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Icon-SR1 Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver
1999
SR1-Cover-PS1
"Betrayal, Intrigue, Revenge..."
"They say the dead know no pain... things are about to change!"
Preceded by Icon-BO1 Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain (1996)
Developer Crystal Dynamics
Publisher Eidos Interactive
Directed by Amy Hennig
Composer Kurt Harland
Written by • Amy Hennig
Richard Lemarchand
Jim Curry
Platforms PlayStation (original release)
Microsoft Windows
Dreamcast
Released PlayStation
• 1999 (EU)
• August 16, 1999 (NA)
Microsoft Windows
• 1999 (EU)
• September 18, 1999 (NA)
Dreamcast
• 2000 (NA)
• January 27, 2000 (EU)
PlayStation Network
• November 19, 2009 (NA)
• March 2, 2011 (EU)
GOG.com
• April 26, 2012
Formats • CD-ROM
• GD-ROM
• Download
Protagonist(s) Raziel
Quick links (categories) Soul Reaver chapters
Soul Reaver characters
Soul Reaver locations
Soul Reaver items
Soul Reaver equipment
Soul Reaver abilities
Soul Reaver enemies
Soul Reaver terms
Soul Reaver cast
Soul Reaver crew
Soul Reaver cut content
Soul Reaver gallery
Associated media Icon-SR1Comic Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver comic
Vorgeschichte
Prima's Official Strategy Guide - Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver
Das Offizielle Lösungsbuch - Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver
Followed by Icon-SR2 Soul Reaver 2 (2001)
"An eternity passed, and my torment receded, bringing me back from the precipice of madness. The descent had destroyed me... and yet I lived."
―Raziel

Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver is a third-person action-adventure video game, developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Eidos Interactive. It was released for the PlayStation and Microsoft Windows in 1999, and for the Dreamcast in 2000. As the second game in the Legacy of Kain series, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver is the sequel to 1996's Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, developed by Silicon Knights. It was succeeded by three games, one of which - Soul Reaver 2 - is a direct sequel.

Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver begins 1500 years after the events of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, and chronicles the journey of the vampire-turned-wraith Raziel, lieutenant to Kain (the protagonist of the original game). Raziel is executed by Kain, but is revived by the Elder God to become his "soul reaver" and to exact revenge. Raziel shares this title with Kain's sword, the Soul Reaver, which he acquires during the game.

Crystal Dynamics began development of the game in 1997, but a deteriorating relationship with Silicon Knights created legal problems. This and other delays forced material originally planned for Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver to be excised or reworked into later entries in the series. The game was generally well-received by critics, attaining a score of 91 on Metacritic, and being praised for its Gothic story and high-quality graphics. However, it was criticized for simple and repetitive gameplay and an unsatisfying climax.

PlotEdit

Backstory and settingEdit

"Do you suppose that time stood still for you, Raziel? Much has changed since you passed from the world of men."
―The Elder God
SR1-Promotional-RazielRooftop

A promotional image of Raziel, whose shadow resembles an avenging angel.

Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver takes place within the fictional land of Nosgoth, where the health of the world is tied to the nine Pillars of Nosgoth, and each Pillar in turn is represented by a Pillar Guardian.[BO1-C2] Before the events of the game, the Guardians became corrupted, and, after Kain killed them in the Blood Omen era to restore their Pillars, he discovered that he was the final one, representing the Pillar of Balance.[BO1-C3][BO1-C12] Refusing to sacrifice himself to restore the Pillars, he doomed Nosgoth to eternal decay and, five centuries later, proceeded to raise his vampire lieutenants, including Raziel, to besiege the land.[1][SR1-C1][SR1-C6][SR2] Victorious, he set his throne in the ruins of the Pillar of Balance, and established his empire.[1][2]

Kain's conquest of the land was quickly successful.[1] "Turning" the corpses of their slain enemies, his lieutenants each raised vampire clans, and - within a hundred years - humanity was considered "thoroughly domesticated", with the exception of some vampire hunters roaming the hinterlands in hopes of pursuing their holy war.[3] Employing slaves, the vampires constructed the Sanctuary of the Clans around the Pillars of Nosgoth to signify their new renaissance, and built the Smokestack, a huge furnace, to incessantly belch smoke into the sky, shielding their bodies from the effects of the sun. Kain and his sons formed the Council, ruling the dystopian wreckage of Nosgoth together. Over time, they grew increasingly bored, and pit their clans against each other for amusement.[1]

By the Soul Reaver era, the time of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver's introductory cinematic - 1500 years after the conclusion of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain - the humans have been decimated, and the vampire clans have each claimed a region of Nosgoth and turned their attention to internal matters.[SR2][SR1][SR1-C4] Unbeknownst to the vampires, beneath Nosgoth lurks the Elder God, an ancient and powerful entity. The Elder God controls the Wheel of Fate, a cycle of reincarnation of souls that circle the Wheel in a loop of predestination. However, because vampires are immortal, their souls do not spin with the Wheel, putatively causing the land to decay as the Wheel stalls.[SR1-C1][SR1-C2] By the time that Raziel is revived, 500 years after the game's opening cinematic, Nosgoth is on the brink of complete ecological collapse.[SR1-C2][4]

CharactersEdit

"I know you, Raziel. You are worthy."
―The Elder God
SR1-Character-Collage

A collage depicting Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver's main characters.

SR1-Character-Raziel-Ayala-Raz041

Arnold Ayala's early concept art of Raziel.

SR1-Character-Kain-Ayala-Kain011-B

Kain upon his throne, armed with the Soul Reaver, by Arnold Ayala.

SR1-Character-Zephon-Ayala-WallBoss1

Art of Zephon, one of the game's bosses, by Arnold Ayala.

Of the original cast from Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, three characters (Kain, Ariel and Moebius) return in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, with all others making their debut appearances in the series.[SR1][BO1] Crystal Dynamics considered it important to ensure that their writing, acting and voice direction was "compelling" and "intelligent", hoping to perpetuate the precedent Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain had set with an "original storyline, complex characters, high-quality writing and voice acting, and its fresh approach to vampire mythology".[5]

