Prince Of Persia
|a game by||Brøderbund, Virgin, NCS Corp., Arsys, and Domark Software|
|Genres:||Action, Arcade Classics, Platformer|
|Platforms:||Dreamcast, Amiga, Genesis, SNES, Turboduo, GameBoy Color, Sega Master System, PC, NES, GameBoy|
|Editor Rating:||9/10, based on 22 reviews, 27 reviews are shown|
|User Rating:||8.3/10 - 8 votes|
|Rate this game:|
|See also:||Prince of Persia Games|
The Grand Vizier Jaffar has seized the reigns of power, while the Sultan is off fighting a foreign war. He's given the Sultan's daughter, the Princess, an ultimatum: Marry him or die!
Tengen challenges you to rescue the Princess and become the Prince of Persia. There's only one small problem: Jaffar has had you arrested, stripped of your sword, and thrown into his dungeon. You have only 60 minutes to escape, save the Princess, and dethrone Jaffar. Good luck!
A Princely Delight
ProTip: In Level One, you'll find these two flasks. The one on the left contains poison, but the one on the right revitalizes your health.
You must fight through 14 levels filled with traps and Jaffar's soldiers. Hack-n-slashers get action-packed sword fights, but making the Prince run, jump, leap, and climb to overcome lethal obstacles such as trap doors and beds of spikes are your keys to success.
The controls are very good, but mastering them is the most difficult part of this game. You must take many running jumps over deadly chasms. At first, frustration is a factor, because beginners will make a running start to jump over a pit and end up running into it, instead. Don't give up.
Royal Graphics, Common Sounds
Prince's graphics are fit for a king. The intro screens are especially nice, and the game play screens have sharp detail. They aren't too colorful, but, hey, you're in a dungeon! Your character's movements are extremely fluid, giving the Prince lifelike action.
- Always check above you for hidden passages. They generally lead to power-ups or shortcuts.
- Your first quest should be for a Sword. You're doomed without it.
The sounds are solid, but they lack magic. Here's a game that cries out for exotic mood music, but the meager tunes, although they have Middle Eastern flair, are nonexistent during game play. Audio effects, on the other hand, are clean and clear throughout, from the clack of your footsteps to the clang of steel hitting steel.
Precise timing is the key here. Jump just as the jaws begin to open.
The legacy continues with excellent results. How does Prince of Persia compare to the SNES version? Simply put, the Genesis version has better graphics, and the SNES has better music. Otherwise, the two are identical in almost every way, including the most important way...fun! Prince of Persia is a royal treat.
Download Prince Of Persia
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
- Game modes: Single game mode
- Up, Down, Left, Right - Arrow keys
- Start - Enter (Pause, Menu select, Skip intro, Inventory)
- "A" Gamepad button - Ctrl (usually Jump or Change weapon)
- "B" button - Space (Jump, Fire, Menu select)
- "C" button - Left Shift (Item select)
Use the F12 key to toggle mouse capture / release when using the mouse as a controller.
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
- Pentium II (or equivalent) 266MHz (500MHz recommended), RAM: 64MB (128MB recommended), DirectX v8.0a or later must be installed
Sega Master System
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
- P-200, 32 MB RAM
The Prince of Persia, one of gamedom's most famous heroes, has been called into service once again. Jaffar, a vile Prime Minister, has snatched the Princess and holds her hostage in the Sultan King's palace. His sinister plot is to take over the country in the King's absence. As the Prince, you must save the Princess and vanquish Jaffar.
Prince of Persia, one of the best known game titles of all time, has made an appearance on almost every PC and video game platform. At long last, Konami brings us the Super Nintendo version. Fans of the game will rejoice when they plug in this game, hear the first haunting strains of bewitching Middle Eastern music, and catch their first glimpse of the lonely princess awaiting rescue on the castle parapets. This translation is a feast for the eyes, the ears, and all your other senses. It's just about the ultimate in challenge for expert gamers!
For the uninitiated, the Prince's task is to battle his way to the Princess by making his way through 20 vertically-and horizontally-scrolling, side-view castle levels. Prince of Persia veterans will recognize some of the levels, but also find some entirely new ones. The quest begins in the bowels of the castle prison, where the Prince has been locked away to rot with more than a few fellow unfortunates. To find the door that leads to the next level, our hero makes his way through a winding labyrinth of tunnels, passageways, ledges, deadly drops, gates, spear traps, demonic pendulums, walls of flame, and other evils almost too horrible to contemplate.
- Your first task in Level 1 is to find the Sword. Survival is impossible without it. When you reach the first passageway, where you must move left or right, move left. Go left through the first three gates. Drop down the left side of the hole in the floor and climb down all four ledges. Move left and climb down to the wooden walkway. Run right until you find the Sword!
- Prince of Persia players will find some levels more familiar than others. Level 3 contains the famous "leap of faith". Open the gate to the far left with the panel on the far right tower. Then RUN and jump as fast as you can. If you're quick, you may just make it through the gate.
Slice and Dice
Alas, sinister foes and minions of the evil Jaffar also lie in wait for the Prince. He'll encounter lowly Soldiers, fat but crafty Politicians, Knights in Golden Armor, Skeleton Warriors, and even his own a ego, the Shadow Man. The only way to defeat any of these foes is through sword-slashing, head-to-head battle -- and a hefty dose of quick wits.
- Use the terrain around you to finish off your tougher sword-fighting opponents. For example, try to push a soldier off onto some spikes. Skeletons are invincible. One way to defeat them is to knock them off ledges. They'll fall and smash the pieces.
- The easiest way to survive a sword fight is to stand still and let your foe attack you. When they get within striking distance, quickly slash them. Repeat this procedure until they're done for.
Fortunately, the Prince is agile, strong, and clever beyond compare. Unluckily for him, you're in control! The Prince's repertoire of moves is fairly large, complicated and somewhat difficult to learn. It's up to you to master the Prince's many moves and guide him through his perilous journey. The Super Nintendo version captures the animated movement that's always been a standout quality of the game. The Prince looks real as he runs, jumps, climbs, crouches, shuffles, crosses swords with enemies, and skids to a halt through the castle passageways.
- Always hold down Up on your control pad while you jump. If you miss your jump, or if it's a long jump, your hands will usually graze the edge of the ledge and grab onto it. Then you can pull yourself up to safety.
