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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 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.


Prince of Persia DOS A mirror blocking the way
Prince of Persia DOS Found the sword!
Prince of Persia DOS The princess awaits our return... (Hercules)
Prince of Persia DOS Thrown in the dungeon (CGA)

Promo Images

Prince of Persia Magazine Advertisement
Prince of Persia Concept Art
Prince of Persia Screenshot
Prince of Persia Concept Art

Alternate Titles

  • "הנסיך הפרסי" -- Informal Hebrew spelling
  • "הנסיך - דו קרב בארמון" -- Hebrew spelling
  • "Prince of Persia Retro" -- iPhone/iPad title
  • "Prince de Perse" -- French Amstrad title
  • "PoP" -- Common abbreviation
  • "Pers Prensi" -- Turkish title
  • "Jordan Mechner's Prince of Persia" -- Game Boy Color title
  • "プリンスオブペルシャ" -- Japanese spelling

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

WOW! Adam Jennings (64) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
A gaming experience you can never forget erseN akçay (30) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
Over a decade later I still find myself jesting with the butter knife when alone. Sam Hardy (82) unrated
This game blew me away. Brian Hirt (10028) 4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars
The longest and most thrilling two hours of your life!! Prince Megahit!!! Zovni (10638) 3.75 Stars3.75 Stars3.75 Stars3.75 Stars3.75 Stars
A great game, with one exception Rekrul (51) 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
There must be a rule about Grand Viziers being evil and called Jaffar. Michelle (193) 2.75 Stars2.75 Stars2.75 Stars2.75 Stars2.75 Stars
An interesting, different platform game. RmM (73) 3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars
Jordan Mechner. What else is there to say? Tomer Gabel (4643) 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

Critic Reviews

Raze Feb, 1991 92 out of 100 92
Score Jan, 1996 9 out of 10 90 Jun 06, 2007 9 out of 10 90
ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) Mar, 1991 905 out of 1000 90
Retro Archives Feb 07, 2019 17.5 out of 20 88 Oct 06, 2009 17 out of 20 85
The Retro Spirit Feb 11, 2006 5 out of 6 83
Games-X Mar, 1991 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
PC-Spiele '92 1991 7 out of 10 70
ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) Sep, 1990 6.8 out of 12 57


Topic # Posts Last Post
Developed by Mechner or Brøderbund? 6 Игги Друге (46374)
Jul 29, 2014
Triangular Version - Info Please 5 Arjon van Dam (1222)
Feb 19, 2013
ZX Spectrum UNOFFICIAL port 3 Sciere (629949)
Aug 05, 2012
Jordan Mechner made the source code available 9 Игги Друге (46374)
May 26, 2012


1001 Video Games

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


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 version

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. The Commodore 64 port was at last made by an independent coder in 2011. Information is available at

Development and release

An excerpt taken from the, as of 2012, defunct official Prince of Persia 3D web site

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.


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."

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.


  • 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, LepricahnsGold, Mickey Gabel, NewRisingSun, PCGamer77, Sean Gugler and William Shawn McDonie

Related Web Sites

Donny K. (453) added Prince of Persia (DOS) on Aug 10, 1999
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