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Video Game / Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

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"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. You may wonder who I am and why I say this. Sit down, and I will tell you a tale like none that you have ever heard."
The Prince

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is a 2003 video game and the first chapter in the newer Prince of Persia trilogy developed by Ubisoft. It reproduced the series' popular combination of combat and climbing puzzles, and added Le Parkour and what is still the most successful use of time-distortion effects (previously seen in such games as Max Payne and Blinx: The Time Sweeper), as well as creating an entirely new story with a more complex hero, an expanded role for the princess, and one doozy of a plot twist.

The Prince is a young man accompanying his father to an Indian-like kingdom, whose Vizier betrayed them to the Prince's armies. Among the spoils of that kingdom is a large hourglass called "The Sands of Time" and a dagger that the Prince claims. The Vizier then tricks the Prince into opening the hourglass and unleashing the curse of the sands upon the land of Persia. Confused over what happened, he finds himself in the company of Farah, a princess of the kingdom he just ransacked and who has knowledge of what he has done, and has to go fix what he broke.

The game was originally released for the Nintendo GameCube, Xbox and PlayStation 2. A Game Boy Advance Reformulated Game came out at the same time, loosely following the console storyline (plus a few Call Backs to Prince of Persia) but with completely different gameplay. It could be linked with the GameCube version for extra bonuses in both games. An HD rerelease of this game, along with its sequels, came out for PlayStation 3 in 2010.

For the sequels, see Prince of Persia: Warrior Within and Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, while the interquels (set between Warrior Within and The Two Thrones) can be found under Battles of Prince of Persia and Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands. For the film adaptation, see Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.

A 4K remake was announced on September 10th of 2020 for release on March 18th 2021. However, it has since been delayed. Peep the trailer here.

Tropes appearing in the main game:

  • Airborne Mook: The Sand Griffins.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: The Rewind ability serves to help ease the game's difficulty during its trickier segments.
  • Any Last Words?: The Vizier asks this question to the Prince revealing his intention to kill Farah and frame the Prince.
    Vizier: Do you have any last words you wish me to communicate to the Princess before I kill her? Words of love perhaps?
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Farah surely had known about the dagger's time-twisting power before the adventure began, but after the Reset Button is pressed, she believes that the whole story told by the Prince could be nothing but a fairy-tale.
  • Arc Words: "Honor and glory." It's even the title of the final part of the game.
  • Armor Is Useless: The Prince takes the same amount of damage both before and after he removes his armour.
  • Benevolent Architecture: The palace may be slowly falling into ruin and collapsing, but it'll never do so in a way that renders it impossible to move on. Things will always collapse into a parkour obstacle course for the Prince and a series of cracks and holes in the wall for Farah to slip through.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Prince manages to undo pretty much everything that happened throughout the game - including Farah's love for him. Also, him managing to survive unleashing the Sands, an act that is supposed to literally be impossible by the laws of reality, creates a Time Paradox that releases the Dahaka, leading to the events of the sequel.
  • Blatant Lies: During an intimate scene between the Prince and Farah, while they're trapped in a tomb.
    Farah: What is it?
    Prince: (breathing heavily) Nothing.
    Farah: You're trembling.
    Prince: I just don't like closed spaces.
  • Block Puzzle: The Prince's go-to method whenever Farah isn't around to stand on a switch.
  • Bottomless Pits: Several of them, as part of the palace's Death Course style. Conversely, if the pit does have a bottom, there are probably Spikes of Doom in it.
  • Brick Joke: "Just call me...'Kakolookiyam'."
  • Bullet Time: The Slow ability, which allows the player to react quickly. Enemies are still able to defend against attacks.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Lampshaded in the opening. "Trust not a man that has betrayed his own master."
  • Clothing Damage: The Prince starts with Sleeves Are for Wimps (one at a time) and goes all the way up to Shirtless Scene.
  • Coming of Age Story: The Prince narrates his journey from arrogant ass concerned only with gaining glory, to a heroic, remorseful and loving young man. The literal journey, containing much jumping across a palace, is hardly mentioned.
