The Health Coil, also known as the Soul Spiral, the Spirit Spiral or simply the Health Guage was a symbol used particularly throughout the Soul Reaver arc of the series, most notably to represent Raziel's health but also particularly related to the Spectral Realm.
- Name: The Health Coil
- Category: Soul Reaver 2 terms
- Introduced: • Soul Reaver 2 (2001)
- Related Articles: Blood vial, Souls, Wraiths (family), Soul devouring, Health recharges, Health power-ups, Villagers (SR1), Reaver bar, Soul basins, Chained humans, Health talismans,Spirit, Spectral Realm, Underworld (SR1), Subterranean Ruins, Spirit Forge (SR2), Underworld (Defiance)
The spiral is frequent recurring symbol seen throughout particularly the Soul Reaver arc of the series which is generally related to the Spectral Realm and the property of elemental sphere of Spirit. The symbol is most prominently used as Raziel's health meter - his counterpart to Kain's Blood vial - but has many other uses throughout the series.[SR1][SR2][DEF]
The Health Coil first appeared in Legacy of Kain as Raziel became a wraith at the beginning of the Underworld chapter and gameplay commenced. The coil, which represented Raziel's health, was initially a jagged green spiral shape in the Spectral Realm of the underworld and occupied a space in the bottom right corner of the screen. A dark green/black shade was filled with a lighter green shade as Raziel consumed Souls and fed, recovering his health. When fully charged, the coil would glow symbolizing that Raziel was able to use the Planar portals and the Shift Glyph to Shift into the Material Realm. In the Material Realm the coil was a much smoother circle, with a lighter green backing.[SR1][SR1-C2]
The coil would drain as Raziel took damage and would naturally drain over time in the Material Realm, but would naturally refill over time in the Spectral plane. Raziel could refill the coil quickly when necessary by devouring the souls (or soul energy) of defeated enemies, 'sipping' those of less confrontational Humans or consuming the souls that were naturally present in the spectral plane. Other methods also existed immediately refill health, such as feeding from the Soul altar in the underworld and standing upon special Health recharges. If Raziel found five Health power-ups he would also increase the capacity of the gauge in the Material Realm - leading the coil to wind tighter and providing more length for it to drain; in doing so his health coil would be refilled. Raziel material health drain could also be stopped by possession of the Wraith Blade which required full health but would sustain Raziel's strength until he took damage at which point it would return to the spectral plane. If the health coil completely drained in the Material Realm, Raziel's material manifestation would dissolve and he would be knocked back to the Spectral Realm - and if the coil was drained there, Raziel would find himself back in the Underworld with the Elder God.[SR1][SR1-C2][SR1-C4]
The coil returned in Soul Reaver 2 with much the same functionality although there were several minor differences. The Spectral coil was given a more jagged almost 'spiky' appearance in Soul Reaver 2, with a subtly darker background and brighter shade on the spiral as it filled. The coil also gained a darker background and was now colored blue instead of green in the material realm, and in the spectral realm completely filling the meter would make it change to the blue shade. As before the trail around the coil represented the level of Raziel's health and he could refill it by consuming the souls or soul energy of enemies and the native souls of the spectral plane. Instead of collecting health power-ups, Raziel material coil capacity was now increased in scripted events upon completion of the elemental Reaver forge areas.[SR2][SR2-C3][SR2-C4][SR2-C6][SR2-C8]
