Saturday, 8 June 2013

RETROspect - Price of Persia: Warrior Within

Throughout gaming history there have been some real stand out series (Legend of Zelda, Spyro, Elder Scrolls, etc.), but for me the one game that always jumps to mind is Prince of Persia.  The Sands of Time trilogy was nothing short of spectacular.

I remember first playing Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, I was absolutely dumb struck.  How could gaming possibly get any better than this?  Then, just a mere year after this release, they brought out Warrior Within in 2004.  It was a much darker, harder, and an all round more polished game than the prequel, and it was glorious.  Everything from the new Free-Form Combat System to its Heavy Metal Soundtrack was just jaw dropping.  I remember coming home from school and devoting hours upon hours searching Life Upgrades.  They were so well hidden and at times frustrating to get to that the thought of just letting one go was completely overwhelming.  Little did I know that to get the “real” ending you needed to find all 9 Life Upgrades and only then will you fight the true evil in this game, the Guardian of time himself, The Dahaka.

The Dahaka struck fear into my little, preteen heart, and every chase scene was terrifying and fun at the same time.  It was so stressful that the urge to leap from your seat and stand inches from the TV as he pursued you was awe-inspiring.  One of two things could happen in this scene, you could get beaten to death by his shadow tentacles and absorbed, or, you could leave him in your dust whilst cackling maniacally.

Now, the combat/platforming system is what made this game absolutely ground breaking.  Not only was it an epic button mashing, free flowing combat system, but this was integrated with an unbelievably deep, flowing platforming system.  Both these elements were unbelievably fun and awesome by themselves but when they fit together, became a work of art.  I simply could not get enough of vaulting over enemies, taking their weapon and decapitating them with it; or running up a wall and doing a massive ninja spin-flip, whilst raining fury down upon them with my blades.  In my opinion this is still one of the best combat systems out there.

Another element of this game that stood out were the puzzles.  Water puzzles, time puzzles, clockwork puzzles and even acrobatic puzzles, they were all wonderful.  I would spend hours trying to figure out some of them and would feel utter frustrated with myself when I couldn't do it, but alas, I got there eventually.

In the end, Warrior Within was more than just another classic game; it was an almost faultless masterpiece in that era, and will live on forever in gaming history. 
- Frank Van Der Merwe 

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