The Neo Geo is a beast of a console, everything about the Neo Geo is big including the prices of the games when it was in its prime and even today as most titles are highly sought after. Now casual observers might think that the Neo Geo is only good for fighting game series like The King of the Fighters, Art of Fighting, Samurai Shodown and Fatal Fury but you’d be mistaken to think that its just these that are worth playing. Retroheadz looks back at some of the classics that if you get a chance to play you really should as these Neo Geo game are the hidden gems in an ocean of beat ‘em ups. Nam-1975 Where else could we start but with the first Neo Geo game release in 1990; Nam 1975. Nam 1975 is a Cabal style into the screen shoot ‘em up where you are tasked with taking down the dastardly Dr. R Muckley. It’s great fun to play and was a showcase of things to come on the Neo Geo. Be warned though it gets insanely difficult later on but it’s a blast nonetheless. Retroheadz reviewed Nam 1975 a while back too. Last Resort SNK’s answer to R-Type is a sight to behold. Released back in 1992 this side scrolling shoot ‘em up not only plays homage to Irem’s classic arcade shooter but also has loads of other nods to movies like Akira and The Terminator. Last Resort is hard, but it comes with an amazingly atmospheric soundtrack and some utterly gorgeous graphics. It will cost a lot to buy on the system today as well. Sengoku 2 This side scrolling beat ‘em up takes you through time itself and was a sight to behold back in 1992 when it first came out and was a major improvement graphically and sonically from the Sengoku which came out a year earlier. If you like the inclusion of swords and magic in your side scrollers you can’t go wrong with this, oh and also dragons, great big giant roaring dragons. Awesome stuff indeed! ViewPoint Released by Sammy in 1992, Viewpoint is also famous for being the most expensive Neo Geo game released at the time, coming in at £220 but it was clear to see why. Viewpoint is a hugely challenging isometric shoot ‘em up that takes it cue form Sega’s Zaxxon released a decade earlier. It has pre-rendered graphics which made it look even more exotic and came with a great Techno and Rave soundtrack. As with most Neo Geo games don’t just expect a challenge, expect to pull great clumps of hair out as this is insanely hard to complete It's worth persevering with for the amazing end of level bosses. A scaled down version is also available for the Megadrive and an updated version came out for the PS1 However, it’s the original AES version that is the one to get. Buyers will need to have pockets deep today to grab this rare gem. Baseball Stars 2 People either love or don’t care much for Baseball games but this one is worth your time. Baseball Stars 2 is slick and is a massive improvement from the previous Baseball Stars that came out during the Neo Geo’s launch back in 1990. The 1992 sequel has more commentary, looks stunning and is a so much fun to play. Looking for a more futuristic version of Baseball? Super Baseball 2020 is for you, but Baseball Stars 2 is the best Baseball game on the Neo Geo overall. Mutation Nation Side scrolling beat ‘em ups were all the rage thanks to titles like Final Fight and Streets of Rage. The Neo Geo was home to a few more and our favourite happens to be Mutation Nation which came out way back in 1992. Set in the 21st Century (or 20XX as the flashy intro states) players take on a mad scientist and his hordes of mutants across some pretty slick backdrops. From run down cities to high tech beach fronts it looks great and plays great too. If you’re a fan of the genre then you can’t go wrong with this game and its not that hard to beat which for a Neo Geo game is nice to see. Super Sidekicks Soccer 2 What? The Neo Geo had footie games? Yes, indeed and Super Sidekicks 2 took the original and added more to it. From the lush cut scenes when you score a goal to being bigger overall coming in at 106 Mbits in size. Its arcade football at its best, the ref is pretty blind and scoring a goal is never that easy but when played in two player mode its great fun. It’s also a worthy investment as you’d be hard pushed to pick this up for less than £100 today. SpinMasters SpinMasters was released in 1993 and came from Data East. The premise is your girlfriend has been kidnapped and you’ve got to go rescue her which is standard fare but it’s all about the journey and SpinMasters gives you one. SpinMasters is incredibly bright, colourful and looks amazing, even today which is testament to the power of the Neo Geo hardware. The levels are fun and some of the bosses are quite epic and its always good to use a YoYo as a weapon in our opinion. OverTop The Neo Geo is not really known for driving games and prior to this you had Riding Hero and Thrash Rally to play and that was about it. Thankfully Visco Games gave us this late entry and was a good fit for the hardware although it only came out on the MVS arcade system and Neo Geo CD. OverTop takes placed on timed stages and you drive your car as quickly as possible to beat the clock to each checkpoint. It plays like Tecmo's Mille Miglia 1000 which was popular in the arcades at the time. Another similar style isometric racer everyone probably played back then that’s similar is Power Drive which was on the Megadrive, SNES and PC. Aero Fighter 2 This vertical shoot ‘em up is so much fun to play, I remember this being my default game to throw money at back in the mid 90’s when arcades were still awesome. It was rare to have a shooter that wasn’t set in space so you could choose to have an F-15 or Harrier Jump Jet (which was piloted by a Dolphin) Players got to fly over places like Paris which made a change from the usual space stations. As with all good shooters its incredibly satisfying when things were going well and fully powered up and blowing the hell out of everything. Bust A Move Yes, Bust A Move the incredibly addictive bubble blasting puzzle game first came out on the Neo Geo. You will only find in on the MVS arcade system and the Neo Geo CD unless you get an MVS conversion. One of Taito’s finest moments is this series and apart from Puzzled which was a Tetris clone was one of the few puzzle games to grace the Neo Geo’s hardware. Shock Troopers: Second Assault If you’re a fan of Capcom’s Mercs then this isometric shooter is one for you. It came out after the Neo Geo’s heyday so you might have missed seeing this. It had multiple routes to take and you could use vehicles just like with Mercs. It’s fun in a pure arcade action kind of way. Its not cheap to buy on the Neo Geo naturally but it did come on Neo Geo Arcade Classics Vol 1 which you can pick up for a lot less if you have a PS2 or still have a Wii. Metal Slug Metal Slug is probably one you’ve played before as it’s come out on pretty much every system since the Neo Geo and it is one of the best-looking games ever made for the system. Everything in Metal Slug is hand drawn and animated and it shows from the fluid animation of your main character to the luscious backdrops the game take place in. You also get to drive a tank, the Metal Slug which is great fun. The attention to detail in this game is incredible. The action is insane throughout this run and gun game and the bosses are, well to put it mildly, massive. In fact, everything is huge about this game including the price tag for an original AES version where buyers can expect to pay £1500+ for a copy when it comes up on Ebay. Metal Slug fortunately is available to buy for not a lot on current systems but if we were to suggest one it would have to be the Nintendo Switch as you can play it on the go. Which Neo Geo games do you still love to play? There you have it, if you are a fan of the Neo Geo or have deep pockets and an urge to splurge on the system and want to start collecting games for it then these are a great start to having a varied library of games to play on the Neo Geo. What games did you love on the system that you still love to play today? Let us know in the comments below as we’d love to know and why it should be included in our list.