Oh! The East — what a wonderful place it is! But, and this is the spooky thing, there’s always trouble afoot in some mystical manner. This latest Coupé game’s full of the stuff and it’s magic (ie, ace). Join NICK ROBERTS as he samples a bit of Turkish Delight!
It’s a sad time for the people of Persia. The Sultan has been off fighting a foreign war and his Grand Vizier, Jaffar, has seized the reins of power. The only obstacle between Jaffar and the throne of Persia is a young adventurer that has won the heart of the Sultan’s daughter. That adventurer is you.
But calamity strikes — you’ve been arrested, parted from your sword and possessions and thrown into the deep dungeons of the Sultan’s castle while the princess has been locked in the highest tower. Jaffar has given your true love choice and an hour to decide — marry him or die! Can you escape and rescue the princess to become... Prince of Persia?
JUICY JAFFAR’S TRAPS
To rescue the princess, careful leaping, running and ducking is needed, as you never know when one of Jaffar’s traps will spring. There are 13 levels to the game, each set in a different part of the castle, and every one holds different obstacles for you to overcome.
As well as the guards, who vary in skill, there are spikes that rise from the ground, slabs falling from above, metal blades, bad potions and bottomless pits to be negotiated. Collecting the correct potions replenishes some of the energy you’re bound to lose along the way. However, one of the first things you should look for is your sword — fighting’s a little difficult without it, but isn’t that always the way!
The most dazzling aspect of Prince Of Persia is the sheer detail in the animation sequences. From the introduction with the princess to the leaps and bounds of the hero, the slickness of movement is astounding. This isn’t surprising as the original sprites were modelled on live action — such as the swordflghting films of the Thirties — to give ultimate realism.
Many people may find simply moving about the game difficult to begin with. By combining the directional controls the hero can perform an amazing amount of different movements; and it’s not until you’ve mastered each one that you can start to master each level in turn.
BLACK MAGIC BOXES
In addition to the basic fighting and adventuring elements, there are strange goings on in the castle. Jaffar is a master of black magic and will use it to stop you. A particular favourite sequence of mine is where you have to jump through a mirror to exit from a level. A shadow of yourself then runs in the opposite direction! Spooky, eh? From then on in the game the shadow crops up from time to time to make things more difficult, like stealing a potion when you could just do with it!
Prince Of Persia is undoubtedly the best SAM Coupé game yet — its combination of superb gameplay and great graphical content really shows off what the SAM can do!
NICK — 95%