Prince of Persia

aka: Jordan Mechner's Prince of Persia, Pers Prensi, PoP, Prince de Perse, Prince of Persia Retro
Moby ID: 196
Apple II Specs
Note: We may earn an affiliate commission on purchases made via eBay or Amazon links (prices updated 2/29 12:28 AM )
Conversion (unofficial) Included in See Also

Description official descriptions

While 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 platformer 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.

Spellings

  • הנסיך - דו קרב בארמון - Hebrew spelling
  • הנסיך הפרסי - Informal Hebrew spelling
  • プリンスオブペルシャ - Japanese spelling

Groups +

Screenshots

Promos

Credits (Apple II version)

19 People (12 developers, 7 thanks)

Original game design by
Original programming by
Original graphics by
Produced by
Music composed by
Live-Action Footage Modelled by
Special thanks to
Disk routines by
Sound routines by
Title screen by
Cover artwork by

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 81% (based on 83 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 524 ratings with 13 reviews)

The longest and most thrilling two hours of your life!! Prince Megahit!!!

The Good
Not a game, an institution! Prince of Persia is THE action/adventure classic, soaring high above everything that had been done previously (even it's predecessor, karateka) Prince delivered a sheer amount of fun and entertainment unheard of at it's time. I vividly remember jumping and running through those maddening Persian dungeon as if in a trance, trying to save that hottie from the evil Jaffar.

The graphics were incredibly detailed for it's time, but the real eye candy were the animations. I remember watching in awe as I performed my first running jumps or drew my sword and observed the silky smooth sprites animate as only a dream would! And the music? I can still hear in the back of my head Prince's amazing theme (and no, I'm not talking about the one from Purple Rain! ;D)

The story might have been an aftertought, but the gameplay was king in this game, you deftly avoided traps, ran and jumped like an olympic athlete (wonder what REALLY was on those suspicious bottles that were laying around ;)) and swashbuckled as an arabic Zorro with top-notch controls and through great level layouts that combined every feature you could think of from 2d platformers..... to think that at that time console gamers were collecting mushrooms and coins as Mario and called that exciting! Ha!!! :)))

The Bad
It was hard man.... REAL hard, some of the levels were just cruel, and I never could defeat Jaffar, not to mention that you had to do this on TWO frigging hours!!! . Has anyone actually finished this without cheating? They really should have added a difficulty setting for this one. Other than that this is one for the record books.

The Bottom Line
The one and only king of gameplay. I cannot even begin to describe the hours of enjoyment and great memories this game brought to me. No doubt about it, most action games owe their lives and souls either to Doom or Prince. Get down on your knees and praise your lord heathens!!!!

What's that? Don't have any idea what this game is about and think your shinny new Pentium 7 can't be bothered to check something like this? HeHeHe....Give it a try pal..... And get ready for the longest two hours of your life!

DOS · by Zovni (10503) · 2006

The ground breaking platform game, often copied, never bettered

The Good
Slick motion capture and tight controls gave this action game a unique feel. The graphics, although not great overall, felt appropriate, the animations were simply terrific for the time and made it a cult classic.

The Bad
Repetitive and uninspired backdrops and enemies along with almost non existent music (save for a few jingles and sound effects) gave the game a washed-out look. Some gameplay snags and a difficulty rating a tad too high were the major issues.

The Bottom Line
A ground-breaking action game and a must-have Amiga game!

Amiga · by Paolo Cumin (11) · 2005

A great game, with one exception

The Good
The animation of the player character is great. The graphics for the levels themselves are rather plain, but I really didn't mind as they're clear and easy to navigate. I loved the feeling of exploring and finding my way to the exit. The few puzzles that are included are decent and not that difficult to figure out, but there should have been more of them.

The Bad
The one thing I didn't like was the time limit. Personally, I've never liked games where you can do everything right, but you get penalized for not doing it quickly enough. It's a lame attempt by the designer to generate a sense of urgency and it almost always ends up just being frustrating rather than adding anything to the game. Since I could never finish the game within the time limit, I used the cheat to give myself more time, so that I could explore at my leisure.

It also should have had a few more puzzles, since many of the levels are very repetitive.

The Bottom Line
Prince of Persia is a great dungeon exploration game interrupted by the occasional sword fight or puzzle and it still holds up well today. I first played this on the Amiga, but the DOS version is pretty much the same.

DOS · by Rekrul (49) · 2005

[ View all 13 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
Developed by Mechner or Brøderbund? Игги Друге (46656) Jul 29, 2014
Triangular Version - Info Please Arjon van Dam (1247) Feb 19, 2013
ZX Spectrum UNOFFICIAL port Rola (8486) Aug 5, 2012
Jordan Mechner made the source code available chirinea (47510) May 26, 2012

Trivia

1001 Video Games

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

Animations

The 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, BBC Micro and Atari 8-bit amateur versions

According 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. A Commodore 64 port was made at last by an independent coder in 2011. Information is available at popc64.blogspot.com

Bitshifters also released a port of the game to the BBC Micro. It took advantage of the Apple II game code being made public by Jordan Mechner and the hardware similarities between the Apple II and the BBC Micro, which share the same CPU. It needs 128k of RAM and is available from here.

