Best Mame Shooters

5. Guwange

The fifth of the list is by the best maniac shooter developer around – Cave, who you will see again in this list. The mechanics of this game are really weird – you get normal shots, but you can also attack enemies with a very powerful ghost… thing. The ghost is invincible, and is useful for both laying the beatdown, and soaking up enemy fire if you can get the ghost placed between you and the enemy. While using the ghost, your character slows down a hell of alot, so its important to use the ghost not only to kill enemies but to keep you safe. That makes the most interesting part of the game – you are basically controlling two characters at the same time and have to keep your eye on both. The other unusual thing about this title is that your character is on foot, so you can’t just fly around anywhere like you can in most shooters. Definitely takes some getting used to, but worth it just for novelty.

4. Do Don Pachi

Another Brilliant shooter from Cave, like most of their other shooters, this is in the maniac shooter genre. Gameplay mechanics in the game are pretty simple – you can tap the fire button to retain mobility while firing, or hold the button down to bring some serious pain, at the cost of mobility. This means you’ll have to balance the two out and decide which one is right that second. There of course are bombs too, which clear out the screen and are best saved to bail yourself out when in serious trouble.

As is somewhat standard, there are three ships to choose from, but if you are serious about the game you’ll just pick the one that shoots out directly ahead of you.

3. Galaga

Well this is the one that started it all. How do you get good at this game? You just teach your muscles how to tap the fire button freakishly fast. Memorizing the patterns the enemies comes out at each level also doesn’t hurt. Also this game has an cool mechanic that allows your ship to be stolen by an enemy, but if you shoot him down with your next life, you get to have two ships side by side – I think as long as you have the lives to pull it off, its worthwhile, especially earlier in the game where it easy to dodge enemies – it also makes it much easier to score perfect bonus rounds.

While alot of the early shooters have not aged well, this is one that has. Even though there really aren’t that many game play mechanics to take advantage of (you cant even move up or down) there is something really satisfying about this game. It was developed by Namco in ’81, the same year as Pac-Man. I think they both are perfect examples of how simple graphics and gameplay, when done right are timeless. Even though this game is getting on 26 years, if you are in a bar and see an arcade machine, probability is its a Pac-Man / Galaga cabinet.

2. 19xx

Developed by Capcom, 19XX is the 4th shooter in the longstanding 1945 shooter series. Developed in ’95, this game fortunately has improved considerably over earlier titles in the series (they were good for their time, but seriously dated now). This game allows for normal shots, charged shots that can lock on and fire missiles, as well as a classic bomb attack which nukes the screen and also clears off all the shots on the screen, so its perfect to save until you get into a really tight spot.

There are three different planes to use, and three different possible weapons to choose from. All are playable, but to me some seem much more powerful than others. I prefer the Lightning with missiles.

1. Esp ra de

So the story here is a little strange (from what I can tell) since all the game is in Japanese. I think it may have something to do with psychically powerful people fighting the government or something? Not important.
This is definitely my favorite arcade shooter of all time – the game is very balanced and requires that you play intelligently. For example, holding the normal shoot button down slows your movement, so in order to get out of tight spots you need to stop firing (or at least cycle to tapping), get out of the way, and then get started again. Aside from the normal shot, there is also another more powerful shot that charges up over a short period of time – learning the timing of this is very important, as you’ll want to utilize it as often as possible, without wasting it – its usually good for taking out a large number of weaker enemies, as you can sweep it across the screen. Finally, there are the most powerful shots which you can charge up and shoot. This weapon, doesn’t recharge though, so you need to be careful how you use it, and is most useful because it acts as a shield, so its best to save only for the moments that you are pinned to a corner and can’t get out before something hits you.
All of the titles developed by Cave are excellent, but this happens to be the best of them all.

2 Responses

  1. You forgot to add Dragon Spirt by Namco. Try it. When it came out in the arcade there were hordes of kids lining up quarters to play it. I’ve never seen that happen with a vertical shooter before.

    It’s the most challenging vertical shooter ever made, but it’s very rare because of problems during it’s release.

  2. No Slap Fight? Shame on you.

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