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Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Review

By:
Prince
12/01/03
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE Action 
PLAYERS
PUBLISHER Ubisoft 
DEVELOPER Ubisoft 
RELEASE DATE  
T Contains Blood, Suggestive Themes, Violence

What do these ratings mean?

Time is on my side.

Hi there! My name is Prince, and I am funky! Kidding. Just a little joke of mine. I'm not that Prince. I'm actually a gaming legend, having been around since my first game back in 1989. Those were the days, man. I was on top of the world. A virtual prince among men, you might say.

But for some reason, I got left in the dust while a stupid fat plumber turned into the platform game champ just by killing some turtles. So naturally I started drinking too much and running with the wrong crowd, which led to my first failed comeback attempt, Prince of Persia 3D. What can I say, we all make mistakes. You might remember a certain article in a certain magazine that accused me of doing something inappropriate with a certain midget. I stand by my story.

Anyway, I've been clean for years now, and the good fellows at Game Revolution have asked me to tell you a little bit about my latest comeback game, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. I know, it seems a little biased, but part of my 12-step program includes being brutally honest with yourself. Plus, the guys at GR promised me some beer. I didn't just say that.

First, a little about myself. I'm the youngest son of King Sharaman of Persia, hence the 'prince' thing. Dad's a pretty rich and powerful guy, so I've got a lot to live up to. Winning honor and glory is pretty much the only way I can get his attention, so I'm always on the lookout for a chance to impress.

While sacking the Maharajah's stronghold, I managed to recover this really cool dagger from deep inside the palace. It was very sharp and had all this glowing sand inside, so I figured it must be worth a lot. But this idiot Vizier fresh out of some Disney movie tells me to stick the dagger in this giant hourglass to see a really neat trick and then all hell breaks loose. Everyone except me, some weird girl and the Vizier turn into zombies, and guess who's got to fix it all? Yep, daddy's little big man, yours truly, and so off I go save the world. I should start charging for this kind of work.

Despite years of slacking, I'm still quite the athlete. I can run up and along walls like a ninja and do all kinds of nifty gymnastic flips and tricks to get me up and around obstacles. It's all really easy…I bet I could even show you how to do it.

But while I was never known as much of a brawler, the time I spent in prison on that drunk-driving rap has proved useful. I can do all the cool moves while fighting the sand zombies, most of those whom are pretty slow, so I can flip over them and cut them down from above or behind. There's also this neat attack I can do off the walls, which the ladies love. Some evasive flips and solid counterattacks round out my potent arsenal.

In addition to my trusty scimitar, it turns out that the dagger makes a pretty good weapon. Not only does it put some serious hurt on the sand zombies, it also has the power to control time! I know, sounds crazy, but I swear it's not just another mescaline flashback. It turns out that that sand inside the dagger is magical and allows me to speed up, slow down, and even turn back the clock. Not bad for a little trinket I picked up while robbing the store.

So how does it work? There are five specific powers: Revival, Delay, Restraint, Haste and Destiny. Revival allows me to rewind time to get out of any tough spots that I may have gotten myself into as long as I have enough time left in the "time circle." Delay slows down time for everyone and Restraint will slow down a specific sand zombie, allowing me to chop it into little bitty granules. These basic time powers require portions of the sands of time, which can be absorbed from the bodies of fallen enemies.

Haste is an advanced power that will only work when the dagger is full of sand. It allows me to move at light speed and dispatch any enemies in the area with reckless abandon. Remember when I had that methamphetamine problem? Just like that, only no bloody noses this time.

The final power, called Destiny, lets me see what my future holds. It isn't all that useful, but I guess if I got stuck somewhere for some reason, it might come in handy. At least it doesn't use up any sand. All I have to do is find one of those little sand tornados and Shazbot! Instant vision.

I'm a little surprised at the lack of different sand zombies in the game. Most of them look pretty similar to each other, with the only major difference being the weapon they wield. I lump them into two categories: the ones I can take out quickly by using the jump-over ninja death leap and the ones I can't. Who did the casting for this game, anyway?

Don't let all this fighting fool you, though. Much of my game consists of me running along walls, jumping from ledge to ledge and avoiding the various traps that have been laid out before me. The fighting that's there is good, but even I am surprised that there aren't more enemies. Maybe one of the director's kids turned them into sand castles.

At least I have a nice leading lady. Farah, the daughter of the Maharajah, also comes along for the adventure. She's a lousy shot with her little bow and arrow (she even hits me sometimes), but she'll occasionally get me out of tight spots and helps navigate the palace.

And speaking of the palace, it looks great. The Maharajah is indeed one wealthy dude, and in turn has a large, sumptuous crib. The whole joint has a soft glow to it, like some kind of neat camera trick. Or maybe it was all the sand I got in my eyes. At any rate, I like the new looks best on the Xbox and Gamecube, as the PS2 seems to stagger a bit, but generally speaking it's a very pretty adventure.

The biggest problem with my new game is the cinematography. I don't know what schmuck hired these camera guys, but they should have their pinkies cut off or something. Sometimes entire fight scenes are obscured by a curtain. At times I have to jump towards something that isn't easily seen, often leading to my death. Thank god for that Revival power.

But don't let these little problems discourage you. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is still plenty of fun. Magic time daggers, evil sand zombies and of course yours truly performing my own stunts is something to behold. I might have had a rough couple of years there, but it's good to be the prince again.


B+ Revolution report card
  • Easy control
  • Plenty of fancy moves
  • Neat time powers
  • Looks good
  • Limited enemy types
  • Camera troubles
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