utterly stomps shit like Ken from Street Fighter (Shoryu Reppa? Clever, Capcom). One of the best beat 'em ups exclusive to the arcade. 200px
150px Battletoads 1994 Three players can control Rash, Zitz and Pimple, each with their own Smash Hit attacks. Be warned, this is a VERY long game, and it's just as tough as the rest of the Battletoads series. Unlike the rest of the games, attacks involving something sharp or extremely heavy will produce blood, and it's the only game were you can play as any of the three toads. 200px
150px Cadillacs and Dinosaurs 1993 3 player simultaneous beat 'em up. Fight dinosaurs, drive cars, and shoot guns, all in the dystopian future. Extreme amounts of awesome. 200px
150px Captain Commando 1991 Choose one of four superhero characters to smash and bash through enemies. Notable for its gruesome death sequences. 200px
150px Crossed Swords 1991 A watered down Punch-Out!! in RPG format, IN THE GODDAMN MIDDLE AGES. Move the joystick up and down to use your shield to block incoming attacks and power up for a counterattack. Collect gold and experience, save wenches and discover new loot. Requires quick precision to not get your shit slapped as the game is balls hard when played alone.
While not a traditional beat 'em up you do beat the shit out of a bunch of enemies. Think of it as a "third-person beat 'em up". Yeah, I made that up. Deal with it.
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150px Dungeons and Dragons: Tower of Doom 1993 A classic arcade beat 'em up with tons of depth. Further expanded on the RPG fusion by incorporating an inventory, magick and multiple paths through the high fantasy realms of D&D. Up to four players.
Arcade perfect port on the Saturn, but only supports two players. Expensive as fuck too.
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150px Dungeons and Dragons: Shadow Over Mystara 1996 The amazing sequel to Tower of Doom. Features two new characters (a male Wizard and female Thief), branching pathways with magic items and tons of secrets which add to its replayability. The controls were reworked from the original and streamlined. Hard to get tired of this one.
Arcade perfect port on the Saturn, but only supports two players. Expensive as fuck too.
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150px Final Fight 1986 The mayor's daughter has been kidnapped by gangsters. Instead of asking for some bad dudes to save her, MIKE HAGGAR and his boys, Guy and Cody, personally decide to take care of business. 200px
150px Golden Axe 1989 Styled after Conan the Barbarian, Golden Axe is a beat 'em up that features visceral weapon combos and a powerful, tiered magic system. You can even hijack enemies' mounts to tear through their lines.
Rereleased all over the goddamn place.
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150px Golden Axe: The Revenge of Death Adder 1992 Thought Golden Axe was boring? Fuck your theory. Completely reworked roster with an imbalanced female centaur, an imp, and a giant with a dwarf on his back. It's got some new mounts too: giant scorpions, bone dragons and praying mantises. The sprites and artwork have some amazing detail and zest. Just look at that arcade flyer, it OOZES manliness. 200px
150px Ninja Baseball Bat Man 1993 Six golden items have been stolen from the Baseball Hall of Fame, and it's up to you to reclaim them. The Ninja Baseball Bat Men all have lots of special attacks, including multiple grapples and ultimate attacks that use up health to nuke the whole screen. 200px
150px The Punisher 1991 Combines traditional beat 'em up fare with pseudo-light gun shoot out sequences. Great if you're a Marvel fan or not. 200px
150px The Simpsons 1991 The Simpson family sets off to save Maggie from Mr. Burns. Features some really trippy stages and enemies. 200px
150px Splatterhouse 1988 Aptly named horror-themed beat 'em up that features grotesque enemies and bosses, and GRATUITOUS amounts of gore. Very basic side-scrolling with emphasis on weapon use; like decapitating enemies with a machete or pummeling them into a bloody mess with a 2x4.
Has two sequels on the Genesis and a parody title on the NES.
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150px Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time 1991 The Turtles are back with new moves and power ups. Had an updated port on SNES and a remix on Genesis.

Remake released on Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network though it plays a little differently.

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150px Undercover Cops 1992 Looks like a generic beat'em up at first -- until you're doing flying roundhouse kicks and flinging girders at thugs. All in the name of justice!

