Should you die, the Prince chastises you with a sharp rebuttal, “No, that’s not how it happened” and you are immediately returned to one of the game’s intelligently spaced save points. This is an inventive twist on the standard death scenes and I found it compelled me to push on and to see how the story unfolded.
Strangely, if there is a fault with the game it’s that you don’t die enough. Demons always seem to be just around the corner ready to give your dagger a top up and pools of fresh water that boost your health are in abundance. And that is another issue, the fights themselves, while containing an almost ballet-like quality are actually rather repetitive and most of the demons can be dispatched with a quick leaping strike, devised by either, jumping over their heads or running up, then pushing off a wall. The demons keep coming too, until you have defeated a certain number at which time the game signals to you that the fight is over with an animation showing the Prince sheathing his sword. It’s all a little formulaic. In this platform/action game, the action is definitely the poor relation.
Countering that, the story moves on at a swift pace and there is even a bit of romance thrown in for good measure with Farah, who will help you out further on in the game. The audio also deserves special praise. The mixture of Eastern music and hard rock is very well done and the sound effects are so clear that late on in the game one of the puzzles is based purely on working out which direction the sounds are coming from.
The Sands of Time could be accused of being a little on the short side, it takes less than eight hours to get through the entire thing, but given its slightly repetitive nature, I would argue that this leaves you wanting more rather becoming bored with it.
Lastly, to eager buyers it’s worth pointing out that the requirements of this game are fairly high and as such there is no support whatsoever for the GeForce 4MX chip, however GeForce 3 owners will find their cards catered for.
Like the original Prince of Persia in 1989, this is a revolutionary game in a genre that has sat still in recent years. It may have its faults, but this is an adventure that is almost as good to watch as it is too play.