Hello, everyone. Kinaman here again, and today I’ll be telling you about a certain Dendy game that, starting from my very first years of playing the system, just mesmerized me. The main reason why it captured my imagination is not even the fact that I’ve never seen anything like it on Dendy before, it’s that at the time, I couldn’t imagine, I couldn’t comprehend that games like this could even exist; that there are games out there that can and should be played not just for fun or entertainment or some kind of positive emotion, but in order to experience a sort of, you know… Nervous tension, and a pretty serious one, in fact.
A game that in a very believeable way creates an atmosphere of dread, and that, in fact, is what will keep the player engaged to the point where his heels will be stuck to the floor. Which is pretty much what happened to me. Despite the fact that, to this day, I have never actually beaten this game, I still consider it very unique and special, and that’s what I’ll try to tell you about today. It’s a brand new episode of Dendy Memories, and today we’ll be talking about a wonderful, one-of-a-kind Dendy game called Prince of Persia. Well, then, Gold of Persia https://mycasinoindex.com/game/gold-of-persia, as it’s actually called. I first played this game in 1995 or maybe even in 1996, I don’t remember when exactly; but I distinctly remember that I played it on my very first console, Lifa.
It was bought for me back then in that very same year of 1995 and served me for almost a year. I remember that Vitaly borrowed the cartridge from somebody, and I remember that when he turned it on for the first time and started playing it with me in the room next to him, I was sitting on the sofa, watching of this… Me, who already played Darkwing Duck, Tale Spin, Chip’n’Dale, and then saw THIS, saw Prince of Persia… I sat there thinking that there is no way I would ever play this.
When he’s running through some dark labyrinth, Screa- thunderously dropping down into the pits, When he’s running through some dark labyrinth, Screa- thunderously dropping down into the pits, when he’s running, and then spikes pop up from under the floor and impale him through arms and legs; when everything just presses down on you with all of this morbid stuff, I was like “damn…” I was like seven or eight at the time, are you kidding me? To hell with this, I’m not gonna play it, it’s too much for me, way too scary. Vitaly, on the other hand, really liked the game, you know.
In fact, he liked it a lot more than even Darkwing Duck, so for the time that we had the cartridge, which was like two-three, maybe four days, he was the one who played it. I tried it out maybe once or twice, just ran around the beginning of level 1 and gave up. I remember that the first couple of times we tried playing, Vitaly kept complaining about the controls. And really, when you play it for the first time, figuring out the controls is difficult, especially for me at my age back then. How to climb the sheer walls, how to avoid falling down, which buttons to hold in order to climb up or down – all of these movement intricacies were studied a lot later, after playing the game a few times, to the point where the motions become automatic.
Vitaly had trouble with it, but despite that, he really loved the grim atmosphere of the game. He ended up returning the cartridge; we didn’t have it for very long. After that, the next time I got to play the game was during the summer of 96 or maybe even later than that. My friend at the time was Denis Makarov, who, just like me, spent his summer at the village out in the countryside. The funny part is that we’re both from Rostov, we both live in the same neighborhood, but we never met each other in the city, and we only met each other when we both came to the village, where we actually lived right next to each other.
How about that? So, when he came to the village, he brought his Dendy with him, along with two cartridges. One was Tom & Jerry, and the other was this 6-in-1 right here. This one isn’t a Superhit, but it’s also pink. So, it says right here that there are six games – Prince of Rosia- That’s what’s funny, actually – why is it that the Dendy version was always called Prince of Rosia?
If the idea here is that the game was sold to Russians, then they were probably trying to write ”Prince of Russia”. Of course, as we know, Russia in English isn’t written as “Rosia”, but “R-U-S-S-I-A”. But no, they still stubbornly kept writing “Prince of Rosia” on every multicart out there. Well, what are you gonna do – that’s the logic they went with. So, we have Prince of Rosia, Top Gun, the Little Mermaid, Duck Tales 2 and two truly wonderful games – Super Little Mermaid and Super Duck Tales 3.
