How To: Play Neo Geo CD games using FBAlpha
This guide describes how to setup game files to play Neo Geo CD (NeoCD) using FBAlpha.
Note that NeoCD games are usually (almost always) not the best way to play the titles released for this particular system. As dev @barbudreadmon states:
Most of the time the graphics were butchered on NeoCD. NeoCD lacked memory, so they had to remove things when the AES/MVS version of the game was “too big” (which is generally the case on most recent games).
Music / Soundtrack / and Completionist-itis are usually the only reason you might want to try and emulate this system for any particular game. You can also emulate NeoCD with MAME/MESS and the proper MAME romset/chd set. See the guide here on how to use that core. That being said, here’s how you can do it with FBAlpha.
1) Get the latest FBAlpha core and latest version of Retroarch (at least 1.7.6 is required)
Download the latest “Arcade (FB Alpha)” core from the Retroarch Online Updater
2) Put BIOS files in Retroarch System Directory
Place the BIOS files neogeo.zip and neocdz.zip into your system directory. Your directory would then look like:
...path_to_retroarch_system_directory/system (folder) neocdz.zip (BIOS file) neogeo.zip (BIOS file)
2) Ensure you have the right Game Files
FBAlpha can play games in single bin/cue (redump) format or ccd/sub/img (trurip) format. If you have a game in multiple bin/cue format you need to reformat it into one bin file. FBAlpha does not currently support CHD format, to play CHDs use MAME. FBAlpha does not support iso format.
If I wanted to play League Bowling for example, the files would include:
...path_to_retroarch_game_directory/Neo Geo CD Games (folder) League Bowling.cue (CUE file) League Bowling.bin (BIN file)
3a) Play from Retroarch
From the Retroarch GUI, select Load Core, then choose Arcade (FBAlpha)
Now back in the Retroarch GUI you will see a new subsystem menu, select Load Neo Geo CD, then choose the CUE file.
The Neo Geo CD should start from there:
3b) Play from the Command Line
You can load the game (by pointing to the CUE file) from the command line as follows, by adding the “–subsystem neocd” argument:
(Windows Command) "...\path_to_program\retroarch.exe" -L "...\path_to_cores\cores\fbalpha_libretro.dll" --subsystem neocd "...\path_to_retroarch_game_directory\Neo Geo CD Games\League Bowling.cue"
(OSX Command) /Applications/RetroArch.app/Contents/MacOS/RetroArch -L "/Applications/RetroArch.app/Contents/Resources/cores/fbalpha_libretro.dylib" --subsystem neocd "...\path_to_retroarch_game_directory\Neo Geo CD Games\League Bowling.cue"
Happy Neo Geo CD Gaming!