Sawbuck Gamer

Dino Strike

Put Up Your Daisy Dukes

Could there be an audience for a video game featuring titillation, violence, and Gen-X nostalgia? Dino Strike is crazy enough to find out.

By Tasha Robinson • April 23, 2012

Don’t confuse Dino Strike with the 2011 Wii shooter of the same name: The unrelated browser game is a nostalgia exercise in all aspects, from its side-scrolling layout to a bouncy soundtrack to old-school sexism. You have two character options: A fully clothed, muscular man, or a woman in short-shorts and a halter top, with breasts the size of her head and a special attack that involves spinning around to show off her ass. This eye-roll-inducing discrepancy aside, the two characters play the same and have the same goal: Beat up everything onscreen that moves, including street thugs, chainsaw-wielding madmen, and cyborg dinosaurs. Even if it doesn’t move, you might be able to smash it. Crates, trash bins, and steel drums can be destroyed to reveal loot, health boosts, or weapons. They can also be picked up and used as one-shot attacks. Then again, so can your opponents. Granted, the grenade makes a better weapon than the thugs you pick up and throw, but beating some jerk over the head with his own buddy takes the sting of running around on the streets half-naked and with a permanent shorts-wedgie.

Dino Strike has a few odd quirks that mark it more as a nostalgia exercise for Streets Of Rage-era beat-’em-up fans than a well-balanced game in its own right. In particular, high-powered special attacks stun or knock back foes, making them easier to defeat, and there’s no cost or limit, so there’s no reason to use basic attacks, ever. And the faux 3D makes it frustratingly easy to end up on a slightly different plane from items. (On the positive side, it also makes it easy to dodge bullets by moving out of their plane.) But all the foibles are worth it for the moment when you punch a cyborg dino, its armor falls off, and it vengefully joins you in battle against its old masters. Like the gender dynamics and the “hit everything ’til it disappears” mentality, that thrill is fundamentally shallow and simple, but Dino Strike is a short, sweet game that makes the most of its quick thrills.

Share this with your friends and enemies

Write a scintillating comment

26 Responses to “Put Up Your Daisy Dukes”

  1. KidvanDanzig says:

    Just google SORRv5! It’s all the beat-em-up you’ll ever need.

    Also on the iOS front: Dungeon Raid and Elder Sign: Omens are both real awesome, the latter especially. I could always use more total (nerd) board game conversions on the iphone, and sadly the Catan app eats battery power like candy, so Call of Cthulu it is

  2. apathymonger says:

    Just played through the first level. Definitely very Streets of Rage-y. 

    Needs more dinosaurs.

  3. Aaron Riccio says:

    Man, fond memories of Captain Commando are flashing through my head right now! And Final Fight. (Even a bit, I suppose, of Double Dragon, though more the film than the game.)

    • Aaron Riccio says:

      Incidentally, I stopped playing Dino Strike at the third level: I realized that repetitive button bashing wasn’t all that fun; just time- and quarter-consuming. And then I had the revelation that, you know, the same could be said for many of the other side-scrolling fighters I played as a kid. 

      If it wasn’t for sites like these that put those memories to self-deprecating use, I’d have wasted my life!

    • AuroraBoreanaz says:

      ROFLMAO, Captain Commando.  The only game I know of where one of your character choices is a mech piloted by a baby…called, imaginatively enough, “Baby Head”.

      Who is apparently called “Hoover” in Japan.  Which makes more sense how?

      • Aaron Riccio says:

        Perhaps because they both suck? But yeah, re: Captain Commando, if you’re going to make me do the same stuff over and over again, at least make me laugh in the process (see: The Simpsons or Die Hard, though the latter was for all the wrong reasons).

        And here’s a feature topic for you! What about an homage to all the hilariously named characters in these beat-’em-up games? (I notice Dino Strike has sadly done without them.)

        • AuroraBoreanaz says:

          The Simpsons arcade game was awesome!

          Fun fact: My father and I were moving back to California in 1991 after living in Connecticut for six months.  We stopped so he could rest at a hotel somewhere between Reno and Sacramento, and while he was sleeping I beat this game at the arcade next door.

          Also a fun one: the original TMNT arcade game.  (Beat that one in Ketchikan, Alaska while visiting my mom.)

          Okay, so neither of those facts are very fun for anyone but me.  Oh well.

        • 3FistedHumdinger says:

           I remember the X-Men arcade game had some hilarious lines in it, the obvious one being: “X-MEN!  WELCOME TO DIE!”

        • Sarapen says:

          What about the Avengers game? When you die and the game is counting down for your last chance to pump quarters in Captain America shouts “America still needs your help!” I felt like telling him I wasn’t American but I still shoved quarters in anyway.

          My favourite character was Iron Man although they pretty much all played the same. Vision has his ecru look on which I really hated so I never played him, though.

        •  The highlight of my college arcade life was beating Captain America and the Avengers on only 3 quarters.  IIRC, Iron Man was the easiest.

    • GhaleonQ says:

      Despite Cadillacs And Dinosaurs, I think they’re aiming for S.N.K., what with the graphical style, the cigar-chomping villain (Metal Slug), and the Leona similarities .  I…approve?

  4. jarviscockblocker says:

    So it’s a Cadillacs & Dinosaurs ripoff?

  5. BobbyBrownGoesDown says:

    Cody > Haggar

  6. 3FistedHumdinger says:

    What kind of clipping nonsense is going on in that screencap?

  7. itisdancing says:

    If we’re going to be making homages to side-scrolling games of the past, can someone do Gunstar Heroes? Thanks!

  8. trilobiter says:

    You know, I guess I’m just not a fan of brawlers.  I really feel like I should be, but they just don’t do it for me.  At least this one actually lets you run.

  9. Grimbus says:

    Best beat ’em up I know — and I was a big fan of the genre in the day — is Ninja Warriors Again, also known as “The Ninja Warriors”.

    It’s an SNES game, and I didn’t discover it ’til the emulator days of the 2000s, but good gravy, it’s great.

    I think what differentiates a good beat ’em up from a bad one is just the nuance work. Sound, graphics, animation, the particular motions of the attacks and damage animations. The grace notes that add up to being so huge, and create that differentiating quality: satisfaction.

    Because they’re all, ultimately, pretty GD repetitive. But with a good one, it’s a really satisfying activity that you’re repeating over and over, so it’s fun and rewarding just in the process of doing it.

    Ninja Warriors Again has this in spades.

    It also boats a truly varied trio of player characters. The tank (called “Ninja”) is powerful as hell but really slow in movement. The girl, Kunoichi, is small and pretty fast, but has a short reach and significantly weaker attacks.
    The middle ground character, Kamaitachi, is one of my favorite player characters I’ve ever used. He’s fast, has really varied attacks, and moves around in an animalistic crouch like he is determined to get this job done.

    Oh, also, for no particular discernible reason, the 3 players characters are all robots. Ninja robots. So when you die, you blow up.

    The enemies are varied and fun as hell, the bosses are tough but eventually doable.. it’s just a great game.

    And those little grace notes just make it feel good and visceral as hell to play. I highly, highly recommend it.
    (It’s the second title in the series.)

  10. lunwen says: