The Cheapest Neo-Geo Games Worth Your Time

The Cheapest Neo-Geo Games Worth Your Time

Typically, my Cheapest Games Worth Your Time series looks for games that are $10 or less, but with the Neo-Geo, that just isn’t an option. This 24-bit powerhouse has always been for only the most financially-blessed gamers with both the system and games retailing for hundreds of dollars each. With a hardcore following and a very limited supply of games, many game prices are still much more than most retro gamers are used to paying for a single title. Because of this, my “Cheap” Neo-Geo list will be rather short and I’ll have to adjust my price targets as well.

For AES cartridges, my goal was to find the best games for $50 or less and I had a target of $30 or less for Neo-Geo CDs. While most gamers would agree that the game themselves aren’t really worth even these lower prices. When you buy Neo-Geo games, you are essentially paying for the right to play them on the original Neo-Geo hardware and the collectability of these hard-to-find cartridges and CDs.

It is also worth nothing that while you may save a lot of money by going with Neo-Geo CDs instead of AES carts, you will be greatly sacrificing load time due to the slow CD speeds of the Neo-Geo CD drive. Because of this, you are losing much of the appeal of the arcade-like experience. If you want to play the games (legally) without spending as much, you are better off acquiring quality ports of the games on the Saturn, Dreamcast, or PS2.

Since Neo-Geo games aren’t sold on eBay quite as often as more common console games, I’m averaging the eBay prices I did see with the price guide at Neo-Geo.com
Check out the other Cheapest Games Worth Your Time articles

Best AES Cartridges For $50 or Less

Samurai Shodown: $40
Samurai Shodown 2 : $50
samuraishodown-cover.jpg On the Neo-Geo, it’s very uncommon to be able to find a blockbuster game for much less than $100 (or even $300). So considering that the first two installments of the beloved Samurai Shodown series can be found for less than $50, it is almost required to have at least one of these games in your Neo-Geo library. When most early fighting game were just a slight adaptation of Street Fighter 2, Samurai Shodown slowed down the pace a bit and brought weapons-based Samurai fighting to the brawler genre. To this day, Samurai Showdown 2 is still regarded as the best of the series as SNK messed with the fighting system a bit in part 3 and 4.
Check for Samurai Shodown Series on eBay

King of Monsters: $40
With so many popular 2D fighters on the Neo-Geo, it is easy for this unique brawler to get overlooked. What can best be described as a wrestling game featuring a variety of Godzilla-sized monsters duking it out in futuristic Japanese cityscapes, King of Monsters is a riot in terms of gameplay and visually engaging as well. The original game, in my opinion, is more satisfying than its sequel, in addition to being cheaper as well.
Check for King of Monsters on eBay

NAM-1975: $40
This side-scrolling shooter was one of the very first Neo-Geo games and was an option for a pack-in game, but it still packs in some satisfying shooting goodness. It is one of the better Operation Wolf clones that made it to home systems and since its an older, common game, it can be had for a reasonable price.
Check for NAM-1975 on eBay

Baseball Stars Professional: $35
The other early pack-in option for the Neo-Geo is the successor to the popular SNK game from the NES library. The Baseball Stars series is still beloved by many old-school sports fans. I doesn’t have any complicated controls, gratuitous set-up screens, or lulls in the action. Combining nice 2D graphics with simple, fast gameplay, Baseball Stars Professional is pure arcade fun.
Check for Baseball Stars Professional on eBay

2020 Super Baseball: $30
Many gamers may choose Baseball Stars as their favorite baseball game on the Neo-Geo, but I think the 2020 Super Baseball doesn’t get nearly the appreciation it deserves. While it does have some flaws, I found that this fast-paced and over-the-top futuristic representation of America’s pastime is loads of fun. Being able to upgrade both your human and robotic players with the money you earn along the way adds a lot of depth to this very affordable gem.
Check for 2020 Super Baseball on eBay

