Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
The Sultan of Persia has left the country, seeking to bring his own kind of scimitar-related justice to the heathen that dare inhabit the same world as him. He's left his trusted aide, Jaffar in charge of the country while he’s out slaying people. Unfortunately, Jaffar isn't the trustworthy politician and trusted companion that the Sultan thought he was. Indeed, he is in fact a megalomaniacal madman out to seize Persia’s reigns of power. In order to carry out this out "legally" he plans to marry the Sultan's daughter and then take over using the privileges of her birthright!
As the husky voice-over at the beginning of Knight Rider used to say, "One man can make a difference!" and that particular individual turns out to be a lowly peasant worker who catches wind of Jaffar’s fiendish plot and decides to take him on single-handedly!
This is all an excuse for ten levels’ worth of platform-related mayhem, as you control the hero as he progresses through the palace slapping Jaffar's henchmen about and working his way towards the final confrontation with the twisted madman himself!
However, luck isn’t on your side. You start the game captured by Jaffar’s minions and thrown into the deepest, dankest dungeon in the land! Can you escape, find a sword and then rescue the Princess from Jaffar's perverted clutches? Can you stop Jaffar becoming the Prince of Persia?
The most striking part of Prince of Persia is the outstanding animation of your character and the range of actions he performs. For example, he has two types of a jump: a simple leap and a running jump. The latter enables him to spring across larger distances. Holding the button down during a jump readies our hero to grab hold of any ledges he might pass by on his descent. Other moves, like sneaking through spike fields and jumping up to grab onto other platforms are also available.
Once the player has located his trusty sword, he can pull it out at will and indulge in some swordplay with Jaffar's twisted minions. Unfortunately, only two moves are available. A good thrust is just the business for cutting up any opponent, while the parry option checks any attack from your adversary. Mastering the use of your sword is essential to progress through the game.
Not a lot of people know this but there are many secret rooms hidden away in Prince of Persia. Parts of Jaffar’s palace have a false ceiling that gives way if you poke it a bit. Just jump up and touch the ceiling to reveal the false tiles. Once you have gained access to the secret rooms, look out for life-prolonging potions.
If you like the look of what you see here, you might be interested to know that Prince of Persia has been converted to other consoles. A Gameboy version is currently available that looks and plays just like the original version! Currently in production is a Super NES version. This looks like packing in even better graphics along with more superior gameplay. Keep your eyes adhered to our news pages for more information.
Dotted around Jaffar’s palace are various potions just waiting for our weary hero to consume. But watch out, because some potions are poisonous! However, keep a look out for the good potions. Some of these just increase the energy level of our hero. Others actually increase the size of his energy bar, enabling him to take more damage! Hurrah!
The hero ponders his next move during level one.
There are many perilous leaps in store during this game!
Many pressure pads are in evidence. This one opens the door in this room.
Surely he won't make that leap!
Clambering up to a new platform.
Level three (pictured) is the first real challenge in the game. Are you up to it?
Larger falls deplete your energy.
A fight to the death with one of Jaffar's henchmen in Prince of Persia. Only two moves, thrust and parry are available for use.
Although it looks like just another platform game, Prince of Persia takes a fresh angle on this popular formula. Instead of the usual arcade-style running and jumping about, the gameplay is fairly sedate and, for want of a better description, far more realistic than anything I’ve played before. You have to think about where you're jumping to, whether to haul yourself up a level or cautiously drop down a floor. The realism is further enhanced by the outstanding animation. The movement of the main character is truly brilliant and is easily the most realistic I've seen in a console game - this is a game you really have to see to appreciate. The only thing I was slightly disappointed with was the combat - it's all a bit weak and the parrying and thrusting could have been made far more realistic. But really that's a minor niggle, and it doesn't stop this being an essential purchase for platform arcade adventure fans.
I used to be a real Prince of Persia fan. I had the PC version and many hours were spent playing it (when I should have been writing the mag!). This Master System version is truly excellent. It manages to combine all of the superb graphics and the stylish gameplay of the original computer versions, making for a game that's very enjoyable to play and extremely tough to beat. It's a bit difficult to play at first. The controls seem unresponsive and tricky, but once you've sussed out how to use them properly, you'll be stunned by the sheer amount of things you can do in the game. My one moan is that sword-fighting is not quite as responsive as the computer version. This makes parrying your opponent's thrusts very difficult. But apart from that niggle, I can report that Prince of Persia is an excellent conversion and it's the best thing I've played on the Master System this month. Go for it!