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LoyalACFan
07-16-2014, 01:01 PM
One of my biggest pet peeves in gaming is when a character does something unbelievably lame or stupid in a cutscene just for the sake of conveniently transitioning them to a point in the story that they never would have been in had they been as competent in the cutscene as they are in gameplay. Example; even my precious RDR does this in its opening mission, where John pulls a gun on four dudes with rifles aimed at him and (predictably) gets shot so the story can transition into a more convenient starting point. I know there needs to be a level of gameplay/story segregation in games where your player character is easily the most powerful being on the map, but more often than not it makes the character in question look too stupid to live. Our Assassins thus far have all been badasses, but how many scenarios can you think of where cutscenes made them look like wimps or morons?

Altair- gets his wife killed doing something stupid with the Apple
Ezio- loses his final four targets in a flock of freaking pigeons (you can actually kill Borgia in that mission, it'll be a desync of course)
Connor- loses a fight with Charles Lee in prison (seriously?)
Edward- gets mugged by Vane with a tree branch (while he himself actually still has weapons)

Locopells
07-16-2014, 01:17 PM
The first is actually Maria's fault, she distracts Altair while he has full control of the situation.

The second, sure he could have (I assume you're talking about the tailing mission in Venice), but he's trying to find out what their plans are - how does he know there isn't a backup?

Third - agreed, although doesn't he get hit over the head, or something, first?

Can't remember the fourth one. YouTube me?

roostersrule2
07-16-2014, 01:19 PM
The Koner one was understandable, he's a *****.

The only reason John got shot was because of Landon Ricketts, if he went to LR first then RDR would have been a lot shorter.

LoyalACFan
07-16-2014, 01:48 PM
Third - agreed, although doesn't he get hit over the head, or something, first?

Nope, he takes a swing at Lee, misses, and gets thrown up against the wall like a pansy.


Can't remember the fourth one. YouTube me?

This scene

http://img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20131223234235/assassinscreed/images/3/39/Marooned_1.png

Edward is apparently overwhelmed by the power of stick technology.

Farlander1991
07-16-2014, 02:04 PM
I think Edward just doesn't want to fight Vane (as he, well, tells him a hundred times before the guy starts shooting at him). It's not that he can't bring Vane down or even threatened by him (does he look threatened at all in the cutscene? I don't think so), it's that he wants to remain reasonable people and allies.

Regarding Connor in prison, anger and rage (as well as element of surprise and staying in prison for some time) are not the best allies, so I wouldn't call that cutscene incompetence. The whole deal with HOW he got into prison, though... First smashed through the front door and then got knocked out while trying to explain himself to the police? Seriously? I like how we got in prison in W_D. It was our ****ing plan to go inside. That's badass, that's what Connor should've done.

I also don't necessarily agree that Altair/Apple thing was cutscene incompetence. He had full control until Maria tried bringing him to his senses. Rage and anger, once again, not the best allies.

I do think that gameplay/story segregation is a think that should manifest as little as possible in games. The less discrepancy there is, the better the quality of the narrative in total.

AC2 had not only cutscene incompetence, but gameplay incompetence as well. We can't kill Dante in close combat during Arsenale attack (because he's scripted to be immortal), when we beat the **** out of him in another level previously.

And the battle with Borgia in Venice? So many Assassins flocked to that location (unbeknownst to anyone, including Borgia, who thought that since Ezio hadn't a clue he was alone) and the guy somehow lived? Whaaaaaaa?

Locopells
07-16-2014, 05:03 PM
The cutscenes that get me are the side mission ones where someone invents a (usually lousy) reason for you to 'collect X flags' or 'kill and skin two X.Y and Zs'.

Jexx21
07-16-2014, 05:58 PM
because the characters aren't actually supposed to be as strong/skilled/whatever as the gameplay implies, because that's unrealistic

Locopells
07-16-2014, 06:20 PM
That's a point actually - look at comments people have made about the same thing in the new Tomb Raider.

Jexx21
07-16-2014, 06:25 PM
to be fair though, Tomb Raider has some of the best gameplay/narrative synchronicity I've ever seen in games.

pacmanate
07-16-2014, 06:40 PM
You underestimate the power of sticks

SixKeys
07-16-2014, 11:20 PM
The RDR one makes sense as that was the beginning of the game when John hadn't mastered his shooting skillz yet.

