Also available for Game Boy and PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows via Disney Afternoon Collection
TaleSpin is, unlike Duck Tales, an IP with which I had no experience prior to this playthrough. I never saw the cartoon as a kid, and I'd never even heard of the NES game growing up. This was a totally new experience for me. While I found the characters much less endearing (partly because I had no nostalgia, I'm sure, and partly because the use of bears and a tiger brought flashbacks of furries), the game itself was a TON of fun to play and honestly much better suited to my preferences and genre taste than Duck Tales.
Whereas the two Duck Tales games were platformers, TaleSpin plays like a horizontally scrolling shmup. It's a lot slower paced than a true shmup, and you can turn your plane around and go backwards, but that's the best way I can think to describe the core gameplay. The game is spread out over eight levels with bonus levels hidden along the way for extra points. Between each level, you can upgrade your plane if you have enough money (which you get from increasing your score during the game). Some of these upgrades include extra lives, a faster gun, more health, speed boost, etc. I mainly focused on the gun because pew pew. The story didn't interest me (not that it really needs to); you're an overweight bear flying a plane to deliver stuff for some yiff fuel chick while some ass hole tiger is trying to stop you because he's a cat and they're jerks. Not interesting, but it serves the purpose.
The music I found to be much less endearing than Duck Tales, but how much of that was nostalgia and how much that is honest and objective preference, I can't say. Visually, however, it's about on par; it's bright and colorful, and the sprites look fantastic. It controls extremely well, too; at no point did it feel somewhat iffy like the pogo cane in the first Duck Tales game. You can't aim upwards without moving up (it's a plane and not a helicopter, after all), and that took a little bit of getting used to with regards to shooting enemies without running into their bullets, but it's a pretty shallow learning curve, so I can't imagine that would take anyone particularly long to adapt to.
TaleSpin is a license that doesn't interest me in the slightest, but I can't deny that the game itself is well made and a ton of fun to play. It's got the core play style of a horizontal shooter like R-Type or Gradius but with a slower pace and overall less stressful feel (at least until the last couple levels). Its inclusion in the Disney Afternoon Collection makes it readily available to modern players (I'm hoping Capcom will port that collection over to Switch as it's the perfect platform for it), and it's definitely worth playing for fans of the scrolling shooter genre.
My Rating - 4 Neps
I'm a teacher.
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach high school history; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.