Into The Vault: Talespin (Genesis)
In the early 90s, the Disney Afternoon was THE THING to watch for kids (and maybe even slightly older animation fans). Pretty much all the shows during the programming block’s prime were beloved and still are to this day (and rightfully so) while everyone had their favorites, Talespin never seemed to cross anyone’s mind as the top cartoon. It’s not that it was bad, mind you, it has a really cool premise and fun characters with some really well-told adventures but it wasn’t really doing too much that Ducktales and Rescue Rangers weren’t doing better and shows like Darkwing Duck and Goof Troop were very different kind of shows leaning way more into the comedy. Again it’s not that Talespin wasn’t good but you ask anyone who grew up watching those 90s Disney cartoons what their favorite was and pretty much nobody mentioned Talespin.
And honestly, a huge part of that might have been the show never had a good video game to accompany it and help bolster the show. Granted there are plenty of fondly remembered shows that have mediocre or straight-up terrible video games, but The Disney Afternoon had a slate of really awesome games, developed by Capcom in its licensed platforming prime, that are still fondly remembered to this day. And the recent release of the Disney Afternoon Collection only added to that nostalgia cause the good games still hold up. The one bad game in the collection? Talespin. It’s a shame because Capcom tried to do a different sort of game that arguably fit the series but the controls were confusing, you are way too underpowered to start and it’s just ludicrously cheap.
However, the NES Capcom-developed version of Talespin isn’t the only game out there based on the show. There’s a lesser-known version that was made for the Sega Genesis and developed by Sega, who was no slouch in the platforming or licensed-games department either in the 90s. Is this mostly forgotten tie-in better than the NES Capcom version? Well, yes but it’s still a mostly mediocre game that’s more an example of the shoddy licensed games that were more common of the time.
The premise of Talespin is that you mostly explore around 2D side-scrolling levels looking for 10 crates to collect before you find the exit. You can choose between Baloo and Kit and surprisingly (or maybe not) Kit is the far better choice because he can jump way better and he has a slingshot with decent distance for an attack and Baloo, on the other hand, has a paddle ball that doesn’t go very far.
But this hardly matters because it falls prey to what a lot of mediocre 2D side-scrollers of this era did, licensed or otherwise; cheap deaths and horrible collision detection. I died several times from I don’t even know what, my attacks wouldn’t connect with enemies even though they were clearly hitting them and often I would get hit when it seemed clear nothing touched me.
Honestly, the best thing I can say about Talespin is that it looks pretty ok. Baloo looks like Baloo, the colors and stages fit with the feel and premise of the show, but the gameplay is abysmal and even the music pretty bad it’s not some sort of charming early 8/16-bit rendition of the show’s music it’s just a bad version of the theme song followed by some bad generic music. This is arguably the best video game representation of Talespin out there, but it’s pretty bad so just watch the show and have a much better time (or hell just play Quackshot it’s a much better game with a similar vibe).
That’s all for today but I am hoping to do another post this weekend so see ya real soon!