When I first came across this game, I wasn’t that I wanted it because it was a PC game (I didn’t have a PlayStation). But it had vampires and I was like, “Oh! My first game with vampires! Sweeeeet!”. So I bought it, played it, and enjoyed it.
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver
Developers: Crystal Dynamics, Nixxes Software BV (Dreamcast)
Publishers: Eidos Interactive
Platforms: PlayStation, PC, Dreamcast
Release Date: August 16, 1999
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver (Soul Reaver, from here on) takes place 1500 years after of Blood Omen, and tells the journey of the former vampire, now wraith, Raziel – former lieutenant to the vampire lord, Kain. After Kain kills Raziel, the Elder God resurrects him to be his soul reaver and wants to use him to exact revenge. Raziel’s new title is shared with Kain’s sword, Soul Reaver, which he will acquire during the game.
Soul Reaver takes place in Nosgoth, where the Nine Pillars of Nosgoth are located. The health of Nosgoth rely on the nine pillars, each one being represented by a guardian. The guardians become corrupted and, after he kills eight of them, Kain finds out that he’s the final one. He dooms Nosgoth to eternal decay by refusing to sacrifice himself and then raises his lieutenants, including Raziel, to take control of the land.
As the game starts, the vampires are the dominant species and primary predators, the humans have been nearly wiped out, and each of the vampire tribes have claimed a region of Nosgoth. Unbeknownst to the vampires, beneath Nosgoth an ancient power, the Elder God, waits.
The Elder God controls the Wheel of Fate, a cycle for the reincarnation of souls that encircle the Wheel in a predestination loop. Since vampires are immortal, thus having no souls, the Wheel does not spin which causes the land to decay because it stalls. By the time Raziel is brought back, about 1500 years later, Nosgoth is on the verge of collapse – it is pretty much a wasteland decimated by earthquakes and calamity.
The player controls Raziel, former vampire now wraith. The camera is normally in third person view, but the player can rotate the view around Raziel Gameplay relies on switching between the material plane and the spectral plane in order to progress through areas and the story. Interaction with objects in the spectral realm is limited, but the upside is that Raziel can pass through impassable objects, and walk on lakebeds. Blocks, doors, and switches can only be manipulated from the material plane. A lot of the puzzles are done between the two worlds
Soul Reaver combat is primarily hack & slash, and it involvles using different attacks before a finishing move. In the beginning, Raziel can jump, glide with his torn wings, pick up & throw objects at enemies, move blocks. Raziel starts off unarmed, he can use his claws to fight enemies. He can pick up and use rocks, torches, spears, staffs and the Soul Reaver to fight with.
As the game moves forward, whenever Raziel kills his clan brothers he gains their powers and becomes able to phase through gates in the spectral plane and can climb walls in the material plane. In the beginning, he is weak to water but later on he learns to swim. Raziel acquires the ability to constrict objects & enemies with a band of energy, this was one of the few abilities not to be used in future games. There is an ancient relic that gives Raziel the power to fire bolts of telekinetic energy – they cause little damage by themselves, but can knock enemies into hazards and push objects from a distance. Putting the Soul Reaver (sword) into a holy flame (this act is called baptism), can transform it into a Fire Reaver, which adds fire to Raziel’s telekinetic bolts and sets his enemies on fire.
There are magical glyphs that allow Raziel to expend magical eergy to attack groups of enemies at the same time. The glyphs usually involve vampire weaknesses like sunlight, fire, water, and/or sound and additions like telekinetic force and causing earthquakes to stun enemies temporarily. Glyphs are obtained by finding glyph altars via specific locations in Nosgoth where skills can be learned and solving a puzzle before
Glyphs are acquired through finding glyph altars, specific locations in Nosgoth where the skills are learned, and solving a puzzle before being granted the magical ability. Raziel begins the game with access to the ‘Shift’ glyph, giving him the ability to shift between the material and spectral planes, with no glyph altar necessary.
Soul Reaver has a dark storyline, hidden messages, and great graphics (for when it came out). I didn’t play the other games in the series, so I can’t comment on whether it’s better or worse than the others. I can state that I found the game to be found the game to be a lot of fun. I may even try to find a copy of it for pc and play it again.