Made by the people who'd form Nazca, the Metal Slug people. Play the Japanese or Alpha Renewal Version, as the World/US release removes half the moves and edits the music.

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150px X-Men 1992 Xbox hueg arcade game with two monitors, six players, crappy dialogue, and stupid amounts of awesome. 200px

Light gun Edit

Art Title Year Description Screenshot
150px Area 51 1995 A light gun section without Area 51? The fuck is this shit. Set in Area 51, with pre-rendered 3D objects and FMV enemies. Lots of dynamic elements with explosives that destroy nearby enemies, hostages to rescue and crates to shoot, which sometimes contain new weapons and ammo. 200px
150px CarnEvil 1998 Yes you are the best zombie arcade shooter ever. Has several dark carnival-themed levels to choose between, from a romp through a haunted house to a violent "Slay Ride" on a roller-coaster. Blast through hordes of grotesquely deformed carnival enemies led by Tökkentäkker, the evil ringmaster who serves as the game's antagonist. 200px
150px Crisis Zone 1999 Spin-off of the Time Crisis series. You're equipped with a machine gun and riot shield from the start. The latter can be toggled with the cabinet's pedal in lieu of running between stationary cover found in previous Time Crisis titles. 200px
150px Gunblade NY 1995 Incredible light gun game with a 1:1 mounted machine gun as your controller. Play as side gunners on a helicopter as you tear shit up in New York.
Available on the Wii with L.A. Machineguns.
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150px House of the Dead 1996 Agents called out to investigate a disappearance of a chick at a huge mansion. Upon arrival, you find zombies with axes and shit murdering scientists, now you have to go around and find out what the fuck is going on.

This game pretty much started the whole multiple paths, extra life/continue/score items and multiple endings formula for the Light Gun Genre in general.

