Many are the home or computer offspring of a game that strive to live up to what their arcade parents introduced, and with a wide mixture of result. Rare is the game that can actually be better than the original, but Cadash comes very close.
Originally released in the arcades back in 1989, Cadash was another of the "link-up" systems, where more than one machine could be linked up to let multiplayer gaming take place. The arcade version boasted up to four-player participation; however, since no such link-up exists for the TurboGrafx-16, play is limited to two players.
The story behind all of this is fairly simple: As one of four warriors summoned by the King of Deerzar, you must set forth through five continents and countless creatures in an effort to rescue the king's daughter from the evil Baarogue, to the kind's castle will bring peace back to the land and free it from Baarogue's terrors.
Choice of character type is simple. Either a fighter, mage, priest or ninja may be chosen, each with different abilities and handicaps. The fighter has high marks in the three ratings of strength, armor class and agility, but can use no magic. The mage and priest can use offensive and defensive magic respectively, but are easily injured and not nearly as strong. Although the ninja is stronger and extremely agile, he also has no magic. If playing with two players, each must choose a different type.
As levels are gained through experience points - not shown on - screen as they were in the arcade - battling skills, spell power and hit points all advance. Since there isn't a time limit in this version, "hunting" will enable patient players to quickly build up their character.
More powerful weapons, armor, healing herbs and other items are found in small villages scattered throughout the land, along with helpful villagers eager to see your quest succeed. Chatting with them will give you clues to help you along. A night's stay in the local inn is an inexpensive way to refresh your character's hit/magic points as well.
While moving through these lands, the monsters will become increasingly difficult, as will the path to the next town and safety. These paths vary from underground forests inhabited by gnomes to a hellish underground battle with a devil. The early boss critters are easy to dispatch, but patience and caution are necessary for the later areas.
The two-player option may seem to be an easy way to breeze through the areas, since you would think that two weapons swinging about would obviously be better than one; but, remember that it will take twice as long for each player to up in level, since the experience points are being shared. Gold is much more plentiful, and even the more expensive items shouldn't require a tightly guarded purse. A continue option is not available in either one- or two-player modes, so once your character kicks off, you must begin completely over.
The graphics for Cadash are very well done, even better than the arcade version, in my opinion. While they look slightly different, they are still a very good translation - very smooth and colorful. Action sometimes becomes a bit awkward with two players when trying to make jumps or quick dashes through an area, but these are minor problems. The music and sound effects are faithfully rendered and equally excellent.
The average player shouldn't have a great deal of trouble conquering Cadash, as the game seems easier than the original. Even after finishing it a few times, however, the challenge will remain for trying to finish it with one of the other three character types, as what was simple for one is often difficult for another.
This game would be easy to recommend if it wasn't for its lack of continue or save screens. It's fun to take your friends into battle with you, but there are just too many problems associated with this concept. Having said that, you can still have a good time with Cadash as long as you remember to take things slow and appreciate every single inch of this title.