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Video Game / Assassin's Creed

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Stay your blade from the flesh of an innocent.
Hide in plain sight.
Never compromise the Brotherhood.
Nothing is true. Everything is permitted.

Assassin's Creed is a 2007 action game from Ubisoft for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 (backward compatible on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S) and PC and the first game in the Assassin's Creed series. It takes place in the Holy Land, 1191 AD, where disgraced Assassin Altaïr ibn-La'Ahad works to redeem himself by eliminating nine men in several cities who are prolonging the Third Crusade. Altaïr has swordfighting moves at his disposal, as well as a mastery of Le Parkour, throwing knives, and a nifty retractable blade.

While that describes the majority of the game, there's a Framing Story. Desmond Miles is an ordinary bartender, circa September 2012, when he's kidnapped and delivered to Abstergo Industries, where Dr. Warren Vidic has him subjected to a device called the "Animus", which allows its users to experience Genetic Memory. Desmond is a descendant of Altaïr, and Abstergo wants to know what Altaïr knew.

Altaïr's story begins when he breaks the three tenets of the Assassin's Creed on a mission to recover an artifact from Robert de Sablé, a Templar leader. Altaïr kills an innocent, refuses to remain discreet by unabashedly facing the leader alone, and compromises his two brothers: one of whom is killed, while the other, Malik, loses his arm. Al Mualim, master of the Assassins, demotes Altaïr to the bottom of the ranks, strips him of most of his gear (and most of his skills, explainable in that he required the gear for many of them — no sword skills without his sword, no ledge-grabs without his gloves, etc.), but tells Altaïr that he must eliminate nine corrupt, exploitative men who are abusing the Holy Land, perpetuating the Crusades and generally kicking the dog. Altaïr has the chance to recover his lost prestige by killing these men, all of whom seem fairly confident in their righteousness when killed. Not surprisingly, there's a lot more going on behind the scenes that causes Altaïr, and his descendant Desmond, to question what is truly happening in the world around them.

The game's plot bears many similarities to the 1938 Slovenian novel Alamut, though there are enough changes to say that it isn't an adaptation so much as a simple case of "Inspired by…".

The concept was initially developed as an entry in the Prince of Persia series but developer Patrice Desilets felt that the historical branch of the Assassins were worthy of their own game and myth. It shares much in common with Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time with its Le Parkour related combat and gameplay, the Nonlethal KO mechanic to maintain Gameplay and Story Segregation, a process which Desilets described as "organic design". The end result was a Genre-Busting exercise that combined Wide-Open Sandbox exploration, social-stealth gameplay and combat, set in a historical backdrop brought to vivid life.

As the game ended with a clear Sequel Hook and sold extremely well, it should come as no surprise that a sequel was developed, and that single game has since spawned a long running franchise.

The PC port was given an Updated Re-release in the form of a Director's Cut, which adds four new mission types and tweaks existing missions to break up the monotony present in the original version.

Also note that this page may contain unmarked spoilers.

This game contains examples of:

