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File:Sands of Time Box Art 2143.jpg

Platformer series created by Jordan Mechner. Though not the first to use motion capture through rotoscoping to create fluid and realistic character movement (Mechner's earlier game Karateka also used the technique), Prince of Persia's advanced graphics and gameplay were widely praised.

Prince of Persia

The first installment, Prince of Persia (1989) followed the story of an evil vizier who, in the absence of the sultan, threatens to kill the princess within an hour unless she agrees to marry him. The princess's one true love has been thrown into the dungeons, and must run, jump, climb and fight his way through a series of passageways filled with traps, guards and other surprises, while the minutes tick by at the bottom of the screen. It was one of the first games to have a health bar. The SNES remake of it (by Konami) extended the time limit to two hours but raised the difficulty through the roof at points (in addition to adding 7 levels for a total of 20).

Its huge critical and financial success led to a sequel, Prince of Persia: The Shadow and the Flame (1992), which had significantly more detailed characters and backgrounds, greater variety in villains, and a more fleshed-out story (it even clarified the first installment's story in its opening narration).

The series made the leap to 3D in the Third Is 3D installment with the unimaginatively titled Prince of Persia 3D (1999).

Sands of Time Trilogy

 "Most people think time is like a river, that flows swift and sure in one direction. But I have seen the face of time, and I can tell you - they are wrong. Time is an ocean in a storm. You may wonder who I am and why I say this. Sit down, and I will tell you a tale like none you have ever heard..."

A new Continuity Reboot game series was created, beginning with The Sands of Time. Originally Mechner intended it to be a vague prequel to the other games, but his input was left out of Warrior Within, which firmly established it as a new continuity. The new series is also well-known for popularizing Le Parkour moves as a refinement to the Platformer genre, something that has been duplicated to a limited extent in several recent ninja-themed (or, you know, assassin-themed) games.

It began with Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2003), which reproduced the series' popular combination of combat and climbing puzzles, and added what is still the most successful use of time-distortion effects (previously seen in such games as Max Payne and Blinx: The Time Sweeper), as well as creating an entirely new story with a more complex hero, an expanded role for the princess and one doozy of a plot twist. The Prince is a young man accompanying his father to an Indian-like kingdom, whose Vizier betrayed them to the Prince's armies. Among the spoils of that kingdom is a large hourglass called "The Sands of Time" and a dagger that the Prince claims. The Vizier then tricks the Prince into opening the hourglass and unleashing the curse of the sands upon the land. Confused over what happened, he finds himself in the company of Farah, a princess of the kingdom he just ransacked and who has knowledge of what he has done, and has to go fix what he broke.

After the immense critical success but modest sales of Sands of Time, the game was followed by Prince of Persia: Warrior Within (2004), which Ubisoft hoped would be more financially successful by giving the sequel one of the most amusing Darker and Edgier twists in history. The storybook "Arabian Nights" feel of the first game was replaced by sexual content (including several Stripperific female characters, one of which is introduced via a five second focus on her metal thong), graphic violence (the loading screen is a waterfall of blood), language and heavy metal music by the band Godsmack. While the gameplay was refined and improved (especially the combat), the Prince himself was reduced to an arrogant thug instead of the more cheerful character of the first game. Following the events of the previous game, the Prince is being hunted by an unstoppable beast, the Dahaka. The creature is apparently a guardian of the timeline and wants to ensure that the Prince dies like he was supposed to. In a desperate effort to avoid this fate, he travels to the island where the Sands of Time were originally created, hoping to find a way to avoid this whole mess.

Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones (2005) attempted to balance it out by returning somewhat to the original's fairy-tale tone (with the arrogant Prince as a "dark side" of the character). It retained the basic combat changes made in Warrior Within with minor adjustments, but toned down the graphic violence. As well, the Prince was much more likable, and even had regrets over his behavior in the previous game. Again following the events of the previous game, the Prince returns to his home Kingdom of Babylon only to find war erupting and enemies everywhere. He learns that messing with the timeline so much has skewed any sense of proper history and the Vizier of the first game is still alive. Seeking to complete his original goal of the first game, the Vizier unleashes the curse of the sands once more, this time partially corrupting the Prince himself. Finding a darkness within himself that transforms him into a dark creature, the Prince seeks to stop the Vizier once more and return things to their proper state. Penny Arcade made an eight-page comic for it.

Prince of Persia (2008)

 "What is one grain of sand in the desert, one grain amongst the storm?"

