Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Neo Geo A-Z

SNK probably weren't really renowned as the biggest arcade company around in the late 80's, so when then unveiled their own console it was a surprise to many. Their monstrous 2D powerhouse was way out of the price range of most gamers too, and that's even more the case now for collectors, but it has some cracking games that hold up well today. Here I will take a look at all of them. Up next is:

N is for...

Nam-1975 by SNK (1990)

One of the very first Neo Geo games was this mighty fine into-the-screen shooter which pits you (and an optional friend) as American soldiers against what I assume must be the entire Viet Cong army, including millions of soldiers as well as plenty of support vehicles. Good fun for one or two players, and addictive too.

Neo Bomberman by Hudson Soft (1997)

Hey - it's Bomberman - you know it's going to be good (unless you're an Xbox 360 owner - chortle!). Like most other games in the series, it offers both a 'normal' game for one or two players, or the proper multi-player battle game. It's not quite up with the very best of the series but it's a spiffing game all the same.

Neo Drift Out by Visco Corp (1996)

This is a Neo Geo-only sequel to Visco's earlier Drift Out arcade games and it's pretty much just more of the same. In case you haven't played them, it's a semi-overhead rally game set on courses all around the world. Due to the perspective, it's more of a reaction-tester than anything else, but it's good fun too. (full review here)

Neo Geo Cup '98: The Road to the Victory by SNK (1998)

There are a surprising number of football games on the Neo Geo. This was the last one to be released I believe, and it's a pretty decent effort. You can only play as national teams but there are a lot of them (64!), and there are plenty of options to keep you busy. The audio/visuals are pretty nice too.

Neo Mr. Do! by Visco Corp (1997)

Despite its appealing look and premise, I never quite 'got' Mr. Do!. His tomfoolery was rather popular though, and this is essentially an update of the 1982 original, with the graphics and music improved accordingly. I imagine fans will absolutely adore this as it certainly looks and plays a treat! An oft-overlooked NG title.

Neo Turf Masters by Nazca Corporation (1996)

Few seem to bother with golf games but this one is well known as a corking example. It's a simple, arcadey affair, and the number of game modes, players, courses, player customisation, etc, pale in comparison to modern titles but it was and remains so supremely playable and addictive that it doesn't matter. (full review here)

Nightmare in the Dark by AM Factory / Eleven (2000)

Now this IS a rarity - a Neo Geo platform game! In fact, it's not just that, but is actually a single-screen platformer - perhaps the best kind! It's a horror-themed game in the Bubble Bobble-style and didn't receive an official release, arriving rather late on in the Neo Geo's life, but it's very welcome nonetheless.

Ninja Combat by Alpha Denshi (1990)

The first of the Neo Geo's 'ninja trilogy' was this, another of the system's earliest releases, which takes the form of a scrolling fighting/hack 'n' slash game. Sadly it isn't the best example you're likely to play, but there is a decent range of weapons to use, and it is pretty enjoyable in short bursts.

Ninja Commando by Alpha Denshi (1992)

The same team behind Ninja Combat soon returned, this time with an overhead run 'n' gunner. The object is again simply to take out hordes of evil ninjas and enemies of other types, but this time there are several characters to choose from. It's no Shock Troopers but it's a decent effort with some nice graphics.

Ninja Master's: Haō Ninpō Chō by ADK / SNK (1996)

It would be hard to have three 'ninja' games without at least one of them being a one-on-one fighting game! Unfortunately, being on the Neo Geo means it has a lot of competition too. Happily, despite being a bit basic, this one's a solid effort, with some decent characters and moves. An underrated one.


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