  • The protagonist of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver is the vampire-turned-wraith Raziel (voiced by Michael Bell), whom Kain casts to his death at the beginning of the game.[SR1] Raziel was conceived by Crystal Dynamics' Amy Hennig and Seth Carus, both of whom had worked alongside Silicon Knights to design Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, and concept artist Arnold Ayala. "Many iterations" of the character were considered before they "were able to collectively stand back and say, "yep, that's him"".[5] The character of Cesare from the 1920 silent film The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari provided one of the "first seeds of inspiration" for his creation. His name, meaning "Secret[s] of God", was derived directly from Rabbinic lore, and other mythological associations helped to determine some of his features, such as his blue skin - borrowed from the Hindu deity Vishnu - and his "fallen angel" wings.[5][6] Although the main character, he was deliberately written to encompass elements of villainy as well as heroism.[7] Raziel's characteristic clan symbol was designed by creature art lead Daniel Cabuco, and resembles a question mark (or tears, when turned upside down).[8] Just as Kain did in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, Raziel frequently narrates events, his surroundings and his thoughts through the literary device of retrospective soliloquy.[SR1][BO1]
  • Although Kain (Simon Templeman) was the protagonist of the previous game, Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, he is the primary antagonist, villain and final boss of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver.[SR1][BO1] Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain concluded with a multiple-choice ending, in which Kain could elect to heal or damn Nosgoth.[BO1-C12] The Crystal Dynamics team decided to establish that the latter choice was canonical, feeling that "it would be interesting to fast foward a millennia [sic] or two, to see what Kain's decision engendered".[7] His actions throughout the game appear to be highly villainous and malevolent, but sequels reveal justifications and rational motivations for each of them: Amy Hennig stated that "Kain is by no means a monster or mustache-twirling villain [...] in many ways, he's a more complex and sympathetic character than Raziel himself".[SR2][7][DEF] Daniel Cabuco redesigned him under the premise that he "sees himself as a 'Dark God'", and his symbol represents "his arrogance (the Crown) and his vamprism (the Fangs)".[9] Cabuco strived to tie him back to his Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain incarnation, adding a scar on his chest where he was assassinated as a human in the original game, and re-introducing Vorador's Signet Ring as part of his costume, with Hennig's approval.[10][11][12] He wields the Soul Reaver sword (also from Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain) in the early stages of the game, but it later falls into Raziel's possession.[SR1][BO1]
  • The Elder God (Tony Jay) resurrects and assists Raziel, explains the game's controls, and describes previous events in the story.[SR1] In Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver he is presented almost exclusively as a beneficent and pedagogical figure, but as the series progresses, he transitions into its main antagonist.[SR2][DEF] The Elder resembles "a giant squid", and was inspired by Gnostic myth - specifically, the concept of the Demiurge.[SR2-C3][13][14][15]
  • During his quest, Raziel meets the members of the Council, his vampire peers and brethren - Melchiah (Bell), Zephon (Jay), Rahab (Neil Ross) and Dumah (Templeman) - who serve as the game's bosses.[SR1] Having inherited the corruption in Kain's soul, the Council members have devolved into grotesque, monstrous beings by the time Raziel returns to Nosgoth; each one has adopted the warped traits of an animal in accordance with their personality (Zephon, for instance, has mutated to resemble a giant spider or insect, and Rahab is fish-like).[16][17] Each is the progenitor and leader of a vampire clan, the fledgling and adult members of which serve as Raziel's enemies, and has developed different powers that Raziel partially gains by killing them and devouring their souls.[SR1][18]

Moebius the Time Streamer (Richard Doyle), the Time Guardian and a major antagonist in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, is depicted as a statue, and makes a brief appearance in person in the game's epilogue.[BO1][SR1-C9][SR1-C10] Raziel also encounters, and is required to defeat, the Tomb Guardian (Doyle), a vampire and minor antagonist.[SR1-C6] The characters of Mortanius and Vorador, both significant figures from the previous game, do not appear, but are mentioned in dialogue, and Vorador is depicted in a stained glass image.[SR1-C6][SR1-C4][12]

Story synopsisEdit

CondemnedEdit

"Redeem yourself. Or if you prefer, avenge yourself. Settle your dispute with Kain. Destroy Him and your brethren. Free their souls and let the wheel of fate churn again. Use your hatred to reave their souls... I can make it possible. Become my soul reaver, my angel of death..."
―The Elder God
SR1-Intro-148

Kain rends the wings from Raziel's back.

SR1-Intro-208

Raziel plummets into the Lake of the Dead.

SR1-Intro-382

The Elder God addresses Raziel in the Abyss.

The game's prologue takes place 1500 years after the events of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, and immediately after the events of the promotional Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver comic.[SR2][SR1-Comic] Raziel narrates, explaining that Kain has been deified in Nosgoth since his fateful refusal at the Pillars, and that few know the truth: that "he was mortal once", but his "contempt for humanity drove him to create" Raziel and his brethren. Raziel was the first-born of Kain's lieutenants, and has served him for a millennium.[SR1-C1] With the passing of time, Kain and his descendants physically evolved: they would periodically "enter the state of change and emerge with a new gift", becoming less human and more "divine". Always, Kain would evolve first, with his descendants following after, but never surpassing him.[SR1-C1][18][19]

The vampire Raziel arrives at the Pillars of Nosgoth in the Sanctuary of the Clans to attend a gathering with his five brethren and Kain. He approaches Kain's throne and bows before it in supplication, but extends newly-fledged wings - his latest evolutionary development - signifying that he has surpassed Kain, and has therefore committed the "ultimate blasphemy".[SR1-C1][19] Kain reacts with surprise, and begins to examine the wings; in an act of "seemingly egotistical sadism", he suddenly tears the bones from Raziel's shoulders, to the shock of the other lieutenants.[SR1-C1] On Kain's command, the wounded Raziel is borne to the Lake of the Dead, a large whirlpool and execution ground, where Kain orders Turel and Dumah to "cast him in". The Lake's water burns Raziel's vampiric flesh like acid, destroying his body.[SR1-C1][20]

After enduring "relentless agony" for 500 years, Raziel's torment finally recedes, and he awakens in the Abyss, now a creature of the Spectral Realm: a devourer of souls.[SR1-C1][4] The Elder God addresses him, having resurrected him to become his "soul reaver" and kill Kain, thus restoring Nosgoth. Though repulsed by the "pitiful form" he now inhabits, Raziel listens as the Elder describes the Wheel of Fate, Nosgoth's imbalance and the plague of the vampires. Tempted by the opportunity to avenge himself, he silently consents to pursuing this quest for vengeance. With the Elder God's guidance, Raziel adapts to this new existence, being tutored about warp gates, soul devouring, Sluagh, and gliding with the use of his ruined wings, and leaves the Underworld.[1][SR1-C1]

The Soul ReaverEdit

"From this moment and ever afterward, you and this blade are inextricably bound. Soul Reaver and reaver of souls, your destinies are intertwined."
―The Elder God
SR1-TempImage-MainArticle-1

Raziel returns to the Material Realm.

SR1-TempImage-MainArticle-2

Melchiah attacks Raziel in the Necropolis.

SR1-Cutscene-Chapter-4-B-KainDefeat-025

Raziel discovers the Wraith Blade.

Raziel finds a planar portal and shifts back into the Material Realm, but learns that Nosgoth has changed significantly for the worse since his execution.[SR1-C1] The Dumahim, Dumah's vampire clan and descendants, have malformed into "foul, scuttling beasts", and the Sanctuary of the Clans lies crumbling in ruin; Nosgoth's "unraveling" has "nearly played out".[SR1-C1][SR1-C2] Returning to the Lake of the Dead, Raziel is able to determine the direction of his own clan territory, but finds it utterly desolate when he arrives; his vampire clan has ostensibly been eradicated by Kain, futher fuelling his rage against his former master.[SR1-C2] Infiltrating a Necropolis inhabited by the Melchahim vampires, Raziel finds his brother Melchiah, who has devolved into a beast unable to sustain his own flesh.[SR1-C2][SR1-C3]