Has its own page. A new game, simply Prince of Persia is another Continuity Reboot. It made radical changes to the platforming, similar to Assassin's Creed. The new game was given a new art style, similar to Cel Shading, to give the impression of a colorful "Arabian Nights" story book feel, compared to the more realistic feel of the Sands of Time trilogy. Combat was also reworked. Rather than facing hordes of Mooks as in previous games, it instead focuses upon 1 of 4 boss monsters, each with a distinct personality and Backstory. The "Prince" of this game is actually a bandit/thief, returning from looting a tomb only to be caught up in a strange sandstorm. After falling into a canyon he comes across a mysterious woman, Elika, fleeing capture by soldiers. Her father is working to unleash the dark god Ahriman and the efforts are corrupting the land all about them. Elika has the power to cleanse the land but needs the Prince's protection to defeat the various creatures that are hunting her down.

The next chapter for the the new series is a downloadable expansion simply titled Epilogue, released on March 5, 2009, exclusively on consoles. Penny Arcade made a thirty-page comic about the origin of the Hunter.

The Sands of Time Return

A film adaptation of The Sands of Time was released in late May 2010, with the involvement of Jordan Mechner. The aim, according to Mechner, was to use the broad story elements of the The Sands of Time game, to "take the cool elements of the game and use them to craft a new story." In that vein, the film features Prince Dastan, an orphan adopted by the king, and Princess Tamina as opposed to the nameless Prince and Farah from the games. After Dastan is accused of murdering the king, he and Tamina must return the Dagger of Time to a hidden temple to keep it safe from sinister forces.

Due to the movie's release, Ubisoft has apparently abandoned the new Prince of Persia storyline in favor of a new chapter in the Sands of Time series, entitled Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands. Set between Sands of Time and Warrior Within, The Forgotten Sands sees the Prince fight to save his brother's kingdom. The HD version of the game features Elemental Powers, while the Wii version allows the Prince to control sand for various purposes.

There is also a strategy game Battles of Prince of Persia for Nintendo DS. Set after The Forgotten Sands, the Dahaka has just started stalking the Prince, forcing him to wage war against various nations and armies just find a way to get rid of it.

Includes Examples Of:

  • Action Commands: "Speed Kills" in Two Thrones. More on the trope page.
  • Action Girl: Farah in The Sands Of Time.
  • Actionized Sequel: Warrior Within was tauted as having a more complex combat system than its predecessor, as is implied by its title.
  • Affably Evil: The Dark Prince in Two Thrones is often little more than a Voice with an Internet Connection; it never actually lies to you, since he's just the shadow of the Prince brought to life by the sands of time. Nor does it seem particularly malicious until much further into the game.
  • A God Am I: In a rather tragic twist of fate, the Prince finds out early in The Two Thrones that the Vizier, who he killed in Sands of Time, has returned to life thanks to the Prince's actions in Warrior Within (since the sands of time were never created, the battle between the two never took place). Worse yet, he has found the Dagger of Time, which he promptly uses to kill Kaileena and become immortal.
  • Alternate Ending: In Warrior Within, if you get all the life upgrades, you are able to acquire the Water Sword, which turns out to be the only weapon that can even harm the Dahaka, who turns out to be the True Final Boss. By defeating it, the Prince is able to save both him and Kaileena from their fate -- but regardless of the ending the end shows Babylon under attack by a prototypical version of the Dark Prince and Farah being held captive. In this case the basic story of the alternate ending is the canon for the next game, which Kaileena acknowledges in the opening narration.
  • Anachronism Stew: Averted in The Sands of Time videogame, since according to the description the events take place in 9 century Persia. The rest of the games, and the movie, on the other hand...
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: in Sands of Time, Farah surely had known about the dagger's time-twisting power before the adventure began, but after the Reset Button is pressed, she believes that the whole story told by the Prince could be nothing but a fairy-tale.
  • Armor Is Useless: In Sands of Time, the Prince takes the same amount of damage both before and after he removes his armour.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Warrior Within's combo attacks are Oronte's Grudge, Ptolemaios' Anger, Wrath of Cyrus, Rage of Darius, Azad's Furious Retaliation, Zaroaster's Ire, Asha's Fury, Ahriman's Revenge and Mithra's Vengeance. This video's description looks up each name and concludes that sure, they're all ancient Persia-y, but "it is quite clear that only a few are actually suitable to name combat attacks after."
  • Artifact of Doom: The Dagger of Time.
  • Ascended Fanboy: A 17 year old John Romero wrote 21 year old Jordan Mechner a letter about the original game.
  • Autobots Rock Out: In Warrior Within, the title song is "Straight Out Of Line" by Godsmack and the combat music by Inon Zur is heavily stylized on Godsmack's typical sound. The music blaring when you're being pursued by the Dahaka is an instrumental version of I Stand Alone.
  • Bash Brothers: The Ax and Sword twins in The Two Thrones, which are only beaten when you know that they work together.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: The climax of The Two Thrones, where the Prince pursues and finally rejects the Dark Prince.
  • Benevolent Architecture: An uncanny amount of the scenery is implausibly handy for jumping/climbing/hanging/swinging/free-running around on. Which is lucky, since there's a distinct imbalance in the ratios of really-high-places to staircases/ladders/jetpacks, smooth stable floors vs. fatal drops etc.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In Two Thrones, when the Prince and Farah attempt to get inside the palace, they quickly find themselves surrounded by a literal army of hundreds of sand monsters of all sizes; far too many to fight. Just when it seems like the heroes are about to be slaughtered, the voice of the Old Man rings across the noise, and everyone turns to see him standing at the front of what appears to be the entire population of Babylon.
    • "All hail the Prince of Persia: a greater hero the land has never known! You have saved the people of this city, and we have come to repay the favor!"
  • Blue Eyes: The Prince character.
  • Body Horror: In The Two Thrones, when the Vizier plunges the Dagger of Time into him to gain immortality, his back sprouts a scorpion which attacks him!
  • Bondage Is Bad Implied in Warrior Within. Countless enemies, especially the Initiates (sometimes also called Executioners) the player encounters during the last quarter of the game, wear hardly anything but black leather straps.
  • Book Ends: The beginning of Sands of Time with the ending of The Two Thrones, bookending the entire trilogy.
  • Character Development: The plot of the original Sands of Time is fairly bare-bones, with more focus on the relationship between the Prince and Farah.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: All the incarnations of the Prince are inhumanly agile.
  • Chekhov's Gun: With a delayed firing until the following game, where in Sands of Time Farah gave the Prince her pendant that kept her safe during the Sand curse. He used the pendant as part of his armor in Warrior Within and once the time gates are opened it gives him the same time manipulation powers.
  • Cinematic Platform Game: The first game was the Trope Maker.
  • Claustrophobia: The Prince mentions this in the first game. It doesn't come up much.
  • Clipped-Wing Angel: In the Alternate Ending of Warrior Within, after the Dahaka falls down into the water, it rises again one last time as a gargantuan, skyscraper-sized monstrosity; but since water is its kryptonite, it promptly falls back down and dies.
  • Clothing Damage: In The Sands of Time, it starts with Sleeves Are for Wimps (one at a time) and goes all the way up to Shirtless Scene. The 2008 game is more subtle, and Elika's lacy blouse gets only slightly more torn each time the plot advances. This is also a Fan Service Mythology Gag, because a player who remembers the prince's Shirtless Scene from SOT may expect Elika to repeat it. (She doesn't.)
  • Colossus Climb: Several bosses in Warrior Within and The Two Thrones.
  • Continuity Reboot: Happened twice, first in 2003 with the release of The Sands of Time, and then in 2008.
  • Counter Attack: Plenty of it in the Sands of Time trilogy. In combat, the Prince is able to counter most enemy attacks and deal them a devastating blow. However, enemies can sometimes counter the counter attack, forcing the Prince to block or counter the enemy's counter attack. There are instances where the Prince and his opponent will exchange half a dozen counter attacks before one misses their timing and gets hit.
  • The Corruption: The Sands of Time.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: The Prince is able to grab hold of specific ledges and bars to move around the area. In certain cutscenes, though, he is shown to be capable of much more elaborate manuevers. This style was actually moved into Assassin's Creed made by the same people, where you can literally grab onto almost anything.
    • Sands of Time features the worst example, where in one cutscene the Prince runs down a wall to survive what would otherwise be a fatal drop. Seen here
  • Damage Over Time: In Warrior Within and The Two Thrones, the player slowly loses health while playing as the Sand Wraith or the Dark Prince.
  • Darker and Edgier: Warrior Within, then toned down in the next game.
  • Dawn Attack: In The Sands of Time.

 Nizam: Words won't stop our enemies once they're armed with Alamutian blades. We attack at dawn.

  • Deadpan Snarker: The Sands of Time trilogy Prince. The Dark Prince is an absolute master of this, as evidenced by his response when the Prince sees people being herded toward the arena below.

 Prince: I should do something.

Dark Prince: Go ahead, fall to your death. That'll be of great use to them.

