Help I have a fetish and it is games like Space Harrier, send help.

Yes I am well aware that in genre dick terms Space Harrier is a "rail shooter". The issue with that is you run into a bunch of games that are not like Space Harrier, in that you aren't moving some sort of on-screen avatar. I don't wanna play a light gun shooter or a full motion video shooter. I want to play games like Space Harrier, the best game. Here's a list of those, basically.

List items

  • John The Baptist Stars. Buck Rogers aka Zoom 909 cried out in the wilderness, it prepared the highway for our dear lord and savior the Harrier of Space. It has some interesting, surprisingly good home conversions for its vintage.

  • "As many stars as there are in the universe, and the universe is infinite." My entire brand. The single greatest video game ever made that isn't called Katamari Damacy. Bewildering, dangerous, joyful, violent. That people were able to live in the era of Space Harrier is a gift. Every port is good, even the ones that are not.

  • Keeping Up With The Joneses Stars. Namco is sorta my brand (shoutouts to Namcompendium.com which I really should update) but by 1986 Sega had just about lapped them arcade tech-wise. This clawed back some territory, even if it is a bald faced spin on Space Harrier. Never re-issued or compiled, alongside a lot of their late 80s/early 90s output.

  • I'm Sensitive About This One Stars. It's a launch Mega Drive game. I will not tell you that Space Harrier II is peerless. I will tell you that, compared to its launch Super Scaler twin Super Thunder Blade, Space Harrier II may as well be the greatest game of all time. Perhaps the best way to show off your system, which could not scale sprites, was to release two games built entirely around scaling sprites. The music is also not, uhh, the best on the platform. I still own two versions.

  • Fuck Yeah Stars. One of the only good SNES games. You'll notice neither Star Fox game for the Super Famicom makes this list, that's because they are Very Fucking Bad Indeed My Friend. This isn't exactly blazing fast but it uses the abilities of the system to sorta rip off Thunder Ceptor (see above) and I love it. A HAL joint, very cheap used.

  • Combining Space Harrier And RPG Elements Stars. I've just barely touched this one and do not speak or read Japanese with any proficiency, but here's the same trick that Panzer Dragoon Saga would pull seven years later on the PC Engine. Did you know the PC Engine was kinda important in ways lost on people outside of the retro game asshole bubble?

  • The First Great Saturn Game Stars. Yeah yeah yeah 20Hz refresh rate (.86 of that for you PAL pals) and some Eurogamer upsetting affine texture warping boohoo, this fucking whips ass all day. A generationally great soundtrack caps off fantastic multidirectional arcade shootin and rootin tootin. The Remake from 2019 is probably your best bet but hey Saturn emu gets better every day and you can get Japanese systems for $80.

  • Somehow Even Better Than Panzer Dragoon The First Stars. A different mood to the soundtrack, a little more time spent on plot shit, more gimmicky hidden path/object to add replay value. Yeah that's all nice but here's the real win: a 50% bonus to framerate, this sumbitch runs at 30fps (25 for PAL pals). Weird boast but hold it up to its predecessor and you'll see. Goddamn PDII Zwei you're too good for this world.

    Panzer Dragoon Saga might be on this list at some point, it doesn't *really* play like Space Harrier but is the closest we'll ever get to a Space Harrier RPG and that butters my biscuit.

  • Oh That's Nice Stars. Yeah this is a little butt. Features some charming 8-bit renditions of Panzer Dragoon tunes, and I'd be interested to see it converted to run on a Master System (which iirc is not the most complicated thing to do). Very late Japanese Game Gear game, the system had a soft re-launch as Kids Gear and this was targeted at a younger crowd not ready for a full Space Harrier. You need years of preparation for Space Harrier. The generation that was six or seven when Space Harrier came out are now convinced Ghost Busters and Star Wars are Important and Good, so clearly they are all warped and diseased.

  • Not As Good As Space Harrier Stars. One of the only good Nintendo 64 games ever made. Suffers from talking entirely too much, being very slow at times, relying on an assy controller, and not being Space Harrier. There are in fact worse games on this list.

  • Why Does Nobody Talk About This Game Stars. From the makers of Gran Fucken Turismo (plus one of the lead design folks from Team Andromeda aka the Panzer Dragoon devs) comes this based god. It's got that Space Harrier feel, on that PlayStation, at a full 60Hz (50 for you PAL pals). Not particularly deep, but if you want depth go read ZP's blog or whatever. Omega Boost rules. JP copies going for sub-$20 still.

  • Two Jeffs Together Can't Be Wrong Stars. There is a direct, beautiful, perfect, Sega lineage which leads us from Space Harrier to Panzer Dragoon, to Rez. How to even explain. They take a thing I already love (Space Harrier) and add rhythm game elements to it. They made a game for me. Not including this in Xbox Backwards Compatability baffles me (the rest of the Q Games collection physical release is! but not this! that fucking sucks!) but between the Dreamcast, PS2, Xbox 360, and Steam/PS4 versions you would be hardpressed to not have a way of playing Rez now and hey go do that.

  • That Level At The End Rules Stars. Yeah buddy I'm a Dirge Defender, you can shove off. The story is inane unfiltered Nomura turds, and the third person shooting is not going to blow you away. But then, they do a Space Harrier for a bit at the end and it is one of the best things on the console. Yeah I said it! The end of Dirge rules!