The story so far: Prince of Persia

Welcome to the first “Story So Far” ever. This series will help you catch up to speed on game sequels and the storylines that preceded them.

Today sees the release of Prince of Persia: Rival Swords for the Wii. Despite the new name and additional Wii-mote functionality, Rival Swords was originally released for last-gen systems as The Two Thrones. This is the third act of the new Prince of Persia trilogy, and a fourth game has been announced for the Xbox 360, although it will apparently see some radical changes to the main character and storyline, possibly beginning a new trilogy altogether.

It should be noted that Prince of Persia was originally a trilogy for the PC (as well as a few other systems later on) first in 1989, then two sequels in 1993 and 1999 respectively. Although the Sands of Time hinted that it was actually a prequel to the original games, Ubisoft has announced that this Prince was in fact a completely new character, and that the two trilogies are unrelated. Therefore, the original trilogies will not be covered in this feature. Hit the jump to get your learn on.

The Sands of Time (2003)

Passing through India en route to Azad, King Sharaman and his son, the Prince of Persia, defeat the powerful Maharajah of India with the promise of honor and glory. After looting the city and capturing a giant hourglass full of sand, a mysterious dagger, and the Maharajah’s daughter Farah along with other treasures, they continue to Azad. A dying Vizier, who had betrayed the Maharajah and aided King Sharaman in return for a share of the spoils, demands to have the dagger, as he was promised his choice of the Maharajah’s treasures.

But Sharaman refuses to take the dagger from his son, who captured it first. So the Vizier, who wishes to harness the power of the Sands in the hourglass for himself, making him an immortal god and giving him control over time itself, tricks the Prince into opening the hourglass.

When the Prince uses the dagger to unleash the Sands of Time from the hourglass, the Sands destroy the kingdom and turn all living beings into hideous sand creatures. Only the Prince, the Vizier, and Princess Farah, the kidnapped daughter of the Maharajah, remain unchanged due to their possessions; the Prince’s dagger, the Vizier’s staff, and Farah’s medallion.

On a journey to repair the damage he has caused, the Prince teams with Farah to return the Sands of Time to the hourglass by using the Dagger of Time, which also gives the Prince limited control over the flow of time. Before they reach their destination, the Prince and Farah form a romantic relationship. However, the Prince knows that Farah has every reason to hate him for conquering her people, and he suspects that Farah plans to steal the Dagger of Time from him.

While the Prince sleeps, Farah does at a later time take the dagger, as well as his sword, and attempts to return the Sands to the hourglass herself, leaving only her medallion behind with the Prince. When the Prince catches up with her, she is being attacked by sand creatures, and falls through the ceiling of the hourglass chamber atop the Tower of Dawn before the Prince can save her.

Afterwards, the Prince uses the dagger to return the Sands to the hourglass, and the timeline reverts to the point prior to the battle against the Maharajah. As a result, the relationship between Farah and himself is a memory that only he possesses. However, the Prince still has the dagger in his possession, even in the past. He goes to find Farah, to warn her of the Vizier’s treachery before the Sands are released, and to give her the Dagger of Time.

But as the Prince shares his epic story with her, he is confronted by the evil Vizier, who still yearns for the dagger, and eternal life. After defeating the Vizier, and preventing the opening of the hourglass, the Prince offers the dagger to Farah.

She questions why he needed to invent such a fantastic story to deliver it to her, as she is not a child who would believe in such nonsense. After he responds with a coldly-received kiss, he rewinds time a moment and instead agrees with her, that it was just a story.

As he leaves, she asks him his name, and is left dumbfounded when he tells her to call him “Kakolukia”, the name of a fairy-tale hero that Farah’s mother told her stories about as a child and that only she would know of (in the previous timeline, Farah had told the Prince about some of these stories).

Almost the entire game takes place in a flashback, as the story is being narrated by the Prince to Farah. This is illustrated by the prince saying that he would start from the point next time (on saving a game) and “As you wish” on the player quitting the game. Also, when the Prince dies, he will say things such as “That didn’t happen”. The only exceptions to this are the final battle with the vizier and the ending sequence, which take place in the (then) present.”

