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"Which one is the true Prince of Persia? All of them. And none of them."
Jordan Mechner, afterword to Prince of Persia: The Graphic Novel
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A franchise created by Jordan Mechner. Originally a series of Cinematic Platform Games, it has since branched out into other mediums.

Video Games

First continuity

The Sands of Time

A new Continuity Reboot game trilogy (which was expanded), with Le Parkour and Time Travel as its most prominent features, was created under Ubisoft. Originally Mechner intended it to be a vague prequel to the other games, but his input was left out of Warrior Within, which firmly established it as a new continuity.

2008 reboot

A Continuity Reboot in 2008.

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Other media

This page covers the most tropes that apply to multiple installments in the franchise. For more specific tropes that apply only to one work, see the individual pages listed above.


The series contains the following:

    open/close all folders 
    General tropes for the entire franchise 
  • Alliterative Title: The series loves to do this:
    • There's the name of the entire franchise - Prince of Persia.
    • The two games with the subtitle of Warrior Within and The Two Thrones.
  • "Arabian Nights" Days: The whole series is set firmly here, with many franchises having the hero save a princess from an evil Vizier.
  • Benevolent Architecture: An uncanny amount of the scenery is implausibly handy for jumping/climbing/hanging/swinging/free-running around on. Which is lucky, since there's a distinct imbalance in the ratios of really-high-places to staircases/ladders/jetpacks, smooth stable floors vs. fatal drops, etc.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: All the incarnations of the Prince are inhumanly agile.
  • Counter-Attack:
    • The most common fighting tactic in Prince of Persia is to wait for the opponent to attack, then defend and counter the attack. One of the enemies actually utilizes this tactic himself, and will not attack until the prince attacks him first.
    • Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time uses this heavily. Beware, however, since some sand creatures are capable of countering the Prince's counter. Luckily, the Prince can counter the counter of his counter, which can itsef be countered, and so on and so forth. Successfully countering a sand creature knocks them down and leaves them open to be Retrieved.
    • Also used in the sequels Prince of Persia: Warrior Within and Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones. The effects of successfully countering an opponent change because of the Free Form Fighting system, but they will always give the Prince an advantage.
    • Timing a block correctly in Prince of Persia (2008) leaves an enemy open to attack.
  • Death Course: Why Le Parkour is sometimes necessary.
  • Dialog During Gameplay: From the Sands of Time trilogy onwards, also in the 2008 reboot.
  • Leap of Faith: Used several times throughout the series, such as with an unlabeled potion in the first two games (it turned out to be a slow-fall potion), to a daring leap in the second game off a ledge into the next screen to land on a horse statue (which promptly comes to life).
  • Malevolent Architecture: Horrible splatty demises are freely available in most localities even without you encountering any enemies. Try spike pits, buzzsaws, sets of scimitars on revolving axles, collapsing floors, crushing rams, bladed pendulums, and enormous drops — many of which may be found combined as death courses. Fortunately often overlaps with Benevolent Architecture, or else you'd never get anywhere.
  • The Many Deaths of You: The above-mentioned selection box of unpleasant exits gives rise to an exciting assortment of death animations. The original game alone memorably had nightmare-inducing clanging metal jaws in mid-corridor that guillotined you in half if you mistimed stepping through them. Alternatives were being run through by enemy swords, impaled on spikes, and hitting the bottom of deep pits with a skull-cracking smack.
  • Nominal Importance: Inverted. The Prince is the main protagonist, but he is never named except in The Movie, and several of the games have the majority of characters go unnamed.
