Mysterious Prototype Neo Geo Game Discovered

26 years ago the Neo Geo was the original home of a number of fighting games that would go on to be long running series, such as the King of Fighters games. Another potential Neo Geo masterpiece may have been discovered by Neo Geo enthusiast Brian Hargrove, who purchased an unlabelled ROM board a year ago for the sum of around $750, in the hopes of discovering any chunks of leftover data he could play with.

Upon first inspection of the data dumped from the board, it appeared to be an early protoype of  Voltage Fighter Gowkaizer, a superhero fighting game developed by Technos. Dumps of the flash cards that came with the board seemed to contain nothing to do with Voltage Fighter, however. Eventually, Hargrove was able to get the game to boot up, despite two of the flash cards being dead. This revealed a character select menu for a perhaps never-before-seen Neo Geo fighting game.

While the data containing things that may have been able to identify the game, such as a title screen, is inaccessible, what is available is interesting. The game looks like it may have been related to a franchise such as Dungeons and Dragons. Many of the character sprites are rough at best, but all of the characters contain one of 3 alignments that often appear in D&D – Lawful, Neutral and Chaotic. Choosing different alignments appears to change the character’s sprites too, which could have provided interesting depth and choice to the game. Overall, the game appears to have been rather ambitious, and it has been noted that it appears more complex than many of Technos’ other games, which raises the question of who developed it.

There is always the chance that this game is just a hoax, created and uploaded to an old Neo Geo board by a joker. The amount of effort that must have been used to create the advanced sprites featured in the prototype seem to contest this though. A number of the characters in the game even seem almost entirely complete. It may never have been finished, but from what you can see of this game, it really makes you wonder what it could have been had it been finished.

Get Some Neo Geo Classics in Latest Humble Bundle

The friendly folks at Humble Bundle have unleashed another retro-inspired offering designed to rekindle our love of Neo Geo arcade games. Unfortunately, this package is limited to Android users and not available on other platforms. The Humble Neo Geo Android Bundle‘s $1 or more tier includes Garou: Mark of The Wolves, Blazing Star, The King of Fighters ’97, Metal Slug 2 and Metal Slug X. As a passionate retro-gaming fan, these titles provide a great deal of entertainment, but I’m unsure how well they translate using touch controls.

If you decide to beat the current average of $4.57, the second tier becomes unlocked and grants access to Fatal Fury Special, Samurai Shodown II, Metal Slug 3 and a number of undisclosed games coming soon. The final option requires payment of $29.99 or above and features everything from tier 1,2 and a Neo Geo 25th anniversary Metal Slug T-shirt.

The Neo Geo AES contains an extensive back catalogue with fighters, platformers, racers and shooters. While this bundle creates a legitimate means to purchase the older Neo Geo classics, I wouldn’t expect to gain the satisfying feel which comes from a micro switched stick. Nevertheless, a proportion of the money received goes to The American Red Cross and I’m sure a brief blast on Metal Gear X is well worth the minimum asking price.