Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Prince Of Persia: Sands Of Time

Passing through India en route to Azad, King Shahraman and his son, the Prince of Persia, defeated the powerful Maharajah of India with the promise of honor and glory. After looting the city and capturing a giant hourglass full of sand, a mysterious dagger, and the Maharajah's daughter Farah along with other treasures, they continue to Azad. A dying Vizier, who had betrayed the Maharajah and aided King Shahraman in return for a share of the spoils, demands to have the dagger, as he was promised his choice of the Maharajah's treasures. But Shahraman refuses to take the dagger from his son, who captured it first. Denied also the hourglass itself, of which was to go to the sultan of Azad as a gift, the Vizier who wishes to harness the power of the Sands in the hourglass for himself, making him an immortal god and giving him control over time itself, tricks the Prince into opening the hourglass in Azad. When the Prince uses the dagger to unleash the Sands of Time from the hourglass, the Sands destroy the kingdom and turn all living beings into hideous sand creatures. Only the Prince, the Vizier, and Princess Farah, the kidnapped daughter of the Maharajah, remain unchanged due to their possessions; the Prince's dagger, the Vizier's staff, and Farah's medallion (there are a handful of unimportant survivors, such as two people who escape with Farah and a guard who assists you during the Azad defence system puzzle, who is possessed after his part).

On a journey to repair the damage he has caused, the Prince teams with Farah to return the Sands of Time to the hourglass by using the Dagger of Time, which also gives the Prince limited control over the flow of time. Before they reach their destination, the Prince and Farah form a romantic relationship. However, the prince sees Farah steal the dagger of Time while viewing the future through a Sand Vortex.The Prince knows that Farah has every reason to hate him for conquering her people, and he suspects that Farah plans to steal the Dagger of Time from him. While the Prince sleeps, Farah does at a later time take the Dagger, as well as his sword, and attempts to return the Sands to the hourglass herself, leaving only her medallion behind with the Prince. When the Prince catches up with her, she is being attacked by sand creatures, and is knocked into the hourglass chamber through a hole in the floor. The prince tries to grab her hand, but only manages to grab the Dagger of Time by its blade, causing him severe pain. Farah, seeing that he won't let go of the Dagger choses to do so herself and falls to her death.
Afterwards, the Prince uses the Dagger to return the Sands to the hourglass, and the timeline reverts to the point prior to the battle against the Maharajah. As a result, the relationship between Farah and himself is a memory that only he possesses. However, the Prince still has the Dagger in his possession, even in the past. He goes to find Farah, to warn her of the Vizier's treachery before the Sands are released, and to give her the Dagger of Time. At this point, it is revealed all of the Prince's narration in the menus and cut-scenes from the game were actually him recounting his adventures to Farah, in an attempt to warn her. But as the Prince shares his epic story with her, he is confronted by the evil Vizier, who still yearns for the Dagger, and eternal life. He plans to kill Farah and blame her murder on the prince.

After defeating the Vizier, and preventing the opening of the hourglass, the Prince offers the Dagger to Farah. She questions why he needed to invent such a fantastic story. After he responds with a coldly-received kiss, he rewinds time a moment and instead agrees with her, that it was just a story. As he leaves, she asks him his name, and is left dumbfounded when he tells her to call him "Kakolookiyam"[3], the name of a fairy-tale hero that Farah's mother told her stories about as a child and that only she would know of. (In the previous timeline, Farah had explained the significance of this word to the Prince).


Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time combines exploration and combat to create a unique synthesis. Both elements make use of the Prince's acrobatic capability and agility. Throughout much of the game, the player must attempt to traverse the palace by running across walls, ascending or descending chasms by jumping back and forth between walls, avoiding traps, making other types of well-timed leaps, solving puzzles, and using discovered objects to progress. The cultural setting of the game provides many linguistically interesting inscriptions to be found on walls.
During combat, many of the same moves vital to the player in other situations can be put to use to overpower enemies. Such an example is the ability of the Prince to rebound off walls in order to strike enemies decisively. You can also vault over the enemies backs and then finish them off in two hits. The player generally attacks enemies and blocks using a sword, although other objects/factors, such as the Dagger of Time and its time-control abilities eventually prove to be critical to victory.

A pivotal gameplay element is the Prince's Dagger of Time. It contains "charges" of the Sands of Time from the hourglass that allow the Prince to control time. The Prince has the ability to "reverse" time and travel up to ten seconds into the past. While using this ability, all sounds and previous action play backwards, and the play environment accurately resets to its previous state. For example, if the Prince was struck by an enemy attack during the rewind period, the health he lost will be given back to him, or a bridge that was destroyed a few seconds ago will repair itself. The Dagger also allows the prince to slow down time, and freeze his enemies, using it as a main-gauche to attack them directly.
The Dagger does not come with an unlimited number of uses. However, defeated enemies leave behind piles of the Sands of Time, which can be absorbed by the Dagger to replenish its stock. The stock can also be replenished by absorbing Sand clouds. This encourages the player to confront and vanquish enemies (as opposed to avoiding them) in order to replenish the power to manipulate time during the more tricky acrobatic sections of the game. It must, however be noted that if the player does not absorb the Sand from a fallen enemy in about five seconds, said enemy will come back to life. Extra Sand glasses can be gained by collecting eight Sand clouds, and extra Sand tanks (which are used for different powers than the Sand glasses) are gained by vanquishing sixteen enemies after having collected a new glass.

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