CADILLACS & DINOSAURS / Capcom / Arcade

With Cadillacs & Dinosaurs, Capcom finally got the Final Fight formula totally and completely right. Unfortunately, by this time, they had released so many Final Fight clones (along with all their competitors) that hardly anybody cared anymore.

Really a shame. C&D is based on an underground, incomplete comic series from the late 80s-early 90s, which saw mankind destroying the environment and then going underground for six hundred years. When they re-emerge, dinosaurs have recovered and now roam the planet again. Kind of an odd property for the mass market to latch onto, I guess, but then again Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was born out of the same circumstances, and this one ended up generating a short-lived cartoon series, several different games and tons of merchandise.

I think the maximum amount of players in the cabinets for this one was three, but each player can choose freely from one of four characters. There's generic American hero guy, generic bimbo with fab tits, some trucker guy and some muscly guy. Each has unique advantages in strength and speed, as well as some sort of bonus ability. I know the titties chick can wield weapons more effectively, not sure about the other guys, the game descriptions are pretty vague.

So, the heroes are generic. No big deal. The game has really nice graphics, a nice balance of difficulty, and manages to mix up the enemies and environments enough so that you don't feel like you are dragging through too many tedious stretches. It is very liberal with the supply of both food and weapons, and handles gun weapons better than any other brawler I've seen (you can move while firing with weapons like the Uzi and submachine gun.)

Complementing the action is a pretty bangin' score by Yoko Shimomura, apparently just before she fled Capcom for the greener pastures of Squaresoft. Sound effects are solid on the whole, and the Engrishy exhortations of the main characters provide solid comic amusement along the way.

True to the pulpy roots of the original comic, the game is almost surprisingly gory. Weapons such as the bazooka and grenades cause enemies to detonate into a pile of bloody organs and eyeballs on contact, and the boss of one stage is found busily hacking a triceratops in half in very graphic style.

The last boss and ending are kind of a letdown, but the ride up to that point is pretty entertaining. Fans of arcade brawlers should really give this one a look, it is a true unknown gem.

Videos :

* Gameplay Video

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