Luckily for you, the Prince apparently had good Karma in another life (and he's had a lot of them)! Scattered here and there throughout the castle are powerful Medicines that restore his health. Of course, Jaffar has also left dangerous potions to tempt you. Poison takes away part of your life, and the Inverter potion turns the screen upside down.
Successfully negotiating the palace labyrinth requires quick wits, puzzle-solving ability, nimble fingers, calm nerves, and PATIENCE. Advanced and Expert gamers have the best shot at rescuing the Princess, although, Intermediate and Beginning gamers will also enjoy the game (if they're not easily frustrated). Those inexperienced in the ways of the Prince should definitely seek guidance through the five levels of the Training Mode. With everyone's stress level in mind, Konami has kindly included a password feature that enables you to access your current password at any time during the game. You can also check your best time on any given level, as well as your total time on the overall game. To beat the game, you must finish all 20 levels in 120 minutes.
Use this password to skip Level 1 and begin at Level 2 armed with the sword and ready for battle: BK1MQEL
4198, gorgeous tunes, and eerie beautifully animated graphics create a beautiful background. Intricate game play that challenges your wits and dexterity finish off the picture. Konami's done it again! Now get going... she's waiting and the sands in the hourglass are running out!
If you've never stumbled through a few zillion attempts at Prince of Persia on either the Macintosh, or the Game Boy, your golden opportunity has just arrived. Virgin Games has produced Prince of Persia for your NES.
Grand Vizier Jaffar has imposed his nasty will upon the Sultan by taking over his palace. He's also given the Sultan's daughter, your lady love, a radically harsh ultimatum -- marry him or die.
Down and Out
Jaffar's peeved 'cause the princess is sweet on you. So, he's tossed you into the dungeon. The prognosis isn't good. You have exactly one hour to work your way through 18 strenuous stages on your way to save the princess.
The Sultan didn't spare any change when he built his dungeon. This place is the pits, literally! Each of the 18 stages is comprised of various dead-end ledgesand monstrous iron gates. Also, sword-bearing turbaned terrors are everywhere, ready and waiting to slice-'n-dice you to bits.
It only gets worse. Step on the wrong tile and its splatsville when you plummet three stories. Fall a tad short of a ledge when you make a leap towards freedom and a cushy bed of spikes will break your fall. Survive these traps and you eventually come upon the tile which activates the exit door to that stage.
Fortunately, a sword, as well as a few dozen bottles of potion, have been hidden in the dungeon. Some of the potions are restorative, others are pure poison. It pays to gamble, 'cuz you get endless continues should you lose.
Graphically the game is simple, yet clear and attractive. However, it's the animation that really knocks your socks off. All movement appears so smooth and natural that you become half convinced that you really are a tiny man on your T.V. screen.
However, it takes time to master the many precise moves the prince can perform. To be specific, he can jump upwards, leap forwards, squat, pull himself upwards, lower himself down, and take "baby" steps. The controls are highly sensitive -- too sensitive. It's guaranteed that you're going to panic and pull a dumb move, such as taking a flying leap when you meant to jump up. It's a tossup between what's more difficult-the obstacles or the moves.
- Polish your sword skills before you hit Stage 5.
- Look closely for these tiny holes in the ground. They are a dear indication that the floor is rigged with spring-action spikes, which you must leap over or die.
- All potions found are safe to drink.
Hail to the Prince
Prince of Persia is one of the more attractive, unusual, challenging, and nerve-crunching titles that's ever found a home on the NES. Although the ultra smooth animation doesn't shine through quite as brightly here as it does on its more powerful computer cousins, it rates an A+ on the somewhat limited 8-bit scale. If you could, would you be the Prince of Persia? Only a few dozen hours of frustration will tell.
That's A Working Title, by the way, as this game is still early enough into development that you could harvest it for stem cells without God batting a celestial eyelid.
As for why you should be excited about it? Well imagine Prince of Persia crossed with Ico and Okanii, all cel-shaded and hand-drawn. Then open the gameplay up to allow for one huge, cohesive world rather than the level-based palaces of old. This isn't just Prince with a new hat on; it's an entirely new breed of Prince altogether, and one we can't wait to make run up a wall.
Formerly Known As...
Inspired by such notable adventure-seekers as Sinbad, Han Solo and Aragom, the new Prince will find himself battling to restore light to ancient Persia.
The new Prince can't reverse time, but his new trick will come in the form of this clawlike gauntlet Using this he can control his falls with absolute precision.
Gone are the elaborate palace interiors of old, replaced with an ancient non-linear world - probably not terribly unlike the developer's previous title, Assassin's Creed.
Rather than fighting hordes of enemies at once, the game will focus more on epic Errol Flynn-style duels against hardened enemies, making every fight count.
Fight Fight Fight
The Prince will meet allies on his travels, who'll be important to both the story and the gameplay. Ubisoft Montreal are claiming they're focusing most of their effort on Al.
Environments will vary from 'safe' areas to dark, corrupted areas. An organic corruption system means this decay will creep through the world as a living substance, challenging and interacting with the Prince.
The game will use an updated version of Assassin's Creed engine, allowing meticulously hand-sculpted animal and incredible outdoor visuals like.
Prince Of Persia has come a long way from Jordan Mechner's 1989 smoothly-animated platformer which usually ended up with the poor Arabian adventurer impaled on spikes. After the successful Sands of Time trilogy put the magic back in the Prince's carpet a few years back, Ubisoft is again reinventing POP with a brand new graphics style (see Hard Cel box out), setting, enemies and a fresh hero - and this time, he has a sidekick. Again.
The new Prince of Persia begins with an ancient tale of two warring gods, one of whom - Ahriman - goes on an evil bender, spreading nastiness throughout the world in the form of a gloopy black substance called the Corruption. The bad god's brother Ormazd manages to defeat Ahriman's goons, the Corrupted, and also imprisons his evil sibling in a sapling called the Tree of Life. Ormazd then entrusts the care of this woody prison to a race of people called the Ahuras, and for thousands of years the world sleeps safe in its giant space bed, until Ahriman begins to plan his escape.
