Reviewed in 2018 by Tibe

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I emptied a few magazines

by Tibe (2018)

Cabal has inaugurated a video-game style that will not develop that much in the future, the "Action Shooter". This is a third-person shooter in which you control both your character and a cross of sight. The goal is of course to shoot a maximum of enemies without being touched. If at first, I can sound difficult to manage both your warrior and your shooting sight, after a few minutes we realize how intuitive and well adjusted are the controls. A button is used to shoot and B is to throw grenades. Your hero also can dodge (as in Nam-1975, which offers to run or perform a side wheel with the C button), since it's possible to roll, if you have the chance to play on the original arcade cabinet equipped with its trackball, or to crouch, if you're simply playing on the joystick version. However, your reflexes and your anticipation capacities will be your best weapons! And of course, obviously, a little luck will not be unwelcome.

The game consists of six stages of four screens each, making a total of twenty-four levels, with of course a dazzling Boss waiting for you at the end of each zone. If the hardware that runs Cabal is clearly not a brutal war machine, however, there's nothing much to complain about: no big slowdowns, even when playing two simultaneously, and if the graphics are not the best ever seen back in 1988, they are for the least pleasant and varied. The guys from TAD Corporation had the good idea to make almost all the elements of the scenery destructible, trees, walls, bushes, boxes, barrels, towers, sheds and also all the various buildings! When starting a new level, it is not uncommon to have rocks, walls or barriers that can serve as shields against enemy fire. Try to keep them intact for as long as possible, as they will possibly save you many times! The enemy soldiers, if you allow them to proliferate, will fill your living space with bullets and grenades, so a good strategy is to constantly clean up conscientiously.

In addition to the infantry and the various specialists of this corps (shooter, grenadier, commando, nurses, frogmen ...), you will face all kinds of military vehicles. jeeps, helicopters, bombers, tanks, boats, submarines... Grenades can be a great help to get rid of these war machines which have a formidable firepower. A good strategy is to store a maximum of these to use them only when you're beginning to be surrounded. In the same way, think that you will probably appreciate to have a few when you'll be facing the Bosses. During the levels, it will be possible to recover some grenades, but also new weapons way better than your basic machine gun. Among others, a Uzi with a very fast flow of bullets, but also a kind of 12.7 à la Rambo which will put parts of your enemies in every corner of the set. For each screen, you have to kill or destroy everything that comes up until the Enemy gauge on the lower part of the screen is full. On the fourth screen of each stage, a cute Boss will come to visit you!

Like in Nam-1975, the two-players cooperative play is very funny and also allows to develop some tactics to go as far as possible in the game. But you can also have pleasure simply going for the high score. Even the solo adventure is interesting, as the scoring system is very well thought and will have arcade fevers coming back to it regularly. Cabal is neither too easy nor too hard, and also offers a good room for improvement. Anyway, for a seasoned arcade player, ending the game will look more like a walk in the park! Hidden bonuses and all the small details make the game very fun, with an atmosphere that inevitably plunges into action movies of the eighties, with our beloved Sylvester Stallone and Chuck Norris. TAD Corporation, a company that will not make noise again after this arcade success, provides us with Cabal the pioneer of Action Shooters. And incidentally, a very nice game pleasant to re-discover, even in 2018.



Cabal's six stages are varied, and it's the same for enemies and Bosses. The drawing could have been thinner and the color palette better used, but for a 1988 game, it's still rather nice.
Fix screens yes, but full of life and almost completely destructible, with explosions, collapses and all the stuff.
The main theme is quickly forgot, noises of machine guns and detonations too: we can say the soundtrack is pretty bland.
The twenty-four screens go crescendo with the difficulty, and have players coming back willingly to Cabal, even when finished.
First of a very special genre, TAD Corporation's soft is a great action game, fun, with quite simple game mechanics that work well.



Great classic from the arcade's eighties, Cabal is a title that deserves to be known, in a very innovating genre at the time, thirty years ago...


It's of course Nam-1975 which is the most famous SNK try in the Action Shooter genre. This ones takes back the principles of Cabal and improves it substantially, two years later. A great choice for any player who liked Cabal, but wants a more beautiful and more punchy game.

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