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Wiki-Icon-BO1 Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain
1996
BO1-Cover-PS1
"An Eternity of Midnights..."
"Revenge.
You can almost taste it."
Developer Silicon Knights
Crystal Dynamics
Publisher Crystal Dynamics
BMG Interactive (JP)
Activision (some territories, PC)
Directed by Denis Dyack
Composer Steve Henifin
Written by Ken McCulloch
Jim Curry
D. G. Chichester
Sheatiel Sarao
Seth Carus
Platforms PlayStation (original release)
Microsoft Windows
Released PlayStation
• November 1, 1996 (NA)
• March, 1997 (EU)
• May 30, 1997 (JP)
Microsoft Windows
• August 31, 1997 (NA)
PlayStation Network
• September 10, 2009 (NA)
• November 9, 2011 (PAL)
Formats • CD-ROM
• Download
Protagonist(s) Kain
Quick links (categories) Blood Omen chapters
Blood Omen characters
Blood Omen locations
Blood Omen items and equipment
Blood Omen abilities
Blood Omen enemies
Blood Omen terms
Blood Omen personnel
Blood Omen cut content
Blood Omen gallery
Associated media Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain: Official Game Secrets
Followed by Icon-SR1 Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver (1999)
"Sometimes you get what you wish for.
The Necromancer Mortanius offered me a chance for vengeance. And like a fool, I jumped at his offer without considering the cost.
Nothing is free.
"
―Kain

Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain is a top-down action-adventure video game with role-playing game elements. It is the first game in the Legacy of Kain series, and the only one developed by Silicon Knights and published by Crystal Dynamics. The game was first released in 1996 for the PlayStation, and later ported to Microsoft Windows. A Sega Saturn version was announced during production but later cancelled before release. It was followed by four sequels, which were all developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Eidos Interactive.

Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain introduces the fictional setting of Nosgoth. In the game, the player takes the role of Kain, a human nobleman, who is murdered and given the chance to exact revenge on his assassins by becoming a vampire. He travels Nosgoth, slaughtering the corrupt sorcerers of the Circle of Nine in hopes of discovering a cure for his vampirism, but gradually begins to view his transformation as a blessing over the course of the story.

Though praised for its scope, high-quality voice acting, moody atmosphere and rich, compelling storyline, the game was criticized for lengthy loading times. During development, Crystal Dynamics contributed several staff members to aid production. After the release, a dispute arose between Silicon Knights and Crystal Dynamics concerning ownership of the game's intellectual property rights, with Crystal Dynamics ultimately retaining permission to continue the series. This led to the 1999 release of a sequel - Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver.

PlotEdit

Backstory and settingEdit

"Not even revenge."
―Kain
BO1-Character-Vorador-Kill-Color

Artwork depicting Vorador's slaughter of the Circle.

BO1-Character-Ariel-Dead-Color

Concept art of Ariel's murder.

In the fictional land of Nosgoth, which resembles Medieval Europe, the health of the world is inextricably tied to the Pillars of Nosgoth, nine columns of "marble and other indescribable materials" which reach infinitely into the sky.[BO1-C3][BO1-C12][1] Each Pillar is linked to a fundamental principle: the Mind, Dimension, Conflict, Nature, Balance, Energy, Time, States and Death.[BO1-C3] Equally, each Pillar is represented by a Pillar Guardian, culled from Nosgoth's human population; together, the Guardians form the Circle of Nine, an oligarchy of immortal sorcerers dedicated to serve and protect the integrity of the land.[1][BO1-C2][BO1-C9] When a Guardian dies, the Circle remains temporarily broken, until their successor is found.[BO1-C9][SR2-C2] Since the times before Nosgoth's recorded history, it has been the responsibility of the active Guardians to locate, apprentice and induct new members.[2][3]

Hundreds of years before the events of the game, Nosgoth's vampire population increased. In response, the Circle of Nine formed, and sponsored the crusades of, a monastic brotherhood of fanatical, vampire-hunting warriors, known as the Sarafan.[3][BO1-C5][BO1-C6] The Sarafan vampire purge devastated their enemies, prompting the vampire Vorador to retaliate. Vorador stormed the Circle's domain, and slaughtered six of the Pillar Guardians before defeating Malek, the leader of the Sarafan and appointed defender of the Circle. The Circle recovered, but one of its senior members - Mortanius the Necromancer - damned Malek for his failure, condemning him to serve the Circle for eternity as an unliving wraith.[BO1-C5][BO1-C6][BO1-C1] Since then, the Sarafan have long since disbanded, and humans and vampires co-exist in a state of relative, if uneasy, truce.[BO1][4] Humanity is pre-occupied with a new threat: the encroaching Legions of the Nemesis from the north.[BO1-C9][4][5]