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150px House of the Dead 2 1998 Same concept, new story, new monsters, new bosses. Do want. 200px
150px House of the Dead III 2002 Ditch that lame water pistol and insert a shotgun and you have House of the Dead III. Even though it came out before HoTD4 storywise, it is placed right after it. Is much easier than the first two games and it is also shorter, however, after the first level, (aside from the last level) you can choose the stages any way you want like Mega Man. You can no longer save civilians like the first two, but instead you save your partners and sometimes you will get an extra life for it for no apparent reason. Still a fun game in the series. At this point, it had nothing to do with being in a house which raises the question. Why is it still being called "HOUSE" of the Dead? 200px
150px House of the Dead 4 2005 OH, LOOK, ZOMBIES IN shiny 3D! This is the second game in the series to play in the 6th-gen field, and do it well. It uses a machine gun (Uzi) for your main weapon and a button for a secondary attack, grenades (limited, but clear a whole screen at a time). A new function is where the zombies grab hold of you, or push you to the ground, and you gotta shake the gun like you have Parkinson's to fill a bar up that pushes the zombies back, or you lose a life point. Continues the same (somewhat interesting) plot, and introduces new characters, weapons, continues the great trend of naming the bosses after the Tarot cards and multiple endings. HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HOUSES ANYMORE. 200px
150px L.A. Machineguns 1998 Sequel to Gunblade NY. Rip through L.A. with your huge ass machine gun. Fight in 4 epic levels with huge boss battles and then fight the secret boss in the secret level (Oh my!). However, you can't take forever as the clock is ticking even when you lose all your lives as you insert your quarters into the machine.
Available on the Wii with Gunblade NY.
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150px Lethal Enforcers 1992 Probably most notable for its controversial content, you play as a police officer in the middle of a drug war. Drop criminals and save bystanders like it's going out of style. Weapon upgrades can be found throughout levels but regress to a peashooter if you lose a life. Similar to Area 51 in that the game uses digitized enemies, opposed to polygons. 200px
150px Lost World: Jurassic Park 1997 OH GOD WHAT, I DIDN'T SIGN UP FOR THIS TOUR. Defend your Jeep from swarms of dinosaurs and one pissed off female Tyrannosaurus Rex. Be sure to play in the enclosed sit-down cabinet, it's a WHOLE different experience when the cabinet actually moves as shit jumps on you. 200px
150px The Maze of the Kings 2002 Incredibly obscure as in I ONLY FOUND THIS IN A CRUISE SHIP OF ALL PLACES, BUT NO OTHER ARCADE obscure. You can barely find it on the internet for that matter, but this game is incredibly fun. Take command of treasure hunters and use you pew pew magic staff into ancient rooms and fight your way to the bosses. It has a TON of replayability mainly because it is always different (except for the bosses) every time you play the game again exploring new rooms that you didn't play in your previous playthrough. Every time you beat the boss you have a chance to nab the treasure in a sort of mini game. Fail and just move on. Good luck finding one. 200px
150px The Ocean Hunter 1998 Hate the ocean? Shoot it in the face! Awesome sit-down cabinet with mounted turrets. Swim through multiple deep sea stages and blast mythological beasts. It's even got motherfucking POSEIDON. Good luck finding a cabinet not in Asia, though. 200px
150px Point Blank 1994 Famous game known for it's wacky and competitive shooting-range/carnival style levels. Probably one of the most common shooters you'll find in arcades today. 200px
150px Point Blank 2 1999 Makes better of everything the first one did. Now with a fuckton of all new stages. Is seen a LOT less then it's prequel (sadly). 200px
150px Police Trainer 1997 Similar to Point Blank, the game consists of an array of shooting gallery challenges across multiple skill levels. Climb in rank by clearing several stages on each difficulty, with tests for reaction time, precision and technique. 200px
150px RAMBO 2008 Fire a fast-shooting machine gun and go through stages based off the movies. Do well enough and for short bursts of time, you can use infinite ammo and become invincible by the power of pure rage. This game's so intense it was advertised by the guy who played Segata Sanshiro. 200px
150px Silent Hill 2007 That's right, it exists!
You play as one of two characters, researching the disappearance of the Little Baroness, then a bunch of your friends go missing and die and shit, typical SH-fan fare, really. Nurses, Gumheads, Dogs, those-bird-things-from-the-first-game, and (surprise!) Pyramid Head all make an appearance. No I haven't played to see the bosses yet, dammit. Extra items that heal and whatnot, plays like House of the Dead, but now with 200% more Silent Hill.
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150px Silent Scope 1999 <-- Look at that shit. A mounted sniper rifle with telescopic lens? Yes please. One of the more challenging light gun games due to low ammo capacity, time limitations and precision required. It's really fucking immersive though. 200px
150px Time Crisis 1995 WAIT. ACTION. RELOAD.

The classic light gun game that started them all. It's aged terribly, but it's main gameplay mechanics still stand up to the throws of time. It's still good.

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150px Time Crisis II 1997 Arguably, the best of the Time Crisis series. Introduced co-op to the series and the same old gameplay that is refined from its prequel. Story sucks, but still fun to play with a bro. 200px
150px Time Crisis 3 2002 The sixth gen Time Crisis. Same lame VA, similar lame plot. Now with multiple weapons, and a special enemies that when shot, gives you extra ammo! 200px
150px Time Crisis 4 2006 Same as its sequel above, but now a tad more refined. You'll find this version in most "higher-end" arcades. 200px


Fighting Edit

Art Title Year Description Screenshot
150px Battle Fantasia 2007 The first 2D fighter by Arc System Works to feature 3D graphics, Battle Fantasia is, in essence, a fixed Third Strike. Parries in this game are performed by pressing the "Gachi" button (where the Fierce/HP button is, for you SF players) instead of by a forward tap, which eliminates the option selects that made parries in 3S sometimes more powerful than they should've been. 200px
150px Capcom vs. SNK 2: Millionaire Fighting 2001 2001 THIS IS TRUE LOVE WE'RE MAKIN, THIS IS THE SCHOOL OF THE NAKED, THIS IS TUNA WITH BACON

Remember 2001? What a great year. And what better way to remember 2001 than to play what is probably the single best fighting game Capcom has ever produced!

