Assassin’s Creed 2 EP5: Leonardo da Sissy

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Sep 27, 2011

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 92 comments

Link (YouTube)

So let’s see:

  • Leonardo da Vinci is baffled by a simple spring-loaded mechanism, to the point where he can’t even study it – he needs to read the directions!
  • Leonardo da Vinci tries to scare Ezio by threatening to cut off his finger, but Ezio makes him look like a dick by just throwing his hand onto the table, “Fine. Cut it off. Let’s do this.”
  • Leonardo da Vinci is rubbish at bluffing the guard, telling an obvious lie in the clumsiest manner possible.
  • Leonardo da Vinci is crap in a fight and gets his ass kicked by a lone guard who isn’t even trying.
  • When you mention going to the brothel, Leonardo da Vinci is evidently on a first-name basis with the madam. So I guess he has trouble getting chicks?

Geeze Ubisoft, what DO you guys have against Leonardo da Vinci?


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92 thoughts on “Assassin’s Creed 2 EP5: Leonardo da Sissy

  1. Pete says:

    They also make him (confirmed) gay.

    Not that theres anything wrong with that, of course. Just thought I should mention it.

    1. Raygereio says:

      Well, at least there’s some circumstantial historical evidence to suggest there was something going on between Leonardo and Salai.

      Not so for Leonardo to be a comic relief style silly guy.

    2. Chris B Chikin says:

      Yeah, real Leonardo actually was gay. He was also vegetarian and habitually bought caged birds so he could release them. The portrayal of him as a bit of a sissy (though not the bit where he’s a moron) might not have been totally inaccurate.

      Then again, he did also design tanks, finned mortar shells and steam powered cannons.

      Maybe that was why the church was sponsoring prostitutes; they wanted to keep him on side.

      “Hey Father, did you see that new painting Leonardo’s doing?”
      “What? The one with the smile? Yeah, I told him it looked pretty gay”
      “You did what? Father, the man builds mother-fucking steam-powered cannons and tanks! I don’t even know what a tank is! We need to apologise now before he discovers atomic fission and nukes us all!”
      “Shit you’re right! What’re we gonna do?”
      “Let’s buy him whores. Lots of whores!”
      “Good plan, I have a bunch of their numbers on speed dial,”

      “…Wait, you what?

  2. Nyctef says:

    One word: Adorkable. I really liked the character :)

    1. Aulayan says:

      Excuse me. I copywrited that word back in November of 2004. I demand royalties. :D

    2. Nyctef says:

      Also, it’s a bit of a cop-out, but by the time you finish this game and Brotherhood there are some pretty good reasons why Assassins would have access to tech that could baffle Leonardo*. I mean, I imagine it would be something like looking at an ipod – you can work out what’s going on in there (“a simple spring-loaded mechanism”) but have no idea of how to actually get the thing open without seeing some instructions.

      And Leonardo gets to show off his smarts with decrypting the Codex and creating the warmachines later :) Although the bit about Leonardo getting most of his ideas from the Codex might be true in this universe — remember how the Templars were claiming that they basically introduced all known tech from TWCB in the previous game.

      *Oh, and also why Assassins can fall two stories without breaking a sweat.

      1. Dragomok says:

        *Oh, and also why Assassins can fall two stories without breaking a sweat.

        I thought it was haystacks.

        1. Nyctef says:

          That, and being partially descended from Those Who Came Before helps a lot too (which is why things like Eagle Vision (really an inherited sixth “truth” sense) come down the generations)

      2. Hitch says:

        I didn’t think the problem was so much breaking a sweat as breaking their spine.

  3. Aulayan says:

    Well you could argue that it was early in his career. The first scene of Da Vinci had him talking as if he was just starting out.

    And hey, at least he was able to decipher the complex code…

    But yeah, the comic relief coming from him seems…Extremely odd.

  4. Rayen says:

    what the hell… that beating of leonardo… that wasn’t getting beaten that was like… a soap opera fight… very badly acted. For a game where you can put a sword through someones collarbone down to their heart the simple beating of a man looks less like a beating and more like a two people who don’t know how to act trying to stage a fight.

