Everyone has their favourite Neo games, be it more popular games
like Metal Slug and King of Fighters, to the slightly more obscure
or unknown games like Waku Waku 7, Ninja Masters, Aggressors of
Dark Kombat, and many, many more. Talk to anyone and they will all
tell you very different things about what the best Neo games are,
but seeing as this is my site I thought I'd throw up a list of my
own personal faves, which might be helpful as a starting point for
newcomers to the Neo Geo scene. This isn't meant to be a definitive
list of the best Neo Geo games ever or anything like that, it's
just my personal recommendations for games that I believe you can't
afford to miss.
To kick off this top 10 list, here's a title that is absolutely
great in my humble opinion, but also one that is not always fully
recognised by the Neo Geo masses for how much fun it is. Sure,
there are plenty of people around that love the game as much as I
do, but ask anyone what their favourite Neo games are and the Shock
Troopers series is very rarely mentioned.
Shock Troopers is a shoot 'em up which bears a passing
resemblance to Capcom's Mercs game. I've heard people refer to this
as a "top down Metal Slug", and although this is true to an extent
I don't think it's a fair comparison as they play very differently.
Overall it's a good fast paced shooter with nice, bright and
colourful graphics, some great music, and most importantly it's
brilliant fun to play. Very addictive, and plenty of replay value
for shoot 'em up fans!
This one really had to go onto my top 10 list , as it is definitely
one of the best shoot 'em ups on the system. I was tempted to put
Pulstar (see the bottom of this page) in place of Blazing Star, but
overall I think this one just about edges it... especially if you
aren't the best at shoot 'em ups. Pulstar is quite hard, whereas
this is a bit more forgiving and easier to pick up and play!
Good gameplay combined with some pretty graphics and killer
music make Blazing Star a very good game indeed. If you haven't
tried any shoot 'em ups on the Neo Geo yet, this is a very good
place to start!
Well, here's a surprise... a top 10 list of Neo Geo games and the
first 3 on the list are not fighters! It is true that the Neo is
famous mostly for it's great 2D fighters, but it also has a damn
good line-up of puzzle games!
Magical Drop III has to be the pick of the bunch though. You
play by grabbing balloons from the top of the screen, and then
firing them back up to make a line of three or more of the same
colour. It's just so addictive and has enough in it to keep you
playing for a very long time if you enjoy this type of game... in
fact, I'm not the biggest puzzle game fanatic in the world, but
this is one of my most played MVS carts of all time. Two Player Vs
mode on this classic game is some of the greatest fun to be had on
the Neo Geo!
When I originally reviewed this game I must admit that I did
rush the review a little and didn't cover it in enough detail.
Fatal Fury Special deserves a lot more attention though, as it's a
landmark Neo Geo title. It really does live up to its "Special"
subtitle as it is probably the point where the series went from
being good to just plain great. Unless you played it when it was
first released, or you like old-school fighting games you might not
be able to appreciate it properly as it does seem a bit dated, but
that's a shame as it's still a brilliant game.
FFS is basically an upgraded and refined version of Fatal Fury
2, which was already a massive improvement on Fatal Fury 1. For its
time it has some very nice graphics (some of the stages are
especially good) and gameplay wise it is very solid. The music has
to be one of my favourite parts though, in fact it was so good that
many of the tracks in this game have been remixed again and
included in much more recent Neo Geo titles.
Perhaps Fatal Fury Special is not everyones cup of tea,
especially if you aren't a fan of old school fighters, but in my
eyes it HAS to be in the top 10 Neo Geo games of all time. Fatal
Fury is one of SNK's most well known series, and this is one of the
This game is kind of pre-cursor to the awesome Last Blade series
(see below), and as such it isn't quite as great as those games,
but it is still a very good one indeed. It's another game that has
been unfairly overlooked over the years, although it does have a
small following among fans who do appreciate it for what it is.
Other than the lack of really flashy graphics (although I still
think Ninja Masters graphics are good!), I think one of the reasons
some people are slightly turned-off by this game is the combo
system. "Dial a combo" is the catch-phrase here, and there are lots
of pre-set button press combos that you can do, which is generally
something reserved for 3D fighters. In a way it does allow people
to button mash a bit, but I don't think it causes any massive
problems here. Some might say that it's not a tournament level
fighter, but it's a damn fine game all the same, and I really can't
stress enough how much it is worth at least giving this game a try!
Special mention must be given to the music though; Ninja Masters
has one of the all time best soundtracks on any Neo Geo game. It's
not loud and in your face, but more of a muted soundtrack with
moody music that suits the game absolutely perfectly, and creates a
very good atmosphere.
