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 Post subject: Favorite Run'N'Gun Game(s)?
PostPosted: Fri Mar 12, 2021 2:53 pm 


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Hi everyone, new to the forum. I love run'n'gun games and I know that they are considered to be part of the STG genre, so I want to know this: what is your favorite run'n'gun game?


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 Post subject: Re: Favorite Run'N'Gun Game(s)?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2021 4:15 am 


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I love Contra: Shattered Soldier. That game is my aesthetic to a tee. No doubt about it, that one gets my vote.

Actually, almost every Contra game is pretty great. The first one on NES/Famicom and the Japanese Mega Drive version of Hard Corps are fantastic as well.

Speaking of Konami, I have a soft spot for Sunset Riders and western themed games.

Also, the first Metal Slug is a lot of fun.

And I really liked the little bit of Dolphin Blue that I played.
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 Post subject: Re: Favorite Run'N'Gun Game(s)?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2021 1:51 pm 


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Completely agree with that. Contra NES and Super C are both fantastic games as an introduction to the genre (and good games to 1cc also). Metal Slug 1 is interesting because it's the easiest in the series and has the least crazy gimmicks but it's still fun. Still also super tough to 1cc because of the final level.

One of my favorites is Gunstar Heroes/Dynamite Headdy/Alien Soldier. I know that the opinion that Treasure games are good is beaten to death at this point by everyone on the internet, but these games are just so good.


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 Post subject: Re: Favorite Run'N'Gun Game(s)?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2021 2:01 pm 


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Location: A star occupied by the Bydo Empire
Contra
Super Contra
Contra III
Contra: Shattered Soldier
Contra Rebirth
Metal Slug
Metal Slug X
Metal Slug 3
Metal Slug XX
Gunstar Heroes
Sunset Riders
Midnight Resistance

If I had to pick just one, it'd be the OG Metal Slug. Or... Gunstar Heroes? Contra 1? Guess it's good I don't have to pick just one.


BONUS: favorite Commando clones
Ikari Warriors
Mercs
Total Carnage
Pocky & Rocky
Neo Contra
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 Post subject: Re: Favorite Run'N'Gun Game(s)?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2021 5:08 pm 


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Geostorm / Gunforce II
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 Post subject: Re: Favorite Run'N'Gun Game(s)?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2021 7:03 pm 


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^ killer game, sorely in need of ACA treatment.

CLICK 4 THEME OF GEOSTORM ♫
Spoiler: show
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Best window sniper defenestration in all gaming. Image
*CRACK*
Spoiler: show
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Speaking of window sniper defenestrations (Neo Contra's comically gut-wrenching hollers and flowerpot-droppers invade my mind!),

To Far Away Times wrote:
I love Contra: Shattered Soldier. That game is my aesthetic to a tee.


Still my favourite flamejet/incendiary effects in any polygonal action game, ever. They're helped by the dark hues, dim lighting and low resolution, but regardless - can practically smell the napalm. Image

KUMA wrote:
Alien Soldier. I know that the opinion that Treasure games are good is beaten to death at this point by everyone on the internet, but these games are just so good.


Have you played Sin & Punishment? While it's technically more Cabal x Panzer Dragoon (2D plane + 3D world) - in terms of its stylishly breakneck pace, as well as several mechanics like the double-jump, i-framed dodge, and double-tapped bullet-deflecting melee, I've come to regard it as the Alien Soldier 2 that never was.

I suppose those three mechanics also apply to Wild Guns, which predates AS, but the resemblance holds. ;3
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 Post subject: Re: Favorite Run'N'Gun Game(s)?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2021 8:17 pm 


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Contra: Shattered Soldier would probably get my vote as best entry in the genre. One of my proudest 1LC's, too.

In the Contra vs. Metal Slug -debate I lean towards Contra, though I can't put my finger on exactly why. Even though I own MVS carts of couple of the 'Slugs, I just haven't managed to dedicate myself into 1CCing any of them. There's just something about them that doesn't click quite in the same way as Contras do. Maybe it's the themes - Metal Slug is always a bit tongue-in-cheek with its shtick (Camel Slug, getting fat, etc.) while Contra somehow manages to take the most ridiculous things (like holding on to a flying missile with fighting a boss, or having a space station explode while you're inside it and then you just continue the battle while falling towards Earth, hopping from one piece of debris to another) and still play it straight and seriously. And I just love that.