We’ll talk about these games sometime later, for now I can only say that that these are the same Little Mermaid and Duck Tales, except they have an increased amount of extra lives. So then, whenever he gave me this cartridge, we barely played Prince of Persia. For the most part, we played Top Gun, Duck Tales, the Little Mermaid, but because I’ll tell you all about this some other time, so today I’ll just limit myself to Prince of Persia. We mostly played Prince of Persia whenever I came over to his place, and when I did, he would explain and show me how to do things in the game, he said that he really liked it and that it’s very difficult and very long. At the time, neither of us knew that the game is actually 14 levels long, but regardless, no matter how much we tried, that summer we couldn’t get past level 3.
After beating each level, you’d get a password for that level, which helped significantly. The game only gave you 60 minutes to complete it, so even if you get to level 13 and run out of time, The game only gave you 60 minutes to complete it, you’ll have to start all the way from the beginning, no retries. We could kinda guess that that’s the way things were, but we didn’t know for sure. So then, he showed me how to beat level 1, how to beat level 2, and although I don’t exactly remember how far he made it on my watch, I do remember that when I borrowed the cartridge from him and played it back home on my own – I played it quite a lot, actually, because by that point, I really grew to like the grim atmosphere and started to really enjoy it for what it is.
I didn’t even know that genres like this even existed, I haven’t seen anything else like this on Dendy, and because this game was the only one of its kind, and was seriously well executed, I really grew to like it after all this and set out to beat it. But I could only ever make it to level 3. I remember it so well – sitting on the floor in front of the huge Foton TV set in the village, you appeared in level 3, and there’s a fork in the road – you don’t know if you should go left or right. I ran to the left, I ran to the right, I fell down a pit for a hundred times because I kept just missing the ledge…
So eventually I started to get tired of all of this. Despite the fact that I liked the game, it just seemed way too hard for me. Not even because you have to precisely calculate your every movement, but because the levels themselves were so convoluted. You have to open doors, look around for pressure plates, fight the guards that very often killed you, and even when you did manage to beat a guard, you had like one hitpoint left, you saw the long-awaited jug of healing potion, drank it, and he just fell over dead. And that’s it, you know. It was very annoying, it really was.
So, the farthest I could ever get to was level 3. I switched over to Duck Tales, Top Gun… God, how much of a blast did I have with that awesome music in Top Gun… But that’s a story for another time. So in a week – was it a week?
Well, it was actually more like two weeks that he was there – in two weeks I managed to work my way to level 3 – and that’s it. After that, I gave the cartridge back to him, we said our goodbyes, and he left. I didn’t have my own copy of the game, so if you consider that it was most likely the summer of 1996, the next time I saw the game was at Ilya’s. Ilya had the same Lifa console that I had, but by the time I learned this, my own Lifa has already kicked the bucket.
His copy of Prince of Persia was a 1-in-1 cartridge, and it was actually labeled as “Prince of Persia”, but the actual game inside it was still called “Prince of Rosia”, yup. I already mentioned that among us, Ilya was kind of an all-knowing guru who knew everything there is to know about games, at least the ones that he played. And he told me that he actually beat the game. I don’t remember if he told me that back when he first showed it to me or sometime later, but I knew that he made it very far in the game, no questions asked. Aside from Ilya, another person who had the game was my neighbor here at the time, Sergei. He had a Dendy Junior and a copy of Prince of Persia.
I just remember the moment when I came over to his place – it was probably the end of 1996 or maybe even the beginning of 1997 or maybe even the middle of 1997 – I seriously don’t remember. But what I do remember is me coming over, there’s nobody else home but there’s Lifa, there’s a TV, and we have two hours to play something, so first we put on TMNT2, and then we turned on Prince of Persia. Needless to say, we didn’t make it very far. But the reason I remember that moment is because that’s when we decided to play around with the passwords. I mean, the game has passwords, right?
8 digits. So we just decided to start randomly guessing numbers. I could only make it to level 3, he didn’t make it too far either, it seemed very difficult to him at the time, so we were like: “Let’s just try playing around with the passwords, maybe we’ll get something to happen”. I knew that there were 14 levels in the game, and he didn’t. So were like: “let’s try doing whatever”.
