During the Neo•Geo CD’s five-year life span there were very few of SNK’s arcade games that didn’t make it to the system, or its cartridge based big brother. However, there were a number of games that did make it to the AES during that time but still didn’t make it to the CD, mainly due to technical or licencing issues.
Below is the Neo-GeoCD.com top 5 list of Neo•Geo games that didn’t get a Neo•Geo CD port.
#5 King of the Monsters.
SNK were very quick to re-release the Neo•Geo’s then back catalog of games on to the CD platform. Virtually every Neo•Geo game released up to the CD system’s launch was ported over, with the exception of a number of the third-party developed games (so no Spin Masters from Data East, or Andro Dunos from Visco, for example).
But, one of the most notable absentees was King of the Monsters, the 1991 brawler that brought the Neo•Geo platform to considerable prominence in the West, and had been hugely popular for SNK. The game is repeatedly referred to in early software release schedules for the NGCD, but for whatever reason, it was never ported. At 55 MEGS King of the Monsters could have easily made the transition to CD, but it wasn’t to be.
Developed by the largely obscure Face, Zupapa! was set to be released on the Neo•Geo in 1994, with screenshots previewing the game in a number of Japanese magazines, as well as some guide books. The game was presumed lost, until it finally received a very late MVS only release in 2001, just as the original SNK Japan was closing its doors. Had the game, which is an incredibly fun single screen platformer in the Parasol Stars / Snow Bros style, been launched in 1994 it would have been a perfect title for the NGCD. Weighing in at just 46 MEGS, Zupapa! would have loaded nicely straight into the NGCDs DRAM, and would have made for a great platforming addition to the console’s library.
#3 Money Puzzle Exchanger
Another game developed by Face, but this time a puzzle game – think of Data East’s Magical Drop series but with money. Player’s must match-up denominations of Japanese Yen before their screen fills up with coins, while pitted against either a CPU or human opponent. The game is incredibly good fun to play, and features a really great animated opening sequence, and catchy music (for this type of game). It is easily one of the best puzzle games on Neo•Geo hardware, but remained an MVS only title.
Sadly, the game was a bit too much like the Magical Drop series for Data East’s tastes, and they filed a lawsuit against Face, who then proceeded to go bankrupt. Money Puzzle Exchanger was ported to the PlayStation in late 1998 (Japan only), and at just 78 MEGS it should have worked fine on the NGCD.
#2 Waku Waku 7
Waku Waku 7 is one of the Neo•Geo’s more recognisable third-party developed fighters, mainly down to its eclectic cast of outlandish characters. Big bold sprites, lots of colour, off-beat charm, and a decent fighting system definitely make this a game worth seeking out and playing if you’ve not come across it previously. Programmed and published by Sunsoft in 1996, Waku Waku 7 is in a different league to the rather terrible Galaxy Fight, which it released on the platform the year before.
Unfortunately, Galaxy Fight has a lot to answer for here. Despite the fact that Galaxy Fight was released on MVS, AES and NGCD, it has been reported that Sunsoft were not happy with the game’s retail sales, especially the NGCD version. The fact, as I say, that the game was pretty awful compared to what else was around at the time, probably answers why the game performed so poorly. However, due to those sales Sunsoft canned the prospect of a NGCD port of Waku Waku 7, releasing it on AES only.
The game was ported to the Sega Saturn, (for use with a RAM expansion cart), and it’s rumoured that it is identical to the planned NGCD version.
#1 Metal Slug X
Released into arcades in the late spring of 1999, Metal Slug X (MSX) was a remixed version of the previous year’s Metal Slug 2, and has been praised by many as a highlight of the long running run’n’gun series. While SNK was still supporting the NGCD at the time of MSX’s launch, it is likely that technical limitations of the platform killed any chance of a port. Metal Slug 2 on the NGCD is awesome, but it’s hampered by in-stage loading from the second stage onwards, which results in many levels, essentially, being split into three parts. As a die-hard Metal Slug fan, I’ve found I can live with this because the port is so good, but MSX ups the MEG count from 363 MEGS to 506 MEGS, and therefore probably even more loading would have been necessary.
While MSX did receive a port to the PlayStation, there are notable cutbacks made to graphics and sound, that just would not have been accepted on the NGCD.
It’s a huge shame Metal Slug X never made it to the Neo•Geo CD, but it is also a perfect example of how deficient the hardware had become at keeping up with its arcade parent.