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Overview

A very different tone from its predecessor
A very different tone from its predecessor

Prince of Persia: Warrior Within is an action adventure game. Like its predecessor, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, it has a strong emphasis on platforming and combat against numerous opponents. Both of these aspects of gameplay exemplify the Prince's strength, agility, and acrobatic ability. The voice actor who portrayed the Prince in The Sands of Time, Yuri Lowenthal, has here been replaced in the role with a more gravelly performance by Robin Atkin Downes.

One of the most obvious aspects of Prince of Persia: Warrior Within is its departure from the bright visuals of its predecessor. Inspired by the gritty aesthetics of games such as Silent Hill, and the angry, combat-focused tone of the incredibly popular recent release God of War, it presents a much darker artistic style and story. An additional controversial change to the franchise is the Prince himself, having adopted a harsher, rougher tone and conduct.

These stylistic changes are justified by the story progression of the game; for seven years, the Prince has found himself hunted relentlessly by an unstoppable force, and the stress and strain have taken its toll on the Prince's charm and goodwill. What's left is a grim determination to survive. However, despite this, Warrior Within is still considered one of the most iconic examples of "baditude" in gaming history, mostly due to the negative reception this new, darker tone received from fans who preferred The Sands of Time's more whimsical aesthetic.

Gameplay

Combat

Prince of Persia returns with a greater emphasis on combat. Throughout the game, the Prince will pit himself against groups of enemies and the occasional one-on-one boss. In order to dispose of these opponents, the player uses special input sequences to perform combos. He is now able to dual wield and throw weapons. Additionally, the Prince may utilize the environment to his advantage, attacking while running along walls or swinging around pillars.

One of Ubisoft's primary concerns was to improve the combat system, which was often perceived as repetitive and simplistic in The Sands of Time. New moves and abilities facilitate far greater variety in how players can deal with multiple enemies in more complex combat arenas. When the Prince ends an enemy is a particularly grisly fashion, the game will slow down and the camera will adopt a more cinematic angle. However, a common complaint is that Warrior Within removes the most distinctive, signature element of The Sands of Time's combat, namely being required to finish off the immortal enemies with the magical Dagger of Time; although the story makes it entirely reasonable that the Dagger is not present, simply hacking enemies to pieces is considered much less unique.

Puzzles

Warrior Within's puzzle elements are not particularly difficult but do rely on a lot of movement within the environment. Like its predecessor, puzzles are usually relegated to the switch, lever, door variety: push a button to open a door then run to the door before it closes.

The Dahaka Chases

At certain moments in the game the Dahaka will find the Prince. When this happens the Prince will have to run for his life. Ubisoft added this new gameplay element to change up the flow of the game from a steady mix of combat and puzzles to add adrenaline-fuelled chase sequences where players have to think on their feet in order to figure out where to platform to stay a step ahead of the Dahaka. As the Prince, these will only occur in the present but as the Sand Wraith these will occasionally occur in the past. Either way these sequences will always end when players get to a time portal as the Dahaka can not pass the small waterfalls that cover the doorway to the time portal rooms. Whenever the Dahaka speaks it is backmasked, but if players rewind time after he speaks then it will be played normally.

Plot Synopsis

For the seven years after Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, the Prince of Persia has been hunted by the invincible Dahaka, the Guardian of the Timeline, a physical manifestation of fate. In releasing the Sands of Time from their hourglass, the Prince was cursed to inevitably die, the source of the visions of the future he saw in that game where he died. However, by manipulating the Sands, the Prince was able to reverse time so that he never opened the hourglass in the first place, cheating death and preventing himself from ever being cursed. Because of this, the Dahaka has been dispatched by fate itself to kill the Prince and forcefully make him live up to his fate: "He who releases the Sands of Time must die."

