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

8,9
Garth Sumpter
Chris Bourne

CLASSIC

You've oggled at Operation Wolf, thrilled at Thunderbolt and now it's time to got cookin' with Cabal, the very latest trigger pullin', all action shoot-em-up, blow-em-to-bits, rip their limbs off and beat them to death with the wet end game from Ocean. In Cabal, you are a ferociously brave/mad/stupid soldier with the unenviable task of single handedly wiping out anything that moves, breathes or looks even slightly dangerous.

You control our fearless hero, who jealously guards his territory which is the bottom of the screen. On each of the five levels there are four stages, each one progressively harder than the last, and a true testing ground for all you trainee Rambos. So.. clenching your gun tightly in your sweaty little mitt, the game begins. Each scene depicts a battle scenario, and our lone maverick must clear each screen of all enemies before progress to the next level. To do this he employs all his skill, training and judgement and using his trusty rifle and the oh so few grenades that his mum remembered to pack, he must fight the foe.

Control is selectable at the menu but the joystick will move him left and right to avoid enemy fire; a quick stab on the fire button will release a hail of bullets and a cross hair moves across the screen if he is shooting.

Unfortunately, whilst he's shooting up the enemy, he can't move but his sights do. So watch out for stray enemy bullets because in non-Rambo fashion this man won't shoot on the move!

If things get a little hectic then a quick stab of the space bar will unleash a grenade into the midst of the action in the general direction of the old sights again. In Cabal, you can hide behind scenery in the foreground to avoid some enemy fire, but beware! Even walls are only temporary with the amount of fire power available, but it's always a good idea a to let the enemy destroy any cover - try not to blow it away yourself, after all bravery is one thing that would be stupeed! Especially as you only start off with four lives and only one hit means instant death - well whatcha expect? Dis is war ya wimp!

Whatsat you say? Gimme some motha of a gun and I'll show yo who's boss around here. S'easy.

Every now and then someone's untimely demise will make you the of a piece of hardware that will send the enemy scurrying for cover.

A machine gun, a bazooka a (kaa boom!) and spare grenades all fall to the bottom of the screen on the obliteration of random targets. These you must pick up quickly as you can't leave things lying around on a battlefield. The machine gun and bazooka last about 20 seconds and come in useful on anything above level one stage three when enemy soldiers are accompanied by tanks and lorries. The lorries are bringin' yet more troops, so try to get them before they unload. Ten hits to destroy, but one grenade and two bazooka rounds will despatch them with a firey exit. Also, the bazooka and grenades have a larger area of affect so they can take out several of the opposition if you're in a tight spot.

On the later levels , helicopters begin to hail bullets at you so it's always a good idea to take them out if you can and enemy commandos will start to hurl grenades (and you though you had the mega death monopoly). If you can't hit them before they throw, then shoot the grenades out of the air or get moving!

The state of play is displayed at the bottom of the screen, with a blue star showing the number of enemies lefty to kill on our present level. Once this has turned completely red you can advance to your next position. At the end of each level there is a tough guy to deal with, so if you're lucky and still have a bazooka or machine gun you can blast him to smithreens! If not, then it's back to ducking and diving. Once yer dead, yer dead. Or are you? There is a continue option that can be used once and once only to just peek ahead a bit, or just push up your high score on the table.

A great game for fight fans with large levels of death and destruction. On later levels there's a lot moving on the screen but sprites are well defined and are not lost in the colourful backdrops.

The game progresses nicely with each subsequent stage being show in the distance from the stage that you're currently working on. It adds little to the game but shows the amount of detail that's gone into the graphics. Well done everyone at Special FX, you can paint my wall anytime. And as for the game?

A winner, and for anyone that plays the arcade version, definitely worth all the money you've no doubt already fed into the coin slot at the local amusements.

Label: Ocean
Author: In-house
Price: £8.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Garth Sumpter

A good conversion with excellent graphics.

88%
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HINTS AND TIPS

Try to take out lorries as early as possible as they will drop soldiers onto the screen in droves. (Don't forget there can only be up to 16 sprites on the screen at any one time).

Bazookas and machine guns last for 20 seconds only, but if you pick one up just before the end of level tough guy you can use it on him, if not then any grenades that you've collected should give him some problems.

There's an extra life to be had when you reach 10,000 and there's also a continue option but it can only be used once.

Hiding behind walls and sandbags is a good idea but watch out for commandos throwing grenades. You can tell when they're about to throw because they slow down and start winding up. Hit the before they throw them.