Rail Shooters – Keeping Players On Target
We’ve covered a number of genres in the past, one such genre was the shoot’em up. Today we’re going to take a look at a specific type of shoot’em up known as rail shooters. Rail shooters fill a very unique role within the genre itself, it’s also a subset of the genre that many gamers are familiar with.
Rail shooters as a genre within a genre.
In short games that fall under this category are games that limit the player’s ability to move. The game moves along a pre-set path, the player may be able to dodge enemy projectiles move to collect power-ups. There isn’t much more movement than that however, games of this type don’t allow a player to double back and get something that he/she missed along the way.
These games often have level check-points that a player can activate, should they lose a life over the course of the level they don’t have to start over. These level normally have a clearly defined beginning middle and end to each level. With the level becoming more difficult the further in you go, until finally you come to the boss. The level is usually considered complete once you beat the level boss, however even this encounter will have a set path.
Rail shooters have been around for years, they were common place in arcades around the world. The genre also saw a number of successful home console releases over the years. Some of these releases were simply ports of games already available in arcades, others were new titles altogether such as the highly successful Super Nintendo title Star Fox.
The genre is one that offers players a lot of fun however due to the nature of restricted level navigation that the genre is known for. Rail shooters don’t appeal to everyone, however it’s one of those genres that every gamer should experience just once. It offers players a unique visual and gameplay experience rarely found in other genres.