Give me your top ten action-platformers (2D sidescrolling action games where you do more than just jump on dudes, preferably arcade-style games (designed to be beaten in one sitting with a limited amount of lives).
Ghouls 'n Ghosts
Contra: Hard Corps
Castlevania: Rondo of Blood
Hard Corps Uprising, Mega Man 9, and Gigantic Army would be up there, but they aren't /vr/ I guess.
Rocket Knight Adventures
in addition to pretty everything else already mentioned. Although I'm not really sure run-and-guns like Contra and Alien Soldier count as platformers in any way.
Simply put, a platformer has challenge derived from the platforming. In Hard Corps, the challenge comes only from the enemies and not whatsoever from any sort of need to do tricking jumping and platforming. The jumping is just a means of moving and nothing more. Alien Soldier even moreso; the levels are just an overture for the real meat of the game, which is the boss fights.
But both games have plenty of environmental hazards that you have to maneuver around using your jump and other mobility tools. If you're the person above, wouldn't you say Rocket Knight Adventures or Shinobi 3 are the same?
Akumajou Densetsu (NES)
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PSX)
Mega Man X (SNES)
Psychic Killer Taromaru (Saturn)
Top Hunter: Roddy & Cathy (Neo Geo)