Prince of Persia

 

Genre:   Action

Developer:    The Learning Company

Publisher:    Red Orb Entertainment

Released:   1999

PC Requirements:    Windows 95/98: 233Mhz Pentium with MMX or faster, 64MB RAM, minimum 300MB free hard disk space, 4x CD-ROM drive or faster, 640x480 display, 16 bit color, DirectX 6.0 or higher, 100% DirectX compatible 3D Graphics Accelerator with 8MB RAM, 100% DirectX compatible sound card, QuickTime 4.0 or higher.

 

 

 

by Jenny100

Quicklist of game characteristics - (requested by Gameboomers members)

Keyboard Control - no mouse at all. Keys are remappable.

Originally made for Windows 95/98. Played fine in Windows 2000

Has a patch

Third person - Over the shoulder view (aka butt cam)

Game autosaves at beginnings of levels.

You are also able to save where you want to most of the time

Unlimited saves

Useful Quicksave feature

2CD's - no CD swapping

God mode available for wussies like me

This is going to be sort of a doofus review because I certainly didn't play the game the way it was intended to be played. I don't have any patience for defeating enemies and play action/adventures for their exploration aspect.

Playing Prince of Persia 3D

The game opens with a video of your character, the Prince, watching an exotic dancer wiggle her booty around. He is bored to death and can't wait until the disgraceful scene is over and he can meet up with his new bride, the Princess, and get some real action. But his father-in-law, the Sultan, tells him he has to be patient so as not to offend the Sultan's brother. Suddenly the exotic dancer whips out a knife and kills the Sultan's guards. The Sultan's brother nonchalantly continues smoking some sort of water pipe and is not a bit disturbed by the proceedings. It seems the Sultan's brother is not worried about good manners. He complains to the Sultan that the Princess had been promised to his son, Rugnor, and not the Prince. The son has a tiger's head. Don't ask me how this happened. I didn't play the previous Prince of Persia games. (Don't you just love how they named a guy with a tiger's head Rugnor?)

Anyway, an attempt is made to kill our hero, the Prince, only the poor old Sultan blocks the path of the weapon and is killed instead. Alas. And to top it off, the Sultan's brother puts the blame on the Prince, who is forced to flee the palace. Double alas. And now the Prince, as a fugitive, has to find the Princess, who has been kidnapped into the bargain. Triple whammy alas. (I wonder how many gamers wet themselves laughing over this corny intro.)

So, your object in the game is to find the Princess and live happily ever after. Actually your object is to find your way through the successive levels of the game because you have no clue where the Princess might be. That's how it is in many of these old action/adventures. You have no idea what you're doing or where you're going or how you'll achieve your ultimate goal. You just try to figure out how to exit the levels until you're done. If you are lucky, the levels are interesting to look at and fun to run, jump, or climb through. And, for the most part, Prince of Persia had colorful and interesting-looking levels.

There are various bad guys you have to vanquish as you progress through the game. They are listed in the manual as Guardsmen, Black Market Bandits, Silt Devils, Roustabouts, Demons, and Darkhold Assassins. They all looked pretty much the same to me, except the Silt Devils were green and naked (or nearly so). Silt Devils were my favorite enemies because they died the quickest. Killing was pretty bloodless and usually a dead enemy looked the same as a live one except it was on the ground. But once in a while you'd chop off a guy's head and then of course the head was separate.

I played Prince of Persia 3D with my brother. It is great to play action/adventures with another person. That way if you get sore fingers or get too aggravated for your hands to be steady, you can let the other person take over. With the help of my brother and the god mode cheat, I did pretty well until the endgame sequence. More on that later.

During the game, you sometimes find powerups in the form of potions in flasks. Unfortunately you cannot collect them to be used at a propitious moment. As soon as you collect them, the Prince drinks them. Some of them are beneficial, and give health, strength, invisibility, or invulnerability from projectiles. A potion's color usually distinguishes what kind of potion it is. But some of them are trick potions that you don't want to drink. Beware off-color potions. Some of them are poisons. One turned the Prince into a very silly looking creature, which amused us greatly. My favorite potion was the one for strength, which allowed the Prince to leap great distances in a single bound. Unfortunately it's effect was temporary.

