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Overview

The game's protagonists

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is a cross-platform game released in late 2003. A reboot of the original Prince of Persia franchise, development of the game included collaboration with the original series' creator, Jordan Mechner, who is credited in the game as writer and game designer.

Sands of Time places players in control of a character known only as the Prince, son of King Sharaman of Persia. While on a journey to a neighboring kingdom, the Prince unknowingly releases the cursed Sands of Time. The rest of the game pits the player against sands demons - former humans transformed by the Sands - and an even deadlier environment.

The premise is used to divide the game into two segments: combat and platforming. Most of the player's time is spent utilizing the Prince's vast array of acrobatic techniques to navigate the palace. These platforming segments are broken up by combat against the palace's transformed denizens. In combat, the Prince's acrobatic strengths are augmented by his formidable swordsmanship. Both segments often require the aid of the Dagger of Time, a magical relic that can manipulate time itself and undo mistakes made by the player.

Plot

Father and son prepare to attack.

The story opens with King Sharaman of Persia secretly waiting with an army outside an Indian city. The traitorous Vizier, advisor to the Indian Maharaja, makes a deal with the enemy forces: the Vizier will kill the night watchmen and raise the gates, and in return the King will give the Vizier his choice among the looted treasures.

During the ensuing raid, the Prince seeks to earn honor and glory in the eyes of his father, but has little taste for the violence of combat. He leaves his father's forces and searches for a way into the Maharaja's treasure vault. Once there, he claims for himself a mysterious dagger which he believes will earn him the prestige he seeks.

The city conquered, the Vizier is allowed to choose any item from the treasure vault except, decrees the king, the dagger claimed by his son and a giant hourglass which the king decides will be a gift to a neighboring kingdom. The Vizier is furious; these were precisely the items he desired.

"Why does it glow?"

The king and his forces depart from the looted city, making their way to the Kingdom of Azad, whose sultan is a friend and ally. King Sharaman presents the sultan with the Hourglass of Time, which the Vizier explains contains wonders no living mortal has seen. He entreats the Prince to open the hourglass with the companion Dagger of Time, but when the Prince does so, the Vizier begins chanting magical incantations which spread the sands in a violent whirlwind. The sands begin consuming the palace's inhabitants, turning them into vile sand demons. The Vizier demands the Prince give him the dagger, but the Prince flees.

Not long after, the Prince witnesses the hourglass carried away by a flock of birds, flying the artifact to the Tower of Dawn. It is there the Prince must follow, but the journey is a long and perilous one. On his journey he teams up with the spirited Princess Farah, daughter of the conquered Maharaja. Together they navigate the palace's labyrinthine corridors and deadly traps.

The Prince's feelings toward the princess fluctuate between attraction and suspicion. He appreciates her company and begins to care for her but also suspects she desires only to claim the dagger much like the Vizier. Their time together culminates in a night of passion, but when the Prince awakens he finds Farah and the Dagger of Time missing.

He pursues and finds her overwhelmed by a horde of sands demons. He attempts to rescue her but is too late. She falls to her death. Disgusted with his selfish pride and the destruction it has caused to everything he cares about, the Prince climbs the Tower of Dawn and plunges the Dagger of Time into the magical hourglass. Doing so magically retrieves the cursed sands but also begins to rewind time. Time rewinds faster and faster until the Prince finds himself back in the war camp on the night of the raid!

On the princess's balcony

Determined to stop the raid of the Maharaja's kingdom, the Prince infiltrates the city and locates the Princess Farah's bedchamber. Unfortunately, she too is a victim of the hourglass's magic and does not remember the Prince or their adventures together. The Prince tries to explain to her everything he's done and everything he's trying to prevent, but the Vizier, knowledgeable of the Prince's intentions, intrudes into the room.

The Vizier reveals his plan to murder Farah and the Prince, attacking with powerful magic. These attacks are met with the Prince's own skill, and the Vizier is killed. Farah thanks him for saving her life, but questions why he would concoct such an intricate lie to reveal the traitorous advisor. The Prince, realizing the princess still does not believe his story, jumps into the jungle outside her balcony. Before he disappears, she calls out, asking for his name.

"Just call me... Kakolookiyam," and he runs into the night.