Magician Lord: $45
This game is popular with some Neo-Geo fans, but it isn’t for everyone. This platformer gives you the opportunity to find different orbs that transform your wizard character into different forms like a ninja, samurai, and “Dragon Warrior”. To me, it seems like Kid Chameleon, but not quite as interesting. But again, some people really like the game and will complain if I don’t include it on this list.
Check for Magician Lord on eBay

Best Neo-Geo CDs For $30 or Less

King of Fighters Series – Ranging for $18-$25 each
Most installments of SNK’s headlining series are very expensive in cartridge form. However CD versions are a bit more realistically priced. The older installments like KOF ’94 & ’95 can be found on the lower end of the price scale, while the newer installments like KOF ’98 (my personal favorite) command a few more dollars.
Check for King of Fighters Series on eBay

Samurai Shodown Series: $17-$20 each
This series is pretty cheap once again on the CD format. However, for part 1 & 2, it sould definitely be worth the extra $20-30 more for the cartridge version. But if you really want to go cheap, this option is available.
Check for Samurai Shodown Series on eBay

Fatal Fury Special: $20
Fatal Fury 3: $22
If you like the early multi-planed Fatal Fury games, these are as cheap as you are going to get on the SNK console. They are very well-rounded fighters that will give you something different from standard Street Fighter 2 clones.
Check for Fatal Fury Series on eBay

Aero Fighters 2/Sonic Wings 2: $30
There’s plenty of fighters on this list, but a well-rounded arcade-based library needs a shmup in there somewhere. Aero Fighters 2 is defiantly the best value as far as shooters go. It is a straightforward but enjoyable entry in the genre, so it’s a good choice for those that want an accessible shooter that will help them get their feet wet in the genre without spending too much money.
Check for Aero Fighters 2/Sonic Wings 2 on eBay

Art of Fighting 3: $30
Not only was the gameplay of this fighter rather interesting, but Art of Fighting 3 was also a technical showpiece with it’s very large sprites and smooth animation. So if you want to show off what your Neo can do, AOF3 is an inexpensive solution.
Check for Art of Fighting 3 on eBay

My Starter Picks For $120 Budget

My typical $50 budget won’t cut it much with the Neo-Geo, so I’ve bumped the budget up to $120 for this luxury console. So, If I only had $120 to spend on starting out a Neo-Geo collection, here would be my top picks:

  • Samurai Shodown 2 : $50
  • King of Monsters: $40
  • 2020 Super Baseball: $30
  • Total: $120

19 Comments

  1. gnome says:

    Oh my! Never thought I’d live to see the day of modestly priced AES cartridges. Feel like dancing really… Thank you so much racketboy dear. Think the time has come to grab a Neo Geo.

  2. Definetly much cheaper buying them on the newer consoles. This article makes me feel more fortunate for these compilation titles.

  3. extrarice says:

    Or you can get an MVS converter for your AES and get MVS cartridges for cheap (comparatively).

  4. durkada says:

    It takes balls, yes it does, to write an article such as this. In the console world, isn’t this akin to saying — the “Cheapest Gold Plated Rolls Royces worth your Time”, after having a series of articles on “The Cheapest Cars of GM”?

    Nonetheless, its good. I pity myself, honestly… I had a friend who was into NeoGeo, and told him that Wal-mart, one day, had a whole bin filled with the titles going for five bucks. He came in and bought them all. Many years later, wish I had bought a few for myself…

  5. Timerever says:

    X-D NoWAI! Cheapest NeoGeo carts? And budget of US$50 per cart? Try again US$300 per cart and you might have a chance.

  6. racketboy says:

    What are you trying to say, Timerever? I have the going prices by the game names….
    Most games are around the $300 point, but the whole idea of this post is to find the ones that are cheaper…

  7. Timerever says:

    I’m saying what you just said, most neogeo game carts are around US$300, the US$50 are just very old revision of some game series or not that great games (at all). According to that price guide on the top of the post my favorite neogeo game, Blazing Star can cost up to a whooping US$900 and more O_o (and Blazing Star isn’t THAT great, you can get better for PC for free).

    So to sum, the only way to have good games on the list is to raised the price per cart to US$300 which kinda defeats the point. Neogeo is just too expensive to be on a cheap list.