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  • Actor Allusion: King Richard is voiced by Marcel Jeannin who had previously voiced Richard's knight Ivanhoe in Ivanhoe: The King's Knight.
    • Once again, Peter Renaday trains a group of stealth warriors as Al Mualim.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: After each major mission, Altaïr hears the dying speech of each man, all of whom sincerely believe they were doing the right thing and may even have been right. There is one exception, however, when he executes the ruler of a city who was actually just murdering his people for fun.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Abu'l Nuqoud, the Merchant King of Damascus, has vague traces of this trope, and many gamers were quick to notice the (not so) subtle hints. He is frequently described as "odd", claims contempt for God for considering him an abomination, and is seen caressing the arms of his muscular body guards.
  • Anachronism Stew: Mostly linguistic, but justified as a Translation Convention (see that entry below). Also, Altaïr's final sword upgrade gives him a 17th-18th century Arabic saif. In 1191.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Fights that involve the vigilantes get chaotic fast and it is not uncommon to accidentally stab them when going for the guard they're holding, but to compensate, the damage penalty for harming civilians doesn't apply to them. To top it off, they're invulnerable, ensuring they don't accidentally get killed in the chaos.
    • To prevent a checkpoint conflict, the guards directly involved in the "Save Citizens" side quests will never flee/surrender. The unnamed Templars that can be found in the world also never flee.
    • The sixty Templars obviously recognize an Assassin when they see one and Expose you on sight, but the Templars involved in the Robert de Sablé investigations do not in order to make those missions bearable.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Something like this appeared with Subject 16's encrypted messages and voice clips, especially towards the end of his sanity streak.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Interestingly, the protagonist Altaïr is the Assassins' resident over-confident jerk and it's the reason why he's in trouble.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Not only does DNA somehow record memories, those memories stay whole and intact no matter how many generations inherit them.
  • Artistic License – History: See the franchise's page.
  • Asshole Victim: All of Altaïr's official targets of assassination are, at best, morally-dubious people in addition to being Templars. He's chewed out by Malik for killing that old man at the start of Solomon's Temple mission.
  • A Taste of Power: You start the game with maxed out equipment and techniques, as well as a nearly-maxed out health meter. However, you lose it all after the first mission (with a very small window to try all your abilities out) due to Altaïr's grievous abuse of said power.
  • Athens and Sparta: Damascus is the Athens to Acre's Sparta during the Third Crusade. Despite the warfare and violence surrounding it, the former is a bustling, colorful Merchant City, filled with amazing and lively souks, ornate palaces and drenched by the sun, while Acre is a cold, grey, bleak, coastal town. The portcullis of Damascus has merchant stands, while that of Acre has plague victims laid out. Likewise, each city has Rich, Poor and Middle District, but even the poor district of Damascus looks a lot more alive than the rich district of Acre.
  • Audience Surrogate: A rare In-Universe example. Altaïr (or rather the Animus' portrayal of him) looks exactly like Desmond, and has a neutral American accent, presumably so Abstergo could make him more "relatable" to their test subject. The Masyaf memories in Assassin's Creed: Revelations make this even clearer, with Altaïr receiving a brand-new character model, voice actor and accent, even in the sections that take place before the start of the first game.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: All of the assassination targets are Elite Mook level fighters if you go up against them toe-to-toe, and Robert de Sablé and Al Mualim are the best fighters in the game. Notable as this trope is much more absent in later games in the series.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Hidden Blades, in-universe. A lethal weapon that weighs close to nothing and is easy to hide sounds like nothing but good, but an apparent design flaw means you need to sever your ring finger in order for it to function properly. The removal of your finger is done during initiation to prove your devotion to the Assassins.
    • Gameplay-wise, using a Hidden Blade in combat is a guaranteed One-Hit Kill, but they can only be used as a counterattack, and of the four usable melee weapons have the smallest window of opportunity to counter enemy attacks, requiring serious skill from the player.
  • Bag of Spilling: An in-game example — Altaïr loses all of his weapons and equipment after he's demoted at the beginning of the game. Hell, he even loses most of his hit points as well.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • Al Mualim. Not only was he part of a Templar plot to gain control of the Piece of Eden, he counted on Altaïr to become a Jerkass and screw up in Solomon's Temple. Al Mualim then told his Unwitting Pawn to murder the nine Templars in cahoots with the whole plot so he could have the artifact for himself.
    • Robert de Sablé is pretty good at this, as well. When Altaïr has killed all the Templar leaders, de Sablé uses the fact that they were both Crusaders and Saracens to convince King Lionheart to ally with Saladin to crush the Assassins in one go. He anticipated that Altaïr would hunt him last, so he made a trap at Addin's funeral to kill him. With Altaïr out of the picutre, no one would be in his way while he sought out King Richard I and try to form the alliance with the Saracens. It ends up backfiring, as the King decides to hear out Altaïr when he pleads his case about de Sablé's plan instead of simply taking his side.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: You can join groups of scholars and pretend to be praying to pass through various city gates unnoticed by the guards, who normally won't let you through. They even step aside to let the group of scholars pass more easily. However, this would not work if you just do the praying posture and try to step through the gate without real scholars accompanying you. It could be justified in that Altaïr is still obviously heavily-armed, but being amidst a group of scholars could cause the guards to overlook that. After all, humans usually don't see what they don't expect to see.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Robert de Sablé and Al Mualim.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
  • Bitch Slap: Al Mualim slaps Altaïr after Altaïr speaks out of turn while Al Mualim is berating him for breaking the tenets of the Creed.
    Al Mualim: There are rules. We are nothing if we do not abide by the Assassin's Creed. Three simple tenets, which you seem to forget. I will remind you. First and foremost: Stay your blade–
    Altaïr: –from the flesh of an innocent. I know.
    Al Mualim: [backhands Altaïr] And stay your tongue! Unless I give you leave to use it.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Altaïr's default weapon for assassination is a spring-loaded blade that pops out of a gauntlet on his left hand. He can either quietly people with this, or perform a dazzling leaping stab attack that gets a lot more attention.
  • Blamed for Being Railroaded: The first mission begins with Altaïr breaking the Assassins' three tenets. Altaïr has his rank and cool weapons stripped, and spends the rest of the game re-earning them. It's justified by the Framing Story: Desmond is reliving his ancestor's memories, so he can't act differently.
  • Bookends: Some of the first lines you hear in the Animus are also among the last in the game. Specifically "He that increaseth wisdom increaseth sorrow."
    • More specifically, the very first scene you see in the Animus while Desmond's psyche is rejecting it is the final boss arena. Makes sense seeing that that specific memory is the one Abstergo wants to find out where the Pieces of Eden are.
  • Bow and Sword in Accord:
    • Every archer packs a sword, too.
    • Altaïr has a crossbow in the opening scene, but he doesn't have it in the rest of the game. Instead, he uses throwing knives.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy Everyone back at Masyaf in Memory Block 7 when Al Mualim uses the Apple of Eden to take control of everyone.
  • Bringing Back Proof: Upon getting enough information about his assassination targets, Altaïr is given a feather from a Bureau Leader, which he is to dip in the blood of the target and then bring back to the Bureau Leader as proof that the assassination was successful.
  • Call a Hit Point a "Smeerp": It's called synchronization in the first game, it's a health gauge in subsequent games. It's even lampshaded in II's manual, which features a "note" to change the name to "health" to make it feel more exciting.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Altaïr twice massively criticizes Al Mualim, his mentor and surrogate father.
  • Character Development: Altaïr gradually becomes less of an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy as he works his way through the Templars and learns more of the truth. Malik's attitude toward him changes accordingly, from utter contempt to newfound respect.
  • The Chessmaster: Al Mualim is basically moving his white knight piece through the ranks of his fellow Templars through the whole game and the whole time, Altaïr thinks it's business as usual.
  • City Guards: Lots and lots of city guards in the cities with Altaïr's targets. The higher-ranked guards are so jumpy that they'll lay into you if you parkour around where they can see you, if you ride past at anything but the slowest speed, or even if somebody else shoves you into them.
