Sony's original PlayStation was home to a ton of incredible scrolling shooters. Unfortunately, many of them never made it to North America but here are ten that thankfully have so fuel up your Solvalou and let's start shooting.
10 In the Hunt
This submarine-based shooter was actually developed by Irem of R-Type fame. What makes it unique is that you scroll the screen by moving left and right although it still manages to maintain a full-fledged shoot 'em up feel. With graphics that make it look like a Metal Slug spin-off, you'll love every second you spend firing torpedoes at enemy forces.
9 Gekioh Shooting King (AKA Shienryu)
Shienryu is played very similarly to Raiden in that it features vertical action and contains a familiar array of weapon types. However, it's still a solid game that stands on its own. A unique aspect about it is its selection of silly modes that'll have you playing with PocketStation graphics, brutal difficulty, and even with an audience laughing the more you devastate your opponents. Fun fact: the developers (Warashi) would go on to create the colourful and enjoyable Triggerheart Exelica.
8 The Raiden Project
Speaking of Raiden, here's The Raiden Project. This is basically a port of the first two arcade Raiden games on one disc. As the only shmup title available at launch, fans of the genre were delighted to be able to play these arcade classics on their new PlayStations. Even to this day, Raiden II hasn't been ported anywhere except for this collection. I still stop to admire my copy from time to time.
7 Xevious 3D/G+
Here we have another compilation. This disc contains the arcade games Xevious 3D/G (obviously), the original Xevious, Super Xevious, and Xevious Arrangement. As the first Xevious with 3D visuals, Xevious 3D/G does a very good job of retaining the classic gameplay while updating certain aspects for '90s gamers. If you'd like to learn more about this package, check out my full review.
6 RayStorm / RayCrisis: Series Termination
Being a huge Taito fan, how could I not include these shoot 'em up gems? The spirit of 1994's arcade classic RayForce is kept alive with chaotic multilayered action where lock-on lasers are your best friend. If you want an updated take on this series, be sure to download RayStorm HD for Xbox 360 while it's still available. Also, it may be worth importing a European copy of Taito Legends 2 for the original Xbox (trust me, it'll work) because that's the only console port of RayForce. I'm getting off track so let's move on, shall we?
5 Gunbird (AKA Mobile Light Force) / Strikers 1945 II
Psikyo are masters of making fun-filled arcade shooters. Due to awful localisation, Gunbird was renamed Mobile Light Force when it came out here and it even featured a character unfortunately named Milf 2000. Strikers 1945 II was thankfully titled just Strikers 1945 which is less confusing but still annoying. Anyway, both titles play similarly with vertical gameplay, a colourful collection of unique characters/ships, and satisfying power-ups. Keep in mind, Mobile Light Force 2 has absolutely nothing to do with Psikyo but it's still a fun shmup.
I haven't mentioned Taito in a while, right? Well, their Darius series is a highly underrated collection of fish-themed shoot 'em ups. G-Darius is probably the best of the old-school Darius games with gorgeous 3D graphics and incredible fine-tuned gameplay. Staples of the series such as epic boss battles and branching campaign paths return, too. If you want to familiarize yourself with the latest game in this phenomenal series, read my review of Dariusburst: Chronicle Saviours. It's definitely one worth checking out.
3 Thunder Force V: Perfect System
Although this is the fifth Thunder Force game, it's actually only the third scrolling shoot 'em up in the series. The first two games were overhead free-roaming shooters but thankfully Technosoft made Thunder Force III a horizontal shmup. It and its sequel (also known as Lightening Force) were a couple of the best 16-bit shooters ever created. So, when Thunder Force V came out with full 3D graphics and the same intense action, fans were not disappointed. If only Thunder Force VI would finally come out here...
Square may be best known for their RPGs such as Final Fantasy, but who knew they could craft such an amazing shoot 'em up? Einhander allows you to equip a wide assortment of weapons to decimate any foe that stands in your way. When you factor in the awesome soundtrack, dark atmosphere, and in-depth statistics; you're looking at one must-have game for any fan of the genre.
1 R-Type Delta
Very few shmup series have stayed as consistently high quality as R-Type. This fourth entry is the first to boast 3D graphics, selectable ships, and a gauge that fills whenever you absorb projectiles and allows you to unleash a massive attack whenever it's full. If you can't get enough R-Type then it's worth tracking down a copy of R-Types, too, as it contains the first two arcade games on one disc.