Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

AMG AllGame Guide:

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

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Game Description

One of computer gaming's biggest titles makes its return with the release of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. The classic story, which had players guiding a young prince through a trap-filled palace to save his beloved from marrying an evil vizier, has been updated with 3D graphics and new traps and puzzles. The story begins with the titular prince tricked by a vizier into using a mystical dagger to release the Sands of Time from an hourglass. With the help of an ally, players must right this wrong by recapturing the Sands of Time before the deceitful vizier can harness its power.

As players explore each room, from an ornate reception hall to an underground foundry, they will be able to perform a number of acrobatic moves to protect them from harm. As in previous games, cinematic cut-scenes help tell the story as the prince overcomes a number of deadly traps and enemies lurking inside the Persian palace. Developer Ubi Soft Montreal, best known for its work on Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, has worked closely with the original game's creator Jordan Mechner for this new tale in the Prince of Persia series.
~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
Wikipedia on Answers.com:

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

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Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
North American PlayStation 2 version box cover
North American box cover
Developer(s) Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher(s) Ubisoft, SCEJ
Designer(s) Jordan Mechner
Writer(s) Jordan Mechner
Series Prince of Persia
Engine Jade[1][2]
Platform(s) PlayStation 2
Xbox
GameCube
Game Boy Advance
Windows
PlayStation 3
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Platformer, action-adventure, hack and slash
Mode(s) Single-player
Media/distribution Optical disc, Cartridge

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is a third-person action-adventure computer and video game published by Ubisoft. It was released on November 21, 2003 and is a reboot of the landmark video game series Prince of Persia, created by Jordan Mechner in 1989.

The Sands of Time, developed internally at Ubisoft Montreal, successfully captures the mechanics of the original platformer and extends it to the 3D generation.[3] An earlier attempt by The Learning Company to transfer the game to 3D (Prince of Persia 3D) was released in 1999, but despite its initial good reception failed to sell enough and the company's responsible behind that original trilogy was already closing doors. The game was praised for its visual design, finely tuned game mechanics and intriguing storyline, winning the game several awards. [4][5][6][7]

The game was developed for the PC, PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox, and later a 2D-version for the Game Boy Advance and mobile phones. The success of The Sands of Time led to two sequels, Prince of Persia: Warrior Within and Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, in 2004 and 2005, respectively, and an interquel, Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands in 2010. A remastered, High-Definition, version of The Sands of Time was released on the PlayStation Network for the PlayStation 3 on November 16, 2010.[8]

Contents

Gameplay

The prince in combat.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is a 3D platformer which focuses on acrobatics and agility. Throughout much of the game, the player must attempt to traverse the palace by running across walls, ascending or descending chasms by jumping back and forth between walls, avoiding traps, climbing structures and jumping from platform to platform, making other types of well-timed leaps, solving puzzles, and using discovered objects to progress.

Combat has a heavy focus on using acrobatics to defeat foes. One example is the ability of the Prince to rebound off walls in order to strike enemies decisively. The player can also vault over the enemies' backs and then finish them off. The player generally attacks enemies and blocks using a sword, although only the Dagger of Time can defeat humanoid enemies, with the exception of the final sword that is acquired in the game.

The Dagger of Time contains "charges" of the Sands of Time from the hourglass that allow the Prince to control time. The Prince has the ability to "rewind" time and travel up to ten seconds into the past. While using this ability, all sounds and previous action play backwards. For example, if the Prince was struck by an enemy attack during the rewound period, the health he lost will be given back to him, or a bridge that was destroyed a few seconds ago will repair itself. He can also save himself from death by falling, by rewinding time. The Dagger also allows the Prince to slow down time, and freeze his enemies, using it as a main-gauche to attack them directly.

