–by Bevianna Bones
Rwaaaaarrrr!!!! That’s the sound of a dinosaur escaping black market poachers(?) Vrrrrrummmmmm!!!! That’s the sound of you firing up your Caddy and heading out to the City in the Sea to stop the evil dino poaching dastardly bastards! For, what would they want with so many dinos? Aside from capturing them, violently torturing them, and genetically engineering them into maniacal weapons. That’s the basic plot for the 1993 Capcom gem, (not to be confused with Jem…as there are no holograms here) Cadillacs & Dinosaurs. A most unusual mashup of everyone’s favorite things, Cadillacs and dinosaurs! As much as I would like to give cred to Capcom for coming up with yet another ingenious mashup of whatthefuckery (see previous post on Quiz & Dragons…a general rule of thumb for life is, if Capcom made it and it includes and ampersand in the title PLAY IT!), Cads & Dinos actually is based off of the 80’s comic Xenozic Tales. Popular enough to spawn a cartoon and the coinop game, there was also a later sequel for home consoles and PC. I always wondered why they dropped the original title though.
Seems to me that a name like Xenozic Tales intrigues me enough to want to check it out. However, its likely that most consumers mistook it for supplemental prescription drug information, hence the name change. Cadillacs & Dinosaurs as a title pretty effectively describes what you’re investing your Washington’s in. (For those younger readers out there, that’s a reference to the quarter and/or token that one would have to place into the money slot on the machine to play) You know right upfront that there will be dinosaurs and Cadillacs as promised. Insert coins and let’s go!
Welcome to the character selection screen. There are four fully playable characters to chose from here, and up to three players can play simultaneously. This is beneficial for special team-up power special moves you can do with other players. The four characters all have a different play style, so often seen in these 90s circa Capcom classics.
Who should we pick? Well I know I have my favorite…But here’s a rundown on the choices:
Jack Tenrec: Both a mechanic and a shaman (balanced)
Hannah Dundee: A diplomat and explorer by profession (skilled) (otherwise known herein as Chyna–perhaps one day she will find her way into her very own Glorious Girls of Gaming)
Mustapha Cairo: A dark colored guy. Haha just kidding, but with a name like that I had to insert at least one joke in there. Besides his official description is “Jack’s friend” also, he’s the speed type character. The dark guy is the fastest. We all have a friend like that.
And finally there’s…
Mess O’ Bradovich: I promise I’m not making these last two names up. Mess, is a big, apparently Irish/Russian guy. With “an elusive past” Again, actual description here. And he of course, is the tank type player. I couldn’t have seen that one coming.
What with the lineup out there, I’m sticking with my all time fave, Chyna. Let’s go!
Thunderthighs are on the move. Thunderthighs are loose. Feel the burning, hear the roar. Thunderthighs are loose. Thunder! Thunder! Thunder! Thunderthighs!
The gameplays very much like all Capcom CPS1 games, ie Final Fight clones. The controller layout is standard 8-way joystick/2 button, one jump, one attack with three sets for up to three players. The question has often been raised that why there is only 3 player support, when there are 4 playable characters. This is often seen on these CPS1 games, because many of them are simply boarded into existing cabinets. Hence the versatility of the Capcom Play System. An arcade owner could invest in one cabinet (likely Final Fight due to popularity and quantity of machines produced) and then change out the boards and bezel art to give it’s patrons a whole gaming experience. Thus gaining more revenue at a lower operating cost. Profit baby.
I’ve got a million tidbids in my brain just waiting to share with you folks.
As Chyna, or any of the other 3 characters, you kick, punch, and jump (and chop and block and turn and pose…Parappa reference anyone?) your way to dino liberation through 8 levels of expectedly repetitive dino poacher hunting action. As promised, there is also a level where you are in the Cadillac hunting the dino poachers and their evil dinosaurs. Squee!!
All in all, it’s actually quite a fun game, and for me it holds a special place in my heart. Check it out if you can find one in an arcade somewhere, or better yet, if you’ve got yourself a MAME or CPS1 emulator; and if not, then why are we friends?
So that’s what happened to that kid from that one Disney movie