Bit out of the left field, but Gunners Heaven (aka. Rapid Reload) on the PS1 is really good. And I just realized it shares some features with Shattered Soldier: Both have tons of bosses, a set of always available weapons where you can switch between them at will, and direction and/or movement locking. The latter two are something I really enjoy in my run 'n guns, and none of the 'Slugs have those. That probably plays a factor in my preference as well.
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 Post subject: Re: Favorite Run'N'Gun Game(s)?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2021 8:43 pm 


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I prefer Contra over Metal Slug as well.

Metal slug has great spritework but gameplay wise they're solid but not spectacular. Contra plays a little better, is more frantic, but also gives you plenty of 1ups to make up for it. And Contra games have amazing soundtracks. They're just more exciting games.
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 Post subject: Re: Favorite Run'N'Gun Game(s)?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2021 8:49 pm 


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While I'm a fan of both, Slug is genuinely *very* different from Contra - lately, I've considered it to owe just as much to Ikari and Ninja Spirit.

Ikari contributed the gun/grenade/tank triptych, with Slug adding a sorely-needed knife. This multifunctionality isn't really a thing in the shooting-dominant Contras, nor is the ammo management it entails. Learning where to expend your special weapons with extreme prejudice, and where to hold back, and when/when not to suicide your vehicles is the quintessential Slug learning curve. At a stretch, POWs that grant resources are straight outta the TRVE & HONEST Ikari III (or perhaps Ikari II, if you regard Dogosoken as that game's companion rather than sequel), Guevara.

The combination of free overlap with human enemies, and giant hitboxes on your weapons causing mass carnage with every attack, is 100% Ninja Spirit. You're free to dive into the scrum in both games, slashing and gashing through virtual walls of enemies - on the tacit understanding that if a gun or knife escapes your notice, you'll die with shocking abruptness. With a few exceptions, like MSX's swordsmen, enemies getting close isn't an instant DEFCON 1.

Spoiler: show
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Spoiler: show
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Again, this is wildly unlike Contra, where surgically dispatching enemies at barrel-length is de rigeur. Contra's action owes more to the icy precision of Green Beret, imo.

Important to note, from a genealogical perspective: Ikari and Ninja Spirit owe much to Taito's Front Line and Legend of Kage, respectively. So in an odd way, while not having an iconic run/gun series ala Contra/Slug, I consider Taito as important to this subgenre as others, like the classic vert STG and the single-screen platformer. Also worth noting that the other half of Saigo (edit: not Kage!) is conspicuously Contra/Gradius-styled shooting, so Konami are certainly not to be downplayed re Slug, either.

Wheee, gaming genealogy! Image
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 Post subject: Re: Favorite Run'N'Gun Game(s)?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2021 9:51 pm 


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I'm slowly putting together a page dedicated to the history of side-scrolling for my game studio's website. It's not up yet, but right now, these are the titles I've singled out as the best:

Daimakaimura (1988)
Strider Hiryu (1989)
The Super Shinobi (1989)
Sunset Riders (1991)
Assault Suits Valken (1992)
Rocket Knight Adventures (1993)
Mystic Warriors (1993)
Contra: The Hard Corps (1994)
Alien Soldier (1995)
Metal Slug (1996)
Rockman X4 (1997)
Hard Corps: Uprising (2011)

Hopefully it helps! There are also a few other titles on there like Super Mario World, Sonic the Hedgehog 3, and Chi no Rondo, but you asked for run-and-guns. There's an argument to be made that X/3 are better games than the original MS, but it's incredibly hard to decide, so I'm not sure yet; the other games there are the peaks of their respective series (in my opinion so far, at least -- still need to play Shattered Soldier). Then, I also have a list of lesser titles that are still worth celebrating for their art direction... ActRaiser 2, Demon's Crest, Symphony of the Night, Muramasa, Cuphead, GRIS, and so on.

