Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

aka: Bosi Wangzi: Shi zhi Sha, Princ Persii: Peski Vremeni, Prince of Persia 4, Prince of Persia: Jikan no Suna, Prince of Persia: Las Arenas del Tiempo, Prince of Persia: Le Sabbie del Tempo, Prince of Persia: Les Sables du Temps, Prince of Persia: Piaski Czasu, Prince of Persia: Písky času
Moby ID: 11185
Xbox Specs

Description official descriptions

The King and the Prince of Persia are besieging the Maharajah's castle to plunder the treasures hidden inside. In order to impress his father, the Prince sneaks inside to recover the magical Dagger of Time. He quickly learns that this dagger has the ability to control time. The malevolent Vizier has other plans for the dagger, however, and tricks the Prince into unlocking a mysterious secret of the Dagger that causes the King and many of his subjects to be turned into sand zombies. Now, the Prince must figure out what has happened and try to set things right again.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is an action game with platforming and puzzle-solving elements. It updates many of the gameplay concepts from the previous games, and brings them into a fully three-dimensional world. The Prince will engage in sword fighting, wall climbing, spike dodging, puzzle solving, and more in his quest. The Prince also carries the Dagger of Time, which allows him to unleash several magical powers. The most important of these powers is the ability to reverse time. This ability allows the player to reverse their actions when they lead the Prince to his death.


  • Принц Персии: Пески Времени - Russian spelling
  • 波斯王子:时之砂 - Simplified Chinese spelling
  • 波斯王子:遺忘之砂 - Traditional Chinese spelling

Groups +




See any errors or missing info for this game?

You can submit a correction, contribute trivia, add to a game group, add a related site or alternate title.

Credits (PlayStation 2 version)

250 People (223 developers, 27 thanks) · View all

Creative Director
Lead Programmer
Lead Level Designer
Art Director
Animation Art Director
Art Production Manager
Animation Production Manager
Sound Designer
Game Designer
Creative Consultant
Associate Producer
Level Design Team
Programing Team
[ full credits ]



Average score: 91% (based on 115 ratings)


Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 236 ratings with 10 reviews)

Such a great game crippled by such a simple flaw

The Good
Once again you take on the role of the Prince of Persia, but instead of forging though foreboding dungeons as then the original classics, he begins the story as a young warrior that's ready to prove himself in battle with a single goal in mind, to win glory by raiding the treasure vault. Risking death traversing the decaying ruins he only finds an odd dagger, but blinded by pride he claims his prize. However, the purpose of the dagger remains unknown to the naive Prince till the Vizier tricks him into unlocking the hourglass vessel that entraps the Sands of Time, turning all within the palace into zombies under its control save three souls, the Prince, the fallen Maharajah's daughter Farah, and the Vizier. Now the Prince must find a way to undo what has been done and somehow the dagger is the key.

The passages through the palace are blocked with fallen walls, puzzling diabolical traps and hoards of sand creatures. While this task may seem daunting to ordinary men, the Prince's blazing speed and agility allow him to not only leap and swing among the ruins, but run across the walls along deep chasms, climb up walls to unreachable ledges and levers, or even leap back and forth between them up to death defying heights. (As a word of warning, he can't climb walls very well when his feet are wet. Once he's out of the water give his feet a moment to dry.) His range of acrobatic skills are crucial to beating the puzzling paths created fallen ruins and clockwork traps set to kill all who pass. Many of the locked doors will begin to close as soon as they open, so he has to be quick and cunning to dodge the spinning and swinging spikes and blades in time. All of this may seem to be to much for one man, but by mastering a few simple actions the Prince can apply the needed move given the situation and direction he's traveling.

Luckily Farah, the one of the few real characters he meets, decides to aid him in his journey to the recover the hourglass, but only after saving her life. Soon the Prince realizes that her intelligence and petite figure are invaluable to beating many of the puzzles. However, the secrets she hides leads to distrust as well.

Traps are not the only thing that test the Prince. The former inhabitants of the palace have be transformed by the sands into creatures of the undead, forced to do its biding. Luckily the Prince can quickly block and attack in any direction and even leap over to into his attackers. Some of the sand creature may seem single minded, but the undead warriors are also swift and can block many of he moves. Even tough their attacks are usually predictable they can rematerialize anywhere at any time, so he must be cautious or they can easily entrap him. Luckily, Farah will ad you in many of the battles with her lightning fast bow, and mysteriously endless supply of arrows. However, since she doesn't carry a sword and her arrows are too weak to take down some the larger brutes, she can easily be overwhelmed in the later battles, so be careful since he cannot complete the journey to the tower alone.

