This game got a bit of a bad rap when it was released and I can’t exactly remember why but I will say that this is my favourite of the series, in fact I thought it was bloody damn good despite how frustrating it can get. PoP2 is a big improvement over the original, no more dull grey monotone walls and dungeon, the Prince actually travels this time around, to various exotic locals (see screenshots) and no longer restricted to the same dungeon and tileset lol
PoP2 is propelled by a compelling story, told through beautifully hand drawn narrated cutscenes that were ahead of their time, a bonus treat is voice dialogue in the cutscenes even for a floppy game. The production value is quite amazing for a PC game of its time, check out the screenshots you’ll like 🙂 Gameplay-wise the Prince has gotten some motor skills, he can now crawl through tunnels and avoid traps, thrust downwards at snakes but mostly he is the same Prince from PoP1 with a multicoloured wardrobe. The most welcome change is the addition of new traps and quite a few new ways to die. When Bunnzy plays she can now get spikes up her arse as well as in the back, in the stomach front on, get chopped in half, snake bitten, and lose her head to pebble gun traps. New enemies too, you wont be fighting anonymous sultan cronies exclusively, there are now skeletons, eaglemen, those damn flying heads and others. The puzzle aspect is a bit more realistic as the levels and switch placements are placed like how you could potentially expect the old dungeon/castle to be like so the old ‘find the switch that opens the door’ syndrome is not so readily apparent. The different locations and also different events (I won’t spoil anything) are quite indicative of the effort the designers put in to try and deviate from the usual gameplay whenever possible.
This game does not get top rating however due to some ridiculously frustrating aspects that could have been easily avoided. 1) they save game feature is a WELCOME addition to the series, but they should have made it so that you can save at any point, not just the start of the level. The level design is still really linear which means there really still is only one way to beat each level though there might be dfifferent paths in getting to certain locations you’re still going to be reloading and trialing and erroring until you find what the designer intended, and you do this again and again starting from practically the beginning each time. If the story wasn’t as compelling I would have given up pretty early, I ended up giving up about half way through the game anyway as it got way too frustrating (think Groundhog Day), its a pity that the frustration is bad enough to overwhelm the game’s natural addictive platform puzzle solving charm.
2) Those DAMN flying heads. This has got to be some of the worse monster design I’ve seen in any game, where you a common enemy that only has a certain moment it can be hurt and is basically invincible at any other time, its quite easy to find yourself getting hit by these things over and over again with nothing you can do except die, and I’m talking about just facing one, there are times where you have to face multiple flying heads and the combat system doesnt exactly lend itself to quick reaction twitch, counter-twitch and multi directional fighting, another factor in making me quit early. Its bad enough that I have no choice but to go through Groundhog’s Day to get through the levels but after having executed perfectly only to die to a flying head/s just makes me want to kick the screen in.
Thank Jordan Mechner for the cheats 🙂 lol there is a really good story here, methinks good enough for a screenplay but as a result of design flaws, a lot of people probably won’t make it through far enough to see much of it. It’s worse than a pity, its a tragedy.
- MobyGames: Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow & The Flame
Read all about it on MobyGames.
- Wikipedia: Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow & The Flame
Read all about it on Wikipedia.
Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow & The Flame
- Designed by: Brøderbund
- Published by: Brøderbund