'I don't think we necessarily reached the limit of what we could do with the previous games' storyline, but that plot seemed like a whole - it was about the Sands of Time, where they came from and how they were destroyed." says creative director, Jean-Christophe Guyot. "Prince of Persia is a universe with many branches inspired by Arabian Nights, and in that you have lots of different tales. We felt this was a good opportunity to start over and have a new story arc and new characters."
The new Prince is a wanderer, dressed in ragged clothing, torn from years of battles, but the luxurious material wrapped around his neck hints at a more regal past. Ubisoft Montreal are creating a beautiful mythical Persia for the hero to explore, built from the Assassin's Creed engine - but does this mean the game is turning its back on previous Prince of Persia titles to become a more open-world gaming experience?
"I think we have to be careful how we qualify the world - it's open-ended, but it's not a sandbox or free-roaming game." asserts Guyot. "The previous POP games were very linear in their structure, so we're trying to change that a little bit and give some freedom to the player. But our structure is more like a network, so you have nodes you can reach and in between the nodes are lines of gameplay that connect them. You have a choice of going to whatever node you want, but we're deliberately keeping the rhythm and pacing of the previous POPs."
As the Corruption begins to swamp the world when Ahriman is unleashed, parts of the game will be off-limits, while others will be changed and invaded by the terrifying minions of the bad god -which is somewhat reminiscent of the structure in Nintendo's Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.
"At the beginning the world is open, so you start with every node you want." continues Guyot. "However, the Corruption and the various traps that the Prince has to overcome, are things that enable us to dynamically manage your journey through the game and make Ahriman react to your progress, so the world will evolve as you move on."
As well as a new set of acrobatic moves that will help the Prince negotiate the large environments and city streets, a lethal-looking metal gauntlet has been clamped to his left hand that can be used to slide down sheer cliffs and walls to access hard-to-reach areas.
"The gauntlet adds a different dimension to the gameplay. We wanted a more acrobatic style, so this makes it a bit more credible, as it explains his ability to do some of the moves such as the wall-runs," continues Guyot. The metal glove can also be used in combat to lift enemies into the air and slam them down onto the ground, as well as a few other nifty moves yet to be revealed. "We re exaggerating the moves seen in the previous Prince of Persia games. You can run around in the city easily, but we wanted more platform action, so you'll be controlling every jump, unlike the system in Assassin's Creed."
However, the biggest change in combat, and the game itself, is the addition of a female companion - Elika. A descendent of the Ahuras (the tree people, remember) and blessed with magical abilities, Elika is a constant sidekick for the Prince, a tool for the player to interact with during acrobatics, combat and puzzle-solving.
"Elika is semi-automated - she'll do her own thing, but you can also control her using one button, which is contextual, so for example in combat, she will perform attacks, doing a combo with yon," says Guyot.
Ubisoft want to build the relationship between you and Elika, who has been inspired by such strong female roles as, arm, Queen Amidala from the Star Wars prequels and, urn, Elizabeth Swann from Pirates of the Caribbean. Go feminism!
"The goal is for her to be a function for the player, as well as enhance the relationship and tell the story. We didn't want to have too much of us just telling you the plot through watching cut scenes, so having this character with you all the time is a good way of providing stuff like backstory without stopping the action."
The focus for the combat in the new POP is on duels, rather than melees involving half-a-dozen foes wading into the action, as the development team want each fight to be significant. "It allows us to get closer to the fighters, get the camera right in there so we can see their emotions and create more dramatic moments," an animated Guyot explains. "We also wanted the Prince to be a more roguish type, a wanderer like Sinbad for example, so killing 10,000 enemies on-screen with huge combos works when you're a barbarian, but it doesn't feel right for an adventurer. The Prince knows how to fight, but we want him to feel human."
In battles you have the freedom to perform certain actions - you can use your sword, your glove, acrobatics or Elika - and you can also use the environment to smash enemies up against walls and other equally vicious moves. Each of the enemies you'll encounter have varying special magical attacks, but they'll all have the same basic global fighting system, so if they do a grab for example, you have to quickly perform a counter-grab, or they'll hurl you violently through the air. Different monsters require the Prince to use different abilities, but new moves and other tricks will be unlocked as you progress, which will be essential if you don't want to end up being a corrupted pile of Ali Baba.
Ubisoft leave taken away with one hand (Splinter Cell: Conviction has been delayed until next year) but given with the gauntlet-enhanced other - and most pressingly, the new Prince of Persia is already lined up for a Christmas launch. Pie new setting, central hero, special moves and weapons, and gorgeous graphical style with smooth land-drawn animation, are all brave departures for the series that previously intoxicated gamers with its smart chasm leaping gameplay. While the full name of the game is still under wraps, Prince of Persia is definitely full of eastern promise.
Saving a princess from the evil clutches of a despotic captor may not sound like the most innovative of game scenarios, but the original Prince Of Persia broke new ground in ways that could not have been apparent at the time. As much a part of the 1980s as big hair and pending nuclear Armageddon, platform games were firmly entrenched in the public psyche by the time the Prince showed up at the arse end of the decade. However, by adding such innovations as pressure plates, grabbing ledges and sword-fighting, along with a coherent storyline, Prince Of Persia revolutionised the genre and opened the door for a new style of gameplay.
As was commonplace back in the day. the game was the work of a solo visionary, namely Yale graduate Jordan Mechner, whose first foray into programming came at the tender age of 15.
"When I was in high school I got my first Apple II computer and was so captivated by it that it's pretty much what I did for the next few years, including, unfortunately, my first two years of college." Jordan manfully admits. "Instead of going to the classes and taking advantage of all the great learning I could have been doing, I programmed a game called Karateka. My ambition was to create a game that would be good enough to get published, and Karataka was, and had some success (selling half a million copies). Because of that, when I graduated from college, rather than look for a job as most of my classmates were doing, I thought 'Well, I'll just program another computer game and maybe that one will work too.' I don't know if I was naive or what - maybe I was too young when I started - but I wasn't thinking in terms of careers, I was just thinking this is really cool, so you know, I'll do this."
Back In The Day
Work began on Prince of Persia in 1986 and continued at a leisurely pace, appearing on the Apple II at the end of 1989. As Jordan says: "Those were the good days, you know, no release date, no budgets, no timetables. Just the peace and quiet to fiddle around with the game. The industry was so different then."
