The Easter bunny has come early this year. And this time round he ain't bringing choccy eggs. This is Psycho Rabbit: he's mean, he's meaty and he's carrying a grenade launcher... Cabal, noun, 'a secret plot, esp, a political one'. Kerblimcy! So that's what it's all about! A political strategy game. And to think I took it for just another aim-your-gun-at-their-gonads arcade conversion.
Seeing as it's all about political intrigue, we asked Manuel Escudamento of Chile, a 'top political analyst', what he thought of the original coin-op. "Estupendisimo! Shootin' the opposition party was excellent trainin' for our electzione campaign. Especial' in two player mode. A thinkful strategy game." Erm... thankyou Manuel. I think we'd better check it out for ourselves. After playing it for two pico-seconds, the bubble burst. Why didn't anyone tell us it was a blast 'em up along the lines of Oppo Wolf? Basically, your task is to shoot everything. Grunts, tanks, helicopters, buildings, gravestones (yep), red cross stretcher bearers, the lot. It's all very simple, even for a Chilean political analyst.
As you begin a stage, you snatch a sneak preview of the four main screens and the 'end-of-level nasty'. Then you plunge in at the deep end. Your character can only move left and right along the bottom of the screen, using the available cover for protection - until it's blown away of course. Moving the joy while holding the fire button moves the sights and fires at the same time, while yanking the wibble stick down sharply launches grenades.
The idea is not only to shoot everything that moves but also most of the scenery. This renders the opposition 'sitting ducks' and often drops goodies to your baseline. Yummy, a super-duper machine gun. Oooh look! Grenades! Just what the international arms dealer ordered. In two player mode, the fun is doubled as it's a case of scrambling for the power-ups. Unfortunately cooperation is the name of the game, since you can't shoot your partner. Shame. ("Mierdal" Manuel.)
Tim: Underpants. Check. Combat fatigues. Check. Extremely large submachine gun to wave threateningly at people who don't understand plain English spoken in a raised voice. Check. Large bottle of nail varnish remover. Check. Brain. Check. On second thoughts, I might as well leave that in the jar.
You really can't get much simpler than Cabal. Shoot everything, don't get shot yourself. But there are two aspects of the game that make it a challenge. First of all, you have to work out what to shoot up to get power-ups and when is the best moment to do it. And secondly, the controls are, erm... bleedin' difficult to master, particularly when it comes to chucking grenades. There you are, mowing down grunts contentedly with your 9mm Uzi when all of a sudden one pops up in front of you. Quick, sights down to blast him. Oh dear, there go my last two grenades. The problem is, you can't move your sights down and fire at the same time, because that's the mechanism for launching grenades. You get the hang of it eventually but on higher levels it can prove fatal.
To help you on your way is the enemy. Eh? Yep, you've got it. They're depressingly stupid. But it's not easy simply because there are so many of them. One slip of the joystick and all that aftershave you bought for the after-massacre party is history. The graphics and sound aren't particularly inspiring but it hardly matters. You're not exactly wandering about looking at the daisies and listening to the sound of gentle, soothing distant gunfire. If you've homicidal tendencies and bought Op Wolf, T'Bolt et al then Cabal could well tickle your trigger finger.
The time you can waste on this game is ridiculous! It is so great, and the little funny dances the guys do at the end of each mission are even better! The trouble is, it is sooo easy to die! You are one man, alone (unless you play 2 player), who must single handedly kill LOADS of enemy soldiers, tanks, planes, etc... Sounds impossible doesn't it? Well I guess it is to be honest, but it is really fun with unlimited energy... ahem, otherwise it is just too hard for my taste.
The graphics aren't too brilliant, but they are adequate for the game and time that it was made. So, basically in this game you just shoot thing in a single screen, you can destroy buildings and the landscape, which is cool, and you can hide behind boxes which get destroyed... Sometimes your own planes come across and drop you supplies, but it is rare that happens.
For each 4 or so levels that you complete, there is a big bad boss, which comes in the form of some huge vehicle with loads of firepower, which you, alone must kill... Well, it wouldn't happen in real life, but it is possible I guess...
So, if you are into shoot 'em ups then you DEFINITELY want to get this game to get your target practice up to scratch.
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