That Ezio tailing mission always bothered me too, especially since you actually fail the mission if you lose sight of your targets.....until you reach a checkpoint where you're supposed to lose sight of your targets. :mad: :p

AC1 - Letting Maria go when Altaïr found out she wasn't his target. WTF, this chick is a Templar pawn with clear intent to kill me and my brothers, I've killed hundreds of guards for less than that!

AC2 - Same as above with the Pope. Also when Antonio leads you around the Doge's palace looking for a way to climb up when I've already been there. "We cannot get through here, it's too heavily guarded. -I know, I can show you this other path I.... -NO, we must circle around the entire building and stop at several checkpoints first!"

ACB - Before the Baron de Valois assassination: "What about the walls? -They cannot be scaled." You mean these walls I just scaled five minutes ago to synchronize a viewpoint?
Oh, and one scene that always cracks me up: when Ezio infiltrates the Castel St. Angelo and accidentally bumps into Cesare.
"Assassino!! :eek:
-Merda." :nonchalance:
*Cesare bangs the gate shut in front of Ezio's nose and runs away*

ACR - The beginning when Ezio plummets out of the carriage and gets hurt to the point where he can barely walk. It's the ONLY time in the series he's ever been hurt that badly and he's been through so much worse. ACB came close, but that was after he was shot in the chest, had a stone wall collapse on him and had a bunch of mercenaries attack and wound him. And he's STILL in better shape after all that. In ACR he just gets tossed out of a carriage and can barely hobble forward.

AC3 - Connor gets attacked and almost killed by Haytham in the church. Had we been allowed to fight back in that scene, we could have easily countered him.

AC4 - Probably the fight on Blackbeard's ship before he dies. I hate those AC moments when a character says "we're outnumbered!" and you automatically lose the battle via cut scene because of that, even if in gameplay you're doing just fine.

Ureh
07-16-2014, 11:57 PM
Yeah I bet everyone remembers the cutscene where Connor abandons his stealth advantage. *jumps down* "Hey, give me what I came for!" If Connor really didn't want to spill his blood, then he could've gone closer and forced the merc to relinquish the map.

And the one where Ezio uses his hidden gun under the Forum of the Ox. There must've been a better way.

"Hello Lucrezia give me the key and I promise you won't get hurt." *carries her all the way to the cell cause it's too inappropriate to search her*

SpiritOfNevaeh
07-16-2014, 11:59 PM
Lol, oh yeah, I remember that scene with the mercenary on the boat during a Peg Leg mission. I'm like "you could've just snuck up to him and pickpocket." But maybe Connor just gave him a chance to give it up before having to chase/kill him :p

SixKeys
07-17-2014, 12:02 AM
Lol, oh yeah, I remember that scene with the mercenary on the boat during a Peg Leg mission. I'm like "you could've just snuck up to him and pickpocket." But maybe Connor just gave him a chance to give it up before having to chase/kill him :p

It didn't even make sense because that thing didn't belong to Connor any more than it did to the mercenary.

HDinHB
07-17-2014, 12:13 AM
Edward is apparently overwhelmed by the power of stick technology.

To be fair, he thought it was a pointed stick.

rickprog
07-17-2014, 12:18 AM
This is the sort of thing I like to call "plot-induced stupidity". It's kind of Deus Ex Machina's opposite.

Ureh
07-17-2014, 12:26 AM
You underestimate the power of sticks

Now that you mention it, he was impaled by a twig when he escaped the observatory right?

Locopells
07-17-2014, 12:27 AM
ACB - Before the Baron de Valois assassination: "What about the walls? -They cannot be scaled." You mean these walls I just scaled five minutes ago to synchronize a viewpoint?

Yep, but you can't get in from there.


ACR - The beginning when Ezio plummets out of the carriage and gets hurt to the point where he can barely walk. It's the ONLY time in the series he's ever been hurt that badly and he's been through so much worse. ACB came close, but that was after he was shot in the chest, had a stone wall collapse on him and had a bunch of mercenaries attack and wound him. And he's STILL in better shape after all that. In ACR he just gets tossed out of a carriage and can barely hobble forward.

Well he is somewhat older by that point (not to mention hardly being in peak condition after a long journey) - and the fact that he's been through worse, will take it's toll.


