Arcade 3-Pak Featuring Battletoads, Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, and The Simpsons – A Beat ‘Em Up Retrospective

 

Here are 3 beat ’em up coin operated arcade games. So as expected the enemies are plenty. After all they are designed to take your quarters. The Simpsons arcade is the only one of these I actually got to play during the time when we had actual arcades where the machines took real quarters. Not tokens like every coin op game I see now. Battletoads Arcade is available on Xbox One in the Rare Replay Collection. The Simpsons was available on consoles briefly for download. But not any longer making the game currently lost to the world. Cadillacs and Dinosaurs has never been ported to a home system making it quite unknown for some gamers. All these games play the same, they are standard beat em ups. Although each have their own unique charm and stand out for separate reasons.

Battletoads

If you know anything about Battletoads you know that this franchise does not take themselves very seriously. And the crazy dial gets turned to 11 in this arcade game. It’s full of burps and farts and things of that nature that I still find funny. If you have been following my blog – you should be, then you know that the original Battletoads on the NES is not so much the classic as advertised. It’s frustrating and as much as most people love it, it’s disappointing. So thankfully Rare gave us this game to move on from that experience.

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On the Xbox One it plays as a nice casual game to throw on if you have friends over, because it actually acts like an arcade game. Anyone can join the game and leave as they feel. Except you don’t have to worry about dropping all your coins. That’s if you even bother carrying coins anymore. It flows well and the game keeps stats on kills. The stats are displayed at the end of every stage and it gives one player bragging rights over the others. I should mention that this game can be played with up to 3 players at a time.

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It’s a good thing the game doesn’t take money because I would be bankrupt if it did. Expect to die a lot. But that goes for any arcade game. There are about 1000 over-sized enemies to beat up and you’re just one little toad. That’s if you’re playing by yourself of course. It is much more fun with friends over. You might want to avoid this beat ’em up if you’re by yourself as it does get very tedious. The stages are long and the enemies are over powered. Out of the 3 games featured here it’s the least playable with only 1 player. When I played through it, it felt like I devoted the entire day to it. It was only 20 minutes.

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There isn’t too much of a variety of weapons in this rendition of Battletoads. There is a melee one and a gun, which runs out of bullets very quickly. But grab some buddies and put this one on and you’re guaranteed to have fun. It’s a gross-out good time as they say.

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Cadillacs and Dinosaurs

This is a game that was developed by Capcom. They have a pretty good understanding on how eat ’em ups should be made. And this one does not disappoint. It utilizes the ‘Final Fight Formula’. In case you don’t know what that is – I did made it up, it’s the control scheme made popular by Final Fight. Which of course was perfected later on in Sega’s Streets of Rage series. The copied by virtually every other beat ’em up after that. It’s when the hitting and jumping have their own separate buttons. And you can grab and do grappling maneuvers when your sprite contacts an enemy. You know how it works.

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Like in Battletoads, in this game you get to shoot guns. It’s not very common in the genre so it’s nice sometimes. And in this game it’s glorious fun to mow down your foes for the brief seconds that you have ammo. You can also use explosives to turn the tide on the damn dinosaur poachers.

2017-07-05-2215082017-07-06-124645There is nothing to complain about in this one. I actually found it less tedious than Battletoads Arcade because I simply wasn’t dying as often. But I still went through a lot of credits. Plus there is a ton of variety in the attacks in the game compared to most beat ’em ups. Thanks to the use of the ‘Final Fight Formula’.

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Ironically there isn’t much Cadillacs, nor dinosaurs in this game. The odd monster will need to be destroyed since the story involves the player saving the dinos from the evil poachers who are capturing them and turning them into some sort of hybrid beasts. There are times in the games when you can accidentally piss off one of the behemoths and they try to kill you, but other than that they exist peacefully in the background.

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Cadillacs and Dinaosaurs is an action packed game that deserves to be played more. And it’s a shame that it can’t be found anywhere, unless you bend the rules. Capcom needs to wake up and bring their classic coin ops to consoles already.

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The Simpsons

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Of the games in this 3-pak, the Simpsons arcade was the most popular. For good reason. Not just because The Simpsons ruled the world back then, but because it is a really fun game. The only actual coin op version of the game I had in my part of the world growing up was found in the airport. There’s a lot of excitement for any kid to just be at the airport. Perhaps they are going on a trip or they’re there to greet a loved one. But I didn’t care about any of that, I was excited to play the Simpsons arcade game. And it’s all I would talk about with my classmates when I saw them next, about how I got to play this awesome game. It was a sad day when I arrived at our airport and the entire arcade was transformed into a coffee shop.

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The game itself was developed by Konami. They are right up there with Capcom when it comes to designing classic beat ’em ups. Perhaps even outshining them. The game falls into the beat ’em up sub-genre known as hack n’ slash since a fixed weapon is used by certain characters, such as Marge’s vacuum cleaner. There is a wide variety of other weapons that we can pick up through out the game. A slingshot can be used, other projectile weaponry like bottles are around. There is also a big hammer to pound the enemies with.

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The levels are colorful and the graphics represent the show well. Most of the characters in the game are recognizable from the show. That’s only if you’re a fan of the show of course. And it’s just such a captivating experience making the player feel like they are in the Simpson’s universe. There is no issue with the controls, they are typical to any Konami beat ’em up. Think Ninja Turtles. But as per usual when it comes to these quarter hungry games, you will die a lot.

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After I thought about the story line for a second I realized how odd of one it is. Why would Mr. Burns send Smithers to steal a diamond? Isn’t he rich and powerful enough. But anyway Maggie ends up with the diamond and instead of taking it from her they just kidnap the baby. And it’s up to the Simpson family to save her. It leads to Mr. Burns dying in the end which is even weirder. At least Maggie is safe and sound.

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It sucks this game must only live on in our memories, and emulation. From what I understand it’s because of a licensing issue with the Simpsons franchise itself, shame.

 

 

 

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