Assassin's Creed: Altaïr's Chronicles
$19.95 used, $52.37 new on eBay
Set in 1190, Altaïr's Chronicles is conceived as a prequel to the original console version of Assassin's Creed. This time, we learn how Altaïr becomes an assassin while looking for an artifact through different cities. It is said that this artifact, known as "the chalice", can give its owner the power to stop the Crusades.
The game is presented as a side-scroller with guided 3D paths. That is, the player has freedom to move in 3 dimensions, as the use of rooftops will be very extensive, but limited to a given path. As in the previous game, Altaïr shows the usual abilities of combat, stealth and parkour-like displacement, that will help him to find alternative routes or fight the enemies if there is no other way. Other abilities such as interrogation and pickpocketing is performed this time through mini-games, that make use of the touch screen of the DS. In addition, Altaïr can gain new abilities through gathering of blue orbs scattered through the maps (short of gaining "experience").
- 刺客信条：阿泰尔编年史 - Chinese (simplified) spelling
Credits (Nintendo DS version)
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|Gameloft Creative Director
|Bucharest Creations Manager
|Lead 3D artist HQ
|Lead 2D artist Bucharest
|Lead Game Designers
|Lead Level Designer
|[ full credits ]
Average score: 61% (based on 50 ratings)
Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 18 ratings with 2 reviews)
Assassin's Creed was one of those games that people loved and hated equally. Many people liked the game because of its original story, but the detractors argue that the game is one of the most repetitive games ever made. In Assassin's Creed: Altaïr's Chronicles you won't have any doubt because it's a bad game from the start to its end.
Altair's Chronicles works as a spin off of the main series, and features a story that has nothing to do with the previously released game for other platforms. This game has different parts including stealth parts, platform or action parts like Assasin's Creed, but the essence of the game is lost in every single way.
Not everything is bad about the game. The successful game for other systems didn't exploit the platform genre, it was there, but they didn't take advantage of that. Altair's Chronicles is a game for the DS, and it helped the evolution of this genre. You'll jump from building to building and avoid many dangers like fire, water (Altair can't swim) and many other classic cliches of a platform game.
The game has mini games for some actions of the game like stealing or intimidating. The first one suits with the game, but intimidating is a bit strange; consisting of some kind of Ouendam - Elite Beat Agents mini-game in which you'll have to press the buttons in the correct order at the right time. It uses the possibilities of the Nintendo DS, but nothing important at all.
Graphics are one of the best points of the game, with different stages and varied details. Music is good too, with some edited songs from the Assassin's Creed soundtrack composed by Jesper Kid. Graphics and sound are perfect, but it's a good example that it's not enough for a game to be a good game.
Once you're near the ending different things happens. You've been playing all the time the same thing, jumping from building to building and fighting the enemies with different combinations, but when you reach that point the game changes. It's a pity because it's only for a little time, but it really works as something new in the game. I can't understand why developers didn't include more stealth parts like those.
There are many checkpoints during the game and that's something really good because the game has many bad points, and you'll die a lot just because of them, so, you don't have to start all the level because of a gameplay problem or just a bug.
The worst thing of the game is that it looks like a mobile phone game. Every aspect of the game looks like a nice game for a mobile phone but not a good game for the Nintendo DS. Gameloft is the developer, which is a company specialized in mobile games, and it's something easy to be noticed during the whole game.
All the bad things of the game are a consequence of that premise. If the game would have been just a mobile phone game many of its bad points should've been passable, but the Nintendo DS deserves something better for sure.
To start with, the game has many bugs inappropriate for a system like the DS. Apart from that, gameplay is horrible with disastrous jumps. The 3D elements included doesn't help the jumps because you can't even see your shadow, and you don't know where exactly you are when you're on the top of a structure, you don't even know where you're going to stand once you've jumped to another platform.
Besides the game itself, the story is as annoying as the game is. It's not interesting, which was something that all the people agreed in Assassin's Creed. If the game doesn't have a good story and the gameplay is a big disaster... what remains? Absolutely nothing.
But it's not just only the fact that the story is so bad, there's something even worst, which is the ending. Just a nice cutscene that lasts for a few seconds and an unfinished ending of the story (not as enigmatic as Assassin's Creed's ending). The only thing good about finishing the game is that you won't play it anymore.
There are different enemies during your adventure, but not an enormous variety of them. You'll face Templars and guards and a bad guy called Lord Basilisk which is the big boss of the game. If I'm not wrong you'll fight him three times, and the AI is always the same for him, absolutely nothing new. The final battle against him is like the previous ones, a stupid combination of buttons that should be pressed at the right time to finish him. A simple battle against the weakest guard of the game is more epic that the final battle.
I said that there's a point in the game near the end where everything changes a bit, including a stealth part, but it happens just once. Something similar's with puzzles. Assassin's Creed's a good game to include some different puzzles, not one of those puzzles that will give you a headache, but some simple puzzles along your adventure. The problem is that there's only one puzzle near the end, and if you don't want to make puzzles for a game don't do just one, because it becomes a bad point for your game. I mean, I prefer a platform game without any puzzles above a game that only includes one puzzle near the end of the game because I'll miss them in the other parts of the game.
Camera doesn't work as it should. It will hide many things and the map on the touch screen is useless. Many times you'll have to jump to nowhere having the feeling that another platform's there, but you'll perish many other times doing that thing. Did I say that jumps aren't the most comfortable thing on the game?
Touch screen is really useless and not just because you can't use it properly to know where to go. If you want to change between your weapons you'll have to touch the weapon in your touch screen.You won't use the stylus except during the mini games, and a button to change your weapon should've been better than touching it on the screen.
