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Prince of Persia: Sands of Time: Bargain Bin Special

Genre: Jumping with Swords Publisher: Ubisoft Developer: Ubisoft Montreal Platform: PC, PS2, Xbox, GameCube, GBA Metacritic Metascore: 92

Prince of Persia: Sands of Time is a first-rate action/adventure with great graphics and animation combined with fantastic level design. The follow up, Warrior Within, is also a good game but it lacks the charm that made Sands of Time so compelling. There’s another Prince of Persia game in the works, which is tentatively set for a December 2005 release (see the Holiday 2005 section for details) but if you’re new to the next-gen versions of this classic series, this is really the best place to start.

The Story

In Sands of Time, the unnamed Prince gets ahold of an ancient dagger that has the capability to slow down and reverse, literally, the sands of time. So, if you screw up a jump or if an evil undead guard slices you in two you can, in a sense, take a do over. It’s a great way to avoid having to sit through multiple reloads and although you have only so much "sand in the hourglass," it’s usually enough to get you past some of the trickier parts of the game.

The Prince is also able to run along walls for a brief period of time and even leap from wall to wall, performing some truly amazing acrobatic moves in the process. Prince of Persia is the kind of game that elicits ohhs and ahhs from people that are sitting around watching.

The highlight of the game, aside from the acrobatics, is the setting. The "castle" is huge and has some breathtaking levels in it, from outdoor scenes where you are seemingly thousands of feet in the air on a tightrope to multi-colored underground labyrinths. Sands of Time is just as much fun today as it was two years ago, so if you skipped out on this one you can still get it on the cheap for $20 at most retail chains.

More Adventures with the Prince

Prince of Persia (1989). Way back in the age of the dinosaur (1989), Broderbund published the original Jordan Mechner classic on a wide variety of platforms. The original is considered a huge leap in game animation and was one of the first games to use rotoscoping (a technology that made the animations look eerily realistic).

Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame (1994). Five years later, Broderbund was back with a sequel that had better graphics and larger areas to explore.

Prince of Persia 3D (1999). The Prince’s first foray into the world of 3D gaming was not a good one. The game tanked and most people felt the series had run its course... that is, until Sands of Time brought it back.

Prince of Persia: Warrior Within (2004). The follow-up to Sands of Time is a fun romp, but for some reason Ubisoft decided to make the Prince less Ali Baba and more, I dunno, evil-looking-dark-hero guy. Now the Prince chops off the heads of bad guys and can wield two weapons. Thanks, but I’ll take Sands of Time for $20.

In 1994, a Prince of Persia fan created 4D Prince of Persia and, in 2003, more Prince fans created a level and sound editor for the 4D game.

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