Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 11/18/03 | Genre: Action
Just a glimpse of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time during E3 2003 lead me to a conclusion that most other journalists also came to... That is, Prince of Persia was one of the best games shown at E3 2003 and that it would become one of the best games released in 2003. We were right.
First off, this title is coming from the same developer that brought us the incredible Splinter Cell. These folks know exactly what it takes to develop a AAA title and their experience pays off again with The Sands of Time. You control a young prince who travels with his father and their attacking army to take over another nation. To prove his worth to his father, the young prince begins to explore the castle and steals the dagger of time from deep within the palace. During their victory celebration at a neighboring palace, the young prince is persuaded by the vizier to use the dagger of time in an hourglass. Once this is done all heck breaks loose and practically everyone but the young prince a beautiful woman are transformed into hideous monsters. This includes even the father of the young prince. Although he feels compelled to grieve, he doesn't have time and must try to escape this madness and put an end to stop the traitorous vizier who planned this all along.
Since this series was originally released a long time ago, very few gamers may have had the opportunity to experience the magic this series has brought to the console world. The development team worked very closely with the original creator to ensure that the ideas in the game were true to what he created the series to be. And don't worry, if you haven't played the past games, you will not be missing out on anything. The game is very easy to pick up, perform a variety of moves, and very hard to put down.
The gameplay in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is a mix of action and adventure. In the parts that are adventure, you have to navigate the young prince through a series of rooms to the exit. This requires you to do things like run across walls, leap to a pole, spin around the pole and throw yourself to a ledge that you can just barely reach. However, sometimes without the use of a good strategy guide, like the awesome BradyGames official Strategy Guide for Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, the rooms are a lot of trial an error until you figure out how to get through them. But if you make a mistake, the young price can utilize the Sands of Time to move time backwards and try the task again. For example, if you miss-time a jump and fall to your death, you can use the Sands of Time to go back to before you made the jump and try it again. But you have a limited supply of the Sands of Time and you can only refill it at a few places. So be careful and use it sparingly if at all possible.
Besides the puzzles involved in each room, you will normally run into a series of enemies to defeat and traps to get through. Traps are usually fairly easy to get through but you may have to watch them and make a plan to get around them. However the combat is usually pretty easy until you get to a large group of foes. One problem I have with the combat system is that in order to kill an enemy, you have to stab them with the Sands of Time Dagger. Doing this will cause the young prince to flip over or perform some sort of animation while stabbing them. During this animation and while you are trying to stab them. A nearby enemy can take a slice at you and interrupt your animation. This results in the enemy you were trying to destroy regaining their senses and causing you to kill them all over again. It also takes away part of your precious life. And since the only way to get life back is by drinking water from a fountain or by continuing a saved game, your life points are precious. It will only take a few cheap shots by monsters for you to get annoyed.
However, for the most part combat works very well and the combos are a good mix of button combinations instead of mindless button-smashing (which sometimes works well in this game).
Each time our young prince gets through a room, he will see a vision from the sands of time. This is played out in a cinematic movie and shows a brief glimpse of what is coming up ahead for the prince. I really found that this helped draw players into the world and get a sense that they really do have the Sands of Time dagger and it allows them to unlock the future and show glimpses of it.
While there is some challenge involved in getting through the rooms and solving a few of the puzzles, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time should last around 10 hours. However, this title is one of the most enjoyable and thought out titles in recent years. With an excellent musical score, action, adventure, and some thinking involved, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is a solid title you owe to yourself to pick up.