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Story/History Guide by zukowskc
Version: 1.0 | Updated: 01/05/08
ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo A S S A S S I N ' S C R E E D --------------------------------------- zukalous(at)gameintestine(dot)com THIS FAQ CAN ONLY BE POSTED ON THE FOLLOWING SITES: www.gameintestine.com www.gamefaqs.com --------------------------------------- _____________________________________________ | Contents | Introduction -------------------------------- (x01) About this guide --------------------------- (x02) Hour by Hour Review of Assassin's Creed ----- (x03) Introduction Cut Scene ---------------------- (x04) The Start ----------------------------------- (x05) The Basic Strategy ------------------------- (x06) Memory Block 1 ----------------------------- (x07) Abstergo Labs ------------------------ (x07a) Memory Block 2 ----------------------------- (x08) Kingdom ------------------------------ (x08a) Damascus ----------------------------- (x08b) Abstergo Labs ------------------------ (x08c) Memory Block 3 ------------------------------ (x09) Jerusalem ---------------------------- (x09a) Acre --------------------------------- (x09b) Abstergo Labs ------------------------ (x09c) Memory Block 4 ------------------------------ (x10) DAMASCUS ----------------------------- (x10a) ACRE --------------------------------- (x10b) Jerusalem ---------------------------- (x10c) Abstergo Labs ------------------------ (x10d) Memory Block 5 ------------------------------ (x11) ACRE --------------------------------- (x11a) Damascus ----------------------------- (x11b) Abstergo Labs ------------------------ (x11c) Memory Block 6 ------------------------------ (x12) Jerusalem ---------------------------- (x12a) Arsuf -------------------------------- (x12b) Abstergo Labs ------------------------ (x12c) Memory Block 7 ------------------------------ (x13) Denouement --------------------------- (x13a) _____________________________________________ | Introduction (x01) | Ubisoft's latest game is about the troubled lives of the Assassins and their dependence on hay farmers. This 12th century epic follows these mysterious men as they take a stab at turning the tide of the crusades. By following this story we may be able to learn more about how people live their day to day. I hope so, because I have so many questions. Who were the assassins? What implications did their actions have on the future? Can we draw conclusions about our own lives by learning from their history? And, can a sandbox game be fun without explosives? _____________________________________________ | About this guide (x02) | This guide started out as a walkthrough but after playing the first hour I realized that the game repeats itself over an over again and could have been written in a spreadsheet. If you want help playing the game, see the chapter called "The Basic Strategy (x06)" because it will guide you through 90% of the game. The remainder of this guide is just a walkthrough of the plot, the art, and the background behind this game. Read on to find out: - The story of old men living in mountain castles who drug 13 year old boys. - How this game hints that the biblical Jesus never existed - Women are decoys to trick men. (Watch out boys!) ________________________________________________ | Hour by Hour Review of Assassin's Creed (x03) | The following is a graph of how entertaining Assassin's Creed is on an hour by hour basis. The vertical line is the entertainment factor from 1-10. The number of hours is listed along the bottom. If there is a message to take away by looking at this graph it is that the game is very strong in the beginning when the experience was novel. However, as the game wore on and the new ideas and the new things to explore never appeared, the game became bogged down in its own monotony. 10| 9| 8| * 7| * * 6| * * 5|**** *** * 4|**** ******* 3|************* *** 2|******************** 1|******************** 01234567891111111111 0123456789 For a description of what was done at each hour go to: _____________________________________________ | Introduction Cut Scene (x04 | A warning appears that says "Inspired by historical events and characters. This work of fiction was designed, developed and produced by a multi cultural team of various religious faiths and beliefs." Which is basically legalize for "I am not racist, I have lots of Muslim friends." Don't push start! We arrive at a sprawling and uniformly medieval city from viewpoint that is floating slowly over the city walls. An eagle flies from an executioner's scaffolding and towards a man who is dressed in a hooded white muumuu, tuxedo tails, and a cummerbund that has been heavily bedazzled. He stands on the ledge of a church's bell tower overlooking the end of the execution. The bell swings and the man is gone by the time it swings the other way. When the bell tolls a second time the muumuu-clad-man is stalking through the crowd pushing himself, quite rudely, to the front. When he gets there he readies the crossbow (that is strapped to his back) to shoot one guard before hooking the second one with the back of it. The third guard is killed not by the crossbow, but by a shiv that extends out of the man's wrist. Obviously pursued, muumuu runs through the city and up onto the rooftop. Good move. He then makes a jumps off the roof and onto a guard. Dumb move. Now he is now on the same level as the guards and because it is a high-density city, he finds himself at a dead end. He is just in time, though, because the door behind him opens and a gaggle of monks, also clad in white, file out. With the guards confused by all the white, the man escapes. We get to the title screen with the Assassin's Creed logo that looks more like Jimmy Durante wearing a Guy Fawkes mask. _____________________________________________ | The start (x05) | The screen garbles the way high tech things do when they go wrong and we see the muumuu man again. This time he is surrounded by faceless women and the background is swirling and blurry. A man and a woman argue over the whole experience and whether they should get him out of there. This is one of those great, surreal, "Being John Malcovich" moments that videogames are so adept at reproducing but are sadly rarely utilized. There are no consequences in this dreamscape so you can do what I do when I find myself in such a situation which is to start punching indiscriminately. Just when it really becomes fun, the screen goes white and a man wakes up in Tom Hank's apartment from Big. The man, named Desmond, is flanked on either side by a man and a woman who reassure him that everything is going to be fine. The standing man has a grey beard so he must be a scientist and as the is the case with all scientists, he is recklessly testing the ethical boundaries of humanity but will get his comeuppance in a terrifyingly ironic way. The female is attractive and young so she will be sympathetic to the protagonist's plight. Desmond, still sitting on the table, accuses them of being bastards and then he yells at them for kidnapping him and strapping him to that "thing" which we soon find out is called the Animus. The man in the lab coat says that he has information that they need. In his own defense, Desmond says that he is a bartender and in effect knows nothing of value. Lab coat then says "you are an assassin" and Desmond says yes, "but I gave that up years ago" as if it were something you just stop doing like tennis or knitting. Lab coat insists that the bartender lies down so they don't have to induce a coma and force the memories out of him. The bartender agrees and the Animus machine starts up. Before Desmond is reinserted into the Animus, the scientist is courteous enough to explain what is going on. Our ancestors' memories are locked deep in our DNA. They are called "Genetic Memories" and the Animus allows a person to relive those buried memories. Desmond was kidnapped and had the red pill shoved down his throat because his ancestors participated in something that is very important to the doctor and his organization. The whole explanation is a bit long winded and would have gone over better if they just brought Mr. DNA to do the explaining. Now that he knows the science of the device, Desmond accepts his fate and "jacks in" to the Animus. _____________________________________________ | The Basic Strategy (x06) | You thought the life an assassin would be exciting? Never the same thing twice, never knowing who to kill next, odds are you wouldn't see tomorrow. Turns out you are wrong. Assassins have a very structured life full of investigating, observing, and getting approvals from HQ. All this upfront work pretty much takes the fun out of the actual assassinating. It is pretty boring. That's why there isn't a whole lot written about Charlse J. Guiteau before he killed James a Garfield. So, you can see my predicament when I have to write a walkthrough for this repetitive slog of a game. I could have replaced the entire write-up with a single Excel spreadsheet. But I didn't. I will just give you the highlights. The first thing to do is develop your "run claw." Your hand will be depressing the Run button and the Trigger button like this for most of the game and it is important to strengthen the right muscles so you do not get a cramp before a key assassination or while you are being chased down by a guard. With the basics for the control complete, here is how to use this walkthrough. 1) When you start a new memory block you are in the town of Masyaf and the HQ chief tells you the city of your next assignment 2) Run to your horse, located outside the gates, and proceed to the city that is mentioned in step 1. If you have already been to the city, a quick jump screen appears so you can fast-travel there. The city you need to go to will also be indicated on this screen. 3) If you have never been to the city, look at the skyline and find a tower. Climb that tower and press the head button to synchronize with the city. You now have the city's Assassin's Bureau indicated on the map. 4) Head for the Assassin's local chapter. Talk to the chief who recommends where you to start your investigation. 5) Hidden throughout the city are missions. To find them, climb to the top of the tower that is indicated with an eagle icon on your map. Accessing the viewpoint reveals any missions (if there are any) in the area. 6) When you find a mission, complete it. Repeat this 3 times (you could do more, but what is the point). 7) After you complete three investigations you have enough evidence to kill the target. Go back to the town's Assassin's Bureau to get the approval signified by a feather to collect the blood of the target. 