The Prince of Persia: Sands of Time trilogy has always been known for its tight controls and satisfying environmental puzzles set in beautiful levels. The series’ control scheme has served as a model for countless other games that also feature an acrobatic protagonist like the Prince. The same great interface remains in the third game of the series, The Two Thrones. Like the other two games, you’ll find yourself wall running, jumping, flipping, and vaulting your way up fiendishly designed environmental puzzles, as well as fighting vicious enemies with the improved combat system introduced in the last game, Warrior Within. The Prince has a few new tricks up his sleeve as well, but longtime fans of the series should still feel right at home.
The story of the Sands of Time trilogy began with the prince’s army attacking and conquering the capital of the Indian empire. In the midst of the battle, however, an evil vizier caused the release of the sands of time, wreaking havoc over the city and the surrounding countryside. The prince and an Indian princess named Farah battled together to defeat the vizier, bottle up the sands, and restore the world to a normal state. The story continued in Warrior Within, where an embittered Prince set sail for the Island of Time, seeking sanctuary from an unstoppable time creature called the Dahaka who pursued him endlessly because of his part in unleashing the sands of time. There, the Prince battled not only the Dahaka but also Kaileena, the Empress of Time. Fans of the first game felt the series lost a lot of its soul in Warrior Within, as the suddenly cynical Prince was much more arrogant and less likable.
The Two Thrones begins with the Prince returning to Babylon from the Island of Time with the mortal Kaileena as his new lover (this part of the plot may be confusing to those who didn’t see the alternate ending of Warrior Within). As they pull in to the harbor at Babylon, the duo finds the city under siege. Their ship is wrecked by the invaders, and Kaileena is captured by the enemies. You quickly find that the vizier is back and responsible for the uprising. He murders Kaileena and unleashes the sands of time upon Babylon, and the Prince must battle to regain his kingdom and avenge Kaileena’s death.
But it’s not just sand creatures and other bad guys from the vizier’s army that the Prince must fight. With the sands of time infecting his soul, the Prince must also battle the whims of his darker, more arrogant side. Throughout the game’s long, 12- to 15-hour campaign, the Prince will morph back and forth between his normal self and the Dark Prince. He’ll also have internal dialogues between his split personalities, with the original actor from Sands of Time voicing the normal prince, and a new voice actor representing the sneering, more sarcastic Dark Prince. Here, the game almost becomes self-referential in addressing the popular criticism levied against the arrogant Prince from Warrior Within. The internal strife in the schizophrenic Prince’s mind forms a compelling part of the storyline in The Two Thrones, especially because both the writing and voice acting are pretty good.