It certainly was, but it's also an industry that Jordan may never have entered had he been more successful in pursuing his initial dream. As he recalls, "I think I got into computer games to begin with because I was kind of a frustrated comic book artist. If computers hadn't been invented I think my life ambition would have been to be a Disney animator. But I couldn't draw very well, so the computer, for me, first and foremost was just a great way to make a little animated story that you could play. So with Karateka and Prince Of Persia, part of the kick for me was telling a story through the game."
Jordan's cack-handedness with a pencil was Disney's loss and gaming's gain, as he set to work on Prince Of Persia. And as a filmmaker himself (see 'Profile', above), it's fitting that the inspiration came from the movies.
"It's interesting how things come full circle," Jordan recalls. 'Prince of Persia really started not with a story but with a particular type of gameplay. A movie I had seen recently was Raiders Of The Lost Ark, which was - oh my God! - 23 years ago. It made a big impression on me, the whole movie, but especially the first sequence where he's running, jumping and things are chasing him and there are spikes. You know, that's so cool -wouldn't it be cod to do a game that had that kind of feel to it? So I knew I was going to do a game with a character who could run and jump and dodge traps, but then I was just worried - OK, well what's it going to be? Can't do Raiders Of The Lost Ark because that's been done and I don't have the rights to do that. Dungeons & Dragons'? No, there was a Dungeons & Dragons game this year. Egyptian pyramids? No, there's been too many of those. What hadn't been done as a computer game at that time, gdng down the list of the great touchstones of Western civilisation? The Arabian Nights. It was this incredibly rich mother lode of stories and villains and genies and magic and it had its own particular style of architecture. One of the things I thought had made Karateka work so well was the fact that it was set in medieval Japan and had that graphic of Mount Fuji. As a player you had to bring a lot of imagination to the games you played back in those days -one picture of Mount Fuji, that's Japan! So it needs something that's immediately identifiable so that people will bnng to it everything else that will make them believe m the story. So, The Arabian Nights was the perfect choice."
With the setting in place and the story envisaged, Jordan dwelled upon the idea of making the main character move in a realistic fashion, an area that hadn't really been explored before. Using the comparatively meagre resources of the time, and keeping it in the family - Jordan's dad provided the game's music -the expenmental animation technique initially involved a video camera and a wilting younger brother.
As Jordan explains. "Yes, I brought my brother to the local parking lot and had him run and jump and turn around while running and do all of the things that the Pnnce would have to do in the game."
Albeit without the obligatory ping-pong balls attached to his extremities, this was surely the first instance of motion capture in a computer game. Jordan, however, prefers a more arcane term.
"It was actually a version of rotoscoping. Although in those days, remember, we didn't have scanners and stuff so you couldn't take the video and feed it into the Apple II. I had to go through a number of intermediate stages. I filmed my brother on video, in fact, and popped the cassette into the VCR - which was a new technology at that time - pressed play, freeze-frame, set up a 35mm camera on a tripod and took a photograph of each frame. Frame advance, take a picture, frame advance, take a picture. I sent the film to the Photomart. came back with all the prints, laid them out, and with each frame I coloured in the outlines in black and white so that I got a black and white silhouette, getting rid of the background. Again, we didn't have blue-screening available.'' A laborious process, but one that Jordan persevered with doggedly, with remarkable results, thanks in part to British technology.
"So I took all those silhouettes. Xeroxed them, shrunk them down so I got one big image with like 25 on it, and then I pointed another video camera at it. Although there was no scanner at that time, there was a British company that was manufacturing a device that let you do a single frame capture with a video camera, just black and white, no shades of grey. So I put that Xeroxed piece of paper on an animation stand, pointed the camera at it, took a frame, digitised it in the computer and ended up with all the frames on the computer. So I just went around, captured each one. you know, again using proprietary software written by myself the night before, and got all those frames and played them in order like a flipbook. And Io and behold, to my astonishment there was this silhouette of this kid running and jumping."
Sounds like motion capture to us. but no - Jordan is adamant.
"I would say the correct term is really rotoscoping because that is something that had been done since the 20s and 30s, the early days of animation. Disney for Snow White would film the actors and then the animators would take those frames and trace them, redraw them, change them a little bit. but really they traced them. So I think it's a descendent of rotoscoping."
Mind The Trap
Call it what you like, the results are clearly visible when playing the game now. Whether jumping, climbing, running or skidding to a halt, despite the rudimentary graphics, the Prince's movements still look wholly convincing, a testament to Jordan's pioneering work.
With 60 minutes to save the princess, the action involves negotiating a series of catacombs set in a Persian palace, riddled with such hazards as the famous spikes, upon which the Prince is regularly impaled with a satisfying splash of blood. It was by no means an overnight hit, but this can largely be attributed to the disparate state of the gaming platforms of the time. According to Jordan. "I think the Apple II being at the end of its life, most people who played Prince Of Persia probably played one of the ports that came out in the few years following that. From 1990 to '93, it came out on the PC, Mac, and all the consoles, 8-bit Nintendo, 16-bit Nintendo, Sega, Game Boy..
A lot of people in the games industry clearly played it, as the influences are sign-posted throughout the last decade. As Jordan says, "The first time it really sunk in to me that PoP had not gone away was when I saw Tomb Raider and Super Mario 64 on PlayStation and Nintendo 64. They were two very different games but still there was a character running, jumping, grabbing onto edges, pulling themself up. And of course in Tomb Raider ihere were spikes and pressure plates, which was pretty cool."
In the mainstream at least, it's generally Tomb Raider that takes the credit for pioneering that style of game, something that Jordan concedes. "Tomb Raider deserves a lot of credit for having been the first game to bring that Prince Of Persia move-set into a 3D world. Just how good an idea that was is shown just by walking round the E3 show and seeing the number of games that are in some sense variations on Tomb Raider."
Ten Years After
A highly influential game it may have been, but Jordan didn't stop there, turning out a sequel. Prince Of Persia 2: The Shadow And The Flame, which was released in 1993. A further variation on the classic gameplay, it was well received and again lifted a slew of awards, as well as shifting a hefty number of copies.
That could have been the end of the road for the Prince, but in the wake of the phenomenal success of the Tomb Raider series, work began on Prince Of Persia 3D, an attempt to regain the plaudits from its bastard offspring. Development was notionally overseen by Jordan, and the game was released in 1999. Looking back on it now. he is prepared to admit that mistakes were made.
