Review by nikolinni
"A unique world full of action!"
Welcome to my first VM (Via MAME) Review. In each VMR I will review an arcade game, using MAME to aid in my reviewing of said game. For this game I'll cover Gameplay, Sounds (Includes Music), Graphics, Story (Includes setting and what not), and that's the basic gist of things. So, onto the review!
After watching random YouTube videos of game over scenes, I saw one for a game called Cadillacs and Dinosaurs. When I got the sudden urge to play brawler games all of a sudden, it was one of the first games I played on this new conquest, and boy, did it impress. Cadillacs and Dinosaurs is yet another brawler by Capcom, but this one has an interesting concept, taken from the comic series Xenozoic Tales: Earth has faced a great apocalyptic disaster of sorts, which ended up in dinosaurs walking the earth once more. Humanity was able to rebuild their cities and what not (Judging by the setting in the game) and so life goes on. I'll cover more specifics of this game's storyline later in the review.
Gameplay at first seems to be very similar to any good ol' brawler: you got your punch and kick buttons, and you simply mash the attack button until your foes fall before you. I don't know why, but for some reason beating the crap out of the badguys never gets old in a good brawler. But of course, Capcom goes and builds off this basic formula, starting with the characters; there's four to choose from, each having their own status. I've only played as Jack T., who seems to be the main protagonist of the series, and is of course the all around type. But from what I've heard, the status of the other 3 heroes are diverse enough to create their own experience. And it doesn't stop there; of course there is the good ol' power attack pressed by pushing attack and jump (you can also just hold down one button and push the other, that worked for me), which obviously costs you some life if you hit with it, but there's also the running attack: by motioning in the same direction twice your character will dash off in that direction, and with a press of the attack button, they do a running attack (Jack T. does a slide tackle). These running attacks are really handy, and are great for just sliding into a mass of enemies or even destroying multiple barrels that house pick ups and power ups.
Speaking of pick ups, like other brawlers, there's items you can pick up that will either increase your health or your score. Health items are obviously food, and come in all shapes including salads, meat, and even a pack of gum, and in addition to giving you a health boost these items will also boost your score. The second type of pick ups come in the shapes of money, wrist watches, jewelry, and the like, which only boost your score. And boost the score you must, for if you break certain scores you'll gain a one-up. Lastly, there are the weapons, and these come in all sort of flavors. Of course you got your knives, wooden board (which will actually break if you use it too much), and the like, but you also have guns. You get magnums, bazookas (which you actually re-spawn with should you continue the game after losing your lives), Uzis, shotguns and rifles. Each gun has a certain amount of ammo, and of course there are rare ammo pick ups you may find, and should you run out of ammo the gun can actually be used as a throwing weapon, save for the rifle, which is used like a wooden board. Using the guns, especially the SMG, is a good way to keep the badguys back, and even comes complete with little ta ta ta flashing over the gun like in a comic book.
Despite all the various ways you have to keep the badguys down, you will be brought down again and again. You'll loose lives and see the continue screen an awful lot. Does this mean that the game is too hard? To be honest, it's one of the more easier brawlers I've played. It's not too easy, but it's not so hard that you'll be pulling out your hair over the insane times you've been knocked down and had to continue. Fortunately, Cadillacs and Dinosaurs has its own way of helping the player level the playing field. First, every time you come back to life after losing a life a bunch of bombs bombard the screen moments before your character arrives. This not only knocks back the baddies but it also does a fair amount of damage to them. When you continue, you not only get a scene of your character punching the enemy in the face, but you also get the back-to-life-bombardment and a bazooka. I really liked this, and it helps just knock out some bad guys and stop them from mercilessly pounding the crap out of you seconds after you lose a life.
Enemies in the game range from regular thugs to tough muscle men to even the dinos that walk the earth. Most enemies aren't too terribly difficult, except for the fat men, who have that annoying jumping attack that knocks you down. Argh. Some enemies also try to pop in and throw grenades at you, but with good use of jumping and dashing you can dodge their sorry attempts to asplode you and hopefully catch a few baddies in the bombs. The dinos, which turn a shade of red when hostile, will attack anything that happens to be in front of them, be it you or the badguys, which can actually make them useful if you're good at dodging. There is this one bad guy named Walther (or something like that) who looks like the stage one boss and appears in every level. This guy's some what annoying, but is pretty easy to beat down if you know how to use your abilities and weapons. There's really only a couple of bosses that are annoying, mainly the boss in the Garage level (or Episode as the game calls them) because he's pretty fast an he throws boomerang like things (which damages his own men as well).
