Prince of Persia
A port of the ground-breaking game of the same name. The original on other platforms was released by Brøderbund and designed by Jordan Mechner. Prince of Persia was released on a wide range of platforms, including the Amiga, Apple II, Apple Macintosh, DOS, NES, Game Boy, SNES and Sega Genesis.
The game was played in real time. You played the intrepid adventurer and had an hour to save the Princess from the evil Sultan before she was forced to marry him or die.
The animation was one of the first of it’s kind as Jordan had animated the movement of the characters using a technique called rotoscoping. Jordan filmed his brother acting out the required moves, and used this footage as a reference for the animation frames. The three reviews have not been tampered with to reflect this, and as such reference the game as being hand animated.
Included temporarily, is the freeware demo that was released to promote the game. When you press I, you will see an intro.
Crash #91 - page 57
Well, Prince Of Persia was the surprise all formats hit of 1990 or so. So, unsurprisingly it only arrived on the SAM in about 1992. But this is typical and we SAM owners have come to expect things to be late.
It revolves round the plot of an evil Arabian bloke called Jaffar kidnapping a princess, and saying that he’ll kill her in an hours time or something, this, as with the plots of many games, is completely irrelevent and the game boils down to jumping over pits, dodging visciously sharp blades and stabbing various people to death. And as platformers go, it’s pretty playable. The thing that made it popular in the first place though was the animation.
It is SUPERB, the graphics for all versions where drawn from Arabian type films to give a really human fluidity to all the movements of the main character.
He skids, runs, jumps, and is impaled on spikes in a really humanoid manner. The game must have loads on animation, in fact it has twice as many frames as the Atari ST version.
In fact, rumour is, the graphics where converted from the PC version by copying them down, pixel by pixel, onto graph paper, then reassembling them on the SAM.
Let me tell you, graph paper is a bugger and a half to design graphics on, I know from bitter experience…
Anyway, the game. Well it’s played over about 12 levels, each one being quite difficult, and taking quite a bit of planning ahead to solve, as trigger pads around the map open up previously shut doors allowing access further into the level.
The goal of the first level is to get the sword, thus enabling you to kill the guard and get to the exit to the next level. It’s actually quite hard and it can be annoying falling to your death because of a slightly miss-timed jump.
But once you get through the first level, you make gradual progress, and the learning curve is quite smooth up to about level seven (whereupon it gets unfeasibly hard and evil), each level bringing a new magic potion, enemy or surprise into play.
It plays alot like a story as, in between levels you see the captured princess crying, or talking to her pet mouse or something. This is a nice touch, and, occasionally the princess’s actions have a direct affect on the level. Though I won’t spoil the pleasant surprise.
So, how do I rate it…
|Graphics||87%||Very nice, and beautifully animated. Backgrounds are a little bit bland, though.|
|Addictivity||85%||The gradual progress keeps you coming back…|
|Instant Appeal||92%||Very good, the plot element is quite grabbing.|
|Sound||80%||Nice rousing music on intro screen, good spot FX too.|
|Overall||83%||A very playable game, which maybe gets too hard.|
Persia is a town on the verge of total chaos. People are running through the streets with massive sandwich boards stating the end of the world is nigh, and everyone is busy preparing their hangman’s nooses for… well, you know. And no! It isn’t because they’ve run out of Turkish Delight (ha, ha) or a more realistic reason like Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush has ended. Nope! Simply put, the Grand Vizier (eh?) of the King of Persia has stolen the reins of power, and told the King where to go. Because you’re an outspoken sort of chap, you end up being chucked into the deepest, darkest dungeon of the King. You also have a thing for the King’s Daughter, but we won’t go into that soft stuff…
Your beloved Princess has been locked away herself in the highest dungeon the evil Vizier bloke could put her, leaving you with at least something to aim for in your quest to overthrow the Vizier and snog the Princess. Meanwhile, the Vizier is busy trying to persuade the Princess to marry him. She has one hour to decide, or she dies! Personally, I would rather go home and play on my SAM, but looks like I have to be the hero - again!
Playing the hero, you have to negotiate a network of 13 huge dungeons, jumping huge caverns, dodging falling ceiling and wonky floors, opening doors, fighting skeletons and guards, and snogging the Princess! The fighting bit of the action has to begin when you find a handy sword at the other end of the first level. It’s no good fighting the guards without a sword - though it does look funny when you try to jump over them!
Once this is done, you have to find the exit and escape the level, each one loading quickly from disk. As the levels progress, there are more and more things to fight and avoid, including bad potions (you can’t see that they’re bad, ho, ho), massive falls, metal blades - which you have to time precisely, skeletons which are indestructible - except for a nasty fall, and even a fight with yourself! Confused? I know I was! When you fight, fall too far, etc. you may lose one of your three energy points. These can be replenished by collecting potions, and you are against a one hour time limit.