"Pnnce 3D was a good example of the wrong way to take the Prince Of Persia moves set into 3D. That is. it was a literal mapping of what you could do in Pnnce Of Persia - running and jumping, drinking a potion - into a 3D world. There were two problems with that. One was that Tomb Raider has already done that, and the other was that once you get over the novelty factor of being able to do all that stuff in 3D, it's just not that much fun. Tomb Raider is not that much fun if you play it now. It was fun when it was new. but now we've had that, we know how to run and jump and explore big 3D worlds; those are not reasons to play a game."
The press largely concurred, and following some damning reviews it disappeared without trace, a tawdry footnote to a classic game. In timeless Hollywood fashion though, the story doesn't end there, and the Prince looks set to regain his crown with the highly promising PoP: Sands Of Time, currently in the latter stages of development at Ubi Soft's Montreal studio, and a nominee for best game at this year s E3. We've played it. and came away extremely impressed, as you can see from the preview on page 50. wnetner it cnanges the world in the same way as the original remains to be seen, but it looks like there's life in the old Pnnce yet. Providing he can avoid those spikes.
You've Got To feel sorry for the poor old Prince Of Persia. While he has a reasonable case for pioneering the whole prancing athletically around exotic lands shtick, his thunder was unceremoniously stolen by a big-titted harlot from the Home Counties. Yet while the man on the Clapham Omnibus knows who Lara Croft is, nobody in the real world has ever heard of the Prince. You'd think he would be bitter and twisted about this, and we could be reading too much into it, but there's a bit in the game where the Prince himself, in one of his more eloquent moments, describes tomb raiding as a "glamorous reclamation of the past".
There have been several attempts to reclaim the Prince Of Persia's past over the years - ranging from the mediocre to the tolerable - of which this outing is nothing less than the very latest. Reverting to the original moniker (no Sands of Time or Warrior Within gubbins) it has already been described by an overpaid marketing skunk as "a re-imagining of the franchise". Hardly a visionary statement, it's the same glib sound bite that Tim Burton wheeled out before summarily pissing in the eyes of The Planet Of The Apes.
Prince Of Persia's so-called re-imagining takes place courtesy of the same graphics engine as Assassin's Creed (there's even a secret skin that enables you to play as Altair from that game), however, while the huge vistas and vertiginous topology are comparable, POP is very much its own game, with a bespoke art style that would probably once have been called cel-shaded, but is now described as illustrative.
Falling somewhere between Saturday morning cartons and a fully-fledged Disney feature, whatever it's called, it's extremely impressive, throwing you into a consistent, visually stunning fantasy world that screenshots can't really do justice to. With no heads-up display or gaming baggage such as ammo counts and weapon selection, it's a bold move away from the current trend of ultrarealism, and a welcome one at that, like stepping into a fairy tale. Perfectly suited to the subject matter, it conjures up such touchstones as the Sinbad and The Thief of Baghdad movies.
And while the story of POP may not be remembered with such affection, there is one somewhere, the details of which are inevitably absolute poppycock. As a very loose synopsis, once upon a time there were two brothers who fell out, resulting in the world being a constant battle between corruption and healing, dark and light, with evil represented by oozing black pus, and good by flowers and butterflies. As a fan of good stuff, it's your job to heal the land from corruption and reclaim the fertile grounds so that everybody lives happily ever after.
More pragmatically, to start with you're some bloke in an ornate waistcoat wandering through the desert with a donkey laden with stolen gold when you stumble across a damsel in distress. That damsel is a Princess called Elika, and doing the decent thing you save the day through what is essentially an interactive tutorial that teaches you the basics of swordplay, climbing, dropping, wall running, ceiling running and all that stuff.
While there's some initial swearing, controlling the Prince soon becomes second nature, with a mouse and keyboard proving adequate for even the most athletic of moves. However, so stringent are the paths through the game that it soon becomes apparent that you're not doing much more than pressing the right key at the right time. Clearly, we're exaggerating slightly, but it's fair to say there isn't a great deal of skill involved, as there's a distinctly binary approach to the gameplay in that you either do something or you don't.
As for the sultry Elika, once you've rescued her she follows you around like a pretty pot of glue, proving to be not so much a damsel in distress as a guardian angel, helping you out of scrapes using some fairly nifty magic. For instance, if you attempt a jump that is too far, press E for Elika and she'll fly through the air and give you a helping hand. Further, in what is arguably one of the game's biggest deals, even if you don't ask her for help, should you be plummeting to your death she'll appear and haul you to safety in the nick of time, ensuring that at no point in the game do you ever actually die.
While it might sound like a feature that makes the game too easy, Elika's life-saving is a permanent quicksave, and is arguably an extremely elegant way of overcoming the immersion-breaking concept of saving and loading, a quandary that gaming's greatest minds have grappled with since the three lives of Space Invaders.
As for the overall structure of the game, you dart about a hub-based environment fighting minions of evil and then healing the relevant area. Or more accurately, Elika heals the area while you stand by making wisecracks. In many ways the game is more about the Princess than the alleged Prince, and she even joins in with the combat, throwing in some magic while you stick to your sword, gauntlet and an acrobatic attack. With a fixed camera view, defeating beasts is a matter of stringing the right combos together, and rhythmically tapping the right button in a seriesuf quick-time mini-games. The environment can also come in handy, as it's possible to kick a monster off his ledge.
While the early monsters can be laid to waste with a few lashes of your trusty sword, you do eventually have to resort to the various combos. When these go right, they can be spectacular, but the combat is one sticking point that might turn people off. Indeed every time we stormed off in disgust during the review it was a result of boredom having circled a monster for 10 minutes, pressed pause to access the combos menu, attempted to remember a couple and then spent valuable minutes of our lives chipping away at his health bar, which replenishes if Elika has to save your life.
Almost as tacit acknowledgement of this time-sapping routine, some of the bosses will piss off halfway through a fight, only to reappear later to enable you to finish off the job. With the bosses becoming progressively harder as the game continues, they each take longer to beat, and given that you can't actually die, time is your only currency.