Decades ago, Ariel, the Balance Guardian, was murdered by an unknown traitor within the Circle.[BO1-C2][BO1-C1] When her lover, Nupraptor (the Mind Guardian), found her corpse, his anguish was too much to bear; vowing vengeance, he turned his powers against his fellow Guardians, irrevocably poisoning their minds with relentless waves of hatred.[BO1-C3][SR2-C2][5] The magical onslaught left the nine active Guardians insane: some rave like madmen, whereas others remain maliciously in control of their actions. Regardless, Nosgoth is at their mercy.[5] Reflecting the mental state of their servants, the Pillars visibly darkened with corruption, fractures crawling across their surfaces.[BO1-C1] Kain is obligated to kill each of the insane Guardians, thus restoring their Pillars, in exchange for a cure to his curse.[BO1-C2]

CharactersEdit

"Oh, little vampire, the game grows interesting. But with so many pawns, can you find the true player?"
―Mortanius
BO1-Wallpaper-Characters

Wallpaper image featuring Kain, Mortanius, Ariel, Moebius and a Nemesis soldier.

BO1-Character-Kain-Feeding-Color

Early concept sketch of Kain's character.

BO1-Character-Mortanius-Stands-Color

Concept art of Mortanius, Kain's "benefactor" and guide.

BO1-Character-Vorador-Stands-Color

Concept sketch of the vampire Vorador, who represents what Kain is becoming.

BO1-Character-Malek-Stands-Color

Concept sketch of Malek the Paladin, representative of Kain's sense of humanity.

The characters of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain were devised to accommodate the developers' ambition to create "a world where you had to kill innocents to survive and a world that you are the ultimate pawn", aiming to offer a story with no real "good guys" or "bad guys" (including the protagonist). Silicon Knights said that "we wanted to ask the questions of "What is evil? Perhaps it is merely a perspective".[6][7]