And finally, on december 2021 yet another amateur version was revealed, this time for the Atari 8-bit computers. It is available here in disk and cartridge formats. It requires 128K of RAM, so it won't work in every one of these computers.

Development and release

An 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.

Mechner scored gold in 1989 when Prince of Persia was released. Described by PC Review as "an ever-present in any compiled list of classic games of all time," it has sold nearly 2,000,000 copies and won numerous awards, including "Game of the Decade" from Generation 4/Canal+ in 1997. The game was published first on the Apple II platform, but soon made it to virtually all platforms in existance at the time including: DOS, Macintosh, Amiga, NES, SNES, GameBoy, Sega Genesis, Sega Mega Drive, Sega CD, Game Gear, Commodore 64, and FM Towns. It's popularity was not confined to just the United States. In all, the game has been published in the United States, Canada, England, Germany, France, Spain, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, China, Korea, and Israel.

Manual

The 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 game

Prince 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."

Censorship in the SNES version

The 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 code

On April 17, 2012, Jordan Mechner released the source code of the Apple II version. You can find it here.

Awards

  • Amiga Power
    • May 1991 (Issue #00) - #12 in the "All Time Top 100 Amiga Games"
  • Computer Gaming World
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) - #84 in the “150 Best Games of All Time” list
    • February 2006 (Issue #259) – Introduced into the Hall of Fame
  • FLUX
    • Issue #4 - #42 in the "Top 100 Video Games of All-Time" list
  • PC Gamer
    • November 1999 - #43 Best Game of All Time
  • Retro Gamer
    • Issue #37 - #9 in the "Top 25 Platformers of All Time" poll

ZX Spectrum version

A version for the ZX Spectrum was in development by the same people that made the SAM Coupé port but it was never released due to licensing problems with Domark. Later a Russian team released an unofficial Spectrum port of the game.

Information also contributed by Big John VW, Chentzilla, [leileilol](http://www.mobygames.com/user/sheet/userSheetId,76785/), [LepricahnsGold](http://www.mobygames.com/user/sheet/userSheetId,60099/), [Mickey Gabel](http://www.mobygames.com/user/sheet/userSheetId,584/), [NewRisingSun](http://www.mobygames.com/user/sheet/userSheetId,47798/), [PCGamer77](http://www.mobygames.com/user/sheet/userSheetId,1717/), [Sean Gugler](http://www.mobygames.com/user/sheet/userSheetId,56787/) and [William Shawn McDonie](http://www.mobygames.com/user/sheet/userSheetId,4177/)

Analytics

MobyPro Early Access

Upgrade to MobyPro to view research rankings!

Related Games

Prince of Persia 3D
Released 1999 on Windows, 2000 on Dreamcast
Prince of Persia: Revelations
Released 2005 on PSP
Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands
Released 2010 on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows
Prince of Persia: Special Edition
Released 2006 on Windows
Prince of Persia Collection
Released 1998 on Windows, 1998 on Macintosh, 1999 on DOS
Prince of Persia Classic
Released 2007 on Xbox 360, 2008 on PlayStation 3, 2011 on iPhone...
Prince of Persia: Warrior Within
Released 2004 on Xbox, Windows, PlayStation 2...
Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones
Released 2005 on Xbox, Windows, PlayStation 2...

Related Sites +

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 196
  • [ Please login / register to view all identifiers ]

Contribute

Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history! If your contribution is approved, you will earn points and be credited as a contributor.

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Donny K..

Sharp X68000 added by Rola. Wii added by Charly2.0. iPad added by MrMamen. Nintendo 3DS added by CrankyStorming. Amiga added by Famine3h. SEGA Master System added by Bock. Game Gear added by chirinea. PC-98 added by Infernos. Apple II added by KnockStump. TurboGrafx CD added by Kaminari. Macintosh added by Zovni. SAM Coupé, iPhone added by Kabushi. SEGA CD added by Blood. Atari ST added by Terok Nor. Amstrad CPC added by cafeine. NES added by Longwalker. FM Towns added by Unicorn Lynx. Genesis, SNES added by Syed GJ. Game Boy added by quizzley7. Game Boy Color added by Jim Fun.

Additional contributors: IJan, MAT, Adam Baratz, Roedie, Jeanne, Jalal Noureddine, Kabushi, Henry Calot, Martin Smith, Norbert J, Pseudo_Intellectual, Crawly, Neville, ctrl turk, Patrick Bregger, MrMamen, yenruoj_tsegnol_eht (!!ihsoy), Jo ST, qpossum, FatherJack, ZeTomes.

Game added August 10, 1999. Last modified February 12, 2024.