And the one where Ezio uses his hidden gun under the Forum of the Ox. There must've been a better way.

Well he is trying to hit the gunpowder and blow then ALL to kingdom come, and save himself some time, but that guy stands up at the wrong moment...

Jexx21
07-17-2014, 12:38 AM
I still say it's because the characters are supposed to be a lot weaker than they actually are in gameplay, in terms of that they would actually make mistakes from time to time. That goes for all games really, but Assassin's Creed has the Animus to explain that away.

SixKeys
07-17-2014, 12:47 AM
Well he is somewhat older by that point (not to mention hardly being in peak condition after a long journey) - and the fact that he's been through worse, will take it's toll.

The stupid thing is, he goes through much worse AFTER that point in the game. He gets dragged behind another carriage towards the end of the game, tossed about against buildings while parachuting helplessly through the air, finally falling off a cliff while being punched by another guy, and still manages to be in great shape after they land.

Ureh
07-17-2014, 12:50 AM
@Locopells Yeah I was being too finicky with that one, but he could've lobbed a grenade into the boat or aimed at another barrel. :p x)

LoyalACFan
07-17-2014, 01:07 AM
I still say it's because the characters are supposed to be a lot weaker than they actually are in gameplay, in terms of that they would actually make mistakes from time to time. That goes for all games really, but Assassin's Creed has the Animus to explain that away.

That's a really bad philosophy to have, though. Yeah, there's always going to be a degree of disconnect between gameplay and cutscenes, but the idea should be to minimize the gap, not just conveniently weaken characters when it's useful to the plot. I hate it when stuff like the Charles Lee prison incident happens, it practically has me screaming in my head "GAH, FREAKING CUTSCENE, I COULD HAVE KILLED THAT GUY WITH MY FISTS!"

I-Like-Pie45
07-17-2014, 01:09 AM
Vittoria agli Assassini!

Jexx21
07-17-2014, 01:13 AM
That's a really bad philosophy to have, though. Yeah, there's always going to be a degree of disconnect between gameplay and cutscenes, but the idea should be to minimize the gap, not just conveniently weaken characters when it's useful to the plot. I hate it when stuff like the Charles Lee prison incident happens, it practically has me screaming in my head "GAH, FREAKING CUTSCENE, I COULD HAVE KILLED THAT GUY WITH MY FISTS!"
then make the game harder and receive lower review scores for the game being too hard

none of the things in this thread were a disconnect large enough for me to actually notice it

LoyalACFan
07-17-2014, 01:15 AM
then make the game harder and receive lower review scores for the game being too hard

none of the things in this thread were a disconnect large enough for me to actually notice it

Well it's currently getting lower review scores for being too easy, so...


Vittoria agli Assassini!

Dumb as it was, that actually wasn't much of a disconnect from Brotherhood's gameplay. Ezio was practically broadcasting his presence in Rome throughout that whole game.

Jexx21
07-17-2014, 01:20 AM
people don't know what they want

they say they want harder AI, but most people complain when they actually get it

http://www.kotaku.com.au/2014/03/maybe-we-cant-handle-smart-enemies-in-our-games/

SixKeys
07-17-2014, 02:37 AM
people don't know what they want

they say they want harder AI, but most people complain when they actually get it

http://www.kotaku.com.au/2014/03/maybe-we-cant-handle-smart-enemies-in-our-games/

Interesting article. I think some stuff mentioned is down to the fact that in games, a player's vision and hearing is more limited than in RL. Because your field of vision is limited, stuff that might get noticed in reality, like an enemy moving to flank you, is much harder to spot. Audio quality varies depending on the game or the player's headset, hence important but subtle audio cues like footsteps can be lost. They mention recording several lines that would act as cues for what the AI was about to do. Apart from audio issues, the fact that most games use those lines as nothing more than ambiance (to avoid repeating the same lines over and over again) would probably lead most gamers to think they weren't actual indications of the AI's movements.

Creating realistic AI is definitely one of the more challenging aspects of game design. Devs have to accept that there will always be limitations in the way a player perceives and interacts with a virtual world vs. the real world. We have slower reaction times, we have limited vision and hearing, bugs happen etc.