  • Continuity Reboot: The critically-panned 1999 version of Prince of Persia led Jordan Mechner (the creator of the franchise) to create a new, likeable Prince with an interesting storyline, and an Applied Phlebotinum that justifies the players' ability to rewind time rather than repeat a segment over and over again. It worked.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Farah when she lets herself fall to her death so that the Prince may live to reseal the Sands.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: The cutscene where the Prince falls into the prison. He runs onto a bridge, and the ground collapses under his feet. Apparently he forgot that he could rewind time.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: The cutscene that precedes the Prince's battle with the Sand Creature that used to be his father feature him completely defying gravity by running down a wall without falling. In gameplay, the Prince can perform this feat horizontally to cross gaps, but never directly downwards.
  • Cycle of Hurting: There is no Mercy Invincibility when you take a hit and enemies don't necessarily abide by Mook Chivalry either. Thus, if you get knocked down and multiple enemies are trying to attack, it's very possible to take several hits before you're even allowed to get on your feet. Luckily you are able to block while lying on the ground but this doesn't make every instance of damage unavoidable.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: At one point you lose the Dagger of Time, meaning you'll be without your sand powers for the first time since the start of the game. If you've gotten used to taking cavalier risks with your platforming, it'll be a rude awakening when you find you only get one shot at screwing up a jump before you have to reset to the last checkpoint.
  • Death Course: The palace is made of them.
  • Death Glare: The Prince gives an absolutely withering one after he wakes up to find that Farah stole his weapons and ran off, though its target is long gone, so no one but the player gets to see it.
  • Defend Command: Parries incoming attacks, but it doesn't deflect the large low-sweeping attacks made by the heavy sword and hammer enemies.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The Prince makes a few comments about Farah and women in general about how they need to know their place, that they need to be taught to be subservient to men, and how a marriage to Farah could "tame her insolence". While his views would be considered misogynistic by today's standards, they were commonly held by both men and women during that time period.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: The Prince saves Farah from death by rewinding time to the max (and also unwittingly unleashing the Dahaka on himself), and he still doesn't get Farah in the end. At least, not until Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones.
  • Did You Die?: Essentially what the Game Over sequence in this game basically is. The Prince apparently said yes to this particular question should the player get him killed... before catching himself and realizing that saying he met a grisly end to some spikes probably doesn't make much sense given he's meant to be telling this story to someone after the fact. Naturally he asks to start again.
  • Die, Chair, Die!: There are various props that the Prince can smash into dust with his sword, though there's no real purpose for doing so other than occasionally the props are blocking your path.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Mega Freeze is extremely powerful and great for clearing out almost entire waves of enemies, but it burns through your entire power gauge with one use, and you have to have the same amount of power gauge units as sand gauge units. If you collect enough sand clouds to increase your sand gauge, you're locked out of using Mega Freeze until you can harvest more sand from sand creatures.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Among the original trilogy, Sands of Time introduced unique mechanics and gameplay that were otherwise removed or changed in Warrior Within and The Two Thrones (partially because the third game also used the engine of the second):
    • The Sands of Time don't automatically gravitate towards the Prince, they have to be stabbed with the Dagger to refill the Prince's Sand reserves.
    • Hitting enemies with the Dagger freezes them in place, open to a One-Hit Kill. While this move consumes Sand, it can be abused in areas where there are plenty of enemies. In the third game, the Dagger acts like a typical weapon.
    • Absorbing enough Sand fields (including those dropped by enemies) will increase the Prince's maximum Sand Tanks. In Warrior Within and The Two Thrones, the Prince only obtains Sand Tank upgrades in specific locations.
    • There are no sub-weapons in this game unlike the sequels. Instead, the Prince's weapons are obtained through progression, and aren't dropped by enemies.
    • The user interface itself. The health bar extends horizontally on the top-left, with the Sand Tanks displayed vertically. The next two sequels streamlined all of these into one circular UI.
