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While I've played the original Prince of Persia a few times in passing, Prince of Persia Classic on the 360 Live Arcade is the first time I've sat down and seriously gave the game a chance. At $10, it's on the higher end of Arcade pricing, but the game instantly impresses with beautiful graphics and animation, as well as honest to goodness cut scenes. The more I played, the more I started to think that the $10 price wasn't that high after all; this is a game with a solid design foundation, and the cosmetic makeover will impress even jaded gamers.

The game has a great set up. The evil vizier Jaffar has given the princess a choice: either marry him so he can grab control of the throne, or she dies. She has one hour to make up her mind. The princess' real man is locked deep in the dungeons, and has to escape to save her. You're the knight in shining…well, hammer pants, fighting against both the bad guys and time to reach the princess and save her. The game retains the smooth animations from previous iterations of the franchise; it's almost as fun to simply run around and backflip across chasms and run up the walls before springing to a hard-to-reach area as it is to get to the end of each level. Still, you have that clock counting down through the entire game; a constant reminder to hurry.

Most of the game involves finding your way out of each level and moving onto the next one, and the addition of waypoints make the game easy to pick up and play—you won't have to put a solid hour into the session to have any hope of beating it. Prince of Persia also has a fun sword-fighting system where you have to parry and thrust your way to victory. Watching the well-animated characters clang their swords together is quite the thrill, even if the fighting can be frustrating before you master the nuance of combat.

By definition, the game is only an hour long, but you can also unlock time trial and survival modes, and for the hyper competitive this is a great game to perfect a speed run. For the more casual fan, this is an inviting game that shows how well the original Prince of Persia still stands up to modern games. If you've never played the original, you're in for quite the treat.


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