The Disney/Capcom collaborations continue!
RELEASE DATE: December 1991
TaleSpin is the unsung game in Capcom’s Disney television quadtych on the NES. While Darkwing Duck, Rescue Rangers, and DuckTales adhered to the tried-and-true platforming formula (the latter two were successful enough to garner sequels), TaleSpin veered off course into the shoot-em-up genre. It’s a nice change of pace, even if the game isn’t as ruthless and rewarding as, say, Life Force.
Navigate Baloo’s Seaduck through eight levels in search of Don Karnage, a pirate who’s trying to put poor Rebecca out of business. None of the levels feel too cluttered with enemies, which is good because your shots start off puny. Collect enough money sacks and treasure chests throughout the level and you can upgrade your pathetic one-shot into a Super Rapid Shot. As you progress, upgrade your engine speed, equip some plane armor, and buy extra lives and continues from Wildcat, the mechanic. You’ll need them all when you confront the Don.
The most unique feature of TaleSpin, by far, is the ability to turn the plane upside down and navigate backwards through the level. When you’re flying through tight areas and the screen begins to scroll faster than you can fly, turning around will make the screen scroll in the opposite direction and prevent needless death. It can also help you retrieve items you missed, and it’s essential to learn for most boss fights. Frankly, it’s one of the most helpful abilities I’ve seen in any 8-bit shmup, and I’m surprised it’s featured in TaleSpin out of all games. Then again, Capcom was well acquainted with shooters by the time of TaleSpin‘s release. It’s not their best shooter, but it is one of their most underrated Disney adventures. Give it a “whirl.” It deserves your “props.” Aaaaand… I’m spent.