If you use the god mode cheat, it has to be refreshed whenever you start the game and again whenever you reload a save, including a quicksave. You also have to refresh god mode whenever you enter a new level of the game. I don't know how anyone would have the patience to play the game without god mode. The Prince's movements were so clunky that I have no idea how he'd be able to win a fight if he weren't invulnerable. I checked some old Prince of Persia 3D reviews to see if other gamers had had the same troubles. Strangely, they didn't, though one review mentioned that the Prince's "flourishes" got annoying. Although I admit my fighting ability is pretty sad, my brother should have been able to do better. The enemies were just too fast for us to react to them. So I wonder if our computer speed (1533 MHz) made the fights more difficult.

God mode does not protect you from all types dying in Prince of Persia 3D and is mainly useful for eliminating enemies. There are many places where you can fall into a bottomless abyss or be flattened by a trap. And it's automatic game-over, regardless of whether you're using god mode or not. The quicksave is a very useful feature and is much faster than loading a regular save.

God mode has a sort of Easter Egg. When you enable it, the Prince's head gets really large. It's kind of funny. Load the game, turn on god mode, and phloomp! watch his head inflate. You can always tell when you're in god mode.

Despite his somewhat clunky movements, the Prince is able to perform many feats of athleticism. He can climb ropes and poles, crouch, swim, jump, and swing on ropes and bars to get momentum for a big jump across an abyss. Much of the game involves jumping and climbing. I believe the previous Prince of Persia games were the same way, only in 2D. Fortunately the controls for running and jumping the Prince functioned better for me than those for having him fight. They're not as good as controls in more recent games, or even as good as controls in the older Tomb Raider games, but they're serviceable.

Game Levels

The different levels of the game are quite colorful and varied. They include a prison, a palace, rooftops, a slum district, a fantastic multi-tiered dirigible, ruins that float in the sky, snowy cliffs, and a temple. The Prince starts off the game in the prison and has to find weapons before he can face any of the guards. Usually the guards are lazy and don't chase him far past the room they are guarding. So the lack of weapons isn't such a big deal as you'd think, even if you're not cheating.

The cistern of the Cistern level was like a large, indoor lake. It included a boat that we had to get aboard and take a ride on. Although you are able to save where you want to most of the time, there are some parts of the game when this is not allowed. Saving always seemed to be prohibited when the Prince is on a moving platform. But in the Cistern level we were unable to save for a fairly long stretch even though the Prince wasn't standing on the moving platform itself.

The Dirigible levels were probably the most fantastic levels in the game. The dirigible had an impossible multi-tiered array of boxes, ropes, pulleys, and platforms, including one large enough to hold a park with fountains and a strange wooden tower with drawbridges. All being held up by - well it can't have been ordinary hot air so it must have been magic hot air - in an enormous onion-shaped balloon. Who would make a balloon with a pointy top on it? The developers of the game, that's who. 

The Floating Ruins seemed to be sort of a nightmare level. The sky was a weird color that bothered my eyes after a while. And this level had the trickiest jumping puzzles found in the game. I was so glad when we finally finished it.

After the diabolical Floating Ruins, the snowy Cliffs level was a relief. The jumps were easy ones and not those wretched combos of the previous level. And there was a lot of climbing. Our biggest problem with the level was realizing that we had to change arrow types to solve one of the puzzles. We knew we had to charge up our arrows at an altar so they'd be magic flaming arrows. But we didn't realize we had to specifically select the charged arrows from our arrow collection before shooting them. One thing that confused the issue was that even normal arrows look like they're flaming when you shoot them. It was actually my brother who realized you had to specifically select the flaming arrow before shooting it. This particular puzzle reminded me of certain adventure game puzzles - in a bad way. I'm sure you know the type. But aside from that, the Cliffs were my favorite level. I like snow in games.

The Temple levels were similar to the early Palace levels, only with more traps and more holes in the floor. And there was a multistep lever puzzle where you have to figure out how to deflect a beam of light to open the way to the next level. 

The Finale level was a beast - a timed fight. I've discussed our unhappy outcome in the Interface section later in this review. At least we were able to view what would have been the winning video sequence had we been able to win. We found the movie file along with the other cut scene movie files in a subfolder within the game folder. It played easily in the QuickTime movie player. The end movie was hokey, but still better than seeing the Princess get squooshed in a giant gear, which is what we got every time we lost.

