We have been playing Neo Geo occasionally since we got a Neo Geo CD just over a year ago. Because of the long loading times the system suffers from, and also because not all Neo Geo games were released on the NEO Geo CD we played some games on the Wii virtual console and a few on the Nintendo Switch. In fact, the Neo Geo is having it’s renaissance now with most of the system’s games getting releases on the Xbox One, PS4 and the Nintendo Switch. I am loving playing Neo Geo games on the road on my Switch. Those versions have highly customizable settings which is just what these games needed.
The Neo Geo AES was the ultimate arcade home console at the time but the system and the games were too expensive for normal people so they released the more affordable Neo Geo CD which is infamous for long loading times (I find it ok its just an excuse to have a sip of beer/coffee). The system had an extremely long lifespan of more than 10 years ranging from the beginnings of the 16-bit era until the end of the 32-bit era and beyond for a few late titles.
These are arcade games, all of them being co-op or 2 player. The system is most famous for the fighting genre but the Neo Geo has a solid release for all arcade style genres from run and gun to sports games.
Let’s dive into the top 10 games for the Neo Geo!
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 like Tetris, Doctor Mario etc. This is the perfect game to pop in with a casual crowd and 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. Crossed Swords (MVS, AES, NG CD)
Crossed Swords is kind of an oddball game that might be the most controversial choice on this list. 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!…….. OK!
You take control of knights and fight monsters from a Punch Out perspective. You can hit vertically and horizontally, and you have to block vertical attacks and horizontal attacks. This applies to both you and you enemies, blocking horizontally blocks horizontal attacks and blocking vertically blocks vertical attacks.
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. The Neo Geo CD version has unlimited continues but you just have to find a way to make it so you are challenging yourself.
You upgrade your weapons, magic and you have multiple paths, everything you would want for a fantasy arcade-rpg. Crossed Swords 2 was a Neo Geo CD exclusive game that might be the better game but I picked the first one for the challenge of the AES version.
If you like this one: King of Dragons
7. Last Blade 2 (MVS, AES, NG CD, Wii VC, PS4, Switch)
The Last Blade 2 is such a cool fighter. A weapon based fighter released after the more popular Samurai Showdown, I find it to surpass those games in many categories. The setting is fantastic with some real looking characters and backgrounds in contrast to the more cartoony style of the Samurai Showdown games.
I am by no means an expert on this game but it just feels great pulling off some of the simpler moves. This game is easy to get into but really difficult to master. The game is so deep I could never master it even though I was tempted when the game was released on the PS4 with online function.
If you like this one: Samurai Showdown, Soul Calibur
6. Pulstar (MVS, AES, NG CD, PS4, XBONE, Switch)
Pulstar is a very solid horizontal shooter for the Neo Geo. It is tough as balls depending of course on the version you are playing and the number of continues, but to 1cc this game would be an incredible feat. The gameplay is pretty simplistic but the graphics are gorgeous!
If you like this one: Gate of Thunder, Gradius series
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. 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…
If you like this one: Metal Slug Series, Contra series
3. King of Fighters 98′ (MVS, AES, NG CD, PS4, Switch)
King of Fighters 98′ is the ultimate compilation of Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting and World Heroes 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
2. Fatal Fury Special (Series) (AES, NG CD, Wii VC, Switch, XBONE, PS4)
Out of all the Fatal Fury games I had to pick Fatal Fury Special. It was the ultimate competitor to Street Fighter 2 in the early nineties but you really cannot go wrong with any of the Fatal Fury games. Real Bout Fatal Fury Special and Garou: Mark of the Wolves are probably the other 2 games I would be playing. 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. Garou is like the Tekken 3 of the series as in they kill off a bunch of characters in favor of younger versions of them. If you like the newer games but want the old characters then maybe go with Real Bout Fatal Fury Special.
Fatal Fury Special however is the classic that most of us played so it gets my pick for #2.
God Mai Shiranui is so hot…..
If you like this one: Again I know its different but my favorite fighting game is 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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