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September 16 2019

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Kraut Buster
The delay of Kraut Buster is logical.
It's NG.DEV biggest game yet; the size of the environments/adventure got two times bigger, they didn't forsee that.
So for them it feels like producing two games in one. And being a small team, I can imagine it takes a lot of time.

It's finished when it's finished and I don't mind waiting for it. Using more time should benefit the game, aka releasing it as bug-free as possible.
I agree with you Sensi. Don't care how long I have to wait if the game is better for the delay. A lot of people in the thread seem to be thinking of cancelling at anyone moment. So anyone who wants a copy might be worth putting your name on the waiting list. Some guy who had inquired told me they had 9 (MVS?) copies left. This was about 2 or 3 weeks back
Mini-Reviews of films I have just watched :
Mini-Reviews of ZX Spectrum games :
After it's released I may get the AES copy if I can find it for a good price.
Latest video as of 4th October

YouTube Video

Click on link below if video doesn't appear above

It's the first time we show the player character: Jack "Handsome" Rowdy and the "contra" mode (displayed as C-MODE).
The C-MODE mode changes the gameplay to a faster more action and running and crushing oriented gameplay.
With less stops, less energy for enemies and less bullet sponges.
Masks and treasures/collectable/secrets are removed in C-MODE to keep this mode as clutter free as possible.
The player's knife attack is also disabled to keep the gunning flow.
To compensate the "simplicity" of this mode we also added a fast kill score system additional to the timed chain system to increase long time appeal of the C-MODE.
Content of video:
We are showing small parts of mission 3-1 (train ride), mission 3-2 (train yard), mission 4-2 (boat ride),
Mission 3-1 you are fighting your way across a military train towards it's locomotive to stop it.
It has 4 parallax layers. Far away background, background, train, foreground details.
All train cars have a nice full body hand pixelated driving motion effect applied to them.
Mission 3-2 is about battling yourself through the ruins of a bombed village, a train wreck and destroying some experimental weapon system in the train yard.
It also introduces the enemy characters: Vixens of the Dictator "Heiße Helga" and "Herrin Peitsche"
We are only showing the first 60 seconds of ca. 6 minutes.
Both missions are also very military. While mission 2 and mission 4 have monsters, robots and tesla enemies.
Mission 4-2 is about escaping a secret submarine base, the fortified coastal zone and infiltrating the dictator's battle ship.
We are showing the first 60 seconds of the "fortified coastal zone" part.
As you can see in the map screen the game has 9 selectable missions.
Some missions consist of several "rooms" with their own settings and graphic sets. Right now we have about 17 "rooms".
Each mission ends with a proper and individual end boss. All stages also have mini bosses.
Overall game status:
The base game will be finished in December/January.
We included below information of which nice to have graphic details we want to add to the game and will see if you guys give us the time for it or if you guys want an earlier release.
We won't do a vote, we will just go with the general impression of the mood we get from you guys.
If we produce the PCBs in December we can do a release in January. A release in February is advised though.
The allotted graphic development budget of KB will be used up after December, we will then start the next pixel art game for NEOGEO.
Shipping is done as always in this order: MVS LE->MVS RE->AES CE->AES RE (order of payment)
Features that we would like to implement but that need more time:
- Proper story intro / ending / special ending / new fitting music composed
- 3rd character: Valaria "Bona" Bossa (needs to be drawn from scratch unless we reuse the legs of the guys)
- Proper character select screen
- Character customization: skin color / cloth colors
- Mission select screen (partially implemented as you can see in the video, but we would like to include some fun stuff happening on the map)
- Animated title screen
- Adding more destructibles, parallax scrolling and small background animations in the stages
- Player stage win animation (each character)
- Experimental: Sliding for players in C-MODE to make it even more fluid/speedy (requires extra frames for each character) / can have large implication on gameplay / not sure if it can happen
We redrew some later backgrounds from scratch to boost quality even further.
We redrew most explosions.
Added a fast kill / quickkill score system
Having the game run in 60 fps was also quite time consuming at times and not an easy feature to archive.
While we have up to 2x the amount of objects on screen the engine kinda runs up to 4x times as fluid as similar games on NEOGEO (60 fps instead of 30fps).
A lot of optimizations, trickery and out of the box thinking was required to archive this.
We wrote a new Z80 sound driver for better handling the limited resources and adding new features such as user adjustable music volume.
We are not sure but we think it's the first time that it's possible for the user to adjust music volume in a NEOGEO game!?
All our future NEOGEO games will benefit from those engine upgrades.
It also looks like KB could become a gigashock game as it is approaching 512MEGS for graphic ROMs. Music is already at 512 MEGs.
It would be the first pixel art giga shock NEOGEO game ever.
We added some new hardware features on our custom PCBs, implementing them and using them well will take additional time too:
- 64 KBytes EEPROM: for example to save scores / configs / unlocks / achievements / game progress
- WLAN for example to do software updates / worldwide online highscore list
WLAN needs quite some testing both in hardware and software, hopefully it will make it.
Having WLAN on NEOGEO would be quite cool and could lead to interesting stuff in the future.
- GFX ROM doubled in size
- Micro SD-Card (software update) to replace USB update. If WLAN does not work out we maybe add this to AES too.
Allows software updates without the need of a connection to a windows PC.
Those hardware costs are covered by us for the existing pre orders.
Best regards,

