Here’s what I’m looking for: shooters of the Dragon Spirit, Guardian Legend, or 19xx type. Now, these are all vertical-scrolling, but that’s not a requirement; horizontal scrolling is fine too. The main thing I’m looking for is that you don’t die in a single hit, or lose all your weapons after a hit or two and die on the next. Any system would be fine, but I’d prefer the 8 and 16-bit ones, as they’re easier to find things for.
I recommend U.N. Squadron, it’s horizontal scrolling for the SNES.
Yeah, U.N. Squadron (Area 88) was the first thing that popped into my head too.
Gradius 3 can be that way if you use shields, especialyl ‘Reduce’ which makes your ship not only smaller (harder to hit), but allows you to be shot twice (!) before dying.
Otherwise, the one game that came to mind immediately was Silpheed: The Lost Planet on PS2. It’s a 3D shooter of the ‘vertical scrolling’ type, where you can take several hits (though you only have one life). This also means, of course, that you’ll never lose your weapons, since you only have one life. The only con is, you choose your weapon at the very beginning of a level and you’re stuck with that one for the rest of the level; no changing. It’s pretty entertaining, and it’s probly easy to enjoy if you like shooters (I don’t play many, so it’s really a task for me to play shooters without color-coded enemy bullets :P).
The game is easy to find at Gamestops and EBs, and is dirt cheap if bought used.
(Yeah, it says $54.99, but are you really gonna order it from Working Designs when you can buy it for like 10 dollars? damn :P)
Earth Defense Force is a pretty good hori which allows you to take 3 hits before you lose a life. You gain experience by shooting enemies, and that levels up your current equipped gun. There are 4 guns to choose from… you can only switch weapons between levels, so it’s a good thing to experiment with all the weapons on first play, so then you can use the one you found most helpful during a full session.
Try Axelay for the SNES