Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow & the Flame

Posted by George Souvatzidis.
First posted on 15 June 2015. Last updated on 15 June 2015.
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Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow & the Flame
The game is set in ancient Persia and beyond.
Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow & the Flame
The Prince must once again fight for his life.
Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow & the Flame
A false step can lead to instant death.
Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow & the Flame
Death by dire spikes!
Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow & the Flame
The Prince escapes on a magic carpet.

This game is part of the Prince of Persia Collection Limited Edition (also known as Prince of Persia Collector's Edition) re-released in 1998 by Red Orb Entertainment.

Prince of Persia 2 Special Edition

Re-released in 1998 by Smart Saver, the Special Edition of Prince of Persia 2 supports Windows 95/98 and Macintosh only. The game is otherwise identical to the original.

Prince of Persia Collection Limited Edition

The compilation includes 2 games from the original Prince of Persia series:

Prince of Persia 1

Prince of Persia 2

It also includes a short "Making Of" movie of Prince of Persia 3D to promote the release of the game in 1999.

Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame, released in 1993, is the sequel to Prince of Persia created by famed video game designer and filmmaker Jordan Mechner. The game is part of the original Prince of Persia trilogy that also includes Prince of Persia released in 1989 and Prince of Persia 3D released in 1999. The original Prince of Persia is among the first video games to use rotoscoping—an animation technique in which live action video footages (in this case, those of Mechner's brother running and jumping) are traced frame by frame to reproduce fluid animation of characters in a game previously not possible. It is a groundbreaking animation technique for its time. For this achievement, the game can be considered to be the father of cinematic platformers.

After defeating the evil Jaffar and marrying the Sultan's beautiful daughter, you become the new Prince of Persia. This is despite that you have neither wealth nor title but only the Princess's love. All seems to be going well, until you enter the throne room as usual on a morning and find that your place beside the Princess is already taken by a doppelganger who bears a disturbing resemblance to you. Worst yet, you have been turned back into a beggar in appearance. At a word from the faux Prince the Sultan's guards try to lay hold of you. You break free of their grasp by leaping through the glass window onto the rooftop of the palace. With every guard at the royal courts now after you, you must find your way through distant and frightful lands and back to Persia to rescue your love.

Understandably, the game's graphics are quite jagged given the era of graphical animations at the time of the game's release. Notwithstanding the limited graphics, however, the overall look of the 5 different worlds in the game is still quite bland and provides little visual pleasure. Further, the PC version look much worse than in the SNES version released later in 1996, with more pixelation and less vivid color. Despite this, the graphics in many scenes are quite detailed. An example is the fine cracking and detailed pattern on the marble surfaces. Likewise, the different potions which you can drink all have bottles of distinct shapes or bubbles with different colors. Like the original, the cut scenes are all static rather than animated. I find myself skipping over them and have little interest in watching them again during replays.

The animation of both player character and non-player characters is on par in quality with the animation in the previous game. Additionally, the character models are a lot more detailed. For example, the Prince now wears a red open jacket that occasionally reveals his chest, white dungarees, dark brown Persian styled shoes, and a beautiful light blue turban. On the other hand, the font used in the game is even more stylized than the font previously used. Supposedly, the new font is to match the Middle Eastern theme of the game, but it sacrifices readability for the sake of style. The game is also quite gory, with lots of blood spilling out of the Prince whenever he runs or falls into a trap and is instantly killed.

The soundtracks are frugal but pleasing. Most players will not get weary of hearing the game's music. The music is not dynamic; rather, it is comprised of 8 different soundtracks that play in a loop. Every world features its own music. By contrast, sound effects are very poor and repetitive. This is especially true for swordfights, wherein there is only a single sound effect used for the fencing.

Unlike later ports, the PC version of the game does not allow you to save your game at all. There are no checkpoint passwords to enter as in the SNES version. The keyboard controls are simple and easy to master but have some major flaws. Specifically, when you try to run and jump, your character does not jump immediately when you press the appropriate key. Instead, he takes some extra small steps before jumping. This subtle mistiming can cause major problems when trying to negotiate many of the platforming sequences. This is because many times in the game you will have to make long jumps that require near perfect timing. It is too easy to miss a jump simply as a result of the long jump delay.

Unlike the previous game, in this game you are given a sword quite early on. This is undoubtedly a big relief for gamers who have played the previous game and are distressed by the immediate lack of a weapon. Another change is the use of potions that are stored in small bottles which you can drink to replenish your energy. Not surprisingly, these potions are well hidden and quite difficult to find. Some of the bottles contain poison, but these bottles are easily distinguished by the green bubbles bubbling from them. In contrast to the limited energy, you have an unlimited number of lives in the game. It is a smart choice made by the developer, since this will likely be the number of times that you also die in the game!

The game's puzzles mostly concern opening doors by hitting switches or activating contraptions. There are a lot of swordfights, some of which can be quite tough to pass. The game is extremely difficult, in large part because of the platforming puzzles in the last stages. The game ends on a very romantic note, though totally expected. The ending will leave most players wanting for more, especially given the effort required to pass through all of the extremely difficult stages of the game.

As a sequel, Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame is too unoriginal and too predictable. The graphics do not hold up well to the passage of time. The swordfighting is as impressive as ever, but the platforming is marred by laggy controls. Lack of saving also makes the game a punishment to play to completion. This is a game that can only be recommended to hardcore fans of Prince of Persia. To most gamers, the game is simply too frustrating and overwhelmingly difficult to play for fun.

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