The Neo Geo had a remarkable capacity to scale sprites, as we can see in fighting games, but it does not have any racing, flight or any game that simulated a non ray casting pseudo 3D to my knowledge.

I have listed a number of Sega games running on different hardware including Power Drift, After Burner and Galaxy Force. If Sega wanted, to what extent can they support these graphical capabilities with a native Neo Geo? Could it pull something as good looking and with high fps as Galaxy Force?

Sega Space Harrier: https://www.system16.com/hardware.php?id=696

Sega Out Run: https://www.system16.com/hardware.php?id=697

Sega Y board: https://www.system16.com/hardware.php?id=699

Sega X board: https://www.system16.com/hardware.php?id=698

Sega 32 board: https://www.system16.com/hardware.php?id=709

Sega Multi 32: https://www.system16.com/hardware.php?id=710

  • For some reason I have in my head that the Neo Geo scales only downward, not upward. If that were true then there might be a troublesome hard limit on pixels painted. But, honestly, it may not be true. Does anyone recall?
    – Tommy
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 18:51

2 Answers 2


I'm basing the following on a secondary source.

The Neo Geo offers up to 380 sprites total, a maximum of 96 per line, each sprite being up to 16x512 in size and optionally being scaled down. It doesn't scale upward, or rotate. Multiplying that out to look at bandwidth, 96*16 = 1536 source pixels per line.

Per wikipedia the Sega Y Board that powers Galaxy Force offers 397 to 400 sprites per line with a total fetch bandwidth of 3180 to 3200 source pixels, supporting larger sprites and rotation.

So, assuming it exploits its hardware, Galaxy Force would need to be scaled down for the Neo Geo.

Moving upward along that page, I notice that the Outrun board has very similar graphical capabilities to the Neo Geo: 128 sprites/line and a total fetch bandwidth of 1600 source pixels. It also scales but doesn't rotate. So the Neo Geo hardware is close to parity with Outrun.

EDIT: and, indeed, here’s something very close to Outrun, faulty not-quite-1/z perspective and all, for the Neo Geo:

Pseudo 3D Racing Game Engine Demo (YouTube)

  • Sega Y, for the looks of it, seems to have the best looking games of all. I am not sure why Sega 32 and Multi aren`t as good looking. But, according to what you are saying, Y has only 2x the capacity of OutRun, but they are much more better looking. Why do you thinkn is like that?
    – user36088
    Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 3:02
  • 1
    It also appears to have a fuller colour palette, to make intelligent use of rotation, and they've managed to get the perspective correct. I've never been quite sure what approximation is being used in Outrun — the floor is troublesome because it's a bunch of sprites larger than a scan line, but nothing quite scales or approaches quite as it should. Compare and contrast with something like Chase HQ from a couple of years later to see the difference.
    – Tommy
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 3:17

The main issue is that the Neo Geo can only scale sprites down in size and only to a limited degree. It can't make them larger or rotate them.

Some games appear to make sprites larger on the Neo Geo, but actually they just store an enlarged version of the graphic in ROM and reduce it's size. That of course eats more ROM space.

While in theory you could, given a large enough ROM, include pre-scaled and rotated graphics, in practice the two systems are not really comparable.

  • Can't you just put a sprite at a distance, scaled down, and then scale it up to a normal size?
    – user36088
    Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 14:59
  • @user36088 If I understand you then yes that's what they do. It's just that they deliberately make the full size sprite look pixelated so you think it's being scaled up.
    – user
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 16:03

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