A variant of either first person
or third person
shooter, in a rail shooter the computer controls most of your movement and you control the shots. May or may not be a Light Gun Game
. Will score very low on the Sliding Scale of Linearity vs. Openness
Often considered a sibling genre to the Shoot 'em Up
, as both genres set you on a fixed path and involve shooting things. The primary difference is that while shoot-em-ups have two-dimensional gameplay, rail shooters have you shooting things in three dimensions. Most often you can't control your movement at all, unlike in shoot-em-ups where you are allowed to freely move within the confines of the screen, although some rail shooters allow you to move along the YZ plane relative to the screen.
In a large number of these cases, you cannot dodge enemy shots by simply moving them off of your screen, so you must shoot immediate threats before they have a chance to fire. In rare cases, you may be able to Shoot the Bullet
Compare/Contrast No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom
(where you control your own movement but are given only one route to follow).
First Person Rail Shooters
Third Person Rail Shooters
Light Gun Games