    • Saving is done by walking into beams of light, which gives The Prince visions of his next actions. In Warrior Within and Two Thrones, The Prince drinks from small fountains to save.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Zig-zagged. The Prince temporarily loses the Dagger of Time when Farah steals it, meaning no more rewinding, but does get a sword that instantly kills all enemies. Even when he recovers the dagger, it's empty, and the one-hit-kill makes it harder to recharge the dagger.
  • Embedded Precursor: The original game (the Mac version) is an unlockable here. The US Xbox version adds the sequel as well.
  • Elite Mooks: The corrupted soldiers will justifiably put up a better fight than the corrupted prisoners and harem girls.
  • Escort Mission: Farah comes and goes and when she does stay for a while, she can fend for herself fairly well, but can only stun enemies at best (the Prince still has to kill them) and can get killed if the Prince doesn't come to her aid now and then. This doesn't really come up as annoying for the most part. At least until the elevator fight sequence.
    • She also has an annoying tendency to stand her ground instead of keeping away from enemies (which, for a character using a ranged weapon, doesn't make a whole lot of sense,) leading to a few scenarios where Farah ends up surrounded by enemies and just stands there while the Prince has to keep them off her.
  • Evil Chancellor: The Vizier.
  • Flash Step:
    • Sand creatures can teleport right next to the Prince if there's too much distance between him and them.
    • The Prince can also do this himself when he uses his Mega Freeze power.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • A short-term case comes near the end of the game: after Farah steals the Dagger of Time, the Prince chases after her and reminds her not to use up all the sand. Sure enough, when Farah later falls to her death, there is no sand in the Dagger, and the Prince is unable to rewind time to save her.
    • In his narration, the Prince says of the Vizier: "The man who had tricked me now had his prize but for some unknown purpose coveted the dagger as well, would stop at nothing to possess it. Well, I would give him what he sought. I would plunge it into his foul and treacherous heart!" Subverted when you actually get the chance, you just end up using Freeze on him, which doesn't work on him, so all you get is a wasted Power Tank, or nothing at all. Ultimately, it's the Prince's Sword that kills the bastard.
    • A case that spans multiple games, and can be easily missed due to the animation quality at the time. When the Prince makes it back into the Tower of Dawn and ignores the Vizier's spiel about becoming all-powerful, the Vizier thinks the Prince is about to kill him with the dagger. He initially reacts with anticipation, and only turns to fear when the Prince stabs the hourglass instead. Two games later, it's revealed that getting stabbed by the dagger with so much time energy around (i.e. the sands in the hourglass or, failing that, Kaileena) would turn the Vizier into Zurvan.
  • Forgot About His Powers: It seems whenever there's a cutscene, the Prince always forgets his ability to rewind time.
  • From Dress to Dressing: The fate of the Prince's left sleeve.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: The Prince deals with enemies in close-quarters combat while Farah shoots her arrows from afar.
  • Heart Container:
    • The mysterious magic fountains that increase the Prince's life meter.
    • Sand can count as this for your sand and power gauges. Absorbing eight sand clouds increases the sand gauge by one unit, and finishing off 16 sand creatures with the Dagger and absorbing their sand increases the power gauge by one unit (but only if you have less power gauge units than sand gauge units.)
  • Honey Trap: Subverted - Farah isn't a spy or a traitor, but it's implied she and the Prince slept together. Afterwards, Farah steals the Prince's weapons not to betray him, but to finish sealing the Sands of Time on her own because he failed to do so on the first try - ironically, because he thought she might want to betray him.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Should the Prince fall down any of the ubiquitous pits containing Spikes of Doom at the bottom.
  • Informing the Fourth Wall: The Prince will occasionally gripe about Farah and her attitude, or reminisce about his love for her. This gets lampshaded twice, by the Prince himself, no less. "Why am I talking to myself?" In fairness, Narrator!Prince does admit that he might be going mad after everything that's happened.
  • Ironic Echo: When the Prince first speaks with Farah, she demands him to give her the Dagger so that she can undo what he has done. Unfortunately, this increases his mistrust in her because the Vizier told him the same thing when he demanded the Dagger for himself right after the Sands were unleashed. After fighting Sharaman, Farah tries to take the Dagger and is about to use that same line again, only for the Prince to finish it for her.
