Ocean/Special FX £8.99 cass, £14.99 disk

As with many of these ‘Arnie Schwarzenegger/Green Beret chappie yomps across enemy terrain’ style blast-’em-up’s the plot is simple: a foreign country is causing a bit of aggro, and wanting to avoid full-scale war our lad is sent in to dish out death and mayhem and destroy the enemy from within.

Armed with a gun (supplied with unlimited ammo), and a very limited supply of grenades to take out tanks, choppers, walls and groups of people, he fights his way across twenty single screen levels. Our hero moves left and right across screen, the gun and grenades are aimed with a cursor. Blasting larger targets occasionally awards icons which when collected bestow bonus points or more powerful weapons (although these are lost when you die).

With each enemy killed a bar gradually fills with red, and when it is full the current level ends, and you can carry on and be nasty to another screen full of enemy soldiers. The action in Cabal isn’t fast enough to watch the groups of soldiers blasting at you on one side of the screen whilst grenading a tank on the other. Bricks and mortar provide a certain amount of protection against the blood thirsty hordes. Ocean don’t pretend that this game is anything but an Operation Wolf clone, but if you like the idea of Operation Thunderbolt, make sure you get this one too.

MARK — 90%

It’s often said that first impressions can be deceptive (even if at other times they last!) and this is true for Cabal. At first glance and even when watching someone play the game it seems a rather sedate, over-simplified Op Wolf, but real excitement is generated when you’re actually at the joystick. Part of the game’s appeal are its graphics, parts of scenery arranged carefully so there’s plenty of colour on-screen and, best, lots of soldiers muting around. They’re really very cartoon-like, short, with big clown feet, and walk with amusingly exaggerated steps. The main sprite isn’t as fun but is as bulky and powerful-looking as the tanks, planes and ’copters. If you’re an Op Wolf fan — and have any money left after buying Operation Thunderbolt — spend it on this!

NICK — 91%



A classy coin-op conversion full of mindless but highly addictive action