The Dagger only comes with a limited number of uses which are replenished by absorbing enemies and Sand Clouds with the Dagger. This encourages the player to confront and vanquish enemies (as opposed to avoiding them) in order to replenish the power to manipulate time during the more tricky acrobatic sections of the game. However, if the player does not absorb the Sand from a fallen enemy in about five seconds, said enemy will come back to life. Extra Sand Tanks (used for rewinding time) can be gained by collecting eight Sand Clouds, and extra Power Tanks (used for all other abilities) are gained by vanquishing sixteen enemies after having collected a new Sand Tank.

Early in the game, the player will receive help from a non-playable character named Farah. She will assist in solving puzzles too complex for one person. During fights with sand creatures, she will also shoot arrows in an attempt to assist the player. If she dies, the game ends.

Synopsis

Plot

King Sharaman of Persia and his son, known only as the Prince, pass through India en route to Azad and conquer a city with the aid of the local Maharajah's traitorous Vizier. During the battle the Prince seeks to win honour and glory in his first battle and heads straight to the Maharajah's treasure vaults, where he discovers the mythical Sands of Time safely contained within their Hourglass and the Dagger of Time, which he quickly learns can turn back time a short amount. When the Prince presents the dagger to his father, the traitorous Vizier demands it as payment, but is refused by King Sharaman. The Persians then continue on their journey to Azad with the wealth taken from the Maharajah as well as the Maharajah's beautiful daughter, Princess Farah, as a prisoner.

In Azad, the Vizier, now in the service of King Sharaman, tricks the Prince into using the Dagger to release the Sands of Time from the Hourglass. A horrific sandstorm engulfs the kingdom and the Sands of Time turn all the occupants of the palace into monsters. Only the Prince, Farah, and the Vizier remain unchanged due to their possessions; a dagger, a medallion, and a staff, respectively. Amid the catastrophe, the Vizier demands the dagger from the Prince, who refuses and manages to escape.

The Prince soon teams up with Farah in an attempt to return the Sands of Time to the Hourglass, which the Vizier moves to the top of the Tower of Dawn. As they progress through the palace the pair are constantly waylaid by Sand Monsters and the deadly network of traps set in motion in the hopes of killing the creatures. The Prince becomes steadily more worn until his princely armor is mere shreds and his body covered in bloody wounds.

While initially the Prince does not trust Farah because of the Persians' mistreatment of her, the two begin to grow closer as time goes on. After a terrific battle in the ascent of the Tower of Dawn, they reach the Hourglass and are about to complete their mission when the Prince hesitates, suddenly suspicious of what Farah's motives really are. Before Farah can convince the Prince otherwise, the Vizier confronts the pair and uses his magical powers to trap Farah and the Prince in a tomb.

As they wait to die in the tomb Farah tells the Prince, who similarly reveals his claustrophobia, a story she had never told anyone before, about a time when she was little, when her mother told her about a secret magic word which would help her escape anything that scared her: "Kakolukia".

As soon as the Prince repeats the word, as if by magic, the pair find a secret tunnel beneath one of the sarcophagi, which winds down into a mysterious, dreamlike bathhouse which resembles the magic fountains that the Prince earlier used to increase his health. As they bathe, the Prince and Farah finally make love and find comfort in each other amid their perilous situation. When the Prince awakens afterwards, he finds himself back in the tomb and discovers that Farah, the Dagger, and his sword are gone, leaving him with only Farah's medallion to protect him from the Sands of Time.