After Raziel kills Melchiah and absorbs his soul, thus obtaining the ability to phase through gates, he confronts Kain at the ruined Pillars of Nosgoth in the Sanctuary of the Clans.[SR1-C4][SR1-C3] Incredibly, Kain is not surprised to see Raziel, apparently having even been expecting him, and implies that he has indeed destroyed Raziel's clan, which only enrages Raziel even further. When Raziel begins to criticize him, Kain simply launches a tirade against him before noting what has become of the empire and engaging him in combat. Kain quickly overpowers Raziel and attempts to strike him down with the Soul Reaver, a powerful sword that "[thrives] by devouring the souls of its enemies"; however, the Reaver shatters when it strikes Raziel, and Kain escapes, strangely satisfied.[SR1-C4]

Raziel enters the Spectral Realm to find that the soul-devouring entity trapped within the Reaver - the Wraith Blade - has been freed. As he touches it, it "inextricably" binds itself to him, becoming his symbiotic weapon. After this, Raziel meets Ariel, who restores his strength, and offers to guide him in the future.[SR1-C4] Raziel ventures into the Silenced Cathedral, once inhabited by the humans, and fights the Zephonim clan and their vampire worshippers. After ascending into the cathedral's spires, he finds that Zephon is now a large arachnid or insect-type creature, whose body has merged into the enclave in which he dwells. Raziel kills Zephon, and thus receives the power to scale walls.[SR1-C5]

The Tomb of the SarafanEdit

"Take heed, Raziel. A forgotten history lies within. Know thyself - though it may destroy you..."
―The Elder God
SR1-TempImage-MainArticle-3

Zephon threatens Raziel, having become a grotesque insect-like monster.

SR1-TempImage-MainArticle-4

Raziel finds the truth of his past in the Tomb of the Sarafan.

SR1-TempImage-MainArticle-5

Rahab and Raziel battle in the Drowned Abbey.

Using the powers he has gained, Raziel discovers and infiltrates the Tomb of the Sarafan, an ancient crypt where the leaders of the Sarafan (a fanatical brotherhood of vampire hunters, killed centuries before Kain's birth) were entombed.[SR1-C6][BO1-C5][BO1-C6] To Raziel's horror, he finds that the crypt was designated for him and his brothers; as cruel irony, Kain revived the Sarafan to serve him as his vampire sons.[SR1-C6] They were "too long dead" to remember their Sarafan roots when resurrected, and remained completely ignorant of their heritage.[3] Raziel ventures through a secret passage under the crypt, where he is accosted by the Tomb Guardian, a Turelim vampire. He kills the attacker, and finds a relic which grants him the ability to wield telekinetic force projectiles.[SR1-C6]

In a Drowned Abbey inhabited by the Rahabim clan, Raziel learns that Rahab's children have overcome their vampiric vulnerability to water, and mutated into amphibians - Rahab himself has become a merman-like being. Raziel tells Rahab what he has learned about their human pasts, but Rahab is unmoved, claiming that Kain "saved" them "from themselves", and attacks. By blasting windows in Rahab's lair, Raziel exposes his brother to sunlight, killing him, and devours his soul, thus gaining the ability to swim.[SR1-C7] He then crosses the Lake of the Dead to the abandoned fortress of his brother, Dumah.[SR1-C8]

The Ruined City is strewn with Dumahim corpses, and Raziel realizes that Dumah must have been killed. He suspects that Kain was responsible, but the Elder God corrects him, explaining that the Dumahim were overcome by a vampire hunter ambush. Exploring the city, Raziel eventually finds Dumah shackled to his throne, his heart pierced by stakes. Raziel revives Dumah, who thanks him, but Raziel refutes this gratitude, still aggreived that Dumah unquestioningly threw him into the Abyss. He lures Dumah into a giant furnace, burning him alive, and devours his soul, obtaining the ability to constrict foes and manipulate switches with bands of energy.[SR1-C8]

VengeanceEdit

"At last.
I must say I'm disappointed in your progress. I imagined you would be here sooner.
Tell me - did it trouble you to murder your brothers?
"
―Kain
SR1-TempImage-MainArticle-6

Dumah thanks Raziel, who refuses to entertain this gesture.

SR1-TempImage-MainArticle-7

Raziel confronts Kain in the Chronoplast, who justifies his actions.

SR1-TempImage-MainArticle-8

As the ether settles, Moebius greets Raziel, and the story ends.

East of the Ruined City, Raziel discovers the Oracle's Cave, a cavern where Moebius the Time Streamer once hid the Chronoplast, a time machine. Finding a statue of Moebius, Raziel reflects that "even this cold image radiated a certain undeniable power", and continues through the subterranean network. In the depths of the labyrinth, he finds a series of portals which display scenes of past, and, apparently, future events. As he passes each one, Raziel becomes increasingly incredulous, believing that they are deceptions laid there by Kain to trick or manipulate him. The visions imply that the events he has experienced have all been predestined, as - it seems - have those yet to come.[SR1-C9]

Raziel finds Kain awaiting him in the Chronoplast's control room; Kain chides him, having hoped Raziel would "be here sooner". Raziel is infuriated over what he has learned on his journey, and bitterly condemns Kain for his crimes, but Kain argues that all of his actions have been justified, partially due to his being subject to destiny. He reveals that he is aware of the future, and hints that the Sarafan were not as altruistic as Raziel believes - that Raziel may have uncovered his past, but knows nothing of it, and that "those whose passion transcends all notions of good and evil" made for perfect servants.[SR1-C10]

Raziel refuses to listen, and repeatedly attacks his former master while Kain continues to adjust the Chronoplast's controls. Although Raziel eventually gains an advantage, the Chronoplast activates, and Kain escapes through a time portal; he assures Raziel that "fate promises more twists before this drama unfolds completely", beckoning Raziel to follow. Raziel complies, and pursues Kain, ignoring warnings from the Elder God. As the game ends, Raziel emerges from the time-stream and is greeted by Moebius himself. The story ends with a postscript, a verse where Moebius comments on the nature of time and his ability to "plunge the fate of planets into chaos", leading directly into the events of Soul Reaver 2.[SR1-C10]

"But this is not where - or how - it ends. Fate promises more twists before this drama unfolds completely."
―Kain

GameplayEdit

OverviewEdit

"You are lost in a maze of moral relativism, Kain.
These apparitions and portents... what game are you playing now?
"
―Raziel
SR1-Gameplay-MainMenu-Normal

The main menu, featuring symbolic representations of Kain and his sons.

SR1-Gameplay-RingMenu

The ring menu, displaying Raziel's glyphs and eldritch energy counter.

SR1-Gameplay-PlanarPortal

A planar portal, enabling Raziel to shift between realms.

SR1-Gameplay-Combat

Raziel in combat with two Dumahim vampires.

