My thoughts on the Neo CD - An NGCD appreciation thread

Digmac

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I'll say, the Neo Geo CD wasn't really on my radar until recently. I ended up finding that Final Romance 2 NGCD VHS tape with prototype footage of the game on Yahoo auctions, and that piqued my interest in getting one.

At first, I didn't want to spend all that much and keep the games I bought down to exclusives or games not released on the AES home cart format. I found a UniBios modded front loader on Yahoo for a decent price and decided to scoop it up with a small handful of reasonably priced games.

I have to say, I've been nothing but impressed with the Neo CD experience since I've gotten it. For me personally, the loading times don't bother me on the games I've purchased. That being said, I'm not playing any of the later games or fighters outside of SSRPG and Ragnagard. For other games that I've burnt to try out, like OverTop, the loading can be annoying (playing for 30 sec, loading for 30 sec). I'm sure a CDZ improves the experience further, but as I said, for the games I own I'm not bugged by the loading on the front loader. Having CDDA audio tracks for games makes them feel like a fresh experience from the cartridge counterpart. Games like Twinkle Star Sprites benefitted from the CD audio quite a bit, with the music sounding like what it did before they had to compress it and digitize it for the cartridge. Some of the arranged soundtracks are absolutely gorgeous, and I'm glad that SNK had made them. I also really haven't ran into issues with games having cut frames or resized sprites with the games I own. (I do own the AOF3 limited pack and man, that's rough on the CD. NeoSD is my go to for that, but the limited pack for CD is pretty awesome.)

I didn't think that I would be convinced to go down the Neo CD rabbit hole more, but the cost of the games plus the ability to get genuine home releases of games that didn't come out on the AES/home cart format reeled me in. Also being able to get official SNK home releases of other titles like Metal Slug 1 and Twinkle Star Sprites at a fraction of the home cart cost was an attractive offer. I think it's really by a game by game basis, but some games run so closely (loading wise, after initial load) to the cartridge counterpart that the savings is worth it on the CD. Two games I got recently fall into that category for me, and that was League Bowling and Windjammers. They're both games that don't see a ton of play, but I enjoy both. Selling my home carts and going with the CDs makes sense for myself personally.

I don't think the Neo Geo CD is for everyone, though. I lean more towards everything else other than fighting games on the Neo. Because of this a lot of the problem CD games don't interest me too much, especially to own. Also having MVS and AES hardware, the CD hasn't been a complete replacement for that either. If you love the Neo fighters then it's not going to be the best experience, but for the wealth of earlier titles ('96 and older), CD exclusives, and CD only home releases, it's awesome. It really does depend on what you're looking to play.

What are your experiences with the Neo Geo CD? I know we have some CD fans here (Tak included), and for some the Neo CD was how you got into the Neo Geo. I'm interested in what you guys have to say about it.

:buttrock::buttrock::buttrock::buttrock::buttrock::buttrock:

TLDR: NGCD rocks in my book and it gets too much hate.
 

Burning Fight!!

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I'm not a fighting game fan and I mostly play non-hyaku-mega-shock games so my neo cd (which has a drive that works flawlessly) serves me pretty well. I just miss real arcade softdips sometimes but that isn't enough for me to upgrade: I sense myself owning only a cd unit for years to come.
 

Digmac

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I'm not a fighting game fan and I mostly play non-hyaku-mega-shock games so my neo cd (which has a drive that works flawlessly) serves me pretty well. I just miss real arcade softdips sometimes but that isn't enough for me to upgrade: I sense myself owning only a cd unit for years to come.

What have been your go to games on your CD, Burning Fight?
 

Rasubosu

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Before I started collecting MVS I had a pretty sizable NGCD collection that I was kind of collecting for while my AES was collecting dust. Games were and in most case are still cheap and it was easier for me at the time to play Neo Geo this way since I didn't have the money to invest in AES carts. I didn't have anything too rare, the rarest game I had was Magical Drop 2 and a sealed Magician Lord but those weren't that rare to begin with. I didn't mind the load times either except on SSRPG which kind of sucked lol.

Once I picked up a cab though I eventually sold everything. Got into MVS collecting and sold off my frontloader and my CDZ as well as my AES and games. I did like the audio quality like you mentioned and that's probably the biggest selling point for NGCD for me. I never really went after the rarer games and never really thought to play burn discs because I was always afraid of burning out the lasers.

It always tripped me out though how some CD games actually cost way more than their MVS counterpart. Not always the case but some of these games are pretty pricey.
 

oliverclaude

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It always tripped me out though how some CD games actually cost way more than their MVS counterpart. Not always the case but some of these games are pretty pricey.