8) The assassination site is marked on your map. Press select to see it and head over there to kill the target. The mission types Ease dropping - They say it takes a bigger man to know when not to fight, and when not to take action. Altair is a true man because when the cards are down he takes a seat and listens. You hear that men? It is important to sit. To complete this mission type find your target (eagle vision paints them white) then find a bench and then take a load off and this mission is done. Interrogation - This mission type is when Assassin's Creed ends and Apollo Creed starts. There is someone standing on a street corner preaching. Target them, press the head button, and then wait for them to finish the speech. Then, follow them to a non-obvious corner of the city and punch them a few times. They stop fighting back and tell you what they know. Pick Pocketing - Just because they are assassins doesn't mean they are not above the simple crime of pick pocketing. In this mission type you need to distance yourself from the target, ease drop and then when the target is alone, walk up and hit the pickpocket button. Challenges - Of all the types of mission this is the one that is the least fulfilling. You either chase down flags arranged in a line across the city (no apparent reason why) or you are forced two kill a set number of guards for another assassin. Complete the challenge successfully and the man requesting it will tell you some very minor detail that really isn't helpful to the game play or the story. _____________________________________________ | Memory Block 1 (x07) | The first thing we hear is a man saying "Wait, wait, there must be another way, this one need not die." Then, a guy who looks like Hamid Karzai is stabbed in the back by our muumuu clad hero. There are two other similarly dressed assassin's with him. One is a novice learning the assassin ways while the other seems to be a veteran who dislikes the overt and reckless way our protagonist is disregarding the creed (something you should follow considering it is the title of this game.) The three men are exploring this dingy cave because their master has sent them in to grab a treasure that has been hidden under the Temple Mount. After running across the open shafts, up an incredibly long ladder, and through another innocent victim's throat, the men reach the treasure. The Ark of the Covenant. My finger hovers over the head button preparing for the context to switch to "don't look into the light." Just as they arrive, a platoon of Templar Knights emerge from the Temple and are lead by Robert de Sable. They too seek the Ark. Altair, despite the pleas of his traveling party descends, in a very un-assassin like way, to openly attack Robert. Lock on to Robert and go for the kill. Robert grabs Altair before he could kill and throws him through a pile of ancient 2x4s and the roof collapses behind him. Not another game where we face the big boss in the first level only to have him kill us like it is nothing. Now unable to go back and help his fellow assassins as they fight the Templars, Altair has to climb his way up through the temple's biblical scaffolding (possibly crafted by Moses). Altair reaches the opening of the temple and the Jerusalem skyline is silhouetted by the setting sun. It is a beautiful sight but instead of letting us enjoy it, the memory fasts forward to Altair in a dusty little city. A man, standing in the square tells Altair that the Master wants to see him. To find the master, run Altair up the hill to the Assassin's HQ (it is designated by the icon on your map). There is no reason to use the slow, blended, gentle push just book it. Continue up the hill to the fortress and into the library, full of books about how to kill dudes. At the top of the stairs is the Assassin master. Altair explains that he was unable to recover the treasure because he was outnumbered. The treasure is gone, the target is gone, and his men are gone. He is scolded and Altair is taken off the job. Then Malik comes in clutching his arm. His brother is dead but he was miraculously able to recover the treasure from the Ark and gives it to the Master. It isn't all good news though because Robert de Sable followed Malik back to the Assassin's secret hideout. As punishment, Altair is forced to single- handedly stop the invasion. The memory is fast forwarded to a more interesting one. With the Templars attacking the village, your mission is to keep them occupied while the village is evacuated. Run down the hill to the gate, fight any soldiers along the way. The combat feels removed and not very satisfying. It is as if you are controlling someone else who is controlling someone else. Upon reaching the bottom of the town, the assassins return to the home base and the memory is fast forwarded. We find ourselves back in the Assassin's base and a man calls from one of the towers. Head up the incredibly long ladder. The man commands Altair to stand on the edge of the platform and do exactly as he says. When you get to the edge you can see and hear Robert demanding the Assassins return the treasure. Who is he kidding with that French accent? This game was made in Montreal and that is the best French accent they could find? I surprised Robert doesn't pepper his words with "baguette" and "croissant." Robert stands outside the gates with a foot-soldier rush. Those gates will be a problem for the soldiers to tear down, he should have brought trebuchets with the chemistry upgrade for +5 damage vs. stone structures. Because he knows he wont be able to lay siege to the city, Robert says that he will blockade it and starve them men out. The Assassin master says that it won't do any good because his men do not fear death. As proof, he points to Altair perched on the tower ledge. He immediately dives off and into an unseen (to Robert) hay stack. Jump out of the haystack to head across the series of beams, up the wall to the entrance of the castle walls. When you climb to the top of the tower, press the attack button to slash the 2x4 releasing an Ewok style rollout of logs that decimates Robert's troops. No time to savor the victory though, stupid memory flashes forward to the Master congratulating Altair. The master and the other assassins gather around everyone's favorite assassin. Making an example of him he says that the plan was successful because Altair followed orders. Then, in the same breath he scolds him, saying that listening would have prevented the attack by Robert in the first place. I have been playing this game for one hour and I am already getting a lecture, this is a good way of making your audience continue playing. He then lists off the three tenants of the Assassin making a case that Altair violated each of them. 1) Stay your blade from the flesh of an innocent 2) Hide in plain sight, stay in the crowds 3) Never compromise the brotherhood. Your actions should not hurt anyone else. For punishment, Mualin does what assassins do best and kills Altair. With a steak knife no less. I wonder if that is considered training? Altair crumples to the ground. -- Abstergo Labs (x07a) -- Desmond awakens beneath the LCD sneeze guard and Warren Vidic is pleased to see his rapid adaptation to the Animus but reluctantly lets him take a break. Lucy and Dr. Vidic return to the conference room leaving Desmond alone to explore. Before you start trying to climb the walls of the lab, you must realize that Desmond is not like Altair. In fact, he can do only two things, talk and lie down. He is a lot like your grandma. With his limited mobility, walk Desmond back to his bathroom and get close to the vent to hear Lucy pleading with Vidic to slow down the sessions so that Desmond is not hurt. Vidic disagrees; the tight deadlines dictate this hurried schedule. Heading back around to the main room, Vidic finds Desmond and says that the session has been a long enough for today and he should go rest. Talk to Lucy and Desmond reveals that he grew up on a group farm that trained kids how to become assassins. The group was radical and he escaped when he was 16 because he thought it was too strange. I'll tell you what is strange, a 16 year old running away from assassin school. When I was 16 I was teaching myself how to be an assassin. Of coarse it was with a Nerf dart gun and a stick with a broken off end but it was in the same spirit. Head back to the bedroom and sleep. The text at the bottom says its "the following morning..." and the screen goes dark. Dr. Vidic stands over Desmond as he rises. Desmond scoffs and ironically says "Oh! I wonder who I get to kill today?" Shut up you sarcastic assassin school dropout. Dr. Vidic explains that Desmond's ancestors had it right, you should use a little bit of killing to correct a corrupt society. Yup its that type of game. Total Time 1 Hr ***** - too much exposition, they never let me do anything. _____________________________________________ | Memory Block 2 (x08) | After jacking into the Animus again, we are back into the third crusade. Altair is amazingly still alive after being stabbed by his boss and is standing in front of his desk. Al Mualim says that Altair sees only what he wants him to see and that he was just sleeping the sleep of death. Altair was stabbed so that he could find his peace within and stop being such a dickweed. Mualim could have just taken away his weapons. He didn't have to stab him with his magic "fake dead" knife. Altair is now "reborn" and has to earn all his weapons back. Like Samus progressing through every Metroid, Altair gains more and more abilities as he gets further. The first step to regaining Altair's rank is to ferret out one of the guild's traitors. Head out of the main library and out to the courtyard. Before descending into the city of Masyaf, Altair is stopped by a fellow guildsman who volunteers to show him the ropes of an assassin investigation. Altair cuts him off like an asshole. How did a jerk like Altair ever secure the chance to pass on his genetics to Desmond? Follow the icons on your map to find the conversation target. Sit on the nearby bench and listen to the busybodies surmise that the basket maker is in on the scheme. You are prompted to pickpocket the Basket Weaver. This should prove tricky considering flowing robes don't usually have pockets. When you reach the Basket Weaver (again by using the map) you must listen to a woman complain about her deficit of baskets. When the conversation is over, follow the man and you can steal an incriminating letter from his 12th century fanny pack. The letter implicates Masun in the attack on the HQ. When you find him, he is standing on a balcony yelling loudly to whoever will listen about the evils of Al Mualim. This guy is in the dark ages, he should really be complaining about a lot more. Such as, the lack of sanitation, restrictive social classes, and the uneven distribution of wealth. Al Mualim is small potatoes compared to that. Anyhow, punch him a few times and he concedes that he works for the Templar Knights and opened the gates because he believes it was right. Submitting to Altair, Masun is brought in front of Al Mualim and freely admits to his crime. Strongly refusing to repent, Al Mualim stabs Masun with a blade much longer and deadlier than that "fake dead" dagger he stabbed Altair with earlier. Al Mualim then gives Altair that sword saying that he earned the right to wield it. He then tells Altair that he has a list of nine men who must die because their political standing corrupts the land. I guess we just found out who Joseph McCarthy's distant relative is. Rubbing out these nine will restore Altair's full rank. The first kill is in Damascus. When the speech is over, there is a mini animation of Altair examining his newly acquired Assassin's blade. As pointed out by N'gai Croal in his November 1st Vs. column, this little animation is quoting Link's item obtaining animations in The Legend of Zelda games. -- The ride through the Kingdom (x08a) -- The Assassin's Headquarters you are in now is where all of your missions are assigned. It is, in essence, Crackdown's Agency Tower, it is the security room in Dead Rising, the Imperial City in Oblivion, CJs house in San Andreas and the Castle in Shadow of the Colossus. It is interesting that all these sandbox games have a central point from which all missions are assigned. The building that is chosen in Assassin's Creed (as well as in Oblivion, Shadow of the Colossus, and Crackdown) is so imposing and vertically prominent. Its as if these games need a solid anchor to center all the