This is my favorite 2D genre lol. So many fantastic games... Geo Storm and Ninja Spirit were already mentioned, and I second them for sure. Geo Storm is of course Slug before Slug (with a more serious atmosphere), and Ninja Spirit is just totally unique (thanks again to BIL for recommending it last year). Really frantic stages that almost toe the line of procgen RNG spam, without crossing it; it makes a great counterpart to Super Shinobi's more methodical ninja action. I bet it'd be really fun to play them both back to back.

Then, if you want to play something new and flashy for a bit, I really enjoyed Gunvolt Chronicles: Luminous Avenger iX. Super-stylish sidescroller with great art direction. The game's conceit is basically: what if Rockman let you effortlessly blaze past entire stages by air-dashing and pinballing off enemies, like some demented version of Sparkster? Daft as hell, but it's a lot of fun -- although you at least need to turn the Prevasion crutches off, or else the stages really are a complete joke. (The bosses play a bit more conventionally, with production values turned up to 11.) I haven't played the other Gunvolt games, but they look a LOT less cool... They seem to have gotten a tepid reception too, both around these parts and around the general gaming community.


Last edited by SriK on Sat Mar 13, 2021 10:29 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Favorite Run'N'Gun Game(s)?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2021 10:19 pm 


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Ninja Spirit's trick is that, while enemies in each sector can spawn with unknowably random timing/placement, they are nevertheless bound by iron rules - both how many can be onscreen at once (two Ryuichis, two Monks, and a Ghost at your back in st6-2? that's a full house! floor the gas and go go go!), and what they will do. Because while spacing is critical...

How 2 counter Ryuichi, from ground and air respectively - his KAZEKIRI is intimidating, but your jump acceleration beats it every time:
Spoiler: show
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Slowed-down:
Spoiler: show
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Round 4-1 is a dangerous joint Image Image


...this isn't a footsie game. Enemies will never dodge, or feint - they rush into striking range and attack, end of story. So as furiously volatile as NS can get (Round 6 is my favourite example of one-man videogame war, ever - utterly ruthless, making a joke of the plot armour in mainstream action games, let alone mainstream film/TV), it's never pure chaos. Rather, it's a constantly shifting array of set parts. Even if you've never encountered a particular configuration, with experience, you'll be able to devise solutions on the fly every time.

More volatile AI is something I'd love to see explored in a sequel, though it'd have to be very carefully implemented not to necessitate pulling back on sheer pace. Slug's enemies are more unruly, but by those games' nature, they're never quite as harrowing (even st6's infamous bridge can be kept well at bay, with a certainty that Saigo's own sixth stage is constantly undermining).

MS3's final stage crawler corridor very nearly hits a Saigo fever pitch, the big distinction being the long startup on their attacks.

Authentic terror reflex, frames from death:
Spoiler: show
Image


^^^ Entirely MY FAULT too, I shoulda bit the bullet and rushed under that parting shot from the Giant Walker, but my hands were spaghetti :mrgreen:
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 Post subject: Re: Favorite Run'N'Gun Game(s)?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2021 11:00 pm 



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The similarities are clearest when you compare PCE Ninja Spirit with Metal Slug.


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 Post subject: Re: Favorite Run'N'Gun Game(s)?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2021 12:03 am 


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Ninja Spirit's HuCard is very close to the PCB - frustratingly, its biggest deviations seem to have been down to human error/artistic choice, not necessarily tech limitations. Still a classic work in its own right - the sort of situation where, had the PCB never existed, the port would shoulder 90% of its renown handily. See also MD & SGX Daimakaimura.

Just needed a CD reissue for that head-loppingly sharp/floorboard-rumblingly deep Masahiko Ishida sound. ^__^ (Round 3 just ain't the same without the PCB's guttural, pulsing MOON - the sound of a lone soldier shredding all who impede him, just a man and his will to SURVIVE Image Image)
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 Post subject: Re: Favorite Run'N'Gun Game(s)?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2021 2:19 am 


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Quote:
Have you played Sin & Punishment?


I've been meaning to get to it for a while. I wanted to play Silhouette Mirage first, but rn I'm playing Contra 3 Alien Wars. Fantastic game.


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 Post subject: Re: Favorite Run'N'Gun Game(s)?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2021 3:39 am 



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Did anyone say Demon Front?

