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Cabal is a first person shooter. You stand at the bottom of the screen and mow down anything that moves. This may not sound that fun, but this game is great. I've never played a game before in which practicing it made so much difference. The reason of course is the wacky controls. Don't let them stop you though. Although the game is darn near impossible the first couple times it will get easier. I enjoy this game so much I may vault it onto the essential NES list.
While the variety of enemies
and combat doesn’t really change in the relatively short game, its
originality and decent presentation make it worth playing. And if
the challenge seems too much to handle, a two-player simultaneous
mode culled from the arcade version will even the odds a bit more.
Sometimes Cabal doesn't make much sense. For example, when you complete a stage, all of the scenery on the screen collapses into a dusty heap. I can understand buildings collapsing at a fort, but is it really necessary for the swamp to cave in as well? It's equally strange how at the end of each stage your soldier celebrates by running around and waving his gun like a bow-legged hillbilly! Cabal isn't great, but if you're looking for a unique shooter, it has its moments.
Cabal is pretty generous with five lives and three continues, but there’s no password system to move further in the game. This would be ok if the game seemed to take actual skill to beat – again, if it were like Contra. Sadly, it feels like just a random mishmash of decent ideas that don’t congeal well into an actual game, regardless of if it’s a mindless shooter or an action-RPG (which is a genre that didn’t technically exist yet, unless you count Zelda, but the term hadn’t been coined then, so it’s hard to sa-).