It’s been almost a quarter of a decade since Jordan Mechner rotoscoped his way into video game history with the original Prince of Persia, yet the timeless entertainment provided by this influential and groundbreaking 2D platformer remains undiminished.
As if to prove this fact, Ubisoft has relaunched the game in modern clothing and with the bare-chested and angst-ridden Prince of 2003's Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time at its centre.
What follows is a faithful recreation of one of the most famous games in the history of the medium, with revised graphics and touchscreen controls that make it feel like a new experience.
Prince or pauper?
One thing that has thankfully remained untouched is the gloriously streamlined storyline. The evil Jaffar wants to rule the kingdom, but can’t because the royal princess stands in his way. He casts a spell that will seal her doom within an hour, leaving you to embark on a frantic race against time.
Commencing your adventure in the palace dungeons, you must guide the nimble prince through the royal stronghold to a final confrontation with the wicked Jaffar - all in under 60 minutes.
Along the way you’ll encounter deadly traps, sword-welding enemies and many faith-testing leaps, all of which add to the game’s unique brand of trial and error gameplay.
Fit for royality
The Prince himself is quite an agile chap, and controlling his actions could have been tricky given the slippery nature of the iPhone’s touchscreen interface. Thankfully, the developer has employed a unique slider mechanism that allows you to alter the Prince’s speed of movement.
Moving the slider a small amount forces him to tip-toe gently, an essential skill when avoiding some of the pressure-sensitive traps. Sliding it more aggressively puts the Prince into a sprint, which gives him the forward momentum to clear some of the larger gaps.
Virtual buttons control actions such as jumping, crouching, and attacking, and in all honesty the system works better than we expected. There are moments when the precision and accuracy of a proper pad would be welcome, but these are mercifully few and far between.Arabian nights
Visually, the game has been given quite a significant face-lift when compared to the 1989 original. The graphics are packed with detail and the characters boast superb animation.
If you're looking to point fault at Prince of Persia Classic, you could say that it’s really just a rehashed game from 25 years ago. There’s little here that is wholly new, and even the graphics themselves feel like they are recycled from PoP: The Sands of Time. The omission of the 1989 original’s grisly death sequences also seems like something of a cop-out.
But this is a minor issue at best. Prince of Persia Classic is the ideal way for veteran gamers to become reacquainted with an old friend, whilst young whipper-snappers who were still unfertilised eggs in 1989 can finally see what all the fuss is about.