Like the rest of the Legacy of Kain series, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver falls into the action-adventure genre, but with less emphasis on the role-playing game elements which were pronounced in the original game. The playable protagonist is Raziel, a disfigured and ghostly "ex-vampire".[SR1][5] The game is normally shown from a third-person perspective behind Raziel, but players can rotate the viewpoint around him by using the control pad. Gameplay relies largely on shifting between the Material and Spectral planes of existence to progress through areas. Although interaction with objects is limited in the Spectral Realm, this can be advantageous, because Raziel can easily traverse water and phase through otherwise impassable gates there. However, blocks, doors, and switches can be manipulated only in the physical world. Many puzzles are based on the differences between the two realms; for example, platforms and environment features in one realm may change form to open new paths in the other. Block puzzles are also common and require the rotation, flipping, and moving of large blocks to progress, often with a time limit and while avoiding enemies.[SR1][18]

Combat in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver consists of a hack-and-slash system, entailing the use of combinations of various different attacks before delivering a finishing move. Raziel's enemies are grouped into humans, Spectral creatures, and most commonly, vampires. Human enemies include villagers, vampire hunters and vampire worshippers. In the Spectral Realm, players fight minor enemies called Sluagh, and the souls of dead vampires who have become wraiths. Each brood of vampire enemies has unique powers reminiscent of their clan leader. Humans and Spectral enemies can be killed with Raziel's claws or any weapon, but vampires must be bludgeoned into a stunned state and then destroyed by impaling them, lighting them on fire, throwing them into a hazard such as sunlight or water, or destroying them with the Soul Reaver. When killed, enemies leave behind souls that replenish Raziel's health coil, which - over time - automatically depletes in the Material Realm and increases in the Spectral. Possession of the Soul Reaver sword stops automatic degeneration of health in the physical world, but Raziel loses the sword instantly if he sustains damage and can regain it only by restoring his health. After obtaining the Reaver, Raziel always possesses it in the spirit world.[SR1][18]

At first, Raziel can jump, glide using his torn wings, move blocks, and pick up and throw enemies. Initially unarmed, he fights using his claws, but can alternatively use weapons such as boulders, torches, spears and staffs, and the Soul Reaver. Raziel can freely shift to the Spectral Realm, but can return to the Material Realm only through special planar portals when at full health. Raziel automatically shifts to the Spectral Realm if he runs out of health, and, if he runs out of health in the Spectral Realm, is banished back to the Underworld area. As the game progresses, Raziel becomes able to phase through gates in the Spectral Realm and climb walls in the Material Realm. Initially vulnerable to water, he overcomes this weakness and learns to swim. Players can find an ancient relic that gives Raziel the power to fire bolts of telekinetic energy, which cause little damage by themselves but can knock enemies into hazards and push objects from a distance. Baptism in holy flame can transform the Soul Reaver into the Fire Reaver, which can set enemies aflame and adds fire to Raziel's telekinetic bolts. Players can also find magical glyphs that allow Raziel to find and expend eldritch energy to attack groups of enemies simultaneously.[SR1][18]

The Spectral and Material RealmsEdit

SR1-Gameplay-Realms

Comparison between the Material and Spectral Realms.

Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver's shifting mechanics are fundamental to gameplay and puzzle-solving. The Material Realm is Nosgoth's corporeal world, where the living dwell, whereas the Spectral Realm is its afterlife, a mirror plane haunted by spirits and the souls of the dead.[18][21]

Raziel begins the game with the Shift Glyph, an ability accessible at any time from his ring (inventory) menu, and can freely cast this to shift from Material to Spectral. Alternatively, if his health coil is depleted, Raziel will automatically shift back to Spectral. In the Spectral Realm, he must possess a full health coil and be standing on a planar portal before the Shift Glyph becomes active.[SR1] The major differences between both planes are described as follows:

  • "The Spectral Realm is a darker, more twisted version of the Material Realm. As Raziel passes from one plane to the other, the world warps around him, distorting and reshaping itself. This terrain distortion may open a path in one plane which is otherwise impassable on the other."[18][21]
  • "Some of Raziel's mechanics are only effective on one plane or the other. In general, physical actions that require interaction with objects or terrain are only functional in the Material Realm."[18][21]
  • "Different creatures inhabit the Material and Spectral Realms. But some creatures are able to shift planes to pursue Raziel."[18][21]
  • "In the Spectral Realm, time is irrelevant. While Raziel is in the Spectral Plane, time stops in the Material Realm."[18][21]
  • "While in the Material Plane, Raziel constantly burns spirit energy in order to maintain his physical form. To sustain his existence in the Material Realm, Raziel must feed on the souls of his enemies to replenish his spirit-energy. If Raziel becomes too damaged or fails to feed, he will automatically be shunted back into the Spectral Realm."[18][21]
  • "In the Spectral Plane, Raziel's spirit energy gradually recovers. He can accelerate his recovery by devouring the lost souls wandering the Spectral Realm, and consuming the souls of his spectral enemies."[18][21]

Blocks, doors, switches and implements can only be manipulated in the Material world; in the Spectral Realm they are nothing more than insubstantial "shadows", completely immobile and non-interactive.[SR1-C1][SR1] Raziel's claws and the Soul Reaver are the only objects he can use in both realms; when traveling to the Spectral Realm, he will automatically drop anything else that he is carrying, and any offensive glyphs he has collected become unusable.[SR1][18]

If a vampire enemy is killed in the Material Realm and Raziel fails to devour its soul, a corresponding vampire wraith will appear in the Spectral Realm of that area. If the vampire was killed by impalement, Raziel can remove the spear or staff from its body in the Material Realm, and it will return to life as a revived vampire, with some additional powers.[SR1][18]

LocationsEdit

"My arrival in this miserable age... What trickery is this?"
―Raziel
SR1-Promotional-RazielOnRock

Promotional image of Raziel overlooking Nosgoth from a cliff.

SR1-Environment-FloodedArea

Concept art of an unidentified flooded area by Freddie Lee.

SR1-Environment-LakeWithPlatforms

Sketch of an unidentified lake area with platforms by Freddie Lee.

SR1-Environment-NupraptorRetreat

Concept drawing of Nupraptor's Retreat by Stephen Trusty.

SR1-Environment-SanctuaryOfTheClans

A prototypical image of the Sanctuary of the Clans by Freddie Lee.

SR1-Environment-SilencedCathedral

Concept art of the Silenced Cathedral by Stephen Trusty.

Although Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver covers a smaller span of Nosgoth than Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, it still retains an expansive playable world with sidequests and many optional areas to explore.[SR1][22] The game employs a partially non-linear, free-roaming system inspired by The Legend of Zelda; Raziel can travel anywhere at will and backtrack to any point in the game, provided that he possesses the necessary abilities to progress, but is required to defeat bosses and trigger main storyline events in a set sequence.[SR1][23]