People call it a Metal Slug clone, but it's really not much like MS, it's really its own game. Not the greatest, but I'm a huge fan of the art style and what they were going for. I wish they made a sequel (or three).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FojNKSZWX4U


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 Post subject: Re: Favorite Run'N'Gun Game(s)?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2021 8:13 am 


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Unless we're classifying Daimakaimura as run'n'gun (which I could get behind, but I do think it has a notably different feel to it), Contra 3 is the best game in the genre in my book.

IMO Demon Front is honestly at the level of some of the better Metal Slug games. It's a super good game, and very underrated.

I love Metal Slug, but from the ones I've dug seriously into (1, X, and 3) none of them are the flawless masterpieces they tend to be portrayed as. X is definitely the one that comes close, balancing a good pace and consistent challenge. IMO it only starts to really fall off a bit around the obnoxious end boss.


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 Post subject: Re: Favorite Run'N'Gun Game(s)?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2021 9:44 am 


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KUMA wrote:
Quote:
Have you played Sin & Punishment?


I've been meaning to get to it for a while. I wanted to play Silhouette Mirage first, but rn I'm playing Contra 3 Alien Wars. Fantastic game.


Silhouette's pace vexes me very slightly. As a cute but still considerably hardcore game ala Headdy, it's easily competitive - flawless controls and very cool ideas, not just polarity, but also guarding/grappling ("Gimme your money!" *BAP* "Gimme all your fuckin money!" *BAPBAPBAP* I can hear Shyna squealing in her best Bob De Nero :mrgreen:). I just miss the seamless, wordless flow of DH and Alien Soldier. A minor complaint, though. The content is excellent, and in less furied context, I wouldn't notice the occasional scene switches / boss convos. Lovely soundtrack.

It's definitely no Guardian Heroes, that one's unskippable chattering made my jaw drop. :shock: My kingdom for a DEMO SKIP option ala Bloodlines/Gleylancer.

I suspect Alien Soldier's own transcendently furious pace - one of the very few action games where a 30sec unskippable midpoint cutscene is not only understandable, but welcome - was helped by cart format. Short, crazy interview with the director - all gratitude to him, but I don't need to know Fou is probably messed up at what goes down in Act 3, particularly after he chased down Xi Tiger and cauterised him a new asshole in Act 1 (after the ultimate videogaming power fantasy: jumping the queue in the boarding lounge. Drop the weapon? I AM THE WEAPON *in background: body scanner losing its shit*)

The parting image of the setting sun as he blasts off to settle the score is enough. This is... MENS DRAMA (■`ω´■) :lol:
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 Post subject: Re: Favorite Run'N'Gun Game(s)?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2021 5:06 pm 



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I'd have to go with the Contra and Metal Slug series. Along with Gunstar Heroes and Alien Soldier. Should the Sin and Punishment series count as well?
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 Post subject: Re: Favorite Run'N'Gun Game(s)?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2021 5:10 pm 


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I would rephrase the question slightly, to should Cabal count - S&P is basically that game's 2D carnival shooter via Panzer Dragoon's roving polygonal viewpoint. :smile:

(For those who've not played S&P - while your character frequently autopilots themself down streets, through corridors etc, looking like a third-person shooter ala Jet Force Gemini - you're only ever in control of their horizontal position, via digital left/right inputs, plus a jump button for clearing pits. Otherwise, you're controlling their gunsights ala Cabal. Hence S&P seamlessly turning into a sidescroller at a couple points, simply by pointing the camera at your side, rather than at your back)

I think of Cabal, Blood Bros, NAM 1975, Wild Guns and Gamshara as their own little STG-adjacent subgenre, with S&P as a merely stylistic evolution. (if a dev were determined and well-resourced enough, they could easily create something similar via scaling sprites, ala Konami's GI Joe - polys are just a more efficient medium)
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 Post subject: Re: Favorite Run'N'Gun Game(s)?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2021 8:20 pm 


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I'm not sure what a run'n'gun game is and this topic isn't helping. I made a Top 10 Games Mentioned on This Thread so that there's an answer for every criteria.

