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Game review - Prince of Persia Classic
Old 27 Oct 2008, 22:15   #1 (permalink)
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Default Game review - Prince of Persia Classic

Prince of Persia Classic is a game that has had a lasting effect on me. I remember playing the original on an Amiga, and I have always loved it. The only game I've ever found that came close was Abe's Oddysee and Exoddus.

The storyline is nice and simple; just go watch Disney's Aladdin. There's a Prince who was a street-urchin, a beautiful Princess, and an evil Grand Vizier named Jaffar[sup]1[/sup]. Just like in Disney's Film, Jaffar lusts after the attractive princess fifty years his junior, and so uses his evil sorcerious powers[sup]2[/sup] to put a curse on the Princess. She has one hour to agree to marry Jaffar, or he will kill her.

Enter the boyfriend, who being an unarmed street-rat vs a palace full of guards, gets lobbed in a dungeon. Let the game begin!

Prince of Persia is quite simple really. You have one hour (real time) to get through seventeen levels, avoid all the hazards, kill any guard / monster in your way, slay Jaffar, get laid and live happily ever after. It sounds simple, but it isn't.

Gameplay wise, PoP is a side-on platformer. You run, walk, jump, hang and climb your way along. The main hazards you'll face in this game include big drops (which take health off), bloody big drops (which kill instantly), collapsing floors, spike-traps (which you can walk through, but kill you instantly if you fall / jump into them), blade-doors (which kill instantly), guards, undead, ogres, yourself[sup]3[/sup] and, of course, Jaffar.

One thing that deserves special mention is the combat system. Unlike most games of this type, combat is melee based rather than shooting based. You can swing and parry, but so can your enemies - you must learn to time your attacks so not to be struck yourself. You can also get into sword-locks, broken by a Quick-Time-Event grapple. These are pretty hard to pull off, but can be worth it as they push your opponent backwards; very useful if they're one step away from a spike pit. Finally, if you're lucky, you can also perform a switch-around. I'm not exactly sure how it's pulled off though... again, it seems random.

With all these hazards, you'll probably be taking a fair bit of damage along the way. Thankfully, there are red potions hidden about the place to heal you, and "Big" Potions that will give you +1 Health Point. This is extremely valuable, as later enemies can have as much as seven or eight hit points! However, the game also has Blue Potions (which deal 1 damage when drunk) and Green Potions, which either make you lighter and negate fall damage, or flip the screen over.

Of course, even all these handy health-ups won't be enough every time. When you die, you'll either restart the level, or go back to the last Checkpoint. Thankfully, it also resets the clock to whatever time you were on when you reached that point. The one exception to this is the unlockable Survival Mode - with this, you get one life. If you die, game over.

One of the reasons I am so pleased with the X-Box Live / PSN versions of PoP is that the only changes are cosmetic. The game looks and sounds beautiful, but plays true to the original.

Now no game is perfect, so let's start with the problems. Firstly, it is short - as the Timer suggests, it can be beaten from start to finish in under an hour. If you take longer, it's game over anyway. Secondly, it seems largely linear - I never saw anything to suggest there was multiple ways to beat the levels. Whilst Survival and Time Attack modes add replay value[sup]4[/sup], it's still a pretty short game. There's also not a huge amount of variation; there's only three traps (spikes, blades and falling floor) and all the enemies work the same way.

Overall, I do like this game. If you enjoy platformers, you should download this game. If you're looking for something new to kill a few hours, you should download this game. If you're looking for something you'll play for days on end... give it a miss. This is definately fun, but don't expect it to take over your life.


[sup]1[/sup] Never, ever trust a Grand Vizier, or any man named Jaffar; they are always evil!

[sup]2[/sup] Disney must have loved this game!

[sup]3[/sup] Got to love that Evil Mirror. >

[sup]4[/sup] I really like the "Ghost Mode", which shows a ghost running through each level at your best speed. It really drives you on!
Farewell, Kangaroo Joe, you shall not be forgotten.

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