free-roaming craziness that can leave you wandering around the sandbox aimlessly. Anyway, from the central hub of Masyaf head down the hill to the stables steel a horse. You control Altair on his ride through the Syrian countryside before reaching Damascus. Open your map by pressing select button and head for Damascus' cross icon. You can stop and ascend any of the guard towers (identified by the eagle icons) to reveal addition map details, however it is not at all necessary. Scattered among the various bushes, barrels, stone walls, and guard towers are a rabble of flags (this game's collectable whats-it.) You can't redeem them for additional outfits for Altair and they definitely do not unlock big head mode. Other than the XBOX 360 achievement points, there is no reason to collect them. In fact, the game's creative director Patrice Desilets "suggested he could have done without them but said others on his team thought players would enjoy gathering them." So, because the game's director didn't have the balls to tell someone "no," you are stuck wasting hours collecting the flags. Whether you collect the flags or not, you should spend a little time exploring the off-the-path wilderness of this over-world. The landscape is pretty well-kept considering this is a war ravaged nation. It is amazing how little details like an extra cypress tree here or there can make the world feel so much more real. I haven't tried it yet but I bet ridding through Shadow of the Colossus's over-world again will seem sterile and unnatural. When you finally do get to the Damascus' city gates, they are blocked by guards. Climbing a nearby tower unveils a citizen who is under attack. When you kill the attackers and free the citizen, a cluster of white clad scholars/monks appear. Use them for cover and slink into the city. -- DAMASCUS (x08b) -- This camel-tinted town is Damascus. According to wikipedia it was Saladin's capitol during the Crusades. Capitol of what I don't know, I was using wikipedia, what do you expect. You can definitely see the Arabic influences with the prevalence of Horseshoe arches and the classic red and white voussoirs that we have seen before. The first task is to find the Assassin's Bureau. Climb any of the towers that are identified with the eagle icon to reveal more of the map. Then, head for the Bureau, identified by the Assassin's Creed Logo (TM property of Ubisoft). The Bureau is quite the respite from the hustle and bustle of the city; there are cushions on the floor, vines lining the excellently maintained walls, even a fountain that creates some beautiful white noise and that is just the outer garden. Inside, there is the Bureau Chief who gives Altair information about the cit and his target. Altair is not allowed to assassinate until he gets confirmation that the target is in the city and is indeed the one they want. For that reason, Altair has to hit the streets to pick up information. Investigation: A man named Tamir is the target and through Altair's sneaky assassin way of pick pocketing, ease dropping, interrogating, and obstacle coarse running, he deduces that Tamir will be in the local marketplace (called the Souk) to discuss an extra large shipment of weapons. With the hit fully researched, return to Dalmasca's Bureau to register the information. The chief makes it official by giving Altair a feather. The Assassination: When Altair reaches the Souk, the target, Tamir (who is dressed in red), is berating his blacksmith supplier (dressed in white). The weapon producer is behind schedule and tries to justify it by saying that Tamir's schedules are unwieldy and that he can't fulfill the orders. Oh and then he spits on Tamir. As expected this doesn't go over well and Tamir gives the blacksmith a whole lot of speed holes. At this point that blacksmith probably wishes he hadn't made that knife so sharp. The scene ends with the blacksmith left for dead in the fountain as a lesson to the rest of the Souk. I feel bad for the blacksmith but if there is one thing I have learned in my decade of being a working stiff it's that if you can't meet a deadline it is best just to tell your boss early so that you can each reach a compromise. The poor guy waited too long and is now feeling the consequences. The Kill: Follow Tamir and ready the assassination blade. If you sneak up on him you can stab him without causing a ruckus. The Blue Screen Of Death: When he is finally assassinated, the outside world is replaced by a pastel blue cloud and Altair and the target are in this semi dream state. It is like someone took a hit of a very diluted acid that was made from lavender and instead of discussing the typical acid trip stuff (ie: the growing dependence on wind generated from cockroach eyes) everyone talks about their feelings. Using the fabulously gaudy yet poetic line "you think me some petty death dealer suckling at the breast of war," the rapidly fading Tamir makes no apologies and claims that he is not in the arms trade for the money but for a far greater cause. The "petty death dealer's" soul then wanders off into the mist as Altair coochie coo's his throat with the assassination feather. -- Abstergo Labs(x08c) --- Desmond awakens from the Animus because Lucy convinced the doctor that it was enough work for the day. The Doctor leaves the office and Desmond takes this opportunity to confront Lucy about how..."fucked" this kidnapping situation is. With the tantrum over, Desmond rightfully wonders why everyone speaks English in this supposedly Arabic country. As she explains, the Animus translates the language to one Desmond can understand. I assume that this speech translation software is still in beta because it makes the accents sound phony and the acting horrible. Lucy insists that he read up on the company on the nearby terminal. This was a ruse by Lucy as she was really trying to sneak him information about how evil the company is that kidnapped him is. Steer Desmond back to bed. Notice that modern day alternative to Altair's white muumuu is an American Apparel Pullover hoody. It's like Desmond and his ancestors are pre-disposed to like white garments that cover their heads. The following morning ... Doctor Vidic comes in, tells Desmond that time is wasting and it is time to start. Waking up surprisingly early and easily for a bartender, Desmond heads out and towards the animus. Total Time: 3 Hrs - ******** - Fun to run on the roofs of Dalmasca, getting the hang of the combat system. _____________________________________________ | Memory Block 3 (x09) | Back in the Holy land, Altair stands in front of Al Mualim and his Assassin CEO desk. The chief does not tell Altair the entire story of the assassinations so he doesn't get too full of himself again. But, to encourage his progression he gives Altair the counter move which finally makes combat manageable. Practice this move in the courtyard because it is the single most important move in the game. The next two missions are in Jerusalem and Acre. Before heading on to the rest of the mission, take a detour out the back door of the library to the Assassin's garden which is full of the typical flora and scantily clad women. Seems a little strange for these guys hiding in a mountain to have such a garden right? Well, there is a real reason the game's designers put it in. Back in 11th century, the real-life, historical Assassins (known as Hashshashin) formed a militant clan. Their leader, an old man named Hasan i Sabbah built an army by kidnapping 12 year olds, giving them a drug concoction Hashish (a variation of marijuana) and opiates that would knock them out. He would wake them up, while still drugged, in the garden surrounded by beautiful women. The boys, of course, thought it was paradise and were willing to lay down their life to fight for Sabbah thinking him a deity. With such a sordid history associated with the Assassins it is no wonder that the Ubisoft team decided to leave it out of the story line. They did, however leave the garden and the fair maidens as a little wink to those who know the story. Jade Raymond even makes a passing reference to the Assassin's hashished-out state in this video: Developer Diary Storyline. http://www.gametrailers.com/player/13648.html (go to the 0:59 mark). The ESRB, expectedly, missed the drug references too giving it an M for "Blood, Strong Language, and Violence" but not for Drug use. -- Jerusalem (x09a) -- So Jerusalem. I don't know the best way to represent a city that is so holy we keep fighting over it but they seem to have done a pretty good job. From outside the walls you can see the gold dome belonging to the fabled Dome of the Rock that contains a huge stone where Jesus preached and was crucified, Adam and Eve were kicked out, Isaac was almost sacrificed, and Muhammad ascended to heaven, it is pretty much the Forrest Gump of rocks. When you get into the city, climb the first viewpoint you find to synchronize with the city and to locate the Assassin's Bureau. Then, head off to it. The Bureau Chief is passively aggressive towards Altair but it is for good reason. This is Malik, one of the two assassins accompanying Altair on that failed mission to Solomon's Temple. His brother, Kadar, died and he lost his arm and is now, presumably, off the force because of it. Shame really, some of the most famous assassins did their best work with only one limb. Just look at the guy who killed Richard Kimble's wife. The Investigation: The target this time is Telal. He is a slave trader who kidnaps lepers off of the streets. Soon, he will be in his slave warehouse to inspect all of his captures before sending them off in a huge caravan. Although he will be unaware, he is a shrewd one who is skilled with the bow and arrow and his men are willing to sacrifice themselves to protect him. The Kill: Head up to the Northwest part of town and find the back door of the warehouse to get in. Inside it is full of men in little cages. It's themed like the dungeon room in Ripley's Believe-it-or-not and I tried to go find the light house man but no beans. Telal traps Altair in his warehouse shouts down at him that he is not a slave trader but someone who is saving the troubled souls (from the burden of freedom I imagine). He then drops in a few soldiers to kill Altair but you can just run past them and up the walls towards Telal. He scampers up the ladder and onto the roof. Follow him outside. He managed to get a across a few houses and starts firing arrows at Altair. Now would be a really good time to have that Crossbow we were promised in the trailer. The Blue Screen of Death Finish Him! Cool, he has corn rows. I wonder what they called them back then considering corn was a New World crop. Telal says that he doesn't mind death since The Brotherhood will continue on regardless. The target then manages to make slavery not sounds so bad because he is pulling the crazies, druggies and lepers off the street. And now it is Altair who looks like an ass because he stopped this noble cause. FATALITY! Assassin Debriefing: Malak has this very dramatic and very sarcastic reaction to the news that Telal is dead. He upbraids Altair for his un-assassin like clumsiness. Back in Masayaf, Al Mualim figures that with the war dragging on, both sides are desperate for troops and capturing slaves was one way of meeting their quotas. Altair asks him about Telal's easy justification of slavery and Mualim says that the slave trader was just a mad man who was justifying something that was so evil. Total Tiem 4 Hours - *** - Cant get in to Jerusalem. Total Time 5 Hours - ***** - DIDN't figure out the whole system of saving a citizen and that unlocking a