    The Vizier: You have unleashed the Sands of Time. I can undo what you have done.
    The Prince: I saw my father turned to sand!
    Farah: And we will share his fate, if you do not give me the Dagger, to undo what you have done!
    The Prince: Your traitorous Vizier used the same words.
    Farah: You don't understand! I need that Dagger, to undo —
    The Prince: 'To undo what I have done.'
  • Lag Cancel: Attacks can be cancelled into a guard command - the final boss can even do so in his attack's windup.
  • Lap Pillow: The Prince finds himself later in the game being held like this twice by Farah while he's unconscious from entering the Sand Vortexes. The first time this happens, she's begging him not to leave her while calling him her love, and the second time, she's fondly stroking his head.
  • Large Ham: The guard in charge of activating the defence mechanism stands in contrast to the rest of the nuanced and subtle voice work.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: While trying to solve the Light and Mirrors Puzzle in the library, Farah starts reading from some random book. The Prince complains that if she's got time to be reading, she could look for a book that tells them how to get out of the room, only for Farah to respond that this isn't that kind of game.
  • Leave the Camera Running: During a scene that takes place late in the game, the Prince and Farah are trapped in a dark tomb. The audience sees the two come close to each other, before the camera cuts to dust falling in the darkness, while the couple continue their conversation.
  • Ledge Bats:
    • Bats only show up during the trickier platforming sequences, usually when the Prince is supposed to balance himself on a beam.
    • Birds will also occasionally harass the Prince when he's on a ledge or balancing on something, though they're not exclusive to those sections.
  • Le Parkour: Arguably the game that popularized it.
  • Light and Mirrors Puzzle: Several times in the game, featured most prominently in the palace library.
  • Love Revelation Epiphany: The Prince doesn't seriously start considering he might be falling for Farah until he wakes up to find her holding his head on her lap and begging her not to leave her while calling him her love.
  • MacGuffin Title: The Sands of Time are initially stored in an hourglass, can turn people into Sand monsters, and with tools such as the Dagger, can manipulate time itself for the user.
  • Magical Mystery Doors: The finale features this, in a rather surreal section in which the Prince must cross two rooms each with a set of eight doors. Only one door allows him to move up into the next area; taking any other door will send the Prince back to the entrance, with him commenting on just what the hell is going on.
  • Malevolent Architecture: The palace may have crumbled a little because of the initial blast, but it's still made of Death Traps!
  • Mind Screw:
    • The game is peppered with premonitory visions that show you exactly how to traverse the incoming platforming section and what enemies to expect. However, as the game progresses, the visions become increasingly ominous, cutting away to Farah in a suspicious way and occassionaly showing her death. Even the Prince himself is shown to die in a few visions. This of course plays on the gamer's forged trust on said visions.
    • A sequence that takes place towards the end of the game features the Prince and Farah trapped in a tomb. Farah apparently falls through a trapdoor and the Prince follows her down a very long set of stairs to a hidden bathhouse. After passing through a bizarre puzzle involving a series of doors, the Prince finds Farah bathing and joins her. It seems as though the pair have sex, only for the Prince to wake up back in the tomb with Farah, his sword, and the dagger already gone. It's left deliberately vague as to whether or not the entire sequence was just a dream or if it was a genuine ploy on Farah's part to steal the dagger.
    • Any time the Prince visits the magical fountain that increases his maximum health counts as this. They all follow the same pattern: the Prince finds a hidden passageway leading to a massive void filled with rope bridges that all lead to the fountain. Once the Prince drinks from the fountain, he seizes up, eyes glowing brilliant blue, before he comes to back outside the passageway entrance, which has now disappeared. One time, Farah even seems to see him enter one of the passages, but when he reappears outside the passageway, she acts as though he hadn't gone anywhere.
  • Mook Chivalry: While they do gang up four at a time, they follow some limitations. Only one of them will initiate an attack and others seem to wait for said attack to finish. If the player is doing a Finishing Move, they won't start an attack (although already active ones still proceed.)
