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Assassin's Creed: Altair's Chronicles review

AT A GLANCE
  • Free running feels pretty smooth
  • New tools and weapons add some depth
  • Uses touchscreen in interesting ways
  • Isometric view makes it hard to judge distances
  • Storyline is stilted and laughable
  • Has little to do with console game

Altair also occasionally ducks into sewers and hazard-filled temples, but everywhere he goes, his goal is the same: follow the green arrow to the next shimmering waypoint, killing or dodging whatever dangers pop up along the way. Altair's also got a few tricks that he didn't have in the console Assassin's Creed, chief among them a grappling hook that can be used to swing across certain chasms or - later on - yank his enemies off their feet.

Using the touchscreen to switch between weapons, he'll also eventually have access to smoke bombs to stun attackers, real bombs to kill them (these can be thrown or planted as a timed explosive), poisoned throwing knives and - in one level - multiple disguises. He'll be able to stealth-kill unsuspecting enemies just by sneaking up on them, and he'll even get a crossbow, which can be aimed by tapping an enemy's icon on the touchscreen map.

Of course, Altair also carries a sword, which comes in handy against all the guards and Templars you'll be facing. The combat here is a little different from the console game; while you'll still fight enemies one at a time, like in a bad kung-fu movie, you can be a little more aggressive, busting out light and hard combos with two buttons instead of just one. As the game progresses, you'll earn new combos, as well as a few familiar moves, like a parry that can open your foes up for an instant kill. Finally, you can upgrade the sword to cartoonish proportions by spending the blue orbs that litter the world like coins in a Mario game.

Oddly, your sword won't always matter during the game's boss fights, most of which are really more about dodging and pushing buttons on cue than anything else. That goes double for the game's recurring/final boss, Lord Basilisk, who really only requires that you hit Y, then X, and then Y again, over and over, until he either gives up or dies. That is until you land the final, killing blow, at which point you'll hit X… and then hit X again before hitting Y! Did this game just blow your mind!?

Not all of Altair's talents are violent ones. He's also a master of picking pockets and interrogation, both of which are accomplished through timed, touchscreen-driven minigames. Picking pockets is pretty simple; you'll start with a black screen representing your target's purse, and then rub your stylus across the darkness to reveal its contents. You'll then need to grab the key (it's always a key) and carefully maneuver it to the purse's opening without bumping it into any of the purse's other contents, some of which tend to move around. Like, back and forth. In a straight line.

More Info

Release date: Feb 05 2008 - DS (US)
Available Platforms: DS
Genre: Action
Published by: Ubisoft
Developed by: Gameloft
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Violence
PEGI Rating:
Rating Pending

3 comments

  • brickman409 - August 19, 2011 7:40 p.m.

    wow i never even knew there was an assasins creed DS
  • nsotos - December 6, 2008 6:24 a.m.

    FIRST!! ......although nobody has seemed to look at this page in months....
  • thomas9543 - April 22, 2009 1:48 p.m.

    its a good game and you dont actually have to be stealthy i myself have gone through to leval 4-2 without ever using the L or R buttons and they control crouching, rolling, walking and blocking and i know this because those buttons are brocken so i have been non stealthy all this time and havent been able to finish it because i cant get passed that damned well tunnel were you have to crouch to get through because my stupid ds wont let met bring my head down any way once i borrow one of my freinds ds's i will finish the game and be happy

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