The Sultan of Persia is off waging war in far off lands and he – being the big dope that he is – leaves the evil vizier Jaffar in charge. Seeing as he’s evil and the Sultan is away, the vizier hatches a scheme to either marry the Sultan’s daughter within an hour or kill her for her impudence. This is where the titular prince – really a Persian commoner – comes in. See, the player character and the princess are in love, and Jaffar has thrown you into the castle’s dungeon. If you can make it through all 14 levels of the castle within an hour the princess will be saved. Along the way you’ll encounter guards, spike traps, slice traps, collapsing floor panels, and challenging jumps. If this all sounds familiar that’s because it is. Prince of Persia Classic is a graphical update to Jordan Mechner’s 1989 PC classic, and it brings with it all the good and bad aspects of the original.
Those of you that played the PC version already know whether you’ll enjoy the 360 remake. If dungeon running was fun for you in 1989, it will be fun today, too. If the controls turned you off and the combat was too hard then there’s no reason to come back. The prince still can’t stop on a dime and he’s not terribly handy with a sword. After all, those guards have probably trained with their weapons, and you just found yours in the dungeon.
Many gamers will complain about Prince of Persia Classic‘s controls – claiming that they feel loose and that it’s difficult to make the prince do what you want. The prince controls just fine, assuming you understand that you’ll need to think a few seconds ahead and have excellent reflexes. The prince takes a second to stop, and it’s not due to a programming flaw; it’s a design decision to make the game feel realistic. People can’t go from a full sprint to a dead stop at the edge of a hole. In combat, the prince has a scant two moves: parry and attack. Parries will deflect any enemy blow assuming you start in time. Combat is difficult, but it’s entirely possible to complete the game without getting hit or avoiding combat.
Prince of Persia Classic is definitely worth your time and money. It’s short, but it’s designed to be played repeatedly. And you’ll need to in order to fully appreciate just how fluidly the prince can move and how quickly each level can be cleared. For those that enjoy additional challenges there are nine elixirs of life to be found (each adds an additional hit point to your initial three) and there’s an achievement for completing the game without dying. Prince of Persia Classic is fun, beautiful, and it has a fitting soundtrack. If you can adapt to playing a game from another generation, then Prince of Persia is a no-brainer, but if you can’t adjust to the controls and don’t really like a challenge then Prince of Persia Classic isn’t for you.