  • Mooks, but no Bosses: With the exception of the Prince's own father near the beginning, there's not a single boss fight throughout the game. Fighting the Vizier in the end seems more conciliatory than anything else.
  • Mundane Utility: Throughout the game, the Prince uses the Dagger of Time's rewind feature to evade death and save the day. At the end of the game, he uses it to... smooch a girl, then rewind when she reacts badly.
  • Narrative Backpedaling: If you die during a segment, or otherwise get a Game Over, the Prince will say something to the effect of, "No, wait, that's not what happened", and you'll restart from your last save point.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • The Prince + The Hourglass.
    • The Prince helps activate the palace defense system to combat the sand creatures. Too bad it's not only completely useless against them, but now he has to go through the entire game maneuvering through Death Traps.
    • Also, by rewinding time to save Farah, the Prince unleashed the Dahaka in the next game, since he used the sands to change the past.
  • No Indoor Voice: The guard in charge of the palace's defence system, as referenced under Large Ham. Possibly Justified in that he spends his only scene shouting orders at the Prince who's at a farther distance in the room from him than he is, although the Prince responds with his usual volume and is heard perfectly clearly by the guard.
    Prince: What manner of machine is this?
  • No Name Given: You play The Prince.
  • Non Sequitur Environment: Occasionally, the game takes a turn for the Mind Screw whenever the Prince has an opportunity to expand his health bar. Discovering a hidden passageway in the palace of Azad, he enters - only to find that the ruined building has abruptly given way to an unearthly realm of rope bridges lit by an omnipresent blue light, with a magical life-extending fountain at the center. Even the Prince doesn't know what to make of it.
  • Nostalgia Level: You can visit a 3D version of the first level from the original game.
  • One-Hit Kill: What usually happens when you strike an enemy (with your main blade) that was previously turned to sand by the Dagger of Time.
  • One of These Doors Is Not Like the Other: A puzzle near the end of the game involves passing through whichever door the sound of water is coming from.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Yuri Lowenthal as the Prince has a pretty inconsistent faux-British accent for the game's entirety.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: The top of The Prince's uniform is cobalt blue while Farah's sari is a scarlet red (substituting for pink). This also represents the colors of their respective kingdoms.
  • Please, Don't Leave Me: Farah is revealed to be developing feelings for the Prince after he saves her from sand monsters in the baths and falls unconscious from another set of visions; he wakes up to find her calling him her love and begging him not to leave her.
  • Pre-Climax Climax: The Prince and Farah have their implied love scene immediately before she steals the Dagger of Time from him and runs away, kicking off the final section of the game.
  • Public Bathhouse Scene: There is one in which the Prince finds Farah bathing in the cave. After a few seconds, he joins her and sexuality ensues. However, this is fated not to last when he wakes up...
  • Raising the Steaks: Non-humans are not spared from the mutating effect of the Sands, leading to the Prince battling zombified animals like scarabs, bats and vultures.
  • Reset Button:
    • The Dagger of Time can rewind time at short bursts.
    • The hourglass can serve as an even more powerful button, which the Prince takes full advantage of.
  • Reviving Enemy: Humanoid sand creatures will just keep getting back up over and over until they're either finished off with the Dagger while they're down or dealt a finishing blow after using the Freeze or Mega Freeze powers on them.
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Only the Prince is able to recall the events of the game because such events were erased by rewinding time all the way back to before the game begins. The whole game is in fact one big flashback the Prince is narrating to Farah.
  • Rule of Three: In the first parts of the game, the Prince is thrice told that what he has done must be undone with the Dagger of Time. The first time happens right after the Sands are unleashed and the Vizier demands the Prince to give the Dagger to him. In the second instance, Farah uses the same words as the Vizier when she demands the Dagger for herself, which does not help giving the Prince reason to trust her. And finally, after saving Farah from Sharaman, the Prince himself finishes the line when Farah tries to take the Dagger and is about to use the line again.
  • Second Hour Superpower: You shortly gain the power to control time after you retrieve the dagger.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: The visions show the Prince later on that Farah will take the dagger from him, leading him to distrust her at a crucial moment, which costs them the chance to seal the Sands. Hence, Farah waits for him to fall asleep and takes the dagger and his sword, setting off to seal the Sands on her own. The Prince realises what happened when he sees her medallion left behind.
