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Neo-Geo FAQ by RBarbagallo




          NEO GEO Frequently Asked Questions list - (c) 1994
                       By Ralph A. Barbagallo III



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        "Bigger, Badder, Better"


Disclaimer: HEY!  This list is in no way endorsed or connected with SNK
Home Entertainment.


-What is the NEO GEO?

   The NEO GEO is the home version of SNK's arcade MVS (Multi-Video
System).  The MVS allows the arcade operator to house many different
video games in one cabinet.  The NEO GEO allows home play of these games
via special cartridges which are essentially the exact same software
found in the MVS with few if any changes.
        In the arcade, the MVS is found in several different setups.
The first, is the one game console.  Essentially an MVS unit with a single
game in the cabinet.  There is also the 2 game/2 console setup which gives
2 independent screens for 2 player multilink games (i.e. Riding Hero etc.).
The most common is the 4 game setup, but there is also a 6 game model as
well.


-What are the capabilities of the NEO GEO?

   The NEO GEO is an outstanding home system. Of course, it's extremely
expensive but here's what you get as far as hardware capabilities:

Microprocessors:                           14mhz 68000, Z80
Resolution:                                320x224
Palette:                                   65,536
Maximum Colors On-Screen:                  4,096
Maximum Sprites On-Screen:                 380
Voices of Sound:                           7-Digital, 8-FM
                              (one source says it has 22 voices, 7 digital??)

  The NEO GEO also has extensive sprite and background scaling abilities,
omnidirectional scrolling, and other astounding audio visual features.


-What hardware is available for the NEO GEO?

   Due to the relatively small number of NEO GEO users, not too
much has been released in the way of peripherals etc.  However, there
are a few:

NEO GEO Joystick:  Pretty self-explanatory.  This 8 way, contoured, rather
                   large stick is the only input device I know of for the
NEO GEO.  There may be other joysticks that do work for the NEO GEO
(Apollo?), but I am not aware of them.  This joystick has the standard
4 buttons and two function buttons on the top of the unit.  Its large
size and heavy base give it that 'arcade feel'.

NEO GEO Memory Card:  This is the best piece of hardware available for the
                      NEO GEO.  This tiny device allows 19-27 game positions
to be saved on a single card.  Positions can be saved so that a game can
be restarted from a saved level etc.  Therefore, earlier levels don't have
to be repeated etc.  This card also works with the arcade unit so your
saved games can be resumed in the arcades as well.

NEO GEO RGB Cable:  Available from several sources, this cable allows the
                    NEO GEO system to be used with an RGB monitor such
as the Commodore 1084S etc.  I'm not sure on the manufacturer but I've
seen it in several catalogs for around $30 or so.

ARCADE STICK:  This third party product from Game Innovation is a
               sturdy-looking joystick featuring multicolored
buttons in a 6 button layout with two start/select buttons over the
joystick.  It also works on the Genesis, DUO, and SNES.

NEO GEO SUPER PRO STICK: A critically acclaimed arcade quality joystick
                         with slow motion and turbo firing.  Also
available as a 2 player unit.  Configurable to work on other home systems
as well.  Available from MAS Systems.

ULTRA STICK:  Another third party product from Game Innovation,
              this multi-system stick (including NEO GEO) is a cordless
unit for tangle-free play.  It looks similar in design to the original
NEO GEO stick, but with Rapid Fire etc.

ULTRA PAD:  Finally!  A wireless control pad for the NEO GEO.  This is
            another multi-system controller from Game Innovation that
does work on the NEO GEO.  It has a 6 button layout with options for
rapid-fire etc.

   Also available are Nylon carry bags, and padded system organizers
that allow easy transport for the home unit.  Call SNK for more info.
(see the end of the FAQ for SNK's number)
   The cable for the Multi-Link feature is simply a cable with mini
phono plugs on each end.  They can be found at Radio Shack and other
similar electronics outlets.


-What games are available for the NEO GEO?

   In the U.S., all games that you find in the NEO GEO MVS unit
either are available for the NEO GEO home unit, or will be shortly.
Most games are produced for the MVS first and then produced in cartridge
format for the home system a short time later.
   The arcade versions usually cost a lot more than the home
versions initially, but then drastically drop in price after the game
gets a bit older.

*NOTE:  Some of these games are Japanese releases, but you still can
        get them at an importer.