Even with all of their their might and cunning, they cannot defeat the undead without releasing the sands from their deformed bodies. Soon the Prince learns that the dagger can also be used to weld the Sands of Time to his command, by reversing the flow of time to undo a recent mistake, to slow time to slip though a tough situation, or to release the sands from his foes. Most importantly the dagger can be used to retrieve the sand that is released, which is required for it to preform its time bending magic.

Unfortunately, the sand creatures often guard the sand vortex, the place where the Prince can return if he were to fail at any point, so if he cannot complete the journey to the next vortex he must return to the previous one. Fortunately, if he doesn't gave up, he can often return to a closer point. Since the other points are not typically marked, it can be hard to know where they will be.

Behind the magic of the story and the gameplay, the graphics overall are stunning. The level of detail of the characters and world isn't the greatest, but they strike a fare balance and are well done. While most action games that allow jumping and climbing ledges require a simplified world geometry, and Sands of Time (SoT) still maintains a fairly complex and nearly continuous world. While there are a good number of moving objects in the world, most of it however is static, many of the objects are simple doors and traps.

Atop all of this are detailed textures and soft lighting, which mostly make up for the simple underlying geometry. In fact the texturing of the models doesn't fall far behind those used in to scarce prerendered cutscenes. The world textures are also fairly detailed, but tend to be in monochromatic browns. However, when the world is mostly made of sand and sandstone, there really isn't much one can do. However the lighting does make up for some of the lack of color of the textures, especially in the indoor scenes such as the well. Also the shading and lighting used give it a nice soft somewhat cartoonish feel. After, this is no ultra realistic gore-fest like Doom 3. It's also in the little details where the game really shines. No, I mean literally. The Sands of Time really glow as they float like a soft fog over the floors of the rooms and halls and the dagger even glows in response whenever the Prince wonders near.

One of the elements that would have really ruined the game is animation, but SoT doesn't disappoint. The animation of the Prince is extremely fluid throughout all of the many moves he can preform. He smoothly follows through from one to another with out pausing and it seams that most actions can be interrupted if appropriate to do so. The animation of the other models doesn't fall far behind. One thing that seamed to be missing was facial animation during the game. The Prince's face doesn't seem to move at all when he speaks. At least the in game rendered cutscenes are better. Last, but not least the cloth animation was great. The wall banners fold, shift, and waft as the Prince touches against them or as he pushes them out of the way as runs along the wall behind them. Too bad that's about the only time you really get to see it in action.

The sound and voice overs in the game are great. The sounds are of good quality and the acting is simply top notch. The music in general was great, but I think that it would have been better with they didn't stray so much away from arabic motif with the electric guitar. I know they were going for a harder modern sound, but I would prefer that they didn't.

The Bad
First and for most, the one thing that completely ruined the game for me was the character control scheme. I've played a good number of PC adventure and action games and of the two kinds of control schemes commonly used, character and camera relative, the use of camera relative movement in SoT was by far one of the worst decisions I've seen in a long time. This isn't necessarily a bad thing for an action game, but SoT had to take it one step farther with dynamic camera movement. While sometimes being cinematographically eye catching, in others it becomes painfully clear why every other 3D 3rd person action game I've ever played almost always used character relative controls. I tried in vain to find any way to fix this simple mistake, but alas the option was nowhere to be found.

Most of the time you can at least control the camera to do whatever you wish, but often times it decides to reposition itself on it's own accord and occasionally refuses to move regardless of how bad the angle is. Typical case in point, the prince is on a ledge with the camera pointing let's say north and to the east you can see a pole and a hole in the facing wall the he has to swing to. Now the camera at this point might own its own either decide to swing around to the west so that you can't see the obstacles ahead or swing slightly to the west just enough at last moment so that instead of dashing across the wall toward the pole, continuing to push the right control button will send him climbing up the wall matrix style. Again when as soon as you make it up to the hole, camera swings around behind you to point east, showing you what lays beyond, but the shortly after you push the up button to run inside the camera will suddenly position itself on the other side pointing west. If you're not fast enough to stop or push down instead to account for the abrupt change in camera angle, the prince will spin around to match the new camera angle and run back out the hole again. Having to constantly readjust your prospective of how the controls move the prince through a hall when dodging traps is annoying, but having to do it constantly during battles is just ridiculous. A number of times when I tried to vault over a lesser sand creature to get out a sticky situation the camera would swing around enough that at the last moment that the up button when send the price vaulting over a staff man instead, which would in turn readily fling the prince to the ground with an overhead swing. Also in a few occasions the camera would get stuck with a section of wall or curtain between it and the prince such the view of the prince and his assailants was complete obscured.

