by Ubisoft, 2007, $59.99.
Slip behind the front lines during the Third Crusade as a hired killer in Assassin’s Creed. As Altaïr, a fictional member of the real-life Hashshashin sect of Muslim assassins, you are tasked with the elimination of specific political and military figures in the Holy Land. Set just prior to the 1191 Battle of Arsuf between Richard I and Saladin, all of Altaïr’s targets are real historical figures, such as de facto King of Jerusalem Conrad de Montferrat or Knights Templar Grand Master Robert de Sablé. But what really steals the show are the ancient cities of Jerusalem, Acre, Damascus and Masyaf— all extensively researched and rendered in breathtaking detail.
Altaïr nimbly sprints about these cities, employing such talents as theft, eavesdropping and the threat of bodily harm to extract the information he needs. You must use what the game creators describe as “social stealth” to avoid detection—for example, blending in with the citizenry or turning a corner and jumping into hay to elude pursuers. Sprinting and blindly knocking into crowds will arouse suspicion and trigger the alarm.
Although the game isn’t a strict portrayal of actual events, the intermingling of history and sci-fi—in addition to the amazing graphics, historically modeled environments and personalities and entertaining game play—makes Assassin’s Creed a military history game that is definitely worth your time.
Originally published in the August 2008 issue of Military History. To subscribe, click here.