[Via Wikipedia]

The Warrior Within (2004)

“Seven years after the Prince used the Sands of Time to turn back time and rewrite history, he finds himself hunted by the Dahaka, the Guardian of the Timeline. Because the Prince escaped his fate, the Dahaka is sent to ensure that the Prince dies and thus restore order to the Timeline.

Seeking counsel from an old wise man, the Prince learns of the existence of the Island of Time — birthplace of the Sands of Time, governed by the Empress of Time. Thinking only of himself and his survival, the Prince sets sail for the Island to prevent the Sands of Time from ever being created. His belief is that if the Sands are not created then the Dahaka will have no reason to hunt him.

Many obstacles attempt to prevent the Prince from reaching the Island and his goal. First, his ship is attacked by an army led by a mysterious woman in black named Shahdee. The Prince faces her and during the ensuing combat she manages to throw him overboard; his ship sinks and his entire crew perishes; however, the Prince manages to survive and drifts ashore on the Island.

Wandering further into the island, he re-encounters Shahdee, whom he pursues deep into the fortress of the Island. By doing so, he accidentally steps into one of the many Portals of the fortress, which connects the present with the past. Continuing his pursuit into the Past, he finds her trying to murder an unknown woman in red named Kaileena. The Prince engages Shahdee once more in battle, kills her, and saves Kaileena.

Denied an audience with the Empress of Time to state his case, the Prince is then faced with the task of activating two towers, which in time will open the doors to the Empress’ Throne Room. Kaileena aids the Prince by presenting to him the Serpent Sword, which will activate the bridges to reach both towers, and eventually the Lion Sword, an even more powerful weapon than the Serpent Sword. As the Prince explores the island, he occasionally encounters a mysterious, dark-looking creature. Shortly before reaching the throne room, the Prince is attacked by the Dahaka and almost killed, but the dark creature rushes in and is killed in his place.

The Dahaka then leaves without attacking the Prince. The Prince eventually succeeds in reaching the Throne Room only to discover that Kaileena is the Empress of Time. She had sent Shahdee to kill the Prince, sent him on the perilous journey to the towers, and even cursed the Lion Sword – yet the Prince did not die.

Kaileena is also trying to defy her fate. She has seen hers in the Timeline, which is to die at the hands of the Prince. Therefore, her only concern is to get rid of him at any cost. Shahdee, feeling that her mission to help save Kaileena was foolish, illogical, and futile, had turned against her only to be killed by the Prince.

The Prince reluctantly fights and kills Kaileena. He returns to the present, hoping that he has escaped his fate, but soon discovers that when he killed Kaileena, the Sands of Time were spawned from her body. Realising that he has caused the event he intended to prevent, the Prince begins to lose hope, but soon discovers the Mask of the Wraith, which is said to have the power to defy fate.

When he puts on the mask, he transforms into the Sand Wraith, the dark creature he saw earlier. The time portals have a greater effect on him in this state, causing him to relive the events of the past as the Wraith (and see his encounters with the Wraith from the opposite perspective). When he reaches the point at which the Wraith saved the Prince from the Dahaka, he instead lets the Dahaka kill the “other” Prince, causing the mask to fall off and him to return to the position he was in just before he entered the Throne Room.

The Prince decides that he may not be able to avoid killing Kaileena, but if he kills her in the present rather than the past, the Sands will not be created until after he had used them, thereby escaping his fate. The Prince confronts Kaileena again and forces her through a time portal into the present. At this point the ending forks, depending on whether or not the Prince has found all of the health upgrades and acquired his ultimate weapon, the Water Sword.

With the Water Sword (true ending): The Dahaka appears and heads for Kaileena (since she is now the one who is out of place in the timeline). However, the Prince discovers that the Dahaka has a weakness to his Water Sword. The Prince and Kaileena fight the Dahaka together and manage to defeat it. Having both escaped their fates, the Prince and Kaileena set sail for Babylon together.”

[Via Wikipedia]

Prince of Persia has won countless awards, including GOTY on several occasions. It offers some of the best action/adventure platforming gameplay ever seen in a video game. If you have not played the series before, Destructoid highly recommends you stop what you’re doing, quit your job, and play the complete trilogy post-haste!
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