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Assassin's Creed is a 2007 action game from Ubisoft. It takes place in the Holy Land, AD 1191, where disgraced Assassin Altaïr ibn La-Ahad (The Flying Eagle, Son of None) 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 on his left forearm.

No wait, scratch that; 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 fails to kill Robert de Sable, Grand Master of The Knights Templar, but his teammate for the mission does manage to recover Robert's treasure. 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 punishing the populace for their own benefit and amusement. Altaïr has the chance to recover his lost prestige by killing these men, all of whom seem fairly confident 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 a book titled Alamut, though there are enough changes to say that it isn't an adaptation so much as a simple case of "inspired by...".

As far as critical reception goes, it was generally well received as another roof-hopper in the vein of Prince of Persia, if derided for a little too much repetition and a bizarre need to fill a stealth game with combat towards the end. The framing story was used as a way to maintain Prince of Persia's Non-Lethal KO mechanic -- Desmond must maintain "sync" with Altaïr, so the player can only act as Altaïr would and not act out of accord with history or Desmond will lose sync and the memory will have to be restarted. The gameplay is composed of various assassination missions, which also involve hunting down people for information and also killing other men who might get in the way. Like any good stealth game, Altaïr must handle these by blending in to his environment and drawing minimal attention or he'll have a legion of angry guards waiting to take his head off.

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 the single game has spawned an entire franchise.

Also note that this page may contain unmarked spoilers.