  • Death Course: Lots.
  • Death's Hourglass: The hourglass which contains the Sands of Time is not an example of that trope, but the first Prince of Persia game from '89 evidently does include a countdown timer.
    • Used subtly in Warrior Within: outside the throne room, there is an hourglass that counts the time until the Empress will create the Sands of Time. However, as the Prince finds out to his dismay, the Empress dies to create the Sands, so the hourglass was counting down until the Empress's death.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The Prince is surprisingly competent at this. In the canon ending of Warrior Within, he kills both the Empress of Time and the unstoppable beast that makes sure the timeline stays correct. In The Two Thrones, he kills a god of time. In The Forgotten Sands, he kills Ratash, an Ifrit and supposedly invincible.
  • Dialog During Gameplay: From the Sands of Time trilogy onwards.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Initially it might look like Farah's also barefoot on The Two Thrones, but if you look closely, she's wearing flat sandals.
  • Dramatic Chase Opening: In Warrior Within, the Prince is running away from the Dahaka.
  • Dramatic Wind: There's always some wind blowing in the land of the Ahura.
  • Dual World Gameplay: Just in Warrior Within on the Island Of Time, it had to be explored in the past and present with decay changing pathways and accesibility and the characters present.
  • Eleventh-Hour Superpower: Both inverted and played straight in The Sands of Time. The Prince loses the Dagger of Time, meaning no more rewinding, but does get a sword that One Hit Kills all enemies.
  • Enemy Within + Enemy Without
  • Escape Sequence: The Dahaka chases in Warrior Within.
  • Escort Mission: Much of The Sands of Time you work with Farah but it isn't as frustrating as most other examples because Farah is very competent with a simple bow, so she can slow down the creatures while you hack away at them.
  • Evil Chancellor: The Vizier. He's even named properly, though the movie Vizier is named Nizam instead.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: "He Who Would Steal The Flame Must Die". This isn't a threat, it's the instructions for how to finish that level. You have to die in order to steal the Flame.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: In Warrior Within, the Prince discovers that the only way to get The Dahaka to stop chasing him is to let Dahaka kill his past self.
  • Fake Difficulty: An accusation being thrown at The Forgotten Sands by some reviewers due to sometimes lackluster camera angles and some Trial and Error Gameplay. For instance, unlike previous games in the series, some collapsing floors won't start collapsing until after you've already stepped on them, forcing you to use a rewind.
    • How else did you expect structurally-unsound floors to behave?
    • The controls in The Shadow and the Flame are less forgiving than the original. There are several places where you need to make a running jump exactly off an edge which turns out to be nearly impossible to time right; it feels like the previous game assumes you want to jump from the edge and gives some tolerance, whereas the sequel prefers you to either jump too early or miss it completely.
  • Fight Like a Card Player: At least one game.
  • Foot Focus: Razia in Forgotten Sands. The scene where she properly introduces herself to the Prince includes a shot of her feet as she floats down onto
  • Free Wheel: The Two Thrones does it at the end of one of the chariot-driving sequences.
  • Gaiden Game: The Forgotten Sands is this to the rest of the Sands of Time trilogy. Takes place in a foreign kingdom and concerns plot points that are entirely irrelevant to the events of the trilogy.
  • Game Breaking Bug: The entire Sands trilogy has its fair share of buggy code but Warrior Within is a particular standout. There are quite a few scenarios that can render the game Unwinnable, such as being transformed into the Sand Wraith prematurely or the final time portal simply refusing to work (and many of these feature irreversible, game-restarting conditions caused by save points in point-of-no-return locations).
  • Genre Popularizer: The first game started the Cinematic Platformer genre, and the Sands of Time trilogy was responsible for allowing Le Parkour as a means of getting around in video games.
  • Genre Savvy: The Two Thrones Prince:

 Farah: Try moving the switch forward.

Prince: With my luck it will probably spring some horrible trap. Or summon sand monsters. Or bring about the end of the world!

Farah: Would it kill you to show a little optimism?

Prince: Experience has taught me that wishful thinking only leads to disappointment.

