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Page 1:
Introduction
Prince of Persia (1989)

Page 2:
Prince of Persia (SNES)
Prince of Persia Classic
Screenshot Comparison

Page 3:
The Shadow & The Flame
The Shadow and The Flame

Page 4:
Arabian Nights
Harem Adventures
Special Edition

Page 5:
The Sands of Time

Page 6:
Warrior Within
The Two Thrones
Battles of Prince of Persia

Page 7:
Prince of Persia (2008)
The Fallen King

Page 8:
The Forgotten Sands (Consoles)

Page 9:
The Forgotten Sands (Portables)

Page 10:
The Graphic Novel
Before the Sandstorm
The Sands of Time (Movie)

Discuss on the Forums!

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Prince of Persia 3D / Prince of Persia: Arabian Nights - Windows (1999), Dreamcast (2000)

American Dreamcast Cover

When Prince of Persia finally became the hit Mechner had hoped for, his plans for the series became quite lofty. Before the second game was finished, he had cooked up plans for a third and a fourth one:

August 2, 1991
Spent the day studying Spanish verbs and working up a Prince 3 storyline. Yes, Prince 3 - I know I'm getting close to wrapping something up when I find myself thinking about the sequel. I've got some great ideas for Prince 3. The Princess and the mouse. It'll be a milestone in computer gaming, a classic, a megahit. If only I ever get to do it.

Well, he didn't get to do it. Doom came out and first person shooters became the next big thing, sweeping 2D platformers for the PC under the Persian rug. Only when Tomb Raider came out in 1996, everyone made the keen observation that it felt just like Prince of Persia, but in 3D. So someone at Red Orb Entertainment, a former division of Brøderbund, decided to bring the series into the third dimension, and failed miserably at it.

Somehow, the developers actually succeeded in taking the problematic aspects of the previous games and making them even more annoying. But at least the old games didn't require you to randomly run around brick hallways until you find what you're looking for, which gets especially annoying given the total infrequency of save points. The controls are even more terribly awkward - the Prince turns far too slowly, and the simple act of jumping feels uncomfortable, which is a terrible mark of doom for a game whose primary focus is platforming. Trying to pull yourself up on a ledge is likewise far more difficult than it should be, largely due to the camera that always hovers right behind your head.

Finally, the fighting controls are actually worse than everything else. The Prince can string together attacks from three directions into combos and special moves, at least theoretically. In execution it's next to impossible to figure out the system, but it doesn't matter since button mashing is usually the best strategy, anyway. Devoid of any of the skill required in the 2D games, sword matches end up being poorly animated exercises in frustration with little depth, despite the large number of moves.

Prince of Persia 3D (Windows)

It's not like Prince of Persia 3D is devoid of good ideas, though. It's easy to imagine how much fun it would be to explore the fantastic areas with their strange contraptions and inventive deathtraps with some decent controls. The good intentions are clearly visible when the Prince tiptoes like mad near a pit to avoid falling down - it only doesn't work that well. The Prince gets a proper oriental-looking sword this time and can also find several more exotic weapons during the course of the game. For the first time in the series, he also wields a bow and arrows. They are most useful for solving certain puzzles, although of course you can also use it to take out guards from afar, especially when you've got magically enhanced arrows.

Many of the elements that made the later games so great can already be found here in principle. Even the occasional cinematic panorama shot and some of the spectacrobatics are there, only much more awkward. It is also the first game in the series with a slightly more complex plot. The villain this time around is the sultan's brother Assan, who wants to force the sovereign to give up his daughter for marriage with his own son Rugnor (which the Sultan had actually promised him in the past) to support his power plays. The game is also genuinely funny, with a lot of slapstick cutscenes featuring the stupid guards.

The graphics are actually pretty good for a game from that time, and there's some impressive architecture later in the game. But the death scenes are lame - the Prince simply slumps to the ground when he should be cut in half.

However, the game not nearly plays as good as it looks, as the designers pile on annoyance after annoyance. If you can make it out of the prison without being thoroughly aggravated and quitting too see the more interesting parts of the game, bravo to you, but it doesn't get any less frustrating afterwards, either.

While it met with lukewarm reviews when it was initially released for the PC, it was published for the Dreamcast in 2000 by Mattel, who at the time owned the remains of Brøderbund. For some reason the game was renamed to Arabian Nights, with Prince of Persia remaining merely as a subtitle. The Dreamcast version also looks a bit better thanks to very atmospheric colored lighting, and even the platforming controls have been reworked and feel much more fluid. The Prince now also has an inventory and can store potions for later usage for the first time. Combat has been changed up as well, though not necessarily for the better. Especially when enemies are rapidly attacking at close range, it is barely controllable at all, anymore. Unfortunately, while the PC version lets you save at any time, the Dreamcast port sends you back much too far whenever you die, making the game even more frustrating.