special thing Total Time 6 Hours - ***** -- Acre (x09b) -- According to the historian Jade Raymond (see http://www.gametrailers.com/player/13648.html), Acre was under European occupation during the third crusade. To make this more apparent, the level designers have filled this city with buildings and churches that have a more western aesthetic. Notice that many of the structures are hollow with partially standing bombed-out walls like every Stalingrad level in a WWII game. This is probably a result of when the Europeans assaulted the city. The color tint is also a soft blue, almost cold, as in winter. Let's call it Lion in Winter blue. The best part of Acre, though, is that all the residents speak with an eastern London cockney, its like playing a Peter Molyneux game. Remember, if this is your first visit to a city, you must climb a tower to expose the Bureau icon. Walk over to the local Assassin's Bureau and talk to the leader there whose job is to give you missions and to continuously re- organize the shelves full of secret assassin equipment. He tells Altair that Garnier de Naplouse is the target. Investigation: If you are trying to decide which of the three missions to undertake, I highly recommend the interrogation one. Before assaulting him he gives this fantastic Monty Python quality speech about the benefits of the Dr. Garnier. With the other investigations you learn that Dr. Garnier is a questionable doctor who seems more intent on experimenting on his patients than actually treating them. He gets his supply of patients from the slave trader in Jarusalem. The only time to attack is while he is making his rounds through his crazy hospital. The Kill: When Altair approaches the hospital a man comes running through the courtyard yelling "please, you must help me." Two guards grabs him and then one of them actually donkey punches him. The gates open and in comes Dr. Garnier. While trying to scurry away from the doctor, the patient says "you took their souls. You will not have mine." Then, he runs around the crowd fruitlessly telling them that Garnier lies. Both of his legs are broken in retaliation. That's is some tuff treatment but, you have to remember, it is the middle ages and they thought induced bleeding was good for you and that seizures were signs of God talking through you. Garnier was probably just using a stethoscope to listen to his heart and this guy thinks that his soul was being stolen. Issues about patient care aside, you need to get to the doctor. You can take the strong arm approach and kill the guards lining the roof and jump in, or, you can sneak in with the sages (you first have to help the citizen under attack for them to appear.) No matter how you get into the hospital you have to deal with an army of lepers milling about the hospital ward. They give you more trouble than the doctor himself. The doctor defends himself if provoked, so try to sneak up on him. Blue Screen of Death: During this Crystal Blue Revelation the doctor reveals that he saw these patients as his children and that he was just helping street people who would otherwise be living in sewers and prisons. He then claims to have created psychotropic drugs out of herbs that restored them to "fully competent guards." I wouldn't quite consider the guard's intellect fully functioning considering they loose your trail if you sit on a bench. Assassin Debriefing: This speech really had an effect on Altair. To the City's Assassin Bureau he confesses that he has an uneasy feeling about killing a man who believed he was helping people. When Altair brings his uneasiness to the Chief Assassin, Al Mualim says that these men were drugged by herbs and can not be trusted. He says that others accuse him of drugging his team of Assassin's. This is your second reference to hashing. See the first part of memory block three for more information -- Abstergo Labs (x09c) -- Desmond is yanked out of his Animus trance because it is overheating. What do you expect when it's technology is based on an array of six heat lamps. Dr. Vidic says "Christ! It's always something." Lucy is tasked with fixing it and giving hourly status reports. Lucy tells Desmond to go lie down probably so she isn't bothered by Desmond's regular barrage of "where am I? And who do you work for?" Nothing doing, go bug her. She says that she is a prisoner much like him. Many years ago she was working on her PHD but was rejected because she was researching what could be considered late-night-public- access-grade-pseudo-science. Dr. Vidic hired her because he saw past the crazy and realized it's potential. When she finished building the Animus some thugs from the corporation kidnapped her and threatened to kill her but the doctor intervened and spared her life. For that reason she is in his debt. When she won't talk anymore, head into Desmond's room. He is alarmed to see the closet door open and a stack of fresh linens. He immediately assumes that someone had been in there (or possibly a maid). If you go over to inspect the closet, you find an access code (where? Sewn into the towels?) With the code you can open your cell door and explore the laboratory. Take this opportunity to access the terminal on the Animus and ease drop on Lucy's emails if you have not done so already. The next morning the doc's mood has swung the other way and he is practically dancing into Desmond's Bedroom. With Lucy's modifications Desmond can stay in the Animus even longer - I hope that doesn't mean we now have find all of the investigation points. Vidic says that every major breakthrough has come from Abstergo or one of its subsidiaries. Even the Macarena? The trick, which he is happy to explain, is that they don't invent, they just find them. Abstergo is also responsible for deciding when we, as a culture, switch from Friendster to Myspace to Facebook. Total time 7 Hrs - ******* //story getting interesting, I am learning the system so I can fly through the game now. _____________________________________________ | Memory Block 4 (x10) | In the Assassin HQ, Al Mualim compliments Altair's progress and then says that King Richard's and Saladin's armies march towards each other for an eminent battle. They are not the targets though because killing the two of them would mean their soldiers would be stuck in country with nothing to do but rape and pillage. No, the target this time is the men who govern the cities while the two kings play war. For his continuing efforts, Al Mualim gives Altair a new upgrades, and no it is still not that crossbow. Because you have visited every city, you can now warp to the destination instead of riding the horse across the over world. I feel bad for team assigned to the over world; their hard work was pretty much obsoleted by the "Select your destination:" menu. -- DAMASCUS (x10a) -- Of all the Assassin Bureau chiefs, the one in Damascus is my favorite. It goes to show you that a good attitude can sugar coat any backhanded compliment. With much enthusiasm he says that the target is Abu'l Nuqoud, the city's richest man. Now that the Garnier de Naplouse hospital is shutdown and Telal is no longer trolling the streets for vagrants, the cities are over-run with this game's most interesting character, the crazy street urchin. The raving mad, nearly cadaver-esque street crazy pushes you if you come close and exposes your position more often than you would like. Considering this game was created in Montreal, and having visited there a few times, I have no doubt that the city's bums were quite the influence. One time I went to an outdoor film screening and this one bum stumbled up to the screen and pointed at the lead character and repeatedly yelled to the crowd "That's me, That's me!" There is even a street guy who dresses like Spiderman and dances for change: DANCING SPIDERMAN see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71nxzwvgL8M&feature=related.(note that his web slinging makes whistling sounds) Investigation: The city is abuzz with the talk of a party to be thrown by the Merchant King Abu'l Nuqoud. A Koran reciting Englishman even brings wine despite it being a verboten drink in this city. Abu'l Nuqoud throws these parties regularly even though he hates them. He comes out to look on the disgusting rabble of party monsters. The feeling is mutual though as the town's people see him as a coffer squandering aristocrat. The Kill: Follow the icon to the palace courtyard. To get in, climb over the gate and head through the door. For all this talk of a party through by a decadent Merchant King it is pretty chill. If there is anything I have learned from historical sources such as Caligula, 300, and HBO's Rome it's that parties from the pre-industrialized world must include tons of women making out with each other, large cooked animals, leather, oh and a lot of beads and cushions. Not so much in this one. The party seems to be going fine though except when Abu'l Nuqoud appears and it turns into the Jonestown massacre. The Merchant king poisoned all their drinks and this party was a trap to kill the people he sees as xenophobes and religious zealots who blindly promote Saladin's war machine. Knowing they are poisoned, the crowd takes the last few moments on this mortal coil to run around in circles and yell. Navigate through this swarm and climb the back wall to the upper deck. Kill the archers as you continue towards the balcony where the Merchant King oversees the chaos. If you are quick, you can kill him before he runs madly through the streets. The Blue Screen of Death: Altair grabs Abu'l Nuqoud by his fifth chin and asks what he has doing with the money. The Merchant King has never diverted the funds to Saladin because he does not believe in the gods the crusaders are fighting for. Instead, the funds go to the mysterious Brotherhood that we have been hearing so much about. Nuqoud then questions Altair's motives and considers the two of them the same because they both kill the supposed bad guys to bring about a better tomorrow. Nuqoud slips away and oh my god I think we just killed Jasmine's Dad from Aladdin. Assassin Debriefing: Altair angrily reports that the assassination was successful but Al Nuqoud was still able to poison (a way of killing Assassin's despise) his people. In case you were sensing a trend, let me line it up for you. Altair goes to a guy who is doing something unspeakable and then on his deathbed, the targets confesses his sins which is always this Utilitarian argument to justify the means. For example: Altair: You're a drug dealer who ruins children's' lives and you deserve to die! Assassin Target: Do I? I am giving these kids who live such hard lives the illusion of a normal life. It is you that is ruining lives by killing me. Who will give the children their cracks after I am gone? Altair: Damn that man makes a good point. Total Time: 10:30 **** - this is really getting repetitive. -- ACRE (x10b) -- Head back to Acre. I don't know if the Assassin muumuu combined with the black shawl is a good look; it makes Rafik, the Bureau chief look like a penguin. The man wonders aloud if Altair's diligence is to redeem him for his former transgressions. The target this time is William de Montferrat who is watching the city while Richard the Lion Heart is off to war. William is given the unwanted task of overseeing Acre because his son is being a douche in Tyre. Investigation: Your area of research should be in the city's Rich district. In the area is a huge cathedral that is called the "Church of the Holy Cross" and it is interesting for a few reasons. One, you have to access the viewpoint on the very top of it. Two, it is architecturally