It is rare to find an arcade game done in full role-playing style, with
shops, items, puzzles, experience levels, and people to interact with. It is
even rarer to find one that is actually worth playing. Cadash is one such
arcade RPG, and despite the difficulties of combining those two formats, it
does a good job of retaining the traditional RPG elements while still
providing plenty of action.
The kingdom is in trouble, the princess has been kidnapped, and the king
sends the heroes forth to save the day. Sounds like a typical fantasy
plotline (which it is), but the journey is long, hazardous, and exciting.
Players can choose between fighter, mage, priest, and ninja (thief)
characters, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Cadash allows two
simultaneous players on one machine, but it also accepts linking two Cadash
machines together, which lets up to four people play at once. Just like in
tabletop RPGs, the more the merrier. Enemies come thick and fast, and someone
playing by himself will have trouble getting through more than one or two
bosses on a quarter.
The graphics are well done, though a bit lacking in detail sometimes.
The graveyard level in particular looks good for its time (hey, it WAS 1987).
The sound could be better, but it does nothing to hurt the game, and the music
is suitably heroic if a bit uninspired.
Cadash is a quality game for RPG fans who want a little variety in their
arcade experience. Anyone interested in a hack and slash TMNT-style quarter
sucker should probably look elsewhere, though some might still find Cadash
enjoyable (it can certainly be played that way if someone wants to waste the
credits). I still think the best way to play though is four people on linked
machines, which are admittedly hard to find anymore, and the emulated version
does not (and probably cannot) support this. Otherwise Raine emulates Cadash
well, so if you’re an RPG fan, give it a look.