Prince of Platforms.
Prince Of Persia is a game from the mists of time, one that started life back in 1989 on the Apple II. Yet it retains something more than nostalgia, there's an excellent game in there which has stood the test of time.
Which is why it was remade with updated graphics and extra features for Xbox Live, PC and PSN and why that version has now made its way back to Apple via the App Store. Strange how things come back around.
This isn't the first time we've seen the prince on the iPhone though. Back in 2010 a port of the original game appeared on the App Store. The retro nostalgia was no match for poor controls, though, and it was soon forgotten. We've also had Gameloft's port of one of the later episodes in the Prince's career, which turned out to be pretty good.
But now we have a proper homage to the original, all dressed in fine new clothes. It's clear from the intro that a lot of care and attention has gone in to this remake and yet somehow it still feels familiar, in a good way.
Some things had to change, though. The most obvious is the control system. The original used a keyboard layout and more recent editions have used gamepads, but the iOS version has an interesting icon based system with a button for jumping, one for crouching, another for picking things up and, lastly, a slider on the left hand side for moving. The slider is important; the original game relied on moving both fast and slowly to get around ledges and spikes and to place the prince perfectly in order to time a jump. While this new method works in principal, I often found that it was far too easy to push it too far one way or the other, which occasionally ended in an untimely death.
Doing an impression of a kebab via some mis-placed spikes isn't the only way to die in Prince of Persia. There are guards everywhere who fancy a quick sword fight if you happen upon them. Once you've found the sword and you're near enough the icons will change to attack and guard. Fighting is simply a case of timing your thrusts and guards, but it's just as entertaining as it was back in the day and it's here that the controls work best.
The overhauled graphics, especially on the iPad version, are the one area which Ubisoft really went to work on, everything looks beautiful and the palace has never looked so grand. Animations are fluid and objects easy to see and even though it's still the same game, more or less, underneath, this new lick of paint has brought it right up to the modern age where it can sit proudly next to other platform adventures.
While some may wince at the instant death syndrome and the level design that harks back to the early days of gaming, Prince of Persia Classic shows that some games never outstay their welcome. It's as good now as it was back in the late 80's, better even, thanks to the fact that it's now portable.
Prince of Persia Classic is a game that has stood the test of time thanks to the fantastic upgrade to the graphics and a thoughtful control layout. If you've never played the original, you owe it to yourself and to gaming history to check this out.
- Sound: 7
- Graphics: 9
- Gameplay: 8
- Longevity: 8
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