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Raziel encounters his first combat barriers in the derelict Sarafan Stronghold

"You shall not pass!"
―Black Demon — Listen (file info)[src]

Combat Barriers were special impenetrable forcefields featured in Soul Reaver 2 and Legacy of Kain: Defiance that were summoned by certain enemies to prevent Kain or Raziel escaping during combat.

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Combat barriers were seen in Soul Reaver 2 and Defiance whereby certain enemies could summon impenetrable barriers to force the protagonist to face and battle them.[SR2][DEF]

Combat barriers were first seen in Soul Reaver 2 as Raziel traveled to the Post-Blood Omen era in A Fateful Meeting. When he first emerged from Moebius's Time-streaming chambers in the Circle's gathering-room of the Sarafan Stronghold, Raziel was confronted by his first Demons - a pair of Acid demons - who summoned a green barrier to prevent his escape. Thereafter groups of demons regularly summoned such barriers to force Raziel into combat. These were especially used when Raziel returned to the Stronghold in Nosgoth's early history in Blade of Vengeance where they were used repeatedly, giving the impression of an increasingly difficult set of enemy encounters. In order to dispel each barrier it was necessary for Raziel to defeat all the demons in that area.[SR2][SR2-C5][SR2-C9]

Def-Combat Barrier-Hylden

Hylden Revenant Combat barriers forcing Raziel into combat in Defiance

Combat barriers returned in Legacy of Kain: Defiance in a slightly different form. They were first seen at the end of Infiltrate the Stronghold where Kain's infiltration of the Sarafan Stronghold in Nosgoth's early history led him to Moebius's chamber in the catacombs beneath the building. After a brief confrontation with Moebius, Kain was faced with a group of Lesser Shades who summoned barriers to cover the entrance to the chamber and prevent access to the Falcon Insignia and exit of the room. Thereafter, barriers were summoned by a range of enemies to force Kain and Raziel in combat - most notably they were used by Hylden Revenant types, Shades, Demons and spellcaster humans like the Sarafan inquisitors, Vampire hunter sorceresses and Cenobite summoners. As before, the barriers would be dispelled if all enemies in the given area were defeated, though on occasion it was possible to defeat the spellcaster that summoned the barrier in order to proceed.[DEF][DEF-C1]

Types of Combat BarrierEdit

Throughout the games in which they appear a number of different variations on the design of the combat barriers were seen, presumably relating to the source and size of the area covered by the barrier.[SR2][DEF]

SR2-Acid Demon

An Acid demon with appropriate barrier

In Soul Reaver 2 the nature and design of the combat barriers varied according to the elemental association of the demons faced, with Fire demons and Black demons summoning fire barriers, Lightning demons summoning electrical barriers, Acid demons summoning green liquid barriers and Gas demons summoning purple gas-like barriers.[SR2][SR2-C5][SR2-C6][SR2-C7][SR2-C9]

In Defiance a more varied set of creatures was able to summon them and the barriers themselves could be divided into two sets of broadly similar designs. The first design - used primarily to cover doorways and other smaller areas - was marked with an unusual circular pattern and varied color according to race; with Spectral entities like Archons, Shades and the Elder God using purple barriers, Hylden Revenants using green barriers and Demons or spellcasting Humans (such as Sarafan inquisitors, Vampire hunter sorceresses and Cenobite summoners) using red barriers. The second variant design - used primarily to cover large areas - consisted of a simple pulsing effect to the barrier; with Vampire hunter sorceresses using wavy green barriers and the Ancient vampire members of the Circle of Nine using straighter blue barriers.[DEF] A unique third variant was present in the Kain/Raziel boss battles in Avernus Cathedral - of unknown origin, this barrier consisted of a circular pattern of golden speckles.[DEF][DEF-C11][DEF-C12]

NotesEdit

  • Combat barriers are explicitly named as such in stage directions,[DEF-C2] are given their own section in the Defiance manual and are repeatedly referred to as such in the Prima Guide.[1][2] However a number of alternate titles have also been applied to them. Soul Reaver 2 barriers were almost exclusively summoned by demons and thus they are also titled as Demon barriers by the Prima guide and Soul Reaver 2 manual[3][4]. Other terms used in walkthrough sections of guides include Energy Fields[3] and Barriers[3][2] The barriers are never directly named in dialogue, although stage directions mention Energy Barriers,[SR2-C5][SR2-C9] Fire Barriers (specifically relating to the barriers summoned by Black and Fire demons)[SR2-C9] and Magical Green Barriers (specifically relating to the barriers summoned by Human revenants).[DEF-C4]
  • The circular patterns on the Defiance doorway barriers is notably similar to the markings seen in the Hylden City in Blood Omen 2,[BO2-C11] though whether this indicates a Hylden origin or merely a reuse of art assets is debatable.
  • Similar effects to the combat barriers have been achieved previously (and even within Defiance) by simply presenting the protagonist with a set of locked or sealed Doors and having enemies appearing within the locked room - this method has particularly been favored by human enemies.[BO1][SR2][BO2][DEF] The Ward gates of Blood Omen 2 are also quite similar in function.[BO2]
SR1-Underworld-Cutscene-Barrier

The Soul Reaver barriers summoned by the Elder God

  • Arguably a precursor to the combat barriers can be observed in the early chapters of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver as the Elder God summons similar barriers to prevent Raziel from straying too far until he has completed the relevant training objectives in the area. These barriers, consisting of a blue swirling pattern, are notably used in the same way as combat barriers on two occasions; preventing Raziel from escaping until he has experienced his first combat and defeated the first Sluagh and Fledgling Dumahim.[SR1-C1]
Defiance-Fankit-Symbol-Pillars-Dimension
This article or section is written from a real world perspective. Not all, if any, of its content is to be considered a constituent part of the Legacy of Kain canon and universe.
  • The combat barriers seem to have been designed essentially to prevent players from simply running to the next objective without engaging in any combat whatsoever. This appears to be the result of a change in the balance between feeding and health drain in the Material Realm as Raziel became more powerful - with him able to exist in the Material Realm without sustenance much longer in Soul Reaver 2 than was possible in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, artificial motivation was required to encourage players to engage in combat and make the game more challenging.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Wiki-Icon-DEF Legacy of Kain: Defiance manual. Crystal Dynamics. (Eidos Interactive). PC (November 11, 2003) Download.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Icon-Prima Prima Games / JDP and Gerald Guess. Prima's Official Legacy of Kain: Defiance Guide. (2003)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Icon-Prima Prima Games / Demian Linn and David Hodgson. Prima's Official Soul Reaver 2 Guide. (2001)
  4. Wiki-Icon-SR2 Soul Reaver 2 manual. Crystal Dynamics. (Eidos Interactive). (October 31, 2001) Download.

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