by Al Giovetti
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In 1989, the Prince of Persia legacy was launched and with it the beginning of the action/adventure genre. Now in 1999, the Prince will return using landmark 3D and animation technology. Sharpen your blade, ready your bow and arrow, and enter 12 Century Persia. Tread carefully and keep your wits about you, because your demise might just lie around the corner.
Today, several dozen artists and programmers are involved in the creation of a computer game. But in the 1980's, computer games were normally created almost entirely by one person. And for Prince of Persia that person was Jordan Mechner, a then 25 year old recent college grad. Jordan created the story, characters, and levels for Prince of Persia. He programmed the game and drew the graphics. And when Jordan needed help, he didn't go far from home. His dad composed the original music. And his brother served as the Motion Study actor for the Prince. Truly a labor of love, Prince of Persia took nearly 4 years to be completed.
But the Prince of Persia story really starts several years earlier in the college dorm rooms of Yale University. There in the early 1980's after the creation of dozens of games (but none published), Jordan created Karateka, a combat action/adventure game set in Feudal Japan. The game established several design standards that until that time had never been seen in computer games. It introduced large animated characters with scrolling backgrounds. It featured fluid human animation that had never before been seen. And using cut scenes, it generated tremendous dramatic appeal. Published in 1984, the game sold over 500,000 copies. Karateka took the gaming industry by storm earning rave reviews for its fluid animation and movie-like feel. One of the earliest combat/fighting games, Game Magazine acclaimed it as "a software landmark".
With a major hit under his belt, Jordan headed West to California. In a loft known as "The Attic", Jordan began his next game. A game that would forever change the landscape of computer games. The Japanese setting of Karateka had provided Jordan with a rich tapestry to draw from in his first game. Now, he wanted a similar feeling, but in an environment that had not been explored before, one that would allow him to weave a compelling story in amongst an exotic setting. Jordan was (and still is) a huge movie buff. Inspired by the action/adventure stories from Hollywood melded with his love of the Arabian Nights, Prince of Persia was born.
Mechner scored gold again in 1989 when Prince of Persia was released. Described by PC Review as "an ever-present in any compiled list of classic games of all time," it has sold nearly 2,000,000 copies and won numerous awards, including "Game of the Decade" from Generation 4/Canal+ in 1997. The game was published first on the Apple II platform, but soon made it to virtually all platforms in existance at the time.
The game made popular many features that we now take for granted, but in 1989 were totally revolutionary. Prince of Persia was the first computer game with rotoscoped animation creating incredibly lifelike human motion (see how it was done below). Set in a movie-like Persian setting, the game introduced the idea that storyline could drive the action. It made popular games that had no scoring. It introduced the use of a Health Bar. With gameplay that walked the fine line between exhilaration and frustration, Prince of Persia launched a generation of Action/Adventure.
In 1993, Mechner designed and Brøderbund Software developed the much anticipated sequel, Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame. The game featured all the classic elements that made Prince of Persia so successful and like its predessor, it received many honors including Premier "Action Game of the Year" from Computer Gaming World.
More recently, Prince of Persia was honored in a different way by the many reviewers and columnists who cited it as the 2D model for 1996's biggest hit, Tomb Raider. Now the table is set for the return of the original. In 1999, the legacy continues with Prince of Persia 3D.
Prince of Persia 3D is a 3rd person, real-time adventure/action game which is a sequel to the best-selling, award-winning Prince of Persia games originally created by Jordan Mechner. Prince of Persia 3D includes all the features which made Prince of Persia so popular, including fluid, realistic animation, devious traps, and an elegantly simple interface for running, jumping, climbing, and sword fighting. The story line, co-authored by Mechner, is in the rich tradition of the Arabian Nights and pulls the player through the exotic and fantastic locales of ancient 12th century Persia. Environments will include ornate palaces, labyrinthine caverns, mystical ruins, and bizarre fortresses, all of which will be vividly portrayed in the rich aesthetic characteristic of middle eastern culture. The new version of Prince of Persia uses advanced 3D technology to combine the fast-action combat of a fighting game with the depth and immersion of a classic adventure/action game.
This game has an awful lot of saving before and after you jump or fight or sneak. If you do not save continually you will be repeating many sequences repeatedly. A simle little game design feature would have saved you all this saving and restoring by simply putting in the feature that when you die you can restore to a safe point before each battle or death defying leap so that you can try again without all this saving and restoring.
The main characters are the prince, the princess, the sultan, Assan the sultan's brother, and Rugnor a were tiger. The prince himself is an orphan who rose to royalty by catching the eye of the princess. The prince is basically your normal guy turned hero with one heck of a vertical leap. The princes is the prince's one true love, beautiful, vivacous, curveous, sexy, and wearing very little other then gause clothing that barely covers her gravity defying charms. It is easy to see why the prince loves the princess or at least is mesmerized by her charms.
Like most sultans this one is weak, slow witted and a very lovable father figure who has his daughter the princess and the prince at the center of his world and heart. Assan, the sultan's brother, is a evil scoundrel who wishes to kill the prince and have his son Rugnor then marry the princess. Aparently sometime during the princess' youth the sultan promissed his daughter's hand in marriage to Rugnor. The error of the prince's marriage to the princess is one that Assan and Rugnor intend to correct.
Rugnor is Assan's son who also happens to be a weretiger who moves back and forth between his human and his tiger form and another form which is a mixture of both. Rugnor is confused by his own evil and these transformations. The prince faces Rugnor in the finale of the game.
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