Well, time and your fingers, as this is an area of the game that betrays its console roots. Tapping out combos on a pad is less ruinous, both to the hardware and to your index finger, which can seize up in the midst of a long scrap. Repetitive strain injury notwithstanding, having beaten the boss and healed the land, collectable 'light seeds' magically appear, a certain number of which grant Elika further powers enabling her to access more of the land and perform more healing. These can be collected during some more predetermined platforming, and so it goes on, an essentially repetitive, if spellbinding and occasionally exhilarating, tour round a magical world with a Princess hanging off your back, a few nonsensical cutscenes, a clutch of rudimentary puzzles and some vaguely sinister-dream sequences.
Hardcore gamers will inevitably dismiss POP as not being challenging enough, but you'd have to have a steel heart not to be slightly seduced by the fantastical setting. That said, the magic is shattered the minute the Prince opens his mouth, proving to be an appalling dullard. All the same, this is a brave attempt at doing something different in a gaming marketplace littered with war and aliens. Despite being the work of Ubisoft Montreal, it's probably as far away from a Tom Clancy-branded title as it's possible to get.
And despite an original approach to the gameplay, in many ways POP is imbued with an old-school sensibility kill the boss, save the girl. Although she spends a lot more time saving you, and you do sometimes feel like a spare prick at a wedding, bringing little more to the party than a series of excruciating one-liners and some functional swordplay.
All the same there's a definite elegance to the action, with the sublime animation complementing the setting, and a superbly realised colour palette that visually demonstrates the difference between the corrupted and healed areas. It's undeniably charming, but how long you remain charmed depends largely on your patience.
The Fresh Prince Of Bell-end
What a berk
Proving anything but regal, this is arguably one of the most misjudged examples of scriptwriting to sully the already dismal world of games scripting.
Despite fighting for the future of humanity, the so-called Prince comes across as if he's auditioning for the next Bill & Ted movie, spending the entire game trying to get into the Princess's knickers, reeling out appalling gags, and even resorting to a lengthy and witless game of I Spy. There would be more dignity in silence.
And he does himself no favours by fighting her dad and inadvertently dancing on her mum's tomb. A class act.
We thought we'd focus on this classic game because it ties in nicely with the release of Prince of Persia 2. At first sight, Prince of Persia doesn't seem to offer anything over and above traditional platform fare. It has a disgustingly yucky storyline: young princess and handsome mysterious traveller fall in love and put the wind up the evil Jaffar who, in the absence of the girl's father, wants to have his own wicked way with the princess, so he locks them both up and the hero has to fight his way through several levels of dungeon and palace to rescue his beloved. I know, it makes you want to puke doesn't It? Look beyond the sickly sweet plot however, and you have a game that excels in several different ways. The most fundamental and refreshing new feature in Prince of Persia is the superb quality of the animation. Author Jordan Mechner made videos of his brother performing all the actions that the main character would be likely to undertake, like running, climbing and so on, and used the film as a basis for his animations. The result is the smoothest, most fluid, and most realistic animation ever seen in a game of this type. You can edge up to the tops of chasms, where the prince will topple slightly before stepping back. Run fast and then change directions rapidly and he will slide realistically.
But beyond that, Prince of Persia is a cracking good game. Not only does it present a well-progressed challenge that guides the player smoothly from a learning level through to some torturously difficult areas, but the entire design has been well thought out from beginning to end, with some of the most inventive puzzles ever created for a platform game.
At one point you rescue a trapped mouse and release it. That's that, you think, but the mouse helps you out later in the game. The puzzle that most POP players rave about however, is the mirror half way through the game. When you jump through this, a doppelganger appears as a mirror image of you. Discovering how to deal with him in the later stages of the game is one of Prince of Persians most appealing tests.
If you haven't yet experienced Prince of Persia you won't regret doing so, even though it has now been superseded by a sequel. Very highly recommended.
The latest in a string of PC to Dreamcast conversions, PoP is coming to Sega's system this November from Mattel Interactive. But unlike many PC ports, Avalanche Software rebuilt this title from scratch to better utilize the DC's strengths. That means better camera angles, improved visuals and tighter control--which is good considering the amount of sword swinging and perilous jumping you have to do.
Ed Magnin & Associates and Mmdscape Entertainment are bringing the classic sidescrolling action/adventure to the Game Boy Color in April. This one features all-new levels (13 levels in all) and new enemies. Expect many of the token baddies, traps and mazes from the original while on your way to saving the beautiful princess. In case you care, PoP supports five different languages.
Stop! Hold the music! Don't abandon us yet! Yes, we have another damsel in distress, a fair maiden in need of rescue. But this one's different...she's RICH!
To Heir Is Human
Seems a tyrant named Jaffar usurped Persia's crown while the good Sultan was vacationing and then tossed the former ruler's daughter into a dungeon. Now her loveliness has one hour to marry Jaffar or be executed. Tough choice. It's left to you, a stranger from out of town-a man with no name-to brave a 12-level maze and slay the evil "J." What's in it for you? Her, you dufus, and she'd make you Prince. So get to it!
Move It or Lose It
Prince of Persia originally slashed its way across computer screens; now this classic's turned up on the Game Boy. The prince-to-be's dungeon-spelunking takes place in side-view perspective, and scenery changes each time you walk off the edge of a screen.
Umber up those thumbs, the controls are different and more difficult when compared with previous Game Boy action-fantasies, such as Wizards and Warriors. Instead of using just the control pad to move the great nameless one forward, you must use both the control pad and Button B. Press the control pad and he runs; press B and he takes tiny, deliberate steps. Because of this dual control you must make very precise moves if you want to get through the many evils and deadsplats safely.
You can grab ledges and swing from them, too, a handy way to avoid long falls and sharp objects which, by the way suck up your energy. Expect to meet up with plenty of guards who reap great pleasure in chopping you down to size.
The bad news is you've only got sixty minutes to bust this rat-hole your hero's landed in. The good news is that a password appears after each area is completed, so don't sweat the clock if your batteries run low. Other help? Potions may restore strength...or suck it away. Poison or ambrosia, it's a risky gamble, but one you must take.