  • Set Piece Puzzle:
    • Arming the palace's security defense system.
    • There's also a rotating catwalk in one area and a collection of large mobiles in the observatory that have to be rotated in the correct way for the Prince to parkour his way across them.
  • Shout-Out: When the Prince ends up at a place with the Life Extension Fountain for the first time:
  • Sigil Spam: A specific symbol can be seen all over the place in the game, usually on and around buttons, switches and levers.
  • Sole Survivor: The game manual says that the Prince, Farah, and the Vizier are the only survivors of the Sand Apocalypse, even though the guard who instructs the Prince to activate the defense system is technically a survivor. Even though he dies moments later.
  • Spikes of Doom:
    • Plenty of these, whether it's at the bottom of a pit or part of a malicious booby trap.
    • The booby trap spikes aren't instant death, though, and won't be triggered if the Prince carefully walks across them.
  • Spiritual Successor: Jordan Mechner acknowledged that ICO was a major influence on the game. Both games are chiefly puzzle-platforming games (with weak, repetitive combat against supernatural, decidedly insubstantial enemies) based in ancient castles with Benevolent Architecture, and whose stories centre on the gradually developing relationship between the male player character and a mysterious princess the player character must escort through the various environments. They also share significant similarities in visual style and tone.
  • Sword of Plot Advancement: The Prince upgrades his sword several times throughout the game. The first replacement sword allows him to break through certain walls; the last and most powerful sword kills enemies in a single hit. Interestingly, the final sword you hold in your hand... ends up being exactly what you started the game with. Due to the circumstances of the game's climax, the true final sword ends up just being your basic blade from the very beginning.
  • Taken for Granite: Hitting enemies with the Dagger of Time freezes them in place, visually looking like sand statues.
  • That Didn't Happen:
    • The Prince finally kisses Farah, but promptly rewinds time when he gets smacked in the face. So the Unresolved Sexual Tension remains.
    • More literally, the Prince says these exact words whenever you get a Game Over.
  • Time Stands Still: The Freeze and Mega Freeze abilities aren't quite this example (enemies affected by it still move extremely slowly,) but for all intents and purposes it's the same. Freeze freezes one enemy so they can be two-hit killed, and Mega Freeze freezes all enemies (including enemies that teleport into the fight afterwards) and lets the Prince Flash Step between them.
  • Time-Travel Tense Trouble: During the Final Battle, the prince runs into the classic had/will problem when explaining the events of the game to Farah.
  • Trust Password: Farah tells the Prince her mother used to calm her fears with the made-up word "Kakolookiyam", remarking she's never told this to anybody. When the Prince resets the timeline, thereby erasing the events of the game entirely - including meeting and bonding with Farah - he proves his story true by throwing the word "Kakolookiyam" back. Ironically, she tells him this Trust Password shortly before she betrays him.
  • Two-Person Pool Party: Implied to take place between the Prince and Farah towards the end of the game, although it's unclear whether the entire sequence was a All Just a Dream or not.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: The Prince and Farah bond over the course of the game, growing closer and closer. The Prince even starts considering asking her hand in marriage. It's implied they may have even had sex. After she dies, he's forced to rewind time, undoing her death but also their bonding, to the point where the game ends without them really knowing each other in the first place. The Prince even tries kissing her before leaving, but he even rewinds that event when it doesn't go along as planned.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Since the entire game is narrated via flashback, when you die, the Prince backs up and says "that's not how it happened" or something similar.
  • Unwitting Pawn: The Shah and Prince are convinced by the Vizier of India to invade India for no good reason outside of "honor and glory", while the Vizier helps them in exchange for his choice picks from the Maharajah's treasure chamber. Needless to say, the Shah immediately agrees to this offer from a man who is offering to betray his sovereign and his nation to an invader and who in fact solicited his betrayal to a random party and who can be assumed to have a powerful ulterior motive, and invades India. As a result, a Sand Apocalypse happens.
