- Prince of Persia (1989 video game)
"Prince of Persia" (often shortened to "POP") is a
platform game, originally developed by Jordan Mechnerin 1989 for the Apple II, that was widely seenFact|date=October 2007 as a great leap forward in the quality of animationseen in computer games. Mechner used a process called rotoscoping, in which he studied many hours of filmof his younger brother David running and jumping in white clothes, to ensure that all the movements looked just right. Also unusual was the method of combat: protagonist and enemies fought with swords, not projectile weapons, as was the case in most contemporary games. Mechner has said that when he started programming, the first ten minutes of " Raiders of the Lost Ark" had been one of the main inspirations for the character's acrobatic responses in a dangerous environment. [ [http://www.gamasutra.com/features/20041224/rouse_02.shtml Interview with Jordan Mechner at Gamasutra] ]
After the original release on the Apple II, "Prince of Persia" was ported to a wide range of platforms. The game managed to surprise and captivate the player despite being at first glance, repetitive.Fact|date=July 2008 This was achieved by interspersing intelligent puzzles and deadly traps all along the path the Prince had to take to complete the game—all this packaged in fluid, life-like motion.
"Prince of Persia" also influenced a sub-genre, which imitated the sprawling non-scrolling levels, fluid animation, and control style pioneered by "Prince". [ [http://www.gametap.com/articles/gamefeatures/prince_of_persia_retrospective-05052008 "Prince of Persia Retrospective"] , "gametap.com",
May 5, 2008.]
As the title suggests, the game is set in
Ancient Persia. As a child, Jordan Mechner had enjoyed the tales from the " The Book of One Thousand and One Nights"Fact|date=July 2008 and the settings for this game are changed to Persia. The Prince is an orphan, living on the streets. One day, he scales the palace walls to catch a glimpse of the Princess, whose beauty is like the "moonrise in the heavens". His feelings are reciprocated by the Princess, despite their class differences.
The game starts with the Sultan of Persia being called away to war in a foreign land. Sensing opportunity, the evil
VizierJaffar seizes the throne for himself. The Prince is imprisoned, since Jaffar has designs on the Princess. The Princess is also imprisoned and she is given a choice with an hour to decide: marry Jaffar or die. The Prince has an hour to defeat Jaffar and rescue the Princess.
The game is played in real time, so the player must complete the quest as quickly as possible. On some platforms it is possible to save the game at the start of each level, though the time limit still applies. The only way to lose the game is by letting the time expire. If the Prince is killed, the game will restart from the beginning of the level, or at a mid-way checkpoint in some levels.
The game also includes a life bar which may be depleted by taking damage during sword fights, drinking blue potions, or falling too far; however, major falls, being hit unarmed, falling or running on spikes and blades all kill the Prince instantly. The Prince can increase the number of bottles in his life bar by drinking larger red potions, usually hidden or in dangerous places, while the regular-sized Red magic potions are used to restore life. There is also a green variety of potion that makes the Prince light-weight or cause the screen to flip around, depending on the level.
"Prince of Persia" was originally released for the
Apple IIin 1989. One year later it was ported to other personal computers such as the Amiga, the Atari ST, and the PC ( DOS). In 1992, when the home console market was growing steadily, versions for the Master System, Sega Mega-CD, NES, and Game Boywere released, as well as a version with enhanced artwork for the Apple Macintosh. An enhanced version for the SNES was released later in 1992, and a Mega Drive/Genesis version followed in 1993. A port for the Turbo Duoalso appeared in 1993, using the Super CD-ROM format. Another port was released for the Game Boy Colorin 1999. Java versions for mobile devices appeared in the early 2000s. For the revival title, "", the Macintosh version was included as a secret that could be unlocked. The first level of the game was also made into a secret 3D minigamein "The Sands of Time".
SAM Coupéversion, released in 1992, is unique because it was programmed unofficially using graphics copied pixel by pixel from paused frames of the Amigaversion and only shown to Domark(the UK distributors of "Prince of Persia") for potential release near completion.Fact|date=July 2008 Although the computer had a very small user base and no other mainstream support, the release was allowed because of the very high quality of the conversion and the fact that it would incur almost no further development costs. Due to its independently produced status and the fact that the work was done almost entirely by one individual, Chris White, this version of "Prince of Persia" has several unique bugs.
Sega Mega-CDand Turbo Duoversions used the CD format to incorporate animated cutscenes with voice tracks and CD Audiosoundtracks. The games both had graphics that seem to be based on the Macintoshversion, where the Prince had a turban and colored clothing.
The SNES version is also unique. Aside from graphic and aural enhancements, the game has twenty levels instead of the original's thirteen; the original levels that remained had some extra rooms or different routes. Also, there are boss battles, some of which are not the typical swordfighters, and that involves not only swordfighting but dodging as well. The player was also given two hours to rescue the Princess (all other versions were limited to one hour). This version was ported and developed by NCS and published by
Konamiin America and Europe.
Xbox Live Arcaderemake of the original game, now dubbed " Prince of Persia Classic", was released June 13 2007. [ [http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=77416 Xbox 360 release date, Eurogamer.net] ] This version features visual improvements making the game resemble "The Sands of Time". Developers Gamelofthave also included new traps, enemies, and puzzles. [ [http://www.gaming-age.com/cgi-bin/previews/preview.pl?sys=xbox360&game=pop_classic Prince of Persia Classic Preview for Xbox 360 - Gaming Age ] ] However the PC version was hailed by many as the Greatest DOS game ever made.
References in other media
In 1992, a famous
Russian author Victor Pelevinwrote a short story called "Prince of Central Planning" which shows a Sovietbureaucratic organization in which everyone plays computer games all the time (using American computers, which were in very short supply in the Soviet Unionat the end of 1980s). Nobody really works but actually lives in the world of the game he is playing at the moment. The protagonist Alexander (or Sasha as this name shortened in Russian) lives in the world of "Prince of Persia" (i.e., he encounters red potions, guardians, spikes and blades in the streets and on the subway during his daily life). The story was a heavy satire on Soviet bureaucracyand resembles stories of Philip K. Dick.
* [http://poplegacy.planets.gamespy.com/ Prince of Persia Legacy]
* [http://www.princed.org/ Prince of Persia Editors Official Website]
* [http://princeofpersia3d.com/html/leg/leg_body_1.html Background information, including Mechners' brother video] Dead link|date=August 2008
* [http://www.tammo80.nl/prince/ Prince of Persia Page] a single page where you can watch or download the videos used to animate the prince.
* [http://pc.ign.com/objects/011/011696.html Prince of Persia 3D]
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