Video Game Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2003)

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2003)

The Prince
Relevant Links:
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (Wikipedia.org)
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (PC) (Metacritic.com)
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (GCN) (Metacritic.com)
My Movie Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010) post.

[20140417]
For me, the main reason to play this game is for all the wall-running and wall jumps. While the graphics are old compared to newer entries in the Prince of Persia franchise and the Assassin's Creed franchise (same developer), I think of this game as being the first which incorporated various climbing and parkour-like game mechanics.


Of course, this series reboot had the additional mechanic of being able to rewind time and use various other time-related abilities in combat.

Having mentioned praiseworthy aspects of the game, there are two big flaws with the game. The first is the camera system, which can sometimes switch directions at the most inopportune times. Then again, camera systems in many 3D adventure games are finicky, but I think it's quite noticeable when playing The Sands of Time.

On a related note, I find the directional movement with respect to the camera angle unintuitive and sometimes it forces me to use the dagger to rewind time.

Vault enemies!
Getting back on topic, the second big flaw of the game is the auto-targeting system which can prevent pulling away from a fight at full speed or dealing the killing blow. While possibly more complicated, I would have preferred an auto-targeting system which I can toggle on and off.

On top of those two major flaws, I would like to inquire on a small detail. Why doesn't the music play endlessly during fight scenes? Can't the music just loop repeatedly until I'm done fighting? For whatever reason, the answer is no, and sometimes I take so long to fight enemies that the game just gives up on me and lets me fight in silence.

Put them out of their misery.
With all that being said, I have to be honest and say that even after a decade, the game still looks good and still a lot of fun to play.

20040107: [20140504] (old gaming log entry with some tweaks)
I haven't played a game since Winter Break. In fact, I haven't played since the last time I wrote in this log (20031227), which was about a week before Winter Break ended. [~extraneous details omitted~]

In any case, I couldn't resist a deal I saw two days ago where I could get both Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell for the price of one.

The Dagger of Time
I'm glad I called the stores today. GameStop was the only store that had the deal going. Game Square, CompUSA, and Target were all oblivious to the deal. Of course, I don't blame Target, because they barely had any games at all. [~extraneous detail omitted~]

While getting fifty percent off is great, I am disappointed since I got GameStop's last copies of both games and so their cases were the case used on display. However, the games were supposedly still brand new. With marks on the discs I was hesitant, but I figured they are in a playable condition and trusted that GameStop doesn't do dirty business.

Farah.
In fact, what irked me was not so much that the cases were the display cases, but that the price sticker tainted the quality of the box (usually the price tag is placed over the shrink wrap); I'll have some fun carefully removing the sticker, not.

Nevertheless, getting two great games for the price of one is quite a deal. Unfortunately, I'll have no time to play them until the summer. I wonder if I'll finish all my unfinished games by then. [~extraneous details omitted~]

[I end up playing Splinter Cell the next day.]

Zoomed out view.
20040116: [20140504] (old gaming log entry with some tweaks)
I was trying to beat the boss, but he keeps blocking and I don't understand how to defeat him. As such, I looked up the solution on GameFAQs:
You'll have finally made it back to the reception hall you started in. You'll see Farah shooting arrows at a bunch of Sand Creatures, one who happens to be your father. Isn't that lovely? In addition to dear old Daddy, you'll face sixteen of a combination of Little Spears and new Big Spears. Big Spears cannot be Vaulted, but they can be Countered. Your dad, on the other hand, cannot be Vaulted or Countered. You either have to wait for Farah to shoot him, or dodge his attack and strike when you have an opening. He takes a lot of hits, but you should be able to destroy him with little trouble.
Interesting. Sixteen, eh?

Drink water to refill your health.
[It so happens that on 20140417, I had to look up the solution for the same exact battle!]

20040120,1: [20140504]
[I mention that I played this game on these two days. The log seems to suggest that I didn't play any games on the 17th, 18th, or 19th.]

20040124: [20140504] (old gaming log entry with some tweaks)
Today I completed about 60% of Prince of Persia. I also started Super Mario 4. [~details related to Super Mario 4 omitted~]

Wall run and jump from place to place.
20040128: [20140504] (old gaming log entry with some tweaks)
Today is the first day of finals. Schools gets out at 12:45 PM. I got home at about 1:15 PM. I started played Prince of Persia at about 1:30 PM. I stopped playing at about 5:00 PM. I got up to the 90% mark.

I was about to continue from that point but I made this one jump that killed me. I realized I couldn't rewind time, because in the previous scene the dagger had been stolen from the Prince. As such, I figured I would use tomorrow to finish the game.

Cutscene.
While it doesn't matter now that I have the cool sword, the following would have helped earlier in the game:
Counterattacking
This is a more complicated manner of fighting, but it's no less valuable. The manual doesn't do a very good job of explaining this. First, hold R to
snap up into your block position. Wait until an enemy begins a strike, then just as the enemy's ABOUT to hit, press B or Y. Pressing one of those buttons while holding R will cause you to make a slight advance, and if you block the enemy's hit during that advance, you'll counterattack. If you used B, then you'll slash with your sword, and if you used Y, you'll get the enemy in the sweet spot with the Dagger, automatically finishing it and retrieving the Sand.

Avoid the spiky poles, they hurt.
20040129: [20140504] (old gaming log entry with some tweaks)
Today I beat the game.

Total time: 10 hours 42 minutes.

I wonder if you can get a better percentage than 98% at the savepoint Honor and Glory. However, looking at various FAQs online, I wouldn't think you can. So there it is, I beat it.

Note, however, that I never unlocked the original Prince of Persia. Maybe I could do that another day.

Leap from column to column.
20140417:
A decade has passed since I've played this game, but feeling nostalgic I started it up.

Note that for whatever reason, I had to turn the fog off for the graphics to display correctly on my computer.

Tips and Stuff:
: You'll see short sand stacks after you unleash the Sands of Time. Walk up to them and press E. You'll want to collect as many as you can to maximize the amount of sand you can hold.
: When jumping from pole to pole or from pole to some destination, simply rotate to the direction of choice and then, without touching any directional movement, press the jump button. I used to think you have to hold the direction you want to jump, but this isn't true. There are some situations where you have to press the direction you want to go, but going from pole to pole is not one of them.


: There's a couple of things that you can do before you're told you can do them. For example, executing a wall jump attack or using your dagger to slow time.
: You can't jump over blue (double blade) enemies.

FAQ Used:
During the first boss battle, I couldn't figure out how to fight my father. After several tries, I gave up and went searching for how to complete the battle.
"The [sand goons] should be dispatched first and foremost. While they seem endless, there is a finite amount."
After doing the above, fighting the Prince's father was a walk in the park.

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