Video Game: Prince of Persia: Warrior Within

"I am... the architect of my own destruction."

Prince of Persia: Warrior Within is the 2004 follow-up to Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, which Ubisoft hoped would be more financially successful by giving the sequel one of the most amusing Darker and Edgier twists in history. The storybook "Arabian Nights" feel of the first game was replaced by sexual content (including several stripperific female characters, one of which is introduced via a five second focus on her metal thong), graphic violence (the loading screen is a waterfall of blood), language, and heavy metal music by Godsmack.

While the gameplay was refined and improved (especially the combat), the Prince himself was reduced to an arrogant thug instead of the more cheerful character of the first game. Seven years after the events of the previous game, the Prince is being hunted by an unstoppable beast, the Dahaka. The creature is apparently a guardian of the timeline and wants to ensure that the Prince dies for releasing the Sands of Time, despite the Prince having used the Sands to prevent himself from having released them in the first place. In a desperate effort to avoid this fate at the hands of the Dahaka, he travels to the island where the Sands of Time were originally formed, hoping to prevent their creation.

Tropes appearing in this game:

  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Combo attacks are named Oronte's Grudge, Ptolemaios' Anger, Wrath of Cyrus, Rage of Darius, Azad's Furious Retaliation, Zaroaster's Ire, Asha's Fury, Ahriman's Revenge, and Mithra's Vengeance. This video's description looks up each name and concludes that sure, they're all ancient Persia-y, but "it is quite clear that only a few are actually suitable to name combat attacks after."
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: The theme song is "Straight Out Of Line" by Godsmack, and the combat music by Inon Zur is heavily stylized on Godsmack's typical sound. The music blaring when you're being pursued by the Dahaka is an instrumental version of "I Stand Alone".
  • Bloodier and Gorier: As part of the Darker and Edgier direction, the combat features tons of blood and dismemberment.
  • Clipped Wing Angel: In the Alternate Ending, after the Dahaka falls down into the water, it rises again one last time as a gargantuan, skyscraper-sized monstrosity, but since water is its kryptonite, it promptly falls back down and dies.
  • Complexity Addiction/Bond Villain Stupidity: The Empress employs several round-about measures to kill the Prince: she sends Shadee after him, curses one of his swords (supposedly), forces him to solve puzzles in two towers laden with deadly traps and mooks, and all the while hopes the Dahaka will finish him off if he doesn't die on his own. When all this (predictably) fails, the Empress goes one-on-one in a sword and sorcery duel and naturally does not emerge the victor. Depending on the ending, she dies twice.
  • Darker and Edgier: The developer intentionally made this game darker and more serious than its predecessor. This is actually the reason Jordan Mechner, the creator of the franchise, wanted no part in the development of this game; he hated the Prince's self-serving Heel-Face Turn.
  • Death's Hourglass: Used subtly: outside the throne room, there is an hourglass that counts the time until the Empress will create the Sands of Time. However, as the Prince finds out to his dismay, the Empress dies to create the Sands, so the hourglass was counting down until the Empress's death.
  • Dramatic Chase Opening: The Prince is running away from the Dahaka.
  • Dual-World Gameplay: The Island Of Time has to be explored in the past and present with decay changing pathways and accessibility and the characters present.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The hooded figure in the final cutscene becomes very important in the second game, though he was replaced with The Other Darrin.
  • Escape Sequence: The Dahaka chases.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: The very first boss battle.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Countless enemies, especially the Initiates (sometimes also called Executioners) the player encounters during the last quarter of the game, wear hardly anything but black leather straps.
  • Idiot Ball: The Prince and the Empress of Time seem to play tennis with it.
  • Informed Flaw: As part of the mid-game twist, Kaileena angrily complains that the sword you've been using all this time is cursed. Which would be reasonable... if the sword had any negative properties at all. It's a straight upgrade. But it does end up breaking after your first fight with her, making it practically useless for quickly killing enemies.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Kaileena's appearance is based upon one of her voice actresses in this game, Monica Bellucci.
