Cabal (Ocean) Review | Your Sinclair - Everygamegoing

Your Sinclair

By Ocean
Spectrum 48K/128K/+2/+3

Published in Your Sinclair #47


A 'cabal', as any fule knows, is a secret plot, especially 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'.

Jonathan Davies

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