This Top 10 Neo Geo game list was in need of an update (Dec, 2022). When I first made the list I played most of the games on Neo Geo CD, Wii Virtual Console and the Switch but now that I have an AES and a way to play all the games on a deeper level my perspective has changed a bit at therefore the list.
I’m not going to waste my breath telling you about the Neo Geo system but if you are interested in knowing some of the basics you can look up the difference from the AES, MVS and CD systems and all bios options etc.
I have cleared all the games in the top 10 with my cousin, friend or wife so I am confident when I give them the “Cousin Gaming” stamp of approval.
10. Puzzle Bobble (Bust-a-move) (MVS, NG CD)
In number 10 I am choosing Puzzle Bubble (Bust-a-move). This is a good game to bring up with your gf/bf or a casual because it is cute, colorful, simple and addictive. Puzzle Bobble is a puzzle game that competes with the best of them and is the perfect game to pop in with a casual crowd where everyone is guaranteed to have fun.
If you like this one: Tetris, Pang!
9. Sengoku 3 (MVS, AES, Wii VC)
I know it is also a bit unorthodox to include a game made in 2001 but the Neo Geo belongs in the 16-bit category in my opinion and even though Sengoku 3 was made when the Neo Geo console was basically obsolete, the game plays and feels like an enhanced SNES/Sega Mega beat ’em up.
In Sengoku 3 you can pick 4 characters (6 later in the game) and you are given a pretty bloated move set for each of them including combo attacks, multiple special moves and more. The ninja styled theme of the game, cool characters and their fighing style variety is what makes Sengoku 3 special.
Sengoku 3 reaps the benefit of the extra megs that the Neo Geo could use and I say that because the game is big and looks beautiful. Highly recommended and available for the Wii Virtual Console.
Somehow the Neo Geo never managed to do a good beat ’em up game when it mattered, but Sengoku 3 finally managed to fill that void in 2001.
If you like this one: Sengoku 2, Knights of the Round
8. Blazing Star (AES, MVS, Switch ACA)
As for the schmup representative I’m afraid I can’t be any more original than picking Blazing Star. It just has the coolest design, best levels and best bosses of the schmups I’ve tried which I think is all of them. This game is a 1cc or unlimited continues only so if you wants that 1cc you are going to have to work for it. It might be worth it but to be honest Neo Geo is not the greatest schmup system (PC Engine, Sega Saturn, Sega Mega Drive). Aero Fighters is a cool vertical shooter too and stars a Dolphin….
7. Neo Turf Masters (AES, MVS, CD, Switch ACA)
I’m sure many just feel bored when you mention sports games or in this case a golf game as a top game for a system. The fact is just that Neo Turf Masters is a masterful arcade experience. The games’ mechanics are simple but deep and the game is tough but relaxing. The soundtrack is especially relaxing. It’s the type of game that you can always pop in the system and have some fun.
Neo Turf Masters has plenty of golfers to choose from and plenty of courses for the replay value. The wind system makes sure you seldom try the same hit as from a previous playthrough.
If you like this one: Outrun
6. Real Bout Fatal Fury Special (Series) (AES, NG CD, Wii VC, Switch, XBONE, PS4, Saturn)
Out of all the Fatal Fury games I had to pick Real Bout Fatal Fury Special. You really cannot go wrong with any of the Fatal Fury games but Real Bout Fatal Fury Special and Garou: Mark of the Wolves are probably the best games in the series. I love playing Garou on the PS4 since it has the online function but other than that I miss the characters from the older games. I like the lane system from the 1st Real Bout as well as the “ring outs” but I just feel the graphic update, balancing and roster from Special is perfect. (You can play Geese with a cheat code)
If you like this one: Garou: Mark of the Wolves, Fatal Fury Special
5. Windjammers (MVS, AES, NGCD, PS4)
Windjammers is just a fast-paced action packed fun pick up for you and a pal looking for some short, healthy competition that is not a fighter or Mario Kart. The simple Pong like gameplay is easy enough for anyone to pick up and its level of intensity keeps it from going stale. This is basically a frisbee battle game with multiple characters, super moves and all. Don’t let that frisbee hit the wall behind you! Great fun.