  • Cliffhanger: Since this is a Framing Story, it only makes sense that the game has two of these: Altaïr sees the map of the Pieces of Eden and finds himself unable to destroy the one he has with the implication that he might turn out like the Big Bad. Desmond develops Eagle Vision and sees strange markings, in his room, written in blood.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The major cities are this, even Masyaf to an extend. Damascus, proud and strong, is shaded in gold all over. Jerusalem, city of both Muslim and Jewish faith and where Malik, future best friend and closest confidant, lives is a glimmering green. Acre, torn apart by siege and sickness, is a dull gray. Masyaf is the silver of the Assassin Brotherhood. So even if you aren't sure where you stopped playing, one look at your surroundings is enough.
  • Conspicuously Public Assassination: One target is actually on-stage at a public execution when Altaïr takes him out. Although, it's possible to stealth-assassinate almost every mark, doing it in high-profile is just that much more fun. This trope also features in the opening cutscene.
  • Conspicuously Selective Perception:
    • Though Altaïr has a distinctive mode of dress, even alerted guards will fail to remember him if they lose sight of him. Also, as noted below, beggar women and lepers harass Altaïr and Altaïr only.
    • Grabbing, hitting, or pushing said beggars and lepers will result in a loss of sync. Luckily, the guards will only react if a leper or drunk pushes you into them. Then they attack you.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: All of the Assassination Targets (including the 60 un-named Templars) are immune to throwing knives. They are not, however, immune to the one-hit-kill counter-attack of the Hidden Blade, which can be used to kill (or at least incapcaitate) even the final bosses with one strike.
  • Cosmopolitan Council: The 1191 Templars included: A near even mix of five Christians and four Muslims. It's a completely even split, since the secret tenth Templar was Al Mualim.
    • The targets were a Frenchman (de Sablé), a German (Sibrand), a scholar (Jubair), a merchant (Tamir), a slaver (Talal), a doctor (de Naplouse), a merchant king (Abul'Nuqoud), a Crusader (de Monferrat), a Saracen (Addin), and the obligatory woman Maria, the decoy for Robert near the end.
    • For reference, the historical Knights Templar were an order of Catholic monks.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: At the end of the game, Desmond gets to see some elaborate drawings made by Subject 16 in blood. There are so many of them that one has to wonder how he managed to keep the drawings so neat. Although the "couldn't find a pen" bit is subverted by the fact that a pen was what he actually used to kill himself. He painted the walls with blood because even after being cleaned away, he knew it would still show up in Eagle Vision.
  • Counter-Attack: Instant=kill on lower enemies, usually no more than two on everyone else. It comes in three flavors. Punch/kick the enemy away for some damage, instant kill, and punch/kick to stun the enemy and initiate an instant-kill (pressing the attack button, again) or a leg-break ("legs" button) a second later. Enemies can counter Altaïr, as well; sometimes for significant damage if they do it, repeatedly. This can end up encouraging players to do nothing but use counters themselves.
  • Cradling Your Kill: After every assassination, Altaïr gently lowers his target to the ground. It's Assassin tradition to show respect to their targets.
  • Crapsack World:
    • Implied through the emails Desmond reads on the computers. Desmond finds out that Africa's population has been decimated by a plague; massive number of illegal immigrants are crossing the U.S.-Mexican border... into Mexico, resulting in a shooting war between the U.S. and Mexico; hurricane season no longer exists, since hurricanes happen all throughout the year thanks to climate change; and the last film studio has closed, as piracy has destroyed the movie industry. Oh, yeah, and did we mention that the year is 2012?
    • One of the main points of Assassin's Creed was that the world is just as hellish in 2012 as it was in 1191. The Templars want to fix it, without knowing that they're doubling up the world's problems through their ways.
    • Hilariously, all of those modern world issues were later retconned away by Assassins Creed: Initiates, with one of the entries revealing that hacker group Erudito added that stuff to Abstergo's newsletter.
  • Crazy Sane: Subject 16 only managed to accomplish the very, very important task set to him by doing things that no sane person would ever do.
  • Critical Annoyance: The Animus starts glitching up when Desmond's sync ratio drops too low.
  • Cutscene: All (save the pre-title scene) masterfully executed within the game's engine.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: The pre-title cutscene shows Altaïr using a crossbow, which you can't use in-game. Granted, this cutscene was also the first promotional trailer, so it didn't change between first sighting and the game's release.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: Why the Damascus Rafiq is so very memorable to most players. "I envy you Altaïr! Except the fact that you were beaten up and stripped of your rank, but in every other way...Oh, except for the terrible things the other Assassins say about you, but yes, aside from the failure and the hatred, yes, aside from those things, I envy you very much!"
  • Death by Irony: Majd Addin gets assassinated hosting a public execution.
  • Difficult, but Awesome:
    • The Hidden Blade can parry just like the sword and dagger can, but on the downside, the parry window is very small and leaves you vulnerable to attack for a moment if you miss it. On the upside, successfully parrying with the Hidden Blade is a guaranteed instant-kill, even against late-game enemies and their larger health pools that other parries only dent. If you can master the timing, you can cut a large crowd of enemies down to nothing before you know it. Performing a kill with the Hidden Blade causes at least one of the guards to momentarily wince in horror, allowing you for a quick assassination. This can be repeated on similarly-shocked Mooks.
    • If a player gets good at learning out how to control the inconsistent targeting system and then uses the Short Blade in their fights, even the largest fights in the game will be easy. The game is very good at distinguishing when an attack uses the blade and when it uses the Throwing Knives, so a player can strategize throughout large fights to interchangeably attack guards and throw unblockable knives at others. Much more difficult than just using the Blade, but a skilled Short Blade player can end the largest fights in the game in seconds.
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: Part of the flavor text describing Earth in 2012 AD as a Crapsack World is that the film industry has collapsed, due to rampant digital piracy making movie production unprofitable.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: The first Jerusalem assassination target, the slaver Talal, comes across like this. Though he can be assassinated before Garnier de Naplouse in Acre, according to the official chronology he was killed after Garnier, and as such finishes out the first act of the game, by completing the first assassinations in all three cities. Talal also operates out of the Rich District of Jerusalem, a very opulent area that contrasts sharply with the slums of Damascus and Acre's Poor Districts where Tamir and Garnier lurked. Also, unlike Tamir and Garnier, who can, with some difficulty, be stealth-killed, Talal must be confronted, luring Altaïr into his warehouse, subjecting him to Evil Gloating, and then hitting him with a Multi-Mook Melee against his cadre of personal guards. After you take them out, the fight then spills into the streets as Talal tries to flee, pelting you with arrows if he can manage enough distance. When he dies, Talal also drops some pretty big hints about being connected to the other targets (their identities as Templars is not yet known to Altaïr), and after he dies, the very public nature of his death causes a still-angry Malik to read Altaïr the riot act for his haphazard handling of the situation. It's a much more in-depth affair than the assassinating of Tamir and Garnier, and is obviously meant to prepare the player for the more advanced sections of the game to come.
  • Disc-One Nuke: You get the Hidden Blade and counter fairly early, so if you bother to master it, little can give you trouble in a straight fight.
  • Doppelgänger Attack:
    • Al Mualim uses body doubles when you fight him.
    • There is a glitch in certain versions of the game that let you spawn a second Altaïr who mimics the actions of the first one. Controlling him in a fight against enemies is a bit difficult, but technically possible. You can even hidden blade assassinate yourself, which works out about as well as you'd expect.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: More or less justified, especially considering Altaïr's actions at the beginning of the game (i.e. being a dick).
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Sibrand appears in an Eavesdropping mission before Altaïr gets a chance to actually assassinate him.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • For starters, there are a lot less features in this game compared to later ones, to the point where it's a tech demo in comparison:
      • Eagle Vision is only available at full-sycnhronization and is first-person — meaning that Altaïr can't move.
      • You cannot swim, instead dying instantly when you fall into water.
      • Exposition is delivered in much larger chunks, sometimes awkwardly. Sidequests consist of information gathering in various forms, something that was downplayed or worked into the actual story later in the series.
      • The stealth is more cumbersome than in later entries. Altaïr is only able to hide amongst either a group of religious scholars or people sitting on a bench when it comes to concealing himself in a crowd. Furthermore, if Altaïr either assassinates his target or is confronted by them, a city-wide alert is initiated, which sets all of the guards to informed status.
      • For non-Xbox 360 players, the game has no Trophies for the PS3, or achievements on Steam.
    • The "historical tourism" element isn't as prevalent in this game as it in the later entries; meaning that while it does recreate famous monuments like the Dome on the Rock and the Ummayad Mosque, it does not draw attention to it via Database Entries like the sequels do. The Crusades also serve more as a backdrop than the historical events of the succeeding games. Relatedly, there's a conspicuous lack of famous historical people in the story, with the sole exception of King Richard I of England, who gets a single scene towards the end of the game.
