Last year, I compiled a list of my Top 10 Neo Geo games. Since obtaining a 4-slot MVS cabinet, my fondness for the Neo Geo platform as a whole has grown leaps and bounds. While I'm sticking to my top 10 list, I thought I should mention some of the other games I find myself playing and enjoying. Here they are, in alphabetical order:
This action platformer is SNK's attempt to ride the coattails of Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. franchise. While a far cry from Mario, Blue's Journey is cutesy, colorful, often (unintentionally) hilarious, and even has an environmentalist story line. One game feature that Blue beat Mario to by almost two decades is 2-player co-op play, a la Mario Wii. Very fun for kids or the casual gamer.
I honestly cannot think of a more bizarre shmup than Captain Tomaday. The hero is a mutant tomato that flies around and punches other vegetables, and sometimes babies. He eats pills that mutate him into all sorts of things. Weird and funny, this one is worth at least a casual play.
The Last Blade 2
Never has there been a more beautiful 2D fighter than The Last Blade 2. This is a weapon-based fighter in the vein of Samurai Shodown, but with a completely different fighting system. The backgrounds and sprites are magnificently hand drawn. There is a stage consisting of a dojo that is on fire. I can just sit and stare, not even playing, admiring the heat rippling over the burning wood. It's really something. The finishing moves, which I have yet to master, are brutal and creative. If you like fighters, you need to play this one.
Magician Lord was one of the launch titles for the Neo Geo in 1990. It's similar to Sega's Altered Beast, except it doesn't suck. A fantasy action platformer that satisfies, this one holds up relatively well for its age.
Metal Slug X
My 2nd favorite Metal Slug game behind MS3. This is a "corrected" version of Metal Slug 2, which suffers from a programming error that makes the game lag horribly. That's a shame, because 2 is a nice game. X takes 2, corrects the lag, changes enemies and backgrounds, and adds some new weapons. The result makes for one of the crown jewels in the Neo Geo library. It's as good a 2D run 'n gun than you'll find just about anywhere. Addictive and creative game play, beautiful sprites, and some serious difficulty make this one a must-have.
This is a Tetris clone that changes game play just enough for SNK to not get sued. In each level, you need to clear lines in order to free a balloon character. It is a fun game. The Japanese name for the game is Joy Joy Kid, which is pretty funny.
Samurai Shodown V Special
The final official game in the Neo Geo MVS library. It's an updated version of Samurai Shodown V, where you can play as the boss characters as well. A beautiful and compelling fighter, it's arguably the best game in the series.
On a platform not really known for it's beat 'em ups, Sengoku 3 stands out. I admit I haven't played this one that much, but it's good looking and pretty fun.
A top down run 'n gun that's pretty fun and addictive. Kind of an update to SNK's earlier Guerilla War. One of the gems of the genre. The sequel is good, but suffers from lag.
SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos
This game may have a flawed fighting engine, but the sprites and backgrounds are beautiful. The addition of Capcom characters, which many gamers are familiar with, make this game good to have around for people who aren't familiar with the Neo fighters. A very good casual fighter.
Odd platformer about a boy fighting evil with a yo-yo, among other things. Rescue the kidnapped girl, yada yada. Very campy and cartoonish, but oddly fun.
A unique beat 'em up with two-plane action, meaning you can kick ass in the foreground, or hit a button and jump to the background to continue kicking ass. Interesting approach to the game clock as well, where you must acquire time-based power-ups to finish a given level.