A very underrated game, give it a try and you might be
pleasantly surprised as it's a change in pace from the usual beat
'em up fare.
Well... what can be said about this weapons based fighter and its
sequel that hasn't been said before? There aren't enough
superlatives in the English language to describe the game, and it
is truly one of the best 2D fighters on any system. Last Blade
features an excellent cast of characters, some of the best graphics
to grace the Neo and some wonderful atmospheric music/sound on each
stage, which creates a brilliant overall package. This game is just
beautiful - I won't go into much more detail, just read the full
review (click the picture!). Suffice to say, this title is an
absolute must play for any 2D fighting game fan, because if you
don't at least try it then you'll be missing out on one of the
systems best ever games.
I included the first Last Blade game in the list instead of Last
Blade 2 as I rate both games about as highly as each other in their
own seperate ways. They are both essential anyway, so I highly
suggest you do play this game first before you move on to Last
If you managed to find your way onto this site, newcomer to the Neo
geo scene or not, it's highly unlikely that you haven't heard of
The King of Fighters yet. The series was originally made as a way
to pit characters from different SNK games against each other
(mainly Art of Fighting and Fatal Fury), but it has gone on to
become much more than that, also introducing some original
characters of its own like Kyo Kusanagi and Iori Yagami, who are
now two of the most recognisable SNK characters.
In total there's a whopping TEN KOF games on the Neo Geo
(94-2003), and out of them all you would have to say that '98 is
the most popular of them all. Everyone has their own favourite KOF,
although personally I appreciate them all in their own way - but in
terms of character roster, production values, music and most
importantly gameplay, KOF '98 is the most well rounded.
While I believe everyone should play through the series right
from the start, if you only play one KOF, make it this one!
Time for another non-fighting game entry, and this ones a beauty.
Again, even newcomers should have at least heard of Metal Slug, and
if you are looking for a great action game, then you can't do much
better than this series. Not only is it great fun to play, but it
also features a very unique art style with some fantastic
animation... in fact it is some of the best and most imaginative
stuff you are ever likely to see in a game of this type! Hell, find
me another series that features a gun-toting monkey and a fireball
throwing prisoner of war! ;-)
I am a big fan of this series (actually I'm an absolute MS
whore) and I never can get enough of it, and although I adore this
games prequels, if you were to be stuck on a desert island for a
few weeks and had the choice of having ONE Metal Slug game to play
during that time and nothing else... it would have to be this one
by far! When it comes to replay value, effort put into it, and just
sheer craziness, Slug 3 wins hands down. So, what makes it so
playable? More than anything, it's the amount of work SNK put into
alternate routes that you can use to get through the game. Believe
me when I say that you'd need to play through the game a lot of
times to see and truly appreciate everything, and even then you can
still have tons of fun perfecting your game and trying to achieve a
I'd love to put Metal Slug 1/2/X into my top 10, but seeing as I
only have room to put one Slug game, it HAS to be
This is one of my top recommendations, and put simply it is a
fantastic game and one of the last few games made by the old SNK,
before they went bust and reformed to become SNK Playmore.
Mark of the Wolves is a continuation of the Fatal Fury storyline,
but although it is technically part of that series, it is a
actually a totally new game with a different engine and only one
surviving character from the old Fatal Fury games (Terry Bogard).
It plays fantastically well, has some excellent new characters, and
more than anything it has some of the best animation ever seen on
the Neo Geo. It has drawn comparisons with Capcom's Street Fighter
3 in fact, and although it doesn't have quite as many frames of
animation as that game, you'd be hard pressed to find many 2D
fighters that move as fluidly as this one!
The only thing that lets this game down a bit is the relatively
small character selection, which hurts its replay value a little,
but there's still enough fun to be had in this game to make it one
of the finest titles the Neo Geo has to offer. However, there is
one game that keeps it away from the top spot, for me at
Yeah, OK... there's not a massive amount of people who would agree
that Samurai Shodown 2 should claim the top spot in a Neo Geo top
10 list, but in my opinion it is the finest Neo game of them all.
For me, this is the game that proved that SNK were not just a good
developer but a truly TRULY great one. They really excelled with
this one and while most will argue that more recent games like the
Last Blade are superior, I will never forget the influence that
this game had on me and how much I used to play it... in fact, I
still play it all the time even now!
Considering this game was released way back in 1994, it's
surprising how playable and how much fun it still is, which is a
testament to its enduring quality. I still think this is a very
good looking game too, and although it has a definite old-school
look to it and doesn't have animation as detailed as its sequels,
the backgrounds are excellent, the cast of characters superb, and
the overall look of the game is fantastic! People who play it for
the first time now might not appreciate it as much as us veterans,
but I think this is as close to a perfect game as you can get.