  • No Name Given: The Prince. Yes, almost every single one of his iterations is nameless. Those who avert this are Guiv (from The Graphic Novel), and Dastan (from the 2010 film).
  • Oddball in the Series: Battles of Prince of Persia, a turn-based strategy game.
  • Pop-Star Composer: Stuart Chatwood, multi-instrumentalist and former bassist for The Tea Party, wrote the soundtracks to all the Prince of Persia games made by Ubisoft.
  • Pressure Plate: The 2-D Prince of Persia games made extensive use of pressure plates to open or close distant doors; they could be held down permanently by killing a Mook over them or dropping a Temporary Platform on them. The Sands of Time saga has more variations of them; some are placed on walls and must be activated by wall-running, while some require a heavy object to keep them down.
  • Real Time: In the first two games, anyway. The Prince has one hour to rescue the Damsel in Distress, and you have one real-life hour to beat the game. The 1992 sequel does the same, but gives you slightly more time.
  • Recycled Title: The original and 2008 games in the series share the name Prince Of Persia.
  • Scenery Porn:
    • You'll have a nice view of the Arabian settings whenever you explore the outdoors.
    • The Sands of Time series has this as well, but in gorgeous 3D.
    • The 2008 remake uses cel-shading, and vibrant colors to resemble paintings or watercolors. The color blue is also predominant this time around.
  • Stripperiffic: All female characters from all games, at one point or another (particularly the women in Warrior Within, the only game in the entire franchise to emphasize this a lot).
  • Temporary Platform:
    • Prince of Persia has loose floor tiles that dislodge and fall moments after the Prince character ran across them. Nearby vibrations (from you jumping up and down, for instance) will cause them to shake a little, allowing the player to identify them from a distance. They are useful on occasion for making running jumps off, and permanently holding down Pressure Plates where they landed. They can also be dislodged by jumping from underneath, to access secret parts of levels, though standing below falling ones will hurt you if you don't duck.
    • In the sequel Prince of Persia 2: The Shadow and the Flame, they can kill Mooks and destroy potions.
    • The Sands of Time trilogy, especially Warrior Within features a lot of these as crumbling wooden platforms and poles. They visibly shake whenever you walk on them and dust falls off below. What makes it worse is that jumping on top of them, or grabbing down the edges will force them to fall without warning.
    • Interquel Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands features two types of temporary platform, firstly the ability to pause water to turn it into something you can grab onto, and then later remaking formerly existing platforms reappear with the power of memory. This can quickly cause Damn You, Muscle Memory! rage during sections where you have to use both at once, turning one off to jump through something that would otherwise block your way to a platform you just turned on with the other ability...
  • Two-Part Trilogy:
    • The original games were slated to be this. The first game was a self-contained story that wasn't initially meant to be anything bigger. A sequel was made, however, and it ended on a Cliffhanger. This was ultimately subverted, since the planned third game never happened, and the eventual sequel, Prince of Persia 3D, was completely unrelated.
    • The Sand Of Time trilogy plays it straight. The first game is a standalone while the second ends with a cliffhanger leading directly to the third. However, Farah and the Vizir from the first game come back.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: The games in the series offer you a lot of chances to kill the Prince.
    • In the original continuity, you get infinite continues (the only penalty is that the hourglass still drips in Real Time, while you get to restart the level). This means that you can deliberately have the Prince killed.
    • Throw the Sands of Time saga Prince down pits or into spikes as many times as you like! You've still got the necessary time-rewinding sand, right?
    • The Prince cannot die at all in the 2008 reboot because Death Is Cheap and Elika can support you back up. However, you can still deliberately jump off to the bottomless pits as many times as you want and Elika will carry you back no matter what.