Especially as english versions. I still haven't seen an english Ninja Combat.
 

yagamikun

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When I first got into the Neo scene around 1998 I had just got my first AES, and my best friend (who I met on the old DHP mailing list) had a Neo CD. On Neo CD was the first time I played KOF 97, Metal Slug, SS4, and a few others. I have fond memories. I never had a Neo CD myself until just a few weeks ago where I accidently ended up with a boxed/complete top loader (serial on box does not match, but does on doc), and a box/complete/near mint front loader with all matching serials. I've always been a fighting game nut, so the Neo CD didn't appeal to me until I began seriously playing other games in the Neo library other than fighting games.

Over the last few weeks I've really come to enjoy the CD and all its quirks. All my fighting games are on AES, so I've been playing through SSRPG, some Puzzle Bobble, and Pulstar. So long as you're not playing fighting games, the loading is more than barrable and not nearly as bad as folks make it out to be.

I think the Neo CD is a great piece of kit, and a great compliment to an AES or MVS set-up, but I personally couldn't have this as my "only Neo." Very glad with my purchase - and now, I have ever piece of SNK hardware except a CDZ (just scored a full Hyper fighting game set all complete NOS). Dunno if I'll go after the CDZ, but I'm quite happy with my two single speeds.
 

Raiden328i

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I started off with a CDZ but certain games like the last blade 2 are just painful to play. In the end I just swallowed it and bought an AES.

I have about 20 games for the CD but the last year it’s just sat in the box. If an AES is out your budget then I’d only recommend the CD if you really want to play Neo games


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Digmac

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So long as you're not playing fighting games, the loading is more than barrable and not nearly as bad as folks make it out to be.

I think the Neo CD is a great piece of kit, and a great compliment to an AES or MVS set-up, but I personally couldn't have this as my "only Neo."

I totally agree. I'm happy to have my CD along with the MVS and AES to have all my bases covered. I think to get the "complete" Neo experience, having a CD along with a cartridge system is ideal, whether that's AES with a converter/NeoSD or an MVS setup. There's titles I love that didn't make it to the CD, but games like Crossed Swords II, Zintrick, and Final Romance II both have incomplete conversions due to the CDDA audio. At least the Crossed Swords II conversion has music, but it's just borrowed from the first. Nowhere near as good as the actual CDDA soundtrack for the game. Zintrick has no music at all, and the same goes for the Final Romance conversion.
 

Neo Alec

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I totally agree. I'm happy to have my CD along with the MVS and AES to have all my bases covered. I think to get the "complete" Neo experience, having a CD along with a cartridge system is ideal, whether that's AES with a converter/NeoSD or an MVS setup. There's titles I love that didn't make it to the CD, but games like Crossed Swords II, Zintrick, and Final Romance II both have incomplete conversions due to the CDDA audio. At least the Crossed Swords II conversion has music, but it's just borrowed from the first. Nowhere near as good as the actual CDDA soundtrack for the game. Zintrick has no music at all, and the same goes for the Final Romance conversion.
Here's that missing Zintrick music (wish someone would hack it back into the game):
https://youtu.be/Wy2FDuQ7LaU

I have been gradually rebuilding an NGCD collection as I go through my Youtube Neo Geo series. A lot of the games now cost more than I'm willing to pay. The prices have definitely gone up.
 

Alphabet

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I loved my Neo-Geo CD There are lots of great games like shooters, puzzle, and platform available that make it a good system for the arcade-oriented players except for fighting games because of load times. You pay less than the AES version.
Neo Turf Masters with his extra golf stage is exceptional for instance. Therefore, you just pay for what you need. Liberty, liberty, liberty... :multi_co:
The Neo-Geo CD controllers design are beautiful but they tend to be worn.

Especially as english versions. I still haven't seen an english Ninja Combat.

It’s a beautiful game. I use it as a coaster sometimes.
 

Digmac

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Here's that missing Zintrick music (wish someone would hack it back into the game):
https://youtu.be/Wy2FDuQ7LaU

I have been gradually rebuilding an NGCD collection as I go through my Youtube Neo Geo series. A lot of the games now cost more than I'm willing to pay. The prices have definitely gone up.
Oh man, I didn’t know that there was any Zintrick music for the cartridge convert. That’s pretty cool, but sad that it’s been
five years without being implemented at all (in a public release).

I appreciate you showing the Neo CD versions of the games along with the cartridge version. It adds a level of “completeness” to your reviews. Ironclad has priced me out, and OverTop costs a bit too much to justify for how much (or how little) I enjoy it. If I didn’t have a few AES games to sell that run excellently on the CD, I don’t think I would have gone for the more expensive CD titles.