Edited by RiKo on 27. November 2017 00:20
Mini-Reviews of films I have just watched :
Mini-Reviews of ZX Spectrum games :
So did this release yet?
shion wrote:

So did this release yet?

Not yet, lately it's been pretty quiet from the devs' part. Recently they only announced a re-release of Fast Striker for the AES, but nothing on this one.

I guess you'll read it first from their Twitter page:

OK, it sounds like the game is in development hell which sucks, because it is killing the hype!
shion wrote:

OK, it sounds like the game is in development hell which sucks, because it is killing the hype!

I think they are trying to please too many people with the Slug and Contra modes. Really will be a lot of work this type of game for such a small team. It's good they are taking their time over it. I'd rather have a good game late than a poor one on time
Mini-Reviews of films I have just watched :
Mini-Reviews of ZX Spectrum games :
It is indeed good NG Dev Team is taking time to do quality control. However, this bad habit of being unable to deliver is trending among indie studios now. For example, Cuphead (PC), which recently came out of a development hell, only has a metacritic score of 8/10 (not a bad game though).
UPDATE ON KRAUT BUSTER (from NGDevteam Facebook page)

NGDEV] Kraut Buster Status May 2018

Dear customers,

here is the latest status:

** Kraut Buster Status **

* Current status and schedule *

You can see a first look of the newly added character Valeria here.
Btw. her hair color is configurable if the color is too extreme for your liking.

The base game is already fully done for a while. We are in the final phase of polishing and detailing.
We can finally see the ends of our to do lists.

Finishing up takes now again about 6-8 weeks.
We will order the PCBs in early June to be ready for an end of July release. Of course beta testing can add 1-2 weeks if unexpected issues come up there. But we will have anything in stock in end of July to be ready at any time.

Reasons why it takes longer again:

General difficulty to estimate time of pixel art.
Art is not a linear process you can calculate by the pixel count and frame count. It heavily depends on style, quality and specific tasks.

Just some examples of many:

As parallax scrolling fells so much better we decided to add it to stage 4-1 too, maybe even 4-2 (both weren't planned before)
Stage 4-2 get small new background animations like sailors on the war ships/dock workers

Boss 1-2 animation needed reworking. It was the oldest boss in the game and not up to standards anymore

Another unplanned task was to give the grunt soldier different personalities. They were a little bit boring.
Randomly picked they get 1 of 4 personalities assigned. Each personality has it's own walk/idle and shoot face animations.
Personalities: stoic / angry / psycho / cold blooded killer

New hardware PCB + programmer add-ons

We created a complete new hardware generation of our PCBs (v2.0 3rd generation).
We switched to a completely different MCU and to a more modern and powerful FPGA as the old ones will be discontinued in the future and/or are getting more difficult and expensive to get a hold off.
Also our production chain/dev kits and cartridge programmers needed an hardware upgrade. All this was more complicated than anticipated and added several weeks too.

Getting GDPR compliant

Current to do list:


Cleanup of intro/ending
Parallax scrolling for mission 4-1/4-2 (nearly done)
Stage win animation for each character
Little things for menus.
Adding small things like small animals to the stages.
Adding animated stuff to the map screen.

Hiscore screens


Finishing up the music.
The intro music is currently missing.

Some sound fx and voice work.

Btw. the shockbox insert of the MVS version will change to the same design we use for the AES CE.
The artworks we used back then belonged to another project and they will return to their original (back then frozen) project.
The Kraut Buster AES regular will get an update of the insert too. The 3rd character (Valeria) will be added on the front cover.

We will show the respective insert shortly before shipping starts.


Fast Striker AES (reprint) is still scheduled for autumn 2018.

Best regards,

Mini-Reviews of films I have just watched :
Mini-Reviews of ZX Spectrum games :
Game looks shit. Hope looks shit.

shot in the eye
shot in the brain
shot in the ass...
LIFE_IN_2D wrote:

Game looks shit. Hope looks shit.

I woudn't be so sure about that, I still have high hopes of this rampart MS/Contra clone, lol. (Though I doubt it.)
Kraut Buster is finally being released Clap Thumbs Up

From NGDEVTeam's Facebook Page

[NGDEV] Kraut Buster MVS Release

Dear customers,

finally after years of hard work and a lot of patience from you guys we are ready to release Kraut Buster.

