The Live Arcade service returns to its winning ways this week with the release of a true classic, complete with a modern-day overhaul… but in a good way. Prince of Persia Classic is exactly what the title implies – Jordan Mechner’s groundbreaking 1989 classic. This 2D platformer is one of the best games you’ll ever play, and one of the best values to be found on Xbox Live Arcade.
The update to Prince of Persia is two-fold. For one thing, the graphics are all 3D now, although the action continues to be restricted to two planes. Because of that, the animation is as fluid as ever, and some new moves have been introduced to the fray, such as the standing backflip that takes place when the prince jumps in the opposite direction from which he’s facing. But none of the new moves actually change the gameplay at all – they’re just animation flourishes that give the whole thing a very fluid look.
Second is the improved control. Back in the day, Prince of Persia was a dream to play, but by today’s standards the original feels pretty clunky. Very precise placement was required for certain sections, and making an error normally cost you a life. In Prince of Persia Classic, the movement is much more flowing and forgiving. It’s reminiscent of Prince of Persia: Sands of Time in that way. Again, it doesn’t really change the gameplay at all, just takes some of the frustration out of the equation.
Some levels have been reworked slightly, but you’d have to be a hardcore Prince of Persia nut to really notice it. And the various switches are very easy to see thanks to glowing markers on the floor. That second bit isn’t all that great, as it does take some of the element of surprise out of the experience. But again, it keeps the frustration factor down.
Prince of Persia has always been about getting through each challenge as quickly as possible, thanks to the one-hour time-limit on the game. Thus, it makes for a perfect Live Arcade action game, as it basically comes with built-in leaderboard support. But whether or not you care about that sort of thing, Prince of Persia is a must-download game for your 360.