I recently spent a bit of time messing around with a MAME emulator and revisiting some of these games. Suffice to say, it becomes obvious you were not designed to complete most on a single credit. A few have held up pretty well while others still hold a small corner of my memory hostage. Following my research, these are my sure fire, revisit, classic arcade cash devourers.
Cadillacs & Dinosaurs not only combined all manner of awesome things ( dinosaurs, cool cars, guns, post-apocalyptic story and girls) to appeal to a young man, but it also managed to keep me going back time after time. Despite being Mark Schultz's Xenozoic Tales bolted to the Final Fight game system, Cadillacs & Dinosaurs held my attention for years. You had guns! Final Fight didn't have those. You could kick the shit out of dinosaurs! Final Fight couldn't do that.
The story had you fighting off poachers, mutants, bikers and various nasty types from messing with the balance of nature. That didn't really matter to me. The clincher was halfway through the first stage, being able to blast someone out of a window with a shotgun before punching a Rock Hopper (Raptor. None of the dinosaurs go by their real names) in the face outside in an alley! Throw in being able to smash through bikers and barrels in a car and I was sold. My pockets rapidly emptied.
A.B. Cop (1990)
Long before you could take cover with a fancy foot pedal in Time Crisis and such games, rail shooters gave you a big machine gun and threw waves of enemies at you. Beast Busters ( from the ever reliable SNK stable) was always the game I saw in arcades but never managed to actually play as they always seemed to place Operation Wolf or Rambo 3 in my way as a distraction. Luckily, I found a flea pit on a family outing that only had assorted pinball tables, Asteroids and Beast Busters. No contest really, sorry Asteroids.
The wafer thin plot had you as gun nuts trying to escape a zombie infested city. Gun toting zombies at that. Pretty ahead of its time stuff? The gore was a major factor in how cool I thought this game was. Enemies exploded in blood and bone pieces, green slime was everywhere, they had zombie bikers, Jason like hockey masked monsters and then along came the absurd bosses! A driverless Jeep that shoots missiles before coming alive! A typical 80's street punk that transforms into a massive dog! A floating eye made of bodies! Next level shit for any kid. Even the soundtrack was sweet.