My only other real complaint is about the save game points. I know that its a common, and antiquated, crutch commonly used in console games, yet it's a point that's often overlooked when porting games to the PC. At least they manged to integrate the logic of the save game point into the game better than most games I've played recently and even give you a bonus by showing you the path ahead.

The Bottom Line
I really wanted to like the game and often found this unique pole and sword swinging action/adventure to be a real blast, until I found myself caught between a battle with hoards of sand creatures and the constant disorientation induced by a runaway camera with a mind of it own. It's really sad to see a such a great game humbled by such a simple mistake.

Windows · by semicharm (7) · 2005

One of the best games of 2003

The Good
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time has you in control of The Prince (he has no name other than that), who tells a story of how he unlocked The Sands of Time. It clearly borrows elements from Sacrifice, with the Prince giving past-tense voiceovers and when you die, the Prince says "That's not how it happened," but it does this better than Sacrifice, since death messages often change due to context, such as falling, being slain in battle, getting impaled by spikes, etc.

The opening level is the Prince's story of taking the Dagger of Time during a battle. The battle ends with the Prince's father conquering the enemy, and taking some of his treasures, including the Sands of Time, which are inside a large hourglass. A vizier who betrayed the conquered emperor tricks the Prince into using the dagger to unlocking the Sands, which turn everyone except the Prince, the vizier, and a slave girl named Farah into sand monsters.

During the game, the Prince joins forces with Farah to undo what he had done. Much of the game consists of acrobatics, which the Prince is quite good at. As well as the classic jumping and hanging onto ledges, the Prince can tumble, shimmy across ledges, walk across beams, swing on ropes and bars, run up and along walls, and rebound jump off walls to get to higher ground. Oh, and he can climb up columns and poles and jump off of them. He will occasionally have to do this while avoiding a variety of traps, such as saws, spikes, chomper thingies, flying swords, and many other bladed and pointy things.

There is also combat against sand creatures. After the first level, the Prince will no longer fight regular humans. Sand creatures cannot be killed normally. They must be beaten into submission and then stabbed with the Dagger of Time (or frozen with it and then cut up several times). Stabbing a stunned creature with the Dagger recharges sand and power tanks, which allow you to use the dagger's special powers. The dagger's most useful function is to rewind time to before the Prince's death should you make a mistake. It can also freeze an enemy, slow down time, and speed up the Prince to breakneck velocities.

Combat has its fair share of unique acrobatic moves. The Prince can vault over an enemy and attack them (and if you do it fast enough, you can even go in with a quick stab with the Dagger to retrieve sand. But some stronger enemies cannot be vaulted over, in which case you will need to jump off a wall and vault over them that way. There is also a way to shoot yourself off the wall and knock down all enemies in your path. The game controls quite well with the keyboard and mouse, and I sincerely doubt there will be any time that you wish for a gamepad.

The graphics are amazing. The original Prince of Persia was famous for its smooth animation, and The Sands of Time does it even better. I can't remember a single time when the Prince's animation seemed unrealistic. Framerates almost never slow down, so you can truly appreciate the graphics. The water effects are amazing. While you'll only be seeing pools and ponds rather than oceans, the effects for them are stunning. I don't think I've ever played a game in which water actually REFRACTS LIGHT.

The sound and music is excellent as well. The voice acting is very well done, and the sound effects are excellent, complete with echoes in large areas. The music ranges from classic Arabian to somewhat anachronistic heavy metal, and it is all quite enjoyable.

And did I mention the world is completely seamless? I didn't experience a single loading time besides a short one before starting a new game or loading a saved one.

The Bad
There is one thing that must be noted: THERE IS NO SAVE ANYWHERE FEATURE! The Sands of Time is easier than its predecessors, though that's not saying much. A quicksave feature would be welcomed with open arms, especially in a later level in which you lose the Dagger.

And did I mention that it's easier, but that's not saying much? Many people think this game is easy, but I found it to be quite a challenge. Combat can be extremely difficult, and certain acrobatic sequences are exercises in frustration.

The Bottom Line
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is an excellent game that will keep you engaged until the end. I highly recommend that you get this game.

Windows · by Zack Green (1160) · 2004

Great game for any one.

