"Wait a minute Prince, you're not the Warrior Within! That black guy isn't either!"

When Ubi Soft released Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, it stayed under the radar for quite a while. It received excellent reviews from game magazines and websites but didn't get the attention from the consumers that a game of it's caliber should have got. In order to remedy this "problem," Ubi decided to turn the nice, family-friendly story into a dark, gloomy world set on the Island of Time in PoP: Warrior Within. While many new-comers to the series found Warrior to be a great title, those who played Sands, like myself, were greatly disappointed with the Prince's new style. He lost that innocent Middle Eastern royalty look in favor of a dark, badass look. They even changed the Prince of Persia's accent to plain American. The gameplay also changed to reflect Warrior's new style. The game focused greatly on bloody combat and backtracking throughout the fortress instead of Sands' excellent platforming with few battles scattered in he give change of pace. Ubi heard the complaints and started work on The Twin Thrones. The first thing that is noticed is that the dark art style is gone. It just fits nicely in between the past 2 games, making Twin link it's prequels that look drastically different. Another big change was in the gameplay. Instead of overfocusing on either platforming or battles, they combined the 2 flawlessly.... for the most part at least. You could either fight straight on, though it will take much longer, or run, jump, and climb around until you get into a position to "speed kill" your enemy. Speed kills which are new to the series are... well... ninja like kills. By sneaking behind your prey or over him, you can stab him several times until he dies. There's a catch though. The screen will flash yellow, which is when you can start the kill. The Prince will jump on the enemy, at which point the screen will go into slo-mo and you have to press X. Press too early or too late and the surprise in the kill will be taken out and you will be tossed aside. Another new element thrown in is the appearance of the Dark Prince, which is a result of being partially affected by the Sands of Time. He will take over the Prince's body at certain times during the game. Being a result of the sands, he hides back within the Prince when he touches water. Now what makes the Dark prince different is his razor-chain whip. Using it, he can swing from torches on the wall and the beams/poles he can't reach by jumping. But more importantly, he uses it to fight. Killing enemies becomes much easier with Dark Prince's chain. But for all good things, there has to be a bad thing, right? Dark Prince slowly drains your life bar, refilling it when coming in contact with the yellow sand puffs that come from from dead enemies, broken furniture, and open sand gates. Towards the end of the game, you will be pretty much required to go through perfect runs in puzzle-trap segments. And that is pretty hard when you have 3 saws coming at you. You should eventually get past these parts if you can memorize what to do and when. Now then, time to start rating this game.

Graphics: 9/10
The game looks good, there's no denying that. Problem is it isn't mind boggling good. The character models all look great and little details are vibrant. This is instantly noticed when you see the Prince's tattoo on his right arm. Another good example is the yellow glow of Dark prince slowly taking over. Almost everytime you switch from Dark and back, you will notice a bigger sand infect on his arm until it starts to cover his back. Also, like the previous PoP games, Twin Thrones has some of the best animations you will see in any game. Looks really good and fluid. Every action has a transition into the next. The other characters look great, too. I don't want to name any names because that would just spoil the story, now wouldn't it? The only problem I can think of at the moment is that during in-game cutscenes, a character's hair will sometimes go through their body and appear on the other side. And finally there are the CG cutscenes. There are about 8 which will be scattered throughout the game and will be unlocked when you beat it. They look marvelous! I mean, we're talking Final Fantasy quality. One of the more amazing scenes will be when the Prince is being chased by an army of sand demons. Everything just looks smooth.

Sound: 10/10
So... Prince's old voice is back. Yup, good ole Yuri Lowenthal. The Prince doesn't go back to his Sands accent though, but neither does he have his Warrior accent. Like the art style, it fall nicely in between to satisfy fans of both previous games. It's a good call considering that Prince will act selfish at times, and he "good boy" voice of Sands would just not fit. Unlike the Prince though, other characters don't have their original voice actors. It's kind of strange but they fit the characters well. Besides the voices(and the slightly intimidating growls of sand demons), there are a few music tracks. The music returns from it horrible vacation on the Island of Time with Godsmack to it's home that was portrayed in Sands. It's not Persian but what is Persian anyway? It sounds like something that would come from the Middle East. The music does fit with the sequences on screen. One time this stood out to me was toward the end. The Prince walks onto a balcony before fighting the end boss and you can see the city and the sunrise(or is it the sunset?). The music that started sounded like... well... hero music! He was about to save the whole city so it just fit. Finally, there are the sound effects. They sound like they did in the last 2 PoP games. And they sounded good then so... no complaints here.

Gameplay/Controls: 10/10
It's Prince of Persia! This was the series that made wall running and pole swinging(when, horizontal pole swinging, at least) popular! Gameplay wise, this game is perfect. Mixing platforming with battles just blends seamlessly. There are also a few boss battles scattered around. And even the boss battles require some platforming and even the use of the speed kill. Even the one on one battle which reminded me of the Shahdee fights in Warrior Within involve more than just blocking and attacking. Really differentiates the boss battles from just long regular fights. Now onto the controls. Like I said before, the animation in this game is amazing because you can do so many actions. When you press a button, the Prince will do what you direct unless he can't. Nobody is expecting him to roll on walls, right? He can't do that. So.. you want to roll mid-attack? Move your control stick and press A. Want to run across a wall, onto a springboard, grab onto a dagger-stabbing plate then jump onto a platform? Just... press those buttons! Controls are just flawless.

Replay Value: 1/10
There really isn't a reason that would make you play this game over after you beat it. Sure, you get a code to use special weapons but, that's it. The weapons aren't even that strong, just strange. I mean, you can fight with a swordfish and a telephone! Now I never fought with a telephone. Can't say that about a fish though. BUT STILL! If you play this game over, you either want to get something you missed, like a sand gate or life upgrade, or just because you love this game. I love this game. I missed a life upgrade. I'm playing it again. There are also different skill levels... Nothing special. An extra hard mode unlockable would have probably been appreciated. Probably.

Buy, Rent, or Leave Alone?: BUY!
Like I just said, I love this game. I'm telling everyone I know to buy it. Thing is, some people are not going to like the platforming. If you have not played Sands or Warrior(or I guess even Ninja Gaiden with it's wall-running stuff), you might want to rent this first, or just try it somehow. Unless you love trying new things. If that's you, BUY IT ASAP!


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 12/14/05


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