In 1989 a platformer known as Prince of Persia was created by Jordan Mechner for the Apple II. The game allowed you to play as an unnamed hero trapped in a dungeon fighting his way out to save a princess from the evil Grand Vizier Jaffar.
In the early 90’s Prince of Persia was the first game I ever played on an annual bases. Being born in the late 80’s I didn’t really get a chance to experience consoles such as the NES/SNES. Prince of Persia has numerous ports and has inspired many more titles in the series as well as it’s own movie. It’s also spawned sequels.
The game is filled with various traps such as spikes, deep pits and guillotines across its 12 levels. There are also various enemies with different coloured uniforms that signify their difficulty levels as well as skeleton enemies that lie in wake till passed that come to life with a sword to stop you from progressing. The game also has to be completed within 60 minutes as Jaffar has set a time until he shall marry the Princess and take over Persia.
Although the game is basically a 2D side scroller the 12 levels tend to get a bit more difficult the further in you get with gate triggers, both to open and lock. The key is to use the trigger to open the gate and either run while performing a timed jump or avoid the close triggers altogether by using a different path. The other challenge is trying to avoid lose floor boards, the floor boards usually conceal a set of spikes based at the bottom of a pit, although just the fall alone into the pit is deadly enough.
Prince of Persia is also littered with secret pathways that, when discovered, provide the player with a magical potion that increases the total number of health bars/triangles. There are also a wide array of spots that provide the player with potions that heal damage taken and also reduce your health so be very careful on what you choose.
I always remembered enjoying this title and it being a defining moment in video games for me, but admittedly this port left a little sour taste in my mouth. I originally played the title in black and white so playing it in color was a bit more fun. However the controls felt sticky a lot of the time, which left me frustrated. Making timed jumps while running felt more like the challenge in the game then actually passing the level. Sword fights were also quite annoying. Hits that should clearly be making contact with the enemy, slid right through them.
I believe the game mechanics, traps, enemies and dungeon layouts were set out quite well, considering the era. If you’ve played the original then this port will hit you with a ton of nostalgia and can be found on the Nintendo eShop for R65.