Pocahontas (aka Disney’s Pocahontas) is a side-scrolling platform game based on Disney’s 1995 animated movie of the same name. The game was released for the Sega Megadrive in 1996 (Buena Vista / Disney) as well as for the Nintendo Gameboy.
STORY / GAMEPLAY The story takes place in America of the 17th century. The main hero is Pocahontas, an Indian girl who lives peacefully somewhere in the forests of Virginia, along with her family and tribe and is always accompanied by her friend Meeko, a cute little raccoon. During the 17th century, the British Imperial Army unleashed many campaigns towards America (the so called “New World” back then) aiming to build new settlements and expand their commercial and naval power. John Smith (a British Captain) and his soldiers are among those who set off to find a new place and establish towns in the New World. Pocahontas meets Smith and falls in love with him, but her father turns against this new relationship since he has other plans for his daughter. In the meantime, unwittingly to Smith, his men plan to steal the Indian tribe’s gold. Pocahontas must now find a way to save her people and secure their gold. The young girl is particularly capable in physical activities like climbing, diving, jumping and in some more attributes like “communicating” in a magic way with other forest beings or pushing large boulders etc. Those skills can be upgraded by helping other animals. And we also have Meeko the raccoon. This is the second playable character of the game and can help Pocahontas by using his own strengths (e.g. climbing trees, passing through narrow spaces and more). In other words, what Pocahontas can do or perform, Meeko can’t and vice versa. The gameplay brings in mind some nice moments from Broderbund’s Prince of Persia game, at least in the way Pocahontas moves and climbs while the game’s settings remind us of other Disney video games like the Lion King or The Jungle Book. Note that in this game you do not shoot enemies and stuff since you don’t have any weapon, but you proceed mostly by using the character’s skills and by helping other animals, getting over obstacles and solving puzzles. Regarding the puzzles, without Meeko’s help it would be practically impossible to solve them and go further in the game.
GRAPHICS / SOUND I really liked the game’s graphics for their cartoon-ish styling and colors. The Virginia forest settings –though repetitive sometimes- are greatly done with many little details taken from the movie. Pocahontas, her friend Meeko and the other sprites of the game, move and act in a very smooth –and sometimes funny- way (just check Meeko diving and then spitting water from his mouth!). The sound consists of an Indian-style theme based in flute plus some nice ambient sound FX like birds warbling, animals splashing in the water, trees and bushes rustling and more.
OVERALL Pocahontas is not a "just-for-kids" video game! It's a fun and beautiful game that plays, looks and sounds well and I would recommend it even to older gamers!
In-game music sample:
Megadrive (EU) / Genesis (Jap)
CPU: Motorola 68000 at 7.16 MHz in PAL, 7.67 MHz in NTSC / Secondary Zilog Z80 at 3.55 MHz in PAL, 3.58 MHz in NTSC MEMORY: Main: 64Kb RAM + 8Kb / Video RAM: 64Kb / Audio RAM 8Kb GRAPHICS: VDP Chip: 256x224, 320x224, 256x240, 320x240 / 512 colors (1536 using shadow-highlight mode),64 x 9-bit words of color RAM, 4 lines of 15 colors plus transparent, allowing 61 on-screen colors / Sprites: Up to 64 on-screen, 16/20 per line, 256/320 pixels per line, per-sprite priority / Interlace Mode 1 (no increase in resolution and Mode 2 (2x vertical resolution) SOUND: Main: Yamaha YM2612 @ 7,16MHz with six FM channels, four operators each / Secondary: TI SN76489 with 4-channel PSG + 3 Sq Wave channels.