  • Kain (voiced by Simon Templeman), "an ambitious young noble whose lust for vengeance overrides his sense of judgment", is the protagonist of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain.[5] Conceived by Denis Dyack, he was partially modeled upon William Munny, the lead character of Clint Eastwood's 1992 film Unforgiven. Moral ambiguity is a central theme in Kain's story, and the developers wished to put the player "in the position where everyone believes you are evil", hoping to introduce "a game were [sic] everyone in the world was your enemy (including yourself)" in an attempt to challenge the monomyth. Silicon Knights explicitly identified Kain as an anti-hero, a non-archetypal lead character whose personality can be perceived as being villainous and heroic at the same time.[6][7] Initially, Kain is obsessed with finding a cure to preserve his humanity, but this hope declines over the course of the story as he comes to accept, and even embrace, his vampiric gifts, forsaking the machinations of the living. Kain narrates events, his surroundings and his thoughts through the literary device of retrospective soliloquy.[BO1]
  • Mortanius the Necromancer (Tony Jay) is Kain's enigmatic benefactor, responsible for resurrecting him as a vampire after his seemingly-inexplicable murder at the hands of assassins.[BO1-C1][5] Though arguably the most potent wizard in Nosgoth, his incredible power is tempered by a sense of mercy and judgment.[5] He is also one of the most senior members of the Circle of Nine - the Death Guardian - although this fact is not made clear until the final acts of the story.[5][BO1-C11] Mortanius periodically guides Kain throughout the land, but his motivations are somewhat murky and ambiguous.[BO1] After the game's release, Silicon Knights explained that he is the victim of possession by a Dark Entity determined to bring down the Pillars. "In constant conflict" with this being, Mortanius seeks to "correct the imbalance" in Nosgoth, and "as the game progresses, some of Mortanius's actions are his own, some are him being controlled".[8]
  • Vorador (Paul Lukather) is "a proud, arrogant and long lived vampire", who has witnessed the world's transition from being young and vibrant to sour and corrupt over the eras.[5] Though outwardly portrayed as an "arrogant, egotistical braggart", he is privately tormented by the past loss of many of his friends, children and lovers to the crusades of the Sarafan.[5][9] Renowned but reclusive, he fiercely despises the living, whom he regards as nothing more than cattle.[BO1-C6][5] Vorador represents what Kain is to become if he allows his curse to consume him, and serves as a father figure of sorts of the younger vampire, assisting him in the quest to destroy the Circle, but staunchly warning him to stay out of human affairs.[BO1-C6][6][BO1-C7]
  • Ariel (Anna Gunn), the former Balance Guardian, directs Kain from the Pillars of Nosgoth.[BO1] "Her magic influenced the regulation of the other magic in Nosgoth", and her prowess was rivaled only by her beauty. Murdered decades prior to the events of the game, she now haunts the Pillars as a disembodied specter, doomed to linger there until the land receives its salvation.[5] Although an ally to Kain, her sincerity is questionable; she leaves him ignorant of his true destiny to ensure he fulfills his duty as the scourge of the Circle.[1][SR2-C5]
  • Moebius the Time Streamer (Richard Doyle), operating under the alias of the Oracle of Nosgoth, is the malevolent Time Guardian.[5][BO1-C11] Intensely devious and conniving, Moebius is not trusted by many of his peers in the Circle, and constantly abuses his unique ability to forecast Nosgoth's time-stream. Passing himself off as a wise hermit, he was viewed as wise and benevolent by pilgrims, but by the Blood Omen era is noted for "predicting omens and horrific events" - a puppeteer, manipulating others for his own ends.[5] The character of Moebius was partially based on Adolf Hitler, and some of his actions - particularly towards the end of the story - were modeled upon fascism, Nazism and the Nuremberg rallies.[9]
  • Malek the Paladin (Neil Ross) is the Ward of the Circle, the Conflict Guardian, and an antagonist.[BO1-C4] Once a ruthless warrior-priest and leader of the Sarafan, he was condemned for his failure to defend the Circle of Nine, and is now a wraith deprived of the "pleasures of the flesh".[BO1-C1][5][10] Thus purged of his humanity, his "hate has been entirely focused on exacting revenge upon the vampire that caused him to be damned for eternity".[5] The "endless struggle" between Malek and Vorador is representative of the conflict between Kain's sense of humanity and his newfound vampire nature.[9]

Other notable characters include King Ottmar (Ross), the melancholic ruler of Willendorf, whose assistance Kain elicits to fight the Legions of the Nemesis.[BO1-C9][5] The Nemesis himself, otherwise known as William the Just (Jay), is a mighty warlord whom Kain is forced to contend with towards the conclusion of his quest.[BO1-C9][5][BO1-C10] Elzevir the Dollmaker (Ross), a minor antagonist and boss, must be killed in order to gain Ottmar's favor.[BO1-C9][5] Lastly, the Dark Entity (Jay) - a malevolent being also known as Hash'ak'gik - is an otherworldly creature desperate to destroy the Pillars, whom Kain must defeat at the conclusion of the game. Despite appearing only briefly in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, the Entity's role is greatly expanded in later entries in the series, in which he becomes a major character.[5][7][BO1-C11][BO2][DEF] The infamous vampire Janos Audron, who likewise becomes a significant presence in future games, is occasionally mentioned, but does not appear in the game.[4]

Story synopsisEdit

DestinyEdit

"What, no mug of ale for a weary traveler from distant Coorhagen? I can reward you well, for I am of noble blood."
―Kain
BO1-DD-TheFailureOfTheCircle-006

The killing fields of the Sarafan vampire hunters.

BO1-DD-TheFailureOfTheCircle-115

Ariel's murder, which triggers the Pillars' decay.

BO1-DD-TheFailureOfTheCircle-125

The Pillars of Nosgoth crack and turn corrupt.