    1. Raygereio says:

      I think it was supposed to look like some child bully beating up another kid. But that doesn’t really work with adults and ends up looking silly.

    2. The worst part was it was totally pointless, he had a legitimate excuse to know Ezio from when he carried a box for him, and Ezio wasn’t in trouble with the law at that point. And he says this happens regularly!

    3. Slothful says:

      I think that the thing that really kills it is the fact that there’s no sound. You don’t get any feel for Da Vinci actually getting hit hard, so they’re just pretend-fighting.

  5. Mathias says:

    To be fair, everyone else makes Leonardo Da Vinci out to be this inhumanly badass guy when in reality he was scatterbrained, had an aversion to authority, only really pursued projects he was interested in until he decided not to anyway, etc. It’s nice to see Da Vinci used for something other than “convenient person from history we can use as a plot device.”

    1. Raygereio says:

      “convenient person from history we can use as a plot device.”
      But his purpose in the plot is exactly that.
      The only real difference is that Da Vince is given some unique characterization and isn’t the aloof genius that he usually is portrayed as.

      1. Mathias says:

        At least he’s characterized. Usually he’s just “this guy was a genius okay”.

        1. Raygereio says:

          A fair point.
          Frankly I should have said “is given a characterization instead of being the stock cardboard cutout” instead.

    2. Zukhramm says:

      “aversion to authority”

      And that is opposite of being characterized as a badass how?

      1. Otters34 says:

        I think the idea is that Leonardo didn’t like being in command of anyone/thing. As in, despite his genius he was a follower not a leader.

        Not what I’d say about him, but I think that’s what the poster was saying.

    3. Aldowyn says:

      Yeah… How many paintings was he contracted for and never finished?

    4. Winter says:

      In other words, an inhumanly badass guy.

      Don’t forget the part where he invtented all kinds of machinery and such that nobody else in the entire world would even imagine for hundreds of years afterwards.

      1. Mathias says:

        And most of it didn’t work because he lacked a dependable fuel source.

    5. Matthias says:

      Um, I think you just gave a description that’s pretty close to Shamus :-D

  6. TIm says:

    In Leonardo’s defence, the triggering mechanism on that thing must involve a certain measure of eldritch sorcery.

    All that clinging to ledges, swordfighting, swinging off poles, bare knuckle boxing swordsmen, and it never once triggers accidentally and cuts his hand off.

    1. Alexander The 1st says:

      I’m reminded of…a VG Cats comic?…. where Altair is picking his nose and the blade triggers.

      That must’ve had Leonardo confused (“Hmm…should be spring loaded…but how do you prevent it from accidentally going off? Oh, it says here on page 42. Yes, that makes sense.”)

      Think of it like reading code in C++ – Sure, he can do it, but it’s hard to re-engineer something if you don’t read the documentation of what it does.

  7. ? says:

    Drinking game: If someone comes up with better game idea than Assassin Creed – drink.

      1. Sumanai says:

        And finish the drink once you realize it’s never going to be made.

  8. randomscribble says:

    A game where you play as a male prostitute who is also an assassin? Guess what? It exists.

    Gigolo Assassin

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      So is this like a rule 34 for video games?

  9. Aanok says:

    What happened to switching to Italian audio? Bad dubbing, as usually happens with Italian localizations, would still sound less painfully nightmarish to my ears. Pretty please? :)

    1. Chris says:

      Interestingly enough, comparing the game in Italian to English points out how terrible the accents are in the English version.

    2. Josh says:

      We were originally going to do that this week but we realized we couldn’t switch the language from inside a game that was already in progress – you have to be on the main menu. So we decided to mess with it later. We might try it next week.

      1. littlefinger says:

        This might actually be a good thing, as this’ll allow you to show of “it’s a-mario!”.


        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          I wonder,what did they do with that one in italian?

      2. Aanok says:

        That’s great!

  10. Harry says:

    In real life, Leonardo was much more of a badass. In his youth, he was obsessed with physical fitness and bodily wellbeing, and was reportedly able to bend a horseshoe straight with his bare hands.

