Prince of Persia: Warrior Within
While Warrior Within's combat and satisfyingly long campaign improve on last year's game, the now darker tone falls somewhat flat compared to the storybook atmosphere in The Sands of Time.
Warrior Within continues the prince's story from last year's game, so, because the prince has unleashed the mystical Sands of Time, he finds himself pursued relentlessly by a menacing time monster called the Dahaka. The Dahaka is a beast that devours everything in its path like a walking black hole, so to escape it for good, the prince decides he must travel to the past to kill the Empress of Time to prevent the creation of the sands entirely. Sound like a conundrum?
Well, if you can accept Back to the Future, you shouldn't have any trouble suspending your disbelief for the plot in Warrior Within...although the game is probably meant to be taken more seriously than the Michael J. Fox film. The prince's journey takes him to a ruined fortress on the Island of Time, where you'll find yourself fighting inside the castle, in mysterious caves, and in the outdoor gardens, where some of the game's most attractive level architecture can be found.
Warrior Within borrows a page from the Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past in that you'll be exploring in the same areas in two different time periods. Special rooms scattered throughout the fortress let you to shift back and forth between the past and the present, and areas of the castle will change accordingly depending on the time period. So, for example, the clockwork tower that had delicate machinery and giant working gears in the past looks run-down and broken in the present day, with tree branches poking through walls and ruined pieces of machinery scattered on the floor. Of course, the path you take to navigate each room also changes depending on the time period you're in.