Prince of Persia: Cinematic Fantasy Jaunt With Lots of Death

Prince of Persia on the NES

First released on the Apple II in 1988, this fantasy cinematic platformer was something of a landmark title. And we’re celebrating it here today.

A History of Prince of Persia

American video game developer Jordan Mechner is behind what’s now a big franchise. It’s had some massive AAA releases and even some films.

But the first outing was on the Apple II in 1989.

It takes place in medieval Persia, where you take control of an unnamed protagonist. You must trek through dungeons, overcome puzzles and booby traps, to defeat the Grand Vizier.

It’s quite a brutal game. If you make one error, you die horribly.

This set the foundations for some modern indie games, such as INSIDE (2016) and Unto the End (2020).

Back in 1989, it was pretty remarkable. And one other titles such as Another World (1991) built upon.

But Prince of Persia was something of a first and hinted at the future of the industry.

With its use of rotoscoping, it was able to implement fluid animation.

All of which was pretty revolutionary for the time and helped make the game a massive critical and commercial darling.

And that meant it quickly became one of the most ported games in history, enjoying runs on the NES (video above), SNES, Game Boy, Amiga, Game Gear, Mega Drive, and much more.

It’s port to the Macintosh in 1992 shows how quickly technological advancements in the industry were moving.

Gameplay wise, its partially driven by the atmospherics. The sense of impending death at any moment.

But you generally run, and jump, your way through levels. Whilst taking on baddies with your sabre whenever necessary.

Back in the early 1990s the game was all over the place and was viewed as one of the “mature” games for adults to indulge in.

And with good reason. It remains a fun game—a retro classic that utilised technology of the day to the absolute maximum.

The Prince of Persia Franchise

The series’ landmark status grew only further with The Sands of Time, a 2003 action-adventure reboot that won staggering critical acclaim.

Ubisoft Montreal was responsible for the project, which led to a full Sands of Time series.

The most recent entry was Prince of Persia: Escape (2018). It’s an endless runner game for smartphones.

In 2010, there was also an action film starring hunky man bloke Jake Gyllenhaal.

Although it met with negative reviews (a big shock, eh, for a video game adaptation!), it was a massive commercial success.

We think the whole franchise still has a lot of legs. Just maybe steer away from anymore movies, eh?


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