Real Talk By: KJ
Seeing is Believing. After years of blasting away Arcade Baddies, it felt right to unveil our Big 12. Here is Play Legit’s Greatest Light-Gun Shooting Games of All Time. This was definitely a tough list to put together, as this genre is loaded with quality. The player’s resolve (and wallet) was tested over the years. Before we get things rolling, you have to check out the following games below:
Honorable Mentions: Dark Escape 4D
The 3D effect pops, while the game actually tracks your heart rate.
One of the early on-rail shooters. Invade enemy camps and free tons of civilian lives.
OO7 meets Virtua Cop. Filled with Cool spy gadgets too.
T2: The Arcade Game
Fight waves, and waves, and waves of Skynet bots.
12. Area 51
Live action, and pre-rendered enemies made Area 51 quite a looker back in the day. Cinematics would play right in front of you, with NPC’s coming on the screen yelling instructions. You and the other S.T.A.A.R (Strategic Tactical Advanced Alien Response) agents would annihilate this threat before it could grow any larger. At least for a bit. I would store my earned grenades and wait till a boss battle. There were so many explodable barrels, that holding onto your bombs was worth the risk. The sequel “Site 4”, would arrive later, but I really liked the first one a lot more.
11. Virtua Cop
In this police officer title every enemy on-screen poses a threat, and usually wears sunglasses. Forcing you to respond immediately, this 3D shooter took gamers through various locations involving the city’s top crooks. Virtua Cop would be made into a trilogy, and the original would port to Sega Saturn. Sega’s Virtua line of games all had memorizing graphics for the time period, while maintaining the awesome gameplay people in the 90’s desired.
10. LA Machineguns
Get to the chopper! I remember back in the day GunBlade NYC, and then its sequel LA Machineguns. The first game had users shooting out of a helicopter. LA was in hover vehicles. Both games have you blasting evil robots in a constantly moving title. There is never a delay in-game. Mow down anything in the streets. Do it fast. Bad Guys could take a licking. Fortunately enough, ammo was unlimited, you just needed the skills. Both games were ported for Wii. LA makes the list because of its more interesting areas, and longer play time.
9. Lethal Enforcers
Pre-rendered graphics. The greatest thugs of the 90’s enter the fray. LE was like Lethal Weapon or any Chuck Norris movie come to life. Appealing gameplay, all putting the handgun to use. A sequel would go back to the old west. The third game in modern times. Throughout the ports, and new additions we would remember the first. Was it the hilarious trash talking goons, the cool areas players would visit? It had to be the stunner shades that 90 percent of the thugs were equipped with. They must have been friends with the gang members from Virtua Cop.
8. Silent Scope
Search and Destroy is the name of the game. Find your target. Make sure it’s the right one. Blast away the bad guy. Sometimes you would need to protect other members of law enforcement as well. This is Silent Scope in a nutshell. The monitor would give you an overlay of the area. However, using the gun, looking into the scope would give you the zoomed-in view you needed. Precession is the only key to winning here. A shooter for the hardcore fans well ahead of its time.
7. Point Blank
Point Blank was one big highlight reel. It was Like the WarioWare or Work Time Fun of arcade capping. Go through dozens of shooting galleries with stages featuring many targets. Silly to serious. One segment lets marksmen shoot a parked car until it explodes. Another takes you to an amusement park stage filled with toy animals. Obviously my favorite involves blasting away Ninjas in an ancient castle. We would see Playstation sequels and even an DS port too. How about a sequel Namco? It’s time.
6. The Lost World: Jurassic Park
A game that was a movie tie-in. This should have been terrible. Right? Play as park rescue rangers trying to save civilians from the dinosaurs that have broken free of their cages. The Jeep Riding segments mixed up the action well. Players had to be fast on the gun as raptors would strike without reserve, popping out of unexpected places. Loaded-up with hilarious voice acting, and flagship-funny screaming noises. In the end this game delivered, not sure we can say the same about the feature film.
5. police 911
Was expensive as hell to play back in the day. You would pay for every mistake immediately. Along with a boxing game (I thoroughly enjoyed) known as mo-cap boxing, came a police game using the same-tech . Actually both were side by side at my local arcade. Police 911 wasn’t about shooting at every opportunity. Players would have to pick their spots. The motion-tech allowed you to take cover physically, versus stepping on a pedal or hitting a button. The presentation made it feel like an episode of Cops as well.
4. Star Wars Arcade Trilogy
In this title you had more of a joystick blaster, versus a traditional firearm. Regardless of the make, the goals remained the same. Shoot everything. SEGA brings us an arcade game that would feature fun levels from all three classic Star Wars films. A bonus stage would pit you face to face with Darth Vader or Boba Fett. Return of The Jedi was my favorite area. Riding on the speeder, and shooting the guards off theirs. All-the-while weaving between trees in the forest. You couldn’t help but be reminded of the movies when playing.
3. Ghost Squad
Ghost Squad has much of the reflex based mechanics your familiar with in Time Crisis, but you weren’t able to take cover manually. Most developers would grab your arcade cash with cheap bullet-sponge-bosses. This isn’t the case with GS. It is possible to go through an entire level and fail on the boss sequence. You’re hit with a “Mission Aborted” label. Somebody could have done every thing right in the mission up until the last part. Screw that up and you’re forced to try the entire level again. No options soldier! This makes every action matter. Players need to rely on each others accuracy. Adjust your shot on the fly, using the gun peripheral. Branching Paths were already available, and even more for console owners would be designed in the future.
2. House of The Dead 2
Memorable awesome quotes. My friends and I still randomly say “Dogs of the AMS“. While the bosses were some of best in corniness (especially that flying bat bastard with the squeaky voice) locations were eerie, and the Dreamcast port remains in high regard. You can really put the entire series on here. If you want to, go for it. For me, I would say this is the highlight game in the saga. The right amount of Cheese, polish, and absolute fun. I can hear “Reload, R-R-R-Reload!” in my head.
1. Time Crisis 2
Which one do you pick? Time Crisis one, Two, Zone, Three, Four and Razing Storm. They all do the series justice. Across all games in the series, it’s all about the pedal. Step on it to pop out of cover. Release to duck down. However, Part two was the first to add a coop system. This wasn’t your typical team-up game either. Each player had their own screen to look on. They would have different camera angles to play with. It was like experiencing two different Time Crisis games at the same time. Shooting the guns was awesome, because the arcade gun would snap-back from the recoil after each round fired. It seemed like everything in the environment was destructible, with some areas hiding secrets. Time Crisis 2 changed the way light gun games in coop would be played forever. A trend setter on so many levels.
We Ranked The Best in Arcade Light-Gun Shooting. Home consoles will be next. Stay Legit.
5 thoughts on “The Greatest Arcade Shooters Of All Time”
Can you make the top portion of your site thinner?
It covers almost 30% of the screen. It’s very annoying.
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I have good memories of playing those top two picks with my brother in the arcade at the shore when we were teenagers. Great choices.
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Great list, I have always preferred this set up for shooters as opposed to first person shooters, actually. I need to look up Operation Wolf and Point Blank, those are the only on the list I haven’t played.
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Thanks fam. Yeah Point Blank is non-stop action.