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Video Game / Prince of Persia: Warrior Within

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

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Tropes appearing in this game:

  • Advancing Boss of Doom: The Dahaka, when he pursues the Prince in the Present, will destroy the Prince if he catches up or even if the Prince takes too long navigating the path ahead and away from him. He drops the Advancing and of Doom parts in the Golden Ending.
  • Alternate Timeline: There are ultimately two versions of the Prince's initial fight with Kaileena: 1) where the Sand Wraith dies and the Prince is allowed to fight Kaileena the first time, and 2) where the Prince dies and the Sand Wraith can once again become the Prince. The existence of these two timelines eventually morphs into a Stable Time Loop, thereby removing the necessity for the Sand Wraith to commit suicide so that the Prince can fight Kaileena.
  • Animal Theme Naming: In this game, the Prince's main swords (safe for the Driftwood Cudgel and the Water Sword) are named after animals, some "noble" (Eagle Sword and Lion Sword), some venomous and deadly (Spider Sword, Serpent Sword, Scorpion Sword).
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  • 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 Stuart Chatwood 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".
  • Backtracking: Obtaining one of the life upgrades requires you to return to a previous location you visited since it requires a sword that can break through walls which you don't have at first. Finding two of the secret weapons requires backtracking as well.
  • Bag of Spilling: As he technically never got any of the upgraded swords, and left the Dagger of Time with Farah, the Prince would be back to square one at the beginning of this game if he didn't still have the Medallion of Time, carried over from the dead!Farah timeline.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: In the Water Tower, you'll see a Crowmaster waiting for you on a small stone platform you have to reach. Once you do, the Dahaka shows up, kills the Crowmaster and forces you to undergo yet another escape sequence.
  • Benevolent Architecture: For an island trying to kill him, there are certainly plenty of climbable rubble piles and wall decorations. This even extends to seemingly pointless ropes hanging conveniently from the walls.
    • And if you can't get through somewhere in your current time period, switching to the other one will fix it for you.
  • Big "NO!": The Prince pulls one right after killing Kaileena, when the Dahaka appears.
    Prince: No! NO! How is this possible? The sands are here in the present, not in the hourglass!
  • Bloodier and Gorier: As part of the Darker and Edgier direction, the combat features tons of blood and dismemberment.
  • Blow You Away: A secondary power granted by the Sands allows you to channel a blast of sand through your body and knock down all nearby enemies.
  • Breakable Weapons: All your secondary weapons, safe for the secret weapons, will ruin and break with use. Some weapons last longer than others, weapons with One-Hit Kill abilities will inevitably shatter after a few kills.
  • Bullet Time: One of the earliest powers you can obtain allows you to slow down time, which proves necessary to make it through certain doors in time and can be used to defeat enemies faster or navigate better through certain courses.
  • Call-Back: In the same scene that the Prince learns to become the Sand Wraith we learn about the Maharajah's trip to the island, and by extension, how he got the sands in the first place.
  • The Cameo: Farah is briefly seen in the last seconds of the secret ending.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Weapons marked with the skull icon are "cursed", and thus every time you attack with them, the Prince loses a little of life. Throwing them is fine though. Also, the main side-effect of the Sand Wraith's mask, though health won't fall below a certain level.
  • 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.
  • Clock Roaches: The Dahaka is a guardian of time that hunts the Prince in order to restore time to its original flow. It's implied that whenever someone changes the past, a Dahaka shows up to deal with it. The first one was created when the Prince tampered with time, and a second comes up to deal with his second attempt to fix his own mistake in the game. If you get the Golden Ending, you kill the Dahaka, and the Empress of Time sails away with you. Thus the Sands of Time are not created in the past. (They get created when the Empress is killed.)
  • Combat Tentacles: The Dahaka can emit a set of four rope-like tentacles from his abdomen, which he uses to catch and kill the Prince if he catches up. He can also summon them from the walls and ground in an attempt to snare the Prince.
  • Complexity Addiction/Bond Villain Stupidity: The Empress employs several round-about measures to kill the Prince: she sends Shahdee 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.
  • Cool Sword:
    • The Prince himself uses swords as his main weapon, getting his hands on a series of increasingly-better animal-themed swords, culminating with the glowing, finely-ornated Water Sword.
    • Pretty much all the secondary swords weapons tend to have unique and distinctive looks.
    • Shahdee dual-wield swords which are essentially a highly-ornated hybrid of cutlass and Kukri.
    • Kaileena as the Empress has two unique swords resembling falxes with massive handguards protecting her forearms and handles perpendicular to the blades, making them similar to Pata or Katars.
  • Covers Always Lie: The cover art as well as some promotional artwork show the Prince wielding the Eagle Sword and the Lion Sword together. This is not actually possible in-game since both are primary weapons and the former is lost after the prologue while the latter is obtained about halfway through the game, but is broken and discarded after dealing the final blow against Kaileena. Despite this the Lion sword has a second entry in the weapons file (never used in the final game) as a secondary weapon, and some beta in-game screenshots show the Prince holding both Lion and Eagle sword at the same time, indicating that originally was possible to hold them both.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: In her brief appearance, Farah is shown captured and tied to a crucifix.
