Cabal would be just another “kill-em-all” shooting game a la Contra, if not for its unique perspective. Your protagonist is stationed in the foreground, while the enemies do damage from the background. The enemy bar at the bottom of the screen indicates how much damage you do to the opposing side. Destroy larger enemies – tanks, helicopters, buildings – to take down the life bar and move on to the next stage.
It’s a cool idea, but it isn’t executed well. The enemies launch attacks at you like you’re Arnold, Sly, and Van Damme combined, and the only protection you have from their onslaught of bullets and Molotov cocktails is a pathetic wall. The wall breaks down over time, and after enough attacks, you’re in the battle without any place to hide.
Your shooting cursor is always a couple steps behind you, as well. Since you control both your protagonist’s movement and the cursor with the D-pad, the cursor lags consistently, which results in abundant deaths. Cabal‘s five lives and three continues seems generous initially, but there’s no password system to hold your progress or move further in the game.
In the end, Cabal plays like a mix of decent ideas that never congeals into a worthwhile experience.
PUBLISHER: Milton Bradley DEVELOPER: TAD (port by Rare)
GENRE: Action RELEASE DATE: 06/1990 – (US)
ALSO AVAILABLE ON: Amiga, ARC, C64, Amstrad CPC, PC, ZX Spectrum