Well, what can I say? Chris White has worked a rather fine miracle in programming Prince. The animation of the main character is faultless, and is as realistic as you can get. Okay, so there is very little detail to the main character, but when he’s moving, you won’t seem to notice it! The game is a tad hard to get into first off, but soon you’ll be playing with the best of them! In short - if you want to be impressed to the hilt then get Prince. You will NOT regret it!
Your Sinclair review, (Recovered) courtesy of the YS Rock 'n' Roll Years YS69
Prince Of Persia (SAM) Domark £14.95 Sep 1991
Gordon Bennett!! Look what's just dropped through the shed's letterbox! A blue 3.5" disk with the letters SAM on it! Let's have a look. It is! It's Prince Of Persia (and I'm going to review it!)
No doubt if you're a proud owner of those posh 16-bit machines you'll know all about this game, but for others I'd better fill in the gaps. Basically, Prince of Persia came out on the Amiga and ST around Christmas and was generally declared to be the best platform game anybody had seen in ages. It appeared a couple of months later on the 8-bit Amstrad (looking just as juicy, sort of) but nobody dreamt they'd ever see it on the Speccy. And to date they haven't been proved wrong! Obviously, those clever folks over at SAM HQ were quick to realise this, and decided to upstage our humble rubber-keyed chum by doing a really prestige conversion job on it. And after all the problems they've had trying to get their blue and white baby taken seriously, this might just do the trick. It really is terrific stuff.
So, erm, let's delve into the mysteries of the East, shall we?
Sultans Of Swing
Right, the plot. You play the Prince himself, who's sitting at the bottom of a huge castley-dungeon type thing. Your girlfriend's been kidnapped, and being held at the top of one of the towers. So you've got to work your way up the levels until you reach (and, I suppose, rescue) her.
So how come it's so classy then? Well, for a start there's the animation - you've never seen anything like it. Your little chap rushes around in such an amazingly life-like manner that it looks there's a real blokey dashing around the screen. His hands fly about and his body jerks as he runs around - and when he climbs up onto ledges you can see him putting his weight onto his elbows to lift himself up!
But it's not just the graphics that make PoP so good - you'll soon get hooked exploring the castle, trying to find your way around all the corridors to get to the next level. A quick hint - the first thing to do is find your sword. Once you've got that you stand a better chance at defending yourself against all the baddies who jump out at you, looking for a slice of your flesh (see below).
Wandering around the castle is a mapper's dream. There are five levels [Ummm... 12 or 13 if I remember correctly... - NickH], and each is a different floor with scret rooms and potions to be drunk (most of these restore strength, but be on your guard - a couple will make you very ill indeed!). Just to make things a bit more difficult there are gates (which operate by pressure pads on the floor nearby) and snapping guillotines (you're going to need timing here). As you get further into the castle things get more complicated and a lot harder. You'll be lucky to have any hair on your head left by Level Three!
What else? Oh yes, the sound's also pretty amazing. Weird Eastern-type tunes flow out (and there are some fabby sound effects), so it's all a million miles from the standard Speccy beeps and burps.
There's no doubt about it - Prince Of Persia is very difficult, very addictive, and an awful lot of fun. And (sorry to go on about it) the graphics are so brill that I simply got to give it a Megagame. Goodness knows it deserves it (just as the SAM deserves such a corking game to show off all it's jolly clever talents). Heartily recommended.
OH NO! HERE COME THE BADDIES!
There are basically two sorts of evil baddies in PoP. The first lot appear throughout the game and are swarthy, baggy-trousered cut-throats straight out of Arabian Nights. They look as though they smell a lot and would stick their swords right through you as soon as look at you. Just approach them, press Fire, and a gleaming sabre will magically appear in your hand to thrust and parry with. These swordfighting bits add a brilliant element of excitement and skill to the game - they're done so well you actually feel you're learning to fence! (Your opponents get more and more difficult to beat, so you've really got to stay on your toes and get better all the time.)
On later levels you bump into a couple of horrible skeletons. Instead of just lying there doing nothing (like real skeletons do) they attack you in rather a vicious manner. And guess what? You can't kill them! Eek! All you can do is get them to any nearby high ledges and push them off (which is easier said than done!).
THE START OF SOMETHING BIG?
We've seen quite a few Coupe-specific titles before, but this is SAM Computer's first real tip for the top. So what about their other plans?
Well, the big news is Lemmings. They haven't signed a deal with publishers Psygnosis yet, but if they pull it off (which they think they will) they'll have the biggest-selling (and most critically acclaimed) 16-bit game of the year on their hands. The game is a totally original puzzler (and cute to boot) in which you've got to steer hundreds of little, er, lemmings through various assault courses against a time limit, employing their various talents of bridge-building and digging (etc) as you go.
The company is also having "discussions" with the Codies, so we may well see Dizzy popping up on a SAM screen soon too.
Life Expectancy: 88
Instant Appeal: 84
Top-notch platform slash-'em-up, with incredible animation. As good a reason as any to buy a Coupe.