So we just started plugging in all sorts of random numbers, and then I decided to put in four 1s and a 2 at the end. Just for laughs. I remember we first tried four 0s and and 1 at the end- I mean, seven 0s and a 1, and then seven 1s and a 2. So can you imagine the surprise when we plugged in the password, and our hero drank the potion and didn’t drop dead, but ran upstairs instead. And we were like: “Holy crap, where are we going to end up now?” And we appeared in level 5, in a completely different location, with a different background and different graphics and everything. We were like: “We must be somewhere really far,” then bam – [Level 5] and then [0 minutes left].
We were in shock, complete shock. Can you imagine – we ended up on level 5, only to be told that we had 0 minutes worth of remaining time. This is the end. What the hell do we do?
We have 0 minutes, quick, let’s run around and see what the hell is going on around here! Well, [0 minutes] actually lasted a bit longer than 0 minutes, I couldn’t really tell you exactly. But because we replayed that part later, we saw a bit of level 5, it was enough for us to run around for a minute before he collapsed because time over. We were like: “this is some bullshit.” Can you imagine that? Randomly guess a password, by pure chance get somewhere far, only to be told that you’re out of time. So that’s the story.
I haven’t seen anything beyond level 5, so at that point I’ve only ever seen 1, 2, 3 and 5. But then Ilya shared this interesting mystery with me. I don’t know where he learned it, but apparently there was a password for the last level, level 14, and that this password is also fairly simple and looks like this: 10-11-12-13. That’s it. He told me about the password, and I was like: “holy crap, the last level, we’ll finally get to see what it looks like, that’s so rad!” But after plugging in the password, we saw a level that looked exactly like level 5, the same castle location. We had like 13 or 14 minutes, or maybe something like 9 minutes left – enough to run around and explore.
Of course, Ilya already knew about this, but I, after trying this at home (I tried it out by myself, of course), ran around and discovered that this level represents no difficulty whatsoever, there’s nowhere you can die there, and this level basically represents an interactive cutscene. So you run in one direction for a while, reach the end, where the princess is waiting for you, she gives you a kiss, and that’s the end. And then you get to read about how Jafar the tyrant was defeated or something, , I couldn’t understand any of it back then because I didn’t really know any English back then.
And that was the end. That’s how I saw the end of Prince of Persia, without beating even a… After only beating maybe a quarter of the game, I saw it. Well, what are you gonna do, I saw it, and that’s great. Obviously, no one among us back then even suspected that Prince of Persia is actually a port from PC and that it came out on the PC back in 89, if memory serves me right, and that it was considerably more interesting on the PC – none of us knew about it, because none of us had anything to do with PCs back then, they were a luxury. So then, I finally saw the ending in this manner, and around that time, in 97, my second Lifa kicked the bucket.
Yup, my second Lifa, because the first one died way back. Well, it served me for a year, after which the warranty (right, “the warranty”) allowed me to exchange it for a different Lifa, which was all black and oval-shaped, a bit like- well, not like this one right here. And this one served for about a year and a half or so, but died as well eventually.
What was I to do? I couldn’t really do anything, because at that point my parents refused to buy another new console, but what saved me was another one of my neighbors. That’s right, everyone here were neighbors back then, and everyone was friends with one another – it was awesome like that. So then, my other neighbor who lived right next door, in apartment 4 – I live in 5, he lives in 4 let me borrow his Dendy Junior, for old times’ sake. That’s right, he also had a Dendy Junior, but the reason he let me borrow it is because aside from the actual console, he didn’t have any joypads, no AC adapter, no cartridges – nothing but a stripped corpse.
But that’s just the thing I needed, you know? So he gave me his Dendy, said: “All right, fine, you can play it”, and I was like: “Oh man, this is awesome, I have all these cartridges, and all of my friends have a whole bunch”. So I grabbed a bunch of games from my friends, holed up at home, played a whole bunch, played some Darkwing Duck, Chip’n’Dale, TMNT, then I turned on some Prince of Persia… You understand, right? You know the drill. You guys know just how well Prince of Persia played on my console.