  • The Underworld lies beneath the raging maelstrom of the Lake of the Dead (which first appeared in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain) and the Abyss within, and is the starting point of Raziel's adventure.[SR1-C1][BO1-C6][24] It exists exclusively in the Spectral Realm, and is home to the Elder God, who dispenses advice to Raziel if his guidance is solicited.[25] When Raziel returns to the surface, he encounters the Lake from above, which acts as a familiar landmark and crossroads of sorts. From this hub, he can access several areas, but falling into the Lake again in either realm will result in his being banished back to the Elder's subterranean chamber.[SR1-C2]
  • Raziel's clan territory, just west of the Lake of the Dead, was once the fortress home of Raziel and his clan, but, by the time of his revival, only hostile vampires and tattered banners remain in the city.[SR1-C2] Assaulted by packs of Dumahim, Raziel must overcome these foes before he can progress west, but a return journey later in the game will yield access to the Fire Glyph altar through an underwater chamber.[SR1-C2][SR1-C8]
  • The Necropolis, to the far northwest, is the territory of Melchiah and his clan, the Melchahim.[SR1-C3][22][24] Effectively a mass graveyard, it is a predominantly open area, consisting of charnel houses, and a subterranean chamber housing a giant grinder which is used to kill Melchiah. The Force Glyph altar is found within its lake.[SR1-C4] Later in the game, Raziel can optionally progress to its farthest northern reaches and discover Nupraptor's Retreat (a returning landmark from Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain), which has been partially destroyed since the Blood Omen era. It leads to the Stone Glyph altar.[BO1-C3][SR1-C6][22]
  • The Sanctuary of the Clans is the heart of Kain's empire, housing the Pillars of Nosgoth. Architecturally resembling a mosque, it was once magnificent, but now collapses into ruin and decay.[SR1-C2][26] It is accessible only after obtaining the phase through gates ability.[SR1-C4] After fighting Kain for the first time here, Raziel can always return to the Pillars to safely replenish his strength, and receive enigmatic clues from the specter of Ariel as to where he should go next.[SR1-C5][25]
  • The towering Silenced Cathedral, to the east, is a huge spire ruled over by the Zephonim, and vampire-worshipping humans.[SR1-C5][22] Accessed with the Soul Reaver, it was designed by Nosgoth's humans to blast a deadly hymn across the land - tuned to eradicate every living vampire - but was seized by Zephon before this goal could be realized.[SR1-C5][25] Characterized by block puzzles and piping-related tasks, it is also home to the optional Sound Glyph altar.[SR1-C7] An even larger role was intended for this area before the game was redesigned to accommodate development time constraints.[27][28][29]
  • The southwestern Tomb of the Sarafan was once "impenetrably sealed", but Nosgoth's upheavals have exposed it to exploration.[SR1-C6][22] When he obtains the capacity to scale walls, Raziel travels here, and rediscovers his terrible heritage as a former member of the Sarafan brotherhood. Beneath the main crypt lurks the Tomb Guardian, and a relic which gives Raziel the ability to wield telekinetic force projectiles.[SR1-C6]
  • The Drowned Abbey is situated in western Nosgoth, and, as its name implies, is a flooded area which was constructed by humans, but is now home to Rahab and his clan. Before Raziel obtains the ability to swim, it is one of the most perilous zones in the game, and he is forced to traverse many narrow ledges and columns to avoid slipping into the lakes below. Upon killing Rahab, he can immediately access the adjacent Fire Forge, where he can baptize the Soul Reaver in elemental flame.[SR1-C8][24]
  • Dumah's mountain stronghold has been reduced to a Ruined City in Nosgoth's northern wastes, ransacked by a vampire hunter ambush. Strewn with falling ash or snow, it is home to little more than corpses and dormant, yet advanced, mechanisms, including an enormous furnace which Raziel makes use of to burn Dumah alive.[SR1-C8][24][30]
  • The northeast Oracle's Cave (returning from Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain) and Chronoplast comprise the final level of the game, an "inverted clockwork" accessible with the constrict ability, and culminating in the last battle with Kain.[SR1-C9][SR1-C10][BO1-C5][22][25] Originally the lair of Moebius the Time Streamer, these arctic caverns - though populated only by the Turelim in the Soul Reaver era - still contain much of Moebius's still-active time-streaming apparatus. After descending into the Chronoplast area, Raziel is faced with several trials which demand the use of all of his abilities before confronting Kain in the final chamber.[SR1-C9][SR1-C10]
  • The northern Human Citadel is one of the last bastions of free humanity in Nosgoth, a sprawling city engineered with deep moats and towering walls to keep the vampire plague at bay.[22][25] Crystal Dynamics intended for it to play a larger, mandatory role in the storyline, but in the final game is only an optional area, inhabited by human villagers, vampire hunters and some Rahabim.[SR1][27][31] After learning to swim, if Raziel has avoided killing humans, he will be welcomed by the human population, but otherwise will find it necessary to fight in order to access the Water Glyph altar within.[SR1-C8]
  • The Lighthouse area, guarded by the Turelim, is a large, partially-flooded outdoor valley in the southeast, dominated by a large, inoperable lighthouse and other industrial machines.[SR1-C8][22] It was one of the earliest areas built for the game by Crystal Dynamics, and featured as the setpiece for the first, widely-distributed public demo version of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, but in the full retail game it is a completely optional level, serving as the place where Raziel can choose to obtain the Sunlight Glyph after he learns to swim.[SR1-C8][32] This is accomplished by solving a complex puzzle to reactivate the lighthouse's beam, then "freezing" the beam on the appropriate target by shifting to the Spectral Realm.[SR1-C8]

Unlike subsequent games, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver does not employ a traditional checkpoint system, nor is there a "game over" screen as in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain.[SR2][SR1][BO1][DEF][BO2] When the player loads a saved game, or if Raziel is killed in the Spectral Realm, all variables in Nosgoth (such as abilities earned, enemies and bosses defeated, positions of objects) remain constant, but gameplay always resumes in the Underworld, where the story begins.[SR1] Raziel is able to quickly return to areas of interest and resume his progress by using warp gates scattered throughout Nosgoth, which become permanently activated when the player first visits them. There are fourteen warp gate rooms in the game, identified by distinctive symbols and representing most major areas. The Underworld warp gate is located next to the game's first room, allowing for relatively quick travel.[SR1][33]

Items, equipment and power-upsEdit

"Unfettered from the flesh, a creature’s soul fades swiftly into the spectral realm. Draw it in quickly, Raziel, or you will be compelled to follow."
―The Elder God
SR1-Promotional-RazielImpale

Promotional image of Raziel impaling a Melchahim vampire.

SR1-Promotional-RazTorch1

Promotional render of Raziel using a torch against an enemy.

Raziel maintains his health by consuming souls, which manifest as glowing green orbs of energy. In the Material Realm, these are released whenever Raziel slays an enemy, but will quickly disappear if he fails to feed on them within a few moments. Souls abundantly roam the Spectral Realm, and it is not usually necessary to kill enemies to restore his health in that plane. While in close proximity to one or more souls, he must perform a special move to draw them into his body; while doing so, he is susceptible to attack, so the player should usually ensure he is in a safe place or has cleared the area of enemies first.[SR1][18]

If Raziel obtains a Glyph, eldritch energy will also begin to appear in Nosgoth. This energy manifests in the form of blue, flame-like sparks, and can appear in lesser or greater quantities (represented by size). Points of eldritch energy are expended whenever Raziel uses a Glyph (the cost is proportional to the strength of the Glyph). They can be recovered when Raziel comes into contact with loose points of energy, found in set locations, or occasionally left behind when he destroys an enemy.[SR1][18]

  • Raziel can find a total of 15 health power-ups throughout Nosgoth, which shimmer and are golden in color, and look like fragments of a circle or a disc with a distinctive texture. They are hidden in set locations, and collecting five will permanently increase the capacity of Raziel's health coil in the Material Realm. Abilities earned by killing Raziel's fellow clan leaders are necessary to reach them, and considerable backtracking is required to obtain them all.[SR1][18][34]
  • Also available are a total of 5 eldritch energy power-ups, similarly scattered throughout the land in secret areas, and resembling diamonds flaring with blue energy and bearing an eye sigil. Raziel's eldritch energy capacity increases whenever he obtains a new Glyph, but these power-ups each increase it even further, to a maximum reserve of 52 points.[SR1][18][35]

