Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame

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Prince of Persia 2:
The Shadow and the Flame
Pop2-saf.JPG
US cover art (MS-DOS)
Developer(s)Broderbund
Publisher(s)Broderbund
Ubisoft
Designer(s)Jordan Mechner
Composer(s)Jonelle Adkisson
Platform(s)
Release1993: MS-DOS
1994: Mac, FM Towns
1996: SNES
Genre(s)Cinematic platformer
Mode(s)Single-player

Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame is a platform game released by Broderbund in 1993 for the MS-DOS, and later ported to Macintosh, Super NES, and FM Towns. It is the second installment in the Prince of Persia series, and a direct sequel to 1989's Prince of Persia. Both games were designed by Jordan Mechner, but unlike the original, he did not program the sequel himself. In the game, players control the Prince as he attempts to return to Persia and defeat the evil wizard Jaffar once and for all, who has assumed his appearance, seized the throne, and put his love interest, the Princess, under a death spell.

Despite being ported to a smaller range of platforms than the first game, Prince of Persia 2 was also a commercial success, and was regarded by most contemporary reviewers as an improvement over its predecessor. The final installment in the original Prince of Persia trilogy, Prince of Persia 3D, was released in 1999. An updated version of the game for iOS and Android was released in 2013 without the "2" in the title.

Gameplay[edit]

Similar to the first Prince of Persia, the character explores various deadly areas by running, jumping, crawling, avoiding traps, solving puzzles and drinking magic potions. Prince of Persia 2 is more combat-heavy than its predecessor. In the first game, enemies appear only occasionally and are always alone, while in the sequel, up to four enemies may appear at once, sometimes flanking the player, and may even be instantly replaced by reinforcements when they are killed. As in Prince of Persia, the goal is to complete the game under a strict time limit from 75 minutes (which start after a certain point in game) that passes in real time. Lives are unlimited, but time cannot be regained (except by reverting to a previously saved game). In other areas, more significant improvements have been made. The graphics are far more complex than the simple look of the game's predecessor, the areas explored are larger, and the variety of backdrops is greater.

Plot[edit]

The game takes place eleven days after the events of the first game. During this period, the Prince was hailed as a hero who defeated the evil Jaffar. He turns down all riches and instead asks for the Princess' hand in marriage as his reward, to which the Sultan of Persia reluctantly agrees. The game begins as the Prince enters the royal courts of the palace. Before he enters, his appearance changes into that of a beggar. Nobody recognizes him and, when he attempts to speak with the Princess, a man who shares his appearance (Jaffar, who is magically disguised) emerges from the shadows, ordering him to be thrown out. With guards pursuing him, the Prince jumps through a window and flees the city by way of a ship.

Falling asleep on the ship, the Prince dreams of a mysterious woman who asks the Prince to come to her. At this time, the ship is struck by lightning, cast by Jaffar. When the Prince regains consciousness, he finds himself on the shore of a foreign island. He comes to a cave full of reanimated human skeletons that fight him. He finally escapes on a magic carpet. In the meantime, in Persia, Jaffar seizes the throne in the guise of the Prince.[1] The Princess falls ill under Jaffar's spell of gradual death.[2]

The magic carpet takes the Prince to the ruins of Basra filled with screaming ghosts, snakes and traps. Arriving at what appears to have once been a throne room, the Prince loses consciousness and the mysterious woman, revealed to be his mother, appears again. She explains that the Prince is of a royal lineage and the only survivor of the massacre by "armies of darkness". She implores him to avenge the fallen.[3]

The Prince rides a magical horse to a red temple, inhabited by warrior monks wearing bird headdresses. There, he finds that the shadow, created in the events of the original game, can now leave his body at his will. He wields his shadow to obtain the magic flame of the temple, at which point the bird warriors kneel before him. He flies back to Persia on the magic horse and confronts Jaffar. With the shadow and the flame, the Prince burns Jaffar, killing him for good.

With Jaffar's spell broken, the Princess awakens. The Prince orders the scattering of Jaffar's ashes. The game ends on a cliffhanger when an old witch is shown watching the happy couple through a crystal ball. According to Jordan Mechner, the plot of the old witch and the "armies of darkness" were set to be resolved in a sequel, which never came.[4]

Ports[edit]

Titus Software ported the game to the Super NES and released it in 1996.[5] It has some missing features and lacks several levels, including the last one. On August 11, 2006, the Sega Genesis port was leaked. Ported by Microïds, this conversion was going to be published by Psygnosis, as depicted in the leaked version, but it was canceled in an almost complete state for unknown reasons.[6]

The game can also be unlocked in the Xbox NTSC version of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time by finding a secret area. The GameCube, PlayStation 2 and Xbox PAL versions feature the original Prince of Persia instead and the Windows version lacks the secret area entirely. The Macintosh version has high resolution graphics (640×480), the MS-DOS and SNES version only low resolution graphics (320×200) and (256×224) respectively.

