[Guide] Play Neo Geo CD games using FBNeo

How To: Play Neo Geo CD games using FBNeo

This guide describes how to setup game files to play Neo Geo CD (NeoCD) using FBNeo.

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 FBNeo.


1) Get the latest FBNeo core and latest version of Retroarch (at least 1.7.6 is required)

Download the latest “Arcade (FinalBurn Neo)” 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

FBNeo 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. FBNeo does not currently support CHD format, to play CHDs use MAME. FBNeo 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 (Final Burn Neo)

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\fbneo_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/fbneo_libretro.dylib" --subsystem neocd "...\path_to_retroarch_game_directory\Neo Geo CD Games\League Bowling.cue"

Happy Neo Geo CD Gaming!


Does the Final Burn Alpha core play the BIOS Boot Sequence prior to loading the game? Or does it just load straight into it? It’s kind of a ‘make-or-break’ feature for me on picking what cores to play games in - like I won’t use the Dolphin core yet because it won’t play the Gamecube’s boot sequence.

I’d love to use Final Burn Alpha though, as Neo Geo AES is the only system I have configured for that core as it is.

thanks for your guide very helpful

It does show the BIOS boot screen (see below)


You need any Certain Version of Bios and Roms/ISO’s?

I used the latest available BIOS, and didn’t have any problems. I can’t say for sure if the rom set matters, everything I’ve tried seems to play though, so I’m guessing not.

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Quick question: how different is from mame / mess emulation? I’m using mess, and chd support is great, but the performance isn’t that great. I mean, on my devices the speed is perfect, but I have a Moto Z2 Force and a Shield TV, I’d like to run NGCD on a ouya, for example. Is this possible?!

Just based on my experience, I’d say FBAlpha is far less intensive than both MAME and MESS. Retroarch FBAlpha has the overclock option as well, which I think can help with less powerful systems.

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Great guide, it’s going directly to my bookmarks, it actually works even on Android, do the music tracks play correctly for you? I tried Crossed Swords 2 and only the sound effects work, my rom has all the respective mp3 files and cue file. Anyway what other neogeo cd games you guys recommend? Which ports are actually better than the neogeo arcade ones?

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Neo Geo Turf Masters and Baseball Stars 2

I think the music not playing is a known issue (there’s a github issue on it)

That’s a shame, so no roms with .mp3 files music works? Has anyone tried Crossed Swords 2?

I dont think any ISO/CUE/Audio File combination works

Every game I’ve tried seems to play just fine, except for the music which does not play (including crossed swords 2), which is a known issue

So does the games you have tried the music works? What roms are you using?

Well, can’t make it work on android. “Failed to load content” is the message. :frowning:

Tried 32 and 64bit. :frowning:also, bioses are on the right place, it’s the same bios I use on MESS…

I have had the issue where it fails twice. Try selecting the Load Neo Geo CD option again, and choose the ISO file. It for whatever reason sometimes works on the first try, and sometimes the second.

This option won’t even appears to me. :frowning:

I got it to work but when I fast forward it stops playing and get a Error

Update the fba core and your RetroArch version

The only game that works with music I have tested is puzzle booble because it has no mp3 tracks, I hope the music gets fixed some day, with this core you get great performance on Android.