The Pillars of Nosgoth also house special "pads" which will immediately restore Raziel's health and eldritch energy reserves when he steps on them.[SR1-C5]

Abandoning the inventory system of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver does not feature any retained weapons or armor besides Raziel's claws and the Soul Reaver itself. Instead, environmental hazards and transient weapons are used to overcome enemies.[SR1][BO1]

  • Raziel begins the game with his claws, and can attack with them in either the Material or Spectral Realms. They can stun, but can never kill, vampires.[SR1]
  • Staves (also described as two-handed staff weapons) are the most common weapons in the Material Realm.[SR1][18] They deal more damage than Raziel's bare claws, and enable him to execute finishing moves against vampires; this can be achieved either by stunning them at close quarters and delivering impalement, or by throwing them at the vampire and hitting their chest. They can be retrieved from enemy corpses and utilized repeatedly. Most of the game's major areas feature staves unique to that location, ranging from railings and spears to staffs and pipes, but these differences are aesthetic only; they all have exactly the same functions and attributes in combat.[SR1]
  • Projectile weapons (or two-handed blunt weapons) include boulders, urns and Zephon's eggs.[SR1][18] They are not durable; they simply shatter on collision with a target, and they can only stun common vampires, never killing them. If, after Raziel gains the ability to swim, he is carrying a projectile weapon and dives underwater, he will be able to walk on the lakebed and cast any of his glyphs as long as he holds it, but this special feature is largely a curiosity and does not figure into any of the game's puzzles.[SR1] Zephon's eggs are flammable, and are required to kill him.[SR1-C5]
  • Torches are also frequently discovered, and are necessary to complete certain puzzles. When ignited, they are deadly, capable of burning enemies to death at close quarters or if thrown accurately, and vampires killed in this fashion cannot be revived. If Raziel performs a finishing move on an enemy, or if he is submerged in water, the flame is extinguished. However, he can always re-ignite a doused torch by passing it through any interactive fire source (such as lit campfires or braziers). Extinguished torches will still deal damage if wielded in melee, but cannot kill vampires, and are ineffective when thrown.[SR1][18]
  • The Wraith Blade of the Soul Reaver is perhaps the most significant of Raziel's weapons. It is also the only weapon, aside from his claws, which he can wield in both realms. After he obtains it after fighting Kain in the Sanctuary of the Clans, it becomes part of him, and can never be permanently lost.[SR1][SR1-C4][18] When he is at full health in the Material Realm, the Soul Reaver will be visible, and it prevents his health coil from decreasing. However, if he sustains damage, it will be lost until he consumes souls and returns to full health. In the Spectral Realm, Raziel always possesses the blade, irrespective of his health level.[SR1][18] The Reaver is necessary to open some locked doors in Nosgoth, and is the only weapon effectual against Kain in the game's final battle.[SR1][SR1-C10]
    • After learning to swim, Raziel can optionally obtain the Fire Reaver in a chamber near the Drowned Abbey.[SR1-C8] This enhancement is unique to the Material Realm. Once he baptizes the blade in primordial flame, it can be re-ignited at any interactive fire source in Material. It is extinguished if he sustains any damage, is immersed in water or shifts to Spectral, but is the most lethal weapon Raziel can obtain; while it is active, a few blows are all it takes to ignite and kill any enemy from close range, and Reaver bolts also immolate foes.[SR1][18]

AbilitiesEdit

"Even the strongest vampire is vulnerable."
―Raziel
SR1-Promotional-RazielStanding

Promotional image of Raziel wielding a telekinetic force projectile.

Initially, Raziel is capable of melee combat, devouring souls, jumping and gliding (but not flying) with the use of his ruined wings, crouching to perform high jumps and avoid falling in precarious areas, sneaking to avoid enemies, and using the Shift Glyph to shift between the Spectral and Material Realms.[SR1][18] As he defeats each boss, he obtains a new power:

  • Phase through gates is Melchiah's unique gift, enabling him to will himself through doors, gates and barriers which consist of railings (but not fully-solid gateways). When Raziel consumes Melchiah's soul, he is able to perform this ability, but only in the Spectral Realm. Running against any wall will impel Raziel to press up against it and try this move; if he is in Spectral and it is a valid gate with railings, he will force himself through.[SR1][SR1-C4][18]
  • Scale walls is an ability characteristic of Zephonim vampires, who can climb vertical surfaces. After killing Zephon, Raziel can climb certain walls with "worn" textures, but if he is attacked while climbing, he will lose his grip. In the Spectral Realm, these "insubstantial edifices" cannot be scaled.[SR1-C6][SR1][18]
  • The power to fire telekinetic force projectiles and Reaver bolts is granted when Raziel finds the telekinetic force projectile artifact, immediately after killing the Tomb Guardian. Projectiles can be fired from a distance in either realm, and will damage and knock back enemies (into hazards, if sufficiently accurate). They are also necessary to smash obstacles, and can move heavy blocks. Humans and Spectral foes can be severely damaged by projectiles, but vampires will only be stunned, unless Raziel has the Fire Reaver, in which case his Reaver bolts will lethally set them alight.[SR1][18][SR1-C7]
  • Whereas previously his physical body would be destroyed upon coming into contact with water, swimming renders Raziel immune to this vulnerability. In the Material Realm, he can swim freely, but in the Spectral Realm the ability has no effect; water still universally retains "neither heft nor lift".[SR1][18][SR1-C8]
  • Constrict is the final ability Raziel earns, received by killing Dumah. By running in circles around certain switches (such as the sundial outside the Oracle's Cave) in the Material Realm, Raziel will release a trail of energy, which turns the object when the trail forms a complete circle. Enemies could also be constricted, dealing damage (non-lethal to enemies in itself, except for humans).[SR1][18][SR1-C9]

At the Glyph altars throughout Nosgoth, Raziel can also obtain other Glyph spells - offensive magic which he can cast in the Material Realm, provided he has enough eldritch energy:

  • The Force Glyph (costs 1 point of eldritch energy), obtained near the Necropolis, simply throws enemies backward with waves of telekinetic force. Depending on what they impact against, flung enemies may end up damaged or destroyed.[SR1][18][36]
  • The Stone Glyph (costs 2 points), obtained near Nupraptor's Retreat, creates a localized earthquake which temporarily petrifies enemies. Raziel can strike them with the Soul Reaver to destroy them, but otherwise, they will soon recover.[SR1][18][36]
  • The Sound Glyph (costs 4 points), obtained in the Silenced Cathedral, is effective only when used against vampires - humans are not harmed by it, nor is it treated as an offensive action to use it around them. Waves of sound emanate from Raziel, injuring and stunning vampires within range.[SR1][18][36]
  • The Water Glyph (costs 6 points), obtained in the Human Citadel, is also ineffecive against humans, and also against Rahabim. Other vampires within reach are burned and temporarily stunned by ripples of water. The spell's range is wider than that of the Sound Glyph.[SR1][18][36]
  • The Fire Glyph (costs 8 points), obtained near Raziel's clan territory, immolates all common Material enemies. Rings of fire expand from Raziel's body, fatally burning any humans and vampires within his proximity.[SR1][18][36]
  • The Sunlight Glyph (costs 10 points), obtained at the Lighthouse, is devastating to vampires, but useless (and treated passively) against humans. Gathering sunlight into his body, Raziel disperses power in a blinding flash that chars all nearby vampires to cinders, releasing their souls.[SR1][18][36]

EnemiesEdit

"Am I reduced to this? A ghoul? A fratricide?"
―Raziel
SR1-Enemy-MelchahimConceptA

Concept art of the Melchahim by Arnold Ayala.

