PRINCE OF PERSIA 2 / Broderbund / PC
Prince of Persia 2 assumes right off that you've played the first game enough that you're totally familiar with the controls. It opens by throwing you through a window and giving you about two seconds to turn, face an oncoming guard, draw your sword and parry the blow. If you don't know the controls, well ... you ain't getting much time to practice.
This theme continues throughout the game, which is markedly tougher than the already diabolical first entry. The guards during your first-level flight from the palace are one-hit pushovers, but your first real enemy in the second level - a skeleton - fights better than the final boss of the previous game. Not only that, he only stays down for a few seconds before infinitely respawning. When does a Prince get a break here?
To leaven this somewhat, the game has much better (VGA) graphics and takes place across a much wider range of environs than simply Dungeon and Palace. It also has a full soundtrack now, with some pretty good tunes in the background of the levels instead of the simple musical cues of the first game. It even crams digitized speech for the lengthy between-level cutscenes into only four megabytes of disk space.
All of this, unfortunately, kind of ends up wasted. The play control has taken a step backward from the previous game; when you press up and to the right or left in an attempt to make the Prince jump, you can never be sure he won't do the exact opposite of what you want. While running, instead of executing a running jump, he sometimes grinds to a halt then does a standing jump. When attempting to do a standing jump, sometimes he'll decide to try running forward instead. In both cases, you die a lot when you really shouldn't have. And as with the previous game, you gotta truck all the way back through the level again each time one of these screw-ups occur.
A little slipperiness in the controls wouldn't be so bad, if the game weren't so demanding and perfectionist. As such, it pretty much makes the game such a butt to play that it really isn't worth bothering, unless you really like punishing yourself. Damn shame, Prince 2, damn shame.
* Gameplay Video