  • Giant Space Flea From Nowhere: The "six-armed muscleman" boss in the SNES adaptation of the first game. This guy isn't even mentioned in the manual, much less given a name.
    • In the games sound test, his name is given as "God Vishnu".
  • Giant Spider: One of the rooms near the end of The Shadow and the Flame looks somewhat like one (though with legs sticking out at weird angles).
  • Guide Dang It:
    • In the first game, the penultimate battle is against The Shadow. Hitting him damages yourself as well as him, and even though you have way more hit points you die as he does. You defeat him by sheathing your sword, a move that was available from the beginning of the game but is suicidal against every other enemy.
    • In the second game, obtaining The Flame requires you to get yourself killed by a weak random mook, as opposed to by the bottomless pits. The sign "He Who Would Steal The Flame Must Die" should be taken literally.
    • Also in the second game, transforming yourself to The Shadow in the final level is probably not something you would have figured out for yourself...unless you read the manual. It is also quite lethal if you haven't picked up enough health potions in the game. Fortunately, there is an infinite supply of health-enhancing potions in the final level to prevent the game from becoming unwinnable at that point (provided you can fight well enough to get them).
    • Finding and collecting all the life upgrades in Warrior Within to unlock the alternate ending could be a pain in the ass.
    • Lampshaded in The Forgotten Sands. One of the achievements requires you to find and break every sarcophagus. The name of this achievement? "Got walkthrough?"
  • Hand in the Hole: In Prince of Persia 3D.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: The very first boss battle in Warrior Within.
  • Heroic Resolve: In The Two Thrones, when the Prince finds the dead body of his father, he decides to quit trying to change the past and accept his fate, which gives him the strength he needs to reject the Dark Prince once and for all.
  • Hide Your Children: In The Two Thrones children can be heard among the captured citizens, but none are ever seen.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: The Two Thrones includes a blooper reel of things like the Prince fumbling his acrobatics and getting the Dagger of Time replaced with a rubber chicken.
  • Hypnotize the Princess: Prince of Persia 2 begins with the princess convinced you're a poor mad beggar. Naturally, fleeing the royal guards quickly ensues.
  • I Can't Use These Things Together: The Prince in The Sands of Time will occasionally gripe about Farah and her attitude, or reminisce about his love for her. This gets lampshaded twice, by the Prince himself, no less. "Why am I talking to myself?"
  • Idiot Ball: The Prince and the Empress of Time seem to play tennis with it in Warrior Within.
  • If I Had a Nickel: Recurs in the form: "If I had some sands for every time someone said that to me..."
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: In the first two games, you can play to the end of the game after running out of time, only to find that the princess has died (or been married to Jaffar). The only true Game Over in these games.
  • Joke Item:
    • The Two Thrones had several unlockable examples.
    • Warrior Within also had them, however they were usually hidden in secret weapon racks so it was possible to miss them all together.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The Prince in The Sands of Time also qualifies, more Jerkass with less (but still present) gold in the second game and, finally, both Jerkass and Jerk with a Heart of Gold at once in the third. With both voice actors.
  • Kill It with Water: The Dahaka.
  • King Incognito: Kaileena in Warrior Within.
  • Lampshade Hanging: The Prince does a lot of this in The Forgotten Sands. Noting that every time he gets into one of "these situations" there's a woman ordering him around. Noting that just once he'd like a trap system that could tell him from the enemy. Asking why it's always sand, and who built a particular puzzle that needed to be solved in order to reach some stairs. Complaining that Razia didn't warn him about certain traps.

 "I suppose if I were a thousand years old I'd forget things too. Like giant collapsing staircases that could kill people.