It didn’t play for fucking shit. It just shattered into a mess of graphical glitches all over the place, and I was just heartbroken because of it. How could it be, the only game that refuses to work properly, the only one of my favorites, and it just happens to be Prince of Persia.
Goddamn it, I was craving to play it, but it just wasn’t possible. And that’s why I put it the game on hold for a long time. I played through so many games back then… Just played everything I could get my hands on, except Prince of Persia. But damn, I wanted to see what happens later in the game so much. I mean, the first three levels, a glimpse of fifth and the ending – but goddamn it, the game consists of 14 levels, and I wanted to see them all, The game completely enchanted me, and I wanted to play it so badly, but there was nothing for me to play it on. And then finally, in 1999, I was fed up with this, seriously fed up.
I was dying to play it, and that’s when I remembered that Ilya has, in fact, beaten the game. Ilya played the game on his console, his own Lifa. But does his Lifa work – that’s what I was interested in. After summoning him for an interrogation, I started questioning him if his Lifa works.
And his answer was that it does, but somehow not very well. And I was like: “Come on, man, I’m dying to see what happens next in there; it’s such an awesome game can you beat it for me? If you’ve beaten it before (which he did), show me what lies further into the game.
On your Lifa, if it does work, let’s try playing through it.” He was like: “Fine”. The year was 1999, I remember it very well, it was autumn at the time, so he brought over his Lifa, just like the one back there. We started trying to set it up on this tiny little grey Elektronika TV set which I had in the kitchen, so we had to bring it from there to the room, or otherwise bring the console up here and connect it through the RF output. His Lifa did actually work, but the video quality was crap. He said that it supposedly didn’t really play at all, but it actually did work.
There were no graphical glitches- well, nothing that was untolerable, anyway, except for the fact that setting it up properly was next to impossible, so there was always static on the screen, you know, just the regular TV static. Somehow, we set it up; somehow, we got it to work, and Ilya, in my presence, under my watchful eye, so to say, set out to beat the game from level 1. He beat the first four levels without any real difficulties; was blown away just looking at it. I’ve always loved cinematic games, and Prince of Persia in particular is just, wow… There’s a guy running around in there like he’s actually alive; I haven’t seen anything like it on Dendy, nothing this lifelike.
So then, Ilya has started his playthrough. When he reached level 5, the very same level I wanted so much to see him play, I remember that he spent a lot of time trying to figure out the proper sequence, because the level really is very convoluted. But I do remember that he did beat it that evening.
I don’t remember exactly how many days or weeks we played, but let’s not dwell on that, shall we? He finally managed to beat level 5, and I remember thinking: “This is it; now the real fun is gonna start.” I distinctly remember that- Oh, right, there’s one thing I forgot to tell you – level 4, the one we ended up skipping back in childhood – I finally got to see what it looks like. I was very intrigued by the sequence in level 4 where the doppelganger shows up where you run forward, a mirror appears in front of you, and you can’t go past it, but you can jump through, shattering it with your own body. And from beyond the looking glass emerges what is supposedly your doppelganger. I was just-Holy hell, this is so interesting!
We’ll definitely have to fight him by the end, no way around it! He didn’t tell me anything about it, and I don’t even think he remembered it himself, but that doppelganger was trying to screw you over throughout the entire game. On that same-no, hold on, which one was it..? Hmmm, on some other level he beat us to the jug of life force, I mean life-giving potion and drank it instead of us, but back then we didn’t really bother to figure out that you can actually trick him, because he only runs out if you step on the pressure plate, and if you jump over the pressure plate, drink the bottle and then step on the plate, he won’t show up, and the energy will be yours for the taking. We didn’t really bother with any of this, but man, what a bastard that guy is! He did everything he could to fuck us over, on level 6 he didn’t let us jump over a pit, so we fell into it.
This was… This was like a challenge! You asshole, what the hell are you doing!? We couldn’t wait to get to the end, so we could figure out how to fight him and kill his ass with our sword! But this was still ahead of us, though. So then, we reached level 7, and the background walls turned back to what they were on level 1. Personally, I always preferred the atmosphere of the cellar, the atmosphere of the dungeon, to of those pretty columns and yellow bricks.
