DescriptionWhile the Sultan of Persia is fighting a war in a foreign country, his Grand Vizier Jaffar orchestrates a coup d'état. His way to the throne lies through the Sultan's lovely daughter. Jaffar kidnaps her and threatens to kill her if she refuses to marry him. Meanwhile, the man the Princess loves is thrown into the dungeon. He has only one hour to escape from his prison, defeat the guards on his way, and stop Jaffar before the terrible marriage takes place.
Prince of Persia is a 2D platformer that is commonly regarded as a progenitor of the cinematic platform genre. Rather than following the more common jump-and-run mechanics, it focuses on careful advancement through fairly complex levels, emphasizing the protagonist's vulnerability and survival aspect. Rotoscoping technique is used to give more realism to the animation of the characters' movements.
The protagonist must avoid deadly traps, solve some simple jumping and environmental puzzles (such as stepping on pressure plates to raise portcullis), and engage in sword fights with the guards. The player character has an infinite amount of lives, but has to restart at the beginning of a level each time he dies, and must complete the game within an hour. The hero starts with three units of health, which can be replenished with small health potions or permanently increased with large jars.
The Game Boy Color and SNES versions of the game feature additional levels and new enemies. The Genesis version has a new intro, an altered set of graphics and four new levels.
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AnimationsThe animations were modeled from live video. In particular, the Prince climbing onto a ledge was spliced from two different takes: Jordan's brother pulling himself up a ledge to his chest, and a reversed clip of his brother on top of the ledge climbing down. The technique use to animate the characters is called Rotoscoping. It was also used in one of Mechner's other games, Karateka.
Commodore 64 versionAccording to the Prince of Persia Unofficial Website, a Commodore 64 version was not released at time. There was a preview created that played the theme and showed some scenes but the game never emerged. It is unknown why. The Commodore 64 port was at last made by an independent coder in 2011. Information is available at popc64.blogspot.com
Development and releaseAn excerpt taken from the, as of 2012, defunct official Prince of Persia 3D web site http://www.pop3d.com/
Today, several dozen artists and programmers are involved in the creation of a computer game. But in the 1980's, computer games were normally created almost entirely by one person. And for Prince of Persia that person was Jordan Mechner, a then 25 year old recent college grad. Jordan created the story, characters, and levels for Prince of Persia. He programmed the game and drew the graphics. And when Jordan needed help, he didn't go far from home. His dad composed the original music. And his brother served as the Motion Study actor for the Prince. Truly a labor of love, Prince of Persia took nearly 4 years to be completed.
ManualThe manual for Macintosh/IBM release of the game had a figure of Prince in the right bottom corner of each spread. If you flip through the book, Prince would jump.
References to the gamePrince of Persia was alluded to in Episode 705 (Escape from the BronxMystery) of the TV show Science Theater 3000. During an underground chase scene, Tom Servo quips: "It looks like Prince of Persia."
SNES versionThe North American Super NES release was censored --- a scene found in the Japanese version's introduction sequence showing the hero being tortured is missing from the US version. As a result, the music loses sync with what is happening on-screen.
Source codeOn April 17, 2012, Jordan Mechner released the source code of the Apple II version. You can find it here.
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Rola (6369) added Prince of Persia (Sharp X68000) on Feb 02, 2012
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