    • Instead of being ancient, secret organizations from the shadows, the Assassins and Templars are known to everybody and have entire cities and armies under their control.
    • The concept that all major breakthroughs of the 20th century are the result of the Templars reverse-engineering Precursor tech is never mentioned again in the series.
    • Earth in 2012 A.D. is described as a Crapsack World where climate change is out of control, refugees are crossing the US-Mexico border into Mexico, and nobody makes films anymore due to rampant digital piracy, all implied to be due to the Templars messing around with humanity's development. This element disappears in later games, and Assassin's Creed: Initiates eventually Retcons it as the work of a hacker group uploading garbage to Abstergo's database.
  • Easter Egg: One building is more than meets the eye.
  • Elite Mooks: There are various grades of guards, up to the most heavily-armoured ones and the generic Templars, who are identical ability-wise to a full-powered Altaïr.
  • Enemy Mine: By the end of the game Robert de Sablé is trying to initiate such a scenario by turning both King Richard's Crusaders and the Saladin's Saracen forces against the Assassin Brotherhood as Altaïr has taken out vital personnel on both sides of the conflict.
  • Evil Old Folks: Al Mualim, the old mentor of the Assassin Brotherhood, is a devious chessmaster.
  • Expository Gameplay Limitation: There are several occasions in which Altaïr is having a scripted conversation with another character and the sequences are functionally cutscenes, but the player is still free to walk around the room in question.
  • Eye Scream: One Hidden Blade counter has Altaïr stabbing the unfortunate victim in the eye.
  • Fantastic Catholicism: And Fantastic Shi'a Islam of the Assassins, for that matter, as both the Assassins and the Templars are reimaged as age-old secret societies involving precursor super tech.
  • Fingore: Altaïr's left ring finger is replaced by a hidden blade. Or rather, it was removed to allow the Hiddenn Blade to be used without injuring him. Cutting the ring finger was a trial to prove one's commitment to the cause, and the Blade was seen as spiritual replacement of the finger. As the new Mentor, Altaïr redesigns the Hidden Blade to make that tradition obsolete.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Altaïr and Malik gradually become friendly as they work together on missions and confront their corrupted superior.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: Robert de Sablé's syntax makes it very obvious that the secret tenth man he is referring to is Al Mualim about twenty seconds before he officially drops his name.
  • Flash of Pain: Whenever Altaïr takes damage, the screen flashes red and gray, a visual representation of Desmond being out of sync with his ancestor.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: In the trailer, the bells toll as Altaïr starts an assassination mission.
  • Foreshadowing: In the very first mission, Altaïr is tasked to find a traitor to the Assassins in Masyaf. When found, he will claim that Al Mualim has betrayed the order, which much later turns out to be correct.
    • The doors of Desomond's room at Abstergo have holes in the shape of a plus, resembling the christian cross insignia used by the Templars, subtly forshadowing the reveal that Abstergo is a front for the modern day Templars.
  • Fractional Winning Condition: Each bureau head gives you six different assignments to investigate a certain target before assassinating him. You only needed to accomplish three to proceed to the assassination mission and move on, but if you proceeded to finish off every mission, you not only got an achievement for accomplishing every mission, but also get bonus experience so you could get extra upgrades, such as more sync bars.
  • Full Health Bonus: Eagle Vision is only available at full synchronization. Future games dropped the synchronization as health mechanic and allow free use of Eagle Vision.
  • Gaia's Lament: Implied by the emails. One e-mail states that due to the consistency of hurricanes in America, the term "Hurricane Season" became superfluous.
    • Another mentions oil platforms being built in the Weddell Sea, in apparent violation of the Antarctica Treaty.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: The game initially shipped with a doozy of a bug occurring in the Arsuf level on the Xox 360 version. Halfway through the level, the landscape would become a void and Animus glitches would appear as if signifying Desmond desynchronizing. If you didn't fall through the level geography to your death at this point you would encounter an Altaïr clone that copies your moves as you make them. Then the cutscene of Altaïr's final confrontation with de Sablé would not trigger, leaving the game in a state of limbo as you stand staring at motionless Templars. This made the game Unwinnable until it was patched.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: The game forces Altaïr to defeat Marie Thorpe, in a way not much different from his assassination targets, but after he chooses to spare her since she's not his target, they both run away unharmed.
  • Genghis Gambit: After Altaïr murders several prominent Templars on both sides of the conflict, Robert de Sablé tries to convince King Richard to form a truce with the Saracens against the threat posed to both by the Assassins. It's later revealed that this was Al Mualim's plan, all along.
  • Genius Bruiser: Malik Al'Sayf. He's apparently a cartographer by trade, since you walk in on him at least once while he's drawing a complicated map of Jerusalem. It's a profession that requires a lot of intelligence and a superb memory, and obviously, he's also an Assassin where such things come in handy.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The game keeps track of all the flags you have collected and the number of generic Templars you kill. However, there is no reward for completing these optional objectives, beyond the usual achievements in the 360 version. There are 420 of them; unmarked. At least the second game gave you maps for treasures and tombs and marked important buildings for secret signs, leaving only 100 feathers; each of these had some sort of meaningful reward after completion.
  • Gotta Kill 'Em All: The Templars, both named and unnamed, are marked for death and all must be killed for 100% completion.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Altaïr says "La shaaya waqin moutlaq bale kouloun moumkin" ("Nothing is true, everything is permitted") when he kills Al Mualim at the end without the line being translated. In addition, the guy that voiced Altaïr (in the first game) has an American accent, so even Arabic speakers were left scratching their heads during this scene.
  • Groin Attack: Altaïr can use this as part of his many bastardly counter attacks. However, the guards are also well-versed in groin-fu.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Guards frequently mistake a very well-armed man in a white robe for a scholarnote . They can also be right next to a haystack and not notice Altaïr jumping into it. They will also chase Altaïr up a roof, run right past the small roof garden he is hiding in, and never bother to pull back the curtains and see if there's an Assassin hiding in there.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The game never informs you that it's possible to perform counter-kills with the Hidden Blade. This wouldn't be a problem, except enemy groups get very large toward the end of the game, making it necessary to thin down their numbers quickly. Not even to mention that a Hidden Blade counter will always cause one nearby soldier to recoil in horror, during which you can assasinate them. Meaning, essentially, you can pull off counter-chain kills - four whole games before it was officially implemented.
    • Air assassination can be performed in this game, though from smaller height than in sequels
  • Handicapped Badass: Malik, who loses his left arm at the beginning of the game. As with most handicapped badasses, it seems to only takes his awesome to up to eleven levels, considering he later takes on a Brainwashed and Crazy army of fellow assassins with only four other guys, and wins.
  • Heavily Armored Mook: Guards' armour increases as they get more elite. A useful clue for telling them apart is their headgear; the more elaborate, the more elite.
  • The High Middle Ages: Given the setting, a couple of elements pop up in the game such as the Knights Templar and Richard the Lionheart.
  • Highly-Visible Ninja: Altaïr's Le Parkour antics, which often draw observations from the crowd that "he must be insane!" Also, it's VERY easy to forget about the game's supposed stealth-based gameplay and simply run through the city, silencing any alarms that are raised by killing the three or four guards that end up chasing you. This is especially true since the game itself frequently encourages you to get into highly visible sword fights with groups of guards to prevent them from raping or robbing civilians (saving said civilians being a recruitment method and part of achieving 100% Completion). Once a civilian is saved, it's best to leave before any nearby guard suspects Altaïr.
  • Historical Domain Character: Robert de Sablé, Rashid ad-Din Sinan (under the nickname Al Mualim), Richard the Lionheart are the most notable examples. Most of the assassination targets are also either directly based on (Garnier de Naplouse, William de Montferrat, Sibrand) or heavily inspired by (Majd Addin, Jubair al Hakim) Real Life historical figures.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: The real Assassins were not protectors of freedom. The only members of the order that did the killing were the ones at the bottom of the hierarchy, and they rarely (if ever) survived their missions. The Assassins were hated by both the Christians and Sunni Muslims, and the order only managed to last for as long as it did because both sides recognized their value as mercenaries and contract killers
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: The main members of the Knights Templar and the Saracens are portrayed as misguided and evil throughout the game. Templars such as Sibrand, Garnier de Naplouse, William of Montferrat, and other Templars were made significantly more evil than their Real Life counterparts, who are depicted as chivalrous knights. Even Richard the Lionheart is portrayed as a cynical leader at the end of the game, who cannot comprehend the difference between being driven by vengeance and fighting for peace.