This game contains examples of

  • 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.
  • Arrogant Kung Fu Guy: Interestingly, the protagonist Altaïr is the Assassins' resident Arrogant Kung Fu Guy. And it's the reason why he's in trouble.
  • Ask a Stupid Question: While in the midst of a swift death, Majd Addin explains to Altaïr that he executed people purely for the thrill of it, then demands, "Do you know what it feels like to determine another man's fate?" No, Majd. Altaïr's just a mere Master Assassin, how could he possibly know what it feels like to kill someone? I'm sure that gaping hole he left in your neck will clear right up.
  • Asshole Victim: And how.
  • 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 due to Altaïr's grievous abuse of said power.
  • Attempted Rape: The thugs are accusing those women of being thieves, but its very obvious they have other intentions...at least until Altaïr shows up.
  • 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.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: You can join groups of priests 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 priests pass more easily. However, this would not work if you just do the praying posture and try to step through the gate without real priests accompanying you.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Altaïr, every time he Saves a Citizen.
  • 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 stab a guy in the back with this, or perform a dazzling leaping stab attack that gets a lot more attention.
  • Book Ends: Some of the first line you hear in the Animus in the first game is also the last. Specifically "He that increases wisdom increases sorrow."
  • Bow and Sword In Accord: Pretty much every archer packs a sword, too.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy
  • Call a Hit Point a Smeerp: It's called synchronization in the first game, while Ezio has a straight-up health gauge in the second. Even lampshaded in the second game's manual, which features a "note" to change the name to "health" to make it feel more exciting.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Altaïr does this twice, and both are Crowning Moments of Awesome.
  • Camera Screw: Ever since the first modern Prince of Persia, Ubisoft has insisted switching the camera to the most dramatic (read: inconvenient) angle for especially difficult jumping passages. AC continues the proud tradition. The idea, in theory, is to give you a very clear view of where exactly you are supposed to jump.
  • 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.
  • The Chessmaster: Al Mualim
  • City Guards: Lots and lots of city guards. They're 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.
  • Cliff Hanger: Metaphorical as well as literal.
  • Conspicuously Public Assassination: The best parts of the game, really. Although it's possible to stealth-assassinate every mark, doing it in high-profile is just that much more fun.
  • 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. And, 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 even the final bosses with one strike.
  • Cosmopolitan Council: The 1191 Templars included: A near even mix of five Christians, four Muslims and it's a completely even split, since the secret tenth Templar was Al Mualim. A Frenchman, a German, a scholar, a merchant, a slaver, and the obligatory woman Maria, the decoy for Robert near the end.
  • Counter Attack: Famously abusable. Instant kill on lower enemies, usually no more than two on everyone else. 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 if the attack button is pressed again. Enemies can counter Altair 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.
  • Crapsack World: Implied through the emails you read on the computers. You find 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 pretty much doubling up the world's problems through their ways.
  • Critical Annoyance: The Animus starts glitching up when Desmond's sync ratio drops too low.
  • The Crusades
  • 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: " I envy you, not the being 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: Damn the Hidden Blade counters are very hard to time. Once you master them, though, everyone will die.
  • 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.
  • Doppelganger Attack: Al Mualim uses this when you fight him.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: More or less Justified Trope, especially considering Altaïr's actions at the beginning of the game (i.e. being a dick).
  • 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.
  • Evil Old Folks: Al Mualim
  • Eye Scream: One of the hidden blade counters you can do involves stabbing the unfortunate victim in the eye.
  • Fantastic Catholicism
  • Fighting for Survival: The vigilantes that show up after rescuing civilians. Always nice for making escapes, and at times extremely helpful for catching escaping assassination targets.
  • Fingore: Altaïr's left ring finger is replaced by a hidden blade. In the sequel, Leonardo da Vinci puts Ezio's finger under the axe but just to play a trick on him; the new blade functions with all fingers in place.
  • Flash of Pain: Whenever Altaïr takes damage, the screen flashes red and gray.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: In the trailer.
  • Gaia's Lament: Implied by the emails in the first game.
  • Genghis Gambit: After Altaïr murders several prominent templars on both sides of the conflict, Robert De Sable tries to convince King Richard to form a truce with the sarcens against the threat posed to both by the assassins.
  • 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, but, well, just read the Handicapped Badass entry below.
  • Genre Savvy: Abstergo knows not to play around with the Piece of Eden that caused the Philadelphia Event, as they might create temporal paradoxes.
  • Get On With It Already: It takes quite a while before you finally get past the exposition and get to work assassinating people.
  • 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.
    • And there are 420 of them. Unmarked. At least the second game gave you a map for treasures and tombs and marked important buildings for secret signs, leaving only 100 feathers.
  • Gotta Kill Em All: The Templars, both named and unnamed.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Guards frequently mistake a very well-armed man in a white robe for a monk. They can also be right next to a haystack and not notice you jumping into it. They will also chase you up a roof, run right past the small roof garden you are hiding in, and never bother to pull back the curtains and see if there's an assassin hiding in there.
    • Fixed in the sequel, though you can also pop out, stab them, then pull them into the haystack and hide them in there before getting out.
  • 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.
  • 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 3 or 4 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 part of achieving One Hundred Percent Completion). Then again, the other civilians have fled, and you need to hide yourself after.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ink Suit Actor: Kristen Bell as Lucy.
  • Irony: "Ironic, isn't it, that I, your greatest enemy, kept you safe from harm. And now that you've taken my life, ended your own."
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Altaïr beats people up for information. And then kills them.
  • Justified Trope: The metaplot means that the artificiality typical of games is justified as being a side-effect of the Animus.
    • Also, it's a side-effect of Desmond's state of mind. The increased freedom and diversity of missions in Assassin's Creed II could be a result of the fact that Desmond is no longer a confused prisoner and actually wants to do something to the Templars this time around.
  • Kick the Dog: Every one of your targets has a scene where they do something nasty to someone before you kill them.
  • Kill'Em All: Not in the game, but Assassin's Creed: The Secret Crusade has Malik imprisoned for almost a decade before being decapitated, Maria getting her throat slit by a dying man, and Altaïr himself staying in Masyaf to face Hulegu Khan.
