Follow TV Tropes


YMMV / Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Go To


  • Anti-Climax Boss: The Vizier is extremely easy to defeat, especially for a Final Boss. To such a degree that there are even anecdotes of players who haven’t played the rest of the game going to a friend’s save file and defeating him without much effort by button mashing their way to victory, without even knowing the controls. The conclusion to the story is still epic, but in terms of gameplay challenge, it is still a complete cakewalk especially when taking into account how difficult the rest of the game is.
  • Advertisement:
  • Complete Monster: The Vizier is the terminally ill advisor of the Maharajah, and is willing to betray everyone to obtain immortality and godhood. In flashbacks, he abducts the wife of Daeva prince Saurva to compel the latter to steal the Box of One Thousand Restraints from the Persians, knowingly causing the war between Persians and Daevas, then murders the hostage anyway and seals Saurva and his army inside the box. He subsequently curses Saurva's sister with madness upon her refusal to marry him. Years later, he betrays the Maharajah by allowing the Persian army to take the city. The Vizier later tricks the Prince into causing the Sands of Time to turn the population of Azad into sand monsters. When the Prince rewinds time to warn Farah, the Vizier plots to kill them both and frame the Prince for the murder of Farah. After his death has been undone, the Vizier, leading an army, murders the Maharajah before he sacks Babylon and has King Sharaman killed. He then kills Kaileena, the Empress of Time, causing the Sands of Time to reappear and turn the Vizier's army into monsters. Ruling Babylon as the renamed God of Time, Zurvan, he allows his generals to commit atrocities on the civilians such as taking them to the arena while he personally kills the resistance and finally abducts Farah to transform her into his immortal queen.
  • Advertisement:
  • Demonic Spiders: The blue spear enemies that are immune to vault attacks (unless you vault off of a wall instead of them), and the sword enemies that are immune to vault attacks and have a sweeping attack that goes underneath the Prince's guard to damage him anyway. Both of these enemies are also the only ones besides the two bosses capable of countering the Prince's attacks.
  • Game-Breaker: Except for the aforementioned enemies that are immune to it (knocking the Prince down when he attempts it), vault attacks are very overpowered, often knocking down enemies in only two hits. And even with the two immune enemies, if you're next to a wall, you can pull it off anyway by rebounding off of the wall instead of the enemy. This will instantly knock them down, leaving them open for the finisher. The sequels nerfed this strategy, however.
    • Even more of a Game-Breaker is the fact that by changing one button, that same vault move can instantly kill an enemy and collect its sand without having to knock it down.
  • Genius Bonus: In The Sands of Time, the Prince twice mentions Rostam, a famous hero in Persian mythology, and Farah reads out a passage from Rumi in the library.
  • Goddamned Bats: Of the ledge kind. The game has swarms of bats that tend to show up when you're perched on a ledge hundreds of feet above ground. A couple of unlucky hits will have you falling. There are also vultures that attack you while you're climbing ledges, and at some points they literally hang around in the area and do not attack unless you start climbing or balancing on a precarious ledge.
  • Advertisement:
  • Player Punch: The Prince's father is a boss in Sands of Time. Guess what happens.
  • Porting Disaster: The Windows version is reasonably well optimised and doesn't lack any features, but it is notoriously glitchy and crash-prone, in addition to being a pain in the ass to run. The infamously ill-fated run of the game at SGDQ 2015 highlights just how buggy it is.
  • Sacred Cow: Sands of Time was very highly acclaimed and financially successful in its release, and had a lot of fans within the franchise. This got to the point where any subsequent Prince of Persia game was easily compared to this installment, and that any game not meeting expectations are reminded that SoT is one Tough Act to Follow.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: Every time you finish a fight, the camera will focus on the Prince as he holsters his weapons in a slow-mo fashion, and the screen will flash white afterwards. This visual effect may be dramatic and all, but the entire animation is quite long and you can't regain control until the animation finishes, a bane of speedrunners. This trope would be the reason why this "victory animation" got scrapped in the next Prince of Persia games, with the Prince's post-combat animation now blended into the gameplay without interruptions.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: This game was notable for popularizing two things in the early 2000s, and inspiring later games to do the same.
    • Le Parkour as its core gameplay, with the levels being designed to fully make use of the Prince's movement abilities and feats. It features faster maneuverability than most platforming games of its time. But ever since Ubisoft implemented all they had learned from this game into the newer Assassin's Creed franchise and found that as their new Cash Cow Franchise, the Prince of Persia games fell into obscurity from the eyes of the younger generation in The New '10s.
    • Real-time and in-game time-manipulation abilities brought about by the Dagger of Time. It was a unique twist not seen in a lot of games prior to 2003. What made it especially memorable is that all of these mechanics are key elements of the plot in the Sands of Time trilogy, and it is impossible not to mention the Prince's time-manipulation abilities when discussing the game's story. While newer titles from the 2010s onwards do have similar mechanics (e.g. GRID or Life Is Strange), they aren't as varied and diverse as what Prince of Persia did. Unfortunately, a lot of new gamers don't realize this since the franchise went mostly dormant after 2010.
  • Tainted by the Preview: The remake's September 2020 announcement trailer got mixed reactions for its subpar graphics and character redesigns. It was so bad that the game was pulled from its scheduled March 2021 release and, as of January 2022, still didn't have a definitive release date.
  • That One Boss: The Sand King is one of the game's only two bosses and quite a few players would argue he is in fact the hardest one to beat, especially considering that you need to face him relatively early in the game.
  • That One Level:
    • The Tower of Dawn elevator. The battle itself is not necessarily that difficult, the real challenge is trying to keep Farah alive. Using the Mega-Freeze is almost imperative here (as shown in the vision prior to boarding) and when you use it can make all the difference (as use it too early and you leave too many powerful enemies alive to keep off of Farah by yourself).
    • The very last regular battle of the game can also be challenging as the Dagger has no Sand in it and, because the sword you're using is so powerful that enemies are reduced to dust with just one swing, you won't be able to refill it either, meaning you won't be able to undo getting hit by an attack nor will you have access to any Sand powers. The only way to refill the Dagger is if one of the enemies knocks down one of their own. You can snag a refill while they're downed but you'll never be able to refill enough Sand Tanks in order add to your Power Tanks, meaning you still need to use pure swordsmanship to come out on top. The Final Boss doesn't have this issue as you will have a full set of Sand Tanks at the start (your Power Tanks will also be full but the Sand abilities aren't that helpful here), although you won't be able to refill them during the fight.
  • Tough Act to Follow: It's generally held that the franchise never really quite managed to recapture Sands of Time's level of quality in both solid writing and solid platforming, which was often cited (along with competition from its younger brother Assassin's Creed) as a reason for its decline.
  • Underused Game Mechanic: The developers considered most of the Sands of Time abilities ended up as this given they weren't exactly essential to the gameplay, which is why Prince of Persia: Warrior Within ended up having many moments where slow-motion or fast-forwarding were necessary to progress.