The Prince's ship attacked
The Prince's ship attacked

Always on the run and desperate to cease its pursuit, the Prince learns from an old man about the Island of Time, birthplace of the Sands of Time. The Prince sets sail; his mission: to use the portals through time that are present on the island to go back to a time before the Sands of Time were created, and prevent the Empress of Time, lord of the Island, from creating them in the first place. This will alter the timeline and undo the Prince's mistakes: if the Sands of Time never existed in the first place, the Prince will never have been able to open them, so that the Dahaka will have no quarrel with him. Unfortunately, the Prince's ship is attacked by the Empress' loyal lieutenant, Shahdee, and a large group of soldiers. The entire crew is slaughtered, and the ship is set ablaze. When the Prince faces Shahdee in combat, he gets the upper hand for a moment, but she effortlessly turns the tables, and the Prince is thrown overboard. He manages to drift ashore and follows the woman into the Fortress that the Island centres around. During his pursuit, he discovers the magical, time-manipulating portals that he came to exploit in the first place, and learns how to activate them and travel between the present and some unspecified point far in the distant past. After travelling through a portal for the first time, the Prince finds that the medallion he wears in his chestplate, a keepsake of his lost love affair with Princess Farah, has been energized with the power of the Sands of Time, and it allows him to access time-control powers similar to those granted to him in the first game by the Dagger of Time.

Using the portals to travel into the deep past, the Prince encounters Shahdee attempting to murder a helpless woman in red, Kaileena. The Prince kills Shahdee, and the rescued Kaileena explains to him that she is a servant to the Empress of Time. She also explains to the Prince that to gain an audience with the Empress of Time, he must activate mechanisms in two towers, which will open the doors to her throne room. Kaileena aids the Prince by giving him weapons which are used to progress through the towers. During his quest, the Prince encounters a shadowy creature that always vanishes into the shadows, but shows signs of being hostile to him, such as throwing an axe at the Prince and just barely missing.

The Prince and Kaileena
The Prince and Kaileena

After activating the Garden Tower and Mechanical Towers, the Prince is attacked by the Dahaka and is almost killed, but the shadowy creature from before appears and is accidentally killed in his place. Immediately afterwards, the Dahaka inexplicably leaves.

The Prince eventually succeeds in reaching the throne room only to discover that Kaileena is the Empress of Time. She has foreseen her own death by the Prince's hands while viewing the Timeline, and has been trying to avoid her fate by killing him. They engage in mortal combat, and the Prince somewhat reluctantly kills Kaileena. He returns to the present, satisfied that Kaileena will never be able to create the Sands of Time. To his horror, he discovers that Kaileena's body has become the Sands. The Prince, in trying to change his fate, became an instrument of both his own fate and Kaileena's, and turned out to be directly responsible for the Sands of Time's creation.

Still on the Island of Time, fleeing the Dahaka, the Prince discovers the Mask of the Wraith, an ancient artifact that allows its wearer to coexist with his past self in the same timeline. Placing the mask on his face, he transforms into the Sand Wraith, the very creature the Prince witnessed die at the hands of the Dahaka. Travelling back into the past through the sand portals, the Sand Wraith relives the same moments of the story from the "shadowy creature's" perspective, including throwing an axe just past the Prince - and into the face of the ninja assassin sneaking up behind him. Eventually, after a long, difficult, and somewhat tedious journey, the Sand Wraith returns to the moment when he witnessed the Sand Wraith's death. Instead of rescuing the Prince, however, he allows the Dahaka to kill his past self. Appeased, the Dahaka vanishes, and as the past Prince dies, the Sand Wraith finds that he can now remove the mask, returning to human form and becoming the Prince of Persia once more.

The Sand Wraith
The Sand Wraith

Still in the past, the Prince continues his quest to undo the creation of the Sands of Time. Instead of killing Kaileena, he forces her through a sand portal into the present. It is at this point the game diverges into two alternate endings, dependant on whether or not the player has found and accessed all nine health shrines and earned their upgrades. With all the health upgrades unlocked, the Prince is given one last new weapon, the Water Sword, before the final boss fight. Without them, he must face the last encounter with the Scorpion Sword he previously found.