The story begins in Nosgoth's early history, during the age of the Sarafan.[BO1-C5][BO1-C6][BO1-C1] The sun is setting in Nosgoth's killing fields, and Sarafan warriors are hoisting a vampire onto a stake, amongst countless others. Four members of the Circle of Nine observe this event from a magical basin in their headquarters, observing and guiding the movements of their loyal vampire slayers.[BO1-C1] Suddenly, an older, green-skinned vampire - Vorador - bursts into the room, his sword ripping through one of the Pillar Guardians in a flash. Using a variety of powers at his disposal, he murders five further Guardians before defeating Malek, their protector. Malek awakes in a darkened chamber, and is addressed by Mortanius, who condemns him for his failure by fusing his spirit to his armor.[BO1-C5][BO1-C6][BO1-C1]

Many years later, in the pre-Blood Omen era, Ariel is conducting her duties, oblivious to the distinctive - but unknown - shadow moving purposefully towards her. She realizes its presence too late, and is fatally stabbed, screaming as she dies.[BO1-C1] Her murder sets a number of events in motion which result in the decay of the Pillars of Nosgoth; the nine great edifices visibly crack and crumble, turning gray and dark with emblematic corruption.[BO1-C3][BO1-C2][BO1-C1] Decades later, in the Blood Omen era, a young nobleman - Kain - stops at a bar to sate his thirst, but, to his dismay, the Barkeep refuses to serve him, noting the time and the looming danger the night brings. Disheartened, Kain leaves the bar to resume his journey, but is immediately set upon by a large group of armed brigands.[BO1-C1]

Unable to fend off his attackers, Kain is quickly knocked to the ground, and one of the assassins finishes the job by stabbing him in the back with an Iron Sword. Kain's soul emerges in the Underworld, still transfixed by his enemy's blade, and struggling to escape. Mortanius approaches, and twists the Iron Sword loose from Kain's back, freeing him of his captivity; he has been offered the chance to exact revenge. Peering with contemplation into the roaring fires behind him, Kain jumps at this chance for vengeance, heedless of the profound cost.[1][BO1-C1] He accepts the Iron Sword from Mortanius, and coruscating magic ripples across his body, transforming his living skin to dead, vampiric flesh. Mortanius laughs as Kain strides away, promising him the blood he hungers for.[BO1-C1]

A Dark CovenantEdit

"There is no greater release than that from vengeance sated. With my assassins dead, my quest was over."
―Kain
BO1-DD-KainInTheAbyss-018

Kain is approached by Mortanius in the Underworld.

BO1-DD-KainInTheAbyss-050

Coruscating magics transform Kain into a vampire.

BO1-DD-GhostOfThePillars-005

Kain reaches the Pillars, and meets Ariel's specter.

Waking in a crypt, Kain begins his odyssey, and makes his way out of his mausoleum, into the Cemetery. His "new existence" is revealed; he is a vampire, unable to expect comfort from the sun - "only malice" and "cruelty". At the edge of the graveyard, he tracks down those who killed him, and exacts bloody revenge, sending his slayers back whence he came. For a moment, Kain is relieved, believing his quest is over, but Mortanius soon corrects him, hinting that "these fools were merely the instruments of [his] murder, not the cause". He must travel to the Pillars of Nosgoth in search of further enlightenment.[BO1-C2]

Kain passes through the small human town of Ziegsturhl, where his murder took place, and crosses the forestlands, heading north to reach the Pillars. There, at night, he finds a specter haunting these solemn sentinels - Ariel, the murdered representative of the Pillar of Balance. She informs Kain that the salvation of Nosgoth would be in his best interest; Kain is quick to assert that he seeks only a cure, and cares little for the fate of the world, but agrees to undertake the duty on the pretense that he will "realize peace" if he succeeds. Ariel warns him to "beware the Unspoken", and tells him of Nupraptor, her love, driven mad by her murder.[BO1-C2] The Mind Guardian is to be his first kill.[BO1-C3][BO1-C2]

Pressing northward, Kain bypasses the towns of Nachtholm and Steinchencröe before making it to Vasserbünde, a city adjacent to Nupraptor's Retreat. He navigates Nupraptor's traps and hazards, and eventually finds the Mentalist himself, guarded by Malek. However, Nupraptor dismisses the Paladin, sure that he will simply "fail the Circle once more", and combats Kain personally. Kain is victorious over Nupraptor, and beheads him. He returns with the head to the Pillars, where it dissolves into the stone of the Pillar of the Mind, cleansing the Pillar of corruption. Ariel congratulates him, and instructs him to defeat the Circle's "shepherd" - Malek.[BO1-C3]

For the Blood is the Life...Edit

"‘Twould seem Malek’s destiny with my blade was postponed. Perhaps Ariel could offer further guidance."
―Kain
BO1-DD-TheOracle-005

Kain meets the Oracle of Nosgoth.

BO1-DD-TheVampireVorador-054

A flashback, depicting Vorador slaughtering a Pillar Guardian.

