Star Gunner was released by Apogee in 1996. Star Gunner in my opinion is the best side-scrolling shoot'em up developed for PC. The only problem is it was released too late in 1996, where most people start switching from DOS to Windows 95 at that time.
Star Gunner uses a non-standard 320x240 VGA mode and supports digitized soundtrack and sound effects. With improved processing speed at around 1995, Star Gunner is packed with various graphics effects like particle and explosion effects.
In Star Gunner, we start with a simple battle ship. We will go into a garage at the beginning of each level to outfit our battle ship. There are plenty of weapon to choose from, and each carries a different price tag.
When there is a weapon shop, for sure we need to collect money during the level. The money will fell of from enemy's ships when they are destroyed.
Besides garage, there are also some instant power ups during the game. We can either switch our main weapon from spreading laser to concentrated front laser.
At the end of each level, we will meet the level boss. Most of them are not too difficult to overcome as they are moving is a fixed pattern.
I highly recommend you to give Star Gunner a try. You can download Star Gunner here.