1. Saigo no Nindou
2. Daimakaimura
3. Demon Front (I love chaining kills and watching numbers go up, I'm shallow like that)
4. Contra FC/NES
5. Sin & Punishment
6. Alien Soldier
7. Sonic the Hedgehog 3
8. Contra III
9. Metal Slug
10. Contra: Hard Corps


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 Post subject: Re: Favorite Run'N'Gun Game(s)?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2021 11:48 pm 



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I think Sonic is clearly not a run'n'gun lol.

For something more borderline, do 2D mech games count? It's a sub-genre I really love.

You have:

Thexder (1985)
Assault Suit Leynos (1990)
Wolf Fang (1991)
Assault Suit Valken (1992)
Ex Ranza (1993)
Metal Warriors (1995)
Night Slave (1996)
Assault Suits Leynos 2 (1997)
Gigantic Army (2009?)
Gunhound EX (2013)

Wolf Fang is an auto scroller. If you like it there's also Atomic Runner, which has a different arcade and Mega Drive version.

Thexder's laser weapon aims itself, and you can transform into a ship and fly around. There's also its spiritual successor Alisia Dragoon on the Mega Drive, where you're no longer a transforming mech but a sorceress. You're very vulnerable when firing, and if your shot is charged it sends multiple beams to every adversary on the screen. The game plays very tactically with the terrain, it's all about finding safe spots to nuke everything on screen from.

If you like this sort of gameplay rooted in early Japanese PC games there's also El Viento. It's kind of mech-like in that your character there is tanky and is expected to tank some hits. From the same company that did Ex Ranza (but different team? I think). From the *same team* that did Ex Ranza is Granada, which is a really one of a kind game. Is categorized as a shmup on this forum AFAIK but can be considered a top down run'n'gun too.


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 Post subject: Re: Favorite Run'N'Gun Game(s)?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2021 11:02 am 


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Licorice wrote:
If you like this sort of gameplay rooted in early Japanese PC games there's also El Viento. It's kind of mech-like in that your character there is tanky and is expected to tank some hits.


El Viento would go from a good magic girl sidescroller to a great mecha one, imo. Particularly with the explosive crouch-dash and array of charge shots (especially the walloping nuke and sharp auto-aim). Even has a "tactical espionage action" element ala Ranza's, outrunning/gunning those bats in the last stage. And those obscenely chunky WOLFTEAM pixelsplosions, a joie de vivre uniting not only their best works, but Ranza too. :cool:

Image

I like to play as if the lifebar is half its actual length, meaning if it goes under 50%, I'm "dead" as far as I'm concerned. Very proud of my dolphin stage. :lol:

Quote:
From the same company that did Ex Ranza (but different team? I think). From the *same team* that did Ex Ranza is Granada, which is a really one of a kind game. Is categorized as a shmup on this forum AFAIK but can be considered a top down run'n'gun too.


Sounds about right - AFAIK it was actually Earnest Evans that featured later Granada/Ranza staff. While I can't call EE an outright good game on its own merits, I think it, too, would benefit greatly from an aesthetic overhaul. Earnest's crawl state looks (and feels) for all the goddamn world like a bipedal mecha switching to flatbed trailer mode, and his demented whip flailing would work great as a general area of effect radar beam, sort of a more erratic Thexder.
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 Post subject: Re: Favorite Run'N'Gun Game(s)?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2021 11:37 am 


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Hard Corps: Uprising is probably the best run'n'gun made in years, if not ever. The music, art, character variety, all top notch.

And if you want more traditional Contra, there's always 4.
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 Post subject: Re: Favorite Run'N'Gun Game(s)?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2021 12:51 pm 


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I can appreciate Uprising, but I don't like it.
I like my run & guns to be tight and snappy. Uprising at times just goes on and on and on......
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 Post subject: Re: Favorite Run'N'Gun Game(s)?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2021 1:09 pm 



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BIL wrote:
Earnest's crawl state looks (and feels) for all the goddamn world like a bipedal mecha switching to flatbed trailer mode, and his demented whip flailing would work great as a general area of effect radar beam, sort of a more erratic Thexder.

