I didn't play Out of Time
or Dungeons of Hell
so I can't offer any insight into those two mods. I'd been looking forward to Dungeons of Hell
but I don't have any experience with SNES games in general, let alone PoP on the SNES.Leteipa
would earn my highest rating among these mods except that level 8 is either unreasonably difficult or defective. I eventually concluded that it's a defect, which concurs with this comment
in the Leteipa thread.Leteipa
is a simplified retelling of the Prince Of Persia story, retaining many of the best elements while adding a few creative flourishes of its own. It's like Mini Prince of Persia.
Among these six mods, it best captures the feel and style of the original. If a newbie played Leteipa
without first playing PoP, it would tell an accurate-but-simpler version of the story. (And it wouldn't spoil the original surprises and puzzles if the player went on to play the original Pop.) Leteipa
isn't bland or boring, but it's shorter than the original PoP so it has fewer challenges. The guards are tougher, and there are precious few Life Potions, which demands disciplined swordfighting throughout. At first I got mauled by the guards because I'd gotten lazy after playing other mods that have too many Life Potions and Healing Potions. In contrast, some levels in Leteipa
don't have any Healing potions at all, so the player can't afford to be hit even once per swordfight.
With the exception of a single tile in level 5, the rooms in Leteipa
are beautiful and visually perfect. That must've taken serious effort; it's as well-crafted as Jordan Mechner's original, which is impressive considering Mechner had the freedom of adjusting his graphics to fit his layouts whereas Leteipa
obviously had to craft its layouts to conform to Mechner's graphics.
Unfortunately, the uncomplete-able level 8 is a disqualifying fault so I couldn't recommend Leteipa
to anyone in its current form. But it's got so much potential think it deserves to be fixed and distributed. A repaired version would be an entertaining training exercise for beginners. Advanced players might need less than an hour to play through, but Leteipa
is worth it. Yes it's fairly easy, but it's not boring. You sure won't be stumped, but the challenges force you to pause and think like this elevated run in level 9 (reminiscent of PoP2)...Jakim's Levels
provide a longer-lasting game than Leteipa
and it poses more complicated puzzles and a far more complex layout. I particularly admired the variety of ways the player is forced to criss-cross over his route.
The layout in Jakim's Levels
prioritizes game play over attractiveness. That's not a bad thing: it optimizes the puzzles and challenges. Consequently some rooms look unavoidably awkward because the tiles had to be arranged in a purely-functional way. But the author wasn't careless: he decorated the rooms attractively whenever it was possible to do so without sacrificing game play.
Ultimately Jakim's Levels
feels like the average PoP mod: it's reasonably good, it has some creative touches, but it doesn't really distinguish itself from all the other decent mods that are littered with mazes, guards, and Life Potions.Return to Persia
is a disaster. At first Norbert's comments seemed harsh to me, but now that I've played it I think he was (if anything) too kind. It's incoherent, rambling, and confused. Admittedly I didn't complete the whole game--my patience ran out at Level 8 because it was irritatingly copied from PoP without a real appreciation for the original.
The dungeon graphics are customized, but the revisions don't enhance the game because they don't make any sense!
Giant columns resemble the cave structures in PoP2, walls resemble stonework from PoP2, and the windows are filled with giant snowflakes. It might've been interesting if everything was made of ice, or everything was stone, or everything was cave-like. Castle graphics are unchanged, but the rooms are littered with ugly blemishes and pointless mistakes.
But worst of all is the game play. It's pleasant enough, but it quickly gets bland and tedious because the game lacks structure. It feels like hundreds of rooms strung pointlessly together, with arbitrary jumps from one level to the next every 24 rooms.
It's a real shame. It would've been great if the author of Return to Persia
had teamed with someone who had a talent for theme and level design, thereby giving his graphics skills some real purpose.