Aug 15 2009

Prince of Persia

zorro @ 1:23 am

Prince of Persia Amiga CoverPrince of Persia was released on the PC at a time when gaming was in its infancy on that system.  People had only just worked out that it could do more than just accounting and word-processing.

Designer Jordan Mechner, having just completed Karateka began work on another game for Broderbund.  This one based on the strong animation and the powerful but simple storyline of his previous Apple II hit.

While making Karateka, Mechner had watched videos of martial arts masters but now he immersed himself in swordplay.  Watching movies with Errol Flynn et al proved inspirational.  He persuaded his brother to jump around the flat, swing from objects and fall, all the while taking photographs.  They didn’t have scanners in those days and so Mechner used tracing paper stuck to a monitor to transfer the images from photo to screen.  Even Photoshop doesn’t have a filter which covers this method ;)

Whatever it was worked, but since it was launched on the Apple II (in the midst of that format’s death-throes), it did not have the kind of impact it should until it hit the PC, Amiga and Mac.

Prince of Persia - Swordplay‘Twas the swordplay that made it for me though. If only the designers of Diablo had thought to look at something like this.  With the number of buttons available to PCs and consoles these days, it seems odd that the lunge and parry two-button mechanism from PoP didn’t make it into their game, yet made sword-fighting in a mid-eighties platformer so brilliant!

Prince of Persia - Ow!If the Prince died, you usually winced.  Graphic and sudden, death in PoP was always just around the corner.  Sprinting along a corridor, you smoothly leap the gap, only to have spikes shoot up in front of you.  But by far the coolest thing was getting your enemies to fall for the same traps.Keep pushing a sword fighting opponent back and ‘SCHWICK!’

Prince of Persia - Impaled!One of the reviews below describes Prince of Persia as “the Star Wars of its field” and certainly this well-crafted, richly told and action-packed game is high on the list of Best Action Game of All Time.

Released on many formats including PC, Amiga, Atari ST, Gameboy, SNES, NES, Megadrive / Genesis, Mega-CD, Turbografx 16, Apple II, ZX Spectrum, Macintosh, Sega Master System and even mobile phones!

“4 out of 4 stars… Incredibly realistic… The adventurer character actually looks human as he runs, jumps, climbs and hangs from ledges.”

-Computer Entertainer

“A tremendous achievement… Mechner has crafted the smoothest animation ever seen in a game of this type.

“Prince of Persia is the Star Wars of its field.”

-Computer Gaming World

“A masterpiece of animation, vivid action and daunting puzzles.”

-Computer Gaming World

“An unmitigated delight… comes as close to (perfection) as any arcade game has come in a long time… What makes this game so wonderful (am I gushing?) is that the little onscreen character does not move like a little onscreen character — he moves like a person.”

-Nibble

“A genuine contender for the greatest action game ever.”

-PC Review

“…Jordan Mechner [is] on my list of Demigods Posing as Game Designers.”

-Zach Meston, Video Games Magazine

Prince of Persia - Precarious swashbucklingPrince of Persia: The Original Adventure

You’ve won the heart of the Sultan’s lovely daughter. But in so doing, you have made a powerful enemy – the Grand Vizier Jaffar. On his orders, you’re arrested and thrown into the Sultan’s dungeons. As for the Princess, Jaffar gives her a choice, and one hour to decide: Marry him — or die. All hopes rest on you.

To save your beloved princess, you must battle ever more skilful swordsmen, and explore a labyrinth loaded with deathtraps.

Prince of Persia 2 - New opponentsPrince of Persia 2: The Shadow & The Flame

He’s back! The evil Jaffar assumes your identity, steals your beloved Princess, and casts you out of the palace as a beggar. As you flee across rooftops with palace guards in relentless pursuit, you know not who your real enemy is, or how to defeat him, but sense that what lies ahead will be your greatest adventure yet.

  • More lethal deathtraps, maddening mazes and riddles.
  • Five exotic environments.
  • 15 hair-raising levels of increasing challenge.

Requirements – For DOS: MS/PC DOS 3.1 or higher, 10 MHz 286 or faster, 640 K of RAM (digital sounds require 2 MB), VGA/MCGA, CD-ROM drive, 6.5 MB of hard disk space, Keyboard, Joystick. PoP2 Sound Support: Sound Blaster/ Sound Blaster Pro, Pro Audio Spectrum, Tandy Digital Sound (DAC), IBM PS/1 Option Card, Roland MT-32/ CM-32L/ LAPC-1, General MIDI, Disney Sound Source, Adlib. PoP1 Sound Support: Sound Blaster, Pro Audio Spectrum, Thunderboard, Tandy 1000SL, 1000 TL, 2500 XL, PS/1 Option Card, Roland MT-32, Disney Sound Source, Adlib.

Reviews:

Computer Gaming World, November 1994

“For many moons did the Prince labour in the desert sands of IBM screens. Now, cast out as a beggar, he must once again sharpen his scimitar and rescue the Princess from dangers sure to befall her in the lands of Mac. Let him not be swayed from his noble purpose by the lush surroundings, for the journey has lost none of its many terrible dangers. Among the 15 levels of non-stop action are secret doors hewn from solid rock, animated skeletons hidden in dark, dank caverns, and disembodied heads of the purest evil.”

“Bewitched, you will find yourself hacking and leaping through the fiendishly difficult levels until you have mastered them, knowing that all the while, the time to rescue the princess is running out… and the Evil Vizier is laughing.”

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