:lol: :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Favorite Run'N'Gun Game(s)?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2021 3:06 pm 



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BIL wrote:
I would rephrase the question slightly, to should Cabal count - S&P is basically that game's 2D carnival shooter via Panzer Dragoon's roving polygonal viewpoint. :smile:

(For those who've not played S&P - while your character frequently autopilots themself down streets, through corridors etc, looking like a third-person shooter ala Jet Force Gemini - you're only ever in control of their horizontal position, via digital left/right inputs, plus a jump button for clearing pits. Otherwise, you're controlling their gunsights ala Cabal. Hence S&P seamlessly turning into a sidescroller at a couple points, simply by pointing the camera at your side, rather than at your back)

I think of Cabal, Blood Bros, NAM 1975, Wild Guns and Gamshara as their own little STG-adjacent subgenre, with S&P as a merely stylistic evolution. (if a dev were determined and well-resourced enough, they could easily create something similar via scaling sprites, ala Konami's GI Joe - polys are just a more efficient medium)

Because S&P and Contra seem to have a lot in common.
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 Post subject: Re: Favorite Run'N'Gun Game(s)?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2021 3:06 pm 



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Licorice wrote:
I think Sonic is clearly not a run'n'gun lol.

For something more borderline, do 2D mech games count? It's a sub-genre I really love.

You have:

Thexder (1985)
Assault Suit Leynos (1990)
Wolf Fang (1991)
Assault Suit Valken (1992)
Ex Ranza (1993)
Metal Warriors (1995)
Night Slave (1996)
Assault Suits Leynos 2 (1997)
Gigantic Army (2009?)
Gunhound EX (2013)

Wolf Fang is an auto scroller. If you like it there's also Atomic Runner, which has a different arcade and Mega Drive version.

Thexder's laser weapon aims itself, and you can transform into a ship and fly around. There's also its spiritual successor Alisia Dragoon on the Mega Drive, where you're no longer a transforming mech but a sorceress. You're very vulnerable when firing, and if your shot is charged it sends multiple beams to every adversary on the screen. The game plays very tactically with the terrain, it's all about finding safe spots to nuke everything on screen from.

If you like this sort of gameplay rooted in early Japanese PC games there's also El Viento. It's kind of mech-like in that your character there is tanky and is expected to tank some hits. From the same company that did Ex Ranza (but different team? I think). From the *same team* that did Ex Ranza is Granada, which is a really one of a kind game. Is categorized as a shmup on this forum AFAIK but can be considered a top down run'n'gun too.

What, no Hardcore Mecha?
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 Post subject: Re: Favorite Run'N'Gun Game(s)?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2021 4:31 pm 


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xxx1993 wrote:
Because S&P and Contra seem to have a lot in common.


Sure. Actually, you could argue the original Contra's 3D substages prompted a character-based carnival shooting subgenre of their own (I'm not aware of earlier examples, though I've not gone looking, either). There's Cabal, Blood Bros, NAM 1975, Wild Guns, Gamshara, and SPINAL BREAKERS feat. Captain Waffle, at least. There's also Devastators and GI Joe, for ones that scale, rather than h/v scroll. Sin & Punishment is a character-based carnival shooter intersecting with a 3D world, rather like Klonoa is for sidescrolling platformers.

(I'm leaving Dynamite Duke out for now - it feels more like a midway point between Contra's character action and Operation Wolf's pure shooting, particularly with the lifebar, which functions like a "% dodged" scoring mechanism.

Although now that I think back, holy fuck can that game tear it up :shock: AND it rips off Super Contra's BGM! Image

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You know what, fuck it, Duke counts. Even you can't see he feets. Image Dunno about SNK's Super Spy and Crossed Swords, though. Haven't played either!)

Anyway, I wouldn't call the above "run and guns" in the same sense as Contra and Metal Slug, because the sidescrolling element is too important to me. But then I wouldn't call Rolling Thunder or Shinobi "run and guns" either, because neither have the STG-calibre firepower and bodycount.

Ninja Spirit's shooting is easily as murderous as Contra/Slug's, but it's worth noting that just like the similarly militant Daimakaimura - you can't actually run and shoot at the same time. Additionally, blades are easily as important (and destructive) in IREM's game, nudging it closer to a supercharged Legend of Kage.

