After reading several positive reviews about this 2003 action/adventure, and curious about the Prince of Persia games, I jumped right in. After all, I've played all the Tomb Raiders and sailed right on thru.
And after around 10 levels found myself hopelessly in over my head-mind you, I'm not your average teenage shoot-em-up player-I'm on Social security for pete sake!
I was finally able to finish the game-and win the final battle(curiously one of the easiest ones)with the help of saved games which are available on one of the several helpful POP sites out there.
There are several reasons why I persisted through all the difficulty and disappointment about having to resort to some saved games:
The movements of the prince are fantastic and flawless-once you get the hang of the controls, which can be awkward-WASD and mouse tend to be unreliable and can send your character off in a wrong direction-He can just about do anything except fly. He can run along walls, jump and swing from bars, leap from pole to pole, shimmy along narrow ledges, balance on skinny beams(while fighting birds and bats!) His fighting skills are acrobatic and agile-even with the difficult controls-and he dispaches enemies, vaulting over them with his trusty swords-he gets better ones as the game moves along.There is no gorey blood-the enemies are "sand creatures" and they just sort of blow away and disintigrate.
The game takes place in the vast chambers and mighty towers of the Sultan's palace. You as the Prince must find your way thru this darkly beautiful place populated by human and animal "sand creatures" with all manner of beaks, claws, clubs, hammers, lances,chains, axes-well, you get the picture!( The one enemy that I couldn't get past is the blue man with the huge club that the prince couldn't vault over-hence the saves)
The graphics shine with attention to detail-You explore ancient tunnels and rooms that havn't been touched in years so the prince's footsteps always kick up swirls of dust. Water drips and floors creak.You will scale the heights of dizzyingly high towers by swinging, jumping over immense, bottomles pits, wall running to platforms that crumble soon after landing on them,shimmying along ledges that fall apart just ahead and trying to figure out a way down an endlessly high wall. one misstep and....oops. But wait, you have a "rewind" feature, the sand tanks, which you can collect by finding "sand clouds" as you go along. So, if you miss a jump and begin falling for miles into oblivion, you can quickly go back for 10 seconds, landing back on the ledge or whatever.
One word of caution-if you're afraid of heights-don't play this game! The places you have to get to are higher and higher and it is downright scary to be balancing on a tiny narrow beam over a bottomless abyss. At times the prince loses his balance(WWWHoooh!) but he always hangs on and you can pull him back up again-by the time you get him to safety, your palms will be sweating-mine were anyway.
The other challenge is the traps you'll encounter on this little adventure-The sultan's defense system. Of course, spiked floors, swinging logs, buzz saws on walls that you have to run across, whirling poles with blades in hallways that you have to run thru quickly, blade traps you have to dive under. There are also puzzles to figure out and timed doors that you have to figure out how to get thru. I found all but one of these to be doable with some determination and willingness to repeat, repeat until it works.
Now for the bad part-the save system;The developers decide where you can save. AAArgh! this has made a great game much longer and way more frustrating. The game has 39 levels, each with a save point at the end. In most levels, there's at least one place where you can "retry" if you mess up, and you can use the rewind feature if you have enough or spend a lot of time repeating over and over to get back to the place where you "died". In any case, you must play the whole level thru to the end at one sitting-no saving in the middle. One nice thing, you can always retry if you lose a fight.
The story? There isn't much of one-mainly, the Prince has discovered a magic dagger and unwittingly unleashes evil upon the Sultan's kingdom in midieval Persia. He now needs complete a quest to restore peace to the realm by mastering the sands of time. Along the way he has a companion-Farah-beautiful daughter of the Maharajah. If she wants to survive, she must stick with the prince because he has the "dagger of Time". She is able to squeeze thru narrow cracks and get into rooms with levers that open doors for the prince and sort of cheers him on from high perches while you have to negotiate the swirling blades and buzzsaws. She has a bow and arrow and can do some damage to enemies, but at times she can get killed if you fail to protect her-Oh Oh, rewind!
All in all, I think the game was worth the effort of playing to the end, even tho having to resort to some saved games to end the frustrating battles with the blue guys. It would come close to being perfect(but much shorter)if you could save where you wanted and if it had a choice of easy, medium, or difficult playability level. This game is well worth the $3.00 plus postage I paid on Amazon.