  • Knight Templar: Ten named Templars, and sixty generic Templars hidden throughout the Holy Land. Then it gets expanded to a huge web of conspirators in the second game.
  • Kung Fu-Proof Mook: Some of them can break free of grabs and block frontal assassination attempts.
  • A Lighter Shade of Grey: What's the difference between the Assassins and the Templars?[1]
  • Lady of War: Maria would be considered this.
  • Land in the Saddle: The player can pull off this move.
  • Law of One Hundred: There are 100 flags hidden throughout the Kingdom and each of the three cities. Masyaf, being smaller, only has twenty flags. There are 100 feathers in the sequel.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Assassins, during the Crusades (the first game) at least, have a tendency to wear white clothing.
    • Ezio, on the other hand, has a wide range of wardrobe colors available. It is the Italian Renaissance, after all.
    • Lampshaded when Desmond check the closet in his room, and sees nothing but dull jeans and white hoodies.
  • Lighter and Softer: 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 the Saracens, and the order only managed to last for as long as it did because both sides recognized their value as mercenaries and contract-killers.
    • Of course, according to the series, that's all just misinformation put out by the Templars.
  • Living Legend: Altair 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 you a (not so helpful) gameplay hint while you can take the protagonist through white foggy nothingness, while you wait for the next memory to load.
  • 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 priests, also in white robes. Minus all the weaponry.
  • Matrix Raining Code: Every time the Animus loads memories.
  • Mercy Kill: If you have a quick eye, you'll notice that sometimes when you've dealt with a guard using the short blade or the sword, they're only mortally wounded and not dead yet. You can kill the already doomed soldier by walking over to them and stabbing them in the face with the Assassination Blade.
  • Mook Chivalry: And how. Enemies almost never attack together, which lets you abuse Counter Attacks to no end. Sometimes they do actually attack during counter animations, but Altair is invincible during that time which makes the entire attempt pointless. Higher tier enemies eventually begin to break your guard to prevent you from holding block all the time though. Suddenly subverted in the final confrontation, but counter kills take away most of the edge.
  • Murder, Inc.: A rare quasi-heroic version appears in the form of the hashashin themselves.
  • Never Hurt an Innocent: One of the rules of the Hashshashins. 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.
    • 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.
    • This gets a lampshade in the second game: at one point Ezio tells a pair of guards that he knows they're just following orders and that he won't hurt them if they back down. Of course, they just laugh at this notion, making them fair game.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Altaïr's assassinations serve to help unite the Muslims and Christians against the Assassins. Oops.
    • And then inverted when 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 -- to pierce the illusion created by the Piece of Eden.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Al Mualim teaching Altaïr how to be immune to the Pieces of Eden.
  • 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.
  • 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 English 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, were Altaïr's thick Arabic accent is a thing of beauty.
  • NPC Amnesia: Kind of essential for many gamers, think what it would be like if guards actually remembered what you looked like (But in fights they sometimes say "we've fought before"?).
  • Not So Different: 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.
  • 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)
  • 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.
    • Your enemies will often be visibly shocked when you kill their comrades - sometimes so much that they flee rather than face you alone.
  • 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.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Oh, that man wearing all those weapons is praying, he's obviously not an Assassin.
    • 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 Sable 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.
      • And "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.
  • 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". Assassin's Creed II puts the lie to that (noted inventors Leonardo da Vinci and Nikola Tesla were allies of the Assassins), but Vidic has no reason to know that and would certainly lie about it if he did.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: After Altair finishes interrogating someone, he always 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 in Acre. Chances are you will be able to memorize these speeches by the end of the game.
    • Also, each person you interrogate seems spouts off a speech like this before you start stalking them.
  • Puzzle Pan
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: King Richard, when Altaïr finally meets him.
  • Regenerating Health: Courtesy of the Synchronization mechanic.
  • Reverse Grip: Altaïr uses this while blocking with the Short Blade.
  • Rule of Fun: There were probably not any Badass 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.
  • 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.
  • Sequel Hook: The first game 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. 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 comments by his assassination targets, though he does have doubts. 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!
  • 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. And 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 is a series of slashes to the throat.
  • Spiritual Successor: Assassin's Creed is considered to be one for Prince of Persia.
  • Stalking Mission: You don't want to let the pickpocket targets see you.
  • Stealth Insult: "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!"
  • 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.
  • Surprisingly-Sudden Death: How you're supposed to be shanking people without warning.
  • Take That: 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.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Every target in the game talks at length with Altaïr while dying and surrounded by guards.
  • The War Sequence: On the road to Arsuf you 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 where 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.
  • Training Dummy: The two young assassins in the training area.
  • Translator Microbes: The Animus "interprets" all of the dialogue that takes place in Altair's memories for Desmond, translating it into understandable English.

 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.

  • 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: Altair is unable to pick up a fallen foe's blade.
  • Useless Useful Stealth: Some missions that call for stealth can actually be done in the Kill'Em All manner instead. Plus some assassination targets force you to confront them and chase them down.
  • 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. Also, if you hang around the vigilantes they say nice things about you, and in some assassinations they even obstruct your target from leaving! 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 Assassin blade counter kills. You'll wince at some of them. And if you'll notice, so will some of the guards who saw it.
    • 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...
    • 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.
      • Don't forget the flailing leppers who trip you up for daring to come within arm's reach of them; shanking those buggers is truly a cathartic feeling.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Also Altaïr after he kills Robert de Sable.
    • Also heavily implied to be what Abstergo has in store for Desmond once Vidic is done with him.

Notes

  1. The Assassins don't seek to control others, while the Templars do. However, their goals are similar.
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