Classic Prince of Persia on Xbox


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Plenty of Apple II games are getting sequels and reboots or are serving as inspiration for spiritual successors. But, except maybe on the iPhone, fewer games get outright remakes: one-to-one translations that preserve the gameplay and layout of the original while adding modern graphics and controls.

Prince of Persia is a notable exception, having been recrafted for the Xbox 360 four years ago. Available as a $10 downloadable title, it lets today's console gamers experience the classic fun of Jordan Mechner's best-known game.

Steve Melton's review (published just last week — a retro review of a modern classic that's a remake of an original classic? — gives the game a seemingly lukewarm reception, saying that though it's fun and attractive, it boasts no additional content over the Apple II version and thus is overpriced at $10. I'm a bit biased in the matter, as Melton points out that the game is aimed at folks like me — "those wanting to relive their days sitting in front of a DOS PC" (or Apple II, if you want to be authentic). And true, the game runs on a sixty-minute timer before which it's game over. But trying to defeat the evil Jaffar before that clock runs out takes much longer than 60 minutes, courtesy the multiple deaths and wrong turns the challenging game will force you to experience.

IGN's review, also published last month (why all the recent interest in this game?), is a bit friendlier to the game:

The sequel to the original 1989 game, The Shadow and the Flame, was ported to the original Microsoft Xbox, but only as an Easter egg in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, the 2003 reboot of the franchise. Perhaps it too will enjoy a renaissance, as LucasArts' Monkey Island games recently have.

In the meantime, I encourage other retrocomputing enthusiasts to download the free trial, or spring for the full game right off. POP Classic was one of the first games I bought for my Xbox 360 when I got it as a Christmas gift in 2008, and I consider it an investment well-spent.