  • Wall Jump: One of the standard parkour methods, whether it's two parallel walls, or combined with a bar spin, and a wall jump to another bar. It requires somewhat precise timing, failure is bounding off the wall and falling.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Pretty much the rest of the game, from the moment the Prince takes off his shirt in the dungeon.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Farah is considerably weaker than the Prince and isn't able to perform the same parkour abilities as him, but what she lacks in physical strength, she makes up for in her archery skills, an impressive long jump, and her slender and flexible frame that allows her to squeeze through cracks and small spaces the Prince can't.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: The Prince narrates throughout the game. This is because he's in fact narrating to Farah in the present time. The whole game is one big flashback, with the exception of the Final Boss, which happens right after the Prince finishes his tale.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: The Vizier offers the Prince immortality to try and dissuade him from resealing the Hourglass. The Prince, of course, refuses and does it anyhow, as he literally has nothing left to lose.
    Prince: Live forever? When those I loved are dead and I to blame? (Beat) I choose death.
  • Zombify the Living: The glittering dust clouds of the Sands of Time do this to any unprotected creatures they come in contact with, creating a localized Zombie Apocalypse within the palace when the Hourglass is unlocked. Only the Prince, Farah, and the Vizier are spared, because each of them was carrying a powerful magic item that protected them.

Tropes appearing in the Game Boy Advance game:

  • Ability Required to Proceed:
    • The end of each world has an exit that requires you to use a move which can only be obtained by fighting the Sand Griffin.
    • The mysterious wooden doors you see everywhere which can only be broken with Fury.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • The Sand Griffin, a brand of Elite Mook in the console game, is now a Recurring Boss.
    • The Vizier puts up way more of a fight here than in the console game, taking two whole boss fights to bring down. While he never physically attacks the Prince, he has the most HP of any enemy and boss in the game and has deadly magic attacks; his cloning ability from the console fight is now a genuine Me's a Crowd distraction, he can shoot fireballs, and is able to summon Sand Zombies at will.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: Farah's romance with the Prince is cut entirely, but the Prince still pushes the Reset Button when she dies like in the main game. Without any chemistry between the two beyond some basic teamwork-based puzzle solving, the whole thing comes off like a huge overreaction.
  • Charged Attack: Fury, the attack the Prince learns after fighting the Vizier the first time, allows him to charge up his sword swing to increase its damage, with a Cap of 99. It can even be used in midair.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Absorption, the move learned at the end of World 2 that lets you absorb enemy projectiles, is critical for breaking the Final Boss' shield in his first phase.
  • Elite Mooks:
  • Genre Shift: Downplayed. After fighting the penultimate boss and pushing the Reset Button, the game suddenly becomes a Metroidvania if you decide to go exploring. You do, however, have the choice to go straight to the Final Boss if you want.
  • Hub Level: Post-game, the Final Cave provides one entrance to each world as well as a door that leads straight to the final boss.
  • Le Parkour: Since the game is in 2D, it's not quite as extensive as on the console version, but the Prince eventually learns how to run up walls and Wall Jump.
  • Not His Sled: A large chunk of the game's plot, especially in the second half, is radically different from the console game. After finishing World 5, the Prince meets up with Farah, but the Vizier appears out of nowhere and kidnaps her, taunting the Prince that if he wants her back, he must fight for her life. The Prince defeats the Vizier, only to discover that he had Farah killed while they were fighting, which causes the Prince to rewind time to the start of the game like in the console version. From there, you can either fight the Vizier straightaway like in the main story, or try to get 100% Completion.
  • Recurring Boss: The Sand Griffin is fought several times over the course of the game. He finally goes down for good after your fourth fight.
  • Status Effects: Some enemies shoot projectiles that can cause Fire (extra damage), Poison (damage over time unless you use an Antidote) or Ice Paralysis (frozen in place until you mash B to break out). Also, touching a Sand Zombie causes Dizziness (reverses your D-pad controls for a short time).
  • Take Your Time: After pushing the Reset Button, you're free to do as much exploring as you like before you go fight the Final Boss.