Prince of Persia C64on October 22, 2011 at 9:56 pm
As I mentioned before when I did a Prince of Persia comic, I was never actually a huge fan of the game. It always felt like the animation got in the way of the game, which is a criticism you can level against a lot of games still being made today. You can’t interrupt the Prince during one of his movements so you always felt like you were playing the game with a half a second delay between your controller and the screen.
But now some crazy bastard has converted it to the C64, so it’s time to approach it with fresh eyes.
This is the paragraph usually reserved for the description of the gameplay. It’s a cheap way for game reviewers to fill up the word count without actually saying anything, so if you want to know what Prince of Persia is actually about, go read Wikipedia or something. I’ll be here when you get back.
Right. Now onto the important stuff – how did they manage to fit this game into the C64?
The answer is “on a technicality” – the game comes as a cartridge image, meaning that it doesn’t load in the traditional way from disk or tape. Since cartridges can do funky things with memory and storage (and it’s a real shame the C64GS didn’t take off, because some of the late-era C64 cartridge games like Robocop 3 and Special Criminal Investigations were real console-quality titles) the developer didn’t have to worry about fitting the entire game into RAM at the one time AND didn’t have to worry about loading times.
But for most of you playing on an emulator, it doesn’t really matter how he did it.
Now look, there are two ways to approach this – the “It’s Prince of Persia, just running on the C64” and “THEY MANAGED TO GET PRINCE OF PERSIA PERFECTLY RUNNING ON THE C64 WHAT IS THIS VOODOO”. No surprises which camp I’m in.
It really does look stunning. It’s far, far more polished and pretty than we have any right to deserve a C64 game to be in this day and age. It’s colourful, the animation is spot on, and there’s no loading whatsoever.
Of course this all means the same problems exist here that existed in the original. The controls are still frustrating. The time limit is still hellishly brutal. The game is still about memorising the level layouts more than platforming.
But I can’t fault it for that. It’s like bitching about Day Of The Tentacle because it looks cartoony or something, and I’ll fight anyone to the death who disparages Day Of The Tentacle.
Anyway. It’s free. It’s awesome. It’ll make you dig out your C64 (or WinVice 2.2) again, and there’s never anything wrong with that.