BO1-DD-TheVampireVorador-193

Vorador instructs Kain not to meddle in human affairs.

On his journey to Malek's Bastion, Kain is forced to revisit his hometown of Coorhagen, which has been infested with the plague since his departure.[BO1-C4][11] Battling his way through the undead in the settlement's narrow alleys, he reaches a mountaintop from which he can observe the clifftop Bastion. Though Malek's stronghold is bitterly cold and deprived of life, Kain succeeds in dodging the wraith's traps and disabling his mechanisms, and fights the Conflict Guardian. Initially, they prove evenly matched, but Malek gains the advantage, unleashing a wall of deadly magical force against Kain. Left with no choice but to flee, Kain escapes the Bastion empty-handed. Ariel advises him to seek out the Oracle of Nosgoth for aid.[BO1-C4]

The labyrinthine Oracle's Cave in the arctic wastes leads Kain to a larger enclave, where an old man stands by a roaring fire, cooking something. He welcomes the "nobleman", and digresses into musings on the Legions of the Nemesis and King Ottmar. Irritated, Kain demands information on Malek. The Oracle mentions that "his vanity led to the slaughter of the Circle at the hands of the vampire Vorador", giving Kain a lead. At the Oracle's instruction, he "follows the glow of the Ignis Fatuus to the Termogent Forest", where Vorador dwells.[BO1-C5][BO1-C6] Its swamps are perilous, but he manages to access Vorador's Mansion, and soon finds the elder vampire.[BO1-C6]

Kain is initially repulsed by Vorador, who considers him "something worse than Hell" - a vision of what he is becoming. Vorador, though, warms to the fledgling, and imparts his philosophy: that vampires are gods, and that mortals offer their blood as sacrifice so that they can enjoy their supernatural powers. To his dismay, Kain realizes that, deep down, he knows Vorador is right. Pondering this, he listens to Vorador's "boorish account" of the slaughter of the Circle, punctuated when he orders Kain not to concern himself with the "affairs of man". Kain acknowledges this only very slighty, and Vorador gives him his Signet Ring, to summon his newfound ally when the need arises.[BO1-C6]

Powers RestoredEdit

"The specter of Ariel led me to Willendorf. If I was to defeat the next member of the Circle, I needed to understand his machinations. With this vague advice in mind, I set forth on the road to Willendorf."
―Kain
BO1-DD-TheGreatDuel-045

Vorador and Malek duel for the last time in Dark Eden.

BO1-DD-TheCourtOfTheLastHope-030

King Ottmar explains the plight of his child.

BO1-DD-TheBattleOfTheLastStand-020

The Legions of the Nemesis encroach on Willendorf.

Before he visits Uschtenheim, Kain is notified by Mortanius that "a triad congregates at the roof of the world" - three wizards of the Circle of Nine, plotting to reshape Nosgoth from Dark Eden, their "garden of horrors" in the north. Allured by the promise of vengeance, Kain fends off the mutants created by these three corrupt Guardians, and breaches the sanctuary of Anacrothe the Alchemist, Bane the Druid and DeJoule the Energist, the three conspirators. Anacrothe flees, summoning Malek, but Kain uses Vorador's Signet Ring to call his own ally in response. While Vorador deals with the Paladin, Kain chases down the other two. The vampires are successful, and Bane, DeJoule and Malek are destroyed in the duels.

Returning to the Pillars with Bane's Antler Headdress, DeJoule's Insulating Cloak and Malek's Helmet, Kain restores the Pillars of Nature, Energy and Conflict. Ariel next sends him to the city of Avernus, where Azimuth the Planer dwells. He complies, but finds the city in chaos; Azimuth, now a raving lunatic due to the Pillars' corruption, has unleashed demons on the place. In Avernus Cathedral, where the boundaries between the planes of existence are blurred, Kain discovers, and claims, the legendary Soul Reaver sword, and the Wraith Armor. With these implements, he easily slays Azimuth, and returns her Eye to the Pillar of Dimension.

Before leaving the Cathedral, Kain discovered a time-streaming device; Ariel cryptically comments that "it will deliver [him] in time". She also explains that he must stop the Nemesis - once known as William the Just - and his legions, or all shall be lost. If Kain is to defeat the next member of the Circle, she says, he needs to understand his machinations. This vague advice leads Kain to the somber kingdom of Willendorf, ruled by the despondent King Ottmar. Kain infiltrates the Provincial Mines and drinks blood from the tomb of one of Ottmar's forefathers, which enables him to Beguile the living and thus interact with them. With this ability, he enters Ottmar's court, where the monarch relates his story in person.

