Tips for new players

Home Forums Previous Months 18 – July 2018: Prince of Persia Tips for new players

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  • DavidN

    The game can be played here!

    I wanted to put together a list of things that aren’t obvious if (somehow!) you’re coming to the game for the first time… feel free to add your own 🙂

    – You have to spend a while getting used to the Prince’s movement! I often see people asking how to deal with the “unresponsive controls”, which is frustrating – they’re not unresponsive, they’re just… different 🙂 The Prince isn’t Super Mario and has to move like a human, which involves having to take run-ups for jumps – hold Up as he’s running towards the edge of a platform and he’ll wait until the last possible moment to jump. Explore around the first level for a while to get the timing right, as knowing how to use the controls precisely will pay off later on!

    – Standing jumps take you over two tiles. Running jumps take you three tiles. You need three tiles for a successful run-up (apart from some workaround speedrunning circumstances).

    – You can knock out platforms above you by jumping into them. But make sure you’ve got away before it lands… (or alternatively, tap Down to crouch – a platform won’t hurt the Prince if he’s in his standing-up animation when it hits!)

    – The Shift key is used for a ton of things – hold it down before moving to take a careful step instead of running. Hit it in mid-air to make the Prince cling on to a platform at the end of his jump if he can. It’s also used to pick up items and to strike during swordfights.

    – Unlike a couple of other cinematic platformers like Flashback, the Prince can’t grab a ledge one level up while jumping forward – only when jumping straight up.

    – Drop down from high platforms by turning away from them and holding Shift as you descend – this can make a huge difference, as the Prince can only fall two levels without being killed instantly.

    – You can safely walk through spikes. You can even run into and out of them as long as you don’t try to run continuously through them.

    – When swordfighting, it’s usually easiest to strike straight after you’ve blocked – the Prince will tie the two actions together into one movement. It also prevents you from being knocked backwards, as you would be for a normal block.

    – Guards need to be alive to kill them 😉

    – The game’s time limit feels oppressive, down there at the bottom of the screen all the time, but it really isn’t anything to worry about unless you’re really dawdling. (Then again, I might just be saying this as I know the route through all the levels by now… good luck)


    Though I’ve played the game as a kid, I never really knew what I was doing, so I’m mostly discovering the game now as if I’m playing it for the first time. But with nostalgia.

    I figured out the swordfighting thing pretty quickly (block then immediately strike). That works 99% of the time against the guards.

    You say “get away from knocked down platforms”. But HOW? As soon as the prince lands, it takes a second or so for him to move again, but by then the platform is already too close to get away. Any hints here?


    You should have time to run clear if you start immediately after tapping the ceiling (as long as you run in the direction you are facing). You can sometimes knock out the ceiling on the adjacent tile if you are near enough the edge. This seems to work when you have just climbed up a ledge and then turn around and jump.


    Good tips, all. I would add a couple of points:

    * Be careful when trying to crouch to avoid damage from a falling plate; it requires precise timing – if you are still crouched when it hits, you will lose not one, but two points!

    * Combining jumps with grabbing ledges – standing jump is 2 tiles, running jump OR standing jump + ledge grab is 3 tiles, running jump + ledge grab is 4 tiles. 4 tiles is the maximum gap you can jump over. In PoP2 you can actually cross 5-tile gaps if there is a ledge to grab one floor below, but PoP1 either doesn’t have these mechanic, or has no areas set up to take advantage of them.

    * Some enemies fence better than others. Most of the bright yellow ones are a notch above the rest for whatever reason. Of course the real masters are the fat guard in level 6 and Jaffar himself. With these you need to do a lot of block+strike tapping.

    Regarding the controls, you nailed it. It’s not unresponsiveness, it’s realism! In real life you cannot do a standing jump two human heights into the air, then reverse direction mid flight and land on a floor above and behind you. In real life, if you don’t jump at the precise moment near the ledge you will either fall off or come up short. That’s what Prince of Persia is all about. And I must say, that PoP1 is actually very generous in terms of timing – during a run-up you can push up a couple of tiles before the edge and the prince will still jump at the last moment. PoP2 was not so generous.


    Yeah. In modern “immediate response” platformers (well “modern”, I think the original Super Mario Bros does it, too, and it’s 4 years older), you usually get few frames after you ran off the platform to hit jump and it will register as if you pressed jump in the very last moment.

    This is not necessary in PoP, because you need to plan ahead and the prince will actually only jump at the sensible time.

    It’s a different type of game entirely and people used to the other, more action-y genre of Mario-likes may have a hard time getting used to it.

    And he’s moving in discrete steps (I think 3 per tile?) You cannot just move pixel by pixel.


    Great tips, guys!

    If the game remains difficult, there’s one last trick you can resort to: cheating 😀

    By launching the game with the “megahit” argument (so “prince.exe megahit” on the command-line, or simply “prince megahit”) you unlock the cheat-mode. When enabled, you can use the following commands to perform various cheats:

    k – kill an enemy
    r – resurrect from death
    + – increase time left
    shift+L – next level
    shift+T – extra life
    shift+S – heal life
    shift+W – enable float mode (allowing you to survive long drops)
    n – look down
    u – look up
    h – look left
    j – look right



    “prince megahit” works on version 1.0. For version 1.3 and 1.4 it’s “prince improved”.

    Another observation: when using N/U/H/J to browse the level, you can use K to kill the guards, but they don’t stay dead – they will come back to life if you visit the same screen again (in real life or while “browsing”).

    Also, if you kill an enemy, then quickly browse away from the screen and come back to it, the enemy will come back to life too. It seems that the game only registers killed enemies when the prince physically leaves the screen – if you leave it and come back, enemies will not come back to life even if you use U/N/H/J.

    Warning: Using K to kill the skeleton can freeze the game!

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Home Forums Previous Months 18 – July 2018: Prince of Persia Tips for new players