  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Given that King Sharaman apparently spends most of his time drinking, enjoying the company of his wives and studying religious scripture, how good of a King is he really? Considering that Nizam is implied to have always been the true power behind the throne, even though he's evil, how badly would he have ruled the Empire, when he's been basically doing that for decades?!
    • The reason Sharaman's reign was so prosperous is that the two brothers ruled together. Nizam was obviously the brains, while Sharaman was the face and Morality Chain. Take either of them out of the equation and the kingdom would go to the dogs. It's a shame that Nizam never understood his importance.
  • Complete Monster: Nizam, the uncle of Dastan, chafed at being in the shadow of his elder brother, the King. To remove himself from under the King's shadow, Nizam set his sights on the Dagger of Time and the Sands of Time, not caring of the horrors and chaos he could unleash on the world. Nizam brought about a battle with an innocent city, not remotely caring of the deaths of innocents, and arranged the death of his own brother while attempting to have his sons murdered. Revealing an utter contempt for the adopted low-born Dastan, Nizam revealed his true goal was to rewind time so he could undo his greatest error: once saving his brother's life when they were children.
  • Critic-Proof: To a degree. While professional critics mostly trashed it and audiences were far more forgiving, the divide between both groups isn't all that big: by Rotten Tomatoes scores, that's 37% and 58%, respectively, while Metacritic aggregated data makes that 50 and 72. And of course, it is the 2nd highest grossing video game movie to date, so people were clearly enjoying it despite all the faults.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Seso.
    • Sheik Amar also completely steals whatever scene he's in.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: The viewer might buy that the hero's brothers are killed off. However, when you see his love interest falling to her death, you know the Sands of Time will somehow rewind time at the end of the movie to undo her death. This also applies, in part, to the game.
  • Older Than They Think: Dastan isn't the first iteration of the Prince who gets a name. In a 2008 comic written by series creator, Jordan Mechner, the protagonist is named Guiv.
  • Signature Scene: Dastan using the Dagger of Time repeatedly when Tamina tried to betray him when seduction didn't work. Here, Dastan learned how to rewind time. This scene, although fast-paced and short, nicely demonstrates the Necessary Fail trope in effect. To elaborate - His first attempt at rewinding time is merely accidental and left him confused and vulnerable to a fatal slash to the chest, but he willingly used the Sands to rewind and save his life. His second attempt at rewinding time allowed him to outsmart Tamina and earn her trust, since he already knows how the Dagger works. It also focuses on, complements or recalls some details from the games - such as the Dagger's hilt glowing gold when it contains the Sands of Time, the hilt having a button on the tip to activate its mechanism, the Sands of Time actually getting depleted every time he used the Dagger's power, and a brief realization from Dastan how the Ripple Effect-Proof Memory trope is in effect.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The entire ostrich race part of the story has all the guns primed and hung up on the walls to make you think that Dastan and Tamina will end up escaping the place on the backs of the ostriches... which never happens and is never used for anything. It's disappointing enough to even get mentioned in reviews, including Roger Ebert's.
  • Video Game Movies Suck: While not exactly seen as the worst film, it's rarely held as anything above "mildly entertaining". However, unlike typical example, it is the rare case where is is perfectly watchable without even knowing it's a video game adaptation.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: Let's just say casting white actors to play the Persian characters hasn't exactly been well recived by Iranian-Americans. It's gets even worse due to the actors sporting Brown Face for the parts.