Top 10 On Rails Sequences in Video Games

We're taking a look at the scenes in gaming where movement is limited and action is plentiful. From Renaissance-era mounted guns to helicopter flights, these setpieces serve as a nice change of pace in the games we love. We are showcasing the best, most intense and most fun on rails moments. Join as we count down the Top 10 On Rails Sequences in video games.

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Script Written By Kurt Hvorup

Top 10 On-Rail Sequences in Video Games

Keep calm and get on the turret. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 On-Rail Sequences in Video Games.

Here we're taking a look at the scenes in gaming where movement is limited and action is plentiful. From Renaissance-era mounted guns to helicopter flights, these moments serve as a nice change of pace in the games we love. Some caveats: we will not be including any flying sections, like the Gummi Ship Sections in Kingdom hearts, cause during those sections you can stear and are technically not on rails. As usual, we're placing a limit of one game per franchise.

#10: Airport Runway
“Max Payne 3” (2012)

In this film noire bullet fest, we follow Max, a downtrodden ex-cop seeking better fortunes in Brazil, but finding only hangovers, blazing sunlight, and a conspiracy that pushes him to his limits. At the game's climax, Max rides shotgun in a frantic chase along an airport runway, attempting to bring down a fleeing airliner with a grenade launcher. With crushing plot twists and brutal violence at every turn, this scene works both as a fitting conclusion to the game's drama and a cathartic release of emotions – one grenade at a time.

#9: Rannoch
“Mass Effect 3” (2012)

Players take the role of Commander Shepard, tasked with gathering the Milky Way's most powerful races in the fight against monstrous beings known as Reapers. Over the course of an excursion to the planet Rannoch, Shepard discovers a Reaper has settled in one of the planet's bases. Forced to flee, the Commander climbs aboard the turret of an escape ship and provides covering fire as the Reaper gives chase. This brief section deviates from typical mission structure, lending further creedece to the cinematic feel the series does so well

#8: Mecha Bowser Appears
“Super Mario Sunshine” (2002)

While Mario is enjoying his Vacation/Community Service, Princess Peach gets kidnapped … again. This time she’s taken to an amusement park where Shadow Mario has a surprise for our Italian Hero: A giant mechanical Bowser. But don’t worry, the Park Director - thinking it’s all part of a show - allows Mario to use his Roller Coaster in order to fight him. And of course being on a Roller Coaster, as you fight you constantly have to deal with loop the loops, fire jets from the mech, and bullet bills taking pot shots at you. Ya know, your average theme park ride.

#7: Trolley Combat
“Metro 2033” (2010)

The metro can be a dangerous place, though heavy firepower helps. You are Artyom, an inhabitant of post-nuclear Moscow tasked with warning a nearby station of impending danger. In one scene, Artyom rides on an armed trolley with the intent of charging through a hostile checkpoint. Your buddy Pavel controls the trolley's course while the player blasts at enemies from the safety of a mounted gun. With tanks and soldiers returning fire, it's a pleasant contrast to the ammo conservation and stealth-oriented gameplay that came before.

#6: Forbidden Depths
“007: Agent Under Fire” (2002)

Bond, a man of many talents – including on rails combat. As per series tradition, British secret agent James Bond finds himself on the hunt for a mastermind conspiring for world domination. Bond follows one of the villain’s henchmen to an underwater base, pursuing him in a rail car. What follows is a shoot-out built like an amusement ride, as Bond trades gunfire with the base guards and generally wrecks havoc from his seat. Part scenic tour, part arcade-style gunfight, the scene really delivers on spectacle.

#5: Jeep Chase
“Metal Gear Solid” (1998)

This landmark stealth-action game features the return of protagonist Solid Snake, a weary soldier brought out of retirement to deal with a plot involving nuclear weapons – though the truth of the matter is more complicated. As the game comes to a close, Snake hops aboard the mounted gun of a Jeep while a friend takes the wheel. The resulting desperate charge through manned roadblocks, with the Liquid Snake giving chase, calls to mind the best Hollywood action scenes and manages to keep players involved to the very end.

#4: Hotel Escape
“Far Cry 3” (2012)

Insanity affects all, even the action scenes. This is the story of Jason Brody, a young man called to act when he and his friends are accidentally stranded on an island and threatened by pirates. After narrowly escaping being burned alive, Jason and his girlfriend Liza flee in a stolen car, followed closely by their enemies. Jason's eager use of a grenade launcher makes for a pleasant firefight, but what seals it is his commentary making light of the situation. Rarely is a game both thrilling and disquieting. You seriously got to give it up for the Far Cry series and its on-rails sequences, as it followed up with Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon's chopper attack, which was another favorite from the series.

#3: The Rooftops
“Spec Ops: The Line” (2012)

Feel like a hero yet? The game follows Martin Walker, leader of a three-man Delta Force team sent to sand storm ravaged Dubai. There, the team is slowly drawn into conflict, despair and utter devastation. Late in the game, Walker and company storm a tower and commandeer a helicopter – complete with Gatling gun. However, instead of fleeing, Walker gives the order to engage the tower and takes control of the gun, with enemy helicopters en-route. On top of being a brutal action sequence, the scene ultimately cements the characters' march into darkness. Just because you did this in the prologue doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy doing it again.

#2: Death From Above
“Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare” (2007)

Permission to engage, granted. In this iteration of the storied franchise, players jump between characters dealing with a Russian civil war and its international ramifications. For the mission in question, you are a turret operator aboard an AC130 gunship providing cover fire for Captain Price and his men the ground. Your control is limited to aiming and firing the gunship's weapons, with two explosive cannons and a Gatling gun at your disposal. Certainly unorthodox with its black-and-white visuals and overhead camera, it's an unforgettable sequence with a uniquely detached approach to action.
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

Going Hunting
“Battlefield 3” (2011)

The Spire
“Halo: Reach” (2010)

Man The Turrets
“Wolfenstein: The New Order” (2014)

#1: Minecart Ride
“Resident Evil 4” (2005)

In a game brimming with huge set-pieces, this moment is a welcome example of on-rails action done right. Our hero is Leon Kennedy, an American Secret Service agent tasked with rescuing the President's daughter from a cult. During his mission, Leon comes across a line of rail-cars and hops in. The cars take him through caverns and tunnels, forcing Leon to defend himself as parasite-infested villagers attempt to climb aboard, all while making split second dodges to stay in one piece. It's a slow burn towards resolution, but it does its job as a guided tour and as brief entertainment.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite on-rail sequence? For more entertaining Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to

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