speaking, wrong. This next few paragraphs are going to dip into a little art history but don't skip it because I think every gamer should know about medieval architecture if only because about a third of all games we play take place during this time period. I promise I will keep it brief. If you head over to the following URL you can see this section more clearly explained using pictures. http://gameintestine.com/guides/assassins-creed-walkthrough/assassins-creed- walkthrough-memory-block-four-william-de-montferrat.html Medieval Architecture, which is a time period of about 1000 years, is split into two major styles, Romanesque and Gothic. Now these two styles are quite distinct once you learn their traits. The early architectural period is called Romanesque. Buildings in this style are thick, with heavy walls that have tiny windows, and use a lot of half circle arches and half circle rooms. Think of it as simple, blocky, 8-bit architecture. Then, at the midway point of the middle-ages, architects figured that if you replaced the heavy stone walls (that were so popular with the Romanesque style) with giant windows, the whole building would be lighter and you could build them much higher and do some really fanciful and intricate stonework. So Gothic was born. Think of it as the Hi-def architecture that replaced the old Romanesque. The Gothic style (started in 1140) was contemporary with third crusade (started in 1189) but the art was firmly tied to Europe (it was developed in France). Gothic's complex building structure required artisan craftsmanship and wouldn't be exported to a place as volatile as the holy land especially while the crusades were tearing the place apart. The problem is that Assassin's Creed puts a light, fluffy, beautiful Gothic cathedral right where there should be a big, fat, thick Romanesque one. I know it sounds like I am going on some snobby rant here but videogames quote these two styles frequently and it is important to know the basic differences. Ok, so you still have to get up to the top of the Gothic Cathedral. The easy way is to go to the apse of the building where you see some big windows with bars over them. Climb on them and then climb up next to the flying buttresses and then jump over to the bar that goes between them. Then, climb up the buttress to the roof and run along the peak to avoid being seen by the guards. Despite being artistically incorrect, it really is cool and is my favorite part of the game. Stealing a page (well all of them really) from the Robin Hood legend, a temporary leader, named William, has been overreaching his given authority in Acre while King Richard is busy fighting the war. While William doesn't have a Sheriff of Nottingham to call his own he does have a butt-load of archers protecting him. This would work fine for William except that Richard is back from the battlefield to check up on things. William is stressed by this mid- year performance review and will retreat into his citadel to pout. This is where Altair will strike. Hmmm, doesn't seem very assassin like to hit a place in broad daylight that is heavily fortified, high profile, and well watched. But, here we go. Time 7:30 ********* - climbing the cathedral was awesome Time 8:30 **** - those Northern Assain informer is a bitch. The Kill: This is the best part in Assassin's Creed. If they had just cut it down to this cut-scene and then the assassination of William de Montferrat while Massive Attack's Teardrop plays in constant loop, the game would be a perfect 10. Altair arrives at the citadel gates and the king's horns blow. The crowd walks up to the gates and the royal guards set up a perimeter as Richard, on horseback, comes parading out. Still on his high horse, Richard publicly reprimands William for killing 3000 Saracen prisoners who were going to be exchanged for a similar number of Crusaders. William's excuse is that they would have never have upheld their end of the deal and this mass killing will show the Saracens the ruthlessness of the Crusaders. Richard then calls him a pussy for not fighting in the war before riding off on his awesome horse. William goes back to his castle to brood. Extra Credit: If you wondering Richard, king of England, has a French accent it is because the historical Richard, despite ruling over England, was born in France and never spoke English. Head into the gates and continue around the castle walls. Kill any archers you meet along the way. If you are quiet, hang out on the roof above William to watch him to try out Altair's job and assassinate his insubordinate troops for "whoring and drinking on the job." Drop down and try to stab him stealthily but more likely you will alert the whole citadel and have to fight him and ten other guards simultaneously. The Blue Screen of Death: If anyone is going to know about assassinations its going to be Altair and he accuses William of plotting to kill Richard so his son could take Acre. But boy was Altair wrong. It seems that William is quite the populist and was stealing from his people to build a public reserve for the bad times ahead. And, he is not a militant just a guy likes to keep thing in order and show people the meaning of hard work. Altair once again is the bad guy, causing crime in the city with all his pick pocketing and ease dropping and bench sitting. Altair lets him die and brushes him with the assassination feather. The citadel gate is closed now so to get out of here, climb over the northwest wall. Assassin Debriefing: Obviously thinking about William's resourceful take on public policy, Altair wonders why we killed a man whose death could destabilize the region during the chaos of the coming war. It was also strange that William didn't want Acre for himself, he wanted it for some greater good. Back at HQ: When he speaks to Al Mualim, Altair wonders why all of these targets are so sure that they are doing the right thing and what ties them all together. Mualim's answer is very long but is essentially "don't believe all you hear and don't ask questions, you are just a hired thug." Total time 9hours ***** - getting tired of the sameness -- Jerusalem (x10c) -- As you nears the city you can notice there is an exodus out of Jerusalem. Get ready for some more investigating. Do you think Gavrilo Princip had to do all this pick pocketing and bench sitting before he killed Archduke Ferdinand? No, the Black Hand did most of the work, he was just the trigger man. The Assassins could benefit from a bit of specialization and have people who serve as investigators and a second group who are the muscle. Investigation: This being Jerusalem it means Altair has to work with Malik again. Awww- kward. Things go better between them this time because Altair is a little bit more humble and asks his advice instead of demanding it. The target is Majd Addin who is in control of Jerusalem as a result of the war's power vacuum. The target is preparing for a public execution of political prisoners and it would make the perfect occasion for Altair to carry out this hit. Majd Addin has a habit of hamming it up for the crowd and is often distracted. Malik was saving his vinegar for Altair's return to the Bureau because when he asks for the death feather, Malik launches into a tirade questioning Altair's experience and his loyalty. Between all the browbeating he mentions that a fellow assassin is in one of the nooses so Altair must kill Majd Addin before the execution is carried out. And if there is one thing to be thankful for, it's that the other assassins will be there to free this prisoner so we don't have to suffer through a hellish escort mission. The Kill: At the execution site, a large crowd gathers and we can finally try out the soft touch like in the trailer (but without the crossbow). Majd Addin gets right into the show and starts with WWF warm-up speech. He even seems to be wearing his best polka-dot bath robe. To get the crowd riled up even more he drops a little internal rhyme "There are malcontents among you / they sow the seeds of discontent." His speech is basically saying "This is the way to save violence and stop corruption and fear. This execution is for the Killer Thief, gambler, heretic. Run right up to the scaffolding and attack Majd Addin. Because he is flanked by his guards you engage in a fight that is significantly less interesting than the trailer. Blue Screen of Death: When he has him in his arms, Altair asks what his part in all this was. He wasn't as devoted to the brotherhood as the others, he did it more for the power. He felt it fine to kill dissidents because they cut at progress and because it was fun. That wasn't me making a joke. He honestly said because it was fun. Then, the man asks the assassin if he knows what it is like to determine the fate of another man. This kill was just crazy, unlike the other ones who seem to be fully devoted to the Templars. Bureau: Altair successfully killed the target but that wins him no sympathy from Malik. The Bureau chief doesn't say much and gets back to doing whatever the heck they seem so busy doing. Maybe the chiefs handle dry cleaning too. I imagine bloodstains are real hard to get out of those white suits. HQ: None. Hour 11: **** - again tired of it. -- Abstergo Labs (x10d) -- As Desmond exits the Animus, Vidic gets an urgent phone call. The Assassins are coming to free Desmond and Vidic is not happy about it. Desmond, as always, is clueless and wonders why the Assassins see him as so important. Lucy explains Vidic is a Templar Knight and Abstergo Industries is their cover organization. Somehow I have a feeling Vidic wouldn't even know which side of the sword to hold. She doesn't consider them bad guys though; their end-goal is good but the way they get there is what is so bad. Before she can explain more, Lucy is called up to help Vidic. And she says without any sexual undertones that he should go to bed. That is not a complaint. There is nothing that takes me out of a story more than a guy who is kidnapped flirting it up with his captor. The next morning ... Desmond, still not sleeping under the sheets, wakes up without provocation. Walk him over to the Animus and continue on to continue with the second half of the game. _____________________________________________ | Memory Block 5 (x11) | Back to the crusades, Altair is standing in front of Al Mualim at his desk. How many more times do we have to sit her while he explains the plot. You think one time he would say "you know I have been cooped up in this library all day, lets head out into the garden for a walk. Maybe we could even talk to him as he tends to his production of Hashish. Altair asks Al Mualim why all these men he is assassinating are abandoning their leaders to support some mysterious third party. The answer is the Templars. The men work for them and are attempting to turn the holy land over to the organization instead of the Crusaders and Saracens. Al Mualim assures Altair that the Templar's plan will fail because the key component, the Piece of Eden, is in the hands of him and the Assassin clan. This Deus ex machine is responsible for every unexplained event in the history of man kind. Although it is just a piece of silver, whoever holds it can influence the person looking at it. The little gears in Altair's hooded head start lining up. The slave trader Talal and the doctor Garnier were gathering the pour souls who would makeup the army. Tamir was the weapons dealer who was arming them for war. Templars tried to control the three cities so that they could control the citizens and make a new world order. Although they have been stopped there are two more targets in Acre