  • 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 Face–Heel Turn.
  • Dark World: The present (your world) is this, with the castle in ruins and overgrown with vegetation. When you find the first time portal, you get to see the castle in its former glory, before some cataclysm befell it. Certain areas are only passable in the past, or in the present, requiring you to go back and forth between the two to make it to the throne room. And then you find that you are the cause of the catastrophe.
  • Deadly Upgrade: The Mask of the Wraith. Putting it on transforms the Prince into a shadowy creature, allowing him to exist at the same time as his past self and change his fate, and even regenerates the Sands of Time. This comes as the cost of perpetual health drain, and being unable to change back until the Prince's past self has died.
  • 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.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The Prince kills the Dahaka in the good ending.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Upon reaching the Sacrifical Altar as the Sand Wraith, you see that Shahdee's attack on Kaileena was caused by the latter insulting and slapping the former after she revealed that the Prince was still alive and had followed her.
  • Dramatic Chase Opening: The Prince is running away from the Dahaka.
  • Drop-In Nemesis: After killing Shahdee and meeting the Dahaka on the island, the monster will chase the Prince in the present, lurking somewhere on the island and popping out in certain segments to chase the Prince. After you transform into the Sand Wraith, Dahaka will appear in the past as well.
  • 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.
  • Dual Wielding: The Prince can pick a secondary weapon from a rack or a dead enemy and use it in tandem with his other sword. He forfeits his grab attacks but can unleash a series of comboes and even throw the weapon like a projectile.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The hooded figure in the final cutscene becomes very important in the third game, though he was replaced with The Other Darrin.
  • Emergency Weapon: Upon shipwrecking on the Island, you can use a cudgel made of driftwood as your temporary weapon of choice, which you'll ditch soon enough for the Spider Sword. After slaying Kaileena the first time, you have to use the snapped fragment of the Lion's Sword as your only weapon until you find the Scorpion Sword in the Prison.
  • Escape Sequence: The Dahaka chases, most notably in the Catacombs, where you have to evade him three times in a row.
  • Fanservice: Of the Prince of Persia trilogy, is the game with the most.
  • Foreshadowing: When the Prince has his first face-to-face encounter with the Sand Wraith, the Wraith throws an axe at the Prince, which he barely manages to dodge. Astute players will hear the sound of it entering flesh, followed by metal clinking on the ground.
    • Technically, every instance of the Sand Wraith is foreshadowing.
    • When the Prince kills Shahdee near the beginning, she gets up one last time and says 'You cannot change your fate.' As this mirrors what the old man told him, he assumes she means him. She's actually talking to Kaileena, and considering Kaileena herself talks about the empress wanting to change her fate, that's a pretty big hint they're the same person.
    • Minor one, during the garden tower escape sequence, after crossing a long pit you briefly see the Dahaka smash down an adjacent wall in frustration: turns out he opened the way to a secret weapon you can collect later.
  • Giant Mook: Brutes are humongous, humanoid sand golems covered in armor and used to patrol the Clockwork Tower and other areas. Unlike most enemies, you have to hack at their heels to make them kneel and then you can jump on their back and hack at their heads until they're dead.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: So while you're progressing mid to late game, you'll find yourself on the raised circular platform from early on. You might expect a wave of enemies to show up for you to beat here. You can be forgiven for not expecting a giant sand Griffon to drop down and begin laying waste to you.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: The very first boss battle ends with you being beaten up and left unconscious. Why Shahdee doesn't just kill the Prince after that is a mystery…
  • 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.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Dahaka has a tendency to smash walls, doors and architecture in general as he chases you. When you escape him in the Mystic Caverns, he loses you because the crumbling bridge he's on crumbles, plunging the roaring Dahaka in the abyss.
  • Hotter and Sexier: And how! Warrior Within features...
    • Shahdee and her infamous ass-focused introduction scene.
    • Statues of nude women everywhere.
    • Female enemies who wear thong panties and small tops. They also moan during combat.
    • The Golden Ending contains a sex scene between The Prince and Kaileena.
    • Even the Prince's outfit seems to mostly consist of leather straps from the waist up.
  • Idiot Ball: The Prince and the Empress of Time seem to play tennis with it.
    • The Dahaka himself isn't above grabbing it: there are a couple of cutscenes where he manages to grab the Prince, only to angrily toss him away from him, giving him a shot at escaping his wrath. In the entire Catacomb section he only barges in the main chamber when the Prince has escaped (though if he did before, the section would be unwinnable).
  • Improbable Weapon User: The secret weapons will have the Prince smacking enemies with such deadly arms like a teddy bear, a cartoon glove, a stuffed flamingo and a hockey stick. The only serious weapon is a green glowing sword that sucks your health if used.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Water Sword, which can only be unlocked by finding the 9 hidden Health Upgrades for the Talisman. It kills pretty much all enemies in a couple of blows, can break walls to pieces just like the Scorpion Sword and allows you to fight the Dahaka in the true ending. Among the secondary weapons, the Light Sword is a glowing laser scimitar with a green blade which has top stats but is cursed. It's also located in a mandatory area, hidden behind a fragile wall.
