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Developer:
Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platform: PS2, XBox, Gamecube, PC
Release Date: December 1, 2005

by Josh Ferguson




On December 1st, 2005, Ubisoft released The Two Thrones, an exciting new chapter in the acclaimed Prince of Persia series. With The Two Thrones, it seems Ubisoft has tried to find a medium between the action-packed Warrior Within and the innovative puzzler of Sands of Time. The Two Thrones not only successfully does that, but also brings its fair share of new ideas and concepts to the series. The result is not only an excellent action/platformer, but a great end to one heck of a series!


The story begins with the Prince and his new lady friend, Kaileena, traveling by sea to his Kingdom of Babylon. As the ship comes closer to Babylon, the two witness the Kingdom in flames. Soon after the Prince's ship comes under attack by a large amount of flaming arrows and catapults. The ship explodes, separating the Prince from Kaileena, who is soon taken by some of the invaders. When the Prince finally finds Kaileena, he is too late, and comes across the same Vizier from the Sands of Time, killing her with the Dagger of Time. Once again, this leads to the release of the Sands of Time. With the sands free, the Vizier, his guards, and the Prince himself, are all tainted by its power.


Like I said, the Prince is actually tainted by the powers of the sands. However, it seems that the Prince's body is resisting the curse of the sands, but only somewhat. Unlike most infected, the Prince continues to look normal, but every so often he transforms into what is known as the Dark Prince. This dark embodiment is similar to that of the Prince in Warrior Within, only caring about combat and battling his enemies. As the Dark Prince, not only does he physically look different, but he is also much stronger and faster. The Dark Prince's choice of weaponry is also different. While he still carries around the Dagger of Time, he also uses a long-bladed chain known as the Daggertail. The Daggertail is a very deadly weapon that can be used for both fighting and interacting with certain areas of the environment, such as swinging from pole to pole and pulling out blocks located in walls.


Of course, the Dark Prince also features a completely different style of combat from the normal Prince. While the controls of the two characters work pretty much the same way, there are, of course, different actions resulting from pushing their combat buttons. Like the Prince in Warrior Within, the Dark Prince is able to perform several different combos by doing a variety of button mashing, or by actually learning the different combos. Again, by pressing the start button and going to the moves list you are able to see some of the different combos the Dark Prince can perform. But unless you're like me, you will probably just learn a couple and button mash the rest.


As I said earlier, the Prince will occasionally be transformed into the dark embodiment of the Dark Prince. When playing through the game, players will not be able to determine whether or not the Prince will turn into the Dark Prince, but will occasionally at certain key points throughout the game. While the Dark Prince does have his advantages, he also has one key disadvantage. Like the Sand Wraith in Warrior Within, as long as you are in the Dark Prince form, your health will constantly drop. The only way to restore the Dark Prince's health is to acquire the sands from fallen enemies or other areas. However, this will only restore it for a moment, for it will immediately start to deplete again.


Throughout the game, other than transforming into the Dark Prince, our hero will also hear many of his thoughts and feelings. It seems that the Dark Prince has his own thoughts and feelings, and uses them to try and cloud the judgment of the Prince. Although no one else can hear them, the Prince hears them as if they were his own thoughts. The Prince also responds to the voice in his head, and it responds back. Considering how the Dark Prince only cares about war and destruction, you can assume that the two have their share of arguments about certain situations. The dialogue here is actually pretty entertaining and sometimes leads to some humorous confrontations between the two Princes.


Now that we are all familiar with the Dark Prince, let's get into the actual Prince. As far as abilities and combat, the Prince isn't really any different from Warrior Within. Along with the Dagger of Time, the Prince is able to dual wield with any other weapon that he can find located throughout the game. The Prince still features many of the same combos from the predecessor, and, other than his attitude, really hasn't changed since the last game.


What seemed to be one of the biggest complaints about Warrior Within was the fact that the Prince was no longer the same character from the original game. He had changed into someone who only cared about himself, which was the whole point of the game. The Prince went back in time to save himself, that's it... he wasn't out to save anyone else. Anyway, in Two Thrones, the Prince seems to have changed his feelings and now fights for the safety of his people and his kingdom.


While the overall combat really hasn't changed very much from Warrior Within, there is one major addition to the combat, and that is the usage of speed kills. This time around the Prince has the ability to sneak up on an enemy and kill them before they even know what's coming! As the Prince gets close enough to an enemy, the screen turns a bit blurry, which means you have the option to perform a speed kill. Now, you initiate the kill by pressing the triangle button (PS2 version, obviously) and then you tap the square button whenever the game starts to slow down and the Dagger of Time begins to flash. If done correctly, you will complete a speed kill. This will not only come in handy in defeating random guards, but it will also be used to defeat many of the bosses throughout the game. So, in other words, if you aren't any good at the timing, chances are you are going to have some problems with Two Thrones.


Two Thrones also features several more boss battles, which was something its predecessor lacked. Like I said earlier, many of the boss battles can only be defeated by using the speed kill method, but many of them are still very different in their own ways. For example, in one boss battle, the Prince jabs the Dagger of Time into his head, and then must guide himself through long tunnels, hoping not to bump into the wall or else the Prince will fall to his doom. Another battle can only be completed by using the powers of the Dagger of Time and slowing time. Most of the boss battles aren't too difficult, but they are still unique and fun.


One more new addition to the Prince of Persia series is the use of chariot battles. These consist of the Prince riding along a chariot, avoiding walls and doing battle with a few guards. For the most part, these can be somewhat difficult and annoying, because even the slightest wrong turn could lead to a crash and your death. Of course, that's why we have the Dagger of Time, huh? On the downside, even though I actually enjoyed these chariot battles, the game only featured a few.


Fans of the previous installments in the series will be pleased to know that Two Thrones still features a large amount of puzzles, leading to wall jumping, wall running, and all that fun stuff. Of course, what kind of Prince of Persia game would this be without this sort of stuff? The game features a large variety of puzzles, which shouldn't disappoint.


The overall presentation of Two Thrones is very pleasing both graphically and sound-wise. Graphically, the Prince looks great, as do all of the other characters in the game. However, one of the best-looking objects in the game is the Prince's kingdom of Babylon. Babylon is enormous, and many times as I ran across roof tops I sat in awe looking at the beauty of the kingdom. The in-game music is also done very well and once again seems to fit the mood of the game perfectly. Also, the voice actor who did the Prince in The Sands of Time once again returns to take on the role in the concluding chapter of the trilogy. While I generally liked the voice actor of Warrior Within, it is still nice to hear the original return to the role that he made so great. The rest of the voice acting is also done very well.


Overall, Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones is a great ending to an absolutely great trilogy. For the most part, Two Thrones is very similar to the original two Persia games, but of course, this isn't a bad thing at all. Two Thrones features everything that you would hope for in a finale, and definitely will not disappoint fans of the Prince of Persia series.


Final Grade: 89%




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