One of the only few gripes I have about this game is it's length. If you're expecting a quick 20-30 six stage brawl, you're out of luck because this game takes you across eight stages to stop the bad guys in their Dino-abusing scheme. It doesn't really take away much from the game, but first time players will defiantly find themselves wondering when the heck will this game end.
Gameplay score: 9/10 A good mix of challenge, characters, and items that will keep pretty much anyone happy. Though a couple of the bosses are annoying and that Walther fellow and that spike ball guy get annoying as well, they don't really deduct much from the game play. The fact that your character is aided by a bomb drop before coming back to life helps, as does the bazooka you get after continuing. It just makes the game crazier and more over the top.
The sounds in this game are great. Of course there's the gun shooting, the punching noises, the sounds of barrels breaking and the like, the game also has a fair amount of voice work. Characters' grunts, moans, and death noises are pretty clear, and have this neat echo-like effect. Your character also says something when using their desperation move (Jack T. exclaims Final Uppercut!), or while picking up food (That's Good!, as Jack T. says). The voice overs didn't seem too annoying for me, even when I took Jack T. and made him spam his Final Uppercut move.
The music of the game adds to the mood excellently. Though the only tune to get stuck in my head was the Continue music, the soundtrack isn't all that forgettable and just has that awesome Arcade Sound to it. The music is not at all annoying, or too repetitive, and again sets the mood nicely.
Sound Score: 10/10 Prepare to shout FINAL UPPERCUT or THAT'S GOOD! randomly; the sound effects are good, and the music nice. If you're a person who likes emulators, you defiantly won't find yourself shutting off the noise in annoyance.
The graphics for this game are pretty nice, and even though they're not done in a total comic book style, they do go nicely along with the comic book like effects such as the word bubbles and the 'SMACK!' and 'POW!' that pop up when you hit people sometimes, and the little ta ta ta and pow that appears over your guns when you shoot them. The characters are designed nicely, and fit into the environment nicely. The graphics are, obviously, are two dimensional, and are drawn nicely. The game is both nice to look at and watch, and greatly help to draw the gamer into the world of the game. Though for some reason, the protagonists don't have faces.
As far as character design is concerned, they did a nice job here. Rather than just rehash the same sprites and make them different colors to signify different strengths of the same enemy, they stay the same all throughout. The only real problem I have is when you blow someone up, they blow up into somewhat generic meaty chunks, complete with flying eyeballs. While they way the execute this is not over the top or gory, it does seem a little out of place, and those darn eyeballs may make it a little gross for some players.
Graphics Score: 9/10 The graphics are pretty nice for this game, which makes it both great to watch and play. The character sprites aren't rehashed like in other brawlers, and the comic book action words are a nice touch. Though the blood and meaty chunks do seem just a bit out of place sometimes. Especially the meaty chunks and eyeballs.
Lastly, there is the story line. Just why are we beating up these bad guys? Well, first of all, let's get an explanation on the setting. It looks like mankind has messed up the earth with pollution and such, causing nature to spin wildly out of control and cause devastation upon the earth which also resulted in dinosaurs coming back to life to walk the earth. Whoa, that's pretty heavy. So the game, like the comic and cartoon, follows the adventure of Jack T. and his friends. Except, in this game, it looks like Jack and co have been mixing it up with a mad scientist and his gang of thugs, and after being surrounded on the rooftops of The City in the Sea (A city built up out of a sea pretty much) your heroes clear off the roof with their desperation move and the game goes from there. It's pretty basic, and I'll be lenient with this and other arcade games when it comes to stories.
A side from the story, there's also the setting of the game. Your battles with the scientist's gang will take you from The City in the Sea to a secret underground base, and everything in between. A desert (which you get to drive the Cadillac through), jungle, Jack's garage, there's plenty of places visited in the game's eight stages. The game even tells you at the bottom of the screen where you are when you enter a new area. Nicely done
Story Score: 10/10 While the story of Cadillacs and Dinosaurs is like any ol' arcade game, the uniqueness of what it is based on makes it stand out a little. This isn't just some wanna be Double Dragon or Final Fight game...this has it's own storyline and setting in the world of arcade games, and boy is it pretty unique and awesome.
FINAL SCORE: 10/10
Now I know all through this review I said the game is pretty awesome, and as honest as I can be as a fun seeking gamer, it is pretty awesome. You got a game with a unique concept mixed in with an improved Final Fight stye game play, and all held together with that Capcom charm. If you like Capcom, Final Fight, beat 'em up games, Old-School 2D games, or any combination of the three, Cadillacs and Dinosaurs is sure to entertain you and your friends. Defiant recommend, so if you see it, give it a try, and get ready to rock a world dominated by Cadillacs and Dinosaurs!
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 10/05/10
Game Release: Cadillacs Kyouryuu-Shinseiki (JP, 04/30/93)
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