The relationship between the Wraith blade and the health coil was also altered. Initially the blade could only be summoned at full health in the material realm and would sustain Raziel's health as before; however after his discovery of the physical Soul Reaver and the Reaver-convergence in A Reaver in Time he would awaken the hunger of the blade, meaning it could be summoned at will but it no longer sustained his health and would actively attempt to consume the souls of enemies itself - becoming more powerful, but at the cost of preventing Raziel from feeding and filling up a new Reaver bar around the health coil which would drain Raziel's health when it was filled. If Raziel's health was drained in the Material Realm he was shunted to Spectral but now when it was depleted in Spectral he would return to the last activated checkpoint.[SR2][SR2-C1]
The Health coil returned in Legacy of Kain: Defiance again with some cosmetic changes. This time the coil appeared as part of the new heads-up display in the bottom-left of the screen, contained within a circular dial with a black background. The meter itself was now represented by a wider 'swirl' pattern with a deeper blue emptying to a dark green for the material dial and a paler green trail emptying to black for the identically designed (now circular spiral) spectral dial. [DEF]
As before the trail around the coil represented the level of Raziel's health and he could refill it by consuming the souls (or soul energy) of enemies and the native souls in the spectral plane or he could consume the souls of captive humans. Alternatively Raziel could refill his health by drinking from Soul basins. Defiance returned to the collectible method of increasing health capacity, with Raziel now required to collect three hidden Health talismans to increase the capacity of the coil and for the first time the spectral coil would increase along with it's material counterpart.[DEF]
The relationship between the Wraith Blade and the coil was again altered, with the Reaver bar of Soul Reaver 2 replaced by a more beneficial Reaver charge gauge which provided access to charged and Reaver spells when filled with its only cost Feeding the Reaver instead of being able to refill the health of the character. If Raziel's health was drained in the Material Realm he was shunted to Spectral and if it was depleted there he would return to the last activated checkpoint.[DEF]
The symbols were first seen in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver marking the floors at the start of the underworld chapter as Raziel was revived as a wraith by the Elder God. As Raziel continued to explore the spiral symbol appeared engraved on the walls throughout the underworld and as Raziel exited the underworld and transitioned into the Material Realm for the first time spiral symbols could be seen marking the wall which would open to allow access to the underworld in the Spectral Realm.[SR1][SR1-C1][SR1-C2]
Later in the same chapter Raziel passed through the Abyss - the gateway to the underworld - and discovered its warp gate symbol was represented by two stacks surrounding a spiral in an image that bore a resemblance to the cliffs and the water of the abyss itself - perhaps suggesting something of a developmental origin for the symbol.[SR1][SR1-C1][SR1-C2]
When Raziel discovered the Tomb of the Sarafan in the Tomb of Sarafan (chapter) he discovered the main chamber containing the graves of the Sarafan warrior inquisitors featured a prominent spiral on the floor - a reference to deaths of the inhabitants and a prompt that the floor of the chamber would drop in the Spectral Realm, allowing him access to the chamber beneath.[SR1][SR1-C7]
The symbol was originally intended to have had a greater role within Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver that was ultimately cut form the title, with similar spirals representative of the deleted 'Spirit Glyph' and 'Spirit Reaver'; both were removed before the game's completion but the spirit symbol - a slightly rotated version of the coil - can be found in some guides.
