Neo Geo CD New member--looking for some guidance

I've been a Neo Geo fan for years, but have never owned a system--I do own a Neo Geo Pocket color :D. A few years back I wanted to get into the scene, but money and lack of information kept me away. Now, I'm a little older, with a little more knowledge (and have a tiny bit more money :)), and the Neo Geo is back on my mind. Unfortunately, like many Neo fans, I've been going back and forth on what system to invest in.

Originally, I was drawn to the AES system: no load times, classic arcade sticks, and cartridges. Then I started looking on Ebay to check cart prices and I was in for a rude awakening; prices ranging from $500-$1000 for some of my favorite games--no thank you!

So, then I started researching the CD version and the prices were much more tolerable.....but at what cost? I would assume most all fans would choose AES over CD given the choice; I almost feel like I'm settling if I were to choose CD. However, if you're strapped on cash, logic and sense have to take over.

I don't mind paying $200 or so for an AES system, but some of the games I wanted just were not accesible by my budget. One of my favorite games was Neo Turf Masters and I was heart-broken to find out it was one of the most sought after/rare/expensive AES title in the entire Neo Geo collection. Other titles I was interested in were Baseball Stars 2, Metal Slug, Mark of the Wolves, and Windjammers; coincidentally, every one of these titles was rare and expensive in the AES version....

With those type of game choices I was either going to have to spend a small fortune, or come up with a better solution. As of right now, I'm pretty sure I want to purchase a CD version. With the CD version, I can enjoy games like Windjammers, Baseball Stars 2, and Neo Turf Masters at an affordable cost. Thankfully, I was able to resolve the MOTW and Metal Slugs dilemmas by purchasing the Dreamcast and PSP ports. However, before I do make my final decision, I was hoping I could get some insight on some fairly general questions from more experienced Neo Geo followers here on this board.

1. How durable has your Neo CD been? I own a Dreamcast that essentially has no reliability anymore. The laser mechanism comes and goes in terms of reading my games these days....

2. For the games mentioned, what is your experience with the load times? I think most of those games I mentioned are smaller sized, correct? Other than Neo Turf Masters, Windjammers, and Baseball Stars 2, the only other game I would want (at the moment) would be Samurai Shodown 2.

3. I read that some CD games have missing animations to allow the game to run/load better. Would any of the above be affected by this?

4. Lastly, how would you compare the pad to the original AES arcade stick? Idealy, I would like to own two arcade sticks someday (they are compatible, no?), but for the time being I'm sure I'd be happy with two pads.

If you took the time to read this, I greatly appreciate any input you have to offer (I know this post was longer than it had to be). I guess I've been a closet Neo Geo fan for all this time and needed to get down my troubles in writing ::).
Welcome to our fun forum!!

As for what Neo Geo console to own, I'd recommend the Geo Geo CD because you get more bang for your buck. The AEs seems too expensive for my tastes. You should contact the forum administrator, as he is the hookup for all that is SNK. Last year, I was trying to gather the funds after he told me he had a boxed up CDZ (I think it was a top loader) for like $260. Far better than the $700+ for the AES. He has tons of games for it too.

Load times, from what I've heard, are no better or worse than PSX or Saturn load times. Personally I have no problems with load times.

Bottom line is I think you'll be pleased with a Neo CD. But don't expect to have anything electronic to run flawlessly (Just like your Dreamcast). Everything will get finicky if not obsessively cared for.

As for your Dreamcast having problems, have you tried a lens cleaner? Maybe a keyboard cleaner blowout is in order...
Well, I ended up purchasing a top-loader CD system not too long ago. One of my stipulations for purchase was that it came with two working controllers and Samurai Shodown 2. I basically got what I wanted except the former had an issue with one of the joysticks. This infuriated me because I asked the seller to check all rotations of both joysticks before I committed to buy and he claimed it was fine ::). Oh well, in the end I did get it resolved.

As of now, I own seven great games: Samurai Shodown 2, League Bowling, Raguy, Street Hoop, Baseball Stars 2, Windjammers, Super Sidekicks 2, and Neo Turf Masters is on the way. Probably the last two games I will add to the collection will be Metal Slug and Last Blade.

Here's kind of an off-topic question....Does anyone know why certain AES titles were omitted from CD production? Obviously the games became too massive to run properly, but something like Waku Waku 7 comes to mind; the game was released in '97 and was around 260 megs in size. Call me crazy, but that game has half a chance at running well in comparision to stuff like Last Blade 2 and Real Bout 2 (450+ megs).
Sweet deal on the top loader. Unfortunately, though, most times with older gen stuff, you'll get a controller that isn't quite opperational. Been there a few times with the N64. Now I have five working controllers.

Man, one day I will have a CDZ in my collection...

As for some AES titles not being put to CD format, my guess is load times. Granted, an AES title would likely fit on a CD-ROM disk. It would probably take a lot longer to load up.

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