The Ugly Duckling of the Prince of Persia Series

Illustration for article titled The Ugly Duckling of the Prince of Persia Series

It's funny, when people think of Prince of Persia games, they think of either the first one, or the ones including and following 2003's Sands of Time. It's as though there was a game in there that never existed...


That game was 1999's Prince of Persia 3D.

The 1989 original, and its 1993 sequel (which came in an amazing box), are often lumped into the same memory banks. Both side-scrollers, both with amazing animation, both with spikes of instant death. Likewise, everything after Sands gets lumped together because, well, there's been almost a game a year since then, all of them 3D action titles, some of them better than others.

Prince of Persia 3D, though, stands out. It wasn't 2D, it was 3D. But in being 3D, it wasn't the graceful, fluid style of game we've grown accustomed to over the last decade. It was, well. A bit of a disappointment.

There were a ton of games around the turn of the milennium that figured just because they could make the leap to three dimensions meant they should. Even when, except in rare cases like Mario 64 and Tomb Raider, most developers simply couldn't tackle the challenges inherent in moving a camera, and a player, around a 3D environment.

Red Orb, the game's developers, were one of the latter. Despite including a shockingly well-animated character (seriously, he moves well even by much later standards), the game was drab and clunky, carrying over very little about what made the series so popular in the first place. And the combat was...yeah, let's not talk about the combat.

Sure, it carried the brand name well enough to make a few sales and pick up a Dreamcast port, but look at the video there on the left. That's not Prince of Persia. Well, technically it is, but there's a very good reason people don't remember this game, and those who do prefer not to think about it that often.



Holy crap, those are some excellent animations, even better then some modern games.