Head to Head

Prince of Persia

Welcome loyal fans and new found followers--to Head to Head. I missed all of you in our last issue, I had a few complications completing the article. But you had better believe that I am back--and have I got a good one for you. Now that all three versions of Prince of Persia are out we get to compare 'em. This marks the first Head to Head entry for the Sega CD, as well as the Super CD Duo. If you have not figured it out already, the third entry is for the SNES.
Prince of Persia was originally a complex computer game, found in many different forms. What set this game apart from the rest was its incredibly fluid animations--based upon hundreds of pictures taken of the human body. It was these realistic qualities that have raised this game to the level of popularity it is at now. Is Prince of Persia much of a game without these animations? Nintendo thought so. While both the Sega and Duo versions faithfully concentrate on keeping those smooth animations intact--and ignored the backgrounds, Nintendo went astray. The SNES version was loaded with detailed backgrounds, and many colors, but the character animations where no where near the level of the others. Pretty backgrounds are neat, but if anything, distact from gameplay by drawing your attention away from the character. How about Duo Vs. Sega--well... There really is no difference. Perhaps the Sega character has lighter colored pants, perhaps not. In other words, these graphically were the same game.
Going into the audio realm, the SNES already has a major disadvantage. Not too surprisingly both the CD versions absolutely crushed it in sound. Now as far as sound comparisions with Sega and the Duo? This was a hard call. The Sega version sounded more computer-like than the did the Duo's. And, as my musical preferences head, I'll take the Duo here. Now those Sega fans out there don't lynch me. It was a resonable call here--it could swing either way depending on your ear.
As I've long said in the past the deciding factor in choosing the best version of a game rests in game play. Once again, the SNES falls way short again. Normally I enjoy having many buttons--it lets you "get into" the game. But in the case of Prince of Persia, it proved to be difficult and awkward. The Duo actually was better than the Sega here. The Sega had a slight problem with control response. I found it difficult to pussy-foot and jump in tight situations. All in all the gameplay was not bad, but had room for improvement.
Which is the best investment? The SNES claims to have eight new levels and all sorts of new stuff. And it does, but most players will not play through to see it. As early as the third level the game becomes frustrating, and the additions tiresome. The other two versions (based exactly off the computer) are the perfect lengths--and hold just the right amount of time to complete your mission. The SNES' two hours are really just not worth the fun that you are missing.
Is it true that CD-ROM is better? Looking at these three versions, my initial answer is yes. But, you must consider that the Konami programmed Nintendo version takes on a different approach. Which is better between the Duo and the Sega? Well, which ever CD unit you own--that is the better version. If you own both, I like the Duo a bit better because of prompt controller response and clean natural sound. Konami has had a lesson learned that if you have a top title, try to keep it as unchanged from the original as possible if you wish it to be a hit...

Until next time this has been Ferrari Man, signing off--

-Ferrari Man

Originally appeared Vol 1, Iss 6 (02-03/93)

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