PS2 (version played), PC, Xbox, NGC, GBA
There was a time when I was impressed by sexy
animation alone - Saturday lunctime to be exact - as I was playing
the original Prince Of Persia as a prelude to a credit card-bending
trip to Game.
What I can't believe about Sands Of Time is
how evocative it is of this original platforming masterpiece.
From the first climb and jump (which is nicely presented with
unobtrusive tutorial aspects) you *know* you're The Prince. Or,
in my case, MC Hammer. It's the trousers.
Instead of having chomping blades,
why not just a big fucking locked door?
So, there I am testing out the controls when
all of a sudden the Hammer wall-rides 30 feet to a platform I'd
barely noticed. Time to sit up and pay attention. And that's what
makes Prince of Persia so great. There are plenty of genuine attention-demanding
moments in this game.
The cinematics, camera blurs and fixed views
all bring out the vast scale of the environments, but there's
never a point where this daunts you. Need to get to a door four
storeys up with only pigeon nests and light fittings to grab hold
of? No probs. Hammer will probably slip in an extra backflip off
the pigeon's beak for good measure.
This is platforming goodness on a new scale.
Everything from the past updated to the new. It never feels scripted,
you never feel that you can't grab hold of that ledge and you
never feel like you're playing a game.
And then there's the combat. Ooooo, the lovely
Initially, waving your sword about feels lacking
in control - you don't pick the combo for instance, you wave the
stick in the general direction of where you want the kick-ass,
leaving the fleet-footed ‘80s rapper to do his thing. But
a few well placed text messages later and you've got the game
Buffy The Vampire Slayer wished it was. I'm telling you now, there
is no better combo than a 6-foot run up a wall, followed by a
graceful backward flip with a mid-air slash and sand-sucking stab
of death. Only takes three button presses, that.
Oops. Sorry, guv. Don’t
know me own strength.
So – the sands, then... Yes, you can rewind
time about 20 seconds - which makes every platforming mistake
and fighting fuck-up a mere practice run for the crowd-pleasing
display of joypad prowess that is to follow. Yes, you can slow
down time as a whim for when you're *really* showing off. Yes,
you can stab enemies and force them into matrix-like bullet-time
while the world around them continues at normal pace. Yes, you
can do all of this whenever you want.
It's a lovely, lovely feature and empowering
to say the least. But it's a minor thing compared to the goodness
in this game's heart. Everything about it oozes high production
value and attention to detail. From the visionary moments at Save
Points to the epic scale of the architecture. But, more importantly,
for taking a cherished idea from yesteryear, supplying it with
a new pair of baggy trousers, giving it a stern talking to about
family responsibility (and how crap ‘80s rap really was),
before throwing it out into the brave new world.
Lara Croft? You can't touch this.
RODENT CASH RATING
at last – a prince and a frog.
Hammer Time stopped
a long time ago.
Get some knowledge into your head about this ‘Persia’
here to comment on this review