The Neo-Geo CD was well supported with games during its five-year life-span, but never really saw any commercial success outside of Japan, and, to be fair, was not that successful in Japan either. As with its cartridge based big brother, Neo-Geo CD games were published in wildly varying quantities, making some as easy to find as the nose on the end of your face, and others as hard to find as an Oscar winning Adam Sandler film.
Below is the Neo•GeoCD.com: “Top-Ten Guide to the hardest to find Neo-Geo CD games”.*
10. Master of Syougi
ADK’s 1996 Japanese Chess game is certainly one of the more obscure games you’ll find on the Neo-Geo, it’s also one of the hardest to find. Copies occasionally do surface, but, more often than not, they’re missing the OBI (spine-card). Given its content, and the fact it was only ever intended for the Japanese market, makes this one strictly for collectors.
9. Magician Lord
What may be as common as blue skies and sunshine on the Neo-Geo’s homecart format, does not necessarily mean you’ll fall over the same game on the Neo-Geo CD. ADK’s much appreciated platformer can be a challenge to find, especially complete with OBI.
8. Big Tournament Golf
Golf games on any gaming format are never that popular, but Nazca’s 1996 effort certainly has a cult following, and rightly so, as it is arguably the best “arcade style” golf game of all time. Expect to pay good money to get a copy of BTG – if you can find one.
7. Neo Driftout: New Technology
At a time when arcade racing games generally looked like Sega Rally or Daytona USA, Visco’s isometric 2D rally game seems a tad out of place even for 1996. Nevertheless, Neo Driftout is great fun to play, and is easily the best game in Visco’s Driftout racing series. Although the game saw an MVS arcade release, it has the distinction of being one of the few games to be released exclusively for the Neo-Geo CD. Its popularity has grown over the years, and coupled with being only ever published in Japan, Neo Driftout has become something of a “must have” for NGCD owners… hence it’s rarely put up for sale.
Also known as Pleasure Goal: 5-on-5 Mini Soccer, Futsal is a five-a-side arcade football game from long-time SNK collaborator Saurus.
Futsal was released at a time when there was a glut of soccer based games appearing on the Neo-Geo, and despite its novel take on the genre, it was never going to usurp the popularity of the Super Sidekicks series. The game was only ever ported to Neo-Geo CD, where it quickly fell into further obscurity, and subsequently makes it one of hardest to obtain games on the system.
5. Chotetsu Brikin’ger / Ironclad
Released only on the Neo-Geo CD, (no official MVS arcade release was published), Ironclad is not only one of the best games on the NGCD, but is also one of the best shoot-em ups across the Neo-Geo platform. Ironclad has garnered something of a reputation over the years for its stunning graphics and great gameplay. However, it was only ever released in Japan, and as with Neo Driftout, owners tend to keep hold of it. Ironclad pops up sporadically, but the real challenge is to find a complete copy with SNK embossed case, OBI, and survey card still included.
Ironclad is also, at time of writing, the most expensive game on the Neo-Geo CD format… given time, I’m sure this will be the first Neo-Geo CD game to command four figures as well.
4. Joy Joy Kid
Spurred on by the popularity of Tetris, SNK decided that one of the Neo-Geo system’s launch titles would be a competitor tile-stacking game. Suffice to say Joy Joy Kid (aka Puzzled) did not enjoy the same success as Tetris, period. Despite the fact the AES version of the game is as easy to find as a naked woman in a copy of Playboy magazine, Joy Joy Kid is one of toughest to find games on the Neo-Geo CD.
3. Burning Fight
The Neo-Geo is an undoubted powerhouse of 2D capability, but regardless of the success the system had with 2D one-on-one brawlers between 1990 and 2004, it failed miserably to produce a side-scroller of any note during its 14 year life. Burning Fight should have made a mark on the genre, but didn’t… or it did, but for all the wrong reasons.
It is a blatant rip-off of Capcom’s, classic, Final Fight, and although it has some nice backgrounds, the main characters are not particularly well drawn, or defined, and the gameplay is just dull, dull, dull. Still, Burning Fight is a bugger to find on the Neo-Geo CD, and more-often-than-not will rock up without an OBI.
Visco were probably one of the most high-profile of third-party supporters of the Neo-Geo format in the mid-late ‘90s, producing games bridging a number of genres with mixed results commercially and critically. In 1996 they released Breakers, a one-on-one brawler, that actually turned out to be one of the better Street Fighter 2 clones. Sadly, it’s just a shame the game is not particularly well known outside of Neo-Geo circles – it was greatly over-shadowed in arcades upon its release by premier titles from SNK and Capcom. Visco still agreed to publish homecart and CD versions, but neither is easy to come by; and the CD port is said by some sources to have the lowest print run of any Neo-Geo CD game.
1. Over Top
Another isometric top-down racer, this time from ADK, and seen as the spiritual successor to ADK’s earlier effort Thrash Rally. As with its AES counter-part, Over Top CD is very difficult to find, can be tainted with sun-fade to the manual cover, and, very often, appears without its OBI. There are more expensive games at present in the Neo-Geo CD market, but none are harder to find than a nice, complete, copy of Over Top.
*List is compiled based on the availability of Japanese published Neo-Geo CD games only… all the English Neo-Geo CD games are rare as hens’ teeth…