Abandonware

4D Prince of Persia

Name: 4D Prince of Persia
Genre: Action
Designer: Jordan Mechner
Developer: Anonymous
Publisher: Freeware
Copyright: Anonymous
Year: 1991

Rating: 6.5

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Prince of Persia is a platform game that was released by Brøderbund in 1989. It was widely seen as a great leap forward in the quality of animation seen in video games. Jordan Mechner, the author, studied many hours of films of his brother running and jumping in white clothes to ensure that all the movements looked just right in a process now called rotoscoping. Also unusual was the method of combat; protagonist and enemies fought with swords, not some sort of projectile weapons, as was the case in most contemporary games.

Prince of Persia was released on a wide range of platforms, including the Atari ST, Amiga, CPC, Apple II, Apple Macintosh, DOS, NES, Game Boy, SNES, Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, ZX Spectrum, and SAM Coupé. The game managed to surprise and captivate the player despite being, at first glance, repetitive.

As the title suggests, the game is set in Persia. The sultan is away at war, and the evil vizier Jaffar plans to seize the throne for himself. Jaffar has imprisoned the princess and given her one hour to make her decision: marry him, or die. The player assumes the role of an adventurer, the princess\'s true love; he must escape from prison and rescue her before the hour is up, defeating the vizier and earning the princedom of Persia.

The twist is that the game is played in real time, so the player must quickly complete the quest without breaks. On some platforms it is possible to save the game at the start of each level, however the time limit still applies. The only way to lose the game is by letting the time expire. If the player is killed, the game will restart from the beginning of the level, or a mid-way checkpoint. The game also included a power bar. Medium falls, blue potions, being hit by falling platforms and sword hits took one notch from the power bar, while major falls, being hit unarmed, falling or running on spikes and blades killed the player instantly. The player could increase the number of notches in the power bar by drinking larger red potions, usually hidden or in dangerous places. There was also a green potion that made the player float or flip the screen, depending on the level.

In 1994, an unofficial sequel called 4D Prince Of Persia was produced by a fan of the game. In 2003, another group of fans created a level editor for this game called Princed and a graphic and sound editor called Princed Resources.

Some clones with gamesplay and animation similar to Prince of Persia have been released, like Flashback, relying on realistic running, crouching and platform jumping. Tomb Raider is considered a 3D incarnation of this kind of gaming.
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