Memorable titles from the popular subgenre
SYSTEM: Arcade YEAR: 1985
■ Hopefully flame-throwers and bazookas count as guns, otherwise Green Beret is a ‘roast-and-boom’. Semantics aside. Konami’s tough coin-guzzler created a template for the run-and-gun titles that followed, and it still provides a stiff challenge.
SYSTEM: Various YEAR: 1986
■ Having developed the Spectrum Green Beret, it’s unsurprising that Joffa Smith’s Cobra offers similar, but evolved, gameplay. The disappointing C64 and CPC versions are completely different games, but Jof fa’s Spectrum Cobra is a slick combination of violence, humour and gunplay.
SYSTEM: Arcade YEAR: 1987
■ Responsible for introducing two-player co-op to the genre and memorable for mixing scrolling and into-the-screen viewpoints. Contra – aka Gryzor or Probotector in some regions – also gave its protagonists multidirectional gunfire, which soon became a run-and-gun trope.
SYSTEM: Arcade YEAR: 1988
■ Ocean’s home computer RoboCop and Data East’s coin-op share similar mechanics: both opt for side-scrolling and into-the-screen sections and eight-way firing for the lead character. Ocean’s adaptations were extremely popular – particularly the chart-topping Spectrum version.
SYSTEM: Various YEAR: 1993
■ Treasure built its debut title on the foundations of the Eighties run-and-gun. But the studio updated the genre by giving its heroes an extensive arsenal and its game a breathless series of cinematic set-pieces punctuated by intricately animated screen-sized bosses.
SYSTEM: Arcade YEAR: 1996
■ Apart from freeing POWs and short stints in k. Metal Slug is a pure run-and-gun with the simple objective of dispatching soldiers and taking on end-of-level bosses. Lovingly crafted pixel-art and perfectly pitched gameplay make this a genre standout.