Featuring a cast of characters that span Capcom's classic Street Fighter series as well as SNK's The King of Fighters, CVS2 will please even the most jaded fighting game players with it's unique Groove system- which allows you to choose a set of sub-systems for your team, Free Ratio system - which allows you to make any one character on your team stronger than the others, and advanced techniques such as Roll Cancel, Pop Super and Custom Combos.

Tired of SFIV and want to try a game that'll challenge you on everything you've already learned? Look no further than CVS2.

The Dreamcast version is arcade perfect, with the PS2 version running slightly faster than it should. The Xbox and Gamecube versions (EO) should be avoided at all costs.

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150px Garou: Mark of the Wolves 1999 SNK's answer to SF3. A reboot of the Fatal Fury/Garou Densetsu series; likewise, the only returning character from previous games is Terry Bogard.
The sprites are among the best low res 2D ones there are, and the graphics are the best you'll see on the Neo Geo. Of particular note are Terry's stage (the train) and Gato's stage (the waterfall).
MOTW introduces Just Defend (known in most games afterwards as Instant Block), which lowers the amount of time you're in blockstun when you block a move and is performed by tapping back as the move connects. Unique to MOTW, however, is the ability to Guard Cancel during a successful Just Defend. GC's are essentially reversals performed during blockstun.Best played on a Neo Geo emulator or MAME, but the 360 and PS2 ports are good, as well. The AES version goes for around $1000 USD at the time of this writing.
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150px Guilty Gear XX: Accent Core 2006 The final installment of the legendary GGXX series, Accent Core is arguably the best 2D fighter ever made. With a balanced roster of 23 unique characters, an overall faster pace than the previous games in the series and the signature heart and soul we've all come to expect from Arc System Works, there's a lot to love about Accent Core.
Among other changes, Accent Core introduces Slashback - a risky albeit rewarding parry, Throwbreak, Force Break - essentially EX moves, and Ground Slide Attribute, which is now on many special moves.
The PS2 port of the game is pretty good (it runs a few frames faster than the arcade version), but it can also be played in nullDC (with online play) and pretty much every other NAOMI emulator, as well.
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150px The King of Fighters 98 1998 "Nothing's gonna stop it's 1998"

The first Dream Match in the KOF series, KOF98 is regarded by many to be the best game in the series, thanks to it's balanced roster, unique mechanics and depth. If you have yet to play a KOF game, this would probably be the best one to start with.

If you come away with a bitter taste in your mouth from the "clunkiness" of the game (don't worry, it's all perceived), give KOF2002 a try instead.

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150px The King of Fighters 2002 2002 The second Dream Match, KOF2002 is a crazier, weirder game than KOF98. However, it also has more characters, and some prefer the crazy system direction over the cut-and-dry KOF98. 200px
150px The King of Fighters XIII 2010 Street Fighter Bore? BlazWho? Step aside son, the new hotness is in town and it's name is XIII!Featuring beautiful hand drawn, high-res sprites, KOFXIII is a surprising effort from SNK Playmore to make a KOF game that looks as good as it plays. And does it play well.
XIII features custom combos in the form of HD Activation, as well as EX moves in the form of HD cancels. Also, the roster is rather balanced, despite what you might hear elsewhere.
Currently only available on the Type X2 arcade platform, but keep your eyes peeled for a console release in the near future.
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150px Last Bronx ~Tokyo Bangaichi~ 1996 A badass 3D weapons fighter from Sega AM3, Last Bronx is somewhat like VF2, just more badass. Fully playable on the Nebula Model 2 Emulator. 200px
150px Mortal Kombat II 1993 FINISH HIM.
The almost comedically gory fighting game that everyone played as a kid. It's lost a bit of luster, but it's still worth a nostalgia trip every now and then.
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150px Neo Geo Battle Coliseum 2005 A crossover between various SNK franchises, NGBC is a crazy fun tag team fighter with a large, balanced roster. Plays more like a Capcom game than most SNK titles, so if you're new to SNK games, this may be a good one to start with.

