Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Nerdicus NES Review #108 : Cabal


Title : Cabal

Publisher : Fabtek / Taito / Milton Bradley

Genre : Cabal Shooter

Players : 1 / 2 Player

Release Date : 1990

Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $4-$6

There's nothing quite as satisfying as a shooting gallery game. Simple, entertaining, and challenging as hell for the most part. Of course, these games were a tad more fun when they took place in a military setting. Enter, CABAL. A game that was so innovative, they even refer to certain shooters as "Cabal-style shooters." No joke. Look it up. Wanna fight about it?

I only wish the box art had the one from the Amiga Port. Because that has Kurt Russel on it. And if it isn't Kurt Russel, it sure as hell looks like him.


Cabal thrusts you into the heat of battle as an army commando tasked with destroying a series of enemy bases. The style is very "platoon-esque." so I can only assume it's some Vietnam War references going on in this game. 

This isn't Duck Hunts, folks. So let's give it a whirl.



Cabal sets the player on the screen alongside the enemies, but given a set of cover to protect them from enemy fire. You'll be constantly jumping out from cover to spray some shots across the field, all the while rushing back and forth to collect power ups as they fall to your side of the screen. Not only that, but you can roll around like a mad drunk too. It's usually more effective than ducking for cover. Roll, shoot, roll, shoot. Sorry, wait I have to do it.

Do a barrel roll!!!!

There's a grand total of five bases, with 4 sub areas each that you'll need to destroy. You can't move forward or anything in this game, and the only way you can advance through each stage is to destroy all the enemies on the screen without getting your arse handed to you but a heavy rain of bullet fire. Luckily, you've got unlimited ammunition to fire back, and a few grenades that'll help you out as well. Seriously though, save those grenades for when you ABSOLUTELY need them. Don't waste em, they're precious.


On your actual screen you'll notice the enemy gauge at the bottom. That's actually how many enemies you have left to kill before you complete the stage. And it's not just enemy soldiers you'll be facing off against. You've got carriers, you've got choppers (get to da choopppaahhh), and tanks. All out to kill YOU! Thankfully, you'll also find some powerups being dropped to help you out, like the "O' So Powerful Clear The Screen Of Everyone" powerup.

So satisfying to watch your enemies melt away from what I like to think of as a mini nuke. You'll also find some upgraded weapons such as a new machine gun which fires a hell of a lot faster than your normal gun, or a shotgun with a spread fire.


Cabal becomes extremely challenging as you move through the levels, with more enemies and a lot less cover. You'll be rolling around like crazy half the time trying to avoid enemy fire. But let's talk about how the game plays.

You would think controlling a cross-hair on an NES game would be difficult with a control, and you would be right. While it's somewhat smooth for this type of game, it never seems to move fast enough to get from one side of the screen to the other without worrying about not making it in time to kill an enemy. You'll be panicking, rolling around, all the while trying to move your cursor across the screen.


Visually the game isn't appealing as some of the ports, but at least it incorporates some interesting visual mechanics such as the breaking apart of buildings and cover. The backgrounds, and 3D perspective is also pretty decent for a NES game, and does the job of keeping the tension high through the levels.

But, the saving grace for this game and the thing that makes it insanely addicting is playing with 2 players. Grab a friend, and relive that arcade experience. It's really the way this game was meant to be played. Other than that though, it's a very decent shooter and hell, it beats shooting ducks.

 Although that's fun too....

Final Score (out of 5) :




Until next time. Keep on gaming!

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