  • Leap of Faith: Used several times throughout the series, such as with an unlabeled potion in the first two games (it turned out to be a slow-fall potion), to a daring leap in the second game off a ledge into the next screen to land on a horse statue (which promptly comes to life).
  • Le Parkour: Probably the defining game of the genre.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: Sands of Time allows you to use one unit of sand to freeze a target for destruction with the Prince's normal sword.
  • Literary Agent Hypothesis: Sands of Time sets it up as though the Prince is retelling his story to the player; hence, whenever the player dies, we hear the prince going, "No, wait, that wasn't how it happened, hold on..."
  • Living Legend: The Prince toils in obscurity [1] during Sands of Time and Warrior Within, but he returns to his home and becomes beloved by the people as a liberating hero in The Two Thrones.
  • Locked Out of the Fight: To defeat Ratash in Forgotten Sands, Razia becomes a part of the Prince's sword. She then promptly loses her magic when the final battle begins due to Ratash's interference.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: The usage of time powers is very clearly outlined that you can't exist in two places at the same time, merely move through time. The Sand Wraith mask is explicitly the only way to circumvent that rule.
  • Male Gaze: Shahdee's ass-first introduction in Warrior Within is a particularly blatant example.
  • Malevolent Architecture: Horrible splatty demises are freely available in most localities even without you encountering any enemies. Try spike pits, buzzsaws, sets of scimitars on revolving axles, collapsing floors, bladed pendulums, and enormous drops -- many of which may be found combined as death courses. Fortunately often overlaps with Benevolent Architecture, or else you'd never get anywhere.
  • The Many Deaths of You: The above-mentioned selection box of unpleasant exits gives rise to an exciting assortment of death animations. The original game alone memorably had nightmare inducing clanging metal jaws in mid-corridor that guillotined you in half if you mistimed stepping through them. Alternatives were being run through by enemy swords, impaled on spikes and hitting the bottom of deep pits with a skull-cracking smack.
  • Mental Time Travel: The "rewind" feature or the Sands of Time series.
  • Mind Screw: The final level of PoP 2: The Shadow and the Flame.
    • Also some of the visions as you get further into the original Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, showing the death of the princess as well as of the prince himself, even though they don't happen that way. It is the first time in the game that the visions start to steer you wrong.
  • Morality Pet: Farah acts as one for the prince in The Two Thrones.
  • The Movie: Starring Jake Gyllenhaal as the Prince.
  • Mundane Utility: Throughout The Sands of Time, the Prince uses the Dagger of Time's rewind feature to evade death and save the day. At the end of the game, he uses it to... kiss a girl without her knowing.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Prince's repeated attempts to change the past tend to make things worse. When he gets called out on it by his darker self, he realizes that he can't and instead tries to fix things in the present.
  • No Flow in CGI: Averted in The Sands of Time: the Prince's long hair and poofy sleeves and pants react fairly realistically to his movements.
  • Nominal Importance: Averted. The Prince is never named except in The Movie, and several of the games have the majority of characters go unnamed.
  • No Name Given: The Prince.
  • Nostalgic Narrator: In the first Sands of Time
  • The Other Darrin: Retroactively subverted. In The Sands of Time, the Prince is voiced by Yuri Lowenthal. In Warrior Within, he's voiced by Robin Atkin Downes. In The Two Thrones, he's again voiced by Lowenthal, with Canadian actor Rick Miller providing his inner "Dark Prince" voice. There was talk during development that Downes would voice the Dark Prince, but ultimately that didn't come to pass.
    • Played straight with Kaileena (voiced by and modeled after Monica Bellucci in Warrior Within and Sarah Carlsen in The Two Thrones) and Farah (Joanna Wasick in The Sands of Time and Hellen King in The Two Thrones).
  • Poison Mushroom: the first game has healing potions and the occasional poison potion that looks nearly identical. The SNES version also has two life increasing potions placed together, one of which will actually kill you instead.
  • Pop Star Composer: Stuart Chatwood, multi-instrumentalist and former bassist for The Tea Party, wrote the soundtracks to all the Prince of Persia games made by Ubisoft.
  • Power Glows: The Sands of Time, complete with a lampshade hanging. More subtly with the Dagger of Time.
  • Power Tattoo: The Dark Prince form in The Two Thrones is covered in these, and they're glowing. The Prince also has normal tattoos while not transformed. Battles of Prince of Persia reveals that the one on his shoulder is a mark of the kingship which he will inherit.
    • Interestingly, the dark prince tattoo starts out small at first on the prince's normal body, but when he turns back from the dark prince, more and more of the his tattoo remains until it eventually covers his entire left arm and most of his back, perhaps symbolic of the dark prince's efforts to take over his body?
  • Puzzle Pan
  • Real Is Brown: Warrior Within's art director said in a bonus commentary on the disc that the game was designed to be basically monochrome to make it easier to unify designs. The Forgotten Sands also have this, but it takes place in a desert kingdom so this is at least somewhat justified. Then again, all of the games take place in a desert kingdom, so...
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: The series and the movie adaptation gets a lot of flack for making the Prince "too white", due to Western audiences expecting everyone who lives in the Middle East to be brown as can be and not even vaguely similar to the rest of the world. In truth, the Persian people were close relatives of the Europeans, and the majority of modern Iran's population could be considered "white". And most people there identify as white. Compare Iranian prime minister Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Jake Gyllenhaal. Also, read Kotaku's article.
