Prince of Persia review - Sega Master System
The Sultan of Persia has left the country, seeking to bring his own kind of scimitar-related justice to the heathen that dare inhabit the same world as him. He's left his trusted aide, Jaffar in charge of the country while he's out slaying people. Unfortunately, Jaffar isn't the most trustworthy politician and trusted companion that the Sultan thought he was. Indeed, he is in fact a megalomaniacal madman out to seize Persia's reigns of power. In order to carry this out "legally" he plans to marry the Sultan's daughter and then take over using the privileges of her birthright!
As the husky voice-over at the beginning of Knight Rider used to say, "One man can make a difference!" and that particular individual turns out to be a lowly peasant worker who catches wind of Jaffar's fiendish plot and decides to take him on single-handedly!
This is all an excuse for ten levels' worth of platform-related mayhem, as you control the hero as he progresses through the palace slapping Jaffar's henchmen about and working his way towards the final confrontation with the twisted madman himself!
However, luck isn't on your side. You start the game captured by Jaffar's minions and thrown into the deepest, dankest dungeon in the land! Can you escape, find a sword and then rescue the Princess from Jaffar's perverted clutches? Can you stop Jaffar becoming the Prince of Persia?
What the Mean Machines staff thought
Although it looks like just another platform game, Prince of Persia takes a fresh angle on this popular formula. Instead of the usual arcade-style running and jumping about, the gameplay is fairly sedate and, for want of a better description, far more realistic than anything I've played before. You have to think about where you're jumping to, whether to haul yourself up a level or cautiously drop down a floor. The realism is further enhanced by the outstanding animation. The movement of the main character is truly brilliant and is easily the most realistic I've seen on a console game - this is a game you really have to see to appreciate. The only thing I was slightly disappointed with was the combat - it's all a bit weak and the parrying and thrusting could have been made far more realistic. But really that's a minor niggle, and it doesn't stop this being an essential purchase for platform/arcade adventure fans.
I used to be a real Prince of Persia fan. I had the PC version and many hours were spent playing it (when I should have been writing the mag!). This Master System version is truly excellent. It manages to combine all of the superb graphics and the stylish gameplay of the original computer versions, making for a game that's very enjoyable to play and extremely tough to beat. It's a bit difficult to play at first. The controls seem unresponsive and tricky, but once you've sussed out how to use them properly, you'll be stunned by the sheer amount of things you can do in the game. My one moan is that sword-fighting is not quite as responsive as the computer version. This makes parrying your opponent's thrusts very difficult. But apart from that niggle, I can report that Prince of Persia is an excellent conversion and it's the best thing I've played on the Master System this month. Go for it!
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