|Title: Prince of Persia
Rom Player: None
Synopsis: Youíre Aladdin, but you ainít got no genie. Thatís basically the setup of this game. Jaffar, the evil sorcerer, has thrown you in jail and plans to marry the princess within an hour. You have one real-time hour to break free, kick the asses of every guard from here to Jaffarís lair, and kill the old horndog himself. But first, you need a sword.
This game rocks because it does so very much with so very little. The Prince consists of three different colors of pixels, yet his movements look fantastically fluid. You may have seen those very old video recordings the game creator made of his brother wearing the Prince outfit, panning along him with a camera while heís running or jumping. This was used to draw the character sprites on, and it was damn effective. The stages were platform-styled, riddled with traps and hidden stuff. Floors might fall from under you, a button might open a door or close one, and so on. When you start this game you basically have two ways to go: to a guard who is ready to cut you down to size with his sword, or through a track full of spike traps and gates. At the end youíll find a sword among a pile of bones, and the era of ass-kicking has begun.
Once you near a guard, you automatically draw your weapon. Thereís only two buttons to use: block and stab. I donít know how they did it, but especially with more difficult enemies, you can spend whole minutes exchanging parries with those bastards and making awesome-looking swordfights using just those two stupid buttons.
But the creators knew that fighting just guards would get old in time. That is why you meet increasingly weird enemies over time. Youíll fight a skeleton, which you canít kill, so you have to toss him off a cliff. You take on a fat palace guard, who gives you quite a run for your money when you start sword fighting. And then thereís an eerie encounter with your own reflection. Next to that, the stunts you have to pull get weirder all the time. Huge drops, huge jumps, high-speed runs to reach a gate before it falls. Aside from the life-giving red potions and the life-stealing blue potions, you find green potions, which do all sorts of weird shit, like lowering gravity or putting you upside down. Between stages, you see short scenes of the princess waiting while the hour slowly runs out. At one point she sends out her pet mouse and wouldnít you know it, you find the mouse guiding you through one of the stages.
Probably best of all is the stunning gruesomeness of this game. The ways to die are literally classic. You can fall to your death, get slashed by a guard, drop into a bed of spikes, get chopped in half by metal bladesÖ all in limited, but bloody detail. Dying in a game usually isnít fun, but this is the next best thing.
The game is tough. You can die unlimited times, but each time youíre thrown back to the start of the stage and the clock keeps ticking. If you survive long enough youíll meet Jaffar for the final showdown, and I have to say, swapping stabs with the old geezer was one of the most gratifying boss fights Iíve ever fought. Prince of Persia is a classic beauty.
Best Cheats: There was a command line code that allowed you to increase/decrease your time (far beyond one hour, even) and your number of life containersÖ Iím sorry to say I forgot what it was.
Game Play: 8
Overall Rating: 8
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