Genre: Platformer Developer: Disney Software Publisher: Sega Enterprises Players: 1-2 Released: 1992
Back in the early ’90s, started something huge with its cartoons that brought happiness to countless TV watching children across the nation, and later happy nostalgic memories to those same children. They called it the Disney Afternoon, and it brought together many of the greatest cartoon series ever created (in a sense of Children’s cartoons, obviously Family Guy and The Simpsons don’t compare). Shows like Ducktales, Darkwing Duck, Aladdin, The Gummi Bears, Chip & Dale’s Rescue Rangers, Gargoyles (aka the greatest cartoon they’ve done, EVER), Goof Troop, etc were shown on this for years, until Disney just seemed to stop caring and showed hog slop like 101 Dalmatians (Which is the reason Gargoyles was cancelled) Disney’s Doug (EVIL) and Quack Pack. There was one show that was barely able to make it above the rest, but managed to do just that (except for Gargoyles, which simply owns your soul): TaleSpin.
TaleSpin was the story of Baloo (remember him from the Jungle Book?), a bush pilot with his own cargo delivery service in the town of Cape Suzette, which has only one entrance, covered by a crown of high rocks, making the only way to get in by plane. This service was owned by Rebecca Cunnigham, who Baloo first rued, but apparently started dating. Also in the series was the former air pirate Kit Cloudkicker, a young bear cub who was a master at the flying disc. When attached to the back of Baloo’s Sea Duck, he could easily help Baloo fight off air pilots and storms. He could also protect the precious cargo. All in all, this show was just one of the greatest. The fact that I remember Kit’s last name should show how much I loved this show.
This is why when I play TaleSpin, I not only get angry at the game for being so cheap, despite being a kid’s game, I get angry at Disney/Capcom for thinking that this could be a proper representation of the series.
The game starts out nice enough. The show theme starts playing (which is one of the games few highlights, the music is actually pretty nice) as the title screen shows the basic choices for the game: 1 player, 2 player, and options, which is just the usual difficulty, controls, and sound-test.
Your story is this: The city is hosting a giant world wide contest for a contract for cargo delivery for Cape Suzette. Your opponent? Of course, Shere Kahn Inc. You must scour 8 cities of the world for 10 cargo boxes each in the fastest time possible to beat the game. And since Kahn Inc. went first, they achieved this goal in 7 days, meaning (Ta-da!) You get a time limit! Yea! Right before you start, you get to choose from Baloo or Kit. While it’s slightly easier to control Kit in the platforming levels, I’ll explain later why he should be saved for 2-player mode ONLY.
You start off with a jungle level, paddle-ball in hand. As you walk through the level, you’ll encounter (see; get jumped by) snakes, giant gorilla heads that shoot rocks, and crabs. As you try to figure where to go in the water parts of the level, you’ll find your life bar slowly melting away. Soon, as you jump form behind a giant piece of rock, you find a small red shaped thing attached to your leg. After you jump repeatedly, you’ll realize this was one of the games greatest enemies that isn’t a kung-fu tiger, the crab! As you try to avoid them, it always seems like they’ll always be there, ready to strike and having you fly into the screen before you know it.
The basic controls are A for picking up normal boxes, which are used for stacking. B for attacking, and C for jumping. Stacking crates gets you to platforms that normally wouldn’t be reached. Your attack is either a paddle-ball or a sling-shot, and your jump seems almost useless in plenty of situations, which is why box stacking is so important. You’ll be pissed off more than once by pressing the C button, but not getting the desired jump you want. Hit detection seems to be a problem, where it seems like the game just doesn’t take you hitting a bad guy, but they’ll sure take in when you’re hit.
The graphics aren’t the best that they could be, considering this is Disney, and considering what graphics looked like back then in other games. While there’s plenty of nice cartoony looking graphics, they don’t seem to go where it counts, in the actual character sprites. Baloo and Kit walk like they have certain mental deficiencies. Even the actual background and foregrounds seem kinda grainy, making it hard to tell what’s going on once in awhile.
Disney stuck to just the basic sounds here, like little pops for our hero’s and the bad guy’s weapons, wing flaps for those pesky pigeons. etc. The music, like usual, is one of the best parts of the game.
After a couple platforming levels, you’ll start the shooting level, which brings up my point of why the game is almost impossible in one player as Kit. It’s obviously not one of the more detailed shooters, but it’s a nice attempt. The easiest way to get through it is just to stay on the left of the screen and shoot. What makes this so hard is that when you’re Kit, the computer flies the Sea Duck through the treacherous terrain of the sky. Guess what? Computers CAN’T FLY PLANES! For some reason, the computer thinks flying means hitting every plane, lightning cloud, and stalactite it can find while you hopelessly try to shoot down air pirates. This makes it the only reason why’d you want to be Baloo, since you can actually control the plane then.
In the end, it’s not a BAD game per say, just not what a game based on TailSpin should play like. It’s also a bit to hard for the games target audience, the younger kids who actually watched DA in the early ’90s. It’s also just too cheap for its own good, making replay value very small.
SCORE: 5 out of 10