Why, hello there, retro gaming friends. Welcome back to The Last Official Release – Old School Gamer Magazines incomparable source of what the final games released on your favourite consoles were. I’ve covered quite a few systems previously (linked below) if today’s subject isn’t of your interest, but today, I’m undertaking a part 2 in the Neo Geo family of consoles.
Last week, I covered the original Neo Geo AES – the substantially expensive and high spec’d arcade gaming console for your home. This was out of reach of most normies, so four years after the release of the AES (although three before the hardware was discontinued) SNK opted for a more consumer-friendly variant that instead used the more commonplace Compact Disk format – as opposed to the cartridges beforehand that went for $300 each.
Unsurprisingly, SNK named this console the Neo Geo CD, which retailed for US$399 in the September of 1994. Most of the games were ported straight from the AES, although they instead cost the more welcoming amount of between $49 to $79. This adopted technology to make the system more friendly to the wallet ultimately contributed to its short life, however. The CD-ROM drive was slow, only rated at 1X, which meant that the AES’s game library – which was full of large sprites, detailed backgrounds and fluid animations – struggled to run efficiently on the format. The console was also bundled with a traditional controller as opposed to a joystick, which was how most of the games were meant to be played with. However, the original joystick was supported if you happened to own one.
On the plus side, the Neo Geo CD was not region locked and the Japanese market even received the CDZ variant, which included a faster disk drive. But ultimately, SNK quietly discontinued the system in the May of 1997.
Even though the Neo Geo CD disappeared in the 20th century, its final game very nearly made its way into the 21st. The King of Fighters ’99: Millennium Battle saw release on the second of December, 1999. The sixth instalment in the long-running fighting series, this time around you’re playing a guy named K’ who is a participant in the latest KOF tournament. While not too different from previous entries on the KOF series, Millennium Battle introduced a fourth member to the usual three-member teams. The fourths role is that of a ‘striker’, who is summoned to assist in special moves of the player.
While originally appearing on the Neo Geo arcade hardware in the July of that year, Millennium Battle was ported to many systems besides from the Neo Geo CD (which surprisingly received no notoriety whatsoever considering it was the final game on a console discontinued two years previously). While the PS1 received a port exactly the same the Neo Geo CD, the Dreamcast and PC versions had their stages remodelled in 3D and benefited from faster loading times.
It’s been released on a few compilations since, most notably on the PS2 and Wii, but for those of us in the present, a version available on the Nintendo Switches eShop released in 2017 is currently the best bet. It even includes an online mode.
Previously, on The Last Official Release:
Neo Geo AES – Samurai Shodown V Special (2004)
TurboGrafx-16 – Magical Chase (1993)
Atari 7800 – Sentinel (1991)
Atari 5200 – Gremlins (1986)
Sega CD – Shadowrun
32X – The Amazing Spider-Man: Web of Fire (1996)
3DO – Creature Shock (1996)
CD-i – Solar Crusade (1999)
Atari Lynx – Super Asteroids & Missile Command (1995)
N-Gage – Civilization (2006)
Fairchild Channel F – Alien Invasion (1981)
Atari Jaguar – Worms (1998)
Virtual Boy – 3D Tetris (1996)
Sega Saturn – Undefined Japanese Game (2000)
Intellivision – Spiker! Super Pro Volleyball (1989)
Super Nintendo Entertainment System – Metal Slader Glory: Director’s Cut (2000)
Sega Genesis – Frogger (1998)
Sega Master System – Mickey’s Ultimate Challenge
Game & Watch – Mario the Juggler
PS1 – Schnappi: 3 Fun-Games
N64 – Tony Hawks Pro Skater 3
Game Gear – The Lost World: Jurassic Park
NES – The Lion King
Atari 2600 – Klax
Game Boy – Shikakei Atama o Kore Kusuru: Kanji/Keisan no Tatsujin
Dreamcast – Karous