Game Boy Royalty
Prince of Persia is graced with detailed backgrounds and hilarious animations-you'll love the way the prince literally "shakes out the cobwebs" when he bumps into a wall. Although a greater variety of tunes and sounds would have been welcome, effects such as the pitter-patter of his moving feet add a nice, realistic touch. The gameplay is tough to learn, but once you pick up on the controls, Prince of Persia is a negotiable maze-maddening adventure. But once, just once, wouldn't it be fun to play the villain? Nahhhhh.
- Run over collapsing blocks and you won't drop off with them.
- Carefully approach a princecrunching slicer by pressing B, then start your dash when it's closed.
- Open locked doors by stepping on the right tile.
- To find your sword on Level One, fall through the first pit and head left until you see it on the floor.
- During a fight, allow your opponent to draw nose-to-nose before you take a swing You can get in multipie hits before he retreats.
- If you perish and you've used up too much time, just reset the clock with your password. Allow no more than five minutes per level.
This classic cart is finally coming to the GB! You are cast in the role of a prince who is searching through a high tower to locate a variety of different enhancements! As you race up the stairs to locate higher and even more challenging levels, a number of villains will attempt to stop your progress. The animation of the different characters is top-notch and the depth of play always remains wide and diverse.
Jaffar, the evil tyrant that took the responsibility of the Sultan during his absence, is out to get the throne. All he needs is to marry the Sultan's beloved daughter; however, she is already in love, so the clever Jaffar decides to throw our hero into the pits of his castle while giving his "bride to be" one hour to decide who she really wants to marry.
As Jaffar leaves you for dead, you must make your way through twelve increasingly difficult dungeons. The plot also thickens as you progress with incredible cinemas, a mouse to help you in a tight area, and the creation of your own "evil" twin!
This classic cart is finally coming to the GB! You are cast in the role of a prince who is searching through a high tower to locate a variety of different enhancements! As you race up the stairs to locate higher and even more challenging levels, a number of villains will attempt to stop your progress. The animation of the different characters is top-notch and the depth of play always remains wide and diverse.
- Virgin / NES
An evil wizard has kidnapped your beloved bride-to-be! It is up to you to save her! Prince of Persia is an action game like you have never seen! You have one hour to save her, but you must contend with the wizard's henchmen while also dodging various boobytraps throughout the levels. Hurry up! She is waiting for you!
- NCS Corp. of Japan / Super Famicom
Your girlfriend has been kidnapped by an evil dictator and only you (yes, you) can save her. Prepare yourself for the ultimate journey as you must travel through dark and musty dungeons, avoid traps of certain death, and dodge the dictator's evil minions. Prince of Persia features fluid animation and a lengthy quest!
- Manufacturer: Konami
- Machine: Super NES
- Difficulty: Hard
- Available: November 1992
- Number of levels: 20
- Theme: Adventure
An evil proposal...
In the Sultan's absence, the grand Vissor Jaffar ruled the kingdom with an iron fist. Bent on maintaining control when the Sultan returns, Jaffar demanded the hand of the Sultan's daughter in marriage. However, she fell in love with a travelling prince from another country! But what Jaffar wants, Jaffar gets! Jaffar quickly hunted down the traveler and imprisoned him in the dungeons so that he would not stop Jaffar's wedding to the princess. The princess, however, would have nothing to do with Jaffar, so he gave her two hours to live unless she would marry him! Is there any hope for the lovers?
After being beaten and dragged to the dungeons, you the traveler, overhear guards talking about Jaffar's mad demand. You only have two hours to get to the princess! Based on the popular computer version, this cart is filled with superb animation and sounds that give it a movie-like feel. Just to make things better, there are 20 levels that need to be explored before you can get to your beloved and the final showdown with Jaffar! There are plenty of traps, hidden pressure plates and guards to make an adventurer grit his or her teeth in excitement! You will hang from perilous ledges, leap through fields of spikes, dash through a hall of weak floor panels and face many more dangers. So, make sure that your skills are at their peak, because this is going to be one rough trip!
- Domark / Game Gear
While Prince of Persia may be coming to every video game system, the game just never seems to grow tiresome. The Game Gear version contains the same fluid animation and crisp graphics that made every other version so great! Many traps await your every mistake. So hop to it and rescue your woman from a nasty wizard!
Tengen's new game lineup is going to prove once and for all that they are a force to be reckoned with in the video game industry. Never a company to rest on its laurels, Tengen has some truly impressive games slated for the upcoming months. Here are just a few of the Tengen titles which will be released soon on the various gaming platforms.
The first game, Prince of Persia, is an extremely popular title which will be released for the Sega Genesis. Featuring unbelievably fluid animation combined with a great story line, Prince of Persia will situate itself as one of the more popular of the new carts for the Genesis.
The second game is Bubba'N Stix which is an action game for the Genesis with a twist. Here, you control the actions of Bubba who uses his pal Stix to wipe out enemies, climb walls and perform other assorted-tasks. Stix is, quite literally, a stick with a certain...how shall we say it... utilitarian value. This looks to be a very fresh concept as well as a really fun game!
The next game is a Sega CD shooter called Soul Star. Following in the paths of Star Fox and Silpheed, Soul Star uses special effects and rough-and-tumble game play to blast you through the cosmos. The scaling effects are among the cleanest, most precise ever seen on the home gaming market. It's a real killer! The final game, which is showcased in the following pages, is a battle simulator/ shooter called Battle Corps: Here, you pilot a combination aircraft/tank through different battlefields while using sophisticated instruments and weapons systems to guide your way.
Tengen looks to make its mark in the upcoming year with a barrage of high quality intensely realistic and downright fun video games. Look out world!
Prince of Persia has finally made its way to the Sega Genesis! Fans of this game who have been waiting patiently for its arrival to the Genesis will not be disappointed.
The story centers on the kidnapping of the Princess, who is being hostage by an evil Sultan. The Prince has a set amount of time to find her before it's too late! Sounds easy, huh?
WRONG-O! The path to the Princess is strewn with booby traps and armed enemies who would sooner lop off one of your ears rather than ask you the time of day!
Highlighting this cart is the incredibly smooth animation of the characters that made this game so popular on other formats. The challenge is high and the action is very intense.
This game is no cake-walk, so be prepared for a challenge that will make your Genesis begin to smoke. Right on Tengen!