Ultimately, I think you're better off playing all of these games extensively (as time/hardware permits), and deciding for yourself which you want you want to associate together. Rockman is arguably more of a run/gun than RT/Shinobi/NS/Dai, but his stage design and pacing tend to make my dick soft and floppy like cheese, so he doesn't usually cross my mind on the subject of Hardcore Killing. Image I enjoy the Rockman X + Zeros a lot, with their athletic movement and Zero's ninja aesthetic, though again they're not what I gravitate to when bodies must be stacked ceiling-high. I don't consider FC Ninja Gaiden a run/gun either, and I've lost Internet Friends™ nerdfighting over that one's merits. Image
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 Post subject: Re: Favorite Run'N'Gun Game(s)?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2021 8:02 pm 


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This is what I use...
  • Action platformers are the parent genre, encompassing everything in side-view which loosely adheres to a classic structure (as opposed to Metroidvanias, aka "search action" games, which are separate genre of side-view action)
  • Action shooters (or run-and-guns) are action platformers where your primary attack is projectile-based, regardless if it's a gun per se, and this includes mecha games
  • Side-view brawlers are action platformers where your primary attack is at a very close range (Shatterhand and Ninja Gaiden belong here, despite having some secondary long-range attacks, and despite playing pretty differently between themselves)

There are borderline cases, and in-between games like Castlevania which focus on medium-range action, but really this seems to cover most of it all. If it sounds weird to call a game where you fight with a sword a "brawler", then remember that we call games where you press A over and over "JRPGs".

Then it also depends how literally you take the "and". Makaimura, Shinobi, and Rolling Thunder are really run-or-guns, since you can't do both at the same time, and I think this difference in handling is one of the key things separating them from Contra and Metal Slug. There might even be more of these games than real run-and-guns... Maybe Alisia Dragoon and El Viento also count as particularly weird entries, in this sub-subgenre? I'm blanking on whether you can move while shooting in the former, it's been a while.

Gallery shooters I see as related but separate. They're like mini-TPSes, and they're awesome. I've just started getting into them recently after playing Wild Guns and its remake, and I compiled a reasonably complete list here for my own reference: https://www.dropbox.com/s/7597tp02hpwu2 ... s.txt?dl=0 -- It may get a real page eventually, if I play enough of them. Contra's base stages aren't quite the same thing, are they? I think the cursor is essential, since it decouples moving and shooting to an extent... But I'm sure Contra must have inspired the guys who made Cabal. (I remember the Wild Guns devs saying that they started with a setup a bit more like Contra's, where you moved the character horizontally and the cursor vertically, but players hated it :))

Speaking of Contra, I'm surprised to see that everyone so overwhelmingly prefers III over Hard Corps. Its side-view stages are immaculate, and they're much more dynamic than HC's (with less cruft like HC's cyclops miniboss and jungle boss)... but those top-down stages really kill my buzz, and they're half the game. I'd still take them over the aforementioned base stages any day, but I don't think the battle between these two games is quite so clear-cut, unless there's something I'm missing which makes these stages fly by in 15 seconds. Someone should make a fan remix that combines the best side-scrolling segments from both games... I guess Konami themselves tried with the GBA port, but I've heard it wasn't much good.

And yep Searchlike, Sonic is for sure not a run-and-gun lol. But if you made a Mario game where he was always powered up with a fire flower, it may be a run-and-gun :mrgreen: In fact it may be THE run-and-gun, since in Mario you have to run in order to shoot.


Last edited by SriK on Mon Mar 15, 2021 11:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Favorite Run'N'Gun Game(s)?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2021 8:38 pm 


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You know, I'd not even considered the crosshair element of Cabal vs Contra. :o That is a pretty major distinction. Although, from what I understand, Commando was indeed inspired by Front Line, despite jettisoning its signature rotary element. So maybe Cabal's designers were similarly modification-minded.

Weird outfit, TAD. I grew up assuming Toki was a European sidescroller, with its wilfully fugly Chuck Rock-esque MC... and Cabal's guffawing title screen and goofy victory sequences, WTF? Now I feel kind of ashamed for killing all those dudes! :lol:

I also had to think really hard re: Alisia - it's been years since I played it myself. I'm 99.9% certain you can move and shoot, though as TFT mentioned, it's more of a safespot game, especially on Hard. You're not very agile, you've no reliable shield, and you run out of juice quickly - plus bullets kill Alisia and her pets dead. Stage 3's opening turrets exemplify, get in those blind spots and snipe 'em with MAX meter and boomerang lizard.

