Cadash is a multiplayer action RPG developed by Taito for the Arcades in 1989. The cabinet supported up to two players (though two cabinets could be "linked" for four-player), where each player would control one of four classes much like Gauntlet. The game uses a side-scrolling perspective, and characters can become stronger by defeating enemies and leveling up, or finding and purchasing items. There is also a non-linear element to the game, allowing the player to return to past locations with keys they found for additional items.
Cadash was also adapted for the TurboGrafx-16 and the Sega Genesis. The Genesis version reduces the number of characters to choose from to just two, removing the Priestess and Ninja/Rogue. Both console versions allow for two players (using the TurboTap accessory for the TG-16 version). The Arcade version determined the length of time the player could spend on the game with a strict time limit, rather than waiting for the player to game over naturally. As well as by spending more money, this time limit could be extended with special items found in-game, and a special spell that only the Priestess can use.
The player, as one of four classes, pass through largely linear 2D side-scrolling stages full of monsters and traps. The game is similar to Nintendo's Zelda II, as it combines a standard platformer/action game with RPG elements; as monsters are defeated, experience is added to the character's meter and they'll eventually level up, gaining more health and doing more damage. Ideally, the player should be leveling up at a rate to match the increased difficulty of the monsters.
The player can choose from one of four classes (the latter two are unavailable on the Sega Genesis version):
- Fighter: A burly fighter that takes on monsters at close range and has the highest defense and attack strength as well as the second highest speed. He's disadvantaged against ranged creatures, and needs to purchase a shield to block their attacks.
- Wizard: A versatile spell-caster that is very slow and weak, but can launch all manner of offensive ranged spells at foes, making him very effective at a distance and especially against bosses. He also levels up the fastest. He is disadvantaged against undead foes, which are inexplicably immune to his magic, forcing him to rely on weak physical attacks with his staff.
- Priestess: A female spell-caster who focuses on defensive and utilitarian magic. She has a decent range of stats and her protective skills make her an easy character to play as. She's also the only character able to increase the timer in the Arcade version. She is disadvantaged by her limited offensive capabilities, which means she has the most trouble against bosses and other tough creatures.
- Ninja/Rogue: Called a Ninja in the Arcade version, and a Rogue in the TurboGrafx-16 version, he is the fastest and deadliest character at a range. Unlike the magic-users, he can use his range attacks immediately without selecting it from a menu first, and his damage output and speed makes him very powerful against bosses and most enemies in the game. His disadvantage is that he takes the longest to level up, making him less effective in the mid-game as the other characters edge ahead in health and other stats.