Reviewing Prince of Persia - The Incredible Platformer From Last Decade

In 1989, the original Prince of Persia game was released. Designed by Jordan Mechner, it followed the story of a nameless protagonist in an epic saga. It took two decades and a movie to finally name this hero Dastan, which itself means 'Hero'. And hero he is, while simultaneously fascinating his followers with sheer bravery and royal elegance.

He never started out as prince, but he truly is royal at heart. Smart, adaptive, kind, valiant and downright adventurous.

The Original Prince

It all started with the 1989 release for the Apple II, titled Prince Of Persia. In a race against time, the lover from the streets battles his way through evil soldiers and a dark wizard, the vizier Jaffar, to reach his beloved princess.

A sixty minute countdown, twelve levels, dark magic, doppelgangers,and ancient sword battles, Prince of Persia was a fantasy platformer that, while initially a commercial failure, received brilliant reviews. Everything fell into place when the game released in Europe, where it eventually tasted commercial success.

Of course, what followed this triumph was a sequel, The Shadow and the Flame, which verified the royal origins of our Prince, but not before a second showdown with the resurrected Jaffar. While the game features a fairy tale beginning and end, everything in between is dark, merciless and brutal. And, that simply adds to the appeal.

No doubt that the game was even more successful than the original, 'The Shadow and the Flame' featured a much longer (and better) story, along with a more difficult gameplay and enhanced graphics.

The third game of the series, Prince Of Persia 3D, was (as the name suggests), the first to incorporate 3-dimensional graphics. The game featured a new enemy, along with a strong story and high quality action.

Sadly, the game was nowhere near as successful as the first two, and that marked the end of the series. But what followed this brilliance trilogy is surely the best thing that happened to the Prince's story.

The Sands Of Time

Post the failure of Prince Of Persia 3D, Ubisoft received the rights of Prince Of Persia, and rebooted the series with utmost prowess. The Sands of Time was the ideal story, spanning 3 games, with each sequel improving on the previous' weaknesses (if there were any).

The Prince was unnamed, but royal blood. And, in an attempt to impress his father, obtained 'the dagger of time', a mystical device that allowed him to turn back time (and some more). This achievement led him to probably the biggest adventure of his life, in which he befriends the Indian Princess Farah, only to turn back time and erase all memories and events that happened through the game. But not before he slayed the antagonist, the Vizier Jaffar.

Warrior Within

Sequel to The Sands Of Time, this game followed a much darker prince. But what else do you expect when death has been chasing you for your every waking moment. The Dahaka, as the personification of death the guardian of the timeline, had set itself on a mission to kill the prince for his actions in the previous game. The prince faces a strong line-up of enemies, warriors and damsels, beasts and himself, ultimately decimating death itself, and charming the empress of time, Kaileena, into making love with him.

Mature, the game was.

But no critic can question the quality of the plot and the improved gameplay. It may be violent and sexual, but all of it added to the complexity of the game, as well as the arrogance and roughness of the prince.

The Two Thrones

The final sequence from Warrior Within gave enough hints for a sequel, and Two Thrones was the ideal sequel by all means.

The Prince's homecoming was met by his returning nemesis, The Vizier, who never died since the prince brought Kaileena in the present. The following scenes saw Kaileena's murder, which transformed the Vizier into an invincible Satanic creature and the prince being infected by the Sands as well, which develops his spilt personality, The Dark Prince. Farah also returns to the game, and adds the element of romance to the story, while the Dark Prince plays both hero and villain, as well as the anti-wingman in the game.

The story also follows the prince turning over a new leaf, getting on terms with his past and developing into a true leader and King.

The Forgotten Sands

Not entirely necessary, but still a popular member of the Prince Of Persia franchise, The Forgotten Sands took place between the Sands Of Time and Warrior Within.

Like the other games, the storytelling is excellent, although it seems to be an unwanted extension to the original trilogy.

If you've played the Sands Of Time series, I'm sure you are all aware of the epic story of the game. The trilogy has played a major role in Prince Of Persia being a top-notch video game series.

Prince Of Persia - 2008 Reboot

The reboot Prince isn't a prince at all, but is a similar personality to the Sands of Time Prince. He is a lot more cocky, but that can be ignored while one is engrossed in the fantasy story of the game. For the first time, the prince seemed normal, albeit his excellent acrobatic skills.

The battle between good and evil, of monumental proportions, with a love story in its backdrop, is spectacular.

Sadly, the game wasn't received spectacularly and was disgraced for poorer graphics and the fact that the prince cannot die. While to me this was very natural, to the hardcore gamer it was uninteresting.

Nevertheless, the game is interesting and likeable, and the simple gameplay and detailed narration, effectively makes it a must-watch film.

In Conclusion

Prince of Persia gave way for franchise like Tomb Raider and Assassin's Creed, and is arguably the best platforming video game franchise. This, obviously, is the result of excellent storytelling, and a 'hero' character who relies on speed, rather than strength or superpowers. It truly is the best from Jordan Mechner and one of the best video game series.