The trick is to create AI that feels consistent as well as challenging. AC3 got a lot of criticism for its AI, which was ironically the most realistic of all the games so far. In RL, guards would probably hear a body slump to the ground behind them and react to the noise. They would have extremely far-reaching field of vision and would react to the tiniest bit of movement. It does make sense that Connor can't go back to hiding in a bush once he's been spotted. Guards do have unpredictable paths. All this is very realistic, but it creates a sense of inconsistency in a game. A game is supposed to have clearly defined rules and the player is supposed to be taught exactly what those rules are. They get frustrated because they don't understand why a guard 100 feet away would react to a body slumping to the ground behind them, because the player thinks the rule is "if they don't see you, they won't know you're there". They're not told that guards can also react to audio cues, and they can't easily deduce this, as there are other situations where guards will completely ignore audio cues (like gunshots).

The games with the best AI aren't necessarily good because the AI is super-smart or hyperrealistic. They just need to be consistent. In TLoU, if you get spotted, the enemies will not stop looking for you no matter how long you hide. This is a rule that players quickly learn, and it remains that way for the rest of the game. If you're spotted, guards will scatter and their patrol patterns become erratic. This is your doing and the visual and auditory changes in the enemies' behavior tells you this. (Compare to AC3 where patrol patterns sometimes change due to the tiniest variables in the environment and the player has no way to logically deduce the reason.)

Jexx21
07-17-2014, 02:46 AM
i was talking about difficulty not how consistent the AI is (consistent is basically what people mean by good AI these days, not that the AI is good at the game :P)

LieutenantRex
07-17-2014, 05:55 AM
Interesting article. I think some stuff mentioned is down to the fact that in games, a player's vision and hearing is more limited than in RL. Because your field of vision is limited, stuff that might get noticed in reality, like an enemy moving to flank you, is much harder to spot. Audio quality varies depending on the game or the player's headset, hence important but subtle audio cues like footsteps can be lost. They mention recording several lines that would act as cues for what the AI was about to do. Apart from audio issues, the fact that most games use those lines as nothing more than ambiance (to avoid repeating the same lines over and over again) would probably lead most gamers to think they weren't actual indications of the AI's movements.

Creating realistic AI is definitely one of the more challenging aspects of game design. Devs have to accept that there will always be limitations in the way a player perceives and interacts with a virtual world vs. the real world. We have slower reaction times, we have limited vision and hearing, bugs happen etc.

The trick is to create AI that feels consistent as well as challenging. AC3 got a lot of criticism for its AI, which was ironically the most realistic of all the games so far. In RL, guards would probably hear a body slump to the ground behind them and react to the noise. They would have extremely far-reaching field of vision and would react to the tiniest bit of movement. It does make sense that Connor can't go back to hiding in a bush once he's been spotted. Guards do have unpredictable paths. All this is very realistic, but it creates a sense of inconsistency in a game. A game is supposed to have clearly defined rules and the player is supposed to be taught exactly what those rules are. They get frustrated because they don't understand why a guard 100 feet away would react to a body slumping to the ground behind them, because the player thinks the rule is "if they don't see you, they won't know you're there". They're not told that guards can also react to audio cues, and they can't easily deduce this, as there are other situations where guards will completely ignore audio cues (like gunshots).

The games with the best AI aren't necessarily good because the AI is super-smart or hyperrealistic. They just need to be consistent. In TLoU, if you get spotted, the enemies will not stop looking for you no matter how long you hide. This is a rule that players quickly learn, and it remains that way for the rest of the game. If you're spotted, guards will scatter and their patrol patterns become erratic. This is your doing and the visual and auditory changes in the enemies' behavior tells you this. (Compare to AC3 where patrol patterns sometimes change due to the tiniest variables in the environment and the player has no way to logically deduce the reason.)

I never realized how decent the AI in AC was until I read this post. Thank you.

pacmanate
07-17-2014, 12:18 PM
The RDR one makes sense as that was the beginning of the game when John hadn't mastered his shooting skillz yet.


No it doesnt seeing as he was in a gang for 8590484 years

Kaschra
07-17-2014, 03:54 PM
I'm currently replaying AC4 and just reached that part with Vane on the island, and it's really obvious that Edward simply didn't want to fight Vane.
So no cutscene incompetence there :I

Shahkulu101
07-17-2014, 04:06 PM
Edward - goes down from one punch by El Tiburon and gets caught and imprisoned in the Spanish Galleon because of it. He should have got back up and fought back - by this point in the story it's possible to kill dozens and dozens of guards and he's bested by one hit - nahhhh!

roostersrule2
07-17-2014, 04:11 PM
I keep reading the title as cutscene impotence, I don't remember Ezio having any troubles in the cutscenes though. Must've been Corner.