and Damascus. --- ACRE (x11a) --- You must explore these next two areas carefully because there are so many guards now that if you fart the wrong direction you are going to get chased. So, running up the sides of buildings on a whim is largely out of the question. It astounds why the designers would take away the one last fun thing about this game. I am already suffering through this incredibly repetitive gameplay, please let me jump around to blow off steam. They could even explain it, via letter, like this: "Altair's continued alignment with the Assassins and his growth towards personal excellence has given him an increased ability to blend in with his surroundings thereby allowing him to engage in more dramatic displays of acrobatics and tomfoolery without arousing the suspicion of adversaries." Bureau: The target is named Sibrand and he is now in charge of the Teutonic Knights (a force responsible for collecting port tolls.) This investigation has a real nautical theme as the investigation is in and around the ports. Just before Altair heads out the Bureau chief apologizes for doubting his dedication and Altair says that he was the ass. It really is a warm moment in Assassin's Creed. Investigation: It seems that Sibrand is loading up his ships in preparation for a long time at sea. Everyone suspects that the military leader is mad with fear and fleeing the city because he is spooked by all the recent assassinations. An exceptionally theatric street crier confesses that Sibrand is confiscating ships to form a blockade that will block Europeans Reinforcements. Sibrand plan is really a good example of multi-tasking; by going to sea he is protecting himself from Altair AND he is blocking the surge of Crusaders. This guy needs to be promoted. Sibrand hides in the docks and has increased the guards' patrols to protect himself until his escape craft comes in. The Bureau chief wonders how Sibrand knows that the Assassin's are after him. Altair knows, it's because Sibrand and all the other targets belonged to the Templar Brotherhood and there is probably a newsletter. The Kill: The target is down at the docks (as identified by the icon). The docks look exceptionally great with their intricately modeled ships and beautiful water that is as shinny as Jade Raymond's lips. Altair arrives just in time to see a crowd gathering around Sibrand as he harasses a monk. It seems the Templar is mistaking the white cloak of the man for the same white cloak of Altair. In a single slash Sibrand kills the monk. Poor thing. If he would have just put his hands together in blend mode Sibrand would have lost all sight of him and he could have disappeared into the crowd. After an incident like this it is probably a god idea for Altair to get a quick wardrobe change. Just like superman. Sibrand puts on his ridiculously garish helmet then runs off to his ship to hide and be German. Hold on tight because this is the worst part in the whole game. Altair, like so many other videogame protagonists, is deathly allergic to large bodies of water and one missed jump means death to Altair and a quick trip back to your last spawn point. The stepped up guard patrols and the crazies peppered throughout the docs all increase your chances of landing in the drink. Do not waste your time and try to jump from ship to ship and from wooden post to wooden post - you will fall in the water more times than your patience will allow. The best way through this is to follow along the southern end of the docks. The path is a wide pier. There are a lot of guards so engage in open combat with the knights (forget being stealthy here). Then, head towards that large lighthouse and when you get to it, walk down the ramp to the docked ship. Another option is to follow the sea wall the same way as above but when you pass through one of the towers and past four dock workers who are carrying stacks of wood, jump over the next wall to a small harbored ship. From the ship, cross the four wooden poles sticking out of the water. I know I told you not to do this before but if you stop and let Altair balance before leaping to the next pole you should be fine. Finally, jump and cling to the back of the ship Sibrand is on. Sibrand is yelling at his crew for not protecting him while he stand out in the open on the back part of the ship. I don't know the name of the deck though. It's the deck where sea captains stand when they want to boisterously tell their crew to set sail for treasure. If you came down the ramp from the light house, run past the two guards on the ship and go straight for Sibrand. If you went with the option of holding on to the back of the ship, climb over and stab him in the back. Whichever way you go, you must be quick about it because Sibrand escapes if too much time elapses. The Misty-Sea Blue Screen of Death: Instead of being resolute and accepting of his fate as the other targets were, Sibrand fears the afterlife - or lack of it. He says that there is no such thing because the treasure is proof (or "tweasure iz pwouf" because he soooo German) that religion is fake. The blockade he was forming was needed to stop the Europe-sent reinforcements that would attack once the Templars initiate their plan of mass brainwashing on the Holy Land citizens. You know if Sibrand had been so scared of assassins killing him, he should have mounted up his fellow knights, headed over to Masyaf, climbed the hill and storm the large building with the banners that read "Assassin Headquarters. Keep out. This means you!!" He would have fared better than Robert considering the assassins already used that log rolling trick and it will take them weeks to get the logs back up there. Assassin Debriefing: Altair is super bummed when he reports the death of Sibrand to the chief. In what must be another service the Bureau Chiefs offer, consoles Altair saying it is normal to feel bad after you kill and to let it make you stronger. Altair can't justify his actions when these men seem to be doing so much good. -- Damascus (x11b) -- Now well-liked and even referred to by the Bureau Chief as the "Hero of Dalmasca," Altair is becoming part of the sect. The target in this city is the scholar Jubair Al Hakim. The man has been sending all his fellow scholars into the streets to preach about a "new world order" along with the traditional fire and brimstone. Investigation aka Hakim 451: Jubair is planning a book burning even though he knows the Assassin's are coming for him. It is that important. The city's scholars justify this word- paper fire by saying that they have to burn all the old books to make room for all these great new ideas. The chief scholar, Jubair Al Hakim, will be a meeting in the Madrasah with the lower scholars. This is where Altair should strike. The Kill: Obviously this is Jubair's first book burning because he has made the rookie mistake of dividing his stash of confiscated book among several smaller fires. As any veteran of psy-ops will tell you, big bonfires change minds. You need to consolidate your supply and have one big fire. Jubair has also tucked these little pyres into back alleys and obscured nooks throughout the city. Wrong. You need to maximize the fire's exposure to the shocked masses by staging this grand fire in a public square or central boulevard. Finally, instead of amassing all of his scholars into one giant group to toss the banned words and, when needed, ruff up any potential dissidents, he has stationed only one or two per fire. To take down this book burning newb, run to each fire and kill the scholar in charge. Or, you could stop the whole thing at once by assassinating Jubair Al Hakim as he watches his fire. He is guarding the one in the southeastern corner of the city. Check your map for fire locations. Blue Screen of Death: Jubair Al Hakim looks right into Altair's eyes and asks "why have you done this." Despite the fact that I have never seen Altair even touch a book, the assassin gives an NBC quality Public Service Announcement about tolerance and literacy: "Men must be free to do what they believe, it is not our right to punish one for what they do, no matter how much we disagree." And "It must be knowledge that frees them, not force." The more you know. Then, Jubair makes a pretty good point by saying that scrolls and texts have inspired both sides of the crusades and that has brought about war. Luckily Altair didn't have to come up with a clever rejoinder because Jubair dies. Assassin Debriefing: Altair goes back to report the accomplished deed and is shocked at how closely the scholars followed Jubair Al Hakim. And he was disgusted when he saw them burn anyone alive who didn't agree. Headquarters Debriefing: The first five assassinations all hit Templar operatives who served very utilitarian roles. On the other hand, Sibrand and Jubair weren't that important to the daily operation of Templars and Altair asks Mualim why. He says that these men prevented the voices and the actions from the outside from disrupting their own message. It is a complex organization that is like a hydra says Al Mualim. Altair sounds as tired of this game as I do and demands "we should lop off it's head and be done with this." Al Mualim consoles, there is only one kill left and we will be done. Suddenly, the person at Ubisoft who majored in philosophy commandeers the script in a last ditch effort to add some extra gravitas to the game. Altair and Al Mualim take a moment to debate Reality (with a capital R) Socratic style. Their conclusion is two parts Descartes mixed with one part Matrix and one part Dan Brown. Basically, the Templars intend on using the Pieces of Eden to fool the world's citizens into a happy and peaceful life in exchange for their own free will. Al Mualim has this magic treasure so the Templars can't carry out this plan and if Altair can just kill anyone who knows about it, no one will try to steal it. Total time: 13:30 ** - Really tired of it and the docs suck big time. -- Abstergo Labs (x11c) -- Desmond awakens to a man (unseen) demanding Dr. Vidic get some more information out of his test subject. He says wants a progress report by the next morning and then leaves. Damn, even operatives for organizations like the Templars have to fill out TPS reports. Vidic says that Desmond can have the night off because he has work to do. I really love Vidic's character in that he is the game's antagonist yet at the same time really just a bureaucrat in this humongous organization. Desmond gets up and tells Lucy that the machine kicked him out. Her quick response of "the machine is fine and I think you should shut up," hits that she was responsible for the ejection. She turns to him and says "we have to get out of here." And explains that once they extract Desmond's memories they will use the information to bring about the much lauded "New World Order." The Templar treasure is the key. Lucy's phone interrupts and it is Dr. Vidic (calling from his office down the hall?) badgering her for Desmond's files. While working at the nearby laptop, she expounds that the Templars are exploring Desmond's memories to determine where the other Pieces of Eden. The one Al Mualim had was destroyed in an accident at a secret Templar Lab under Denver International Airport. The term they keep using, "Everything is Denver," is a reference to that secret lab and it means "status ok." I would think after a super secret explosion "status is Denver" would mean "status is FUBAR." Despite working for a ruthless organization that has its hands in everything, (including placing security cameras in their own HQ) Lucy and Desmond seem quite willing to talk about the secret motives of their captors and escaping. 