Ported to the Xbox 360 (via XBLA) and the PS2, although the PS2 port exhibits slowdown on some stages.
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150px The Outfoxies 1994 KILL YOUR ENEMY BY ANY MEANS. In this violent arena platformer, you are one of several professional assassins who have all been secretly hired to kill each other, by the conniving Mr. Acme. You fight the other assassins in one-on-one battles, each taking place in highly destructible stages with lots of guns and other weapons scattered about, like a prototype Super Smash Bros. The levels are a lot bigger than they look, and in many cases you can access new areas when parts of the stage get destroyed. The playable characters are varied and interesting, including a chimp in a tuxedo, a scientist in a high-tech wheelchair, a twin brother and sister, and guy with metal arms. 200px
150px The Rumble Fish 2 2005

An EXTREMELY RARE original fighting game by Dimps. It feels like the love child between KOF and Guilty Gear. Power bars are divided in Offensive and Defensive which are used for special techniques or super arts. Features beautiful player sprites with smooth animations and a catchy albeit repetitive soundtrack.

Runs on the Atomiswave system, which is very rare but you can emulate it with Demul 0.5.7. You can also unlock certain characters by inputting some passwords in the operator menu.

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150px Samurai Shodown 64 1997 It's one of the few Hyper Neo Geo 64 games, and boy is it good. Same ole' Samurai Shodown gameplay but in some very nice 3D. 200px
150px Sonic The Fighters/Sonic Championship 1996 A Virtua Fighter-ish type of game that looks pretty good for 1996 aracde fighters. The gameplay is pretty neat but not as in-depth as other fighting games made. The character selection is decent,but some of them you probably never even fucking remember. Some wierd shit is incorporated into this one such as a barrier system. 150px
150px Street Fighter Alpha 3 1998 The Alpha series is a black sheep to some (not as much as EX), however it's still damn good. You have more options of Super Combos, and now you can choose your "style". This let's you determine the kind of fighting you'll be doing (Balanced, speed, or power). Features some Final Fight characters, some from SF1, and DAN HIBIKI. 200px
150px Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike 1999 LET'S GET IT ON NOW.
A masterful entry in the SF series. Choose your character then choose your Super Combo, which determines how quickly you can use it. Features different characters from 2, but they mostly resemble their counterparts to an extent, just better.
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150px Super Street Fighter II: Turbo 1994 If you can get past the fact that the announcer sounds like Big Bird, you'll find that Super Turbo is still one of the most enjoyable fighting games there is, all these years later.
A surprisingly well balanced roster (barring some very bad match-ups, I'm looking at you E. Honda) and an insanely fast pace set this game apart from the other entries in the series.
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150px Super Street Fighter IV 2010 Now considered to be the best Street Fighter (of this gen), as it's not really a Ken Fighter any more. Also, Korean babe Juri is in it nao. If you aren't too keen on SF3, then IV is more of a return to 2's roots. Followed by Ultra Street Fighter IV, which adds 5 more characters. 200px
150px Tekken 6 2009 I <3 JUGGLAN.
Seriously though, it's one of the prettiest fighters around, and it's still going too. Getting a bit unrealistic with a cyborg-chick who can throw her HEAD at opponents and an illegitimate son of the Mishima bloodline who has dragon ball-styled hair. Regardless of all this, it's a really great fighting game.
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150px Vampire Savior 1997 One of the most revered 2D fighters of all time, Vampire Savior is among the most difficult and rewarding fighting games there is. With a slew of firsts for the genre, VSAV is truly one of the classics. Daigo Umehara once said that it was his favorite fighting game, and seeing how good he is at it, it's not hard to believe.
Can be played in any CPS2 emulator or MAME, and the Saturn port is arcade perfect (though it requires a 4MB RAM cartridge).
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150px Virtua Fighter 2 1994 The game that practically started the Japanese arcade scene was we know it, VF2 is a classic in every sense of the word, albeit a bit of an acquired taste. You see, VF2 is one of the last 3D fighters that didn't allow for on-the-fly Z-axis movement, so you're not playing Virtua Fighter as much as you are Samurai Shodown with ringouts. Still, I'd recommend anyone interested in 3D fighters plays this game at least once.
The game is fully playable in the Nebula Model 2 Emulator, and the Saturn port is acceptably good (in spite of the graphics taking a hit).
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150px Virtua Fighter 4: Final Tuned 2004 The last Virtua Fighter produced by Yu Suzuki, Final Tuned is considered by some to be the best game in the series, and even the best fighting game ever made. It is definitely one of the more "pure" VF's, in that moral play is rewarded more than the abare style that is rewarded in VF5.
The game is fully playable in Demul, and practically every NAOMI 2 emulator. The system requirements are quite high, however.
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150px World Heroes 2 1993 One of those old ass Neo Geo games, WH2 is a damn silly game. Especially if you play Death Match mode, which is practically the only reason to play this game over the revised WH2: Jet.

