Released in 1994 at a cost of $399.99, SNK's NEO GEO CD combined the NEO GEO hardware with a single-speed CD-ROM in an effort to combat the high price of the original system's cartridges. The lower cost of CD media meant games could be sold for 50 dollars instead of 250 dollars. Although most of the NEO GEO CD's games were also available on cartridge, a few are exclusive to the format, such as Crossed Swords 2 and Samurai Shodown RPG.
Surprisingly, the NEO GEO CD's games are in many cases inferior to their cartridge counterparts because of the unit's limited amount of RAM, which necessitated that frames of animation be cut. Long load times also plague many games, with waits of nearly a minute experienced on some titles. The upside is that many CD versions contain improved soundtracks.
Three types of NEO GEO CD consoles exist: the original front-loading Japanese model, the top-loading U.S. model, and the Japanese CDZ, which does not have a double-speed drive as is often reported, just a larger amount of internal RAM that decreases the load times on many games. ~ Skyler Miller, All Game Guide