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July 13, 2003
Prince of Persia: Sands of Time - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
13/11/2003UbiSoftUbiSoft Montreal1$99.95

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The spikes make a return.
It's time for the legend to return - and what a return it looks like being. The first Prince of Persia was developed and released by Broaderbund way back in 1989 (that's 14 years ago - has it really been that long?). To this day it is still regarded as a defining moment in gaming due to the realistic animations and stunning pixel perfect gameplay. Over the years there have been sequels including Prince of Persia 3D released in 1999, but it didn't quite capture the same excitement. Still, the first 3 games managed sales in excess of 3 million units. This new game, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, looks much more impressive both in terms of gameplay and graphics then the previous games, and may even surpass the legendary status of the original.

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Damn, they're big enemies.
Amidst the scorched sands of ancient Persia, there is a legend spun in an ancient tongue. It speaks of a time borne by blood and ruled by deceit. It is within this war torn land that a young Prince discovers a magic dagger. Drawn to its dark powers, he is led to unleash a deadly evil upon the reaches of his father's vast kingdom. Aided by the wiles of a seductive princess and the absolute powers of the Sands of Time, the Prince stages a harrowing quest to reclaim the Palace's cursed chambers, and restore peace to the very fabric of Time itself. He must tread these dangers carefully, however. Because in this world, there is only one rule: master the Sands, or be buried.

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The effects look terrific.
One of this games strongest assets is that original Prince of Persia creator Jordan Mechner is working with Ubisoft Montreal on this title. Not only will this ensure continuity between the games but also that the feel of the original title is captured and translated into this game. An immense amount of research and attention to every detail marked the development of the Prince - from facial expression and colouring to clothing and statue, the team made sure that the Prince represents the pinnacle of modern action heroes. The Persian style comes through clearly in all aspects of his costume, from boots and pants to armour, which is made of characteristic soft leather rather than the medieval metal armour styles of Europe. From a technical standpoint, the Prince has 1500 polygons, with many details seen through the physics engine of the game. His hair, pants, and increasingly roughed-up shirt are affected by movement and wind, and his dagger even swings from side to side create an even greater sense of realism.

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There will be many puzzles.
In addition to jaw-dropping moves and incredible fighting skills, the Prince possesses an extremely expressive face that plays an integral role in defining his personality. Facial animations play a crucial and subtle role, for both the cinematics, where they combine with the recorded voice performance to convey certain narrative elements - thoughts, feelings, motivations, and within the game, where they help the player know how the Prince is doing and how he is reacting to other characters and to his surroundings.

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Fighting on the ledge.
It's not hard to see why many journalists placed this as one of the highlights of this years E3 show in May, indeed many in the industry said it was the second best game only to Half-Life 2 which for all intents and purposes looks like the best game on PC in years. Considering that this game won't be released until November (while HL2 is due in September) there is still plenty of development time to fine tune the game further. Even if you've never played the previous Prince of Persia title don't be put off as this game will still capture your imagination. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time will be massive.