  • 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 on her voice actress, Monica Bellucci.
  • Kill It with Water: All the Sand Creatures will dissolve and die if they come in contact with pools of water or waterfalls, while the Dahaka is vulnerable to the Water Sword. He ultimately dies when he's slashed multiple times with the sword of Water and tossed in the ocean.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Thanks to the Trash Talk the enemies (and the Prince) spouts, it's not rare to actually cut an enemy short as he's saying something.
  • King Incognito: Kaileena.
  • King Mook: The Imperial Guards to the Crowmasters. The colossal Thrall boss encountered in the Prison is an even larger Brute with an healthbar.
  • Ledge Bats: Beasts, which are capable of Wall Crawl, will sometime block your way on a runneable wall and try to knock you down to your doom. Female enemies do the same, only usually waiting on the opposite end and running towards the Prince when he runs. Sometimes they appear on planks too.
  • Made of Explodium: The Spiked Beasts found (mostly) in the Clockwork Tower will explode upon death. You can exploit this to your advantage.
  • Male Gaze: Shahdee's ass-first introduction is a particularly blatant example.
  • Malevolent Architecture: Just like the other games, there are spike pits, giant stone pistons, and very long drops to navigate.
    • Somewhat justified in that Kaileena could have been trying to stop the Prince by turning the island into an assault course. It probably would've worked, too, if the Prince's main skillset involved getting around exactly those traps.
  • Minimalist Cast: If you scratch the old man seen only in a flashback and Shahdee who dies early on, the Prince and Kaileena are the only human characters in the game.
  • Multi-Melee Master: While in the previous game the Prince only used swords in tandem with the Dagger of Time, in this game he can pick up and use swords, knives, maces and axes, using them to deliver devastating secondary attacks or to throw them from afar.
  • 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.
  • Not So Invincible After All: The Prince directly quotes the trope after wounding the Dahaka with the Water Sword and realizing he can finally kill the damn thing.
  • Our Gryphons Are Different: A classical type griffon serves as a boss during your time as the sand wraith.
  • Palette Swap: Essentially you can sort most enemies by categories, such as the vanilla warriors (Raiders, Wardens and Initiates), she-warriors (Red, Invisible and Blue variety), Beasts (Spiked Beasts and Scavengers) and Elites (Crowmasters and Imperial Guards). The Shadows are apparently without variations.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Averted with life upgrades. There are nine of them in the game. You must find all to get the Water Sword, which enables you to fight the Dahaka and get the alternate canon ending. Fortunately, the game allows for plenty of backtracking from the Central Hall, so all the upgrades can be collected just before the True Final Boss. In fact, one of the life upgrades requires you to backtrack.
    • Played straight with some of the secret weapons. Out of five of them, two are located in a One-Time Dungeon and can no longer be obtained if you missed them.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Around 90% of the game could have been avoided, if the Prince and Kaileena had sat down and talked for 5 minutes.
  • Precision F-Strike: The game uses strong profanity with "fuck" being used in the intro, and "bitch" and "bastard", all from the Prince in the game.
  • Rescue Sex: The Prince and Kaileena get it on in the Golden Ending where he saves her from the Dahaka.
  • Ret Gone: In the "bad" ending, the Dahaka removes all evidence that the Sands of Time were ever created, including destroying Kaileena's body and the Prince's amulet. This ensures the Prince's survival, though fans who only got the bad ending would wonder why Kaileena is suddenly alive in the final game....
  • 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.
  • Stripperific: Every female character in the game wears skimpy clothing. Oddly enough, Shahdee's in-game armor is slightly less skimpy than her cutscene counterpart.
  • Super Speed: The True Final Boss moves extremely fast, such that using slowdown is basically required just to keep up. The arena generates sand at regular intervals to support the constant use.
  • This Cannot Be!: Sometimes, slain enemies will express utter disbelief in the Prince's victory.
    Warden: "This... this is not what it was supposed to happen!"
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: If you get ahold of a secondary weapon, you can toss it in order to damage or possibly One-Hit Kill an opponent, depending on the weapon type and the situation. Hitting an enemy perched on a wall or plank with a thrown weapon is the safest way to eliminate it. The downside is, you lose your weapon.
  • Time-Travel Tense Trouble: Shahdee at one point informs the Empress that the Prince "is approaching the island"… even though there are supposedly decades separating them.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: The Prince is considerably darker and more violent than he was in the last game.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: At least you can rewind time rather than have to go back to a save point.
  • 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.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: The first Crow Master will teach you the importance of projections and grapples in combat, since they No-Sell nearly every attack.
  • World of Buxom: Every female character (ie Shahdee and Kaileena) has 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: By Kaileena in the past, the Prince created the Sands of Time so that his past self (ie the version in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time) could open them. He then allows the version of him that killed Kaileena to die, so that he could kill Kaileena in the "present", thereby nullifying his fate.

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