Steps to defeating the first level of Prince Of Persia without getting the sword.
This has been tested extensively on the PC version with hardware dating from a Tandy 1000, to a Pentium III system. I have heard that on the Nintendo version to get past the first guard it is as easy as running towards him and jumping at an appropriate time, causing you to jump past (through) him. Thanks to my childhood chum, John L.P., who says he dreamt the below method up.
If the visual aid at the end of this writeup appears distorted, I apologize. I have tried to write these instructions so as not to require the visual aid, but it sure helps!
Beginning room (Room 1): Not much to do here except fall down to Room 2.
Room 2: From this room there is a guard in the room to your right (Room 3), and the sword is quite a few rooms to your left. Take only a few steps into Room 3.
Room 3: The guard will advance upon you, be patient and turn your back on him. Be sure to be as close as possible to the exit to Room 2. The guard will pass the torch and just about be in front of the patch of brick on the wall. Run NOW, back into Room 2.
Back in Room 2 If the Guard did NOT follow you: He has taken up position just outside the exit to Room 3. To lure him into Room 2 try running towards Room 3, but change direction at the last minute. The character will slide along the floor in order to change direction, and you will appear in Room 3 for less than a second. The guard should take up chase now.
Back in Room 2: Run all the way to the left side of Room 2, and position yourself beneath the ledge that will take you in to Room 4. The guard will continue to advance slowly. When he has advanced to the point between the column and the rightmost torch pull yourself up onto the ledge. This is the most crucial step, and will require the guard to be positioned just right if you are going to make it past him. He should be to the left of the rightmost torch OR blocking your view of the torch.
Room 4: Find the hidden ceiling panel, climb up into Room 5.
Room 5: On the right side are 2 ledges, climb up these so you are at the top level of Room 5. The top ledge will be a floor switch, It will open the gate to your right. Jump across and through the gate. This will bring you back into Room 1.
Room 1 (again): Not much to do here except fall down to Room 2. Take care to orient your character so when you hit the ground in Room 2 you will be facing Room 3. Also, lower yourself down by holding onto the ledge, hanging, then dropping.
Room 2: RUN!!! You will hit the ground, the guard will turn around but politely wait for you to stand up before attempting to slay you. If you positioned the guard correctly he will not have time to cut you in half if you take off as soon as you can.
Room 3: Proceed to Room 6. I like to do some victory jumps here.
Room 6: Finish the level as normal.
I hope this helps you save a few precious minutes you can use to finish the game.
What about the sword? Since when you encounter the guard at the beginning of Level 2 you draw a sword, we must assume our hero found a spare sword on the staircase somewhere.
|C # # |XXXX|
|C t t # # |XXXX|
|C____________#__ _____# __________|XXXX|
|XXXXXXXX 5 XX|C |XXXX| t t C |X 1 XXXXXX|
|XXXXXXXXXXXXX|C_ |XXXX|______C_ |XXXXXXXXXX|
|XXXX| t C |XXXXXXXXXXXX| C |X|
|XXXX|______ _C__|XXXXXXXXXXXX|___C_ ____|X|__________________________________________
|# t C t C |XXXXXXXX| |XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX| |
|#_______ C__________C__ |XXX 2 XX| |XXXXXXXXXXXX 3 XXXXXXXXXXX| |
|XXXXXXX||XXXXXXXXXXXXX| |XXXXXXXX| |XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX|__ ddd |
|XXXXXXX||XXXXXXXXXXXXX| t C t C C C t t C C t ddd t |
|XXXXXXX||XXX 4 XXXXXXX|____C_____C______C____C__________________C__C_______ddd_________|
|XXXXXXX| |XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX 6 XXXXXXXXXXX|
Key: C=Column t=Torch #=Gate d=Ending Door S=Spikes