Kaschra
07-17-2014, 04:11 PM
Edward - goes down from one punch by El Tiburon and gets caught and imprisoned in the Spanish Galleon because of it. He should have got back up and fought back - by this point in the story it's possible to kill dozens and dozens of guards and he's bested by one hit - nahhhh!
There was supposed to be a fight against El Tiburon (one that was impossible to win), but it was cut from the final game :(

Shahkulu101
07-17-2014, 04:15 PM
There was supposed to be a fight against El Tiburon (one that was impossible to win), but it was cut from the final game :(

Yes, Darby said that it didn't work because they had to force the player to lose - which was a good reason to cut it. The end result wasn't perfect either though in my opinion as the cutscene with El Tiburon makes Edward weaker and more incompetent (Tehe) for the convenience of moving the story forward. Not a major gripe and this one is a tad nit picky, but still an annoyance for me.

Farlander1991
07-17-2014, 06:21 PM
Yes, Darby said that it didn't work because they had to force the player to lose - which was a good reason to cut it. The end result wasn't perfect either though in my opinion as the cutscene with El Tiburon makes Edward weaker and more incompetent (Tehe) for the convenience of moving the story forward. Not a major gripe and this one is a tad nit picky, but still an annoyance for me.

I honestly don't consider that moment to be incompetence per se and think that it works better from all ways as a cutscene event rather than a playable one. To me it was arrogant (and thinking that he's so smart playing everybody) Edward unexpectedly getting hit by a guy so strong that he renders Edward to be unable to fight (now, if the one throwing the punch would be someone like Rogers or Torres, then I don't think I'd had that impression, but we were punched by El Tiburon, who's the freakin Mountain of AC4 and was talked about in fear beforehand). Which also makes the moment when Edward evades El Tiburon's mega punch more potent.

Basically, I never saw this as a sign of Edward's weakness, but more as a sign of El Tiburon's strength.

pacmanate
07-17-2014, 06:56 PM
Forcing a player to lose doesnt mean it should be cut.

That happens in Metal Gear Rising and they did it well.

SixKeys
07-17-2014, 08:03 PM
Forcing a player to lose for the sake of story isn't bad. If it's done right, it creates tension and emotion. In ToKW Ratohnhhaké:ton keeps fighting against the invaders in his village, but there's no way to win. That's what sets him on his spirit journey to find strength. TLoU has a few well done examples as well. El Tiburon was just confusing and embarrassing in the final game, especially when Edward meets him later and tells him "you were the reason I wanted to become stronger" or something. What, this random guy who punched him once? Why not all the drunken sods Edward fought in taverns then?

Shahkulu101
07-17-2014, 08:08 PM
Yes it's clear his fight with El Tiburon was supposed to be a very significant moment in the narrative but they just couldn't get it to work, had they cut Edward's dialogue in the white room with him we'd be none the wiser.

Kirokill
07-17-2014, 08:12 PM
especially when Edward meets him later and tells him "you were the reason I wanted to become stronger" or something. What, this random guy who punched him once?

Indeed, that was a confusing part even for me. I was saying we didn't even fight him, and that only a surprise punch.

Farlander1991
07-17-2014, 08:33 PM
Forcing a player to lose for the sake of story isn't bad. If it's done right, it creates tension and emotion. In ToKW Ratohnhhaké:ton keeps fighting against the invaders in his village, but there's no way to win. That's what sets him on his spirit journey to find strength. TLoU has a few well done examples as well. El Tiburon was just confusing and embarrassing in the final game, especially when Edward meets him later and tells him "you were the reason I wanted to become stronger" or something. What, this random guy who punched him once? Why not all the drunken sods Edward fought in taverns then?

Because none of the of the drunken sods in one punch knocked Edward out to the point he couldn't stand and could barely speak?

The only advantage of the gameplay fight that I see is that it would be a nice set-up for the Tiburon boss battle bookend at the end. Both would be gameplay segments and play off eachother nicely (kinda like the Washington boss battle at the beginning and Washington boss battle at the end of ToKW).