The Last StandEdit

"In the distance, I saw the Nemesis armies march forward, a black tide that would soon wash over the Armies of the Hope."
―Kain
BO1-DD-TheBattleOfTheLastStand-032

The Army of the Last Hope enters battle.

BO1-DD-Nuremburg-012

Moebius rallies a crowd in William the Just's kingdom.

BO1-DD-AVampiresEnd-019

Vorador is beheaded by Moebius's vampire-hunting mob.

To celebrate his daughter's birthday, Ottmar held a contest bidding his subjects to produce the finest doll in the realm; the victor would be granted a royal favor. Of the hundreds of submissions, the winner was obvious - Elzevir the Dollmaker "created a toy of such beauty that all were captivated by it". He took a lock of the Princess's hair as payment, but, soon after, she became lifeless. Ottmar proclaims that whoever restores her to her former self will be given rulership of Willendorf, and Kain seizes the opportunity. He successfully tracks down and kills Elzevir in his abode upon the Lake of Lost Souls, and finds a second doll, with the Princess's soul imprisoned within.

After Kain returns to Willendorf with this and Elzevir's head, Ottmar is overcome with gratitude. Kain refuses the kingdom, but accepts control of Ottmar's army. Ottmar leads the Army of the Last Hope into a skirmish with the Legions of the Nemesis - the Battle of the Last Stand. Kain participates, sating his thirst "on warriors of Horde and Hope alike". Advancing northward, he realizes that the Nemesis armies were far more skilled than he had predicted - they show no signs of subsiding. Ottmar is killed, begging Kain to destroy the Nemesis with his dying words, and the tide of battle turns in the Legions' favor. The Army of Hope flees, and Kain is quickly cornered. Desperate, he uses his only means of escape; the time-streaming device he took from Avernus.

The landscape morphs around him, and the battlefield disappears, replaced with greenery. After killing a Man-at-Arms, Kain reads his victim's thoughts, and receives a vision of Moebius the Time Streamer, rallying crowds in preperation for an onslaught. It becomes clear that Kain is now stranded in the past, during William the Just's reign, fifty years before the Battle of the Last Stand will take place. Realizing that he can save Nosgoth by eliminating William in this time period, Kain ventures through Stahlberg, and north to William's stronghold. Within, he overhears as Moebius provides William with weapons, and assures the king of his good intentions by warning him of an encroaching vampire assassin.

Fragile HistoryEdit

"I found myself once more in the Nosgoth I knew. The carnage from battle was gone. Yet there was something amiss. From the distance, I heard cries and a breeze from the south carried with it the faint odor of vampire blood."
―Kain

Fateful DilemmaEdit

"I am the last Pillar. The only survivor of the Circle of Nine.
At my whim the world will be healed or damned. At my whim.
"
―Kain
"In his life he was unknown. A petty noble.
In death he was unknown. Yet by choosing oblivion he restored Balance to the land.
Shades cast no shadows.
"
―Ariel

GameplayEdit

OverviewEdit

Blood Omen is a two-dimensional action-adventure game. The game camera is fixed in a bird's eye view position and follows Kain as the character travels the world of Nosgoth. Gameplay is divided between outdoor exploration and visiting internal structures, including crypts, houses, castles, cathedrals and temples. The game screen constantly displays three features, being the sun gauge, and health and magic meters respectively. The sun gauge monitors the passage of time via the use of icons (e.g. sun and moon), with the screen also becoming lighter or darker to accurately reflect the time. Certain doors, or "Moon Gates", possess a "time trigger" and only open when a full moon occurs. A full moon briefly occurs once every two hours of real time. The health meter is a red blood vial that monitors Kain's current level of health. By finding small vials throughout the game it is possible to increase the size of the vial. The magic gauge is signified by a series of blue glyphs, and by finding additional glyphs the gauge increases in length.