  • Hit Points: Called Synchronization, measuring how similar Desmond is acting to Altaïr.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Sibrand is a pretty egregious example in a world filled with holy warriors and people serene in their death. He's become a paranoid wreck because he doesn't believe in an afterlife. Jubair exhibits lesser tendencies in that he's started a campaign of book-burning because he wants to end a war justified over religion by... indiscriminately destroying all written knowledge. However, while Jubair is just an example of this trope with no real explanation, Sibrand actually has one: the existence of the Piece of Eden led him to conclude that there is no afterlife after death, and he is terrified at the prospect of ceasing to exist upon his death.
  • Identical Grandson: Desmond and his ancestors all look exactly alike, although it's unclear whether they actually are identical or if Desmond is "projecting" his own residual self-image onto them, which would also explain why Altaïr has the only American accent in the Holy Land.
    • Assassin's Creed: Revelations revisits Altaïr in select missions, and he looks and sounds completely different, even in one of the exact moments from the first game which is revisited. The justification seems to be that the earlier, more primitive Animus from the first game superimposed Desmond's face and voice over Altaïr in order for him to more easily synched up with his ancestor.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Kristen Bell as Lucy.
  • Interrogation Flashback: Played with. Desmond is being interrogated, not for his own memories, but for his ancestral ones, using the Animus system that gives him flashbacks of Altaïr's life.
  • Ironic Echo: After the fourth of the nine targets has been assassinated, Altaïr seeks answers from Al Mualim about what connects these men, but Al Mualim refuses to give any specifics and says that "the question will be answered when you no longer need to ask it". After the assassination of the fifth target, Altaïr puts his foot down and makes Al Mualim confess that the assassination targets are all Templars by throwing the old man's words back at him.
    Altaïr: You said the answer to my question would arise when I no longer needed to ask it. So I will not ask. I demand you tell me what binds these men!
  • Irony:
    • "Ironic, isn't it, that I, your greatest enemy, kept you safe from harm. But now, you've taken my life, and in the process, ended your own." — last words of Robert de Sablé.
    • Richard notes the inherent irony in Altaïr saying that he's "fighting for peace".
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Altaïr beats people up for information, and then kills them.
  • Jerkass: Any number of the assassination targets, but rather amusingly, Altaïr, the Player Character, starts the game as a massive tool. He's an arrogant, pain-in-the-ass screw-up who ignores his Brotherhood's creed.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Almost all of the assassination targets have valid reasons for the horrible things they've done (the exception is Majd Addin). Even Altaïr and Malik come to realize that The Templars' goals aren't so different from the Assassins, it's just that The Templars are too willing to sacrifice individual freedoms to achieve their goals,.
  • Justified Trope: The metaplot means that the artificiality typical of games is justified as being a side-effect of the Animus.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Every one of Altaïr's targets has a scene where they do something nasty to someone before Altaïr kills them.
    • The guards who are harassing citizens either for being a "thief" or just for being from a different religion, right before you show up to spoil the party.
    • Altaïr himself gets one at the start of the game; his murder of an innocent old man being a Establishing Character Moment that shows how arrogant and ruthless he is. Several of the people he must interrogate are clearly innocent, and at least one is not only sympathetic to his cause but thinks his target is despicable and wholeheartedly wishes to help stop him. Altaïr unfortunately has to kill these people because letting anyone know about his mission could compromise it, and thus the Brotherhood.
  • Knight Templar: Both the Knight Templar themselves and Al Mualim's group show aspects of this, willing to manipulate and kill for the sake of their own absolute conception of good. Altaïr especially initially shows little qualm in killing anyone related to his targets simply after merely being told that they must die.
  • Kung Fu-Proof Mook: Some of the guards can break free of grabs and block frontal assassination attempts.
  • Lady of War: Maria would be considered this considering that she fights in armor like an elite mook.
  • Land in the Saddle: The player can pull off this move by having Altaïr parkour onto his horse instead of a building.
  • Last Lousy Point: The so called pillar flag. While most requires just some light platforming, this infamous one has you first climb to the top of a very tall old roman arch, jump to a pillar and then make a huge jump to another pillar which you also have to grasp using the ledge grab ability. Sounds easy? Well not only is the entire area crawling with archers which will shot you down if you don't kill them first. The second pillar is so far away that the game has problem locking on to it as you jump and unless you do it perfectly you will fall to your death and have to do it all over again.
    • There is also nothing stopping you from reaching the area before you acquire ledge grab or even know that you will get it. Meaning you can spend hours trying figure out how to reach it without knowing that you cant do it yet.
    • The situation is even worse in the PC version if you happen to play at more than 60FPS. This breaks the game's physics engine but only to such a tiny degree that you probably wont notice it during general gameplay. It will change this borderline impossible jump into an actual impossible one though as no matter how much you try you will never reach it.
  • Law of 100: There are a hundred flags hidden throughout the Kingdom and each of the three cities. Masyaf, being smaller, only has twenty flags.
  • Life Meter: The Synchronization Bar at the top left of the screen, measuring the Hit Points of the game, Synchronization.
  • A Lighter Shade of Grey: What's the difference between the Assassins and the Templars? The Assassins don't seek to control others, while the Templars do. However, their goals are similar. Unfortunately such rhetoric is what allows Al Mualim to use Altaïr to clear his path via assassination, proclaiming one whilst practicing the other.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Levantine Assassins have a tendency to wear white clothing. This is lampshaded when Desmond checks the closet in his room, and sees nothing but dull jeans and white hoodies.
  • Living Legend: Altaïr begins the game famous only among the Assassins, and then only for his skill. By the end, he's hated and feared by Christians and Saracens alike, but the Assassins have come to love him.
  • Loading Screen: The voice of the Animus gives the player a (usually pointless) gameplay hint that might be something plainly obivous, like guards being alarmed by dead bodies, or an ability which hasn't been regained, yet. The loading screen, itself, is a sky-blue background enveloped by white fog and bits of data flickering.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: It takes eleven steps, all of them involving loading or at least thematic pauses, to exit the PC version of the first game. You can, however, use Alt+ F4 with no fear of save-game corruption, so long as the indicator that the game is being saved isn't displayed when you press it.
  • Losing the Team Spirit: Kill lots of guards quickly. The remainder will flee or fall to their knees and beg for mercy.
  • Lost in a Crowd: A crucial part of gameplay is Altaïr, in his white robe, being able to hide in a cluster of wandering scholars, also in white robes.
  • Matrix Raining Code: Every time the Animus loads memories, it's data appearing on the screen.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: Justified and averted on two counts. It's implied that novice Assassins usually do investigation while the Bureau leaders (rafiqs) typically provide more up-front information to those on assignment. Altaïr hasn't had to do it since he became a Master Assassin. He has to do it now because he's been demoted back to a Novice and also has stepped on a lot of toes in the past. It's also averted in that Pick-Pocket targets or Assassin Informers have already done some of the leg work for him.
  • Mercy Kill: Unlike in later entries, slashing your sword or dagger at people note  won't kill them, but gravely wound them. While they're on the ground screaming and squirming, they're still highlighted as a target, and you can end their suffering by having Altaïr stab them with his blade.
  • Mission Creep: Discussed many times by Altaïr, Al Mualim and the various Rafiqs. Altaïr is told to perform simple tasks, (kill nine Templars) but finds that their motivations and the reasons for killing them, and the connections between the targets, hint at something bigger:
    Al Mualim: Altaïr, your mission has not changed. Merely the context within which you perceive it.
  • Mook Chivalry: Enemies rarely attack together, which lets you abuse Counter Attacks to no end. Sometimes, they do attack during counter animations, but Altaïr has invincible frames when he counters an attack. Higher-tier enemies eventually begin to break your guard to prevent you from holding block all the time; Desmond still loses Synch when they attack. It is suddenly subverted in the final confrontation, but counter-kills take away most of the edge.
  • Mundane Solution: Jubair's assassination mission includes several decoy targets, forcing you to look around the map to find the real one. The game is designed to make you go to all of the locations to see which one is actually Jubair... or, you can just expose yourself to the guards, which will trigger the city wide alert, make Jubair start running, and reveal which one is him.
  • Murder, Inc.: A rare quasi-heroic version appears in the form of the hashashin themselves. The Brotherhood kills to promote peace in the Holy Land.

