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PS2 Reviews: Prince of Persia: Sands of Time

 

Prince of Persia: Sands of Time screenshots

 

The Final Say!

Gameplay
9.5
Graphics
9.6
Sound
9.1
Value
9.5

Prince of Persia: Sands of Time 
reviewed by Andrew B 
Review Date: December 2003
Review Score 9.5/10
Distributed By: Ubisoft

When I first saw and played Prince of Persia on the PC over a decade ago, I was quite simply awestruck. For that period in gaming, a game had it all, VGA graphics, an in-depth storyline that not only had you saving the world from an insidious Vizier but you also had to save the girl, a hero that we could all relate too and of course some of the most entertaining gameplay to have ever graced the PC.

The game was so popular that it spawned a plethora of ports on different formats and also a few "sequels" called Prince of Persia: Shadow and the Flame and of course Prince of Persia 3D. Prince of Persia 3D was an attempt to modernise the franchise but unfortunately it failed abysmally. Sure, the game had some beautiful 3D graphics but problems with the frame rate and the extremely fiddle some control system damaged the fond memories of the original two games.

Ubisoft, the developers of Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (now known as POP for this review) not only went back to basics but have taken the series into the 21st century with one of the best arcade-style gaming engines to have graced the PlayStation 2. In laymen's terms, POP is basically the original Prince of Persia meets the Matrix and before you scoff at the meeting of these two worlds, I must say that it works quite well.

The game revolves around the son of the original Prince of Persia who while visiting the land of Azad with his father, acquire a magical hourglass and dagger in a bitter civil war. Unbeknown to the young Prince, he is tricked into activating the magical artefacts by the Vizier of India that turns the people of the land into demonic creatures. Although you may have discovered fortune and glory on your adventures, you must now save your people from this deadly curse and once again become Prince of Persia.

POP is a true arcade adventure game where players must perform a variety of manoeuvres that include running, jumping, ducking, fighting, climbing, grappling, attacking, blocking and just about every other arcade style move. The games title mentions the sands of time that is not just a cool sounding title but is actually used in the game. For instance, the game sometimes requires you to do some spectacular moves where you must run up walls, then jump onto another wall. If you accidentally mess up one of these super moves, you actually go back in time (in a sense) and redo your move until you have perfected. Of course the gamer only gets a limited number of attempts but it does add something to the game. The sands of time is contained in your dagger that allows you to go back in time 10 seconds but fortunately the dagger slowly charges, so it can be used a variety of times throughout the game. The only drawback with the control system is that the camera angles sometimes get in the way of the gameplay but fortunately this happens rarely.

Your character can also run up walls in true Hong Kong style fashion that is probably one of the most entertaining things to do in the game. As with all good arcade games, POP contains a variety of enemies and puzzles that are littered throughout the gaming world from huge boss-like creatures to deadly traps that include spikes and bottomless pits. Although the control system may sound a little complex, it will take novice gamers a few hours to master with professional gamers becoming adept a lot more easily.

The gaming environment of POP is quite simply amazing and not only does it do a great job at recreating some beautiful draw distances but the attention to detail is truly awe-inspiring. The characters in POP contain a ridiculous amount of polygons and the main character contains over 1800 polygons with over 750 different animations available to him. Not only do the characters move with a human-like grace but mix that with some beautiful pre-rendered textures and you have a match made in Persian heaven. Although the enemies in the game don't contain the same amount of polygons as the prince, they are still extremely well animated and detailed that go hand in hand with the backgrounds. The levels of POP are varied and huge that contain realistic waterfalls, a variety of ancient Indian and Persian architecture, vast lush green gardens and of course deadly dungeons that pay homage to the original Prince of Persia game.

The musical score of POP is a majestic piece that not only pays homage to the original game but puts a modern twist on the familiar theme. The voice acting of the title has been professionally done and each voice suits the character perfectly, whether it's the noble prince or the insidious Vizier of India. There are also a variety of sound effects in the game from the sounds of clashing swords, the background sounds of battle and the screams of monsters or huge Hollywood type explosions, this game has it all.

In conclusion Prince of Persia: Sands of Time is a brilliant arcade game that finally brings a new spin on the original series. With one of the most intensive storylines of this  that is complimented with beautiful graphics and a sturdy gaming engine, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time is a must have game! Highly Recommended!

- Andrew B

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