Without the Water Sword

The Dahaka
The Dahaka

The Prince kills Kaileena again after an even more difficult battle. The Dahaka reappears and takes Kaileena's body since it is now she who is out of place in the timeline. In doing so, the Sands of Time are erased from history, changing the Prince's fate just as he hoped he could. The Dahaka also claims Farah's medallion, another relic of the Sands, and then fades away, his task finally complete. Free and hopeful for the first time in seven years, the Prince sets sail for his home city of Babylon, but as the Prince approaches, he sees that his kingdom is aflame. He remembers the Old Man saying "Your journey will not end well.You cannot change your fate... no man can." Before the credits roll, you hear the Prince say "What have I done?"

With the Water Sword (canon)

The Prince spares Kaileena's life. The Dahaka reappears to claim her life since it is now she who is cheating fate. The Prince, however, strikes the Dahaka in an attempt to save Kaileena, and realizes that the magic of the Water Sword can actually harm the Dahaka. After a gruelling battle, the Prince knocks the Dahaka into the waters far below, where the beast is broken down and slain once and for all. With nothing left for either of them on the Island of Time, the Prince and Kaileena set sail for Babylon together. On the trip back, the Prince and Kaileena develop romantic feelings for each other and make love, and Kaileena gets a vision of the future. Babylon is aflame. Men fight and die. A mysterious figure in a cloak picks up the crown which belongs to the Prince's father, King Sharaman, and says "All that is yours is rightfully mine... and mine, it will be." The last thing you see before the credits roll is that this mysterious cloaked man is accompanied by Farah, in chains. As before, the Old Man is heard saying "Your journey will not end well. You cannot change your fate, no man can." Ubisoft used this teaser ending to foreshadow the "final" game in the Sands of Time trilogy, Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones.

Reception

Many existing fans of the franchise, series creator Jordan Mechner included, have found the changes in tone and character unappealing. The Prince is often accused of excessive baditude and even alienating fans of preceding games. Many of these complaints were addressed in the game's sequel, The Two Thrones.

Controversy over tone aside, the gameplay is generally held in high regard, though opinions differ on the game's stronger emphasis on combat.

System Requirements

  • Supported OS: Windows 98SE/2000/XP (only)
  • Processor: Pentium III 1 GHz or AMD Athlon 1 GHz
  • Ram: 256 MB
  • Video Card: DirectX 9-compliant graphics card
  • Supported Video Cards at Time of Release: Nvidia Geforce 3/4/FX series (including 4MX), ATI Radeon 7500/8500/9000 families or newer
  • Sound Card: DirectX 8-compliant sound card
  • CD-ROM: 16X CD-ROM or 4X DVD-ROM
  • Hard Drive Space: 2 GB

Soundtrack

No Caption Provided

The soundtrack was composed by Stuart Chatwood with Inon Zur, and released in October 2005 by Team Entertainment/Sony Music Distribution in Japan. Some of the tracks from this game, along with Chatwood's music from Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time 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: Warrior Within - Original Soundtrack (Stuart Chatwood, Inon Zur)

No.Track TitleLength (62:24)
1."Welcome Within"1:20
2."Attack at Sea"2:15
3."Conflict at the Entrance"2:10
4."Tower Encounter"2:12
5."Confrontation in the Mechanical Tower"2:28
6."Military Aggression"2:15
7."Clash in the Catacombs"2:16
8."Struggle in the Library"2:28
9."Rooftop Engagement"2:15
10."An Unsafe Sanctuary"2:16
11."The Mystic Caves"2:25
12."Mystic Sanctuary"1:13
13."Desolation of the Tower"1:33
14."Avoid the Guards"1:21
15."Explore the Catacombs"1:31
16."Divine Sacrifice"1:33
17."Dark Gardens"1:26
18."Shadow of the Tower"1:42
19."The Guard Tower Past"1:30
20."Worried in the Catacombs"1:27
21."The Mask Sanctuary"1:09
22."The Chase of Time"3:26
23."The Prophecy"2:12
24."Escape in the Temple"0:31
25."Despair and Hope"2:14
26."The Mask"1:16
27."Dahaka's Revenge"1:52
28."Back to Babylon"2:45
29."Escape the Dahaka"2:21
30."At war with Kaileena"2:13
31."Battle the Dahaka"2:24
32."Conflict of the Griffins"2:25
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