    Tropes N-Z 
  • Never Hurt an Innocent: One of the rules of the Hashshashins is "stay your blade from the flesh of the innocent". Altaïr breaking it is one of the reasons why he's stripped of his rank. You can also kill innocents, but at the cost of Sync. This is, however, averted once you beat the game and replay old memories after the credits roll. Altaïr can kill hordes of innocent people and receive no Sync penalty for doing so.
  • New Media Are Evil: In-universe example. One of the news reports Desmond can read in the present states that due to advances in video game technology, the film industry has been killed off.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Altaïr's assassinations serve to help unite the Muslims and Christians against the Assassins. Oops.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Altaïr uses his Assassin training that allows him to "pierce the illusion" and see the world the way it really is — taught to him by Al Mualim over the course of the story — to pierce the illusion created by the Piece of Eden and kill Al Mualim.
  • Ninja: At least, from a certain point of view. The Ninja, the Sulsa (the Korean organizations on which the Ninja were based), and the Assassins all used techniques which originated with strategists and soldiers who fled China in the collapse of the T'ang Dynasty, in the 600s AD. There is very little information about this on the Internet.
  • Noob Cave: The Damascus Poor District, where your first assassination target is located, is this; there are few rooftop archers, which makes traversing the area easier, and the guards on the street are the weakest in the game. Also, the investigation requirements for assassinating Tamir are rather easy; you only need to complete 2 investigation memories, and there's three available eavesdropping missions, which are very passive and don't require much effort (the PC version is different, however). There's also little in the way of obstacles like beggars and madmen to get in your way. Later assassinations will add more archers, tougher guards, and cut back on the number of eavesdropping missions while increasing the number of total investigation memories needed and adding in inconveniently-placed beggars and madmen. You'll come back, though, since the Assassin Bureau for Damascus is located in the Poor District, but after you assassinate Tamir, there's no real reason for you to linger unless you still have side objectives to complete.
  • No Such Thing as Wizard Jesus: The Templar researcher speculates that the Piece of Eden, along other artifacts like it, was the effector behind such miracles as the Parting of the Red Sea, the success of the Trojan Horse, the miracles surrounding 'the Christ-figure' and the plagues of Egypt, among other things.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Altaïr sticks out like a sore thumb with his unquestionably American accent in the middle of a sea of Arabic and European accents. This is hand waved as a side-effect of the Animus. He is, however, pretty much the only one to consistently get the pronunciation of Arabic names and phrases right — which still needs to be hand waved a la Animus, since it's modern Arabic. This is done away with in AC: Bloodlines and Revelations, where Altaïr's thick Arabic accent is a thing of beauty.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: One thing the Templars always do as they have a Final Speech during the whitescreen heart-to-hearts with Altaïr is expound about how their goals, methods and tools are so very similar. In the endgame, we learn that this is because Al Mualim is a Templar, cleaning house in a bid to take over the organization.
  • Notice This: Justified, Altaïr and later his descendant, Desmond both have Eagle Vision which highlights individuals as hostile (red), friendly/ have important information (bright blue), neutral (white) or a target (gold).
  • NPC Amnesia: You can kill someone, turn a corner and hide in a haystack, wait for thirty seconds, and then do it again. Nobody notices the man in white when he emerges from his hiding place. Justified in that the NPCs aren't actual people, but rather Altair's memories of them, as remembered by his descendant roughly 800 years later, making him an Unreliable Narrator. It's an essential quirk of the game, as anonymity (and thus stealth) would quickly become impossible if the guards remembered what Altaïr looks like. However, they sometimes say "we've fought before" during combat, so apparently they can at least recognize him in that context.
  • Obvious Villain, Secret Villain: The game makes it clear that the Templars are the main antagonists, especially Robert de Sablé who has a head that is completely bald and an evil-looking scar with an arrogant, haughty personality befitting of a French Jerk villain. Al Mualim, on the other hand, is the last person you would expect to be the true antagonist until a late-game plot twist revealed that he has an Apple of Eden and intends to bring peace to the Levant through control.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Quite a few of them littered throughout the game, but the biggest one comes at the very end, when Al Mualim uses the Piece of Eden to seemingly resurrect Altaïr's nine assassination targets and sics them on him all at once. Lucky for the player, they're just regular soldiers in the guise of the boss characters and behave as such in combat. Al Mualim himself... not so much.
    • Altaïr's enemies will often be visibly shocked when he kills their comrades — sometimes so much that they flee rather than face him alone. They will also often cringe and drop their guard after seeing Altaïr perform a finishing move, leaving them open to an instant kill with the Hidden Blade.
  • One-Hit Kill: Counters with the Hidden Blade, assuming you time it correctly. Other weapons have a wider window of opportunity, but in return, the Hidden Blade's counter attacks are always lethal.
  • One-Man Army: Altaïr. It is entirely possible to run around the Kingdom and cheerfully slaughter entire enemy camps as well as massacre the equivalent of a few small armies. If the timing of the Hidden Blade's counter-attack has been mastered, it is also entirely possible for Altaïr to slaughter all of the aforementioned enemies without taking a single scratch. In fact, when Altaïr gets hit, Desmond gets desynchronized with his memories. In other words, the real Altaïr never got hit!
  • The Order: Both the Assassins and, naturally, The Knights Templar are present, among others. The Assassins, for instance, have a base where they train, different roles to support the organization's mission, and a Creed that guides them.
  • Ordered to Die: Al Mualim has Altaïr and two other assassins jump to their deaths to prove to Robert they do not fear death. It's really a ploy to get them to circumvent the Templars and activate Masyaf's defenses.
  • The Outside World: At age 16, Desmond Miles runs away from his family's hidden Assassin commune. He assumes that his parents are Crazy Survivalist types and that all their warnings about Abstergo Industries' plot to take over the world is nonsense... until he's kidnapped by Abstergo nine years later. This is apparent during the first hour of the game.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise:
    • Oh, that man wearing all those weapons is praying, he's obviously not an Assassin. Then again, given how dangerous the area is for Christian clerics, maybe Reality Is Unrealistic.
    • Inverted with one of Altaïr's later targets. After learning of Altaïr's work, he becomes paranoid and publicly kills an actual man of the cloth, proclaiming him to be an Assassin. Of course, Altaïr is in the exact same crowd.
    • During the last assassination mission, the person you assume to be Robert de Sablé is wearing a helmet concealing his face. While not exactly a paper thin disguise, the fact that "Robert" suddenly speaks with a woman's voice is a big hint. "Robert's" chest sticks out a little more than is normal for a man—not blatantly obvious as the armor conceals the discrepancy somewhat, but still noticeable. And the gait is blantantly feminine.
  • The Plague: In one email, Desmond finds an article about how 96% of Africa's population was been killed by the outbreak of a virus named L-11 in 2006. Six years later, when the game takes place, the continent is still mostly empty. Subverted, as it turned out to be fabrication by Abstergo opposing hacking collective — Erudito.
  • Politically Correct History: While the game was considered daring in its time for having an Arab protagonist and portraying a revisionist view of The Hashshashin, many noted that it ended up making The Crusades a backdrop to a secular dispute between two secret societies, when this was a major conflict driven by religion. One review of the games called Ubisoft out for pulling its punches:
    And in the end, the big reveal is slightly less silly than The Da Vinci Code's "Jesus had kids! Oh noes!" reveal. From the cauldron of the Crusades and the Middle East, all Ubisoft can produce is a world-weary existentialism as bland and inoffensive as vanilla ice cream, with a quote from Ecclesiastes like a cherry on top...Talk more about the Prophet, peace be upon Him. Put a Jewish character in the game and let him be reviled. Show the Crusaders as something other than the dudes playing the role of the cops from GTA.
  • Playing Both Sides: Robert de Sablé eventually comes to this conclusion over the course of the game, realizing that the Saracens and the Crusaders can easily be focused onto the Assassins if he just reminds them of what Altaïr has been doing to men on both sides of their conflict.
  • The Power of Friendship: Befriending all the local vigilantes provides Altaïr with a district-wide support system which can do everything from A.) blocking guards to aid escape, B.) aiding in sword fights by holding guards in place, and C.) preventing Assassination Targets from running away.
  • Pragmatic Hero: While the "hero" part is no longer true by the end of the game, Altaïr originally asks Al Mualim if he wants his master to kill both Richard and Saladin, only to be told that it's better that both men live and continue to march to each other. As he explains, if their leaders are killed, the 10,000 soldiers they command would lose their restraint on their bloodlust, likely causing terror across the Holy Land, while as long as the two armies march, they do not fight.
  • Precursors:
    • Somewhat subtle, as the Piece of Eden is clearly a piece of high-technology in 1191 AD, and it had to be left by someone, but there is no lip-service to this fact. As well, Vidic says that all technology is the result of the Templars choosing "inventors" through history to pretend to invent them, and they are actually "gifts from those who came before".