15:30 - ** I can no longer run up buildings, they took away the one last fun part The next morning ... The Dr. comes in and Desmond asks why some of the stuff that the Animus is showing him is wrong. Vidic says that "online encyclopedias" and high school textbooks are the wrong ones, or at least misinformed, and that a lot of information was just made up. Head back towards the Animus but follow Vidic as he heads to the window. Approach slowly and you are prompted to pickpocket him. Desmond grabs the flashing pen which is a data access key. _____________________________________________ | Memory Block 6 (x12) | ASSASSIN HQ: Al Mualim is in his typical place behind the desk (I wonder how close he is to wearing a hole through the floor) and assures Altair that Robert is the last target. With his death, all the Templar leaders will be dead and no one will know about the Piece of Eden and then the Assassins can put this whole thing behind them. Altair, unwisely, asks about the nature of the Piece of Eden which is an open invitation for Al Mualim to go on an even longer monologue. The Master says Robert wants it because it is power. The Templar plan is noble, to bring about world peace, but the means would suck because by using the Piece of Eden he would be sapping everyone of their free will. Altair asks if maybe we could just reason with him. No such luck says Al Mualim. -- Jerusalem (x12a) -- Another big city at Altair's fingertips (minus one) to fully explore. However, there is nothing fun to do in this sandbox. Why can't I turn on crowd surfing mode or pick up a barrel and go crowd bowling. They have licensed the havoc engine, do something with it. I want to see bodies being tossed about. Also, what about moshpit mode. I want to build huge barricades in the street trapping a hundred people in a small space and see what happens when I ride my horse through it. This is my biggest problem with the game. It is not the repetitive missions or the mindless and endless flag track downs, it's that the game is a missed opportunity. They have this crowd simulator and they have a beautiful city. I want to play with those two things. Assassin's Bureau: Once again, Altair has to deal with Malik. Luckily he is a whole lot more pleasant now that Altair is following the Creed. Malik tells him that he can find some informers hanging out where all targets in this game hang out: hospitals and churches. Investigation: In the Middle District of Jerusalem the various informants are all talking about the finely dressed Knights who are in Jerusalem. The fine dress is because Robert is there to attend a Muslim funeral as a sign of reconciliation between the two cultures. It seems that Robert wants to see peace between Muslims and Christians and united under the Templar banner. After the investigation and back at the Bureau, Altair has a sudden Assassin mea culpa. He says that he was such a fool in Solomon's Temple and that because of his actions, Malik to lost his arm and his brother, Kadar, lost his life. Malik embraces this apology and remarks how different Altair is now. Altair has rejected his dickweed ways and fully devotes himself to the creed. See the moral lesson here? Killing seven people has turned a former misanthrope into a empathetic person who contributes to a structured organization. What a great guy. The Kill: As Altair comes around the corner of the church, a crowd has gathered around a grave while an Emam gives a eulogy for a fallen Saracen. The speech couldn't be any more generic and I wonder if the writer just googled "funeral eulogy" and then copied the first thing he found. One thing I know they didn't google was "Muslim funeral" because there are a number of things that aren't right. Traditionally, there are no speeches (only silent prayer), women aren't allowed at the burial, there shouldn't be a gravestone or flowers. You would think someone from their "multi cultural team of various religious faiths" would have pointed out that this isn't very accurate. Not that I can speak to it as I have never been to one and all this is from an easily accessible website. If you have attended a Muslim funeral send me a note and let me know what else is off. At the end of the speech everyone in the crowd say this slurred "Amen" which is probably because they didn't know how else to end a prayer, Robert, who is standing next to the Emam whispers in his ear and points to the rest of the troops. The Emam then changes subjects and says that this man was murdered and then in an Agatha Christy-esque reveal yells that the murderer is here in the crowd! Of course the crowd would break up at such a dramatic reveal and the funeral stops to chase down Altair. Fight off the troops as you normally do but aim for Robert. Blue Screen of Death: Altair rips off the Templar's helmet but instead of finding Robert he finds a woman. Frustrated he asks "what sorcery is this?" The decoy gets a befuddled look on her face as she wonders how cross dressing could be considered witchcraft. Instead of attending the funeral, Robert had fled to find King Richard with hopes of negotiating peace between Saracen and Crusader. Unwittingly, Altair's seven assassinations have united the former enemies against the Assassin brotherhood. Altair doesn't kill her because she is not his target. I guess we don't consider all those lepers and beggars I slaughtered to get here as targets, lets just call them... environment. The big question though is, why is this decoy female? Wouldn't it just be easier to dress up one of the endless supply of guards in Templar armor? Methinks the designers got to the end of the game and were like "oh crap guys, we have like three female characters. One caries jugs, the other begs for money, and the third is Lucy. We need to get a strong female in here somewhere. We can't kill her though because Altair standing over a female corpse would look bad. Don't worry guys, she can still be hot." Back at the bureau, Altair reports that Robert knew he was going to be at the funeral and it was a trap. With obvious complications of having the Saracens and the Crusaders aligned against the Assassins, Malik's idea is to go ask his manager (Al Mualim). Altair says that would be a bad idea because that manager is hiding something. He decides to go hunt down Robert on his own and orders Malik to go spy on Al Mualim in Masyaf. This confrontation with Robert does not take place in a city but in a place called Arsuf. To get there you have to leave Jerusalem and select "The Kingdom" from the menu. Then, ride south through the Kingdom to the Arsuf icon. Considering the over world was pretty much useless when they implemented the "Select Destination" menu, this last farewell ride through the Kingdom seems like an apology to the really talented team who designed it. -- Arsuf (x12b) -- Up until this point Altair was the silent killer who would avoid confrontation so he could silently snipe the target with his secret arm blade before running off to disappear among the crowd or vanish inside a rooftop garden. Forget all that because when he gets to Arsuf, Altair turns into a one man, twelfth century, panzer-tank-bad-ass who makes a frontal assault on the entire Crusader army. To get through the area, climb over the barricades, scale the watch towers and confront all the troops who pour out in combinations of ten. Don't fret how many are attacking you because whether it is two troops or ten, only one guy attacks you at a time. In fact, their attack pattern is a perfect demonstration of how a radial engine works - they stand around in a circle and only one fires at a time. At the end of the gauntlet, Altair approaches King Richard's camp to see him surrounded by his men. Altair retells the whole plot of the game and Robert steps forward to counter this accusation by saying "this assassin is just worried we are going to attack their secret fort." Then, instead of killing Altair instantly because he is, an assassin, the same race as the Saracens, and responsible for slaughtering more than 30 of his troops on the way in, King Richard just says "this guy makes a fair point." And then showing great executive decision making, he orders Altair and Robert to fight and the survivor decides the action he should take. Then, it is 10 vs. 1 fight against Altair. Blue Screen of Death: The fight ends with Robert de Sable dying in Altair's arms. With the nine Templars and their brain washing scheme done Altair assumes everything has been righted. Robert then reveals the big twist - there were ten men who stole the treasure and know what the Piece of Eden does. The final one being Al Mualim. Unlike the Templars, Al Mualim does not want to share it with humanity and ordered the other nine dead so that he could have it to himself. The Basic message to take away from this game: past or the future, don't trust anyone with a beard. After emerging from his final words with Robert, Altair finds King Richard is happy, almost grateful, that Altair is so favored this day. Didn't Richard just watch Altair kill all his comrade-in-arms? Then, nonchalantly standing among the corpses of his best men, Richard asks why Altair came all this way to kill Robert. Was it vengeance? No, says Altair, it was justice so there would be peace in the holy land. This being the climax of the game, the designers thought this would be the perfect time for a very long conversation that touches on the irony of killing for peace, humankind's predilection to violence, and the possibility of middle east peace. With the waxing on over, Altair returns to Masyaf. Before we go on I am just wondering how the heck this game is not more conscious of how it fits into 2007 world politics. You have two nations one from the West, one from the East engaging in a hot conflict. Then, you have a third party of insurgents who operate on the city streets using guerilla tactics to assassinate both sides of a conflict. If this isn't a perfect retelling of Al-Quida's role during the Sunni/Shiite/Coalition conflict in Iraq, I don't know what is. And there is no mention of it. None. You will probably say, I use games to escape form politics and keep it out of my games. I'm not saying Altair or King Richard should diverge on a 10 minute monologue about the evolution of terrorism and such. All they had to do is have someone call Altair a terrorist to make people think. Think about how strange it is that we are playing as, and are sympathetic to, a character who could be considered a terrorist and works for a terrorist organization. Other games have been tangentially similar to terrorism but a game like this is almost a perfect retelling of a similar conflict we are experiencing right now. It seems as if the Assassin's Creed design team were purposely trying to keep away from this issue and in effect really chickened out content wise. It is as if this game were written in a pre 2001 world. The first screen that preemptively warned us that this game is from a "multi cultural team of various religious faiths and beliefs" was a sign that this team was walking on eggshells. Too bad though, I guess this is just another missed opportunity from Assassin's Creed. 