    This is taken from Wikipedia:

    According to Vasari, Leonardo was “a sparkling conversationalist” who charmed Ludovico il Moro with his wit. Vasari sums him up by saying “In appearance he was striking and handsome, and his magnificent presence brought comfort to the most troubled soul; he was so persuasive that he could bend other people to his will. He was physically so strong that he could withstand violence and with his right hand he could bend the ring of an iron door knocker or a horseshoe as if they were lead. He was so generous that he fed all his friends, rich or poor…. Through his birth Florence received a very great gift, and through his death it sustained an incalculable loss.”

    He could’ve taken Ezio.


    1. Irridium says:

      Damn man, Leonardo is the one that should be the protagonist!

      1. Winter says:

        That’s the risk of including Leonardo da Vinci in your game. He is automatically better than all of your characters. Them’s the rules.

        Now, Leonardo going “oh this? I have one too!” and then stabbing Ezio and taking over as the protagonist. That would have been a twist.

    2. Chris B Chikin says:

      In fairness, wasn’t Vasari one of his alleged boyfriends? It’s possible the description he gives wasn’t entirely impartial.

      1. Harry says:

        Granted. Still, his impressive strength, at least, is certainly documented elsewhere. I’m sure others thought differently of his presence bringing “comfort to the most troubled soul!”

  11. Eldiran says:

    From the description it sounds like they took their Leonardo da Vinci straight from Quest of the Delta Knights.

  12. Piflik says:

    You know…you can pick up weapons lying around with the Open Hand key…and if you don’t have one on you already, you should also keep it…

    1. Milos says:

      Yeah I was also about to say that. You don’t have to disarm opponents (I don’t think I ever even learned how to do that), you can just pick up and use any melee weapon your defeated opponent drops.

      1. Blanko2 says:

        cant believe you never learned disarm. it is the single best way to eliminate the big dudes later on. disarm them of their axes, BOOM killem

        1. GiantRaven says:

          Plus disarming is the only way to get your hands on one of those giant spears, which were so much fun to use.

      2. Entropy says:

        Mario teaches you disarm in a non-optional mission, IIRC.

    2. Irridium says:

      That’s how I got a broom as a weapon.

      Yes, you can use a broom as a weapon. And it is hilariously awesome.

  13. Jibar says:

    I’m not fat, I’m skinnier than Rutskarn.
    Although that’s not hard when he’s such a lardass filled with taco grease.

    1. X2-Eliah says:

      Yeah, it would be hard to get fat when the food is too hot to consume..

      1. BlackFox says:

        Oh my god you guys will you stop flirting with each other
        Rutskarn go flirt with Mumbles you know you’re perfect for each other
        Jibar go flirt with… go, like, eat some cheese wraps or something

        1. X2-Eliah says:

          You mean this isn’t a flirting-coaching blog? Oh dear.

          1. GiantRaven says:

            No wonder i kept getting suh funny looks from girls in bars…

        2. Blanko2 says:

          well mumbles apparently knows that rutskarn is a butt assassin.

          i guess the question is whether jibar also knows?

          1. BlackFox says:


            1. Newbie says:

              Phase was born? I don’t believe you.

            2. Blanko2 says:

              now there is something i never want to think about ever again.

  14. 4th Dimension says:

    What’s up with Josh He seems even less skiled at Parkouring over the rooftops than last week.

    1. Raygereio says:

      It’s an old “issue” with Spoiler Warning; Josh is dividing his attention between commentating, listing to what the other yahoos are saying and playing the game.
      Slip ups are bound to happen on occasion.

      1. Pete says:

        I do find it funny how the crew complains about unrealistic falling damage right after the third time it directly saves Josh from reloading a save.

        1. Shamus says:

          I wouldn’t call it a complaint. I think the Animus is a great tool for explaining all sorts of videogame contrivances. We bring it up not because it’s something broken that should be *changed*, but because it looks dang funny.