The Prince, having found a new sword which destroys the sand monsters on contact, pursues and catches up to Farah once more atop the Tower of Dawn, which he must climb from the outside. When the Prince finally reaches the top he finds Farah being overwhelmed by the sand monsters and, despite his efforts to save her, she falls to her death in the Hourglass room below. Enraged by his lover's death, the Prince uses the Dagger to massacre the last of the sand monsters in the tower and descends to weep over Farah's body. As the Prince mourns, the Vizier emerges from the shadows and offers the Prince a partnership in his evil plan. The Prince angrily refuses and before the Vizier can stop him he drives the Dagger of Time into the Hourglass and reverses time to the night before the invasion of the Maharajah's kingdom. The Prince awakens, still with the Dagger of Time, and secretly finds his way to Farah's bedroom, where he tells her the whole story, which she does not remember as it had not happened yet. However, the Vizier discovers the Prince, and fearing his planned treachery already revealed, attempts to kill both Farah and the Prince. In the ensuing battle the Prince kills the Vizier. He then returns the Dagger of Time to Farah, who asks why the Prince invented such an unbelievable story to prove the Vizier's treachery. The Prince falsely admits it to be just a story but when asked about his name by Farah he replies, "Just call me, Kakolukia", before departing, leaving Farah amazed.

Main characters

  • The Prince: His name never explicitly stated, the Prince is the protagonist of the Prince of Persia franchise. Though his personality and appearance have varied over time, he is never without his trademark athletic and acrobatic skills, and is generally a good hand with a sword, too.
  • Farah: Farah is an Indian princess and is the daughter of the Maharajah. She crosses paths with the Prince of Persia on numerous occasions and aids him throughout his adventures (while they develop special feelings towards each other).
  • Sharaman: Sharaman is the king of Persia and father of the Prince in the Sands of Time trilogy. A renowned warrior and respected leader, many admire him, especially the Prince.
  • Vizier: The Vizier is a black-hearted government minister with grand plans to wrest power from the sultan and claim the young princess as his own. [9]

Development and release

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was revealed on March 3, 2003 and was created largely by the same studio behind Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell in attempts to "breathe new life" into the action/adventure genre.[10][11] Initially shipped on November 6, 2003 in North America, the game was later released on November 21, 2003 and September 2, 2004 for Europe and Japan, respectively.[12] Development of the game was filmed for series 3 of the program How it's made in a section titled Video Games and shown on the Discovery Channel.

Music

Soundtrack

Stuart Chatwood, of the Canadian rock band The Tea Party, was selected as composer for the game in early 2002. He began drafting and writing material in late 2002, and began the recording process in January 2003. Included also in the writing process was Iranian composer and violionist Ali Tajvidi and Bijan Mortazavi, and Oud band Le Trio Joubran. The vocals of Maryem Tollar are featured throughout the game. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time - Original Soundtrack was released in Japan on November 3, 2003 by Nippon Columbia. Some of the tracks were re-released by Ubisoft Music in December 2005, along with Chatwood's music from Prince of Persia: Warrior Within and Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, as part of Prince of Persia: The Official Trilogy Soundtrack.

Track listing
No. Title Length
1. "Welcome to Persia"   1:02
2. "Introducing the Prince"   1:39
3. "Call to Arms"   0:39
4. "Prelude Fight"   1:34
5. "A Dagger Is Found"   0:36
6. "A Princess Is Stolen"   1:08
7. "Behold the Sands of Time"   2:45
8. "Start Running"   0:28
9. "Discover the Royal Chambers"   1:57
10. "Dreamtime"   0:41
11. "A Question of Trust"   0:52
12. "Father Is That You?"   0:31
13. "Attack of the Sand Griffins"   1:15
14. "Don't Enter the Light"   2:02
15. "Enter the Royal Palace"   1:26
16. "A Long Way Up"   1:04
17. "A Vision"   0:07
18. "Royal Baths"   1:45
19. "A Bad Dream"   0:58
20. "Chaos in the Zoo"   1:44
21. "Lost in the Crypts"   1:47
22. "Farah Enlightens the Prince"   2:29
23. "A Brief Oasis"   0:59
24. "Awake"   0:36
25. "Trouble in the Barracks"   1:47
26. "Library"   1:42
27. "The Prince Hesitates..."   1:08
28. "Tower of Dawn"   1:34
29. "Farah Perishes"   1:10
30. "At What Cost"   0:22
31. "Reverse the Sands of Time"   3:03
32. "The Battle Begins"   0:17
33. "The Vizier Must Die"   0:59
34. "Finish the Vizier"   0:43
35. "Farewell Princess"   3:08
36. "Time Only Knows"   4:20