    • When Altaïr activates the Piece of Eden at the end of the game, it brings up a mini-globe, which even includes the yet-undiscovered New World.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: After Altaïr finishes interrogating someone, he usually says something cold-blooded before killing them.
  • Propaganda Machine:
    • The guys in Damascus and Jerusalem that spout the same looping speech over and over again about Saladin fighting the Christian armies, and their enemy counterparts (Richard fighting the Saracens) in Acre. Chances are, you will be able to memorize these speeches by the end of the game.
    • Also, each person Altaïr interrogates spouts off a speech like this before Altaïr starts stalking them. For instance, Talal is not a slaver, but someone who pays well for an honest day's work.
  • Puzzle Pan: One example is saving the civilian outside of Damascus, and once complete, the camera rotates towards a group of scholars that are prepared to enter the city. Also, the pre-assassination cutscene also keeps the camera generally facing the target.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: King Richard, when Altaïr finally meets him, gives the Assassin the benefit of the doubt and forces his Number Two, Robert de Sablé, to Trial by Combat so God can weigh in on the debate. For the time period, that is perfectly reasonable.
  • Recruited from the Gutter: After Talal is killed, Altaïr consults with Al Mualim about the slaver's strange selection of enslaved people, who were poor or sick. Al Mualim explains that it is possible to create from such downtrodden people loyal followers by invoking this trope.
    Al Mualim: What better way to make a soldier than to take a broken man and rebuild him? Give him all he's been denied with the promise of more.
    Altaïr: It seems a lot of work.
    Al Mualim: It is. But what you get in return is loyalty. Knowing what it was they stood to lose, such men would be loathe to betray their savior.
  • Regenerating Health: Courtesy of the Synchronization mechanic, Desmond's "health bar" will recover if he stays out of sight for a while because this is following the Assassin's Creed and helping him resynch with his ancestor.
  • Reverse Grip: How Altaïr holds the Short Blade.
  • Rule of Fun:
    • There were probably not any free-running knife-hurling Assassins with a knife for a left ring finger in the twelfth century, but damn, stabbing a guard in the back of the face is fun.
    • Not to mention, using that same nifty switchblade in combat to make it so that you can only kill by countering, which is probably a very bad idea since it looks so delicate. Regardless, Altaïr has no problems puncturing chain mail with it when he's not doing something particularly nasty, like stabbing them in the eye.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Maria impersonating Robert de Sablé.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here:
    • Kill enough guards without taking a hit and the survivors will break and run if there are no Elite Mooks around to rally them. Sometimes, even then.
    • Talal, Abul, and Sibrand will flee from Altaïr as soon as they see him, while the other targets will actually stand their ground and fight. While Talal will end up running no matter what, Abul and Sibrand can be killed before this if he is stealthy enough.
  • Sequel Hook: The game abruptly ends with the protagonist discovering that his bedroom is actually a Room Full of Crazy with several plot threads left dangling.
  • Shout-Out: Interestingly enough, there is a shout out to the original book, Alamut and some of the original anecdotes about the Assassins as a whole. At Masayaf, if one goes out the exit at the rear of the fortress, there is a space that is best known for being the site of the final battle. However, go there before then, and the garden in the back of the fortress will be filled with provocatively-dressed women wandering about. In addition to this, the very first sequence in the game, when Desmond wakes up in the Animus for the first time, (this is even before the tutorial) a brief sequence will feature Desmond as Altaïr wandering about in this space, surrounded closely by the aforementioned women. This, combined by the dazed effect caused by the low synchronization rate Desmond has at the beginning of the game, are a clear reference to the stories about how the leader of the Assassins would smuggle his chosen people into a secret garden filled with beautiful women and other pleasures while they were drugged, thus giving his followers the impression that he could send them into paradise at will, which is what instills such intense loyalty to the leader of the Assassins. Al Mualim and Altaïr even reference this urban legend in-game, which Altaïr considers an embarrassment. In the novel, it is this revelation (rather than the pieces of Eden) that fuels the conflict.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Altaïr's response to the numerous Not So Different Remarks by his assassination targets is a Hidden Blade to the throat (in Majd Addin's case) or a witty remark. Eventually, he comes to the conclusion that while their goals and methods are somewhat similar, he and his are on the lighter gray side of this Grey-and-Gray Morality, Well-Intentioned Extremist divide because they don't want to Take Over the World, whereas the Templars do. Which is hilarious considering that Al Mualim, who helped him reach this revelation, not only does want to take over the world, but is in fact a member of the very Templars that he claims to be fighting!
  • Sinister Surveillance: Desmond's bedroom and bathroom are full of cameras, but you're free to do anything: even take a look at the latest plans of the bad guys. There's a reason for it: it's revealed in later games that the video feed was tampered with.
  • Soft Water: Or rather Soft Hay; no matter how far it is to the ground when you jump off a building, you won't take any damage at all as long as you land in haystacks. We do mean any height, like off the very top of the cathedral in Acre, which realistically would render Altaïr a messy stain on the cobblestones.
  • Spam Attack: One of the Hidden Blade counter animations has Altaïr stabbing an enemy in the stomach, followed by a jab above the abdomen, and conludes with another stabbing in the face.
  • Stalking Mission: You don't want to let the pickpocket targets see you.
  • Stealth-Based Game: Although the game often involves combat, approaching targets or locations often require remaining hidden. The player can use parkour, the blend-in command and hiding spots to avoid detection, as well as to escape.
  • Stealth Insult: The Damascus rafiq. "I envy you, Altaïr! Well, not the part where you were beaten and stripped of your rank, but I envy everything else! Oh, except for the terrible things the other Assassins say about you, but yes, aside from the failure and the hatred, yes, aside from those things, I envy you very much!"
  • Straight for the Commander: Discussed and deconstructed in the beginning of Memory Block 4 when Altaïr asks if Al Mualim wants him to assassinate both King Richard and Saladin to stop the war. Al Mualim explains that would lead to the Crusader and Saracen forces scattering and subjecting the whole land to senseless chaos and bloodshed without their figureheads keeping their soldiers in some kind of order.
  • Strong Flesh, Weak Steel: Plate-armored knights aren't much more resistant to a bare-handed beating than other less-armored guards.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Altaïr cannot swim. He can drown in a knee-deep fountain. The manual in the sequel notes that this was a bug in the Animus 1.0 software.
    • Due to some apparent level of sadism in the works of the Ubisoft team, one of the main assassinations takes place in the port of Acre, with the player forced to negotiate his way to the target over water on conveniently placed strings of poles, small boats, and narrow docks rampant with jumpy guard patrols and drunken sailors who find Altaïr to just look so very pushable. For the average gamer, the whole segment is an endurance test, due to the horrendous number of times a minor miscalculation will send a skilled Master Assassin leaping not safely to the next foothold, but flailing like a loon into instant death. At the end of the day, being able to laugh this off as a complete and utter failure on the part of the otherwise badass Master Assassin might actually make the player feel marginally better about the whole ordeal.
  • Take That, Audience!: From the manual for the console version:
    Vidic: When we switched the Animus control scheme to use standard video-game controls I guessed that the subject's learning curve would improve, but the increased acclimatization rate we are seeing with these slacker types is astounding.
    • In addition, it's mentioned in the Crapsack World e-mails that the film industry is dead... partially because of video games. Y'know, like the game you are playing instead of watching a movie.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Every target in the game talks at length with Altaïr while dying and surrounded by either guards of civilians. It's handwaved away as a glitch that doesn't match up the simulation to the conversation after — especially when one of the targets freely walks around to taunt Altaïr before dying, not to mention how Altaïr takes "Robert" down and lets "him" go when he sees Maria.
  • The Crusades: The backdrop for the game is the Third Crusade, where King Richard squared off against Saladin.
  • The War Sequence: On the road to Arsuf, Altaïr will be assaulted by waves after waves of Saracens and Crusaders. Unlike other encounters, these are not skippable and everyone must be killed before you can proceed. The last segment involves fighting ten Templars at once.
  • There Are Two Kinds of People in the World: Al Mualim states that the Assassins choose their victims based on if they commit evil acts out of genuine malevolence or not. In the endgame, Al Mualim is revealed to be a traitor and brainwashes nearly all the Assassins. While Altaïr kills him to stop his evil scheme, the lucid Assassins keep the brainwashed ones occupied while doing their best to avoid killing the men who are not in control of themselves.
    Al Mualim: Some do ill out of ignorance or fear. These men can be saved. Others suffer from corrupted wills, their minds poisoned and twisted. These men must be destroyed.
  • Timed Mission:
    • During investigation into a target, Altaïr can talk to Informers, who will ask Altaïr to either collect flags or kill certain guards within a time limit. Setting off an alert cancels the mission until you recover anonymity and talk to the Informer again.