Warnung! Ueberlangertext! Warnung!

Kraut Buster is our love letter to the NEOGEO and a fulfillment of the dream of making a World War 2 themed technicolor styled pixel art run'n'gun.
It's art direction and designs were inspired by old war movies, Hogan's Heroes and Indy III.

When you play the game you will see the game is quite German in design and maybe humor? Yes German humor .

Kraut Buster evolved and changed a lot over the years and became a different and better game.
We hope you guys feel the same and think it was worth the wait.


New moves

We added a lot of new moves and more modern controls to the game:

Ground slide move and air dash.
You can dash both on ground and air.
The slide/dash makes you shortly invincible against most projectiles (except stuff that explodes/fire/acid).
Mastering this move is very important to survive maniac-ish amounts of bullets and enemies in later missions.

With the new weapon position lock you can walk around while your weapon is in an arrested position.
It's very useful against air enemies and bosses. Advanced players also can use it against enemies that are below.

A drop down feature allows dropping down ledges to quickly get closer to enemies below or to get treasures.

Different grenade throwing speeds/modes and in C-mode you can adjust the grenade throwing angle to a small degree
If you hold the grenade button it automatically throws up to 3 grenades in a short succession.

You can shoot directly in 8 directions and with spraying/swaying the Maschienenpistole can do 16 directions.
Players can hold up to 2 weapons and switch among them.

Rapid prison shank style stab move for bigger humanoid enemies like "Gas Gerd", "Lurchmutant", "Zwergritter", "Heisse Helga", "Herrin Peitsche", "Wein Werner", "Ueberritter Ausf. S" and "Ueberritter Ausf. G"

Masks can upgrade the knife attacks to a super knife and Katana knife attack. Those do more damage and can penetrate multiple enemies.

Speaking about masks:

Masks can add combinations of abilities like:

- 1 hit shield
- weaponized chick sidekicks
- more shot power
- different grenades
- super knife
- killer slide
- higher jumps
- floating in air
- faster jump and run speed
- faster combo build up
- lower/higher difficulty and personal challenges
- negative effects like increased ammo usage in trade for power

Maybe you can already guess from the above information that Kraut Buster plays purposefully quite different to the MS games.
We used a more direct control approach known from the gorgeous Contra series.
The player always has immediate control of the characters. There are no transition animations that get spooled off.
Most actions are instant, like switching direction/jumping. Other are very fast like stabbing/ducking and grenade throwing.
Those differences above and the 60 fps give Kraut Buster quite a different feel, especially in C-mode.

However for people preferring the old and reduced controls of the MS games we offer a lot of customization options.
Using the "old style" controls makes the game unnecessary more difficult though.

The game requires 4 buttons per player 1L4B / 2L8B.


Game modes:


T-mode is similar to the MS games.
It's slower and more tactical. It's best played by slowly advancing and has lots of forced stops.
Only a reduced set of missions need to be played to keep the game time below 40 minutes.
Missions can be selected in the mission map screen. The 2nd mission for selection is always longer than the first.
Ammunition is limited in this mode, but a bigger variety of weapons are available for pickup.


C-mode is similar to the 90s Contra (III/HC) games.
It's faster, brutal and relentless.
You need to blast yourself through all missions in one go.
There are no masks, no knives, no hidden treasures and no chicks.
The game flow is less guided in this mode and you have more control over your own pace. This also means you need to do more enemy crowd control yourself as the engine can pump out quite a lot of enemies.
But you have unlimited ammunition, an extra extend and you throw 3-way grenades! (The 3-way grenades can be slightly aimed)

There is a fast kill (quickkill) system in place that grants scoring bonuses.



3 ranks are available: bronze, silver and gold

Bronze is the lowest but is still quite challenging.
We recommend starting with that one to get acquainted with this game. Before you play the real game with the silver rank.
The higher the rank the better the enemy AI gets, the more bullets and enemies will be there. Bigger enemies may have additional attacks and more energy.



This game features a complex risk and reward based scoring system.

Factors are:
- current combo meter
- the amount of bigger enemies on screen
- T-mode: the amount of rescued birds in your pocket
- C-mode: the amount of fast kill treasures in your pocket
- difficulty/rank

To raise the combo meter destroy a lot of enemies in a short succession.
Some enemies and some attacks give more boost than others.

If your combo meter is very high you are in Baerzerker mode for maximum bonuses.

T-mode: collecting all treasures of a set grants additional bonuses


Customization options (just a short excerpt):

Like on modern JAMMA hardware, settings and high scores are stored directly on the cartridge in an EEPROM.
To access the settings hold the start button at booting (can be configured on MVS at soft DIPs).

