What every arcade download should be!
Ubisoft has been providing us with extraordinary tales of the Prince for quite some time now. Even though the latest title was a rehash of the third installment on the PlayStation 2, it did not seem to bother those that had not already played it. With the growing popularity of remaking a classic game for a newer audience, it should have come as no surprise that the original Prince of Persia from 1989 would ultimately make its way into the remake genre. Of course, making it easily accessible for the Xbox Live Arcade only helps feed the flames of anticipation.
The story follows the exact format of the original classic. The evil Grand Vizier, Jaffar, has replaced the missing Sultan and is ruling with an iron fist. In order to make his rule legitimate he has imprisoned the fair princess demanding her hand in marriage. To help her with her decision he has given her a time limit to decide, 60 minutes. Once time is up, she will choose between marriage or death by his hand. Our hero and her would be suitor is in the dungeon, coincidentally. He has 60 minutes to save the princess and defeat the evil Jaffar. I know what you are thinking: this sounds a lot like the Disney movie Aladdin. You would be right, except this does not have Robin Williams’ Genie to muck things up with wishes.
Prince of Persia Classic, as I stated earlier, is the same format as the original. The levels are constructed exactly the same. In fact, it is an assumption that if you played the original and have an excellent memory, then you will be hard pressed to not be able to play through the game blindfolded. Of course, if you did that, you would miss the biggest pleasure of the remake. The original was revolutionary in the animated graphics in 1989 and sparked the minds of several other creators to branch out and make their games look as good as Prince of Persia. This remake revolutionizes the graphics game again, however, not by the standards of regular retail titles; instead, the bar has been raised for all future Xbox Live Arcade games. I would even go as far as to say that for all downloadable games that re-release classic titles. The graphics are so well done that it rivals the graphics of Prince of Persia: Sands of Time title that first debuted on the PlayStation 2.
I could go on and on about the improved graphics. How wonderfully riveting the levels represent the details of what all dungeons should look like on side scrolling games, but, alas, it is the gameplay that is important. While the gameplay is generally the same, with the swordplay and acrobatics, there have been some additional traps for us to volley through. In addition to the tricky new traps, a checkpoint for nearly all levels has been included this time around. This helps out considering there will be several instances where you will not be able to make it through the game on the one life system and, instead of restarting all the way back at the beginning of the level, you will restart at the checkpoint. To touch on the swordplay once more, do not be fooled into thinking that it is simplistic throughout the game. In the beginning, you will undoubtedly feel that it is too simplistic in nature, but halfway through, you will start to see the mistake in thinking so. While button mashers will enjoy the first few levels, they will quickly realize there is method behind their attacks or they will fail to save the princess.
There are several great things about this classic. Unfortunately, there are a few that may freeze time for some. One has to be the butterfly. If you a first timer then the butterfly will be a great asset to you, however, for veterans the butterfly will seem more like an idiotic arrow that points you where to go. The butterfly negates all sense of discovery and trial and error that the original handled so well. The bright side, however, is that you can turn the butterfly off and enjoy the game how it was originally conceived. The other problem that might turn a would be hero away is the game is only an hour long. This means that unless you are competing with your friends on the leader boards, then you may only run through it one time.
There are several reasons to spend the 800 points for the Prince of Persia Classic, most notably are the graphics, but the gameplay is the truest reason to download this game. Even though the hour-long aspect of the game could hinder replayability, you will from time to time wish to save the fair princess from the dastardly Grand Vizier. Where else can you set down for an hour and enjoy the swashbuckling of good versus evil in the truest sense of the word?