Anyone remember the original Prince of Persia way back when MS DOS was the way you used a computer? Yeah I knew someone with such a computer and the only game I ever remember on that thing was Prince of Persia. It used rotoscoping for the characters, and as a game was massively influential in such games as Another World (Yes, that’s right I used the proper name, what of it!?) and mpersonal favourite game of all time Flashback. God I love that game.
Prince of Persia is scarily old. It first released way back in 1989, but was ported to what seems like every single system that was ever created known to mankind. Or it just seemed like it back in the Wild West days of gaming, if something was big, they damn well slapped that thing on anything they could.
The gameplay behind Prince of Persia is really simple too. You have a time limit to basically run through a giant palace, avoiding surprising clever traps like spikes that seem to know when you’re nearby. Kill a fair few guards who, again, somehow got through the traps themselves. Avoid falling floors and ceilings which raises serious health and safety concerns about that building and its maintenance. Something is seriously wrong with that place and I’m now wondering if there’s more to this story than meets the eye. Like, maybe you are an engineer whom, in order to get the place back up to legal standards of safety, Jaffer (he’s the bad guy) kidnaps your wife or girlfriend and that time limit is how long until the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) turns up to close the place down and you were supposed to fix the problems before then, but instead you go after Jaffer to save your wife or girlfriend.
So anyway it’s a good game. Incredibly difficult unless you know every inch of the twelve levels. There are a lot of hidden areas with items you need to memorise and then there’s all the enemies. It’s definitely not a game for anyone not willing to put in the time to learn it, that’s for sure.
Naturally the game spawned a sequel several years later and though was a big success, it does seem to have been forgotten over the intervening years. It’s also interesting to note that unlike the first game, Prince of Persia 2 did not get the same level as ports. It actually only got ported to three other systems after the initial MS DOS release.
Anyway, there’s quite a few years gap until Prince of Persia 3D came out at the very end of the millennium and I don’t remember much about this game. I do however remember the box art and that’s because I owned it back in the day. I’m not sure if me not remembering the game says something about it being a bad game so I’m moving on. This is the point where the releases start to ramp up. This is the moment Ubisoft take over the franchise and begin a long line of games beginning with The Sands of Time.
Unfortunately for the Prince of Persia franchise, Ubisoft evolved a planned entry into what became Assassin’s Creed which arguably is the publisher’s biggest on going series of games to date. This does bring me around to the good news, and is actually why I decided to write this article. Back in 2020 during the Ubisoft Forward event, a remake of Sands of Time was revealed. The problem is, the game looked absolutely garbage. The backlash was big enough for the game to essentially go dark and miss its initial release date. Now I’m 2023, it has emerged that The Sands of Time remake has been totally scrapped and is being restarted in a totally different development studio within Ubisoft. I’m still not sure if that’s good news or not. Guess we will have to see how it plays out when it gets a reveal. Whenever that happens.
But wait, there’s more! Today, strangely before Ubisoft do their own event, they announced another game in the Prince of Persia franchise. It’s called The Lost Crown. This entry appears to be going back to being 2D only it has the overall feel of the Ubisoft era 3D games. I’m very curious to see how this game turns out when it apparently releases January 2024.