I recently re-acquired an Xbox and have been catching up on some games I missed out on. Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones being one of them. I wasn’t far into my quest to save Babylon when I realized I had never finished the first two games in the Sands of Time series.

I had no interest in the first game until the reviews started rolling out. It was receiving some of the highest ratings I had seen and game critics were blown away by the acrobatic and combat systems. I grabbed it for PC and put maybe a handful of hours into it before giving up. The PC version had extremely poor gamepad support and it was near impossible to play with a keyboard and mouse. Button-mashers often are. I probably should have played it on a console, but that’s beside the point. Don’t release a game for a system that you’re not going to support. Same goes for hardware – no, I haven’t let that go, yet. 😛

Prince of Persia

A year later I found myself with a copy of Warrior Within for GameCube. This time, the experience was much more enjoyable. I was hooked on the game – running on walls, flipping around bars, swinging off pillars and hacking dude’s heads off. Awesome! It was until I back-tracked myself into a corner which happened to be way the eff up, with no way down that the good vibes were diminished. I had only been using a single save slot, so I had no way of reverting to a previous point. I literally had to start the game over if I wanted to continue playing. Since I was already about 75% in and had spent every evening that week getting to where I was, I decided to trade it in at EB instead. It was still really new and I think I got $30 for it. Score!

I’m sure you see where this is going – I just gave up on The Two Thrones. I’m about 80% in, at the end of The King’s Road where you come up against ‘Axe’ and ‘Sword’ after a wicked hard chariot sequence. After a dozen or so attempts, I finally made it through the chariot sequence – which I was enjoying until this one. Albeit, without any sandtanks. I come up against these two dudes with enormous weapons. No big deal – two guys in a ring of fire. I can handle this. 10 minutes into the right and I haven’t landed a hit yet. WTF? I check some walkthroughs online and sure enough…

For lack of a better word (or words), Sword and Axe are what we’ll use to refer to the pair of bosses here, since…that’s what they’re going to use to kick your butt. And kick your butt they will. It’s going to be kicked so hard that it’ll grow a second, smaller butt, which will in turn be kicked itself. That’s how bad these guys are.

I would say that’s a bit of an understatement, too. These dudes are ridiculously hard! I’ve been playing the game every other night for the past week or so. I’ve got the controls down, the combat locked, but I feel like a useless n00b against these two. Are you kidding me? Aren’t games supposed to be fun? How is this fun? Look at how long the explanation is to beat two brutes with melee weapons! I simply can’t bring myself to be put this sort of punishment. And that’s how it feels – like punishment. Like I’ve done something wrong and now Axe and Sword are here to kick my ass to the moon and back. Well fuck you guys! Take your enormous weapons and stick them up your ass! I’ve got other games to play and that’s exactly what I’m gonna do. You watch…

Shit, I was really liking the game until that point. The chariot sequence leading up to Axe and Sword sucked, but the rest of the game was rad. Playing as the dark Prince with the swingy metal thing was great. Man, why’d they have to go and ruin it? At least it’s the last in the series. Next!


Comments

No, don’t give up! Really, it isn’t that hard. You’ve got to attack the enemy with the sword, the enemy with the axe will try to do a jumping attack, which ends up with him getting his axe stuck in the ground. Stick him in the head a few times and repeat. After you’ve done this twice, you will have to do one of the quick kill sequences, which takes about half of each enemies life away. Good luck!

Thanks David. I read the walkthrough and saw the technique to deal with them. But I just can’t be bothered now. There was no save point between the chariot sequence and the boss fight, so I’d have to do that over as well. Really not into that. I’d rather be playing Trackmania!

To be honest, I’ve always found the POP series to be extremely frustrating. The wonky camera angles and combat never really felt fine tuned. Like, I never knew exactly what was going to happen while I was pressing buttons.

Have you unlocked the included videos? Typically, you cannot access them until you’ve beaten the game, but I’m sure there is some sort of cheat or that you could get your hands on a game save. If you thought the game was good up until that point, I think that you’d be amazed by what’s to come.

On another note, where did you hear that The Two Thrones was the last in the series?

I have to say, I experienced the opposite.

I currently own a gaming PC (which only really gets used for strategy games and FPSs these days), an Xbox, a PS2, a Gamecube and various handhelds – oh, and recently I aquired an Xbox 360. Over a period of time I found that the machines I played on most tended to be the Cube (when my mates are over) and my Xbox. Because of this, and because I was a HUGE POP fan in the 90s, I bought Sands of Time for my Xbox.