There are also bits of changes in the level design here and there, but it's all in the details. Two levels, however, have been excised in their entirety, and good riddance. They were the most annoying pair of the bunch and would have been virtually unplayable with the limited saving system. (One of them is in all actuality unbeatable on the PC with an unpatched game. The patch, however, has the tendency to cause the game not to recognize the original CD anymore.) It also isn't plagued by quite as many bugs as the PC version, but all things considered, the Arabian Nights version is still not a good game.

Quick Info:

Developer:

Publisher:

  • The Learning Company (PC)
    Mattel (Dreamcast)

Lead Designer:

  • Todd Kerpelman

Genre:

Themes:


Prince of Persia 3D (Windows)

Prince of Persia 3D (Windows)

Prince of Persia 3D (Windows)

Prince of Persia 3D (Windows)

Prince of Persia 3D (Windows)

Prince of Persia 3D (Windows)



Cutscenes


View all "Prince of Persia 3D" items on eBay

Prince of Persia: Harem Adventures - Mobile (2002)

Shortly before Ubisoft should bring back the Prince in full swing, then budding mobile game developer Gameloft filled in the gap with a little side story in between. Prince of Persia: Harem Adventures imitates the gameplay of the original, but the setting is so much sillier. The ever-evil vizier has stolen the whole sultan's harem this time, either to blackmail the sultan into giving up his throne or to conduct "experiments in abstinence", depending upon which version is played.

In seven short stages, the Prince is sent out to rescue the ladies, and is rewarded with supposedly sexy images of them. There's no time limit, but instead the timer counts up to save the best clearing time. Given their small size, the levels make good use of the basic gameplay concepts, but they lack the higher finesse seen in the more difficult sections of the original with elements like timed switches, tactical use of falling plates and the like. They also contain the occasional reset point in case the Prince should die, upon which he is turned into a cloud of dust: There's no blood in this game (enemies just fall out of the screen when slain). They botched the fighting, though, as the best method in any fight is just bashing the attack button as fast as possible. The initial guards are later replaced by ghosts, but it makes no difference other than their color.

As a mobile game, Harem Adventures' biggest problems is the control scheme. Besides having to deal with your phone's keypad, there's no separate button for cautious steps. These are rather accomplished by shortly tapping the button instead of keeping it pressed. Needless to say , this doesn't always work out well for the player, especially not in difficult and exciting situations.

Harem Adventures

Quick Info:

Developer:

  • Gameloft

Publisher:

  • Gameloft

Genre:

Themes:


Harem Adventures



Screenshot Comparison:


Prince of Persia Special Edition - Browser (2003)

Prince of Persia Special Edition (Browser)

To promote their upcoming revival of the Prince of Persia series, Ubisoft launched a tiny Flash remix of the classic 2D game a few months prior. The Special Edition replicates the gameplay of the original, but features a completely new stage. The prince has only eight minutes to find and defeat Jaffar before he unleashes the Sands of Time, but that is more than doable given the size of the game. Prince of Persia Special Edition uses the graphics of the Macintosh version. Ironically it is the only game at the time to reproduce them in the original resolution, at least if the Flash embed is configured properly.

The physics don't work out exactly as faithful, though. It's even easier to slip past your target and die than it ever was. Some of the puzzles have rather questionable design, too. There's a gate that keeps opening and closing as long as the Prince is standing on the switch, but closes immediately once he rushes towards the gate. The only way to get through is by waiting until just the exact moment before it closes, dash forward and duck through in the last instance - no puzzle in the original game required such precise timing and speed.

Like in the very first stage back in 1989, the Prince first has to find his sword to be able to fight the guards. He can easily run past them unarmed, but that only gets him slaughtered in the fight against Jaffar. The Grand Vezir has an obscene amount of health - ten flasks versus the Prince's three - but the AI is so bad that this is not much of a problem. While it might have been neat as a free promotion in 2003, there's not much reason going back to Prince of Persia Special Edition now, as neither the functionality nor the level design is particularly good.


Prince of Persia Special Edition (Browser)

Prince of Persia Special Edition (Browser)



<<< Prior Page

Next Page >>>

Page 1:
Introduction
Prince of Persia (1989)

Page 2:
Prince of Persia (SNES)
Prince of Persia Classic
Screenshot Comparison

Page 3:
The Shadow & The Flame
The Shadow and The Flame

Page 4:
Arabian Nights
Harem Adventures
Special Edition

Page 5:
The Sands of Time

Page 6:
Warrior Within
The Two Thrones
Battles of Prince of Persia

Page 7:
Prince of Persia (2008)
The Fallen King

Page 8:
The Forgotten Sands (Consoles)

Page 9:
The Forgotten Sands (Portables)

Page 10:
The Graphic Novel
Before the Sandstorm
The Sands of Time (Movie)

Discuss on the Forums!

Back to the Index