My kingdom for a ROMhack that removes Alisia's annoying turnaround lag, which is about as welcome here as it would be in Contra. Great game other than that.

(let's see if the power of autosuggestion has convinced me you could run/shoot, and not merely bunnyhop/shoot ala Saigo/Dai :mrgreen:)

I decisively prefer III over HC, for the more consistent volatility - HC has a triad of intensely unpredictable bosses, in violent headbanger Spheroid Joe, hyper-hopping Claw Bahamut, and The Crawling Chaos of that crazy fuck DR CRAB, but a lot of the remainder is too static for my liking. Even some parts that are chaotic, like the Infested Base's mansized rooster rush, lack the unruly terrain and pitfalls of III's own hive.

That said, III's reliance on C+C exploit for high-level play is undeniably unfortunate (the grip I use cannot be healthy... thumb on [shot]+[jump], index on [switch], middle on [lock]). It's a decently balanced weapon, at the least - the short reach, narrow spread, and long decay are massive liabilities, without detailed knowledge of stages and bosses - but I almost wish the game simply had single slots with exploit efficacy. And the topdown stages, while I'll vouch for their sharply responsive Assault-style seek/destroy, are a much bigger ask than the previous games' b-sides.

And if you don't know the semi-obscure "Double-tap the shoulder buttons to quick-turn, counteracting spin tiles" mechanic, or the even less obvious "Keep the shoulder button depressed while lying prone, and you'll continue spinning when you get up" trick, you're boned at the st5 boss. You can indeed flatten both in very short order (1min apiece is very doable, from casual survival perspective) - and the latter's narrow footing and spawns are consistently dangerous, so I'm ok with 'em. Can immediately see why they annoy many, though.

(you can tell how nervous I was by my shameful victory non-pose @st5 boss. couldn't follow through on the st2 dominator! meanwhile, Master Hurblat goes ham like he's getting paid :shock:)

So I think III has higher highs, but also a degree of baggage HC avoids. I'm sure HC's best material, carefully arranged back-to-back, would've made a stronger game than either. Nakazato was avowedly going for replay value, but I think this was unfortunately shortsighted. I find the most replayable action games are the ones with the greatest volatility (Saigo and Dai are masterfully volatile from start to finish), with tactical variability the next greatest factor. With HC, I really have to steel myself to play more than a couple routes at a time, because each is gonna have me sitting through that jungle boss. The stage is okay, and even features one of HC's deadliest sequences, the Jungle Spheroid Bros' mortar rain... which you won't even necessarily see, and which is part-camouflaged by the status bar, but I love the do/die pressure, especially coupled with the slide's i-frames.

Incidentally, I grew up with the Genesis version, and am grateful for its lack of cheats (I'd have level-selected the whole thing in a weekend, after getting beaten into the floor by Noiman's Zodiacs) - but these days I like the MD one for its onboard stage select. Good way to play the Island Base, Alien Queen, Battle Train AND Big Magnum routes in one blistering shot. The game is 110% identical, save its hitpoints and Kanji, so F that noise about it being easier. It's just more easily learned. You got hit? UR DEAD AS FUKK IN MY BOOK SONNEH Image

The GBA Hard Spirits exemplifies the fine distinctions dealt with ITT - unlike every other Contra I know of, or the directly-related Sunset Riders and Mystic Warriors, you have to keep [forward] held during a jump, to continue advancing. This may sound academic on paper, but it is jarring in practice - forcing you to keep the stick depressed, rather than allowing you to upshot/downshot at leisure, a signature mechanic since minute 01 of the very first game.

Neat "grey label" effort - it loses quite a bit, but keeps enough that it's worth playing for some very odd curveballs. You wouldn't believe how dangerous HC's train bikers are in this version, where they're pretty much (legendarily satisfying) shrapnel tech demos on MD.
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Last edited by BIL on Mon Mar 15, 2021 9:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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