Codex Gamicus

Cabal is an arcade game released in 1988. The game was later ported to home computers and the Nintendo Entertainment System.


The player controls a commando, viewed from behind, trying to destroy various enemy military bases. The player's character is seen from behind and initially starts behind a protective wall (the wall can get damaged by enemy fire). The player must use a limitless ammunition gun and a limited number of grenades to fend off enemy troops and damage the base. At the successful completion of a level, all the buildings onscreen collapse and the player progresses to the next stage. Power-ups appear from time to time, being released from objects destroyed onscreen. Some power-ups give special weapons, many of which are formidable.


Cabal was ported to several home computers of the era, including the MS-DOS, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Atari ST and Amiga. It was also ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System console, which was ported by Zippo Games. The quality of these ports varied based on the target system's capabilities.


Cabal was somewhat innovative in that it featured a 3D perspective in which the player was situated in the foreground, similar to modern FPS games except with an over-the-shoulder camera view. Although it is sometimes compared to contemporary games such as Commando and Ikari Warriors, it differs in that the player cannot move forward of his own volition; an area would first have to be cleared of enemies before advancing. Another interesting twist was that players could either move their character or move their aiming cursor, but not both at once (aiming was accomplished by holding the fire button and moving the joystick). This meant that gameplay became a careful balance between offensive and defensive tactics, separating it from simple "platform" shooters which relied more on reflexes. Overall it was somewhat popular and did respectably well in the arcades.

Cabal was followed in 1990 by Blood Bros., though the sequel had a western theme as opposed to Cabal's Vietnam-era theme.

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