'Nam-1975 (46 Mbits)                              :Action/Shooter
2020 Super Baseball (46 Mbits)                    :Sports (baseball)
3 Count Bout (106 Mbits)                          :Sports (wrestling)
Aero Fighters 2 (98 Mbits)                        :Shooter
Alpha Mission II (55 Mbits)                       :Shooter
Andro Dunos (34 Mbits)                            :Shooter
Art of Fighting (102 Mbits)                       :Fighting
Art of Fighting 2 (?? Mbits)                      :Fighting
Baseball Stars Professional (50 Mbits)            :Sports (baseball)
Blue's Journey (47 Mbits)                         :Platform
Burning Fight (54 Mbits)                          :Fighting
Crossed Swords (50 Mbits)                         :Action/Adventure
Cyber-Lip (50 Mbits)                              :Action/Adventure
Dunk Stars (?? Mbits)                             :Sports (basketball)
Fatal Fury (55 Mbits)                             :Fighting
Fatal Fury II (106 Mbits)                         :Fighting
Fatal Fury Special (?? Mbits)                     :Fighting
Fighter's History Dynamite:  Karnov's Revenge (?) :Fighting
Football Frenzy (48 Mbits)                        :Sports (football)
Ghost Pilots (55 Mbits)                           :Shooter
Joy Joy Kid (45 Mbits)                            :Platform/Strategy
King of Fighters '94 (198 Mbits)                   :Fighting
King of the Monsters (55 Mbits)                   :Action/Fighting
King of the Monsters II (74 Mbits)                :Action/Fighting
Last Resort (45 Mbits)                            :Shooter
League Bowling (26Mbits)                          :Sports(bowling)
Magician Lord (46 Mbits)                          :Adventure
Mah Jong (50 Mbits)                               :Puzzle/Strategy
Miracle Adventure (?? Mbits)                      :Platform
Mutation Nation (54 Mbits)                        :Fighting
New Mah Jong (55 Mbits)                           :Puzzle/Strategy
Ninja Combat (46 Mbits)                           :Action/Fighting
Ninja Commandos (54 Mbits)                        :Action/Shooter
Puzzled (46 Mbits)                                :Puzzle
Raguy (45 Mbits)                                  :???
Riding Hero (42 Mbits)                            :Driving
Robo-Army (46 Mbits)                              :Action
Samurai Showdown (118 Mbits)                      :Fighting
Sengoku (55 Mbits)                                :Action/Fighting
Sengoku II (107 Mbits)                            :Action/Fighting
Shin Samurai Spirits (?? Mbits) CDROM ONLY        :Fighting
Soccer Brawl (46 Mbits)                           :Sports (soccer)
Spin Masters (?? Mbits)                           :Action/Platform
Super 8 Man (46 Mbits)                            :Action/Platform
Super Side Kick (54 Mbits)                        :Sports (soccer)
Super Side Kick 2 (?? Mbits)                      :Sports (soccer)
The Success of Legend Joe (46 Mbits)              :Sports (boxing)
The Super Spy (55 Mbits)                          :Action/Adventure
Thrash Rally (46 Mbits)                           :Driving
Top Hunter (?? Mbits)                             :Platform
Top Players Golf (62Mbits)                        :Sports(golf)
Viewpoint (74 Mbits)                              :Shooter
Wind Jammers (?? Mbits)                           :Sports (frisbee)
World Heroes (82 Mbits)                           :Fighting
World Heroes 2 (146 Mbits)                        :Fighting
World Heroes 2 Jet (?? Mbits)                     :Fighting
ZedBlade (?? Mbits)                               :Shooter

*NOTE -some are arcade releases only (at the moment)- *

Coming Soon:

Agressors of Dark Kombat(178Mbits)                :Fighting
Crystalis (around 200 Mbits)                      :Adventure
Magician Lord 2                                   :Action/Adventure
NBA Basketball                                    :Sports(Basketball)
Reactor                                           :Platform
Samurai Shodown 2 (198 Mbits)                     :Fighting
Super Volleyball II                               :Sports (volleyball)
Viewpoint 2                                       :Shooter


-Are Japanese NEO GEO carts compatible with the U.S. system?

   Yes.  They can be used without any modification.  Be aware that
some countries use the PAL television standard and that cartridges coming
from those areas (i.e. U.K. etc.) may be in PAL.  Apparently they can be
played but the screen will be jumbled a bit, etc....


-Is it possible to play Samurai Shodown in a USA NEO GEO with red blood?