In both Soul Reaver 2 and Legacy of Kain: Defiance the traditional 'Spirit Spiral' symbol made appearances, however it was in a much reduced capacity and a different and more distinct redesigned spirit spiral symbol was often place alongside, ultimately replacing the more basic spiral symbol.[SR2][DEF]
In Soul Reaver 2 the spirals can be seen on two occasions. The spirals can first be seen on the bottom of the 'inner' Great Southern Lake among a set of underwater ruins. The ruins although incidental in the final game were intended to be the ruins of the Spirit Forge where Raziel was supposed to forge the Spirit Reaver, before this was cut from the final game. Notably these ruins feature several original spirals along with a version of the new Spirit symbol defaced by several 'peanut' shape possibly representative of the eyes of the Elder God. The Spirals can be seen again later when Raziel ventures into the Subterranean Ruins, with several on the walls surrounding the statue room.[SR2][SR2-C1][SR2-C2]
By the time of Legacy of Kain: Defiance, the old spirit spirals were largely usurped by the new Spirit symbol first seen in Soul Reaver 2, however the old symbol could still be seen in several places. Notably on Raziel's exit from the Underworld he emerges into the bottom of a 'flooded crypt' in the Cemetery which contains several spirit spirals as well as a new symbol representing the Elder God similar to the defaced Spirit symbol in Soul Reaver 2 and the Wheel of Fate symbol.[DEF][DEF-C2]
- In the early beta version of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, the Health Coil would change color according to Raziel's health level. This feature was dropped for later versions of the coil but a similar color system would later be used with the Reaver bar in Soul Reaver 2.[SR1][SR2]
- The Health Coil has a number of similar titles through the series. It is never directly named in dialogue beyond vague mentions of "strength"[SR1][SR1-C2] - and as a construct of the heads-up display it is unlikely that it physically exists in the world beyond as an indicator for the player. Nevertheless the meter is referred to in several background sources. In Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver the bar is named as a "health coil" in the US manual, while the UK manual refers to it as a "health meter" and the Prima guide calls it a "health bar". For Soul Reaver 2 the manual calls it a "health coil", while the Prima Guide refers to a "health spiral".Legacy of Kain: Defiance sources refer to the "health gauge" or simply "health".
- Beyond the shared relations to spirit energy/health, the Spirit element and the Spectral Realm, no concrete causal link is ever suggested between the various spiral symbols and their particular origin in universe is difficult to ascertain. In the real world development of the series, the spiral used in the warp gate Abyss perhaps provides the best clue as to a shared origin as the 'gateway to the underworld'.[SR1]
- Several other symbols through the series bear similar designs to the simple spirals, however the links between the symbols are less clear and their designs usually more complex. Similar symbols include the Spectral death animations of Soul Reaver and Soul Reaver 2 (with some variations seen between platforms), the Teleportation animation used in The Tenth Guardian cutscene in Vampire Interview, the spirals in the warps of the Warp gates in Defiance, the full health power-up pie[SR1], Kain's medallion[SR1][SR2][DEF] (itself representative of Scion of Balance), the newer Spirit symbol,[SR2][DEF] the variant symbol seen on the Soul Reaver 2 Spirit Forge,[SR2] the symbol of the Elder God in Defiance,[DEF] the Wheel of Fate symbol[DEF][DEF-C9][DEF-C10] and the markings on the Subterranean Pillars platform.[SR2] Many of these symbols appear to have related designs (almost representing a progression) and some thematic similarities, but no confirmed links are known.
- Blood vial
- Wraiths (family)
- Soul devouring
- Health recharges
- Health power-ups
- Villagers (SR1)
- Reaver bar
- Soul basins
- Chained humans
- Health talismans
- Spectral Realm
- Underworld (SR1)
- Subterranean Ruins
- Spirit Forge (SR2)
- Underworld (Defiance)
- ↑ Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver manual (US version). Crystal Dynamics. (Eidos Interactive). (August 16, 1999) Download.
- ↑ Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver manual (UK version). Crystal Dynamics. (Eidos Interactive). (August 16, 1999) Download.
- ↑ Prima Games / Mel Odom. Prima's Official Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver Guide. (1999)
- ↑ Soul Reaver 2 manual. Crystal Dynamics. (Eidos Interactive). (October 31, 2001) Download.
- ↑ Prima Games / Demian Linn and David Hodgson. Prima's Official Soul Reaver 2 Guide. (2001)
- ↑ Legacy of Kain: Defiance manual. Crystal Dynamics. (Eidos Interactive). PC (November 11, 2003) Download.
- ↑ Prima Games / JDP and Gerald Guess. Prima's Official Legacy of Kain: Defiance Guide. (2003)
- ↑ The Spirit Glyph at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ The Elemental Reavers at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ The Elemental Reaver Forges at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ Deleted Reaver Forges at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- ↑ Comment on ~SpectralJin's profile at deviantART, Jan 6, 2012 - Jul 7, 2012 (by CharletDukaine, SpectralJin and Kure47)