Death Match mode is rather simple; you and the other player fight on a stage, usually littered with environmental hazards, and you play tug of war with a shared life bar.
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Rhythm Edit

Series Latest release Description Screenshot
beatmania

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2002

beatmania THE FINAL

The original DJ Sim game, the "prequel" to IIDX. Plays the same, but has only 5 keys instead of 7. Has many of its own songs that never appeared in IIDX, and is great to see the beginning of BEMANI. Every arcade title is playable on MAME. If you find its offshoot, beatmania III THE FINAL, PLAY IT!! It's a beefier more advanced system with more songs and a pedal. 200px
beatmania IIDX

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2012

beatmania IIDX 20 Tricoro

A DJ Sim game, where you play using a turn-table (scratching) and key sounded buttons, pressing or scratching in time when it hits the red line at the bottom. Big learning curve, but for those willing to learn, it's great fun. The Simulator to this is BePatchi Music, as this is the only one that's still in development (and is looking very promising) not anymore. Best simulator is Lunatic Rave 2 since it's the most supported by the community and still being developed. 200px
Dance Dance Revolution

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2010/2011

Dance Dance Revolution X2

In this game, you use your FEET to play!

That's pretty much the premise of the game, and has done unbelievably well with it. You step on the designated platforms in time to match it up with the arrows on top of the screen. You'll most likely see the EXTREME version, Super Nova/Super Nova 2 or DDR X. There's been a Extreme Plus game seen around, but it's just a hacked 8th Mix, now with optional speed settings~

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DJMax Technika

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2011

DJMax Technika 3

Rhythm game that uses a touch screen for play. Difficulties that span from easy to start to god damn near impossible. Has four game modes, Lite mixing (easy mode, this is where you start off to get the hang of the game), Popular mixing (normal mode, this is where you get good at the game), Technical Mixing (hardcore mode for hardcore gamers, I did not make this up it says that word for word in the game), and Platinum Crew (online mode where you need a card to play, cards are usually 8 bucks and are worth it if you want to get into the game). Technical mixing is where you choose a set which has 8 songs to choose 3 to play in a set order, final song in the set is a boss song to be determined by your performance on the 3 songs you chose yourself. Platinum Crew allows access to missions which unlock songs to play in popular mixing, weekly challenges, and monthly special charts for songs (the special charts are extremely hard). 200px
DrumMania

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2011

DrumMania V8

Same deal as Guitar Freaks, but with a drum set. This was ripped off by Rock Band, but they got the majority of their ideas from GH, but now with added drum set flavor. 200px
Guitar Freaks

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2011

GuitarFreaks V8

Just like Guitar Hero (GF came first) you hold the correct button-chord and strum the guitar when the note hits the appropriate line; Can link up with DrumMania for serious RAWKIN' OWT. Despite what ANYONE tells you, Guitar Hero ripped it's concept of this very same game, but GF contains more Eastern-style music, whereas GH contains western-style music. Go figure. 200px
In the Groove

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2005

In the Groove 2

The American version of Dance Dance Revolution, started as open-source project StepMania thrown into an arcade case. Unique in arcades in that you can bring your USB key to save your scores and upload custom steps & music to the arcade machine. Virtually infinite replayability. It's considered much more difficult than DDR, with landmines where you have to take your foot OFF the sensors, and and triple or quadruple arrow maneuvers. The Japanese DDR tourneyfags refuse to play it due to it being "harmful to their legs". 200px
jubeat

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2012

jubeat copious APPEND

A strange new rhythm game by Bemani (guy who made DDR, IIDX & all the rest). The game consists of a cube where you have to push certain pressure-sensors in time to the music. 200px,
Pop'n Music

