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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Ubisoft

 

Developer

Ubisoft

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

November 12, 2003

 

 

- Gameplay that cannot be improved upon
- Music that will have your head nodding
- Ability to slow, speed-up, and freeze the laws of time
- Graphics are very sharp
- Culturally intriguing
- Decent voice acting

 

 

- Some camera issues
- Comes to an end too quickly
- Enemies are only dangerous in groups
- Final level should’ve offered a greater challenge

 

 

Review: BloodRayne (Xbox)

Review: Otogi: Myth of Demons (Xbox)

Review: Blood Omen 2 (Xbox)

Review: Prince of Persia (360)

 

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Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Score: 9.7 / 10

 

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Remember asking that one hot girl from class to go with you. Yeah, those times were fun…except the inevitable rejection part. It always seems that guys say the wrong words at the wrong time more than occasionally. Trying to change those words is, let’s face it, difficult. That is unless of course you weld in your hands the dagger containing the sands of time. With it, you always say the right thing, get her everything she needs, and fast-forward time during her endless hours of pointless “yakking”. Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (PoP) lets the player control the laws of time…only substitute the hot girl with raging mutated soldiers out to slice your head off.

PoP begins during the height of the Persian Empire. The King and his son, who is never given a name, are in the process of destroying the Indian Empire, by raiding

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their castles and slaughtering their people. During a chaotic series of events, the prince becomes separated from his father and is forced to find an alternate route back through the depths of a cave. Inside he finds an hourglass and dagger hidden behind a “puzzling” wall. After a few tries he takes the dagger for himself, as a symbol of victory. When presenting it to his father, he is tricked into sticking it in the

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hourglass, therefore unleashing the “sands of time”.

Imagine being surrounded by five mutated soldiers holding double-bladed swords, armor on their forearms, and the only way out is by killing every single one. Oh yeah, they have the ability to transport from locations and re-spawn after being slain. Sounds like a pretty tight situation, doesn’t it? Not if you’re the Prince. The gameplay of PoP is simple, complex, and comfortable at the same time. Switching between enemies (like the situation explained above) to fight is done seamlessly, without ever slowing down the game. Just point the analog stick in the direction of an enemy and watch the Prince fly over using one of his numerous acrobatic moves, than cutting them down with either his sword or dagger. The speed and precision of fighting multiple enemies is, in itself, the reason to have this game on your shelf.

Some enemies can easily be killed by bolting yourself over their back and cutting their throats. Nevertheless, progressing through the game, some enemies will learn to counter those acrobatic moves, causing you to think before making your next move. This causes you to take control of some nifty tools of time, brought to you solely by the dagger of time.

As the enemies begin to grow stronger and smarter, the Prince must learn to use the sands of time meticulously. The dagger contains a certain amount of sand. Rewinding, freezing, and fast-forwarding time can drain the sand. In order to gain more sand you must pit the enemy on the ground, and stick the dagger directly into its heart, extracting the sand within. With that in mind, the battles become much more interesting. If you expect to find the same repetitive, slashing and killing in PoP, look elsewhere. The abilities of time create an entirely new dimension to its gameplay, setting a precedent for other action/adventure games to follow. During a battle, you can freeze one enemy in time, and fight off the others whichever way you choose. If you are surrounded by ten or more enemies, fast-forwarding quickly through all can achieve quick victory on your part. All the abilities of time will be essential to finishing the game.

 

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After more then two and a half years of development, PoP is among the top, graphically, on the powerful Xbox. Though all three versions of the game are identical from afar, minor discrepancies between the three are noticeable. Some of the Prince’s features are outlined well on the Xbox, as well as having all of his fingers individually crafted, instead of it being one huge clump. The architecture of the Persian palaces look magnificent and vertigo-inducing due to their immense size and beauty. The developers tried to make the rooms and palaces much larger than normal, in order to commit to an atmosphere of fantasy, darkness, and “tale” like features. After playing through every setting in the game, I am convinced that the two and a half years were not spent copying over someone else’s work.

If you’ve noticed already from the commercial, music is a huge factor to the Prince of Persia series. Persian music has been transferred into this game using the same authentic instruments, though mixing them with modern techno to make a killer soundtrack. It comes as a surprise that the music is heard so rarely throughout the game, only heard during and shortly after battles. The music is vital to the experience of Prince of Persia. When you hear the rhythm of the guitar playing faster as you fight through a wall of enemies, then you’ll understand the importance and stress on music. Another cool effect of the music plays alongside the powers of time. If you decide to use slow-motion, then the music slows down accordingly to that power, and speeds up seamlessly as the power runs out.

The holiday season is creeping up from around the corner, and is technically already here. Prince of Persia is among the few games to be released this holiday season to be considered as a “must buy”. With around 10-15 hours of play, outstanding music, the best gameplay system ever conceived, and the two original Prince of Persia’s included…you will certainly get your money’s worth with the Prince. If you consider yourself a die-hard action gamer, or even an occasional gamer, there is no reason why Prince of Persia shouldn’t be in your collection.

- Eric Lahiji
(December 9, 2003)

 

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