Have You Played… Prince Of Persia 2: The Shadow & The Flame?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

I used to have nightmares about this.

At that point, 1993 to be precise, I had simply no idea that games could go dark. Of course, 1993’s dark is laughable by today’s standards, but back then – woah, evil mirror version of yourself? That pursues you relentlessly? And can murder you by throwing blue fire at you? Nooooooooooooooo! Took me right back to Superman 3 nightmares, so it did.

Didn’t help that the game also regularly attacked me with some of screaming floating head, and there was an awful, tortured death sequence for my dark double. Boy, did I think this was creepy back then.

Of course, I look back now and it’s absurdly bright and colourful – and still very attractive with it – and the spooky stuff is about as frightening a child’s pipecleaner sculpture. I guess that speaks to how much our imaginations could augment a game back when the technology was crude.

(In the course of writing this, I discovered that there was a recent 3D remake of POP2 for mobile. Of course that is openly grimdark in its visual style, and which seems so very wrong now.)

18 Comments

  1. paranoydandroyd says:

    The ghosts from Super Mario Brothers 3 terrified me. Now they’re cute?

    Also the black tentacle-y monster from PoP: Warrior Within freaked me out in college like nobody’s business.

  2. Ericusson says:

    The animation was such a marvel at the time.

  3. kikito says:

    Don’t forget to open the ceiling trap thingie before stepping on that magic carpet!

  4. BTAxis says:

    I remember playing some very crappy first-person Pac-Man game as a kid. It was drawn just with lines and dots, and it was the scariest thing ever because the ghosts would suddenly show up from around a corner.

    • Shushununu says:

      I was also terrified of the Pac-man ghosts as a kid, but only in the Wolfenstein 3D E3F10 secret level. The music is so bright and cheerful, and up to that point you’ve gunned down countless Nazi baddies… but here are 4 ten-foot tall googly-eyed invincible harbingers of death that care not for how many bullets come out of your chaingun.

  5. Yserbius says:

    I liked it. I was pretty for that era. But I still preferred the original. Infinite lives, but you have one real time hour to complete the game. I also enjoyed the slower paced combat of PoP1. The sequel seemed much too arcadey at times. Like in the first game when you face the skeleton at the end of the third level, it’s a long, methodical battle where you have to carefully swing and parry until you can drop it into the pit. In PoP2 you face a horde of skeletons soon after the intro level, and dispatch them quickly one at a time.

  6. Pravin Lal's Nuclear Arsenal says:

    I’m embarassed to admit I had absolutely no idea this game existed until now, despite the stupid amount of time I spent on the original. So, I guess that the answer is that I Would Have Played…Prince Of Persia 2 If I Had Had The Internet?

  7. slippers4xmas says:

    I HAD SUPERMAN 3 NIGHTMARES TOO!

    That thar robot lady looked just like me sister

  8. Michael Fogg says:

    Such a jump in gfx quality from the black backgrounds of the previous

  9. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Played it. Enjoyed it.

    The Prince of Persia games, Flashback and Another World gave me benchmarks for how good such games can be. And animations in particular.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      The animations in Prince of Persia were created by videoing Jordan Mechner’s (the programmer) brother running and jumping, and then tracing over the video. There’s a little article about it here.

  10. Konservenknilch says:

    Yeah. Very pretty, and I think quite hard (or I was just too young and stupid).

    The first game however was the game that I ever played, on my mums monochrome 286. So that will have a place in my heart forever.

  11. CurseYouAll says:

    I had this on several 5 1/2 (or maybe 3 1/2 in those years..?) diskettes with an original manual and it blew my mind back then.

    I’ve played the first one but this one was so much better and varied. However, the last battle with the Vezir was a bit anticlimactic – you had to hit him with a magic ball after chasing him through some labyrinth, IIRC.

    Best levels for me were the ones with those eagle warriors, who you got chances to abuse in so many ways – pushing them into spikes, off cliffs, into slicers, etc.. Fun Fun!

  12. Turkey says:

    No, but I’ve watched a weird french person play through it.

  13. Jerppa says:

    Still waiting for “Have You Played…Samantha Fox Strip Poker?”

  14. ansionnach says:

    Yeah, I played this. Fist pretty close to its release (I would have been about thirteen) and then circa 1999 when I was able to finish it. Very hard game and one that many people could perhaps never finish if they dedicated their lives to it.

  15. Vesper6 says:

    Fantastic game. Played it when it came out and loved it. Is there anywhere to still play it these days? The iOS one looks.. less than great.