- # of players: 1
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Available: February 1994
- No. of Levels: 12
- Theme: Action
You are an adventure from a foreign land who has won the heart of the Sultan's daughter. Knowing you are a threat to his plans, the Grand Vizier has imprisoned you and you must escape the dungeons before he takes the throne.
Like the CD, this version contains all the elements and graphics that made the game a hit. There are plenty of dungeons loaded with guards and dozens of traps. Each level is like a puzzle that has to be solved in order to escape.
The graphics, although already good, are enhanced with some incredible character animations. The movements of the hero as he runs, jumps, climbs and fight are very impressive.
And legs. And even wits. Because in Prince of Persia from Konami, only a fast mind and fit muscles can conquer all 20 Super NES stages, including 8 you've never seen anywhere before.
Once sealed inside the desert palace maze you'll hardly have time to appreciate the awesome high resolution graphics, incredibly cool life-like player animation, and mood setting Arabian melodies. Because when you're not hanging by your fingertips over spiked pits or leaping through razor sharp guillotines, you'll be saber dueling with skeletal remaps and vicious turbaned terrors.
The sands of time are against you, so you must be constantly on the move, making split second decisions with no margin for error. Is that vessel filled with poison or life giving nectar? Will that floor cave in or open a secret passage? Only the sultan of sin Jaffar knows for sure. And he'll even use magic to keep you from rescuing the princess and becoming the Prince of Persia.
Bent on total domination of your peaceful land, the insidious Jaffar has imprisoned you so that he may claim the Sultan's daughter, your true love, for himself. After escaping from Jaffar's dungeons, you must now fight your way through eight levels of deadly traps, mysterious paths, and dozens of Jaffar's murderous underlings. This computer classic is now available for the Sega Game Gear.
Most of the features of Prince of Persia that I have always enjoyed have been retained in the Game Gear translation, Not only does the game deliver some great animation, the traps and challenges that lurk around every corner keep the pace of play at the same addictive levels. I like Prince of Persia and this version.
I was very impressed with this version of the game. Not only were the characters and the pitfalls very easy to see on the small screen, but even the very fluid animation found on the other versions of the game was duplicated almost perfectly. This is a very addicting game and hard to put away. One of the best GG carts.
I like this version of P.O.P. because you can bring it with you wherever you go. The graphics are very good for the Game Gear and the animation is cool. The sounds are kind of annoying, but expected from the 8-Bit hardware. The game play is very solid and has lost little if nothing in the translation. Lots of fun.
This game has gotten good reviews for every system it has appeared on, but this is an exception. The game play could have been better! What happened? The animation is decent, but for some reason it's choppy. I really was looking for a better playing version than what it is. Still an average game though.
You have seen Prince of Persia released on virtually every video gaming format. Well, Victor Musical Industries is introducing its latest version for the Mega CD-ROM.
As the often repeated story goes, your lovely girlfriend has been kidnapped by an evil dictator and only you can save her.
Prince of Persia features some of the most fluid animation ever seen! As the good Prince travels from place to place, his running movements are displayed with beautiful animation. Even the jumps and climbs of the Prince have to be seen to be believed.
The most worthy addition is the cinema displays. Each one has sufficient length to keep you interested, while filling you in on the story!
You are the prince of Persia and your woman has been kidnapped by the evil wizard. He has taken her to his castle and locked her in a jail cell at the top of his castle. This castle is a huge maze, made up of many levels of endless catacombs. You must find the correct path to the top and survive the onslaught of enemy soldiers in your way.
The Prince is back solving puzzles, leaping chasms, swordfighting, and dodging traps, all to save the princess from Jaffar. But in Prince of Persia 2, someone turned on the lights!
The graphics are livelier with well-lit, detailed dungeons and outdoor scenes. Unfortunately, the characters are outlined in retro-black and are fairly small. The music is still eerie, but this game could use more demonstrative sound effects.
A tough thinking-gamer's game, POP2 is a decent adventure.
- Let yourself down by your hands whenever you can.
- Keep running after you cross the bridge or you won't make the leap onto the ship.
In a time of darkness, while the Sultan is off fighting a foreign war, his Grand Vizier Jaffar has seized the reins of power. Throughout the land, people groan under the yoke of tyranny, and dream of better days.
You are the only obstacle between Jaffar and the throne. An adventurer from a foreign land, innocent of palace intrigues, you have won the heart of the Sultan's lovely young daughter. And in so doing, you have unwittingly made a powerful enemy.
On Jaffar's orders, you are arrested, stripped of your sword and possessions, and thrown into the Sultan's dungeons. As for the princess, Jaffar gives her a choice, and an hour to decide. Marry him - or die.
Locked in her room high in the palace tower, the Princess rests all her hopes on you. For when the last sands drain from the hourglass, her choice can bring only a throne for the Grand Vizier... a new reign of terror for his long-suffering subjects... and death for the brave young youth who might have been... Prince of Persia.
Broderbund's Prince of Persia is the Amiga version of a game previously released for the Apple II and PC compatibles. What sets it apart from most other action games is the remarkable cartoon-like animation that makes its characters seem to come alive. But that's not surprising, because game designer Jordon Mechner achieved this realism the same way cartoonists do — by studying film footage and still photos of live models. So while the figures in this game may not have detailed features, they run, leap, climb ledges, and duel just like movie heroes.
Aside from the lifelike animation, Prince of Persia is a fairly standard action game in which you must escape from a many-leveled dungeon in order to rescue a princess. There are plenty of puzzles to solve, including floors that crumble beneath your feet and iron gates that open or close when you step on certain panels.
Another twist is that you have only one hour to rescue the princess, and the game counts down your time as you make your way through the dungeon. You can save a game in progress, but only after reaching the third level.
The realistic animation can take some getting used to, however. Since the arm and leg motions of your character are so natural, they don't always respond instantly to the joystick. For that reason, you should keep pressing the joystick in the desired direction until the action is completed.
For example, if you move the stick upward to jump and then release it too soon, the jump may not come off quite right, and you'll find yourself in a crumpled heap at the bottom of a pit. Hint: Try using the keyboard instead of the joystick. I was able to make good running jumps by holding down the left or right arrow key, and then pressing and holding the diagonal-up key at the same time.
Snapshots and Media
Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Screenshots
SNES/Super Nintendo/Super Famicom Screenshots
Sega Master System Screenshots
GameBoy Color Screenshots
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