Best of 2010 – Flagging Energy

First Published: December 23… 2009
Voted By: MarkuzR
Reasons for Vote:
It’s not strictly from 2010 but I chose this particular article because it was the first ever article on GamingLives and, before GamingLives was conceived, it was just me musing away on my own WordPress blog. I decided on December 19th that I was going to create a website for a bunch of friends to get together and write about their experiences gaming, and the domain was available. Four days later, on December 23rd, I launched the site and Lorna came to me to say that she’d written an article to get it all started so that it wasn’t just all ported over from my own blog. That was the article that started it all, and I therefore see it as being the most important article of the last year.


After a long few weeks, Assassin’s Creed is over. Despite thoroughly enjoying the game, I can’t say I’m not relieved, but only as far as the flags go. The Assassin’s Creed flags are something that I have always heard about but never really known much about or experienced…until now. Now I understand the reasons for the bitterness and frustrated rants, and sadly, can see why some gamers have allowed the rest of a good game to become tainted. They are a bastard. Even with maps. They are especially irksome if, like I did, you breeze through the first portion of the game, snatching up a few flags here and there and slaying random Templars without marking them off or taking note. I now shudder at my offhand ‘I’ll just remember’ remarks while I was too busy spilling tea over the carpet or stuffing birthday cake to pay much attention.

The first thought for anyone upon discovering that hours of hard work have been wasted

I paid for it. Later on, come flag collecting time, my blasé approach blew up spectacularly in my face when I finally began diligently scouring the Kingdom for the flags with a map from, marking them off as I went. At first, all seemed to go well. It was with a weary grin that I got to the last unchecked flag location on my map, sprinted to the spot…and found nothing. It was gone. It seemed that I had already collected it. This left me with a nerve shredding 99/100 flags, no achievement, and every spot checked off my bedraggled printout map.

So, after my initial scream of rage, I took some headache tabs with several deep breaths and with gritted teeth, began to backtrack, checking and triple checking locations where perhaps I had missed one and mistakenly marked it off. After many hours spread over several evenings, I had to give up. I was starting to second guess myself by going back repeatedly to areas which I knew I had been to, rather like the way people will insist on drifting forlornly back to the table where they are sure they left their keys or mobile, despite having checked it half a dozen times already.

One flag (possibly 91, since I never scooped it up unless it was backed into during a scrap) was either glitched or had been overlooked…either way, I would be better served by starting again and marking them off in order as I went – at least this way I would know whether I had actually found them. This, alas, was not as easy as simply getting past the tutorial and diving in as I had first thought, since the famous central pillar flag in the old ruins can only be reached by both an almighty jump and using the grab technique to catch the lip. Only you don’t unlock the grab technique until memory block 4, so I had to play through the game again until that point. Only I didn’t…

From the incredible resource of

You see, my sad tale didn’t end with just a missing flag, but somewhere along the way, I had also missed a Templar in the kingdom in all my jaunty wanderings. So in order to takedown all the Templars again, including the missing one, I needed access to every area in the city – which meant doing all the assassinations again bar the last (thank fuck). I was basically replaying the entire game, albeit at a speedrun without doing all the fiddly bits. It’s a good thing I enjoyed it otherwise I would perhaps have committed suicide with a Slanket. So off I went. At memory block 4, with a cup of tea and Neurofen to hand, I began my flag hunt. The relief when I finally snagged the last with no problems was immense and my grin would have put Tim Curry to shame.

With that sweet victory behind me, only the last few Templars remained, and after a few assassinations later, they too fell beneath my swift blade and the achievement was mine. Alright, so the last one fell off a roof chasing me and died, somewhat robbing me of my moment, but by this time, I was so weary that I couldn’t complain, which for me is bloody rare.

So it is done. Altair’s story is sadly over, the last achievements have been collected and displayed on my little piece of the dashboard, and a deserved donation made to the creator of, because without his hard work, myself and countless others would have been, for want of a better word, screwed. Now the disk has been safely tucked away and the Neurofen retired (for now), I know what everyone was whinging about and can nod sagely when the word ‘flag’ is hissed through gritted teeth in gaming circles. However, I won’t let such a mammoth collection task and a few self-induced problems taint what is a wonderful game as others perhaps have, because to do so would be as shameful and short sighted as not marking off flags when you collect them. Indeed. Who would do such a thing…answers on a Slanket.

Last five articles by Lorna



  1. rich says:


    I’d forgotten the flags. The counselling was working.

  2. Edward Edward says:

    Urgh, bastard flags.
    I’m glad I have such a short attention span that doing this task would be too boring for me to ever bother with it. I’d rather just play the rest of the game and others than wasting all my time with it.
    Still a great read :D

  3. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    I have a feeling that I’ll be picking up the controller and trying one of the Assassin’s Creed games over the break, probably the first one as I reckon it’d be best to play through them in the order they were released. Knowing about this bloody collectathon before embarking on my first journey into Assassinhood (wonder if I made that up?) will make me a bit more receptive to hating the game though. As much as I adored Borderlands, I hated that ridiculous collectathon in the Claptrap DLC where you were basically going around the same circuit over and over again in the hope of getting enough oil cans, bobbleheads, fish and knickers… so hopefully this won’t be as much of a grind.

  4. Lorna Lorna says:

    Assassin’s Creed is a great game, much maligned, but very enjoyable…if you forget about the flags :D I highly recommend it and it can be picked up very cheap now. If anyone does decide to go after the flags, for fuck’s sake, get a map of them all first and if you grab any by accident before you are ready for a major Kingdom collectathon, then mark them off or you will regret it. I did. I doesn’t help that so many are bunched together in the middle section of the Kingdom, so that it is too easy to mark off the wrong one as having been collected.

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