The Neo Geo CD version is very good but unfortunately the game was delisted from the Wii Virtual Console. But fear not cause the game was released on the PS4 with online compatibility so look forward to that!
If you like this one: Nintendo World Cup
4. Crossed Swords 2 (MVS (FanRom), NG CD)
Crossed Swords 2 is kind of an oddball game. The best way to describe this game is to say that it’s a 2-player fantasy-rpg “Punch Out”. Now take a moment to wrap your head around that!
You take choose from 3 characters with various strengths and weaknesses and fight monsters from a Punch Out perspective. You can hit vertically and horizontally, and you have to block vertical attacks and horizontal attacks as well.
The bottom line is just that the game is just really fun! This is not a button masher by any means as you have to master the block mechanics and magic attacks to be able to clear the later stages of the game.
Dash mechanics, super attacks, rpg elements and a great challenge that is just right make Crossed Swords 2 one of the best arcade experiences on the Neo Geo MVS.
I have to mention that we are playing MVS fan conversion by “razoola” of the original Neo CD version. Originally this game is a Neo CD exclusive but that version has horrible loading times of course and unlimited continues. The MVS conversion is missing the CD sound but it is obviously the version to play with the challenge of having 4 credits on an AES system (or just AES bios) and no loading time.
This rom can be found online and put on a hacked MVS cart or a NeoSD or some everdrive cart.
If you like this one: King of Dragons, Crossed Swords 1
3. Metal Slug (MVS, AES, NGCD, Wii VC, Switch, PS4 Steam and more…)
Anyone who considers them to be a video gamer should know the Metal Slug series. The first Metal Slug game makes the list for great old school run and gun action. The game is very cartoony but don’t let that fool you cause the game will kick your ass if you are not concentrating. Metal Slug should not slip by anyone looking into the Neo Geo especially if you are fan of Contra. I think that about says it all…
You can’t go wrong with any Metal Slug but just remember that Metal Slug X is an improved version of the extremely laggy and rushed Metal Slug 2.
If you like this one: Metal Slug Series, Contra series
2. King of Fighters 98′ (MVS, AES, NG CD, PS4, Switch, PS2, PC)
King of Fighters 98′ is the ultimate compilation of Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting and more. I’m a big Fatal Fury fan, more so than of any other SNK fighter so I finds KoF98′ to be the perfect compromise to play some of the Art of Fighting characters without having to play Art of Fighting.
King of Fighters 98′ is a fast paced fighter with a plethora of characters at your disposal but they are well balanced so every character can put up a fight, I mostly just use Fatal Fury characters and the hot chicks… Wish there were more people playing this today…
If you like this one: Try Tekken
1. Shock Troopers (MVS, Wii VC, Switch, Steam)
Shock Troopers was released in 1997 on the MVS but never on the AES or Neo Geo CD systems which is a shame. We played it on the Wii VC which should be accurate to the MVS version. The game was also released with an online feature on Steam but I’ve heard that the port is a bad, choppy emulation.
Shock Troopers is an absolutely fantastic 2-player co-op run and gun game that kinda makes you think “what if Ikari Warriors was actually a good game?”. Yes, you have the overhead view and can walk/shoot in 8 directions.
Shock Troopers is an outstanding quality title packed with fun, challenge, variety and quality aesthetics. The amount of fun to be had is massive, and best of all you can enjoy it with a buddy.
Pick easy, normal, hard! 3 possible routes; Valley route, river route, mountain route! Run, roll, dodge, shoot, explode, kick ass!
Shock Troopers gets Cousin Gaming’s awesome stamp of co-op super goodness! Number 1 no question!
If you like this one: Shock Troopers 2, Bloody Wolf
-Garou: Mark of the Wolves
One problem I have with many Neo Geo games is that the AES always have 4 credits and the CD games have unlimited credits in most cases. That for me kinda ruins some of the fun of the challenge that could have been had but this really depends on what kind of player you are. You can get an AES and fork out the cash for the games or a NEO SD everdrive and get 4 credits or you can try and show some restraint with the unlimited credit versions. This is just a matter of preference and you should just educate yourself and find the versions you are most comfortable with. The Switch versions are heavily customizable and might solve your problems.
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