2Hrs -- Abstergo Labs (x12c) -- Desmond is pulled out of the animus because Desmond's Assassin friends are attacking the research facility. We have to assume this is happening because we don't see it. Vidic just switches on his desk's speaker phone and there is gunfire and guys yelling. It makes me think it is just the Templars messing with Desmond. Probably a couple of guys in a cubicle on the tenth floor huddled over a phone making fake explosion noises and death sounds stopping only to cover their mouths and giggle. The Abstergo's security was able to stop the siege and kill all the attackers. Vidic says this should be the only resistance they will see because over the past year the Templars have been destroying all Assassin training camps and killing all within. Worried about what this global Assassin-cleansing campaign, Lucy assures Desmond that his parents should be ok because their camp was deserted when the Templars found it. Desmond then rants about how screwed he is because his only way out was just killed in the lobby of a research facility. Calming him, Lucy says "have a little faith" and places her left hand on her chest. At first I thought she was trying to calm Desmond by doing a variation on the "pulled off thumb" trick uncles do at Thanksgiving. Not so. You would have had to watch the developer interviews (fast forward to the 2:50 of http://www.gametrailers.com/player/13648.html to know it but assassins cut off their ring finger as an initiation right. By showing him her missing digit she is signaling that she is an assassin who has infiltrated the Templars. Desmond's fingers are all intact which is probably because he never became a full-fledged assassin. See the following link for screen shots of this: http://gameintestine.com/guides/assassins-creed-walkthrough/assassins-creed- walkthrough-memory-block-six-abstergo-labs.html It is surprising that with strong women such as Jade Raymond and Elspeth Tory influencing this game's development the female characters in this game are so underdeveloped. The characters aren't sexually objectified - standard for most videogames. Instead, in Assassin's Creed the two strongest women characters (Lucy and that Templar decoy) are both tricksters who hide behind false facades ready to trick the men. This role of female pulling the bait and switch has been seen in videogames all the way back in Super Mario Brothers with the classic "our princess is in another castle" Peach. I don't think we should falsely interpret these "Female Tricksters" as strong roles. I see these female characters as fulfilling a man's misogynistic viewpoint that at any moment the woman he thought he knew could turn on him and be something completely different. They are like toned down Femme Fatals. The following morning... Dr. is very happy and says that this is a very important day that will be remembered by some anyway. _____________________________________________ | Memory Block 7 (x13) | Assassinside. Altair is back in Masyaf. The streets are completely deserted except for a few people who talk in slow but deliberate sentences - the universal sign that they have been brainwashed. Before reaching the gates of the Assassin Headquarters, Altair is ambushed by a pack of assassins who fight exactly like the Templars. When they have been killed, Malik calls out to him. The one-armed assassin had found Robert's journal which confirmed that Al Mualim is indeed the 10th Templar and is double-crossing the Assassin's Guild. Altair wants Malik to create a diversion by attacking the rear of the fortress so he can sneak in and find Al Mualim. The front door of the library is completely blocked by Masyaf's villagers perfectly arranged a final push-through for old time's sake. The desk is empty and the only place to go is out into the garden. Altair gets grabbed my some magical force and of course it is Al Mualim controlling him. It looks like he is holding a glowing poke-ball. Then, the bureau chief sends all the dead Templars to fight Altair. The resurrected boss characters gather round in that same formation and attack style that we have seen this whole game. It is ridiculous looking, it's like I am being attacked by a grown up version of it's a small world afterall. You would think having been resurrected from Templar Limbo they would be super powered or at least on fire. But no such luck. They even fight with the same style. Shouldn't the ones trained by the Saracens fight with those fat scimitars like the bad guys in Indiana Jones. And why not give one of the Crusader knights a giant lance. And what if Abu'l Nuqoud attacked you with a giant salami that he has yet to eat. Change it up. Don't make me the same soldiers just re-skinned with the old boss textures. Fight them the same way you would any other pack of guards. When the Templars are dead, Altair pleads for Al Mualim to face him. Al Mualim doesn't. Instead, he clones himself using the Piece of Eden. You only need to kill the real Mualim to advance, so scan all of the copies with your eagle vision. The yellow one is the real one. The battle didn't accomplish anything because Al Mualim still has the yellow poke-ball and Altair is still imprisoned by it. According to Al Mualim, he tried to control Altair with the Piece of Eden be he was unaffected by its power. The secret to the Piece of Eden is that it creates illusions that most people believe. Al Mualim says that Jesus was just a regular guy who had the Piece of Eden and used it to manipulate his followers into thinking he was casting miracles such as walking on water, turning water into wine, and probably resurrecting Lazarus. The game doesn't really say that in those exact words because if they had, Jade Raymond would have had to go on the O'Reilly Factor. Instead, the writers just stuck the phrase "water for wine" in with a bunch of other miracles that people don't care/know about. Al Mualim puts away the ball and gets into his fighter's pose. His attack style is again that standard street knight style except that now he can teleport and you have play hide-n-go-seek throughout the garden. Teleport? Your health is down to nothing but, if you hit him first (even though he blocks) it is restored. So, chase him around, hit him once, and then counter his attack to kill him. Blackhawk Down: As the Piece of Eden rolls out of Al Mualim's hand he says that "the student does not defeat the teacher." He accepts his fate and commends Altair on capturing the Piece of Eden but asks if he has the strength to destroy the one thing that could end the Crusades. With the death scene over, Altair walks over to the object and it projects a holographic globe with several dots in locations around the world. For a second I thought that was everyone who was playing Halo 3 in the year 1198. Vidic's voice comes on saying "we've got it." _____________________________________________ | Denouement (x13a) | Desmond is up and immediately asks "what the hell was that?" An unseen speaker who is obviously not a voice actor asks "How many" and Vidic responds "at least a half dozen." The Templars will dispatch teams to each of the sites indicated on the holo-globe. Vidic is about to dispose of Desmond until Lucy cock blocks him by suggesting they may need him if there is something unexpected at one of the sites. The unseen non-actor agrees. Dr. Vidic and Lucy leave the lab with Desmond left alone to wander. You are now free to explore the same old laboratory. It is more exciting now because after that final mission, Desmond has learned the eagle vision technique. Pressing the head button unveil a mess of pentagrams, Egyptian hieroglyphs, and mathematical symbols. It's the same symbols used again and again to show that something is demonic or made by aliens or made by demonic aliens. I'm surprised these glyphs aren't build into the DirectX graphic libraries so game designers can just drop them in when needed. If you look at the wall in Desmond's bedroom there are the most complicated set of symbols. Shocked, Desmond whispers "is that blood? Who the hell were they keeping here? And what did they do to him?" Then, the camera zooms into the central design and the credits roll. Highlights from the Credits: - Jade Raymond is, no surprise, at the top of the list - Daniel Bisson is credited as the Interactive Cinematic Designer which means he is the man we should thank for giving us at least some control of Altair while Al Mualim rambled on about the new world order. - Dr. Paul Cobb and Dr. David Nicolte are the history consultants who missed the fact that they put a dainty Gothic church where there should have been a big fat one Romanesque one. Or that a Muslim character had a European style funeral. - Robert De Sable is played by Cedric Dumont. I think he may actually be a French actor. Then why is his accent so bad? - The voiceover actors for each language the game was translated into are listed. The Japanese version was done with only four actors. Now that the credits are over, Desmond is still surprisingly un-chaperoned in this super secret, super high tech lab. This opportunity means it is time to do what every person left alone should do, snoop. Start by infiltrating the Animus' terminal and read through Lucy's email. The important highlights being the access code to the conference room, a penile enlargement email masking a secret transmission to the assassins, and questions over her friend Nancy Nilop who inexplicably disappeared. If you climb into the Animus and select memory 7 there is a file attachment. Opening it reveals that after Al Mualim was killed, Altair reestablished the Assassin's Guild. As expected, Altair got "one ring" fever and never destroyed the Piece of Eden due to its overwhelming power. Oh and because that holographic globe looked so awesome it was a regular fixture at company all-hands-meetings and cocktail parties. Warren Vidic's desk laptop is more interesting because it explains how Desmond was able to pick up the eagle vision. There is a phenomenon called the "Bleeding Effect" in which the users of the Animus inherit the memories and skills of their ancestors. The email exchange on this computer indicates that the subject just before Desmond went crazy and smeared his blood all over the walls due to prolonged access to the animus. Other emails are inconsequential to the plot but cute none the less. One implicates Abstergo in a water fluoridation scandal. There is no mention, though, as to how this is affecting peoples precious body fluids. The emails even get a bit cheeky when they mention that the last movie studio was shut down due to the increased interest in videogames and rampant piracy. Finally, there is a news report that refugees were pouring into Mexico after the collapse of the American economy. Keep in mind this game was developed in Montreal (cute Canada, real cute.) The game's plot gets real interesting, though, when you head into the conference room. The laptop sitting on the conference room table is the secured laptop of Vidic - referred to as "Project Lead #9." There is only one email but it give a bigger picture of all the other operations Abstergo is working on besides the Pieces of Eden. Abstergo is examining an ancient artifact that controls time (could this be a tie-in to Prince of Persia Sands of Time). There is another reference to the Holy Grail saying that it never existing and is likely just another fabrication by the guy who claimed to be Jesus fooling people with the Pieces of Eden. Abstergo's ultimate plan for the Pieces of Eden is to strap it to a satellite that will beam its special powers down on Earth's inhabitants causing mind control on a global scale. -- FIN -- For more demo walkthroughs like this one see www.gameintestine.com. Legal: Copyright 2007 Zukowski This may be not be reproduced under any circumstances except for personal, private use. It may not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed publicly without advance written permission. Use of this guide on any other web site or as a part of any public display is strictly prohibited, and a violation of copyright.