  • Isn't It Ironic?: As part of the soundtrack to the game, "Straight Out of Line" by Godsmack is played over the ending credits, and players who listened to the song may find it related to the events of the game (some examples: the entire first verse, especially "I can't control you / You're not my destiny," is the Prince's Screw Destiny to both Kaileena and the Dahaka as he tries to stop the sands from being created; and the chorus that goes, "I can't find a reason / Why I should justify my ways [...] / I don't need a reason / You don't need to lie to me," refers to the Prince, again, angrily trying to change his fate regardless of the warnings of everyone else, especially with the Old Man's warning: "Your journey will not end well. You cannot change your fate. No man can."). Pretty ironic, considering that the game's theme song is actually a song dedicated to old friends who sneer at the band's singer, Sully Erna, across a crowded room because of his fame... a brilliant Take That to those acquainted with the band who make fun of him for its popularity. These links say it all.
  • Kill It with Water: The Dahaka is vulnerable to the Water Sword.
  • The Killer In Me: It turns out that the Sand Wraith who hunts the Prince down is the Prince himself.
  • King Incognito: Kaileena.
  • Male Gaze: Shahdee's ass-first introduction is a particularly blatant example.
  • Multiple Endings: If you get all the life upgrades, you are able to acquire the Water Sword, which turns out to be the only weapon that can even harm the Dahaka, who turns out to be the True Final Boss. By defeating it, the Prince is able to save both himself and Kaileena from their fate — but regardless of the ending, the end shows Babylon under attack by a prototypical version of the Dark Prince and Farah being held captive.
  • Optional Sexual Encounter: The Prince and Kaileena get it on in the Golden Ending.
  • The Reveal: Two major ones:
    • The strange creature you see but never interact with is you.
    • The Empress of Time is Kaileena.
  • Screw Destiny: The motive behind the Prince's actions. Also played literally in the secret ending, where the Prince and Kaileena get it on.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Kaileena sees her own death in the timeline and attempts to correct it by sending her army after the Prince, which of course brings him to the island and gives him motive to kill her. Because the Prince had no prior knowledge of this and only sought to prevent the Sands of Time (which had already affected his life) from being created, his own quest to change his fate counts as more of a Stable Time Loop.
  • Stable Time Loop: More like a Stable Time Loop within a Stable Time Loop. After the Prince kills Kaileena, he realizes that in doing so, he still allowed the Sands to be created. He thus goes back in time as the Sand Wraith to kill his former self, so that he would not kill Kaileena in the past; he would kill her in the present, which would then entail that the Sands would be created seven years after the events of the previous game.
  • Stripperiffic: Every female character in this wears skimpy clothing.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: The Prince is considerably darker and more violent than he was in the last game.
  • True Final Boss: The Dahaka, provided you find all the life upgrades in order to acquire the Water Sword, the only weapon capable of harming it. Otherwise, the final boss is just Kaileena, which leads to a major Downer Ending with only the bleakest of hope as the Prince is freed from his curse but at the cost of just about everything.
  • Unexplained Recovery: In the opening cutscene, the Prince is shown being chased by the Dahaka, and after being cornered in an alley, draws his swords and seems prepared to go out fighting. We never do find out how he got away.
    • Although, of course, this was only in the first flashback as the Prince reminisces about the chase. When he next gets tossed from the ship into the sea after the battle with Shahdee, we get another flashback, this time with the Old Man conversing with him about the Dahaka back in Babylon. So this may have implied that the Old Man saved the Prince from certain death at the Dahaka's hands by getting him to safety.
  • World of Buxom: All of the female characters in the game have very large breasts.
  • Worthy Opponent: Several enemies in the game regard the Prince as such. Special mention goes to the Crow Master, who will not attack you if you are knocked to the ground.
    "Defeat does not suit you, Prince. Get back on your feet."
  • You Already Changed The Past: See Stable Time Loop above.