Up to three players can play at once, guiding their selected characters through eight stages, battling various enemies and bosses. There are four playable characters, each with their own strengths and weaknesses: Jack (balanced type), Hannah (skill type), Mustapha (speed type), and Mess (power type). The game's titular dinosaurs make appearances as neutral characters that may attack both player characters and enemies.
In Cadillacs and Dinosaurs, the player has 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 plot is based on the comic "Cadillacs and Dinosaurs" and takes place in the "City In The Sea" and its neighboring nearby jungle. The story starts 500 years from the 20th 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.
In order to get things sorted again, 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 evil deeds of the Black Marketeers. The protagonists reach "the City in the Sea" where they suspect the whole hunting network being operating from. They finds themselves surrounded by Vice Terhune's men as they reach the top of Eastcoast 2513 building. Vice orders his men to attack the group to keep them away from the business. Fighting all the men, the four finally get their hands on Vice Terhune. After being beaten, Vice tells them about Butcher, who had been hunting in the northern woods.
Following the information provided by Vice Terhune, the heroes reaches the swamp forest where they find a lot of dead dinosaurs. Proceeding through the forest they finally reach the place where the butcher is chopping a dead dinosaur with his two machetes. The butcher attacks but ends up being beaten lifeless. 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. Hogg attacks the car with hand grenades while they try to hit him back with the car. After defeating Hogg, Jack realizes that the gangsters have taken over his garage.
The entrance of the garage is blocked with barrels, but the heroes drives through the barrels using their car. They clear out the garage, killing all the gangsters there where they confront Slice, a Mohawk haired guy with boomerangs; the team manages to defeat Slice, 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 villager's call, the heroes reaches the village where they notice dinosaurs violently attacking the people. They also notice that the village has been set on fire by someone. Going ahead further, they meet the old villager who asked for the help. The villager tells about the whole network and as soon as he is about to reveal the name of the person behind all these activities, he is shot dead with an Uzi by Morgan. Morgan attacks the group as well with Uzi, rocks, grenades and knives, but the four manage to beat him. After receiving some beating from the team, Morgan talks about the powers of "doctor" transforms himself into a dinosaur-like creature called Morgue. The Morgue is beaten lifeless. 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 encounter a few gangsters with a metal box. The metal box breaks open and a creature with tentacles, named Tyrog, comes out of it. Tyrog attaches itself to the body of one of the gangsters and transforms it into an acid and ember spitting dinosaur-human hybrid. Tyrog keeps itself attached to the gangster until his body is able to take the beating. After that, Tyrog detaches itself from the exhausted body of gangster and attaches to another gangster, transforming him; the same happens for another time. Finally, Tyrog itself dies.
With all the leads and hints, Jack has now realized that Dr. Simon Fessenden is the mastermind behind all that is happening. He also identifies the place in a photograph they find while fighting Tyrog. The team heads towards this underground place, which again is somewhere in "The City In The Sea".
The heroes head towards the basement, going through the library and the computer lab. In the latter, they are interrupted by Slisaurs (hybrids of slice and dinosaurs). The doctor appears on the computer screen, calling himself the creator of a new world and ordering the Slisaurs to finish off the team; however, the Slisaurs fail in their attempt, and the heroes moves deeper in the basement.
Deep down is a bio-lab with different organisms in big jars, including dinosaurs, like Rock Hopper, and hybrids, like Bludges and Tyrogs. Below is a cave, which finally leads to Dr. 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 3-headed creature. He is said to have the strength of a dinosaur and the brains of the doctor; however, the heroes manage to defeat him. Crippled by his defeat, Fessenden sets the whole laboratory on explosives.
As the laboratory starts exploding, the heroes run for their lives; however, Hannah falls down while running and Jack stops to help her. Only Mustapha and Mess are able to make it out of the laboratory as it is destroyed. As they are walking back to their homes, thinking about Jack and Hannah, the latter two come from behind in the car, alive. The heroes return home.
(Note: following descriptions, except for Vice, are from the arcade flyer.)
- Jack Tenrec - "A hot-blooded man who loves (the) nature. He is a leader of the team and loves Cadillac. His sliding attack is very powerful".
- Hannah Dundee - "A genius scientist and a cool head. Her fighting style is that of a man and she has an iron will. She is proficient in using items and is a high jumper. She also mastered a triangular jump".
- Mustapha Cairo - "A skilled engineer. He has a sense of humor and is very agile as a panther. The enemies hardly keep up with his incredible speed."
- Mess O'Bradovich - "A gentle giant. Once he gets angry, he cannot be stopped!! He has the greatest strength of all. His flying lariat is a sure threat to poachers".
- Vice Terhune - First boss the player fights. He attempts to ambush the heroes at a building but fails. Vice then tries to skin a Rock Hopper before being subdued.
Planning: Da., Hattari, Jra
Object: Kurisan, Jun, Matano, SS, Shisui, Kinmon, The Who
Scroll: Nissui, Konomi, Ohnicchan, Bentobucho
Program: Yuki Sɐiko, Cky Gi-U, T Uragoro, Some-P
Compose: Piro2 Oyaji, Syun, Kiyo
Sound Des.: Toshi Bull, Nobu
Assist: Kitasan, Yokozo, Daniel, Inukichi, Ban, Jirou, Kurata-N, Hanisawa
Ad-Design: Sho, Tom, Sensei
USA Support: DJames
Many Thanks: Poo, Nin, Hore Hore, Alex, Super Joe, and Capcom All Staff
Produced by: Capcom
- ↑ https://web.archive.org/web/19981206233744/http://www.capcom.co.jp/gallery/arcade/1993/cadillacs.html