The Bottom Line
Altair has nothing new to offer in this game, a bad spin off that works fine in a mobile phone but a real pain for your Nintendo DS. Only technical aspects survive in this product with a senseless story and annoying gameplay. I won't honor the creed with games like this...
Nintendo DS · by NeoJ (398) · 2010
- To some extent - the graphics.
- The sound.
- The controls sometimes.
- Cheaply implemented and unnecessary mini-games.
The Bottom Line
Assassin’s Creed is clearly one of the games that helped to define the landscape in the last decade: combining lavishly decorated open worlds with historical backgrounds it managed to achieve... something. Big sales, mass fan-following, those endless cosplaying attempts, eventually a movie.
The original game tells a story of a 12th century chap that works for the original assassins (or hashashins) guild. There were rich, picturesque landscapes that begged to be printed and framed, large ancient cities of middle-east to ogle at, streets filled with hawking vendors, chattery passers-by and occasional town psychopaths... At the same time, after taking the initial dip in the virtual world and progressing for a while it became clear that Assassin’s Creed was stuffed to the rims with mundane repetitious gameplay, where one had to complete the same limited number of tasks until he was allowed to participate in assassinations. This variety was upped in the Director’s Cut edition, but even then it wasn’t of much help. To make matters worse Ubisoft's game enjoyed a totally disastrous control scheme – it’s as bad to play with mouse and keyboard as it is with a gamepad. This is a truly an epic achievement (dzink!) that helped to dissuade me from continuing despite the mentioned colorful world. I haven’t played the other parts, though I’d like to believe that with so much money dropped at least some of them are decent.
But here we have a handheld port, demake, conversion, that deals with the events that precede the original story. There are no flashbacks and modern world sequences in here. In case you haven’t played the first title – there you were held in a medical facility, where the big pharma tried to extract genetic memory from your character, who’s believed to be related to the 12th century assassin. And part of the story is told through that perspective. Anyway, it is totally absent from Altair's Chronicles, where you only play as Altair in the historical setting.
As is the case with many mobile remakes – it is very entertaining to take a look at how the developers approach this... shrinking process. Here, Gameloft, a Ubisoft mobile division, tried to stay partially true to the original ideas while having a simpler game mechanic, that perhaps is better suited for the handheld. Not to say that open-world games couldn’t be executed on mobile systems. Altair’s Chronicles is a mix of a 2D platformer with the elements of parkour from the original game. Most of the time it’s running through the roofs, climbing and jumping, rope swinging and occasionally fighting that utilizes a combo system as well. Oh, and you can push your opponents making them fall to death. I totally love pushing everyone to their death when I get the opportunity. In games, that is. He-he.
Despite being three dimensional, the game is viewed from the side and can remind you of pseudo-3D platformers and beat ‘em ups. If you don’t take fights in consideration it’s pretty much 2D. This becomes evident during the more platform-oriented stages where Altair’s Chronicles start to look like Pandemonium or Shadow Complex where the Z-axis becomes a nice looking gimmick for the most part. Surely, there are some stages that use the third dimension more prominently in the peaceful areas but only so often, and it's easier to forget about that during all the jumping since it was designed with only two axes in mind.
While the original had its share of parkour, a platform game requires their own set of sensibilities. So there are pits, spikes, swinging blades and more ways to lose. The big brother was more forgiving when it came to your acrobatic failures unless you fell from a high tower or into the water – Altair couldn’t swim at all. I guess they knew they had to with controls like this... At the same time, the DS title is often unforgiving, not being afraid to execute one touch kills. Thankfully, there are plenty of checkpoints, nearly at the beginning of any course of obstacles.
As I said, the game is in full 3D, although the DS is generally ill suited for that task, and games usually remind me of Nokia N-Gage that came out a year before DS and wasn’t exactly a powerhouse. Some of the objects on the screen are clearly made of 2D bitmaps to ease the load on a puny graphical chip. But still there are streets with characters roaming back and forth, guards that are usually set to aggressive mode and many, many climbable walls.
When it comes to the rest of the inheritance it’s not as impressive. For example, the ability to dissolve in the crowd or impersonate scholars that was prominently featured in the big Assassin’s Creed is only seen once in Chronicles and basically doesn’t exceed a small tutorial section and the following stage. Overall, level structure is very linear without any side-objectives to complete or much to collect – yet another tedious part of AC. The only exception is the blue orbs that serve as a form of upgrade currency that lets you improve the character a bit.
The second screen of DS is used to display a map (a very useful bit in a totally linear game) during the play and also to show dialogue lines. There are a several mini-games that were supposed to utilize the console’s extra features: in one that simulates pickpocketing you’ll need to move a key out of a poorly drawn pocket of some poor fella, and in another you’ll have to uncover the sand covered treasure by blowing into the microphone hole; and there’s one dedicated to torture – you have to draw lines on the screen to follow the sensitive pressure points on the body of your victim. None of those add much to the game, but they are also quick enough to not be a hindrance.
But it’s fun for what this is – a fast platform romp with the occasional glimpses of another dimension and hints of the big brother in the air that don’t distract you long from the main course. A very light interpretation of the game, similar to other Gameloft ports like Prince of Persia. Interestingly enough, the next mobile AC that came out for DS lacked even those atavistic properties and instead became a full-fledged platformer.
Nintendo DS · by Virgil (8564) · 2017
|Ubisoft's quality control
|So Hai (261)
|Apr 24, 2008
- 2009 - Best iPhone Action Game (Readers' voting)
- 2009 - iPhone Award for Visual Excellence (Readers' voting)
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Game added by MichaelPalin.
Game added February 29, 2008. Last modified March 13, 2023.