The Good
Great story line that kept the game interesting. The character design was really awesome and made the game very fun to play. The puzzles were easy enough to solve but weren't to easy. The different swords made combat fun and turning back time was fun and got me out of a couple of difficult spots.

The Bad
Sometimes you don't have enough time to use your time orbs so you just waste time turning time back and forth as you see yourself die several times. Also, i was really confused with what i had to do in the part after you and the girl go into a bath. I had no idea what was going on so i was just going in random doors.

The Bottom Line
A game for all action/puzzle solvers libraries.

Xbox · by Todd Bello (28) · 2006

[ View all 10 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
Random slowdowns... chirinea (47064) Aug 13th, 2008
Which control is best for this? chirinea (47064) Feb 23rd, 2008


1001 Video Games

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


The Internet marketing for Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was Ubisoft's most successful campaign so far. Ad agency Digital Outlook targeted 15-24-year-old males with ads featuring characters from the game and its "acrobatic action gameplay". A DHTML overlay showing the Prince slicing through the computer screen with his sword had a click-through rate of 26.1%. A streaming video ad, showing the gameplay, had a click-through rate of 23.43%. These rates were 4x higher than the host site's average.

Armitt, Claire. Prince of Persia: the Sands of Time. (Case Study)" New Media Age. May 6, 2004 p30.


The PlayStation 2 Greatest Hits budget release of the game confusingly uses the cover art of the 2010 game Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands.


Curious about how Farah feels about the Prince? Use the free-look button to look at her during the game to see how their relationship grows.


On the opening level, just after the room in which you first see the sands of time / giant hourglass, you find a water-filled passage that has 6 murals on the walls. The contents of the murals seem to describe the legendary history of the sands of time :

1) A blue god and winged goddess cradle the earth

2) A red demon kills the blue god as he sleeps

3) The red demon stalks the earth, eating humans

4) The blue god returns from the dead and strikes down the red demon with lightning

5) The blue god collects the sand from the red demon and pours it into an hourglass

6) The blue demon grow four arms - 2 sport the hourglass - 2 carry a sword and the severed head of the red demon. Humans worship at his feet.

Hidden games

The Playstation 2 and Gamecube versions feature a hidden version of the original Prince of Persia , which once unlocked can be played at will.

The X-Box version of the game features the first Prince of Persia, but also features a hidden Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow & The Flame, which will also show up as unlocked content.

The Windows version of the game does not feature either game hidden anywhere.


Several times the main characters mention the "legendary" Rustam in comparison to what the Prince is able to do. Rustam was a Persian hero noted for his great strength. Born with prematurely gray hair, Rustam slew a rampaging white elephant with a single blow at the age of ten.

More at "Rustam." Encyclopedia Mythica. 2004. Encyclopedia Mythica Online.


  • 4Players
    • 2003 – Best Console Graphics of the Year (PlayStation 2)
  • Computer Games Magazine
    • March 2004 - #7 Game of the Year 2003
  • Computer Gaming World
    • March 2004 (Issue #236) – Action Game of the Year
    • March 2004 (Issue #236) – Weapon of the Year (for the Dagger of Time)
  • EGM
    • February 2006 - #166 out of 200 of the "Greatest Games of Their Time"
  • GameSpy
    • 2003 – #10 Game of the Year (together with SoulCalibur II)
    • 2003 – #4 Xbox Game of the Year
    • 2003 – #9 GameCube Game of the Year

Information also contributed by Big John WV, PCGamer77, Rupert Breheny, Sciere and WildKard

Related Games

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands
Released 2010 on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows
Prince of Persia
Released 2008 on Windows, Xbox 360, 2009 on Macintosh...
Prince of Persia: Warrior Within
Released 2004 on Xbox, Windows, PlayStation 2...
Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands
Released 2010 on Nintendo DS
Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones
Released 2005 on Xbox, Windows, PlayStation 2...
Prince of Persia: Revelations
Released 2005 on PSP
Prince of Persia 3D
Released 1999 on Windows, 2000 on Dreamcast

Related Sites +

Identifiers +


Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history!

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by quizzley7.

PlayStation 3 added by Charly2.0. PlayStation 2 added by Corn Popper. Xbox 360, Xbox One added by Plok. Windows added by Cyberzed. Xbox added by JPaterson.

Additional contributors: MAT, Terrence Bosky, Unicorn Lynx, Apogee IV, JRK, Johnny "ThunderPeel2001" Walker, Sciere, Simone Curti, Zeppin, Eltahriel, Patrick Bregger, FatherJack, 一旁冷笑.

Game added November 30th, 2003. Last modified December 2nd, 2023.