  15. swimon1 says:

    I don’t think it’s that they dislike Leonardo it’s more that they really like their own characters and they do that fan fiction technique where you show how awesome someone is by making everyone else incompetent. The same thing happens in Brotherhood where you meet Machiavelli. You’d imagine that he’d be the brains of the operation being a renowned philosopher but in the whole game he is never ever right. Whenever he opens his mouth Ezio points out how incredibly dumb his plans are, and they really are dumb. I’m no fan of Machiavelli or anything but the way he gets thrown under the bus to make Ezio look smart (which he still doesn’t) is downright shameful.

    1. Fishminer says:

      But this was the case historically. People liked his stuff on a philosophical level, but anytime he tried to actively influence Italian battles he kinda sucked.

      1. Raygereio says:

        he tried to actively influence Italian battles he kinda sucked.

        Not really; he didn’t have a perfect winning streak. But he record was that terrible.

        But more on the point swimon1 brought up: Ezio as a character does have Gary Sue tendencies.
        For example, it’s heavily suggested that Ezio inspired Machiavelli’s works and in one of the books he named the Swiss Guard with a random remark.
        Thankfully these moments don’t happen so often one can brand Ezio as a Gary Stue. But it does feel as if at least one of the writers likes his character a bit too much.

        1. Aldowyn says:

          Machiavelli was a jerk in brotherhood, IIRC…

          1. Pete says:

            I actually really liked how he acts in Brotherhood. He’s the only assassin that doesn’t go along with Ezio and his brilliant plans of leaving his enemies alive, and genuinely does his best to help despite the fact that he thinks Ezios methods could use a bit more subtlety. But I suppose that the fact that I was too busy yelling at Ezio for his aforementioned brilliant plans does make me a bit biased.

            1. Raygereio says:

              Machiavelli is only made to look like a jerk, because he had the audacity to not agree with Ezio fabulous plan.

              Edit: this should have been a reply to Aldowyn.

  16. Slothful says:

    Honestly, asking Da Vinci to fix Ezio’s top-secret stab-o-matic is like getting Isaac Newton to replace the mainspring of your clock, asking Thomas Edison to unclog your toilet, or asking Albert Einstein to program your VCR. They could do it, but it’s not their field, it’s a menial task, and it’s taking time away from doing things that are actually important to the world at large.

    Da Vinci designed things on paper. Physically tinkering with things he left for other people to do. If Ezio came to Da Vinci with a body that needed dissecting, it’d be another story.

    1. Robyrt says:

      Da Vinci in the Assassin’s Creed games is basically Q from the James Bond movies. His job is to handle anything that might remotely be construed as science, engineering or math, so Captain McStabberson can do his job without knowing how anything works.

    2. Chris B Chikin says:

      Why do you think we brough the dead guard’s body back into his house?

  17. Ambitious Sloth says:

    Break My Stride by (well a cover done by) Unique II. I only just found out about that song last weekend and it’s be stuck in my head. This is the second time Rutskarn has referenced something in my recent history during this show. So I only have one question.


    But in all seriousness I was nearly on the floor laughing. Good job.

  18. Airsoftslayer93 says:

    Firstly, you can pick up weapons.
    Secondly, this is a young leonardo, his experiance with the assassin’s weapons help him in designing his further designs. so really it’s a very good aproximation to his real character.

    1. Chris B Chikin says:

      Except that now, rather than being the innovative genius history knows him as, the game portrays him as only able to scrimp off designs made by somebody else.

  19. Drexer says:

    Can’t you just pick up the fallen weapons by using shift?

    And Josh, would you please just jump off a ledge with pidgeons when wanting to get down? Those are always overhead haystacks.

    Still an awesome episode though. Although the slow pace of the story does seem to me that will start to get to your minds quickly enough.

    I have to say Mumbles, I feel disappointed that you did not bring up the awesome Marvel universe SHIELD Leonardo who flew to the sun and adopted the child of a Celestial.

    Oh god, Mumbles and Rutskarn are punning and singing together already. Somebody do something quickly.

  20. Exetera says:

    Keep in mind, Leonardo just watched Ezio’s family get hanged. He may not want to talk to Ezio at all. In which case, “Oh, it’s too advanced, get out of my house and find me plans so I can fix it” would be a very reasonable way of getting Ezio out of his house. Once Leonardo shows any interest in actually solving the problem (presumably he discovered that the hidden blade was _actually_ complicated and thus interesting), he cracks a cipher in ten seconds and fixes the hidden blade in a single jump cut.