   Yes.  Most NEO GEO games are programmed in 3 different languages:
English, Japanese, and Spanish.  The cartridge checks which system it
is running on, and displays the text accordingly.
   However, using this method, SNK decided to censor the violence in
Samurai Shodown by changing the color of the blood and eliminating the
violent finishing moves.
   This can be averted.  Dragon Video or MAS Systems will modify any
NEO GEO with a toggle switch to play games as they would in a forgien
system.  This way, when Japanese mode is toggled on, the system will play
Samurai Shodown as it were running in a Japanese system; with the blood.


-Is it possible to play arcade MVS cartridges in home NEO GEO systems.

   Yes.  While the cartridges are physically larger, the arcade MVS
games will run on a home system.  They require modifications to run,
however.  Dragon Video and MAS Systems will convert any MVS cartridge.
Some of the older MVS games can be had for as low as $30.  Check arcade
game distributors such as Video Connection for MVS software.


-Who are the NEO GEO 3rd party game manufacturers?

   There are several.  Some of the 3rd parties' games are released
under SNK's label but there are many independent game companies gearing
up for future NEO GEO titles.  American Sammy, ADK, Visco, Wave,
Data East of Japan, and Sunsoft have been said to have signed on.


-How do I use the Memory Card?

   Well, the Memory Card as a few different options.  To get the
Memory Card menu you must insert a game, then then the Memory Card,
and press all four buttons on controller 1.  Move the joystick to the
desired option and hit A to select it.
   Card Format erases all data on the card.  This data is permanently
erased with this option.  Display Data Name will show the level saved
and the name of the games for each memory file.  Copy Data allows
the positions from one card to be transferred to another card.  This can
be done file by file or all at once.  Delete Data allows the files to
be scratched one by one.  File User's Name allows the player's name to
be stored on the card to identify the specific card.  End, obviously,
exits the card menu.


-What is the Controller Test Menu?

   This is a somewhat hidden menu that allows the NEO GEO user to
see if the joysticks are working properly.  To access this menu, insert
a game and hold down A, B, C, and D.  The Controller Test screen should
appear.  On the menu, the 0 means the button or position is not
activated.  The 1 means the position or button is activated.  If you
push a direction or button and you do not get a 1, then the controller
is broken or the connection could be loose.


-Can I get extension cables for the NEO GEO joysticks?

   Since the NEO GEO joysticks accept the same 15 pin connectors as
standard PC gameports, any PC joystick extension cable will work.
Apparently there is no need to reconfigure the pin order, they will
work without modification.


-What about the NEO GEO CDROM?

   Finally, at the spring 1994 Tokyo Toy Show, SNK held a press conference
in which they introducted the long-awaited NEO GEO CD.  Contained in
a new, rather boxy casing, the NEO GEO CDROM contains virtually the same
hardware that was in the NEO GEO when it was originally released in 1989
besides the addition of a incredibly slow single speed CDROM drive (although
Chad Okada claims a double-speed unit will be included in the final
design) and 56 megabits of RAM.  Also, instead of using the traditional
NEO GEO memory cards, game data will be saved in an unspecified amount of
internal backup RAM.
   The NEO GEO CDROM can be had for around $650 on import.  The
discs go for around $120 or so for new titles.  Most discs have
rescored background music utilitizing surround sound, but the initial
reports on the access time are not exactly complementary.
        While the initial shipments will be front loading, later units
will have a top loading CD mechanisim.


-Are there any backup units for the NEO GEO?

   Yes and no.  Yes there are backup units and no, they are no longer
in production.  The NEO GEO adapter for the Multi Game Hunter (Venus Computer)
was canned and the $1300 Multi-Game Doctor has been scrapped too.  However,
you may still be able to find the $1300 setup somewhere...but is it really
worth it?  It reportedly takes 4-8 minutes to load up a game on the
device.


-Is there any way I can find an autofire stick or other controllers?

   Game Stuff apparently does modifications to NEO GEO systems which
includes autofire NEO GEO sticks and other enhancements.  Call or write
to them for more info.  The Apollo stick may also work with the NEO GEO,
I'm not sure.
   Also, if you look above there should be a list of several
NEW Neo-Geo controllers featuring autofire, cordless control, etc.


-What are the symptoms of having a faulty or PAL NEO GEO?