During the course of the game, the character Kain acquires a variety of abilities, weapons, armor, magic and items. Kain acquires four additional forms, being "werewolf" (enhanced strength and speed), "bat" (instant travel to other locations such as Bat Beacons), "mist" (used to bypass solid objects and water) and "human peasant", later "nobleman" (to fool enemies and townspeople into talking to Kain). Weapons include an iron sword, a mace, twin battle axes (called "Havoc" and "Malice"), the Flame Sword and the Soul Reaver, with each having benefits and drawbacks (e.g. the use of the battleaxes prevents the use of magic and items, while use of the Soul Reaver drains the magic gauge). During the course of the game certain weapons are required to enable progression to new areas. Five different types of armor can be found, being iron, bone, chaos, flesh and wraith respectively. Each suit of armor has its own distinctive advantages.

Magic can be used as either a spell or an item, with several of each being hidden throughout the game. There are 13 spells in total, being practical (e.g. "Light"), offensive ("Lightning") and on occasion functional (e.g. "Mind Control"), being necessary to allow game progression. Throughout the game numerous colored orbs can found that will replenish the character's magic levels. There are also ten items in total, which can be found in hidden "Spirit Forges". Like spells, these vary in effect, and include both offensive (e.g. "Flay") and support (e.g. "Heart of Darkness") options. There are 100 "secrets" hidden in the game, which can be found when the character performs actions such as activating hidden switches, pressing buttons, entering Moon Gates or finding items such as Spirit Forges, but finding all of them won't change the ending(s).

Items, equipment and power-upsEdit

AbilitiesEdit

LocationsEdit

DevelopmentEdit

ProductionEdit

Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain originated circa 1993 as The Pillars of Nosgoth, an original RPG concept conceived by Denis Dyack, whose "complex story was outlined in a document full of sketches and concepts". Dyack and writer Ken McCulloch developed and finalized the "details and twisted story". The designers "wanted to create a game where there was no ultimate weapon and armor. A game where you had to use your head as well as your reflexes" - a mature title "which adults would want to play". For six to eight months, Silicon Knights worked on the game's design without a particular hardware platform in mind. While they were completing Dark Legions, Crystal Dynamics producer Lyle Hall met Dyack at a developer conference, while sourcing third-party developers with talent and ambition. Hall and Dyack agreed that games of the day should be given higher budgets and deliver on bigger expectations. Among other publishers, Crystal Dynamics were sent the concept, and two others, including one for Too Human; Too Human was almost pursued, but Crystal Dynamics "thought fantasy would go over more then Sci-Fi", and chose to create the game for the 32-bit marketplace. Hall was instantly taken by the "unbelievable character and epic story", and impressed by Silicon Knights' passion about delivering an artistic, cinematic experience. The Soul Reaver, which was originally intended to be a weapon in Too Human, was transplanted to the "vampire action RPG", which Hall and Dyack felt could truly evolve the genre.

For a long time, both parties planned to develop the game for the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, but Sony announced the PlayStation "just at about the time when [they] could not wait any longer". Although Crystal Dynamics was heavily leaning towards using the Sega Saturn for all of their products, Dyack and Hall convinced them to choose the PlayStation, impressed by its streamlined architecture and graphic abilities. In 1993, anti-heroes were uncommon in video games, especially outside of Japan, and Dyack later vividly recalled hearing that "this is too ambitious" while discussing the idea. Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain was featured at E3 1995; Silicon Knights were adamant that they receive credit as the game's developers, arguing that "if Kain was a book (which is a linear form of entertainment), we would be known as the authors", and were thankful to Diehard GameFan for recognizing them as such in a preview. Following considerable analysis, it was decided to substantially increase the size of the development team, with Silicon Knights doubling in size, and Crystal Dynamics flying staff out to Canada (including Amy Hennig and Seth Carus) to assist in design for over six months. This delegation was left to procure their own off-site accommodation, resulting in "great personal sacrifice".

Working with 486 and Pentium 90 computers, the developers were forced to compromise on the quality of the game's cinematics, which were developed in 3D Studio (v4), Animation Master (Playmation) and Animator Studio. These were also used to construct and animate over 170 characters, creatures and monsters, as was Adobe Photoshop. Bat flight sequences were developed in VistaPro; "seamlessly integrating Nosgothian cities and mountainous castles was a painstaking task for [the] artists". Sound effects were mixed in Digidesign using Silicon Knights' only Macintosh. The game's code was written in C, and designers assembled levels using an internally-developed mapmaker program. Loading times were considerable in the final release: Dyack explained that "the Sony has 3 meg of RAM. 1 meg is dedicated to video and 2 Meg is dedicated to data (V RAM and DRAM respectively). The problem with Kain was that we had 2.5 megs of graphics (best in VRAM) and .5 meg of data (best in DRAM). This meant that we had to store graphics in the Sony were it did not belong. This accounted for most of the slowdown."