  21. LurkerAbove says:

    Well, if the whores are all great pick pockets, why shouldn’t the Madam be able to steal your blade. Plus I’m pretty sure she is an assassin.

    1. That blade is not exactly small, and the entire gauntlet is filled with metal, you’d think Ezio would be a bit more likely to notice losing it than a random passerby would their purse

      1. Sydney says:

        Purses: Not always small, full of metal by definition.

        1. Taellosse says:

          True, but they’re also, in that time, generally hanging from a loop on one’s belt, not affixed to one’s forearm with multiple straps. Noticing a shift in how one’s belt is hanging, while walking, is a lot harder than realizing a piece of equipment buckled to your arm has been removed.

  22. Hitch says:

    You were joking about Leonardo deciphering the scroll to find out that releasing the blade was up on the D-pad. But that’s the problem. Leonardo had to then invent the D-pad for that to be any use.

    I can hear the guards. “We need to be on the lookout for this guy dressed as an assassin.”
    “You mean like that guy over there?”
    “No. The clothes are right and I’ve never seen anyone else dressed like that, but he’s walking with four other people. He can’t be our guy.”

    1. Rosseloh says:

      On a similar note to the whole d-pad concept: I know lampooning it is part of the fun of the series, but man Josh, can’t you at least look up the buttons beforehand? :P

      I’ve played a lot of AC2/Bro. on the PC, so I know I’ve got an advantage here. It is despicable that they didn’t change the icons with the port (they did in Brotherhood, fortunately).

      For anyone who is playing along – memorize and love: 1-medicine, 2-hiddenblade, 3-sword, 4-fists, q-weaponwheel; e-head, left shift-openhand, space-feet, leftclick-armed hand, f-targeting mode, rightclick-highprofile.

  23. Gamer says:

    One little thing, you actually can pick up weapons from dead bodies. You have to be using your fists and I think you use the “unarmed hand” button when standing over the weapon. You drop them when you switch to anything else.

    As for Leonardo Da Vinci’s portrayal. It gets better later on. (Though I’ll admit it is a little shaky in the beginning.

  24. Armstrong says:

    I am disappoint..
    I was fully expecting Josh to watch and do nothing while Leonardo gets the crap kicked out of him. At least for a while.

  25. decius says:

    To be fair to Leonardo, I’m not sure that I could figure out how a spring-extend, spring-retract blade would work… especially since it needs to lock securely in both positions, permit free use of the hands (Since Ezio needs to be able to do chin-ups with each finger).

    1. Armstrong says:

      Well, if kids on Youtube can figure it out…

  26. Epsilon Naught says:

    I really don’t see the problem with having Leonardo want to decode the codex pages. The guy was a genius and an inventor and he wouldn’t be interested in investigating the assassin’s technology? Being an inventor yourself doesn’t mean you discard everything anyone else makes…

    And on the note of him needing the codex pages to fix the hidden blade, if you read all the codex pages it turns out that Altair made most of the design changes with the help of the Apple of Eden, so Leo being able to make any sense of them is impressive.

  27. Vect says:

    Well, it takes him a while to understand the mechanics. More likely he’s just unfamiliar with them at first sight but he does get it. It just takes some time.

    Also, the game takes place in the 15th Century (1400’s) with Brotherhood and Revelations taking place in the 16th.

    One more fun fact: Leonardo is voiced by the guy who also voices Dom from Gears of War.

  28. silver Harloe says:

    Well, if modern conspiracy theories can change the credits for various inventions and whatnot, why can’t historical-fiction conspiracy theories? Yes, we remember Leonardo as some super inventor, but maybe the game is saying “but really he had access to Secret Hidden Technology of the Ancients”. Attributing everything modern and cool to wisdom of ancients (usually from Atlantis or another planet) is a popular theme in weird theories.

  29. Oxymandias says:

    I’m dissapointed in Rutskarn for not making a Snatch joke when they were talking about vagina theft.

  30. Hyrum says:

    Were Rutskarn and Mumbles singing a…Matisyahu song?

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