And Art of Fighting on the CD pushing $100+ is nutty. It’s cheaper on the MVS and AES. :lolz:
 

NeoCverA

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Which game is the worst violator of the loading times?
 

Burning Fight!!

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What have been your go to games on your CD, Burning Fight?

I'll admit it's mostly a Magician Lord machine but I have fun playing Robo Army, Mutation Nation, Sengoku, Raguy, NAM...

edit: of course sometimes Pulstar, MSlug 1/2, Super Sidekicks 3 and some others when I feel like dealing with (reasonable) load times lol.
 

Digmac

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Which game is the worst violator of the loading times?

My bet is on LB2 and RB2. Never dared to try it, though.

If I’m remembering right, it’s Last Blade due to having to load the unique stage intros, then the actual game data. LB2 doesn’t do that. Again, I need to test it personally, but from memory, that’s what I remember seeing.
 

titchgamer

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I love my NGCD.

I have a fairly sizeable collection, Around 45-50% of the library I think never really counted!

I dont play fighters so the loading time thing has never really been a problem for me.
Also mine now has a NGCD SD fitted so that reduces loading times by half and saves my drive & discs.

The controllers are probably the best controller ever imo they are comfy and feel great just a shame they are so fragile!

But I tend to use my home made fight sticks anyway that I use for the CMVS.

But as already said multiple times as cool as it is and as nice as the audio is I would not have it as my only neo.

But between the NGCD and my MVS I am content :)

Oh and prices are defo rising, Makes me think I should buy a Metal Slug 1&2 before they climb any more :s
 

Burning Fight!!

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What honestly pisses me off about the Neo CD is how gimped your experience with some games can be. Many games can border on unplayable if you leave it 'fully featured', and to add insult to injury there are options to exclude unecessary 'fluff' which MAKES the damn game. Super Sidekicks 3 has too many loading times in a match unless you cut off all of the fun animations for instance.

I honestly think SNK should have went with a 'Neo Jr.' with lesser cartridges ROM wise and a new architecture that doesn't lose too much of the scaling, color and sprite-per-scanline capabilities while being optimized for more compact graphics storage wise, if they were ever serious about the home market. Or at least I wish they had the foresight to make the unified (V)RAM expandable via expansion slot/ram cart so newer games could load everything at once (enormous loading times, but only once! you could even add a battery/capacitor to it to retain a game after shutdown). I'd imagine the Neo CD must have been a huge disappointment for anyone that wanted to play the blockbuster SNK fighting games of the period at home.
 

yagamikun

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What honestly pisses me off about the Neo CD is how gimped your experience with some games can be. Many games can border on unplayable if you leave it 'fully featured', and to add insult to injury there are options to exclude unecessary 'fluff' which MAKES the damn game. Super Sidekicks 3 has too many loading times in a match unless you cut off all of the fun animations for instance.

I honestly think SNK should have went with a 'Neo Jr.' with lesser cartridges ROM wise and a new architecture that doesn't lose too much of the scaling, color and sprite-per-scanline capabilities while being optimized for more compact graphics storage wise, if they were ever serious about the home market. Or at least I wish they had the foresight to make the unified (V)RAM expandable via expansion slot/ram cart so newer games could load everything at once (enormous loading times, but only once! you could even add a battery/capacitor to it to retain a game after shutdown). I'd imagine the Neo CD must have been a huge disappointment for anyone that wanted to play the blockbuster SNK fighting games of the period at home.

I hear that. There were a lot of missed opportunities with the Neo CD architecture for sure - but that can be said of most SNK products, sadly. Well, except maybe the NGPC - that was mostly poor timing rather than bad design decisions.

That said, as a teenager in the 90's the Neo CD was still a more pure experience than what you could get on Playstation or Saturn (even with the RAM cart). It wasn't perfect, but it had a much larger selection of SNK games than was ported to other consoles as well. I had an AES, but my buddy had a CD and while we had to play KOF 97 in singles matches rather than team matches due to the constant loading, it was still awesome. The AES was (and still is) prohibitively expensive, and a home MVS set-up wasn't really viable until the late 90's or so until there was more wide-spread access to the internet and private sales of MVS carts.

I think now it's easy to look back on the bad design, but if you had one in the mid-90's or were around at the time, it was a very different story for a huge number of SNK fans. :)
 

NeoSneth

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If I’m remembering right, it’s Last Blade due to having to load the unique stage intros, then the actual game data. LB2 doesn’t do that. Again, I need to test it personally, but from memory, that’s what I remember seeing.

LB by far is the worst. MS has loading in the middle of some stages, but it was fairly fast.