    • Even better, compare him to former deputy culture minister Mohammad Ali Ramin, who has a very light complexion.
  • Real Time: In the first two games, anyway.
  • Reboot Discontinuity: The Forgotten Sands ignores the 2008 reboot and returns to the continuity of the Sands of Time trilogy.
  • Recycled Title: The original and 2008 games in the series share the name "Prince Of Persia".
  • The Reveal: Two major ones in Warrior Within, the strange creature you see but never interact with is you. And the Empress of Time is Kaileena.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: Starting in Warrior Within, the Prince can gain sand by smashing objects in the environment. See Why We Can't Have Nice Things.
  • Reset Button: A key part of the story and gameplay in the Sands of Time trilogy. Done well because some are aware of the reset and others are not.
  • Ring of Fire: The battle with the Axe and Sword twins in T2T.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: The Sands of Time series is practically made of this trope. In the first game, the Prince accidentally releases the Sands of Time... so he and Farah (a princess) try to fix it. In the second, he fights fate... and wins. In the third, the Vizier turns himself into a god... so the Prince and Farah kill him, even though he's supposed to be unkillable.
  • Scenery Porn: The Sands of Time series has this as well.
  • Screw Destiny: The motive behind the Prince's actions in Warrior Within.
  • Sealed Army in a Can: Pretty much any major army from Sands of Time onwards. At some point, one of the characters will even warn everyone present about what will happen when said army is released. Naturally, no one listens.
  • Second-Hour Superpower: The Dagger of Time from Sands of Time.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: In Warrior Within, Kaileena sees her own death in the timeline and attempts to correct it by sending her army after the Prince, which of course brings him to the island and gives him motive to kill her. Because the Prince had no prior knowledge of this and only sought to prevent the Sands of Time (which had already affected his life) from being created, his own quest to change his fate counts as more of a Stable Time Loop.
  • Self-Made Orphan: The Prince's father is a boss in Sands of Time. Guess what happens.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Central to the plot of the first two Sands of Time games, then subverted in the third game, when the Prince realizes that each of his attempts to do this have caused more problems than they solved, and decides to accept his fate.
    • In the second and third game this is played near Deconstruction he isn't only the one who created the sands of time, dooming himself, but also avoiding their creation, he also doomed his kingdom.
  • Sheathe Your Sword: Both the original game and The Two Thrones have sequences requiring you to do this.
  • Shirtless Scene: The Prince, quite a bit. Starting with progressive Clothing Damage in the first game, but in The Two Thrones he spends about 90 percent of the game without his shirt.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Spiritual Successor: Karateka was the initiator of the rotoscoping technique used in the first Prince of Persia and the sprites are very similar looking.
  • Stable Time Loop: In Warrior Within, the Prince goes to the Island of Time to prevent the Sands of Time--the source of all his misfortunes and the reason he is being hunted by the Dahaka--from ever being created. However, he ends up being the one who creates them when he kills Kaileena, the Empress of Time, who is the Sands in human form. The rest of the game is spent subverting this.
    • This one is a Stable Time Loop inside a Stable Time Loop - the only reason the Prince has the chance to do this is because Kaileena foresaw her death, tried to kill the Prince to prevent it, and lost the ensuing battle, thus creating the Sands and catching the Prince in his own time loop.
  • Standard Hero Reward: Subverted in Sands of Time. The Prince and Farah fall in love during the game, but when time is reset at the end, her memory of their adventure is erased. When he tries to kiss her at the end of the game, she pushes him away, saying she owes him gratitude, but nothing more. Of course, he then reverses time so she doesn't remember it.
  • Stripperiffic: All female characters, at one point or another (particularly the women in Warrior Within).
    • Elika is about the only character who doesn't have such an outfit, though her clothes are torn in several places.
    • Justified with Farah, what with the whole "being captured and taken as a slave" thing...
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Kaileena in T2T.
  • Super-Powered Evil Side: The Dark Prince in The Two Thrones. As part of the corruption of the Sands, the Prince will occasionally transform into what he considers an abomination; his flesh turns to sand with Power Tattoos, and he is able to use the daggertail as a weapon. His health instantly regenerates upon absorbing sand, but constantly deteriorates otherwise. He also gets a handy little voice in his head that stays with him whether he's transformed or not. The voice is the mental manifestation of all his darkest desires, who tempts him with power and constantly belittles him whenever he tries to be anything except ruthless, arrogant, and violent. It's implied that the health draining out of the Prince is actually going into him, and when the former dies then he will have full control over the body. The Prince has to face him down and ultimately reject him in order to finally put his past behind him.
  • Take Your Time: in The Sands of Time trilogy, some ledges can support the Prince indefinitely, but collapse immediately after he steps off them.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: It's never exactly clear how time travel/manipulation works in the Sands of Time trilogy.