Reception

 Reception
Review scores
Publication Score
GBA GC PC PS2 Xbox
1UP.com C+[13] A[14] B+[15] A[16] A[17]
Edge 9 of 10[18]
Electronic
Gaming Monthly
9.33 of 10[19] 9.33 of 10[20] 9.33 of 10[21]
Eurogamer 9 of 10[22] 9 of 10[23]
Game Informer 8.25 of 10[24] 9.5 of 10[20] 9.5 of 10[21]
GamePro 4/5 stars[24] 5/5 stars[20] 5/5 stars[21]
GameSpot 7.1 of 10[25] 9 of 10[26] 8.9 of 10[27] 9 of 10[28] 9 of 10[29]
GameSpy 3/5 stars[30] 4/5 stars[31] 4/5 stars[32] 4/5 stars[33] 4.5/5 stars[34]
IGN 7 of 10[35] 9.6 of 10[36] 8.8 of 10[37] 9.6 of 10[38] 9.6 of 10[39]
Play Magazine A[20]
X-Play 5/5 stars[40]
Aggregate scores
GameRankings 72.77%[24] 92.17%[19] 88.54%[41] 91.86%[20] 92.71%[21]
Metacritic 75/100[42] 92/100[43] 89/100[44] 92/100[18] 92/100[45]
Awards
Publication Award
IGN Editors' Choice Award[39][36][38]
Gamespot Editors' Choice Award[29][26][28]
E3 2003 Game Critics Awards Best Action/Adventure Game[46]
2004 Game Developers Choice Awards Excellence in Game Design, Excellence in Programming[47]
Penny Arcade Best Absolutely Everything (Game of the Year 2003)[48]
Electronic Gaming Monthly 2003 Game of the Year

IGN gave the game a 9.6/10 rating and voted it as the PlayStation 2 Game of the Year 2003 thus praising the game for its "intuitive control, stunning atmosphere and satisfyingly clever environmental puzzles," and later concluding it was one of "[their] favorite adventure offerings of all time."[38] GameSpot gave The Sands of Time a score of 9.0/10 "recommend[ing it] wholeheartedly."[28] Zero Punctuation repeatedly mentions the game as a personal favorite, praising the time-control mechanism, platforming, beautiful environments and "really strong characterization" of both the Prince and Farah and only marking it down for repetitive combat mechanisms.[49] GSN Video Games, a short-lived video game show on Game Show Network, even gave the game a Perfect 10.

In general, the game was most often praised for its graphics, the acrobatic combat and platforming, the forgiving and responsive controls, the animation of the Prince, the story, and the time-manipulation abilities of the Dagger.[18] Graphics were received mostly as a positive aspect of the game, with GameSpot saying it had a "beautiful look to it".[28] The Cincinnati Enquirer and Nintendo Power agreed, describing the game as "graceful", "gorgeous", and had "unprecedented animation".[43][50]

The game's average score on review aggregators Metacritic and GameRankings is a 92%, making it one of the best reviewed games for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube.[20][18] Both GamesRadar and IGN placed it in its lists of 100 best games of all time, while ComputerAndVideoGames.com placed it in its list of the 101 best PC games ever. Edge magazine also named it as one of the greatest games of all time.[51]

Film

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is a film loosely based on the game. The film is directed by Mike Newell and stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton, Ben Kingsley, and Alfred Molina. Filming took place in the United Kingdom and Morocco. Prince of Persia was originally scheduled to be released on July 19, 2009, but this was postponed during the first month of shooting to May 28, 2010.[52]

The film was made for Disney by Jerry Bruckheimer's Studios, using the same team behind the Pirates of the Caribbean for the shooting schedule. Despite receiving generally mixed reviews from critics, it was a box office success and became the highest rated live-action movie based on a video game.

References

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