LB wasn't bad for 2 player if you chose the same characters and map. It was smart enough to know that it didn't need to reload everything.
 

Digmac

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LB by far is the worst. MS has loading in the middle of some stages, but it was fairly fast.

LB wasn't bad for 2 player if you chose the same characters and map. It was smart enough to know that it didn't need to reload everything.

That was only for Metal Slug 2. The first Slug loads once before the stage and that’s it. It’s really not bad, and the same goes for 2.
 

Digmac

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What honestly pisses me off about the Neo CD is how gimped your experience with some games can be. Many games can border on unplayable if you leave it 'fully featured', and to add insult to injury there are options to exclude unecessary 'fluff' which MAKES the damn game. Super Sidekicks 3 has too many loading times in a match unless you cut off all of the fun animations for instance.

I honestly think SNK should have went with a 'Neo Jr.' with lesser cartridges ROM wise and a new architecture that doesn't lose too much of the scaling, color and sprite-per-scanline capabilities while being optimized for more compact graphics storage wise, if they were ever serious about the home market. Or at least I wish they had the foresight to make the unified (V)RAM expandable via expansion slot/ram cart so newer games could load everything at once (enormous loading times, but only once! you could even add a battery/capacitor to it to retain a game after shutdown). I'd imagine the Neo CD must have been a huge disappointment for anyone that wanted to play the blockbuster SNK fighting games of the period at home.

So, outside of the fighting games and SSK3, what games were truly gimped on the CD from the cartridge version in your opinion?

For the Neo CD, they couldn’t have added a battery to the RAM to keep the memory stored because they used DRAM for the virtual cartridge storage. The DRAM needs to be constantly rewritten for the chip to keep what was written to it in memory. Even if a battery was added, you couldn’t get around that.

I think having a downscaled cartridge version would have been more costly and more of a disappointment. At the end of the day the Neo CD is still original Neo Geo hardware. Having something less than that would have been even more gimped in my opinion.
 
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famicommander

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The Neo Geo CD is an excellent companion to an MVS. There are several games I bought for dirt cheap on CD that I'd never cough up the cash for on cart. And there are a few carts where I'd never cough up the CD going rate, plus the carts that never released on CD.

I have an Omega and a Toploader CD with UNIBIOS. Best combination if you're not just going to go the flash cart route (which is totally valid).

The toploader has the best quality video output of any console I own. Nice little bonus.
 

Missile

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The Neo Geo CD is strange. I like that it exists but in some ways it is strange to have one now over a MVS/AES because it spoils the arcade perfect experience. Which is the whole reason the Neo Geo exists in the first place. I saw a video the other day that showed the AOF3 fighter graphics are not as large on the Neo Geo CD compared to the MVS/AES so it's not just loading times there are other compromises too

Also I dislike CD quality soundtracks over pixelated arcade graphics - the two just don't go together for me. I much prefer the Neo Geo sound chip (with samples etc)

I get that people have strong nostalgic feelings for it and it does have a few enhancements over the MVS/AES - extra hardware registers etc. I think if it had been more popular there would have been more exclusive games that would have made it a much more essential system. At the time it really had a huge amount of onboard memory (when memory was expensive) so if anything SNk was very generous with the spec

EDIT I noticed the Neo Geo CD is actually better at clearing the display - it has a register to turn off all graphics, which is not on the cartridge based hardware. So it can go straight to black at the end of a stage/fight etc, where transitions on AES/MVS can be messier. Advantage Neo Geo CD here!
 
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itsofrustratin

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most of the non fighting games have very tolerable load times but these are of course the most expensive to buy. Overall its underrated ..built in s video, ability to play burned games, arranged soundtrack and awesome albeit flawed controller. its a shame it only has a partial library but the later games would have been intolerable for load times. If it had the playstation read speeds it could have done relatively well in a niche market.
 

Digmac

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The Neo Geo CD is an excellent companion to an MVS. There are several games I bought for dirt cheap on CD that I'd never cough up the cash for on cart. And there are a few carts where I'd never cough up the CD going rate, plus the carts that never released on CD.

I have an Omega and a Toploader CD with UNIBIOS. Best combination if you're not just going to go the flash cart route (which is totally valid).

The toploader has the best quality video output of any console I own. Nice little bonus.
This is a very choice setup FC. You can get the full Neo experience with ease.

Another point is that sometimes the CD versions of games have extra content and settings over the cartridge versions. Like in the case of Metal Slug 1 and 2, they’re great examples of how the CD versions can make the same game feel fresh if someone hasn’t checked out the CD version before with the combat school and art galleries.

There’s some unique experiences to be had on the CD, for sure.
 
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