    Additional tropes for the Sands of Time saga 
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The Prince is surprisingly competent at this. In the canon ending of Warrior Within, he kills both the Empress of Time and the unstoppable beast that makes sure the timeline stays correct. In The Two Thrones, he kills a god of time. In The Forgotten Sands, he kills Ratash, an Ifrit and supposedly invincible.
  • Evil Chancellor: The Vizier. He's even named Jaffar, though the movie Vizier is named Nizam instead.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: A combat mechanic that is most commonly used in Warrior Within and The Two Thrones. The Prince can grab an opponent and push them into another opponent, knocking out and dealing minor damage to both.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: You can split your opponents in half in Warrior Within and The Two Thrones, either horizontally or vertically depending on the attack.
  • Heroic Ambidexterity: In the Sands of Time continuity, while he wasn't initially, by the time the prince came to the Island of Time he was able to use both hands alike, to the point of wielding the dagger in his right hand and two-hand sword in his left in the climax of the Two Thrones.
  • Hit Stop: When you deal a killing blow to enemies in the Sands of Time trilogy, there's a chance that the camera will shift the view into it, along with a dramatic slow-motion effect. These are often dubbed as "Cinematic Finishers" that can be turned off in some of the games' settings.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: Every game in the Sands of Time trilogy has one late in the game. Unusually for this trope, they are rather easy to obtain. In Sands of Time and The Two Thrones as part of the storyline and in Warrior Within hidden behind a wall right next to the main path.
  • Mental Time Travel: This is how time-travel usually works in the Sands of Time saga, with the Prince being sent back to a state in the past whenever he rewinds time (which is also one of the common abilities of the Dagger), yet retaining his memories of what happened. The series has several variations of this trope:
    • In the games, the Revival/Recall power plays the events backwards like a record. The film depicts this with the person seemingly having their body and consciousness separated whenever they activate the Dagger of Time. It's like an out-of-body experience and getting to watch the previous events of your life unfold in front of you... but just backwards.
    • The "Grand Rewind" is an event that happens in the Sands of Time video game and film adaptation. It erases events in the timeline, with the wielder of the Dagger being the only person to retain their memories from the erased events.
    • Aside from the recall power, Warrior Within takes this as a major plot point with the Mask of the Wraith, which when worn, allows the person to co-exist with a past version of themselves. The catch is that the mask wearer is now transformed into the Sand Wraith, a separate entity from their actual body, but with the memories retained. It's like travelling to the past but possessing a different body so that you could become an observer to your past self.
  • Off with His Head!: You can behead enemies with specific attacks in Warrior Within and The Two Thrones.
  • Permanently Missable Content: All Sands ot Time trilogy games contain missable life upgrades; however, you're only penalized with a different kind of ending in Warrior Within for missing any. The upgrades have no bearing on the plot of the preceding Sands of Time, nor in the following The Two Thrones. This last game also packs missable Sand Credits. Miss enough and you won't be able to pay for all the unlockable artwork. Not a big deal, unless you're after 100% Completion.
  • Press X to Die: In the PSP version of Prince of Persia: The Fallen Sands, one skill you can acquire is the Prince's ever-popular "launch off a wall" attack. But this is a 2.5D game where some of the wall-runs are parallel to the screen... and you are absolutely allowed to use this attack then. It never does anything but launch you into the void.
  • Reset Button: A key part of the story and gameplay in the Sands of Time trilogy. Unlike many examples, this one is often seen more positively, as the Reset Button and its implications are major elements of the plot, not just a way to keep the status quo.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: Starting in Warrior Within, the Prince can gain sand by smashing objects in the environment. See Why We Can't Have Nice Things.
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: Goes hand-in-hand with how the Mental Time Travel works in the Sands of Time saga. Those who wield any of the Artifacts of Time are implied to be immune to the Sands' effect to memory when altering the timeline.
    • This applies as a core gameplay mechanic. Temporarily reversing time allows for correcting mistakes only because you remember what happened the "first time."
    • It is also discussed in the film:
      Dastan: Incredible. Releasing the Sand... turns back time! And only the holder of the Dagger is aware of what's happened.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: The Sands of Time series has many examples.
  • Sealed Army in a Can: Pretty much any major army from Sands of Time onwards. At some point, one of the characters will even warn everyone present about what will happen when said army is released. Naturally, no one listens.
  • Take Your Time: In The Sands of Time trilogy, some ledges can support the Prince indefinitely, but collapse immediately after he steps off them.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: It's never exactly clear how time travel/manipulation works in the Sands of Time trilogy. While there are some specific tropes that can cover some aspects of it, the concept of time is hard to explain in detail, just with some allusions, like how the Prince says:
    "Most people think time is like a river, that flows swift and sure in one direction. But I have seen the face of time, and I can tell you — they are wrong. Time is an ocean in a storm."
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Encouraged a lot in the Sands of Time saga of games, wherein even just a simple mistake at a platforming section can kill the Prince. At least you can rewind time rather than have to go back to a save point.
  • Trilogy Creep: The Sands of Time storyline got a fourth installment, conveniently about the time the film is released.
  • Willing Suspension of Disbelief: In the Sands of Time trilogy onwards, the Prince can survive hits from deadly environmental traps that would realistically kill a person in one hit. Got sliced by rotating blades? Pierced by spiked traps? Flattened to a wall by pistons? All of these would simply reduce a fraction of the health bar.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: A running theme that is subverted and finally double-subverted throughout the Sands trilogy, but it's best defined in Two Thrones. Every single thing the Prince has tried to prevent from happening in Sands of Time and Warrior Within comes to pass in the third game, except one: Farah lives. The Prince accepts it in the end. Similarly, Shadee and Kaileena know their actions are futile but go against the time-line anyway. However, Kaileena's motivations are ret-conned into "I knew this would happen all along and all my actions were to make sure it did."
  • You Get Knocked Down, You Get Back Up Again: Averted; in the Sands of Time saga, enemies can and will attack you while you're down. Fortunately, you can rewind time, block while on your back, or perform a roll to swipe at their feet and get back up.

Alternative Title(s): Prince Of Persia

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