Installation

The game installed from CD1. CD2 was required to be in the drive to play the game, but there is no disk swapping. QuickTime 4.0 or higher is required because the cut scenes use it. If you don't have QuickTime, QuickTime 4.0 is included on CD1.

Plot and Character Development

You play as the Prince and you have to save the Princess from the evil guy with the tiger's head. That's about it.

Graphics

At least they were colorful. And there was an in-game gamma control - a feature missing from most straight adventure games. Of course you can't expect a 3D game from 1999 to have the best looking graphics. Some of the game environments were interesting though. Most buildings and architectural features had a pseudo-Arabian fairytale look. The architecture looked better than the characters. The characters are a bit chunky-looking and at times it's difficult to make out what part of the character is what. More than once I was trying to pick up what I thought was arrows and my brother asked me why I was trying to pick up a severed head. Ewwww.... No doubt about it. The architectural features were better looking than the people in this game.

Sound Effects

Adequate for this type of game.

Music

There are separate volume controls for music and sound effects. Music was pseudo-Arabian flavored. Mostly it wasn't too annoying, but we turned it down when it got too repetitive.

Interface

Prince of Persia 3D is keyboard controlled. The keys are mappable, so if you don't like the default controls you can change them to different keys. There is a separate combat mode for whacking baddies. You get different kinds of swords and different types of arrows to shoot at enemies. Unfortunately the Prince is not as agile as he should be and sometimes moves like he is drugged - especially in fights.  

The controls are not as "silky smooth" as one would wish. They are nothing like it. But they are manageable, at least if you use the cheats. We managed to jump and climb our way through the game without too much anguish until the very last fight of the game, when old Tigerhead, the end boss smoked our bacon in a timed fight. We could have got him. After all, we were a god. Unfortunately we were a slow god - the god of lead britches.

Minimum specs

PII 233 MHz

64 MB RAM

DirectX 6 or higher

DirectX 6 compatible 3D graphics card with 8 MB RAM

DirectX 6 compatible sound card

4X CD-ROM

300 MB free hard drive space

QuickTime 4.0 or higher

Windows 95/98

Recommended specs

PII 300 MHz

The rest of the specs are the same as the Minimum specs.

Tested computer

Win 2000 SP2

Athlon 1.533 GHz

512 MB RAM

40 GB partition

Combo drive with 40X CD read

QuickTime 4.0 (from the PoP3D game CD)

SBLive 5.1 Value sound card

Matrox G550

DirectX 8.1

We installed the patch before playing. The game was stable on Win 2000. I suspect it would also work on Win XP, though it isn't listed for XP at ntcompatible.com so I don't know for sure.

There was one glitch that occasionally occurred when we used the Look key. Sometimes the Look would detach the game view from the Prince and he wouldn't be on the screen anymore after we released the Look key. We figured out how to get the regular view back, by adjusting the Look view before releasing the Look key. But reloading the quicksave would also get past this glitch.

Cheating

Here are some cheats, including the god mode cheat we used, that I found on the Internet:

Edit the shortcut for Prince of Persia 3D and add "-console" to the end of the "Target" field so that it reads as follows:

"D:\Program Files\Red Orb\Prince of Persia 3D\POP3D.exe" -console

When you start using this new shortcut, press F5 to open the console then enter one of the following codes in the console to enable the cheat.

IMMORTAL - God Mode.

MORTAL - Disable God Mode.

NEXTLEVEL - Instantly skip to the next level.

FLYCAM - Enable flying camera. Type flycam again to turn off.

VERSION - Show the version number of your game. (should be 1.1)  

Note: These cheats will only work with the v1.1 patch.

There are also trainers and save game editors available on the Internet, but I didn't try any of them.

Conclusions

There is probably limited use for a review of an old action/adventure game. Unlike most adventure games, they don't age well. Prince of Persia 3d was published in 1999 and it's showing long grey hairs out its nose already.

However if you enjoy exploring fanciful game levels in 3D, as well as the occasional jumping puzzle, the game might be worth a look. It's a long way from being the worst action/adventure I've ever played.  And you can probably find it very cheap on ebay or GameTZ.

Overall Grade:     C+

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