Prince of Persia Classic - Review

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Alejandra Rangel
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Prince of Persia Classic it's a nice tribute to that pearl of the game that is the Jordan Mechner original. All the additions made by Gameloft to the title, both from an aesthetic and structural point of view, are absolutely not invasive or clumsy. You can see the trace left by the last 3D chapters of the saga, with new moves for the Prince and also an appearance for the famous dark "double" of the protagonist, but it all blends well with the timeless gameplay of the progenitor. The technical realization is excellent, and it is nice to rediscover the pleasure of jumping between platforms, avoiding obstacles and fighting enemies, and also having to repeat the same actions over and over to try to overcome a particularly difficult point, in this return to a archetype of platformers. The biggest flaw is certainly the longevity of the game, which having to end in 60 minutes will certainly not offer many hours of fun, and the incentives to resume it are scarce, beyond the simple pleasure of re-immersing yourself in its particular atmosphere. Finally, the presence of the original game together with the remake would have been appreciated, which was not included due to space problems.
Prince of Persia Classic however, it represents one of the (few) spearheads of the Live Arcade catalog, and more generally an excellent game at an extremely favorable price.



Pro:

  • Excellent technical achievement
  • Gameplay that captivates
  • Very tempting price
Against:
  • Really very short
  • Some unclear dynamics in the fights
  • Absence of the original version of the game

Race against time

The story behind the game is the same as the original: with the good Sultan of Persia far from his land, the evil Vizier has taken control of the palace, and has imprisoned the Princess in her luxurious rooms. This one has an hour to decide her fate: marry the Vizier or die. Obviously, the evil usurper did not calculate the abilities of the man in love with the Princess and aspiring Prince of Persia. The latter was indeed thrown into the dungeon of the palace, but he has every intention of escaping from that place within an hour, reaching the Vizier and fixing him once and for all, subsequently marrying his beloved. The story is therefore the most classic thing there can be in a video game: overcoming obstacles and saving the Princess, but the introduction of the "time" element substantially changes its structure. The hour of time granted to the Princess to decide her fate is in fact a real hour, which is reflected in the playing time. We will therefore have only 60 minutes to complete all levels of Prince of Persia, which pushes us not only to be cautious among the numerous traps scattered throughout the levels and enemies to be faced, but also not to waste any time, and try to perform all the necessary actions in the best way and in the shortest possible time. The original Prince of Persia it is also remembered for its difficult level of difficulty, and this remake, although more polished in its structure, seems to want to re-propose its characteristic. The interventions of the developers, however, are noted, aimed at making the game more accessible to the public, with also appropriate choices: one of these is the presence of checkpoints within the level, which restarting from an intermediate point, in case of death of the character, avoid having to start all the actions from the beginning of the scheme.



Traps and duels

The structure has remained practically the same, from 1989 to today. For those unfamiliar with the original, it is an integrated platform game with several white weapon fights, even if most of the gameplay is still based on the careful management of the character's movements between platforms. These rise to a decidedly more "physical" role compared to normal platformers (like Mario or Sonic, to say): they are structures on which it is possible to climb, descend or crash, designed in such a way as to require the player to have a more "acrobatic" approach , compared to what happens in the most classic exponents of the genre. In Prince of Persia complete mastery of the character and perfect control of his various movements is essential. For a jump to be successful, for example, it is necessary to calculate exactly the distance between the platforms, and to choose the best run-up to make, or to decide whether to jump from a standing still, with less momentum but without the danger that inertia could entail. too long a landing. To complicate the already difficult walk of the Prince between the hanging platforms, there are floors and ceilings that collapse, traps of various kinds such as spikes coming out of the pavement, movable and assorted blades. Although it is not difficult to identify the threats and how to avoid them, the fact of having to finish the game within 60 minutes keeps the player under constant pressure, forcing him to decide quickly what action to take, and carry it out as quickly as possible. The levels are gradually more and more intricate, more complex than those that made up the original game, but the new introduction of the luminous "butterfly" (which can be deactivated), which indicates the way forward, largely simplifies the work of searching for the road. right. It should be noted, however, that each level hides many secrets, such as power ups or energy recharges, which in the long run become absolutely necessary to better face the rest of the game, while always having to deal with the limited time available. .



