The High-Def Arcade Page 4

Prince of Persia Classic (XBLA/PSN)

Then: Now:

Long ago in ancient Persia (and 20 years ago on the Apple II computer), a mysterious prince braved wicked death traps, clever puzzles, and skilled swordsmen to save a princess from a wicked vizier. Thanks to its flowing graphics and challenging gameplay, Prince of Persia became a hit and spawned numerous remakes and sequels.

When creating the original Prince of Persia, developer Jordan Mechner rotoscoped (a process in which animators trace over live-action movement) his brother David running and jumping to produce the game's protagonist, the titular Prince. Even on the Apple II and with the system's low resolution and extremely limited color palette, the Prince moved naturally thanks to the technique. He might have only been a handful of big, blocky pixels, but those pixels moved fluidly, and accurately reflected the real-life action of Mechner's brother.

Times have changed, and rotoscoped sprites have given way to motion captured 3D models. Much like Bionic Commando Rearmed, Prince of Persia Classic takes the game upon which it's based and gives it a complete graphical overhaul. The level design and gameplay remains extremely similar to the original, but every character, set piece, and background is modeled in 3D and rendered in high-definition.

The Prince himself also gets a makeover; instead of looking like David Mechner in a white onesie, he now looks like the protagonist from 2003's Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, a sequel which itself has grown immensely popular because of its incredibly polished graphics and gameplay. Ironically, while this remake of the original Prince of Persia plays at 1080i, The Sands of Time (the next-gen sequel to the original) is only 480p. Of course, both are still fine, classic games, both are playable on the Xbox 360, and both can be downloaded or bought for around $10.