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Jeremy Jastrzab
25 Jul, 2007

XBLA Prince of Persia Classic Review

360 Review | Too classic?
Back around the time when Mario began his ritual of saving the princess, another game was released on PC’s that was somewhat similar. Jordan Mechner’s 1989 creation, Prince of Persia was a revelation upon its release, with a quality of animations and melee combat that were never seen before. The game essentially pioneered non-scrolling platformers but still had you saving the princess. Several remakes and overhauls later, this classic game has been remade for the XBLA.

Prince of Persia Classic is essentially the game that was released in 1989 but with a graphical and mechanical overhaul. The game borrows the style adopted in the Prince of Persia trilogy that spanned from 2003-05. The original story remains, where an evil Vizier has taken over the throne in the absence of the Sultan. The Sultan’s daughter, the Princess, has been given one hour to choose to marry the Vizier, or be forced. The Princess is adamant that her Prince will come and save her, though he’s been thrown into the dungeon.

You take on the role of the prince, and look to scale the castle through dungeons and labyrinths as you work your way to the top. However, you only have (literally) an hour to scale the game’s thirteen levels. Thankfully, the levels aren’t very big, so it is possible. Along the way you can collect potions to revitalize your health and some potions will even increase your health bar. Not all potions are good though and some will hurt you so you'll need to avoid them. While your main objective is to scale the palace, there are a lot of diversions on the way. Some even provide the origin for some of the things that happened in the later POP games.

JUMP!

JUMP!
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Going back to the original game, you’ll find that the platforming is a rather frustrating experience. Prince of Persia Classic improves upon this greatly by making the Prince much more agile and more akin to his 2003 counterpart. Actions such as getting up walls by kick-jumping from the previous wall are simple and quick to perform. It makes for a much more fluid and playable experience. Some may consider the system a little too close to the original, as you’ll still make the silliest of mistakes and end up either falling to your doom or end up being sliced in half. Still, the experience is leaps and bounds ahead of the 1989 game.

The combat in the game needed more of a work over though. Just as in the modern game, combat is the weakest aspect. In theory, it works by you using X to attack and A to parry. Pressing up seems to parry as well. Unfortunately, things aren’t explained that well and about half way through the game, the enemies are so skilled and there are so many of them in a row that you are pawned at their discretion. For a game that is only meant to last an hour, you’ll spend most of it, attempting to clear a row of these ruthless fiends. It’s horrendously frustrating as it seems that you need ninja-like reflects to block their counters or just a lot of luck.

We're gonna need more than an hour.

We're gonna need more than an hour.
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While the combat can be a drag, the reality is that this is the way that games should be coming to XBLA. The fact that the game lasts an hour doesn’t bother us, as it’s generally successful as a piece of gaming nostalgia. However, aspects of the design could have used an overhaul, as they're almost the same as the original game. For example, if you fail a section, you have to fight the enemies all over again. Would have been much less frustrating if the game remembered that you beat them. At least, there could have been the option between the two. Furthermore, it seems that an original version hasn't been included in this package.

The highlight of the package is the revamped presentation. As mentioned, the graphics have been revamped in the style that was adopted in the 2003 game, yet the layout remains virtually identical. The attention to detail, the vibrance of the surroundings and the fluid movement of the characters indicate the potential of remaking games for the XBLA. The sound track has been recomposed as well, providing some more great nostalgia, with all the original tracks being redone. Sound effects are mixed with modern and classic but there is no voicing in the game. Shame, it could have enlivened the cut-scenes.

Prince of Persia Classic is a step in the right direction for the way that classic games ought to be remade. While there are aspects of the game that are still ridiculously frustrating, it’s a better game than it was all that time ago. We would have preferred to see some more refinement and it would have been nice if the game had some things that were explained better but over all it’s a solid effort. In the least, the presentation is second to none. Still, unless you’ve played before and you know what you’re getting yourself into, we suggest to you be cautious. The first level is not an indicator for the rest of the game.
The Score
Prince of Persia Classic ought to serve as a template for all future XBLA remakes. It had great potential but needed a little extra refinement to broaden its appeal.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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6 Comments
6 years ago
hmm dissapointing, i was really thinking this game would be awesome, since the first one scarred the crap out of me when i fell on spikes and went down holes.
6 years ago
The game is awesome. It's certainly more accessible now then before.

A challenge doesn't make a game bad.
6 years ago
Gameplay 6.0
What I read hear is "It's to hard"

It's a fair bit easier than the PoP I owned for the Snes, and it was a masterpiece.
6 years ago
You can read?You sure can't write.
6 years ago
What I think he's saying (Jeremy) is the game is still trial and error and in this day and age when not everyone is a hardcore gamer maybe they would like some progression in their 1/2 an hour of playtime instead of just 25 deaths and still stuck on the same stage.

I love this game but I DREAD replaying it....so i'm just staying the hell away. The new enemies look cool and i'm guessing there are new weapons and moves but it's not enough to convince me of a purchase.

Also why can't a game be scored lower because it's hard/frustrating? Ultimate Ghosts and Goblins got that treatment. I just don't have time nowadays to be running around testing out everylittle avenue of success before attempting it and i'm sure a lot of people are the same. Looking at the graphics and the puzzle like gamplay i'm sure it would've attracted quite a lot of buyers but I guarantee a lot of those buyers would've been quite disappointed when they died for the 100th time without even clearing the first couple of stages.
6 years ago
^Thank you Ugh, that's pretty much what I was trying to get at.

From my understanding, and I'm pretty sure that Microsoft has said it many time, games on the XBLA are games that you can pick up and play for a little while, possibly play a bit more or then go and play GoW or watch a movie or whatever.

On this front, POP Classic fails. As I said in the review, about half way through, things get hard to the point where your average gamer won't be able to get through. I think this point is especially important, given the fact that you won't experience this kind of difficulty in the trial - so you won't get a great idea of what you're in for.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  Out Now
European Release Date:
  Out Now
Publisher:
  Ubisoft
Developer:
  Gameloft
Players:
  1

Extra:
Price: 800 Microsoft Points

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