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Crystal's Pony Tale (SEGA)

Crystal's Pony Tale  SEGA
Genre: Action, Adventure
Gameplay: Platform
Setting: Fantasy
Published by: SEGA of America
Developed by: Artech Digital Entertainment
Released: 1994
Platform: SEGA Genesis / Mega Drive

Crystal is the most beautiful pony in Ponyland. She has a silky coat, a magnificent curly mane, a bushy tail and the most graceful hooves you have ever seen. Despite all this, Krystal is the most shy pony of them all!

When her friends frolic in the meadow, Krystal always runs in the tail. When they play hide-and-seek in the woods or splash in the cool waters of a fountain, Krystal sits aside. She was already almost, almost, but not quite ready to join the general fun.

That's how she managed to avoid the terrible fate that befell her friends! The Wicked Storm Witch longed to rule Ponyland. She became furious when she saw ponies frolicking in the pastures, nibbling grass, or quenching their thirst from cool springs. It all started when the ponies decided to have a party at the rainbow castle...

The enraged witch uttered a terrible spell and struck all the ponies at once with lightning. Under her evil spell, they froze in place! The horses have faded and become thinner than leaves. The poor things could not move to call for help. Then they were imprisoned in the most hidden places of Ponyland!

Crystal miraculously escaped - the lightning of the Storm Sorceress did not hit her. But now, left alone, Krystal realized that she could no longer continue to be timid. Her friends need her!

It is necessary to help pony explore the flowering fields, dark forests and creepy caves of Ponyland. Collect lucky horseshoes and golden keys, solve puzzles and look for seven magical crystals. This is the only way to get your friends back!

Management in the game is essentially two-button. A, B - action, C - jump. In the settings menu, you can change the layout.

Before starting the game, the body, mane and tail of the pony can be painted. The choice is not very large, but the available colors are enough to come up with an unforgettable look. You can also listen to melodies in the menu. The classics and several "signature" melodies are presented. A good solution for increasing musical erudition. MIDI level music, the sound is pleasant, but on the Sega it can be better. Names of some classical melodies: Brahms' 4th Symphony, Tchaikovsky's Dance of the Dragee Fairy, Dolly Fauré, Dwarfs and the Mountain King Grieg, and Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee.

That's what really captivates with its originality - the soundtrack is made with great love, this is a rarity in the gaming world. All events are accompanied by melodies and realistic sounds, such as neighing ponies and voices. The most remarkable thing is that the melodies very softly replace one another, depending on the situation in the game. As if you are watching a fabulous and colorful cartoon.

Before starting, you can choose the difficulty level. The trick is that at the easiest level, the game helps and prompts in everything. On medium, help can be obtained, but the passage is more difficult, and on a hard difficulty level, you will have to act without outside help.

If we talk about the game menu, then it is more like a debugger menu. Such annoying quality failures will be in the game itself. Truly 16-bit backgrounds and sprites, drawn with great care, sometimes coexist with graphics made in a cheap graphics editor.

Let's start the game (Start). At the very beginning of the path, you can choose the direction. To the left is a witch's cave, to the right is a farm, up is a dark forest. There are seven levels in total, so to speak, and you can go through them in any order, at the end you will have to kick the witch a couple of times and triumphantly rush along the rainbow bridge.

Animals communicate with each other mentally, with pictures. A good solution, because children may not be able to read yet. As the game progresses, you need to solve small quests. The passage boils down to the fact that in any more or less remarkable place you need to press the action button and see what happens. This is definitely a platform game, but its main direction is solving simple puzzles.

I must say thank you for the fact that the animation is done perfectly - it is smooth and detailed. All creatures in the game live their own lives, often you want to stop and just watch. Krystal trots very well and lifts her front legs if something confuses or frightens her. The animation of jumping, walking, turning and various actions is smooth and cartoonish. It happens that the animation is accompanied by a unique classical melody, such as the flight of a butterfly or a bumblebee. Colleen Holub did her best.

The backs are animated, and there are parallax effects and depth effects, which is quite unusual for such a niche game.

For a successful passage, you will need to collect the keys, they fit the chests. The most remarkable thing is that to open the next chest you need a different number of keys. Sparkling crystals from chests will help you rescue other ponies. Color matters. Chests of secrets, hay and apples surprise pony with unexpected surprises. Notes are exchanged for horseshoes.

It will not work to die in the game, it is impossible, but you can lose lucky horseshoes. They are the main money in the game. You can take damage after saving another girlfriend - the witch dives from the air several times, fortunately, it is easy to deal with her. The demonstration of hooves is enough for the villainess to run away. There are also dangers, such as bats, bumblebees and snakes, but it will not be difficult to avoid them.

To simplify the passage, the pony itself jumps over obstacles if the player does not have time to press the jump button. And what do you want, the game is designed for children 4-7 years old.

To get to the musical bridge at the end of the level, you need to go through the gate, before that you have collected the required number of horseshoes. There are also gates with pictures that allow you to quickly move to other areas of Ponyland.

The fairy-tale world changes somewhat with each new start of the game, so that you can go through again and again and again.