I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it. My only real gripe was that it was far too short. In fact, I liked it so much I rushed out and bought Beyond Good and Evil (which the Jade engine was originally written for), a game that had been released the week before to a somewhat muted response.

Incidentally – if you haven’t played BGE, you need to. It’s one of the best games of the last few years. Anyway, back on topic…

Unfortunately, I also rushed out to buy Warrior Within and ended up taking it back two days later (having finished it) in disgust. A truely awful game – even when the terrible grunged up soundtrack was muted.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m a fairly big Metal fan but I just don’t think it fits with this game. It’s done a pretty good job of turning me off The Two Thrones.

Thankfully I kept the trade in points I received and bought God of War some time later for the PS2…

Now that’s MUCH better…

I got stuck at the same part on normal difficulty, however I enjoyed the game so much I went and played through the game again on easy just so I could finish it.

I completed the first game as well, but have given up on the second twice.

I’ve been thinking about posting a rant on game difficulty before. Maybe I’ll do that soon 🙂

As for last in the series – what I had heard was that it was the last in that story series. I’m sure I’ve heard mention of next gen Prince of Persia games.

I played the first one, but haven’t played this one "yet". I guess I won’t now… weird, I heard a lot of good reviews of this from friends.

Thanks for saving me the time/money!

Like David said, don’t give up. I had trouble witht his part of the game, but after forgetting to save and replaying the chariot sequence and the boss fight at least 5 times I got it down and was able to take them out. I didn’t even think of looking at a walkthrough, I guess it makes a lot more sense now.

This is the only POP game I’ve actually enjoyed playing. The first was good, but as mentioned, far too short. The second was okay as well, bt it seemed to be missing something. I’m gonna be sad to see this great series end.

@David: I’ve heard Two Thrones was the last in the series quite a few times. Ben clarifies this in his comment. I’m pretty certain I too have at least heard of a next-gen POP game.

@Tim: SOT to WW was definitely a big change and I’m surprised they carried on the darker tone to TT. SOT received so much praise for being charming and unique as far as presentation goes. They kind shot that all to hell in WW. I hated the stupid comments the Prince would make while you’re fighting dudes.

@Ben: I’m was playing it on Medium. No chance I’m going to do it all over again. I have so many games to play – I’m already behind! No more time for the Prince, I’m afraid.

@Colin: I wouldn’t let what I’ve said make up your mind on whether or not to play the game. It’s a good, fun game. It has it’s frustrating moments without a doubt. Might be worth a rent – and play it on Easy!

I leave so many games unfinished, and it bothers me, but when there are so many games waiting to be played, what else can you do? I abandoned Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga recently when I was very close to the end because I was faced with a boss I couldn’t beat, and left with a choice of a) backtracking through an hour’s worth of game in order to go and level up somewhere, or b) bugger off and play something else. I went with b)

There’s just so many reasons to quit a game. Bosses you can’t beat, or a boss you might be able to beat but the save point is 15 minutes ago and every time you lose, you have to go through the SAME BLOODY SEQUENCE each time.

I loved SoT on the Xbox. It’s a shame you had so many problems with the PC version.

LIke you pointed out in your article, the tone of the second game was NOTHING like the first, and that was evident from the first seconds of hte demo. Another problem was the shifted focus of the second game. Combat was definitely the weakest part of the first game, and basing an entire game on the not-so-hot fighting system was a terrible idea. 🙁

I love God of War, but it’s because it’s got such great style and the combat is tons of fun. It reminds me a lot of SoT because it has that same other-world feel to it.

(love the blog, btw — keep up the excellent work)

For what it’s worth, the first PoP (Sands of Time) was – by far – the best one. Then it was a game that relied on the acrobatics to entertain. And entertain they did. Unfortunatly it seemed the general gaming public have an unquentiable thirst for blood and it just didn’t sell like it deserved to do. To counter this they made the second one a lot darker, it lost the essence I loved about the first.

For contrast, take the first game that opened with this educated English voice telling a story (to whom is a brilliant twist), and then the second game, same character, or so they led us to beleive but we know their character is a completely different set of 1’s and 0’s. This new "things" first words were "You bitch!".

I highly reccomend you pick up a copy of PoP:SoT – and yes, like you mentioned – for a console. It is by far the best, not so long as to tie you down for weeks, but enough to satisfy and the ending twist is a shocking one to say the least. The PC conversion was a shame, I picked up a copy of it after buying, completing and selling my Gamecube copy and I never could play it through again on a keyboard and mouse.

Being "old" now in PC terms, it’ll be cheap to pick up and I cannot emphasise enough, but it’s really worth it – the reviews were right, it is, like I’ve said, a shame about the PC version but don’t let that deter you.

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