Maybe I'm getting carried away, but I don't care =)
It's very difficult to pick out just 10 of
the top Neo Geo games, so here's a handful that didn't quite make
it onto my list but REALLY deserve to be mentioned!
I almost forgot about this one, and although I didn't get it into
my top 10, it deserves a mention without a doubt! Put simply, Neo
Turfmasters is one of the most easy to pick up and play and fun
golf games you will find anywhere. Sure, there are more realistic
golf games around on other more recent systems, but for a nice
arcade style golf experience, you can't go far wrong with this.
The NGPC version of Turfmasters is actually
quite good too... it is the best handheld golf game you can get in
It was hard to fit this one into my top 10, but it's a great game
all the same. One of the main aspects of this game is it's sheer
craziness; how many other games let you play as a massive furry
purple monster with a schoolgirl clinging onto his back... or a guy
called Dandy J for that matter??? How many games have a sub-boss
that is a punch bag who does a damn fine impersonation of Ryu (from
Street Fighter)??? If any of those things made you giggle a bit,
then this i a game for you. Good soundtrack too!
This shoot 'em up very nearly made my top 10 (in fact it probably
should be in there), but as I mentioned above, Blazing Star is a
better recommendation for newcomers. Nevertheless, Pulstar is a
fricken awesome game, and certainly one of the most challenging
shoot 'em ups around. Unless you are an absolute shoot 'em up pro,
it will take an awful lot of effort if you ever want to finish this
game with a small amount of credits, so it might not be your cup of
tea if you have a short attention span.
Definitely not top 10 material, but I have to mention this game
(actually the series in general) as it does have something of a
following between Neo Geo fans, shown by the fact that SNKP have
included World Heroes characters in Neo Geo Battle Coliseum for the
Atomiswave. This game
was one of the early attempts to rival Capcom's Street Fighter II,
in fact you could be forgiven for calling it a "rip-off" as many
aspects of the game do bear more than a passing resemblance.
Anyway, this game was never one to win any awards or receive rave
reviews, but it's still a fun game to play although dreadfully
dated now. It did introduce some fun things like "Death Matches"
though, where each stage is littered with dangerous items like
electrified barriers and the like, so it's worth checking out if
you feel like a blast on something a bit more retro. Things did
improve as the series went on too, so it's worth having a look at
the whole series if you haven't done so before.
This one fits into the same category as World Heroes really. Look
back at the original Art of Fighting with the benefit of hindsight
and it seems pretty bad, but back in the day the game was quite
popular, due in part to the very good graphics for its time. The
first thing people noticed was the camera zooming in and out on the
action, and that the character sprites were absolutely huge
compared to other games. It was let down by some pretty poor
animation, a few slightly lackluster characters, and control wise
it was quite stiff, but back at the time it was a blast to play.
Also be sure to check out AOF's sequels, as they are both pretty
good games in their own seperate ways (see the reviews for more
Art of Fighting is on the recommended page as the game does have
a big part in the Neo Geo's history (plus I still love it
personally ;). Other than being one of SNK's notable early attempts
to muscle in on the genre, this game brought to life some of the
more popular characters in the SNK universe, that have gone on to
become King of Fighters mainstays like Ryo, Robert and Yuri. I
wouldn't expect many newcomers to the scene to enjoy this game much
(I'd suggest those people try either AOF2 or AOF3), but it's still
worth a try and has earned its place in the SNK hall of fame.
For the record, this was the first MVS cart I ever
Yes, you are reading this right... I do actually consider Legend of
Suck-ass Joe (as it is lovingly referred to by most Neo fans) a
must play title. The word on your lips right now is probably
"WHY?". Well, just like the Matrix, you cannot be told what Legend
of Success Joe is, you have to see it for yourself... it's really
that bad. I've played some bad games in my time, but as far as Neo
Geo games go this is the worst, or it is at least tied for that
position with Power Spikes 2, another awful game. For those who
haven't played it, it's a side scrolling fighter, but one where at
the end of each stage you jump into a boxing ring and have a fight
with that stages boss. Even though this game is old, this would
have still been a bad game back on its original release, and I
dread to think how I would feel if I had paid $200 or so for the
cart back then! Play it just to see what I mean, this game sullies
the good name of "crap".
Note: LOSJ is based on an old manga series, and
to the best of my knowledge that series was very popular in Japan.
It sure as hell looks like this game didn't do it ANY justice
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