Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Preview

We check out the prince's portable adventures.

Ubisoft is bringing its upcoming revival of the Prince of Persia franchise, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, to the Game Boy Advance. The sharp 2D game is a side-scrolling take on the prince's upcoming 3D adventures for the current consoles and PC. We had a chance to try out the pint-sized adventure and are pleased to report that the prince's portable adventure is a slick little affair that should please.

The Prince is back in an all-new 2D adventure.

The prince's Game Boy Advance story is taken right from the game's console cousins, and it puts you in his role. Your quest is to collect the mystical sands of time, which the prince has inadvertently unleashed, thus causing a plethora of mayhem and mutation among the locals. To set things straight, you have to hack, slash, jump, and use your time powers in a series of progressively challenging levels.

While your task may sound daunting, it's not too much of a chore, thanks to the game's solid controls. You move the prince with the D pad, attack with the B button, and jump with the A button. The left shoulder button activates the prince's time power, which is handy for saving you from missed jumps. As with the console versions of the game, you won't be able to sail through the game by using your time powers to make up for crappy playing. Your ability to affect time is tied to a meter that runs out. The only way to refill it is to take out enemies and absorb sand from their bodies.

The graphics engine pumps out large, well-animated sprites that are comparable to Ubisoft's Splinter Cell game on the GBA. (The two games actually do share some technology between them.) The prince looks good and moves quite fluidly, which is a fine homage to the fluid moves of the original game. The environments are detailed, albeit a bit static. The enemies you face are a mix of mutated people, insects, and environmental hazards that look quite good, despite their deadliness.

The game features some large and nicely animated sprites.

The audio is a strong assortment of sound effects and atmospheric tunes that are a solid accompaniment to the action. You'll hear some sound samples from the prince--mostly grunts and death cries. You'll also hear approximations of the effects used for his time powers as well.

Overall, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is shaping up to be a nice complement to its console brethren. The game looks and plays well, blending the new elements introduced in the console games with some good old-fashioned 2D platforming. Anyone looking for a cool diversion, while on the road, should look for it. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is currently slated to ship this fall.

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