Prince of Persia: The Fallen King
You'll need the golden touch to save the Prince's kingdom.
Prince of Persia: The Fallen King for DS puts the hero on a dangerous quest to stop an evil god named Ahriman, who has flooded the land of Persia with a dark oozy corruption. Helping him out is his sidekick Zai, who can conjure up tools that will help the Prince on his way.
Like the console editions, Prince of Persia is all about the team effort. You'll take control of the prince most of the time, but call upon Zai if you need a wall created or hooks for the hero to grab onto in order to reach new areas. It's an interesting premise, although we feel that Elika, from the console versions, is a more effective colleague. Her magical abilities not only aid you in both battle and puzzle solving, but she also keeps you in one piece. Zai, on the other hand, isn't exactly user-friendly.
Sidekick choice aside, the game's quite enjoyable. There are 50 plus levels of platforming bliss, with ledges to climb up, walls to jump off of and obstacles to overcome. The 2.5-D graphics bring out the best in the Prince's world. The animation is also noteworthy, especially when it comes to the main hero's movements; he'll vault off walls and jump across chasms. The music, on the other hand, needed more work; it repeats way too often. At least the sound effects are decent, with plenty of clanging swords and other noises.
Instead of controlling the Prince with the d-pad, you use the stylus on the system's touch screen. If you want the Prince to walk forward, put the stylus right in front of him. If you want him to run, put it further ahead of him. If you want him to roll, tap twice. If you want him to slice an object, draw a line over the object you want destroyed. At first, it's a neat control scheme, but it fails when things get crazy. For instance, if you're trying to jump up walls, you have to maneuver between both walls in just the right spots, or he'll come sliding down. There are also problems with jumps, particularly across large chasms. Usually, the Prince should be able to catch the ledge and hoist himself up. Unfortunately, we ran into a couple of instances where, because the stylus wasn't put down just right, we plummeted to our doom.
The in-game combat isn't necessarily better. Most of the enemies are too easy to defeat and the boss battles are a joke. One guy was so pathetic that we followed the pattern to beat him with our eyes closed.
Prince of Persia isn't bad. You'll need to turn down the music, get used to the touch-screen controls and deal with the fact that you'll often die for no reason. Accept all of that and you might just like this game.
What's Hot: Interesting touch-screen controls, graphics embrace the formula of the original Jordan Mechner game, over 50 levels to explore.
What's Not: Repetitive music, wonky controls, Zai is nowhere as good a companion as Elika, nothing to go back to once it's all over.