Fans of The Sands of Time, rejoice! We finally have a sequel that lives up to the promise of that game. The third game in the Prince of Persia "trilogy" is a return to form for the series. Don't listen to lukewarm or negative reviews -- this one does not disappoint. I know Warrior Within has fans out there -- and believe me, there were parts of the game that were amazing, especially visually -- but after the great atmosphere of the first game, I was disappointed by it. Here's the skinny on TTT. No more Godsmack popping up at odd moments. In fact, no more Godsmack popping up at all! No more drab, idential (potentially confusing) corridors to backtrack along. No more silent, humorless, Americanesque "Prince". (I liked the idea of a desperate, hunted main character, but it wasn't implemented into the game very well.) The voice actor who played the prince in The Sands of Time is back -- along with all the character and charm of the original game. But for you who liked the dark "bad-ass" elements, fear not. There's a darker, meatier story here, and it's not just told through cheesy cutscenes every third checkpoint or so (WW). Still, TTT manages to bridge from the second game very well, starting off exactly where that game left off (the "better" ending). TTT addresses many of the issues some of us had with WW, sometimes to humorous effect in-game, usually involving the "Dark Prince" (who is a great character, and I believe utilizes, to much better effect, the voice actor from the second game!). Fans of The Sands of Time will be pleasantly surprised at some of the inclusions of this game, which I won't even think of spoiling here. Yes, there's chariot racing. Yes, there are huge bosses. But the developers were smart this time. These sequences are not only implemented into a great story, but they aren't repeated again and again, so you won't ever get sick of them. This game knows not to blow its wad. Not only that, but since the game doesn't involve endless backtracking, you'll always be looking forward to the next cool area, which might include city streets, a giant palace, a bordello, sewer systems, or an arena on the outskirts of the city. If it's a shorter game than WW -- in terms of gameplay hours -- it is only because there is no tedious backtracking. The cool battle system from the second game is intact, but better-presented this time around. The Dark Prince has some incredible acrobatics and fighting moves involving a nasty piece of weaponry called the daggertail. There is also a new stealth element in gameplay which is not only "bad-ass" looking -- in a way the second game only aspired -- but it allows you to avoid fighting enemies head-on. Think Babylon Splinter Cell. Remember how the weapons you picked up off the ground in Warrior Within often looked different in your hand? Well, they don't now. Cool. There are strong differences between both "sides" of the prince, which are utilized at various points in the story. Because the Dark Prince's health is constantly draining, you have to fight enemies to survive (sand replenishes your health). Yes, this time when your health gets to zero, you actually expire! The Dark Prince is very cool from an acrobatic standpoint as well, with some clever chain-swinging combos reminiscient of the Dahaka-evading sequences of WW. The main thing is that there's a very strong story element linking all of this together. Battles generally have some sort of reward or story purpose, so they don't feel pointless. Save points and restart zones are more fairly placed. And if you liked the voice-over narration from the first game, you will be very happy with this one, which is even more cleverly done. There's a lot more I'm leaving out, but that's probably for the best, since I tend to be long-winded about these things. This game is not without its blemishes; the PS2 version in particular has a lot going on graphically, so its framerate is not always optimal (for me to say it didn't make any difference is a big deal, since I'm a framerate junkie). After God of War (which this game sometimes tries to resemble) it's easy to criticize. There are also some problems with sound balance. Before you start your game you'll want to turn music levels DOWN and keep voice levels UP -- trust me. Finally, the voice that pops up when you pause or save your game is perhaps a little irritating. But it's not a big deal.