    • Majd Addin's assassination mission is technically timed, but a player who does more than stand around and wait won't notice - if Majd is left on his own to execute the imprisoned assassin (which he does last of the four prisoners he has), the player will slowly lose synchronization until they kill him.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Altaïr loses his Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy traits as the game progresses, becoming more humble and regretting his actions at the beginning of the game. Equally so for Malik, who notices this and begins to forgive Altaïr for the loss of both his arm and his brother, culminating in a Big Damn Heroes moment in which he rescues Altaïr from Al Mualim's Brainwashed and Crazy minions.
  • Torture First, Ask Questions Later: If you want to interrogate someone, you have to beat them up first. You don't even have the option of asking first. It's not like it matters since all Interrogation objectives end with a shanking, anyway, regardless of the intent of the individual sharing the information.
  • Training Dummy: The two young Assassins in the training area are used to train the player in Assassin combat skills. In-universe, it is Altaïr who is training them by providing an example to emulate.
    Training Instructor: That, my students, is how we all should fight.
  • Translation Convention: Averted, for the most part in the game, due to the Animus automatically translating foreign dialogue.
  • Translator Microbes: The Animus "interprets" all essential dialogue that takes place in Altaïr's memories for Desmond, translating it into understandable English. Other dialogue, however, is heard in Arabic, Turkish, French and German.
    Lucy: I can set it to be more authentic if you'd like, but... you ever read Chaucer?
    Desmond: Who?
    Lucy: ...Yeah, definitely not for you.
  • Travelling at the Speed of Plot: The game is very fond of this one. Altaïr travels hundreds of miles to his target cities and frequently manages to arrive just in time for a major event that will aid in his assassination attempt, such as William of Montferrat meeting with the King, or Majd Addin's funeral. Also, right at the beginning, Malik manages to steal the Piece of Eden, escape Robert de Sablé and arrive in Masyaf right after Altaïr despite being severely injured. When you consider that he had to travel hundreds of miles from Jerusalem to Masyaf with this terrible arm injury, it's little wonder it ends up being amputated. At the climax of the game, Altaïr goes to confront Robert, whilst Malik decides to do more digging in Jerusalem before returning to Masyaf. Altaïr arrives at Arsuf just in time to stop Robert from carrying out his plot, then returns to Masyaf, where Malik just so happens to arrive in time to help Altaïr. This last one even receives a Lampshade Hanging from Altaïr.
  • Trial by Combat: King Richard can't tell who's right, Altaïr or Robert, so he tells them to fight and let God support the one who's right.
  • The Unseen: You hear Saladin's name a lot over the course of the game, but he never makes an actual appearance. Concept art of him exists, suggesting he was originally planned to appear in the game.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: Altaïr is unable to pick up a fallen foe's blade. Not that they could replace his trusty Hidden Blade...
  • Useless Useful Stealth: It is both played straight and averted.
    • Play straight: Some missions that call for stealth can be done in the Kill Enemies to Open manner instead. Plus some assassination targets force you to confront them and/or chase them down.
    • Averted: All Investigation missions must be done from stealth. If Altaïr is exposed then the player has to try again, after killing and/or outrunning a bunch of guards first.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: The Knights Templar, believing humanity to be corrupt and uncivilized, plan to use Precursor technology to mind-control the entire planet. To them, global order is worth it, even at the cost of personal freedom.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Saving random citizens always feels rewarding, though by the end of the game, you can usually recite their thank you speeches by heart. The Vigilantes also take a liking to you, and can even prevent assassination targets from fleeing. There's just something so satisfying of being on the receiving end of civilian AI interference for a change.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • Some of Altaïr's Combo kills and Counters are squickworthy in their efficient brutality. Especially the Hidden Blade Counter-kills. Guards will often wince at these kils. Several Short-Blade Counter-kills include throat slits, and subduing victims before Altaïr violents lodges his dagger in their skulls using two hands or breaking their legs; accompanied by a particularly... crunchy sound.
    • Some guards, if you have them cornered and killed their allies, will fall to their knees and beg for their lives. You could let them go, but...
    • Using normal or heavy attacks to dispatch enemies won't kill them immediately. They'll scream out on the ground in pain. You can Mercy Kill them, or leave them to bleed out. This can happens to civilians, as well, complete with their own lines of despeate pleads for help...
    • When you're replaying missions after beating the game, chances are you're stealth-killing every beggar woman who approaches you, right in the middle of their pleas for coin because they're sick and starving. Well, now they'll never be hungry or sick again. Or the flailing lepers who trip you up for daring to come within arm's reach of them; shanking those buggers is truly a cathartic feeling.
    • For some reason, the game allows you to kill Assassins in Masyaf with no penalty, which defies the third tenet of the Creed: Never compromise the Brotherhood. Killing a brother counts as compromising, right?
    • Even before you beat the game, there are no real negative consequences for playing Civilian Skittles on horseback.
    • If you're feeling particularly sadistic, you can stab a civilian you just saved. Do it fast enough and you can even earn back the lost sync when the game gives you the sync for successfully saving the civilian in the first place.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Killing civilians costs Synchronization. Killing three within a short time automatically desynchronizes you, even if you still have Synch to spare. Once you beat the game, though, feel free to shank away — the penalties are gone.
  • Video Game Geography: Acre, Damascus, Jerusalem, and Arsuf are all within five minutes' ride of each other. Justified, however, since the Animus cuts together relevant memories and eventless riding of 200km is not seen as such. We all know what Crusades do to the traffic. Late in the game, Altaïr says that "weeks" have passed since he started this assignment.
  • Video Game Historical Revisionism: The nine marks died or disappeared around 1191, but the game posits that the Templars rewrote the history books to cover up the game's plot. This is specifically noted in-game when Desmond notes that some things seem off or historically incorrect. It is further lampshaded by Vidic, saying that people can write down whatever they please, but the Animus shows the real story.
  • Wandering Walk of Madness: Numerous madmen are found wandering the streets, unable to do much more than pace around and gibber to themselves, clutching their heads in pain. Unfortunately, getting too close to them will result in Altaïr getting violently shoved in the opposite direction, potentially disrupting attempts at stealth.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • Some of Altaïr's assassination targets could be considered this. Even Altaïr himself said that while they may have had pure reasons for what they were doing, they were going about it the wrong way.
    • Altaïr can also qualify as this, using brutal executions and combat to promote peace.
  • Wham Line: when Altaïr finally kills Robert de Sablé, the last of his targets, the Templar tells him something very, very important:
    Altaïr: It's done, then. Your schemes, like you, are put to rest.
    Robert: Heh, heh, heh, heh, heh, heh. You know nothing of schemes. You're but a puppet. He betrayed you, boy, just like he betrayed me.
    Altaïr: Speak sense, Templar, or not at all!
    Robert: Nine men he sent you to kill, yes? The nine who guarded the treasure's secret?
    Altaïr: What of it?
    Robert: It wasn't nine who found the treasure, Assassin. Not nine, but ten.
    Altaïr: A tenth? None may live who carry the secret. Give me his name.
    Robert: Oh, but you know him well. And I doubt very much you could take his life as willingly as you've taken mine.
    Altaïr: Who?
    Robert: It is your master, Al Mualim.
    Altaïr: But he is not a Templar!
    Robert: Did you never wonder how it is he knew so much? Where to find us, how many we numbered, what we aspire to attain?
    Altaïr: He is the Master of the Assassins!
    Robert: Oui, master of lies. You and I two more pawns in his grand game. And now, with my death, only you remain. Do you think he'll let you live, knowing what you do?
    Altaïr: I have no interest in the treasure.
    Robert: Ah, but he does. The only difference between your master and I is that he did not want to share!
    Altaïr: No...
    Robert: Ironic, isn't it? That I, your greatest enemy, kept you safe from harm. But now, you've taken my life and in the process, ended your own.
  • A Wizard Did It: Notice a Plot Hole? Historical inaccuracy? Any gameplay element that just doesn't make sense? The Animus did it!
    • The historical inaccuracies part is lampshaded in the first game. The explanation for this, however, is that the Templars covered up the truth, with Vidic telling Desmond that he shouldn't trust books.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness:
    • The fate of all of Altaïr's Interrogation targets. He can't let them tell anyone about his mission, after all.
    • Also Altaïr after he kills Robert de Sablé because Al Mualim doesn't need him anymore.
    • Also what Abstergo has in store for Desmond once Vidic is done with him.

Alternative Title(s): Assassins Creed 1


Assassin's Creed II

At least from Desmond's point-of-view; the first thing you do in this game is snap out of Eagle Vision, said ability being the last thing Desmond used before the first game abruptly ended.

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5 (6 votes)

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Main / ImmediateSequel

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