It’s that grittiness that I loved, that labyrinth. When I was a kid, I really wanted to see these levels in their entirety. I mean like everything, the entire structure of a level. But that was a dream that wouldn’t be realized until later. I remember that on level 7, there’s this gravity trick, and neither of us knew what to do at that point. He drank the water, and then we saw a huge pit.
Jumping in there would be certain death, so what else is there to do? We started running back and forth, and then, I’m not even sure how he either remembered something or accidentally jumped in there, but he slowly floated all the way down to the exit door. I don’t know about him, but I was just blown away by this. Figuring this out on your own is impossible. I get that there is the water, you drink it, and there is a pit right in front of you. Sure, you can randomly decide to jump in there just for lulz and figure out the trick that way.
But I’d never think to do something like that. It would be the last thing I would try, when I’d completely run out of ideas. So then, I remember him making it to level 8, I think.
where there is that funny thing with the mouse. When we made it there, I remember him telling me that this is some sort of long level, and there should be a mouse here that opens the door for you. And I was like: “holy hell, a mouse? Where?
How? What?” And man, he had to replay that level so many times… He played it like, I don’t know, 8 or 9 times every evening.
He was starting to get really sick of this, so we postponed it for the next day, and then for the day after that. The thing is that he constantly kept screwing up the jumps to het to the doors you needed to go through, he kept falling down and losing a lot of time. And because we knew time is limited in this game, we kept replaying it over and over again so that we’d only have no more that 4 failed attempts, otherwise time is just being wasted.
I remember that we started to get really pissed off about this, and he was starting to get nervous because of constant failures, but I do remember him finally reaching the spot where the mouse opens the door to the exit for him. But trust me, it took a lot of nerve cells to get to that point. After reaching level 9, I distinctly recall that at that point it’s been a week since we started playing. He didn’t come over every day, maybe every other day, and when he did, we didn’t always sit down to play Prince of Persia. So, it’s been a week, and at long last he made it to level 9.
And level 9 was, I don’t even know… Well, you know, it was actually fairly complex too. but the problem was that every time Ilya sat down to play Dendy, every time we set the console to work properly, the video quality was getting worse and worse. By the time we worked our way up to level 9, setting it just right was very difficult, the image quality kept slipping. Goddamn “Elektronika” with its little spinny thingy, that little adjustment wheel, you barely touch it, and the setting is immediately thrown off. Well, those of you who had it know exactly what I’m talking about.
So, level 9… He had, I don’t know, maybe 20 minutes left to beat everything. This was only level 9, and there 14 in total. And he was starting to get so nervous, because he kept replaying it so many damn times, he was just losing his way entirely and forgetting where to run, and until he remembered, until this, until that… And then there’s the goddamn video interference… So in short, all of this was really starting to get on our nerves. So one day, he just said: “you know, Pashka, to hell with this, you try playing it.” And I tried playing myself, I really did, but it’s just that… Well… You know, I’ll be honest, watching it was a lot more interesting. But when you sit down to play it yourself, you start to freak out a bit.
I mean, yeah, it’s on Dendy, and of course I played it before, but not too much. It’s just that after watching Ilya play, I really wanted to see him play it through to the end. He started it, he should be the one to beat it.
But he… By level 9, he got sick and tired of the game and called it quits. So at the end, we abandoned the game at level 9 and never beat it. I got to see more than half the game already, so there were only really levels 10, 11 and 12… Oh, and 13, 4 levels left altogether.
and of course, we knew that somewhere in there you’d most likely have to fight the doopelganger, and that somewhere in there would be the climax of the whole thing, but… At the end, I couldn’t make it there on my own. Neither could Ilya, for that matter. So as a result of everything that happened, I haven’t played the game for a long time afterwards. Probably not until I got my own PC, back in 2003, when figured out that you can play on emulators and try out all sorts of different games. Not until I got a hold of the passwords to all the levels, from those tips & tricks books and the internet… I tried playing on an emulator using savestates, I tried playing with passwords, but… You know, it was just really exhausting somehow.
