Prince of Persia: The Warrior Within (GameCube) Preview

By Nick Cheesman 30.11.2004 2

Last year Ubisoft took the adventure genre to new heights with the return of the Prince of Persia, performing moves that would make Jet Li worry. Complimenting that with amazing sword fighting action, Sands of Time was easily one of 2003's best games. So now, with the imminent sequel upon us, the time has come to discover just why Warrior Within should find its way into our stockings this Christmas.

For one, this time around the Prince is not being a gullible prat and unleashing evil on the world (even when there was a woman screaming at him not to do it, and even when the person telling him to do so was as shifty as they come and had a snake sceptre. I mean really, who trusts someone like that?!). Instead he has been stalked by a demon named the Dahaka, a creature created due to a rift in the timeline the Prince made when he released the Sands of Time in the first game, for 10 years now, which has caused him to become little irritated. The demon is the Prince's fate, the fate that he will die, no matter how keen he is on living. The Prince must journey to the birthplace of the Sands of Time and use it to go back to the past to prevent the sands ever being created and thus stay alive long enough for the third game.

The new moves added in the game include strangling the various monsters, grappling them and then throwing them off their feet, tossing them off cliffs, running off walls and then kicking groups to the ground, leaping into the air and cutting enemies in half as you come down, lunging into an opponent when they are to close for or comfort, throwing knives and other projectiles you can pick up, and then, of course, there is the ability to cut foes in half, take their heads off or stick a sword in their chest. Hammers and scimitars are just a few of the weapons the Prince can pick up and with five different sets of swords to use, each coming in pairs, and the ability to string together your own combos, the gameplay is looking incredible. Then, of course, there are the various wall-jumps to make, banners to swing down, walls to run on, traps to avoid and poles to swing around. All lifted straight from the first game, perhaps, but the core aspects from Sands of Times that definitely deserve resurrection.

New gameplay additions revolve around the relentless demon Dahaka that chases the Prince, quite literally. Too powerful to be fought at first, the Prince has to run through halls and corridors avoiding badly placed traps and most importantly not getting caught by the demon whose soul purpose is to kill you. The other bosses for the Prince to slay range from griffins, dark samurai and female pirates, as well as Dahaku itself, who the Prince has to fight eventually, and requires the greatest of agility to actually beat. Also added are interactive action scenes; basically character conversations where you are required to button bash at particular intervals when you are not throwing one liners at each other.

But the combat was not Sands of Times' only shining aspect; the ability to manipulate time was a brilliant addition and Warrior Within has added some new moves to the time fray. Slow down, freeze and rewinds are accompanied with time warp, where the Prince can travel to the past and alter something, which effects it in the future (Ocarina of Time anyone?). He can breath of fate, an attack that damages all with their feet on the ground, the very similar but stronger wind of fate, the slightly more similar cyclone of fate, which (you guessed it) is slightly stronger and finally Ravages of Time. This last one allows the Prince to move at Viewitful Joe speeds and take down anyone in his path...

With all the great animations returning, except the one where he puts his blade away after clearing an area, and the ability to fight in the "nice for a visit, but wouldn't want to live there" Underworld, the darker setting of Warrior Within looks superior to Sands of Time, especially with the gritty art style being used. And the added vocals of the gorgeous French actress Monica Bellucci (of Matrix sequels fame) for the villainess Shahdee, the presentation of Warrior Within is excellent, if only let down with the addition of guitar rock in place of the Egyptian tunes found in the original.

Final Thoughts

It is a hard task to find someone who did not love Sands of Time, and more of the same can not possibly be a bad thing. But the addition of a new combat system and ability to link your own combos together easily makes Warrior Within a game to get excited about. With a plot that isn't slightly dubious and graphics that look far more impressive than Sands of Time, helped greatly by the new darker style of the game, Warrior Within should do as well, if not better, than the Prince's first outing, and considering Ubisoft have given into the "anti-heroes are cooler than straight good guys" scheme of thinking, Warrior Within will sell with ease. And be a great game most likely.

Developer

Ubisoft

Publisher

Ubisoft

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (2 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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