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2011

Pop'n Music Fantasia (20)

Similar to IIDX, but with with either 5, 7 or 9 big colored buttons arranged in a horizontal zig-zag pattern. Pretty much for kids, or man-children. Only the mightiest of music masters need apply. Contains nothing but pure unadulterated J-Pop/rock/dance. 200px
Pump It Up

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2010

Pump It Up Fiesta EX

Often rejected and called a DDR ripoff, but it is in fact quite different. Features 5 step panels and frantic stepcharts making this game exhaustingly fun. It rivals In The Groove in being one of the hardest games involving step panels. See for yourself.

Since NX2 it features a Quest Mode (World Max in NX2 and NX Absolute), which saves progress in an USB flashdrive and consists of playing songs with different modifiers. Confirmed to eat your quarters if you plan on playing seriously.

There's also the Pro series made by the ITG team that's aimed towards DDR/ITG players if you're interested, although be aware that the main series feels completely different.

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Run and guns Edit

Art Title Year Description Screenshot
Elevator Action II 1994 This game is similar to the original but is faster paced and has more action. You can move faster, jump longer distances, you have a life bar and also find different weapons. There are also lots of different types of enemies this time, and the game features 3 characters from wich to choose from.
150px FixEight 1993 The sequel to Out Zone. Upgrades the weapon system tenfold by introducing a third tier of power and adding multiple rainbow "change pads" throughout the level to cycle through your arsenal. Still requires a bit of strategy but not as intense as Out Zone. It's even got multiple characters: Mike Tyson, Johnny 5, Doctor Manhat-das Gandhi, a ninja and a goddamn lizardman restaurant manager. How's that for variety? 150px
150px Ghouls 'n Ghosts 1988 The granddaddy of the platformer/run and gun genre. You reprise the role of Arthur who must rescue his beloved Prin-Prin (again) from the depths of the Demon World. A few improvements over the original include Magic Armor that lets you charge your weapon and the ability to fire directly above and below. The Ghosts 'n Goblins name has become synonymous with impossible, soul-crushing difficulty levels and Ghouls 'n Ghosts is no slouch in that department. Expect to be overwhelmed by monsters appearing EVERYWHERE and you dying. Oh yes, the dying...
Ported to the Sega Genesis with cheat codes, something that barely dampens the difficulty.
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150px Gunforce 2 / Geo Storm 1994 A precursor to the entire Metal Slug franchise, from a lot of the same crew. Includes special weapons and a power-up that makes your character go crazy, tons of vehicles, and hot babes to rescue. 200px
150px Ikari Warriors 1986 Ever wanted to be John Rambo? Want to put some hair on your chest? Well now you can! Ikari Warriors cashed in on Rambo and the Commando top-down run-and-gun craze of 1985. Unlike Commando, however, the game features limited ammo, further emulating the resourceful Rambo mindset. There is no forced scrolling so you can carefully prey upon the hapless neo-Nazi soldiers at your leisure, JUST LIKE RAMBO! It also has tanks and multiplayer. Did I mention Rambo?
Rereleased on the NES.
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150px Metal Slug X 1999 Don't let the 'X' fool you, it's Metal Slug 2 remastered. Metal Slug X patches up a lot of problems to the original game, making this one strong entry into the series. Introduces several new weapons, vehicles and enemy types, with a new common enemy: the Mars People. There's also character transformations which turn you into a slow walking mummy or even obese! The Metal Slug series is known for its humor and amazing sprite work, where nearly everything has its own unique animation. 200px
150px Metal Slug 3 2000 Metal Slug 3 was SNK's last Metal Slug title before going bankrupt. Despite this, the game is a love letter to its fans and the pinnacle of the run and gun genre. 3 adds a huge amount of new vehicles and a branched path system. The final level is easily the best stage in an action game, ever, taking as long as all of the other levels combined. It has a shmup portion as you leave Earth's orbit, a showdown between your abducted comrade's clones on a UFO, and, for its climax, a boss fight against Rootmars as you plummet through Earth's atmosphere. 200px
150px Out Zone 1990 A challenging run and gun in which you're a cyborg soldier tasked to repel an alien invasion. You can swap between an automatic, all-directional rifle or fixed-forward spread. Knowing when to swap weapons is half the challenge. Has an improved sequel above, FixEight, but it's still a good game with some very slick controls. 150px
150px Smash T.V. 1990 BIG MONEY. BIG PRIZES. I LOVE IT.
A game show where you're given the chance to earn millions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of toasters, VCRs, automobiles and enough vacation passes for ten generations. Sounds good, right? All it asks for is your QUARTERS! This is seriously overwhelming in solo play, but with two-players you are assured a great experience. Utilizes two joysticks, one for movement and the other to fire with. Totally inspired by The Running Man, dude!
Rereleased as Super Smash TV on the SNES, and a bunch others.
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150px Sunset Riders 1991 "Draw, Pilgrim!"
Oh.. what's that? Your first western was Red Dead Redemption? You don't know SHIT about SHIT. This was the game that separated the boys from the men. Sunset Riders is an Old West-style game with action packed levels across two planes of combat, with sections on foot and horseback. All of which makes for a fucking amazing 4-player, rip-roaring hootenanny. Are you ready for some pow-wow, Gringo?
The only good port for this is on the SNES, stay away from the Genesis one.
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The Outfoxies 1994 It's a weird but awesome game that feells like a cross between Elevator Action 2 and Super Smash bros. Basically seven hitmen have been coerced into fighting each other, the characters range from fairly "normal" guys like a guy with a robot hand to really weird things like a chimpanzee dressed up in a tux and top hat.The fights are one on one, but you'll find lots of weapons lying around and also all the enviroments can be destroyed while you fight. Give this one a try, is super awesome !
150px Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa 1992 A much easier and more cartoony spin on Sunset Riders, now with Cowboys. I know what you're thinking, "FURRY SHIT!", and I agree, but the cartoon aesthetic is actually quite charming. Some key differences are that you have a 3-hit life bar instead of 1, you can charge like a bull and use special attacks, and bosses are bigger and badder! 200px

