Reviewed on Game Cube

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Reviewed By: Justin Hilton aka Atticus

Computer Platform: Game Cube, PC, Playstation 2, XboX
Produced by: Ubisoft
Price Range: $31-40
Learning curve time: 1-30 min.
Age level: Teen to Adult
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

Overall Rating:
Genre: Adventure
Christian Rating: 3 of 5
   (some offensive elements))
Gameplay: 5 of 5
Violence: 3 of 5
Adult Content: 3 of 5

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.  Illustration copyrighted.
Long ago, amid the scorching sands of ancient Persia, there lived a young prince. In an attempt to please his father, and being deceived by the evil Vizier, the prince placed the mystical Dagger of Time into a huge hourglass containing the Sands of Time, unleashing unimaginable horrors upon the world. Everyone else in the palace, save for the Vizier a young girl named Farah, and the Prince himself, were corrupted and transformed into hideous beasts by the evil powers of the Sands. Thus began the Prince's epic quest to return the palace to normal and undo his horrible mistake.

The Sands of Time features an astounding mix of different gaming elements which blend together to make one fantastic experience. The game is packed with cool moves such as running on walls, flipping over enemies, and other acrobatic stunts that will make you "Oo!" and "Ah!" every other minute. If The Matrix and Aladdin had a baby, it would look something like Prince of Persia. Puzzles are well thought out, the gameplay is well balanced, and the game features an almost perfect learning curve. The game has one very interesting element: the ability to manipulate time. If the Prince misjudges a jump or misses a ledge, he is able to use the Dagger of Time to “rewind” that mistake and attempt the jump again. The Dagger also gives its user the power to shift time into slow-motion or fast forward. Meanwhile, the story is kept flowing smoothly by in-game voiceovers and sparsely placed CGI cutscenes. This is one masterfully made game, and one of the greatest achievements of gameplay in years.

Fantastic. The amount of detail, and the scope of the environments really help to draw the gamer into the world of the Prince. The character models in the game all look great, the levels are gargantuan, the water effects are stunning, and the lighting is beautiful. But the area where the Sands of Time really shines is its incredibly lifelike animations. The Prince and Farah both run and move like real people, and the transitions between the different movements are seamless and smooth.

Positive Elements
At the beginning of the game, Prince is a self-centered son of a sultan who seeks only to bring honor and glory to his father and himself. However, by the end, he has learned to care for other other than himself. Although it may be guilt-driven, the Prince seeks to redeem himself by undoing what he has done in unleashing the Sands.

The violence in Prince of Persia mostly consists of hacking and slashing with swords. No blood is shed during the combat, due to the fact that all of the enemies are Sand Creatures. In order to do an enemy in, the Prince must plunge the Dagger into the creature and suck out its life force: the Sands of Time. The action is highly stylized, with the Prince performing gravity defying flips over his foes and then devastating them with his scimitar. Some pits contain large spikes, which the hero will be impaled upon if he falls in (nothing too gory here). On occasion, when the Prince is attacked by one of his foes, a small blood sprite will appear, but it's barely noticeable. In a brief part of the game, the Prince must make his way through the destroyed and abandoned torture chamber of the castle, and small amounts of blood can be seen on the stone floor.


Spiritual Content
The premise of Prince of Persia contains magical happenings, so it is easy to deduct that the rest of the game will as well. The source of the Sands' powers are never explained, but it is implied that it is an evil, ancient force. The thing that will deter Christian gamers the most is the fact that the Prince uses the Sands' evil powers to aid him in his quest. The other fact that might offend Christians is that the Prince does battle with former human beings who have been possessed by the Sands. However, after fighting his father, who was corrupted by the Sands, the Prince mutters "That was not my father", lending to the suggestion that the Sand Creatures are no longer humans, only empty shells of their former selves. It is also hinted at that the evil Vizier is a powerful sorcerer.

Sexual Content
This is where Prince of Persia's largest downfall lies. As I have mentioned before, about one quarter through the adventure, the Prince meets a young princess named Farah, who helps him in his quest. He also *surprise* falls in love with her. The young lovebirds, however, take the wrong approach to their newfound passion: towards the end of the game, Prince and Farah end up swimming together naked in a pool, and what happens after that is implied, not shown. Nothing terribly explicit is seen, but this part of the game is still entirely inappropriate and disappointing. One easy answer to this problem is to simply turn off the TV during this cutscene, as the gamer will be able to keep playing right after it is over and not miss have missed a single thing. Also, during gameplay, Farah bares quite a bit of cleavage and wears an uncommonly short skirt. Some female Sand Creatures wear revealing clothes.

Prince of Persia is an absolutely superb gaming experience which combines flawless gameplay, gorgeous graphics, and a stunning presentation to create a wonderful game. However, it suffers some content problems, mainly being an unnecessary scene between Farah and the Prince. However, if played by a gamer who can look past this issue, they will find pure gold.

Year of Release—2003

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Christian Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Films for Christ or the Christian Answers Network.

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