On July 25, 2013, a remake of the game was made available for iOS and Android mobile devices which is developed by Ubisoft Pune. The game includes options for both virtual buttons and gesture-based controls.[7] It is currently available on the Samsung Galaxy app store but has been removed from Google Play Store without any clarification from Google.

Reception[edit]

According to Jordan Mechner, Prince of Persia 2 was a commercial success, with sales of 750,000 units by 2000.[10]

Charles Ardai wrote in Computer Gaming World that "Prince of Persia 2 not only is in every dimension better than Prince of Persia, but ... is the cruelest, most infuriating, least merciful—in short, the best—game of its type I have ever played", with "an appeal that is absolutely irresistible". He criticized the imperfect savegame feature that forced him to replay areas dozens of times, and other aspects of gameplay, but concluded that the game "merits nothing but salaam after salaam ... a virtuoso performance by Mechner, one of the field's most devious puzzle constructors".[11] Power Play gave both the MS-DOS and Macintosh versions a 68% score.[12][13] Computer and Video Games gave the PC version a 92% score.[14]

Prince of Persia 2 won Computer Gaming World's "Action Game of the Year" award in June 1994. The editors wrote that it "certainly surpasses its predecessor", and called it a "smoothly animated horizontal scrolling thriller with cinematic scope, vivid action and daunting puzzles".[15]

Coach Kyle of GamePro gave the Super NES version a mixed review. He criticized the black outlines on the characters and the weak sound effects, but praised the eerie music and the quality of the challenge, deeming it "A tough thinking-gamer's game".[16] Power Unlimited gave the PC version a score of 70% writing: "The sequel to the classic Prince of Persia has just as smooth animations and beautiful sounds, but eventually falls short because the levels are less well designed than in the original and the puzzles have become too difficult."[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Brøderbund (1993). Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame (PC). Scene: Level 3–4 cutscene. Princess: "Dear Father: My heart is broken. The Prince has betrayed your trust. You must return with your army and take back your throne."
  2. ^ Brøderbund (1993). Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame (PC). Scene: Level 4–5 cutscene. Mysterious woman: "Prince! Your bride is dying. Waste no more time. Come to me!"
  3. ^ Brøderbund (1993). Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame (PC). Scene: Level 8–9 cutscene. Mysterious woman: "Once, this was a great city, ruled by a son of kings. He was slain and his palace laid waste by the armies of darkness. I died at his side. You alone were spared, my son! I gave you up, that you might live. This was your father's sword. Avenge us! Avenge us!"
  4. ^ Mechner, Jordan (April 11, 2013). "Revisiting The Shadow and the Flame". Jordan Mechner's blog. Archived from the original on January 23, 2014. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
  5. ^ "16-Bit's Last Stand". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 89. Ziff Davis. December 1996. p. 193.
  6. ^ Evilhamwizard (April 30, 2016). "News/Prince of Persia 2 MD". Hidden Palace. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
  7. ^ Sliwinski, Alexander (July 11, 2013). "Prince of Persia: The Shadow and the Flame returns on July 25". Joystiq. Archived from the original on July 9, 2013. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  8. ^ "Power Unlimited Game Database". powerweb.nl (in Dutch). November 1994. Archived from the original on September 9, 2003. Retrieved December 2, 2022.
  9. ^ Lisa Karen Savignano. "Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame (Macintosh) Review". Allgame. Archived from the original on November 15, 2014. Retrieved December 2, 2022.
  10. ^ Saltzman, Marc (May 18, 2000). Game Design: Secrets of the Sages, Second Edition. Brady Games. p. 410, 411. ISBN 1566869870.
  11. ^ Ardai, Charles (September 1993). "Broderbund's Prince of Persia 2". Computer Gaming World. p. 14. Archived from the original on July 16, 2014. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  12. ^ Steffen, Sönke (July 1993). "Prinzenrolle" [Prince Biscuits] (in German). Power Play. Archived from the original on May 1, 2015. Retrieved November 13, 2014.
  13. ^ Michael Hengst, Michael Hengst (August 1994). "Prinzregent" [Prince Regent] (in German). Power Play. Archived from the original on May 1, 2015. Retrieved November 13, 2014.
  14. ^ "Games Roundup" (PDF). Computer and Video Games. No. 146 (January 1994). December 15, 1993. p. 16.
  15. ^ "Announcing The New Premier Awards". Computer Gaming World. June 1994. pp. 51–58.
  16. ^ "Super NES ProReview: Prince of Persia 2". GamePro. No. 101. IDG. February 1997. p. 86.
  17. ^ "Power Unlimited Game Database". powerweb.nl (in Dutch). November 1994. Archived from the original on September 9, 2003. Retrieved December 2, 2022.

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