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Prince of Persia (DOS)

Written by  :  Adam Jennings (67)
Written on  :  Jan 10, 2007
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

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Summary

WOW!

The Good

Having only just found the original disk and manual whilst clearing out the attic, all work had to stop for an hour whilst I was whisked back a few years to when I first played this game. Back then it was on an old IBM PC the size of a house with a rather dull CGA, (remember them - only four colours on screen at once - mostly pink, blue and white?), monitor. Most games that I'd seen reviewed in glorious VGA, (even EGA didn't seem quite as bad), none of them really lived up to their promise in CGA; but Prince Of Persia was even glorious in only four colours. The animation was amazing - like nothing we'd ever seen - and the atmosphere was still there ... albeit pink!

Now, playing it on a machine that not only beats the chunky old IBM, but positively smacks it into the ground, sets it on fire and pees on its ashes; the game is still a marvel - and in full colour! The gameplay is still all there, hunting through endless corridors just doesn't get boring as this are so well thought out that you can forgive the game its' repetitive imagery. Even the password protection is imaginative, asking you to drink a potion matching a certain letter from the printed manual - what other game of the time employed such innovative thinking and technical wizardry?

The Bad

Looking back now I realise the limitations of the game - but is that because we've been 'spoilt' by the developments in gaming since then or is it because my tastes in games have changed? Given that I've just spent an hour jumping over falling stone slabs, jabbing wildly at fat guards and plunging to spiky deaths and then felt compelled to come and write this review; I can't really complain that it's the game. So, really this title should be looked back at, remembered in time and taken in context of gaming development. Also, I couldn't get the digitised sound to work on this new machine - really wish I had that back instead of indistinguishable blips from the PC speaker, (I didn't think they were still in PCs these days as I hadn't heard one for so long!).

The Bottom Line

I'd recommend that anyone wanting to get involved with game development take a look at this game - first play it, get the feel of the game, soak up the addictive gameplay. Forgive it it's dated approach and limited graphical outlook and just immerse yourself in the experience. Then go back and look at it form the point of view of a level designer - see how crafty it is, how it pulls you in to the atmosphere of the locations - how it coaxes you to make those jumps that just look way too big. Finally, follow the path of games since then - see the titles that really worked and were an improvement and don't forget to play the titles that didn't work; we can learn much more from our mistakes than we can from our successes.