The princess is speechless. Her childhood story of the magic word was something she had shared with no one else... unless the Prince's story was true.

Gameplay

Platforming is the central gameplay element to Sands of Time. To navigate the palace, the Prince must utilize every skill in his acrobatic arsenal: from simple running and jumping to running along walls, dodging hazards, and swinging from poles. The environment can be as dangerous as any sand demon; the palace is littered with spikes, saws, and blades.

Accompanying the levels are light puzzle elements, forcing the Prince to pull switches, manipulate mirrors, and search for hidden pathways.

Engaging the enemy with acrobatics

Breaking up the platforming and puzzle elements are faster-paced combat segments. Again, the Prince must use his acrobatic abilities to best his opponents by leaping, rolling, and outmaneuvering his assailants. Defeating the sand demons requires the use of both sword and dagger. The sword is used to force enemies to the ground, which if left unattended will rise to fight again. Only by using the magical Dagger of Time can the Prince strike a finishing blow that will banish the sand demon and absorb the cursed sands.

During both platforming and combat, the player will often make mistakes and require assistance. Help comes in the form of the Dagger of Time's magical abilities, beginning with the ability to rewind time and undo mistakes (and unfortunate deaths). Through the course of the game, new dagger techniques are unlocked: the ability to slow time and freeze enemies. Needless to say, the dagger is often critical to the success of the player.

Trivia

  • According to Jordan Mechner, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time has sold over 10 million copies.
  • At the time of development, the average age of the Montreal development team was 22.
  • Jordan Mechner originally signed onto the project to write the script and direct the casting and voice recording sessions. Eventually, however, he transitioned to full-time writer and game designer due to "how much fun [he] was having" ( source).

System Requirements

  • Operating System: Windows 98 SE/ 2000/ ME/ XP (ONLY)
  • Processor: 800 MHz Pentium III or AMD Athlon
  • Memory: 256 MB of RAM
  • Video Card: 64 MB GeForce 3 or higher, or ATI® Radeon 8500 or higher, Matrox Parhelia (GeForce4 MX not supported)
  • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0 or higher compliant sound card
  • DirectX Version: 9.0 or higher (included on game disc)
  • Hard Drive Space: 1.5 GB minimum
  • CD-ROM: 16X or better (not recommended for use with CD-RWs)
  • Additional Supported Peripherals: ThrustMaster FIRESTORM Dual Analog 3
  • Controls: Windows-compatible keyboard and mouse.

Soundtrack

The soundtrack was composed by Stuart Chatwood and released on October 20, 2004 by Columbia in Japan. Some of the tracks from this game, along with Chatwood's music from Prince of Persia: Warrior Within and Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, were re-released by Ubisoft Music in December 2005 as part of Prince of Persia: The Official Trilogy Soundtrack.

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time - Original Sound Track (Stuart Chatwood)

No.TitleLength
1."Welcome to Persia"1:02
2."Introducing the Prince"1:39
3."Call to Arms"0:39
4."Prelude Fight"1:34
5."A Dagger Is Found"0:36
6."A Princess Is Stolen"1:08
7."Behold the Sands of Time"2:45
8."Start Running"0:28
9."Discover the Royal Chambers"1:57
10."Dreamtime"0:41
11."A Question of Trust"0:52
12."Father Is That You?"0:31
13."Attack of the Sand Griffins"1:15
14."Don't Enter the Light"2:02
15."Enter the Royal Palace"1:26
16."A Long Way Up"1:04
17."A Vision"0:07
18."Royal Baths"1:45
19."A Bad Dream"0:58
20."Chaos in the Zoo"1:44
21."Lost in the Crypts"1:47
22."Farah Enlightens the Prince"2:29
23."A Brief Oasis"0:59
24."Awake"0:36
25."Trouble in the Barracks"1:47
26."Library"1:42
27."The Prince Hesitates..."1:08
28."Tower of Dawn"1:34
29."Farah Perishes"1:10
30."At What Cost"0:22
31."Reverse the Sands of Time"3:03
32."The Battle Begins"0:17
33."The Vizier Must Die"0:59
34."Finish the Vizier"0:43
35."Farewell Princess"3:08
36."Time Only Knows"3:46

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