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Ocean Software Ltd
1989
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£8.99
£3.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

Other Links


84,85
Jonathan Davies
Chris Bourne

A 'cabal', as any fule kno. is a secret plot, esp. a political one. Which is probably why this game is called Cabal, because it features you in the role of a mega-hero sent out to foil a terrorist plan by blowing the little beggars away. In other words - dakkadakkadakka splat argh ar'm hit neow blam and so on.

Operation Wolf is obviously the inspiration behind Cabal, although the new game builds heavily on the original and requires a more subtle playing technique. Rather than viewing the battlefield through a scrolling window, you see it one screen at a time, if you see what I mean. No? Sigh. Cabal consists of 20 screens, split up into five levels of four screens each. (The levels multiload on 48K.) Before you can move on to the next screen you must blow away a certain number of baddies, and much of the scenery as well if you want to. The computer then flips you to the next screen where you must do much the same thing. And so on. At the end of each level there's a horrid big Daddy which must be knocked out before you can progress.

Other differences are that instead of merely moving your gunsight around and shooting things you've got to keep an eye on your little guy at the bottom of the screen. Every so often you have to stop shooting and move him out of the way of the bullets, grenades, bombs and stuff that are hurled at him by the enemy. The way it works is that when you hold down fire and move the joystick the gunsight moves and the bloke stands still, and when you're not pressing fire the chap wanders around from left to right. You'll find you'll need to do about half and half. There are also grenades and add-on weapons to collect (a machine gun, which fires much faster than the usual one and clears the whole screen in about three seconds, and a bazooka which marmalises vast chunks of the enemy with one shot). The scenery acts as cover which either you or the terrorists can hide behind until it gets 'crumbled'.

The game follows the coin-op original extremely closely, although the graphics are more cartoony, Spectrumy (which figures) and nicer I think. Just about everything from the coin-op is here, including the lethal helicopters which hover above you dealing death and the massive end-of-level baddies which are highly imaginative and very tough to deal with. It also plays just like the original - tough, but not so hard that you get stuck on the first level for ages.

Cabal is without a doubt (not even a teeny little one) one of the finest conversions I've ever seen. It recreates the coin-op's atmosphere of total death and destruction perfectly, making it one of the ultimate Speccy shoot-'em-ups. It's miles better than Op Wolf, light years in fact, parsecs almost. It's great.

A truly maaaaarrvellous coin-op conversion which will be the source of immense pleasure to those with a bloodthirsty streak. A 'must'.

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THE LEVELS There are five levels of four screens each. A nice touch is that you can see the next screen on the horizon if you look closely.

LEVEL ONE: First blast your way through an occupied village, then enter and raze to the ground an enemy airbase. Then a sort of helicopter thing swoops down and needs to be taken apart.

LEVEL TWO: This takes you across a lake, which is full of baddies of course, then up a beach, through the jungle and into a marine base where divers pop up and down shooting at you. A submarine then surfaces, just asking to be returned to the murky depths from whence it came.

LEVEL THREE: Blow your way through the docks, where cranes and buildings can be shattered and mangled. Then you'll come across a ship teeming with terrorists. Nuke it! The end-of-level nasty then moves in - and boy, it's a toughie.

LEVEL FOUR: Trampling through the woods you come across a ruined town. Billions of baddies appear, so show them no mercy. The grand finale takes the form of a series of guns which pop up, unleashing streams of lead, and then pop down again.

LEVEL FIVE: Clamber up the mountains to another village, battle through it and you'll come across a heavily guarded enemy base, which is no fun at all. Save your grenades up for the awesomely tricky baddy at the end.

Programmer's Corner

Cabal on the Speccy comes from the highly potent Special FX. The coding is by Jimmy Bagley, responsible (although perhaps that's not quite the right word) for Red Heat, Road Runner and loads of other biggies, and the graphics were done by Charles Davies who also did the same job for Batman. If you can find the right combination of keys to press on the title page there's a secret and rather fnar-worthy bonus screen!

THE LEVELS

There are five levels of four screens each. A nice touch is that you can see the next screen on the horizon if you look closely.

LEVEL ONE: First blast your way through an occupied village, then enter and raze to the ground an enemy airbase. Then a sort of helicopter thing swoops down and needs to be taken apart.

LEVEL TWO: This takes you across a lake, which is full of baddies of course, then up a beach, through the jungle and into a marine base where divers pop up and down shooting at you. A submarine then surfaces, just asking to be returned to the murky depths from whence it came.

LEVEL THREE: Blow your way through the docks, where cranes and buildings can be shattered and mangled. Then you'll come across a ship teeming with terrorists. Nuke it! The end-of-level nasty then moves in - and boy, it's a toughie.

LEVEL FOUR: Trampling through the woods you come across a ruined town. Billions of baddies appear, so show them no mercy. The grand finale takes the form of a series of guns which pop up, unleashing streams of lead, and then pop down again.

LEVEL FIVE: Clamber up the mountains to another village, battle through it and you'll come across a heavily guarded enemy base, which is no fun at all. Save your grenades up for the awesomely tricky baddy at the end.

Programmer's Corner

Cabal on the Speccy comes from the highly potent Special FX. The coding is by Jimmy Bagley, responsible (although perhaps that's not quite the right word) for Red Heat, Road Runner and loads of other biggies, and the graphics were done by Charles Davies who also did the same job for Batman. If you can find the right combination of keys to press on the title page there's a secret and rather fnar-worthy bonus screen!

These buildings are all wasteable.

Your roving gun-sight.

An enemy chopper homes on for the kill.

A couple of baddies sneaking up.

The results of the chopper's effort.

This bar shows how much more needs to be destroyed on this level.

Our hero.

Grenades remaining - save 'em for the baddy at the end.

These barrels provide cover... for a while.

Screenshot Text

Here's the marine base. Those flippers sticking up out of the water belong to someone I've just obliterated. Snigger.

The airbase. Just about everything you see can be destroyed but that tank will take quite a pounding and... Argh! They got me!

A jungle scene. The tower, of course, can be blown to bits, and the machine gun on the ground which can come in handy.