The first time I played Prince of Persia on the Master system, I remember being impressed by the animation as well as the challenge of the levels, which kept me coming back for more and I have fond memories of rainy afternoons navigating the booby trapped dungeons.
When I found Prince of Persia Classic on XBLA, I immediately downloaded it and was quite excited at the prospect of playing an updated version. The graphics have been upgraded from 2D to 3D this time round to fit in with the current generation of Prince of Persia games, the in game cut scenes are all 3D and the music also adds to the atmosphere of the game.
Level layouts are almost identical to the original, but are still just as challenging and you will easily find yourself getting lost, snagged on spikes and sliced by blades if you are not careful. While playing you will start to notice subtle differences, like the new moves of the main character, which include being able to kick off a wall to reach a platform behind you, once you master these new moves it will make playing the game a lot more fluid than having to ‘run, stop, turn, jump’. It looks impressive when you can swing through a level seamlessly without stopping, unless of course you come across a series of booby traps or one of the many guards patrolling the dungeons.
When you come across a guard, which there are several types, you will be drawn into a sword fight, these seem very inconsistent at first, sometimes you can easy dispose of a guard, but other times that same guard will take you down no problem, but it is all about timing your blows and knowing when to block your opponent, this can be a little challenging and sometimes frustrating. Luckily the game has checkpoints, which will let you restart from a checkpoint if you lose a life, which is very useful, but find it makes the game fairly easy to complete, another thing that makes the game easier is a butterfly which floats about and guides you in the right direction through the maze like dungeons, however this is an option you can turn off for an extra challenge.
The real challenge is completing this relatively short game within an hour, because the evil Jaffar has given the sultans daughter, who you are trying to save, 1 hour to make a decision, marry him or die. Completing the 14 levels in under an hour is very, very challenging, however, if you find that too easy you could try survival mode, finishing the game within 1 hour but using only one life. Once you have finished the game you can replay any level against your ghost which I thought was a nice touch.
Although not perfect, it is still an enjoyable game despite it carrying over the frustrations of the original as well as being easier to complete in normal mode. Things like running through a seemingly clear area only to get sliced by giant blades cunningly concealed in the environment or mistiming jumps and falling to your doom can really make you want to throw your controller across the room after a while and as mentioned above some sword fights can be a little frustrating, saying that it does have a ‘just one more go’ element to it and I found it hard to put down until I finished it. If you enjoyed the original, this remake is certainly worth a look.