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TaleSpin Review

The 90s was a great decade and easily the best for gaming. I’d also have to say it was the best decade for cartoons with such classics like Ren & Stimpy making their mark. In terms of Disney, there was always something from their studio on the telly after you came back from school. Talespin was one of those shows and I always remember it with a lot of nostalgic affection.

Cartoons are always a source for video games and most Talespin fans recognised a game would be on its’ way. What they got was satisfying to say the least. The Talespin game follows the adventures of Baloo and Kit as they traverse the world in search of enough cargo to win a competition that will guarantee them a lifetime contract with the city’s best company. The trick is, they have to deliver all the cargo in 7 days in order to beat Shere Khan’s record. Obviously, Baloo and Kit’s arch nemesis Don Karnage gets involved in order to stop them from winning.

So the scene is set using a rather dodgy set of pictures and subtitles. Then we select our character (I choose Baloo) and we get into action. Talespin is a straight forward platformer; search each stage for 10 cargo crates or more and then exit while using your attack to destroy any enemies that face you. You can also collect blank crates and stack them using A in order to reach high platforms and secret areas.

The stages are nicely drawn and the character controls make them easy to navigate. The speed the characters move is nice and steady and the attacks are very precise. It can be unclear if you are actually hitting your enemies as it would appear you can only defeat them at certain times in their animation. This makes attacking strangely odd to judge.

At the end of each stage a boss character attacks Baloo and Kit’s ‘Higher for Hire’ headquarters and you’ve got to attack him and defeat him. These battles are somewhat pointless and are generally there to add some structure to the game.

After 2 stages you will fly to the next continent using the Sea Duck to search for more cargo. This is done with a side-scrolling shooter stage where you control the Sea Duck to shoot down enemies and deliver the cargo you’ve already collected. On the higher difficulties, these stages can be a real pain. The sheer amount of enemies on screen is astounding and it can be extremely hard to dodge the barrage of attacks they use. Moving to low to the bottom of the screen will mean you’re plane’s engine will die and you’ll crash losing a life. This also adds to the extremity of this stage. However, apart from difficulty these stages are actually well executed and thoroughly enjoyable. As a Talespin fan, these are the sections that will shine most.

The real problem with the game is the fact it just feels rushed and unfinished. The health gauge and displays at the bottom of the screen look cheap and tacky. The game follows a tired, old platforming formula that just feels average at best. The sound effects are terrible and the music isn’t pushing the Mega Drive’s sound chip to its’ full potential.

For what it’s worth nowadays, Talespin is a good couple of hours of platforming fun. But that’s it. What it does have is great potential and a great slab of source material that hasn’t been used to its’ full advantage. This game could have been brilliant. Unfortunately, the reality is it’s a game that’s above average.


Written by Sonic Yoda on 24/5/06

Box Artwork


Instruction Manual


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