Assassins Creed Altair's Chronicles

Does taking away this medieval stealth game's crowd-pleasing visuals leave it stuck up a viewpoint without an eagle?

We have to admit we were a bit worried when we heard Assassin's Creed was coming to DS. Most people who saw the TV adverts with the Xbox 360 footage on them reckoned it looked too amazing to be from the actual game, and were then stunned to discover it actually was.

It's the sort of stunner that - were it a woman - Callum Best would be begging to date.

So, without the sweeping camera shots of vast medieval towns, and beggars who look so real you almost feel guilty for giving them a friendly shove, where does this leave the DS version of the game?

Answer: as a sort of side-scrolling adventure with Prince Of Persia-style leaping and sword fighting. There's a lot that's similar - like having to shuffle slowly past guards so as not to alert them, sword fighting that has enemies attacking in packs, and blocks and counter attacks that let you finish off an enemy with one well-timed slice.

Checkpoint Charlie

There's also plenty that's very different from the console versions though. Your path through the various levels is much more linear and marked out with collectable orbs and frequent checkpoints, while tasks such as pickpocketing now judge success or failure through neat touchscreen minigames.

Your character, assassin Alta´r, retains his acrobatic skills, however, and the controls for them are fairly intuitive.

The jump button lets you cling to all manner of ledges, but even when you just run into the sides of buildings he grabs windows and other nooks to pull himself up onto rooftops.

At this stage in development it all seems quite slick, except in certain areas when the static camera means you can't see where to jump and walls in the foreground get in the way.

The handy map on the bottom screen at least marks up assassination targets and enemies so you can see what's going on.

There's a sufficient amount going on and an impressively busy musical score helps set the Third Crusade scene very well.

For a task close to the equivalent of squashing a pregnant elephant into a Bedford Rascal van, Gameloft may not have done too badly with Alta´r's Chronicles.