What I wanted is just for someone to beautifully, skillfully play through the game for me so that I’d see how everything is, and that would be it. But there was no one who could beat it for me. I remember that when we finally opened the walkthrough section on Emuland, one man did step up to the challenge. It was Vazgal.
It was already 2005 or 2006. So he recorded his playthrough for me, and at long last, I did get to see it all. I was very satisfied by the walkthrough, but I was very disappointed by the fact that you never do get to actually fight the doppelganger, that his appearance when he threw you into a pit and locked the door in front of you – was basically his last appearance in the entire game. I just couldn’t understand why it had to be this way, it just seemed so wrong and illogical. There is no supervillain of any kind at the end of game, just a regular guard on the second-to-last level that you get to fight, and yeah, he’s strong, but he’s just a regular guard.
See, back then I didn’t know that the game was ported from the PC, and that this guard was actually supposed to be the tyrant Jaffar, it’s just that in the PC version he actually looked like Jaffar, this huge guy with a beard, and here he just looks like a regular guard, except he’s stronger that the other ones. I didn’t know this, so it didn’t seem enough for me, the game seemed somehow unfinished to me, something was just off about it. So then, after seeing the playthrough with the passwords- I mean Vazgal’s playthrough, I haven’t played the game since and never tried to beat it. It wasn’t until later that I learned about the PC version and about the fact that it was ported.
That’s when learned all of these plot intricacies and what the whole story is all about. There is actually an intro in there, there’s a cutscene showing the doppelganger’s first appearance. Hell, you actually do get to fight the doppelganger in the PC version! It’s just in the end, you have to merge with him, so you’ll become one, and you don’t actually have to kill him. It has all those different cutscenes, like the one with the mouse.
Turns out the princess is actually sitting in her chambers when she calls for the mouse and tells him that I’m in trouble meaning her comrade, he needs someone to save him, so please help him. The mouse actually got all that and ran away to eventually open the door for him. Everything was actually explained, but the only thing that was explained on Dendy was… Only the ending explained what this whole thing has been about.
So after learning all that, I really liked the PC version too. I never beat it either, but trust me, I’ll get around to it one day. So to this very day – and it’s 2012 already – and I still haven’t beaten the game, not even once. But you know, it’s probably like with Silent Hill – and I’ll allow myself to talk about a more recent game for once.
What really grabs my attention about Silent Hill is watching someone else play it, because this game is very intriguing for me from a cinematic standpoint. Same thing with Prince of Persia. Somehow, actually playing it on my own is somehow scary, or rather, stressful, and I would much rather watch someone else play through it. So that’s why these days, it’s enough for me to turn on someone else’s playthrough, watch it and be content with that. Well, then, these were my – somewhat controversial – memories of Prince of Persia.
Believe me when I say this game is very precious to me, games like it were- Well, I did find out later that Dendy had other so-called “horror” games, like, say, Friday the 13th or the Nightmare on Elm Street. But when I was a kid, I didn’t run across any of them, only Prince of Persia. And even if I did, Prince of Persia still stands head and shoulders above other games, because it was made very seriously compared to everything else.
there’s not a gram of cartoonishness in it, not a gram of, how should I say it… There is nothing extraneous in it and there is nothing mediocre about it. It’s very clear-cut, very well-executed and takes itself very seriously, and if you start playing it, it will have a profound effect on you, purely psychologically, you know? And that’s the reason why I appreciate this game so much, and maybe sometime in the future, after years pass, and maybe the day will come where I’ll decide to give it one more try, until my Dendy Junior dies, and when it does, I’ll buy a new console, and then, perhaps… Well, actually, I do have a Classic. Yup, I sure do. Okay, we’ll think about it some other time.
So then, a huge thank you for hearing me out, these were my memories of the game Prince of Persia, Kinaman was here, thank you for watching, stay tuned to Kinamania, play Dendy, and see you later! Special thanks:Eugene Bagatsky a.k.a KainYegor Rychkov a.k.a Smokey subtitles by NucleaRaptor