   Apparently, a lot of NEO GEOs have been imported from other
countries to supply the US market, and a lot of these have faulty
RF shielding and more serious problems.  SNK will, if under warranty,
fix these promptly, and free of cost.  Call them for more information.
Some of the games most problematic with the PAL systems are Fatal Fury II
and Ghost Pilots.
   However, some users have said that when NTSC cartridges are used in
their PAL units, the games are letterboxed (black bands on the top
and bottom of the screen to compensate for the lack of vertical
resolution) or the extra space is used as an on-screen  storage area
for 'graphic garbage' (scenery blocks for the scrolling screen that are
about to appear etc. etc.).  Also, some new games have overscan graphics
so the NTSC games actually fill the PAL screen because they go over the
NTSC borders.


-What about the Multi-Link feature?

    When the NEO GEO was first introduced, one of the more interesting
features SNK seemed to be promoting was the ability to network 2 NEO GEOs
together.  This feature was never very popular, but it did appear in
two cartridges.  Both League Bowling and Riding Hero have a small jack on
the cartridge where a cable can be connected linking the system to
another NEO GEO with the same game inserted.  The cable is not included
with the games, but it can be found at most any radio shack or electronics
store.  Basically, it's just a small wire with two male mini-headphone
plugs on each end.


-Is there a NEO GEO mailing list?

     Yes, there is a NEO GEO mailing list. To subscribe, send the text
'SUBSCRIBE NEOGEO' in email to listproc@dhp.com.  In order to post
messages to the list, send mail to neogeo@dhp.com.  Upon subscription,
a message detaling usage of the list will be sent automatically.


-Where can I get NEO GEO software and hardware?

   The NEO GEO is now mostly a mail-order item.  In '91 the NEO GEO
could be found almost everywhere.  This is no longer the case.  A lot
of retail chains have dropped the NEO due to low sales caused by the
high price.  You can find NEO GEOs in certain Electronics Boutique and
Software Etc. stores but only the top 50 stores in the country.  However,
the NEO GEO is well supported in the mail order community.  Great prices
can be found by mail, and they are often way cheaper than the retail
outlets that still sell NEO GEO items.  Such places include:


Dragon Video:  (919) 954-0880
               

MAS Systems: (714) 831-5760
             25825 Via Lomas Unit 206
             Laguna Hills, CA  92653

DIE HARD:  (818)865-2599
           18612 Ventura Blvd.,
           Tarzana, CA  91356

Tommo: (213)680-8880 (dealers only)

Game Stuff:  (213)724-5733
             2327 S. Garfield Ave
             Monterey Park, CA  91754

Japan Video Games: (818)291-9282
                   710 W. Las Tunas
                   San Gabriel, CA  91776

Game Xpress:  (818)760-GAME (4263)
              11390 Ventura Blvd., Suite 1
              North Hollywood, CA  91604

Telesauraus: (313)477-0067

Boston Technology: (617)617-3865
                   21 Linden St.
                   Suite 125
                   Wollaston, MA  02146

Game Innovation:  (800)-INNOVATE
                  P.O. Box 360
                  Old Saybrook, CT 06475

Video Connection: (800)-444-6854
                  1150 Industrial Pl.  #110
                  Dixon, CA  95620 (arcade kits and games only)

*This is just a sampling of the multitude of NEO GEO dealers.


-How can I contact SNK?

   SNK's 1-800-800-NEOG(eo) line is no longer in service, but
you can still call them at:

        Phone: (310) 371-7100
        FAX  : (310) 371-0969

        SNK Corporation of America
        20603 Earl Street
        Torrance, CA  90503

References:  Bonnie Lais (orders), Chad "Game Lord" Okada (questions)

-The Game Lord is my hero, how can I contact his highness?

   Yes, my lad, we all worship Sir Chad Okada..the masterful Game
Lord...alas, you can only hope to achieve his excellence...
However, he is generous enough to bestow conversation on us unwashed
masses.  To parlay the illustrious Game Lord with video game
banter, call (310)-214-9784...

--------
  Sources:  Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro, Die Hard Game Fan,
Videogames and Computer Entertainment, the SNK "Bigger Badder Better"
NEO GEO inserts and mailings, and various contributers.

  Special thanks to the people that e-mailed me with specialized information.

E-Mail any changes or additions to rbarbaga@cs.uml.edu
-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/-/
Edited and written by Ralph A. Barbagallo III.
rbarbaga@cs.uml.edu/barbagalr@woods.uml.edu/nugget@genesis.tiac.net
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