 "Most people think time is like a river, that flows swift and sure in one direction. But I have seen the face of time, and I can tell you - they are wrong. Time is an ocean in a storm."

  • To Be Continued: In the 2008 reboot, this is the Achievement that pops up after the Prince resurrects Elika and releases Ahriman. Turns out they've abandoned the new storyline in favor of a fourth installment to the Sands of Time storyline.
  • Trilogy Creep: The Sands of Time storyline got a fourth installment, conveniently about the time the film is released.
  • True Final Boss: The Dahaka in Warrior Within, provided you find all the life upgrades in order to acquire the Water Sword, the only weapon capable of harming it. Otherwise, the final boss is just Kaileena, which leads to a major Downer Ending with only the bleakest of hope as the Prince is freed from his curse but at the cost of just about everything. The Alternate Ending was actually made canon in the next game, which Kaileena acknowledges in the opening narration.
  • Unflinching Walk: In the first game of the 2008 reboot. The Prince walks calmly away as he is engulfed by a sandstorm and a dark god flies overhead.
  • Unreliable Narrator: This happens in the Sands Of Time whenever he narrates his (permanent) deaths.
    • "Wait, that's not what happened..."
  • Unwitting Pawn: The Shah and Prince in The Sands of Time. They are convinced by the Vizier of India to invade India for no good reason outside of "Fortune and Glory", while the Vizier helps them in exchange for his choice picks from the Maharajah's treasure chamber. Needless to say, the Shah immediately agrees to this offer from a man who is offering to betray his sovereign and his nation to an invader and who in fact SOLICITED his betrayal to a random party and who can be assumed to have a powerful ulterior motive, and invades India. As a result, a Sand Apocalypse happens.
  • Vague Age: It's hard to tell how old the Prince is in The Sands of Time.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Throw the Sands of Time Prince down pits or into spikes as many times as you like! You've still go the necessary time-rewinding sand, right?
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: In The Sands of Time, the only hint towards the Vizier's plan until the end is his coughing up blood in some cutscenes, implying he's suffering from a disease, possibly tuberculosis.
  • Volcanic Veins: On the cover of The Two Thrones.
  • The Walls Are Closing In: Prince Of Persia 2 has crushing walls in its later levels, some of which are situated in inescapable pits under Fake Platforms.
  • Warrior Prince
  • The War Sequence: One of the selling points of The Forgotten Sands was the massive amounts of enemies onscreen at one time. Near the end, the Prince fights his way up a staircase on the outside of a tower, killing around two hundred enemies as he does so.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Considering its chronological placement between the first two games of the Sands trilogy, many fans of the series wonder why the Dahaka never made an appearance in Forgotten Sands.
  • Whip Sword: The Daggertail in The Two Thrones.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: In Forgotten Sands, the Prince lampshades this after his brother releases a mystical sand-based army. An entirely different one from the earlier games.

 Why is it always sand?

  • Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him: The Empress in Warrior Within. She employs several round-about measures to kill the Prince: she sends Shadee after him, curses one of his swords, forces him to solve puzzles in two towers laden with deadly traps and mooks, and all the while hopes the Dahaka will finish him off if he doesn't die on his own. When all this (predictably) fails, the Empress goes one-on-one in a sword and sorcery duel and naturally does not emerge the victor. Depending on the ending, she dies twice. She never, however, utilizes her greatest tactical advantage to its full potential: the fact that she and Kaileena are one and the same person the whole time, and thanks to an amazingly lucky stroke of timing, the Prince walks in on Shadee trying to kill her when he first meets her. This causes him to assume Kaileena is a beleaguered servant, and upon saving her, he puts his trust in her completely to the point of trying to take her away from "the evils" of the island all the way up until she decides to confess who she is and tries a direct approach. What does she do with this amazing upper hand instead? She tries to talk him out of killing her. She should have just kept up the ruse, and while he was bemoaning his fate, walked up behind him, stabbed him, taken his medallion, and been done with it.
    • She was kind of falling in love with him. Hence the reluctance to murder him.
  • World of Buxom: All of the female characters in Warrior Within have very large breasts.
  • World of Cardboard Speech: Given in conjunction with the above Heroic Resolve in The Two Thrones.

 Dark Prince: What now then? Gather up enough sand, perform another grand rewind? Or perhaps you can return to the Island and travel back to a time when he might still be saved. Maybe rescue a Damsel in Distress along the way!

Prince: NO! You are right. I have been like a child. Naive and arrogant; always rushing to undo my mistakes. Never facing the consequences of my actions. No more. I accept what I have done, and all that it implies. *transforms back, without water*

Dark Prince: What is this?! You have no water! How did you--?

Prince: You hold no power over me now! Be gone! Retreat to whatever dark hole spawned you, and do not trouble me again.

  • You Already Changed the Past: See Stable Time Loop above.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: A running theme that is subverted and finally double-subverted throughout the Sands trilogy, but it's best defined in Two Thrones. Every single thing the Prince has tried to prevent from happening in Sands of Time and Warrior Within comes to pass in the third game, except one: Farah lives. The Prince accepts it in the end. Similarly, Shadee and Kaileena know their actions are futile but go against the time-line anyway. However, Kaileena's motivations are ret-conned into "I knew this would happen all along and all my actions were to make sure it did."
  • You Get Knocked Down, You Get Back Up Again: Averted; in the Sands of Time series, enemies can and will attack you while you're down. Fortunately, you can rewind time, block while on your back, or perform a roll to swipe at their feet and get back up.


  1. Well, as much obscurity as any prince can achieve.
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