» » Prince of Persia (1989)

Short summary

It was a time of darkness. While the Sultan was away at war, his Grand Vizier Jaffar seized the reins of power. Throughout the land, the people groaned under the yoke of tyranny, and dreamed of better days. You were the only obstacle between Jaffar and the throne. An adventurer from a foreign land, innocent of palace intrigue, you won the heart of the Sultan's lovely young daughter. And in so doing, you unwittingly made a powerful enemy. On Jaffar's orders, you were arrested, stripped of your sword and possessions, and thrown into the Sultan's dungeons. As for the Princess, Jaffar gave her a choice, and an hour to decide: MARRY HIM OR DIE. Locked in her room high in the palace tower, the Princess rested all her hope on you; unaware that you're held a prisoner right below her in the Sultan's dungeons!! You must escape this hell-hole of a place; which is heavily guarded and full of extreme traps. To finally reach above to the palace to defeat the Grand Vizier Jaffar to save your lovely ...

The rotoscoping used for The Prince came from tracing the movements of Jordan Mechner's 15-year-old brother as he performed each move that The Prince could perform in the game while wearing white clothing similar to that of The Prince.

This was the first video game to use rotoscoping, where animators traced live action movement, frame by frame, for use in animation.

This enhanced version of Prince of Persia (1989) not only features graphical and aural improvements, but also has a full musical score, boss battles, eight additional levels, and an extended time limit to complete the game (two hours versus one hour in the original game). Also, many aspects of the original twelve levels have been redesigned including new traps and pathways.

The Japanese version had a prologue sequence which showed the Prince getting captured and beaten. This was removed from the American and European versions of the game.

User reviews

  • comment
    • Author: in waiting
    This may very well be the game that set the tone for the gaming industry of the 1990s. Jordan Mechner takes a simple conflict (save the princess from Jaffar) and complicates the hell out of it. You start in a dungeon with virtually nothing (three life potions). The first level gets you your sword and your first taste of swordplay. Though it may seem somewhat linear to begin with, especially the first two levels, you will soon realize that this is much more than linear gameplay. The levels grow more and more vast, the guards increasingly skilled with the sword, and Mechner even manges to throw in the evil twin that always shows up when it is most inconvenient. The backgrounds and locals never grow boring or repetitive, and the final battle of the game is nothing other than epic. A real classic.
  • comment
    • Author: Framokay
    I remember playing this as a kid... in fact, compared to how much I played it(which was considerably less than Commander Keen 4, due to availability), it is the game that has stayed with me the longest. After a brief text introduction, this game has you playing as an unnamed stranger... thrown into a dungeon, with nothing more than three life potions, your wits... and a quest: Save the princess from the evil Jaffar. The first few levels let you familiarize yourself with the controls and the interface... both of which are simple and easy to get into. After that, the game takes the relatively few things that it has established, and plays around with it in every imaginable way. In this game, never expect something to act the exact way you'd think it would; it takes place in the real world, but magic exists in this, and the person who constructed this prison knew a thing or two about traps. The game-play consists of you finding your way through the dungeon; there are wrought-iron gates to open, secret passages to find and the aforementioned traps(including tiles of the floor that fall out from underneath you and spikes that emerge from the floor). As the unnamed lead, you run, jump and fall your way through them, in each level working your way to the door which will take you to the next floor of the prison... a door that you also need to open, like the gates. To add pressure, there is a one-hour time limit. The level design, whilst at first glance may come off as linear, is amazing; massive halls, either in dark, dreary metal or bright, vibrant colors, with hidden passages and danger lurking around every corner. After finding a sword in the very first level, you will find quite a few equally armed guards throughout... of growing skill, and with increasingly more life-potions. The fighting system is extraordinary; in spite of it being quite simple... you can retreat, charge, block, and attack with your sword. Any attack may be blocked, and very often, there are dangers on either side of the immediate arena in which swordplay commences... making these fights games of chess, and requiring increasingly better reaction and coordination skills. Charging blindly at your opponent will get you killed... and since they tend to guard(hence them being called guards, as opposed to simply "men with swords and knowledge on how to use them") the area that you are headed towards, simply retreating or running isn't necessarily an option. The fights range in excitement and entertainment level, but they never grow dull or predictable. The later ones are intense, and the very last one is quite simply monumental. The last level is, as another reviewer puts it, epic. The game only lets you play for one hour consecutively, but after the first couple of levels, you are allowed to save your progress, including how much time remains... and my hat goes off to the man who manages to complete this without having tried it before and without saving. When you die in the game(and, trust me, you will), you will be returned to start of the level that you are in... now, this can prove frustrating in a few levels, due to having to start all over after committing a single lethal error... but the game more than makes up for that in immersion. The moment after you see your character get spikes jammed through his body or take the final, definite blow from another man's sword, you want to try again. Not out of competitive reasons... but to get just a little further, to see the next interesting use of traps, the next challenging jump, the next dazzling fight. The game is a tour de force of creative energy; the elaborate levels, the skillful and intuitive sword-fights, the sound(while relatively limited, it is highly effective) and, last but most definitely not least, the animation. Employing rotoscoping in bringing the played character to life, every single move looks and feels real. And the high quality doesn't stop there... fire looks exactly as it should(going by what could be achieved in animation almost two decades ago), for example. The graphics, while they won't impress many today, were grand, and still don't disappoint. And the level of detail put in them... seeing the lead impaled on sharp spikes, while it is by no means a pretty sight, convinces the player and feels "real". That is something that should be noted, for any younger or more easily affected players; this game is not for the young ones. There is death, blood and gore. Depending on your skill, you can to a degree control how much of it you see(unlike more recent games(and some contemporary ones) that deliver such, this doesn't shower you with images of carnage), but this is for mature audiences. Maintaining a certain level of innocence, the game has no sexual or sick images or ideas... instead, it has a bleak atmosphere and lots of deadly situations. The action-adventure games of recently owe a lot to this game. It was one of the first of its kind, and probably the first real pioneer in the genre. The game already has several sequels, three of which were in very recent years. This game didn't come up with the concept of fighting your way out of captivity, or solving puzzles... but it certainly made it entertaining. I can't think of a thing that I would change in this memorable game; one thing that people should be wary of is that it isn't exactly an easy game. It starts out quite simple, but the levels grow increasingly more challenging... you'll need good reflexes, patience, and a good deal of smarts to complete the levels. I recommend this strongly to any fan of action and adventure(with emphasis placed upon the last-mentioned genre), as well as anyone who like the culture and the exotic qualities within. An excellent game on all points. 10/10
  • comment
    • Author: Xor
    Who remembers this? You could play it on the crappiest of computer systems and if you had a color monitor, then wow! This was also perhaps the very first game to include blood and gore for which alone it should be remembered. The levels were mostly almost clones of each other like every other game of the time but defeating an enemy was a pretty hard task as was the jumping from platform to platform. At that time, you thought that seeing color being used in the levels was a big deal. It was a very slow paced game and involved some tricky timing, especially for the jumps and runs through slicer blades. Prince-2 made some superb improvements over this game.
  • comment
    • Author: JoJogar
    Prince of Persia was one of the first game I ever played on a PC, back when they had floppy disks and unlike the other game we had at the time "Pole Position," this one kept me up nights for hours. Traps, Closing Gates, Spikes, Potions, Sword Fights, Pits, Instant Death and a Time Limit to make it all the more difficult. I think my dad was using it as his home work computer at the time, my hero. I don't think I was very good at the game and I wouldn't of logged a significant amount of time playing it, may have moved on to Doom II or a game console not sure, I certainly never completed it, but I recall loving it and I do appreciate it.
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