  8. racketboy says:

    I kinda see what you’re saying, but some of the games on the list are, in my opinion, some of the best games for the console.

    Samurai Shodown 2 is regarded as the very best in the series and I think King of Monsters and Super Baseball 2020 are some of my favorite Neo games all together.

    I’m well aware that you can get a cheap port of just about any Neo-Geo game on another platform, but the idea of these lists is for somebody starting out a collection that wants to get a quick start on their library without dishing a lot out right off the bat.

  9. Lucas says:

    I love Neo Geo games, I have a job that pays fairly well and I still can’t imagine trying to collect for the AES.

    So I went ahead and bought myself a Neo Geo arcade cab and started on my MVS collection instead.

    It’s a very reasonable compromise.

  10. Ender says:

    Collecting NEO GEO cartridges is so damn expensive I started collecting NEO GEO CD games.

    I buy all of them from a reliable Ebay seller which has never failed me.All of them (J) and VERY CHEAP.
    Send me a PM in the forum if you want the link (just don’t bid on my picks :P)

    I’m missing the console but I like to collect them and I can always put the original or backed up còpy on the NEO GEO CD-Z emu.

    That said, I strongly recommend Samurai Spirits (Shodown) II as this id to me the most balanced fighter ever released.

    Truly a masterpiece.

    Have fun

    -Ender-

  11. bones says:

    Great article, very nice summary. How about adding a best of for MVS games? This is truly the way to get “cheap” Neo Geo gaming…hell could get a Metal Slug and King of Fighters MVS with a few other titles for less than $120.

  12. Joe says:

    “When you buy Neo-Geo games, you are essentially paying for the right to play them on the original Neo-Geo hardware and the collectability of these hard-to-find cartridges and CDs.”

    I would say that is not entirely true. Ports of games are never the same as the originals. For example, some of the X-box/PS2 ports change the resolution, have loading times for neo geo games, and sometimes also have censorship issues. Also, most people don’t use the neo geo style stick or a proper arcade stick. MAME has problems with flicker and slowdown.

  13. valerio says:

    What is expensive? I don’t know what a latest madden game for any of the current consoles costs in the USA, but here in the UK it going to set you back £30-40.

    I had a Neo geo aes with a collection of 20 games. Ok, some were better than others. Not one cost me what EA’s latest gridiron offering would set me back. There were some good games; I had some King of fighters, couple of the Fatal fury series, as well as many of the games mentioned in the guide.

    My point to all this! I am recovering from a rather nasty back injury; as a result I needed to raise some cash. Due to some smart buying of the games I got more back than I paid for them. How much would I have got back if I’d bought 20 EA games? Enough to buy a Mc Donald’s?

    They may be “expensive” but they always will be, and that’s a good thing.

    I miss them….

  14. Ceez says:

    I do have to disagree regarding your pick of Art Of Fighting 3. AofF3 totally blew of what made ArtofF series so attention grabbing in the first place. The Zoom In/Zoom out feature of Art of Fighting 1 snd 2 made the game feature the largest fighters ever to grace any console system of its time and along with a faster paced battles.
    Just a grain of thought regrding my neo geo experience.

  15. Matt says:

    This article is now pretty out of date. Most games listed now sell for about half what is listed here. But at the same time, the rarer more expensive games have become much more expensive than they were three years ago.

    Also CD games have plummeted, the neo cd is now very cheap to collect for with the exception of about 8 games or so.

  16. Patrick BBE says:

    Lukemorse1, I want a Neo Geo!

  17. Adam Fox says:

    Here’s the easiest way to find the “Cheapest Neo Geo Games Worth Your Time”….find a Neo-Geo game under $50 and buy it….in all honesty, there is no BAD games on Neo-Geo system…you won’t find AVGN doing neo-geo games b/c there is no bad ones…they may have less favorable ones for each person, but they aren’t bad…I don’t care that much for King of Monsters, but I can’t say its a bad game….its just not a game I would care to buy…but for the right price, I would…..the Neo-Geo is an awesome platform to collect for (but still, expensive)