InfluencesEdit

In developing the character of Kain, Silicon Knights deliberately veered away from following the monomyth despite being advised that a brooding anti-hero would not appeal to gamers. Silicon Knights adopted the vision of a character whom everyone believes is evil, partially inspired by William Munny, the protagonist of Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven, as opposed to a stereotypical "totally kick-ass" protagonist.

The world of Nosgoth was created by using a combination of high fantasy and vampire mythology as a template. Influenced by the Necroscope and The Wheel of Time series, the creative team attempted to ensure no character fell into a simple "good" or "evil" typecast. Cover art for The Pillars of the Earth served as inspiration for the Pillars of Nosgoth themselves. Content director Ken McCulloch, who co-wrote the storyline and the majority of in-game texts, was urged by marketers to use more accessible names late in the design process, with Mortanius and Hash'ak'gik considered "Names from Hell" that were difficult to get past the "marketing censor".

AudioEdit

Simon Templeman provided the voice of Kain, and prior to recording Dyack expressed concern that the actors would be unable to convey McCulloch's complex dialog. Dyack, however, stated their performances "blew him away", and commented that "after five minutes with Simon Templeman [...] we knew that there was no problem."

Cut contentEdit

ReleaseEdit

PromotionEdit

Critical receptionEdit

Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain was well-received by critics, with an average review score of 83% as determined by Game Rankings. IGN cited the story as "the best of many strong features in the game", praising the voices and atmosphere. Although the game's CD-based load times were described as long and "agonizing", IGN commended the developer for keeping them from interfering with the game.

SalesEdit

Specific sales figures were never released, but Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain was described as "immensely successful" by a Crystal Dynamics employee.[12] Denis Dyack stated that "all parties involved [were] very pleased" when it shipped, and Amy Hennig later revealed that it had "sold remarkably well for its time", but that its profits were not comparable to the standards of 2000's blockbuster games.[7][13]

A 2011 court filing revealed that the game sold at least 320,082 units historically while Silicon Knights claimed it had sold 2 million copies in its lifetime, but did not substantiate this figure.

Re-releasesEdit

ContinuationEdit

CreditsEdit

Art:

Code:

Design:

Other production:

Audio:

Testing:

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Wiki-Icon-DC Soul Reaver 2: Background Story at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn)
  2. The Pillars at the Soul Reaver 2 official site
  3. 3.0 3.1 Wiki-Icon-DC Soul Reaver 2: Historical Timeline at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Wiki-Icon-BO1 Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain miscellaneous dialogue. Silicon Knights. Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain. (Crystal Dynamics). PlayStation. (November 1, 1996)
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 5.15 5.16 5.17 5.18 5.19 Wiki-Icon-DC The Players at SK: The Complete Guide To Legacy of Kain (archived at Dark Chronicle)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Icon-NR Recreated PSXnation.com Interview with Denis Dyack at Nosgothic Realm
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Wiki-Icon-DC Behind the Scenes at SK: The Complete Guide To Legacy of Kain (archived at Dark Chronicle)
  8. Wiki-Icon-DC Miscellaneous Questions & Answers at SK: The Complete Guide To Legacy of Kain (archived at Dark Chronicle)
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Wiki-Icon-DC Theme Outlines for Cinematics at SK: The Complete Guide To Legacy of Kain (archived at Dark Chronicle)
  10. Icon-Prima Prima Games / Ian Osborne. Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain: Official Game Secrets. (1996)
  11. Wiki-Icon-DC Legacy of Kain: The Plot at SK: The Complete Guide To Legacy of Kain (archived at Dark Chronicle)
  12. Icon-Gamasutra Playing Catch-Up: GEX's Lyle Hall at Gamasutra (by Alistair Wallis)
  13. Previews: Legacy of Kain 2: Soul Reaver at SegaWeb (by Craig Hansen)
The Legacy of Kain series
Wiki-Icon-BO1 Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain characters
Wiki-Icon-BO1 Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain locations
Wiki-Icon-BO1 Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain terms
Wiki-Icon-BO1 Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain items and equipment
Wiki-Icon-BO1 Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain abilities
Wiki-Icon-BO1 Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain enemies and NPCs

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