Suddenly STG


Tulpa and I were talking on discord and we realized there are a massive number of games that unexpectedly turn into shooters out out of nowhere! If the vast majority of the game is something else, but becomes a shooter of some kind without warning at some point, especially near the end, it belongs on this list:

  • Kirby Superstar
  • Kirby’s Dream Land (in the middle, but it still happens)
  • Super Mario Land
  • Devil May Cry
  • Lost Planet (edge case, but I’m putting it here)
  • Magic Knight Rayearth
  • Star Fox Adventures (Also an edge case because you periodically visit these stages but the final boss being Andross pushes this over for me)
  • Super Smash Bros
  • Super Smash Bros. Melee
  • Super Smash Bros Ultimate
  • Kid Icarus
  • Loony Tunes (GB)
    *Banjo Tooie (edge case, but it does have a rail shooter mini game very different from any part of the game in the middle).
  • Nier
  • Nier Automata
  • Tingle’s Rosy Rupee Land
  • Dynamite Headdy
  • Metal Slug 3
  • Super Frog (Amiga)
  • Rocket Knight Adventures
  • Kingdom Hearts
  • Kingdom Hearts 2
  • Kingdom Hearts 3
  • Kirby’s Adventure
  • Tankz! (PC)
  • Solar Jetman
  • Digimon World 4
  • Knights of the Old Republic (edge case but close enough)
  • Kirby’s Epic Yarn
  • Cuphead (kinda goes back and forth formally, edge case but on the list)
  • Ultima I (!?!) (PC)
  • Beyond Good and Evil
  • Gunstar Heroes
  • Gunstar Superheroes (Goes back and forth)
  • Megaman 5 (Gameboy)
  • Megaman 5
  • Megaman X4 (PSX/Saturn)
  • Megaman X5 (PSX/Saturn)
  • Megaman X8
  • Megaman 8 (PSX/Saturn
  • Burning Rangers (saturn)
  • Captain America and the Avengers
  • Cave Story
  • Felix the Cat (NES)
  • I Wanna Be the Guy
  • Jade Empire (Xbox/PC)
  • Kirby Super Star Ultra
  • Kirby and the Amazing Mirror
  • Kirby robobot (Edge case, recurring motif in the game)
  • La-Mulana (PC)
  • Machinarium (Probably doesn’t count, but the fact that there’s a shooting segment in it is wild and deserves to be noted here)
  • No More Heroes
  • SeGaGaGa
  • Shockman (PC Engine)

(The TV tropes article I’m refrencing for a few of these lists Sonic 2: special edition. I can’t exactly put it on the list but I do want to note it’s presence)

(I’ll update this as more games come in)


Looney Tunes (GB)


Banjo Tooie has FPS sections where you use Kazooie as a gun.

Also a bit embarrassing to admit, but I don’t really know what STG stands for exactly, is it Shoot The Guns? ShooTing Game? Shooter: The Game?


Shooting game, AKA, a shmup, shoot-em-up or a shooter. Forced scrolling while being able to fire a protective ahead of you.

Think something like R-Type, Ikaruga, or Star Fox.

And specifically the phenomena of this popping up almost entirely without warning in a way that clashes with the rest of the game design.

Tooie doesn’t really count here since that game constantly switches how it plays entirely as a feature, it really telegraphs it’s shooter segments, and it’s not really the same type of game.

…although it does have a rail shooting segment in the witch theme park completely different from any other mini game, so maybe it should count because of that?


Nier 1

Arguably Nier Automata, but it starts with one shmup section

Mario Maker 3DS has a few clown balloon only levels

Tingle’s rosy rupeeland’s final boss is actually the only shmup section in the entire game IIRC

The occasional shmup sections are a more tasteful precursor to the obligatory turret levels of the PS3 / 360 era


I never got past the stg part in dynamite headdy, it’s really fucking long (lol nice)


Super Mario Land, Bayonetta, Metal Slug 3.


Super Frog on the Amiga had shmup levels.

Also Fairune becomes a shmup at the very end.


Rocket Knight Adventures, right?


This is absolutely not an edge case and is very emblematic of the Capcom era of “suddenly the last level is a different game” design. I mean, it is more of a 3d vague rail shoooter thing, but I think it should count for that.

This one is great because it does the design change twice, first becoming a Star Fox shooter, then becoming a crappy half-assed flight sim.


Can’t forget the Kingdom Hearts gummi ship.


Oh shit how did I forget this? And it is different enough in the three main games to almost warrant different entries.


The Kirby series always had that sudden ‘shift to STG’ as signature for its games. The first game on the Gameboy has you fighting an air balloon as a level boss, while Kirby’s Adventure on the NES uses the completed Star Rod to fight the big bad at the end in the air/space/other-dimension. They’ve codified the shift as unlocking Kirby’s powers fully, no longer needing to float and puff up but breaking entirely the grip of gravity.


Tankz! - a GameMaker game I made in Jr. High. It was a Pac-Man clone with tanks that inexplicably had a space shmup level as one of the last bosses.

I’m very very sad this game got lost; I didn’t think about backups or source control at the time!


Time to make Tankz HD.


Solar Jetman, infamously. The change is framed as you finally getting all the pieces to the game’s titular Golden Warship.


Digi :clap: mon :clap: World :clap: 4


My friend who made I Get This Call Every Day tells me he nearly had a shmup game based on IGTCED ready to go for April Fool’s Day, pitched as a sequel.


not sure if it qualifies as an STG but Knights of the Old Republic occasionally dumps you into a clunky turret rail shooter


RKA and Nier Automata both have interstitial STG and Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots sequences