Racing Edit

Art Title Year Description Screenshot
150px Daytona USA 1992 ROOOOOOOOLLIIIIING STAAAAAAAAAART

The game that started the 3D arcade racer is also one of the best games in the genre. Daytona will have you frantically mastering your driving technique; be it the pit lane trick on the Beginner course, or the nasty hairpin towards the end of the Expert course, Daytona never fails to deliver a challenge.

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150px San Francisco Rush 2049 1999 Not just racing, but exploring - stunts, jumps, using shortcuts that are present or Rainbow-Road type. The first in the series (San Francisco Rush) was the first racer to use a numpad password system to remember your racetimes and upgrades purchased for your car. SF Rush 2049 is shinier improvement on the original. 200px
150px Initial D Arcade Stage: Version 3 2003 Sega Rosso in their prime, Version 3 is in the opinion of many a jaded racer fan the best game in the genre.
And really, can you blame them? Between the energetic Super Eurobeat soundtrack, the insanely difficult courses modeled after real mountain passes in Japan, and the massive selection of licensed cars from Japanese auto manufacturers, what is there not to love?What separates Version 3 from Versions 1 and 2 is the removal of many game breaking glitches as well as a rebalancing of the game (say goodbye to the days of ITR dominance, Version 2 fans). What you're left with is a game where skill triumphs all -- even fully tuned cars can be taken down by a superior driver in a stock one.Between brushing up your racing line and mastering advanced techniques such as TST and Eraser, Version 3 will keep you occupied for months, even years, as you continually improve at the game.If you're looking for the ultimate challenge in arcade racing, fall into this game's web of desire and never look back.
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150px Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 3DX+ 2010 The latest update to Maximum Tune 3, DX+ adds both the classic KPGC10 Skyline GT-R as well as the brand new 2010 GT-R to the already monstrously large roster of cars. Past that, it is pretty much the same game as 3DX; so just kick back, relax, enjoy Yuzo Koshiro doing trance right, and cut people off on the freeway like you do in real life anyways. 200pxwil

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