RETRO REVIEW: Cadillacs and Dinosaurs

If you are like me who was born in the 90’s then you probably know the arcade game ‘Cadillacs and Dinosaurs‘, better known as Mustapha! This was the only game back in the day that was largely available in our country. It was released back in 1993 by CAPCOM. This is a beat’em up style game which is played using an 8 directional joystick and only two buttons, one is for jumping and the other is for attacking. And to execute the special move, the player has to press both jump and action button at the same time. I remember kids finished this game with only one coin (which I never could do).

This game can be played with up to three players at once, guiding their selected characters through eight stages, battling various enemies and awesome bosses. There are four playable characters, each with their own strengths and weaknesses such as, Jack (balanced type), Hannah (skill type), Mustapha (speed type), and Mess (power type). The game’s titular dinosaurs appear as neutral characters that may attack both player characters and enemies. The players have access to several attacks. Each character has two special moves including one that depletes a character’s health upon contact with an enemy and when two or more players play together, they can trigger a team-attack. Players can also find and use various firearms, throwing weapons such as rocks and explosives, and melee weapons such as clubs. The game features a scoring system which is triggered at the end of each level.

You can check the first boss gameplay

Let’s get into the story. The story begins in the 26th century, when an ensemble gang called the Black Marketeers begin hunting the dinosaurs to serve their unknown purpose. The continuous hunting process has made the dinosaurs violent and now they have started attacking villages and people. Four heroes: mechanic and shaman Jack Tenrec, diplomat and explorer by profession Hannah Dundee, friend and engineer Mustapha Cairo, and mysterious Mess O’Bradovich, have decided to team up against the Black Marketeers.

The protagonists journey to the “City in the Sea” where they suspect the whole hunting network being operating from. As they reach the top of a building they fight Vice Terhune. After being beaten, Vice tells them about Butcher, who had been hunting in the northern woods. Following the information, they go through the swamp forest where they find a lot of dead dinosaurs before reaching and defeating the Butcher.

Meanwhile, another big name in the hunting network, Hogg, realizes that Jack is busy in the swamp forest and decides to take over Jack’s Garage. Proceeding with the mission, the heroes go through the desert of death, where they use their car to travel safely, but then the car is chased by Hogg on his cruiser motorcycle. After defeating Hogg, Jack realizes that the gangsters have taken over his garage. They go there and clear out the garage from the gangsters, eventually confronting and defeating their leader Slice and regaining control of their garage.

This is when they receive a message from an old villager who tells them about the weird behavior of the dinosaurs and asks for help. In response to the call, the heroes reach the village where they notice dinosaurs violently attacking the people and that the village has been set on fire by someone. Going ahead further, they meet the old villager again as he tells about the whole network and as soon as he is about to reveal the name of the person behind all of it, he is shot dead by Morgan, who attacks the group as well. During the fight, Morgan talks about the powers of “doctor” transforms himself into a dinosaur-like creature called Morgue. By now, they have come to know that some doctor is trying to create new lifeforms.

Proceeding ahead, the heroes reach the coal mine and another jungle, where they face a dinosaur trying to stomp them. They eventually reach a place where they fight a tentacled creature called Tyrog that attaches itself to the bodies of the gangsters as a monstrous dinosaur-human hybrid. With all the leads and hints, Jack has now realized that Dr. Simon Fessenden is the mastermind behind all that is happening.

The team heads towards his underground hideout, which again is somewhere in the “City in the Sea”. The heroes head towards the bunker, going through the library and the computer lab, where the doctor appears on the computer screen, calling himself the creator of a new world. Deep down is a bio-lab, and below it is a cave, which finally leads to Fessenden’s lab. Seeing the team, he transforms himself into a Morgue-like creature, but is beaten. By now, the transforming serum’s effect reaches its peak, and Fessenden transforms into a three-headed creature, the final boss. I won’t spoil the ending but it is satisfactory.

My final scoring for this game is 9 out of 10! If you want to play this game on your pc, you have to download an emulator and the game rom as this masterpiece never got ported to any console (which is sad). I still play it when I get free time and i never get bored playing it. Well, this is it for this article. If you enjoyed it, give it a thumbs up 🙂 Have a nice day!!

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