[Gameplay Menu]

- Auto Weapon Switch Pickup [on]

Automatically tries to select a slot for the new weapon. E.g. if you have an empty slot the new weapon always is put there.
If you pick up the same weapon it sums up ammo instead of putting it in a new slot.

- Auto Weapon Switch Empty [on]

If you current weapon is empty, it switches to the other weapon slot.

- Slide Move [on]

- Weapon Lock [on]
Activates weapon lock mode. It locks the weapon in aiming position.

- Movement and Weapon Lock [on]
Allows the player to move forward/backward (moonwalk), jump etc. while retaining the weapon aim
If off, the player's position is fixed

- Allow Turning in Air [on]

Allows the player to quickly turn the direction while jumping/shooting.

- Simplified Air Dash [on]

Allows doing the air dash with just pressing the slide button instead of needing to press slide+down+direction

- Masks [on]

We highly recommend to leave everything on and embrace the new play style.

[Operator Menu]

- Reduce Sprite Flicker [++ ]

As Kraut Buster has a lot more sprites, multi layering techniques and at times background layers than similar games on NEOGEO, it has a higher risk of slowdown and sprite flicker.
To keep sprite flicker and slowdown in check we introduced some simple 16 bit "AI" that decides on the fly to take measurements to reduce sprite flickering and slowdown. It's aggressiveness can be configured to some extend.
Some examples are that dead bodies have a tendency to fall out of the game area or get otherwise disposed off ASAP.

In favor of 60 fps we also needed to pass on having dynamic sprite depth sorting.
This sometimes results in small sprite priority irregularities.
As the NEOGEO hardware does not have sprite priority flags and with the huge amount of sprites we use, it would have been impossible to hold the 60fps goal otherwise.

The game is optimized around the single player mode. The 2 player mode will increase anti flicker and slowdown measurements more aggressively.

- Force 60hz Transparency [off]

Forces 16 bit style 60hz flicker fake transparency on all explosions. This reduces risk of sprite flickering greatly. Works best on arcade and consumer CRTs due to their after glow.

[Customizer Menu]

- Controls (buttons)
- Name Entry (set a default name)

- Character Design John
- Character Design Jack
- Character Design Valeria

Set colors of the characters (cloth, skin, etc.)


The game comes with a variety of built in cheat modes.
Use at your own discretion. Score saving is disabled in that mode. The score font turns yellow as a cheat indicator.

Unlimited credits are supported in home mode, you can add them with the select button.


Note to arcade operators:
Like all our NEOGEO games Kraut Buster was developed for private home use.
Make sure to read the included legal disclaimer and install on location at your own risk.


MEGS count:

+512 MEGS for pixel art
+256 MEGS for music and sound fx
+ 40 MEGS for code and data
=808 MEGS

As a small surprise Kraut Buster MVS kits come with a high quality mini marquee foil for the lightbox panel of your BigRed or MVS-U.

To build and ship all units it takes about 2-3 weeks from now on. In the first 4-5 days we build and then ship the Shockbox LE and after that all normal MVS kits.
The shop system will automatically send out emails and you can also log in the shop and see the current status of your orders there.

Pictures of the Shockbox MVS LE can be found on our website and pictures of the MVS Kit in the shop.

Once all MVS units are shipped we start working on the AES version of the 2.0 PCBs so they are ready when the software side is final too.
This will take a couple of months.

>>> If you moved since your MVS order please let us know your current address. <<<

Thanks for staying with us over the years and letting us create our dream NEOGEO game!
Without you that wouldn't have been possible...

Small glimpse in the future:

The Kraut Buster pixel artists finished their work on our first exclusive(?) Switch handheld game and already moved on to our next pixel art NEOGEO+arcade game.
While Kraut Buster was made the render gfx team worked on a couple of Shmups, that will be revealed and released over the next 2 years.
We also expect to expand the team further in the next year(s) and maybe add a new hardware platform to our portfolio.

Happy holidays and a new year,

Mini-Reviews of films I have just watched :
Mini-Reviews of ZX Spectrum games :
Kraut Buster has finally been released Thumbs Up Joe If anyone has their copy please let us know what you think

Click Link To View Kraut Buster Intro: https://www.youtu...NOZypqAgZc

Click for new gameplay footage https://www.youtu...4NFxvDgNUE

Here is a better/longer play of Kraut Buster https://www.youtu...kZYGkezQe4

I think it looks pretty good overall. It's a shame it is a little similar to Metal Slug in places but otherwise looks like it plays well. I like the death animations and the way the player character can get his/her head blown off (That's always a good thing in a game!) There's some nice other touches of humour too such as the enemy soldiers getting burnt in the balloon-boss's flames. Graphics/animation seem to be of a high standard and looks hard on later levels with so many enemies and bulllets flying around. Most reports on seem to be positive so far.
Edited by RiKo on 11. February 2019 15:42
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