Though it's been brought back in 3D form on the console systems this year, Prince of Persia's roots are in classic, 2D side-scrolling gameplay. Rather than simply try to make a scaled down version of the console game or port one of the older 2D games to the Game Boy Advance, Ubisoft's portable take on The Sands of Time combines features from both of these concepts and puts them together into one good, though somewhat short package. This makes The Sands of Time a platformer with equal parts swashbuckling and puzzling that should keep fans of cerebral action games entertained throughout.
As the nimble, acrobatic prince, you'll have to use all your prowess to defeat the evil vizier.
If you've played The Sands of Time on one of the major systems, you already know the story in the GBA game. If you haven't, here's a recap: You're a Persian prince (duh) in the ancient Middle East who's discovered an enchanted weapon, the Dagger of Time. By using this dagger, you unwittingly unleash the Sands of Time on the Sultan's kingdom, thus letting loose a bunch of monsters and generally reducing everything to a shambles. You'll play as both the prince and a capable princess named Farah as you navigate the many trap-filled rooms of the Sultan's palace and attempt to thwart the machinations of the evil vizier who ultimately controls the Sands of Time.
This new version of Prince of Persia on the Game Boy Advance may remind old-time gamers of the original Prince of Persia released way, way back in the late '80s. This new one, too, takes place from a side-scrolling perspective and has you swinging from platform to platform, climbing up poles, avoiding devious traps, and generally traversing dangerous areas of the palace. You'll also do a fair amount of sword-slashing against monsters, humanoid opponents under the influence of the Sands of Time, and the occasional boss character. With the enchanted dagger, you'll be able to effectively reverse time (for a few seconds) if you leap to your doom or get beaten by an enemy. Unlike the console versions, where the time reversal ability is only useful as a means of saving yourself, the GBA version will sometimes have you use it creatively to solve puzzles or combat bosses, which is a nice twist. All in all, the gameplay is done well and gives you a good variety of things to do, though the game is fairly short, clocking in under the 10 hour mark.