by Howie Howard
previewed on X360
Back in the days
I remember way back to the mid 1980’s when I first became interested in the IBM PC style computer. I had graduated from a Commodore 64 computer to an Intel 286-brand machine with a 40 mega-byte hard drive and a VGA monitor. This was high tech equipment during that time for sure. There were a lot of games coming out for the PC back then, all of them based on stick figure or CGA graphics that were so bad that playing computer games required as good an imagination as it did a quick trigger finger.
Then came 1989… A little game by publisher Broderbund exploded on to the screen of the PC. It was called Prince of Persia and the graphics were outstanding compared to what we were used to seeing during that time. It was all in VGA and seeing the little prince run, jump and perform limited swordplay was a sight to behold. I was mesmerized by this experience and played that game until I was an expert at it. Prince of Persia in 1989 was extremely fun but it was also an unchanging and static affair. You could play it a thousand times and it would always be the same no matter what you did.
The first Prince of Persia had a story line, which was somewhat unusual for the day. It was simple. All you had to do was traverse progressively more difficult levels that were full of swinging axes and traps in order to rescue your sweetheart that was being held by an evil sultan. Once you reached her you would win the game. However getting to her was a challenge and it required practice and knowledge of the levels.
Prince of Persia earned the Game of the Year award in 89 and it in turn spawned numerous sequels and even a couple of children’s books. There were two direct sequels to the original that ended with Red Orb’s Prince of Persia 3D in 1999. These games were pretty much just rehashes of the first game.
Next came Ubisoft’s the Sands of Time trilogy. All of these games were more of the same and that was a side scrolling platform game that contained a lot of jumping and level advancement in order to get to the final scene. The Sands of Time games were released during the time period of 2003 to 2005 and were as good as the originals. However, even though the newer games contained graphics that were on par for their time period they were all basically the same, a static adventure.
Back for another round
Now we come to the year 2008 and Ubisoft’s announcement that yet another Prince of Persia is being readied for our gaming pleasure. That’s almost 20 years of Prince of Persia history and some of us might be wondering if this November 2008 release will contain the same game play that we have come to love after all of these years. Yes the new Prince of Persia does consist of great game play but it by no means will be the same.
Instead of an unchanging static environment the new version exists in a dynamically changing world. Replay ability is the name of the game in this one. The one thing not changing is the prince; he comes complete with all of the advanced moves and equipment that he will need to fight off the game’s final boss. Gone are the weapon upgrades and the need to unlock new moves that other games of this ilk require, so no need to worry about that. That’s a good thing in my estimation because it lets the game player start out with a fully developed character and he or she can concentrate on the task at hand. That task is to rid the world of an evil and ever expanding corruption and to lock the dastardly bad guy Ahriman back into his little prison cell.