But I still think that one punch is more humbling and humiliating than a prolonged fight.

Edward the Awesome (in his head) who's the only survivor of a whole shipwreck, who has a genious plan of outsmarting every stupid Templar/governor/rich person and getting rich himself and is so smart that his skull cannot contain his brain and so experienced at fighting that he always starts one himself because he knows he can win those, goes down like a punk because he's not as witty, smart, attentive and awesome as he thought he was.

I don't know, personally I think that puts things into perspective more than a prolonged fight, because the prolonged fight is not as embarrassing for the loser.

Am I the only one here who wasn't confused or surprised by the phrase at Tiburon's death speech and thought it made total sense? O_o

pacmanate
07-17-2014, 11:57 PM
Forcing a player to lose for the sake of story isn't bad. If it's done right, it creates tension and emotion. In ToKW Ratohnhhaké:ton keeps fighting against the invaders in his village, but there's no way to win. That's what sets him on his spirit journey to find strength. TLoU has a few well done examples as well. El Tiburon was just confusing and embarrassing in the final game, especially when Edward meets him later and tells him "you were the reason I wanted to become stronger" or something. What, this random guy who punched him once? Why not all the drunken sods Edward fought in taverns then?

That explains it! I always thought that part was weird. Doesnt anyone proof read these games to make sense?

Ureh
07-18-2014, 01:37 AM
It surprised me a bit when he said that. Not that it didn't make sense, it did. But we basically go through the entire game not really hearing much about Tiburon, then POOF, "Hey thanks for the lesson mate, now I am better." Edward probably never forgot that punch ever again, but as soon as I gained the Jackdaw that encounter slipped all the way to the back of my mind. But I guess Edward was thankful that Tiburon captured him, cause that punch set a lot of events in motion: got imprisoned on the spanish fleet, met adewale, stole the jackdaw, etc etc etc.

Maybe they could've gave Tiburon 1-2 more appearances before we killed him. Like when Edward kidnaps Torres, Tiburon could've been there and give Edward a really nasty scar before they escaped. Or or, Edward could be more alert that time and aim his pistol at Tiburon before he could react, believing he was triumphant, Edward pulls the trigger only to find out that the armour is too thick. Edward will be like "omg, I gotta upgrade these to golden pistols." Then he quickly threatens to kill Torres if Tiburon doesn't back down. Stuff like that.

SixKeys
07-18-2014, 03:27 PM
It surprised me a bit when he said that. Not that it didn't make sense, it did. But we basically go through the entire game not really hearing much about Tiburon, then POOF, "Hey thanks for the lesson mate, now I am better." Edward probably never forgot that punch ever again, but as soon as I gained the Jackdaw that encounter slipped all the way to the back of my mind. But I guess Edward was thankful that Tiburon captured him, cause that punch set a lot of events in motion: got imprisoned on the spanish fleet, met adewale, stole the jackdaw, etc etc etc.

Maybe they could've gave Tiburon 1-2 more appearances before we killed him. Like when Edward kidnaps Torres, Tiburon could've been there and give Edward a really nasty scar before they escaped. Or or, Edward could be more alert that time and aim his pistol at Tiburon before he could react, believing he was triumphant, Edward pulls the trigger only to find out that the armour is too thick. Edward will be like "omg, I gotta upgrade these to golden pistols." Then he quickly threatens to kill Torres if Tiburon doesn't back down. Stuff like that.

It's such a shame because he's such a cool-looking character. He was even featured in one of the gameplay trailers. You're right that they should have given him a few more appearances, even brief ones, that would have made him appear unbeatable until the time Edward was strong enough to face him.

Farlander1991
07-18-2014, 03:51 PM
It's such a shame because he's such a cool-looking character. He was even featured in one of the gameplay trailers. You're right that they should have given him a few more appearances, even brief ones, that would have made him appear unbeatable until the time Edward was strong enough to face him.

In that same trailer there was also featured a dude from the mission where Blackbeard dies. I thought it'd be some important character, but it wasn't :D (more than that, his appearance was changed to some more generic one in the game itself). And the part with El Tiburon is apparently the Tainted Blood mission (judging by some Tiburon's actions), only there the city wasn't under curfew and all civilians were in place.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C2A0nHf4rbs