In Prince of Persia it is essential to have complete mastery of the character and perfect control of his various movements

Traps and duels

Fights are the other pillar on which the gameplay of Prince of Persia. In the first minutes of the game we will pick up a scimitar from the ground, and with it we will have to defeat the numerous guards (human and otherwise) that will stand in front of us. Fights can be extremely frustrating, at least until you understand (at least in part, as some points remain quite obscure) the dynamics. It's all about defense and counterattack: with the right timing, you can dodge and protect yourself from attacks, and then find the right moment to attack and hit your opponent. The first fights are rather flat, but soon the enemies will level up and begin attacking in fast sequences of blows that must be responded to with perfect synchrony. When you get the right sequence of parries and jabs, the fight becomes exhilarating, but often you get a bit of the impression that the game tends to overly complicate things, like when an attack is carried out simultaneously (or even in advance) by the player. compared to the guard, the blow goes in favor of the latter, which happens very often. However, given the relative brevity of the game, they are probably necessary gimmicks to increase the overall difficulty.


A reborn classic

The Gameloft development studio has been known so far, above all, for its titles dedicated to cell phones and mobile platforms, products that notoriously do not involve a huge use of resources as regards the technical sector. However, the team managed to put together a remarkable-looking game by completely rebuilding the look of Prince of Persia and masterfully using 3D without distorting the atmosphere of the original. The visualization is the same as the old progenitor, with levels composed of fixed screens framed from the side, with a strictly 2D structure, and the polygonal graphics rests on this system without distorting or weighing it down. The dungeons and the rooms of the building are embellished by the meticulousness of the details that characterize the scenarios, by the discreet use of lights and by the excellent chromatic choice that helps to reinforce the Thousand and One Nights atmosphere linked to the game. Unfortunately, as was to be expected in 2007, the animations of the Prince no longer arouse the amazement that arose from the movements of the character created in rotoscoping in 1989, but this loss is amply compensated by the prominence that the scenarios have instead acquired: it is impossible not to dwell on the arabesques and the furnishings of some rooms, or admire with pleasure the glimpses of the city illuminated by the sunset, which extends out from the large windows of the building. It is nice to note how, despite the use of 3D, the fidelity to the old graphic setting brings in front of the player the taste of the drawing and of the background detail, purely aesthetic, which is typical of 2D graphics.
Little to say about the audio sector: the music is almost completely absent, except for the excellent remake of the original theme in the menus and in very short sections between the levels or in the rare cut-scenes. Most of the time, just like in the old one Prince of Persia, dominate the environmental sound effects and the various noises caused by the characters such as footsteps, blows and the clash of the blades. Speech is completely absent, even in the intermission phases: a choice in line with the "old school" policy adopted by Gameloft.


Xbox 360 achievements

As a rule for every Live Arcade title, the game contains 12 unlockable achievements, for a total of 200 points that will add up to Gamerscore. Some of these are obtained simply by continuing in the game, defeating bosses or reaching particular points, while for others specific actions will be required, such as "killing a guard by making him fall into a trap". In general, also given the (relative) brevity of the game, it will not be too difficult to unlock all the objectives, for which it will still be required to retrace the game several times, even once finished.

In the history of video games, among all the pearls of the past, there are some that shine in a particular way, for the emotions they gave by playing them and the memories they bring back to the surface. Prince of Persia is undoubtedly one of these: Jordan Mechner's game has remained imprinted in the imagination of the videogame public, inserting new elements in the dynamics of the platform and becoming a cornerstone of the genre. Back in 1989, the Prince of Persia made his first appearance on Apple II, being subsequently converted for a plethora of different platforms, practically all those on the market at the time, with diversified adaptations according to the different potential of the hardware. The key points of the game were the particular atmosphere created by the setting of a Thousand and One Nights of ancient Persia, a rather unusual element at the time; the avant-garde technical realization and the particular game dynamics, which proposed a more “acrobatic” approach to the normal platform, also combining sections with white weapon clashes. The first impression, faced with the graceful movements of the Prince on the screen, was to think that this character had a particular vitality, and it was a real pleasure to see him running between the platforms, jumping and climbing, with animations that at the time were unattainable, obtained through the rotoscoping technique, until then used only to obtain certain effects in animated cinema. In fact, the story tells how, to draw all the movements of the protagonist, Jordan Mechner had filmed his brother running and jumping between improvised platforms for hours, then tracing each frame on a computer and obtaining a faithful copy of a human being in digital.
This Prince of Persia Classic of Gameloft, published by Ubisoft, is presented as a real tribute to the original: abandoned for a moment its now normal entirely three-dimensional structure, the Prince of Persia returns to play its original role, in a 2D platform, even if made with polygonal graphics.

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