SR1-Enemy-VampireHunter-ThreeFaces

Conceptual variations of the vampire hunters by Arnold Ayala.

SR1-Character-Rahab-Ayala-Aluka011

Artwork of Rahab, the third brother Raziel faces, by Arnold Ayala.

Raziel's enemies can be grouped into four families: vampires, humans, Spectral creatures, and bosses. Each can be further sub-divided into individual enemy types.

Vampires in the Soul Reaver era are formidable and common foes. Each of the five clans possesses unique traits and abilities, and fledgling vampires are less durable than their adult counterparts - adults are immune to rays of sunlight, and are stronger overall. All vampires, young and old, can be killed by "wounds that impale, or inflame", and most are vulnerable to immersion in water, which "scorches like acid". The Rahabim are unharmed by water, but both their fledglings and adults alike are susceptible to death from sunlight.[SR1][18]

If Raziel fails to devour a vampire's soul, a corresponding vampire wraith will appear in the Spectral Realm to haunt that area. If he removes the stave from an impaled vampire's corpse, it will usually return to life as a revived vampire. These creatures are stronger than usual, and can be identified by blue sparks surrounding their bodies. They possess a new ability: if they strike Raziel, they will begin to visibly drain away his soul energy, unless Raziel breaks the link by attacking them or retreating.[SR1][18][37]

  • The Dumahim (fledglings and adults) are the children of Dumah. They are the most frequently-encountered vampires in Nosgoth, inhabiting many open areas, and are the first vampire enemies that Raziel meets. They do not possess any unique ability.[SR1][18][38]
  • Melchahim vampires (fledglings and adults), the descendants of Melchiah, are found in the Necropolis and Nupraptor's Retreat. Although relatively weak, they can burrow underground to ambush Raziel and travel at high speed.[SR1][18][39]
  • The Zephonim (fledglings and adults) are Zephon's offspring, capable of scaling walls and ambushing Raziel from above. They are extremely agile, and seemingly the most insular of Nosgoth's vampires, found only in the Silenced Cathedral.[SR1][18][40]
  • Rahabim (fledglings and adults) are the descendants of Rahab. Found in the Drowned Abbey and the Human Citadel, they are the only vampires who can swim, and can fire projectiles at Raziel which deal damage.[SR1][18][41]
  • The Turelim (fledglings and adults) are the children of Turel. They guard the Lighthouse and the Oracle's Cave, and are among the strongest foes Raziel faces, wielding telekinetic force projectiles against him.[SR1][18][42] The Tomb Guardian, a minor boss, is a revived adult Turelim.[SR1][43]

There are three classes of humans in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver.[SR1][18] When Raziel first encounters vampire hunters, they will attack him, but if he avoids harming them and any villagers, they will see him as an avenging angel and become non-combative.[SR1-C3] Raziel can "sip" at these humans' souls to replenish his strength, but if he goes too far, they will die. Devouring a human's soul completely, or any other act of aggression against either hunters or villagers, will provoke permanent hostility from both classes.[SR1][18]

  • Vampire hunters (wielding crossbows and flamethrowers) represent the warrior class of Nosgoth's surviving humans, and are found in the Necropolis and the Silenced Cathedral, but are most commonly encountered in the Human Citadel.[SR1][18]
  • Villagers inhabit the Human Citadel, and do not attack Raziel, but will flee from him in terror if he proves to be their enemy. They are extremely weak, and susceptible to almost all weapons at his disposal.[SR1][18]
  • Vampire worshippers (novitiates and adepts) dwell exclusively in the Silenced Cathedral. They are hostile towards Raziel regardless of how he treats other humans, and Raziel can freely attack them without jeopardizing his reputation among the hunters and villagers. Adepts throw knives to defend themselves, whereas novitiates carry staffs.[SR1][18]

Some enemies exist only in the Spectral Realm. These creatures do not possess souls themselves; when Raziel damages them sufficiently, they fade into a transparent state, and he can devour them whole to replenish his health. If he ignores them, however, they will quickly recover.[SR1][18]

  • Sluagh are the "scavengers of the Underworld", feral jackal-like creatures who hunt in packs. They are weak, but numerous, and are found in almost every area in the game. When alone, Sluagh will usually flee from Raziel, but if in groups of two or more, they often fight, and can swiftly overwhelm him.[SR1][18][44]
  • Vampire wraiths are the unfettered spirits of dead vampires. They are far more dangerous than Sluagh, and will always attack Raziel. Capable of flying, they possess the same "soul-devouring tether" of revived vampires; if they strike Raziel, they will continue to drain his energy away unless he fights back or retreats.[SR1][18][37]

Kain and Raziel's brothers - the Clan Leaders - serve as the bosses of the game. They are completely immune to all of Raziel's standard collectible weapons and glyphs, and (with the exception of Kain) are unharmed by his claws and the Soul Reaver. He must instead solve scripted puzzles to destroy them.[SR1]

  • Melchiah can pursue Raziel in both the Spectral and Material Realms, and can phase through barriers to attack him. Raziel must weaken him by slamming two portcullises against his body. After this, once lured into the room's central cage, he will be trapped, and Raziel can unleash the grinder to destroy him.[SR1-C3]
  • Destroying Zephon's limbs or attacking his central egg-sac will force him to produce an egg, which Raziel must then ignite using a nearby flamethrower. Throwing three ignited eggs at Zephon will cause him to burn to death.[SR1-C5]
  • Rahab attacks Raziel with projectiles and a mighty jumping maneuver in an attempt to force him into the lethal waters of his chamber. Raziel must destroy the room's windows with telekinesis to expose him to sunlight and kill him.[SR1-C7]
  • If Raziel approaches his corpse in the Spectral Realm, Dumah will attack him, but only by reviving him can Raziel consume his soul. He must lure Dumah to the Ruined City's furnace and turn it on to immolate his fourth brother.[SR1-C8]

DevelopmentEdit

ProductionEdit

Shifter projectEdit

SR1-Character-Raziel-Ayala-Raziel011

An Arnold Ayala concept image of Raziel for the Shifter project.

SR1-Character-Kain-Ayala-Kain041

An Arnold Ayala artwork of the "master" character, who was re-imagined as Kain.

Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver originated circa February 1997 as a stand-alone project named Shifter, creatively unrelated to Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain and the Nosgoth setting.[5][6][7][45][46] Crystal Dynamics employees Amy Hennig and Seth Carus were credited for devising this original concept.[SR1] With a "very small team", they started prototype work in April 1997, then filled out the crew of developers and began full production in October of that year.[7] According to Silicon Knights' president and Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain director Denis Dyack, "[Raziel] was in a game originally titled Shifter – a game with an angelic theme where you shifted between 2 planes to complete the game".[46] Like the final product, the story outline entailed the main character being cast down by his master and brothers, and returning to exact revenge.[45] As a paper-design document, no production work was done on Shifter before it was transplanted into the mythology of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, though concept artist Arnold Ayala publicised some artwork created for the project.[45][47]

With the successful release of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain in 1996, Silicon Knights intended to continue what they described as the "Blood Omen series", entertaining the notion of fully exploring the character of Vorador.[48] Meanwhile, company executives at Crystal Dynamics, the publishers of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, proposed the idea of a sequel to their in-house team members who had co-developed the first game.[5] Shifter was then re-imagined as a Legacy of Kain title, with the villainous antagonist being merged with the character of Kain, and the protagonist becoming Raziel as he appears in the final game.[45][47] After learning that Crystal Dynamics was attempting to create their own sequel, Silicon Knights filed an injunction against the company to stop them from publicizing the game any further, alleging that Crystal Dynamics "took the concept of Kain 2 from a title that the Canada-based Knights were developing".[49] Later, when asked what had happened, Hennig said "I really can't comment in detail on that. The issue was resolved, with Crystal Dynamics retaining the right to the Kain franchise (for this and any future products)".[7]

Dyack later stated that "Crystal Dynamics definitely took the game in a direction that we would not have taken it. Crystal actually had no idea what we had planned – and it is safe to say it is not what it is currently", and also maintained that "Crystal Dynamics did not have confidence that [Shifter] would do well as an original title so midway through the development cycle they slapped Legacy of Kain title on it, gave Razeal [sic] the Soul Reaver and went on to call it Soul Reaver".[46][50] However, his assessment is largely disputed as mistaken, with evidence more strongly suggesting that Shifter was not even worked on by a full team until it became Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver.[45][46] As of 2012, former Crystal Dynamics artist Daniel Cabuco remains unable to comment at liberty on the details surrounding the stand-alone Shifter concept due to legal issues (as do other Crystal Dynamics personnel, presumably). He has said, though, that "I wouldn't look too deep into Shifter, there really isn't as much there as you think".[51]

As Legacy of Kain: Soul ReaverEdit

SR1-Character-KainRaziel-Ayala-Cover011

Early potential cover art concept by Arnold Ayala.

SR1-Environment-Ayala-room011

Concept art of a "battle room" by Arnold Ayala.

SR1-Environment-Ayala-room051

Cliff-face art by Arnold Ayala.

SR1-Environment-Ayala-room101

Arnold Ayala's drawing of a water tower/reservoir.

The production of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver was handled with a budget of US$8,000,000, and lasted 2.5 years from concept to shelf, with a year and a half period of full development.[5][52] Of the main production and development team who had worked on the original game, seven members were also credited on this sequel - Amy Hennig, Seth Carus, Riley Cooper, Jonathan Miller, Caroline Trujillo, Jim Curry and Steve Papoutsis - with all others acting as new contributors to the Legacy of Kain series.[SR1][BO1] The crew was directed by Hennig, and was "eager to combine the very best action mechanics [from Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain], in the areas of combat, exploration, and puzzle-solving, with storytelling that was deeply integrated into the gameplay".[53] GlyphX Inc. was externally contracted to create high-quality 3D renders and images to promote the game, as well as the introductory cinematic (which was built by two of their artists from start to finish).[SR1][54] On her debut as a storywriter, Hennig later commented, "there was nobody else to write it, you know, and I could kinda put a couple words together... I could try, anyway, and so I just learned on the job and I thought 'well, I'll take a crack at it'".[55]

While Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver was still in development, a secondary Crystal Dynamics team started work on Blood Omen 2, intending to focus more strongly on action and less on puzzle-solving.[53] Although Eidos Interactive acquired Crystal Dynamics midway through development, the transition was "the smoothest [...] you could hope for", and did not affect the team's day-to-day reality.[5] Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver was planned out while its engine was still being developed, creating challenges for design staff.[7] Partially based upon the proprietary one used in Crystal Dynamics' Gex 3, it showcased several revolutionary technical achievements, including real-time environment morphing (shifting), and data-streaming functionality which eliminated the loading pauses prevalent in games of that era, instead seamlessly streaming content from the CD. It leveraged off of technologies developed in previous Crystal Dynamics games, such as 3D Baseball's animation system.[7][56][57] The shifting function was accomplished by storing two vertex values for each geometrical object, allowing the artists to deform areas by hand.[58] Other key technological features which were emphasized comprised high-resolution graphics, a solution to "sorting problems in [character] joints" and "segmented skeleton and joint interpolation", high-polygon entities, software Z-buffering, variable fog levels, strong AI and a transparent UI with "no unwieldy inventory screens to manage" (although Z-buffering was later compromised).[59][60] Some early design proposals which were later revised included "12 bosses" and the ability to "recruit other vampires to the Elder's cause".[59] Texture morphing (alternate textures for objects such as murals in Spectral) was considered, but abandoned due to lack of PlayStation memory and other development priorities.[31][58] At least two beta versions of the game have been publicly leaked since its release, each with major and minor differences.[61]

Originally slated for release in October 1998, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver was infamously delayed several times until its release almost a year later.[59][62] Producer Andrew Bennett, who was put in charge to help finish the project in March 1999, noted that "it was seriously late", and stated he is "widely acknowledged within Eidos as having rescued [it]".[52] Hennig lamented that they had previewed the game to the press too early, which had resulted in premature pressure to set a release date and provide other external and internal reports; this intruded into the team's concentration, and diverted their attention from production tasks.[5] After release, it emerged that a small but significant amount of produced material had been cut to "get the game out, without any further delays". With some reluctance, Hennig had accepted that they "essentially over-designed the game", and the team excised about 4-5 hours worth of gameplay and features from the latter half of the story (roughly "the equivalent of the Silenced Cathedral level"), including multiple bosses, levels, abilities, Soul Reaver enhancements and the originally-intended ending.[13][27][29][63] Daniel Cabuco recalled that "even with that extra time in, we didn't have enough days to finish the game the way it was imagined. There was just too much stuff. [...] One day, we had a come to Jesus moment where we just had to look at the (extremely large) overhead map and just start Xing out areas, powers, and abilities. It was painful and difficult. [...] (It was like killing your baby.. but Game Devs are the only ones who cry over it.. and people who find out about it later LOL). [...] we realized there was a lot of redundancy as well. It takes resources from every department (Character, Environment, Engineering, Audio, FX, UI, Design, and Production) to get a single feature realized, so we made cuts that helped as many departments as possible, and sharpened the overall experience".[12] Despite this necessary re-imagining, the team said that "any minor disappointments are far outweighed by what we've managed to accomplish".[7]

InfluencesEdit

SR1-Wallpaper-NR-18

Wallpaper image representing Kain's dominance over Raziel.

According to senior designer Richard Lemarchand, John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost served as a "jumping-off point" for the team, who felt that the idea of a fallen vampire who becomes an eater of souls would be an intriguing concept.[53] The designers and artists avoided drawing from the popular media when cultivating their inspiration, instead using traditional sources, and familiarizing themselves with contemporary vampire-related stories to ensure they would not "accidentally replicate something that had already been done". Mythology and theology as a whole were major influences, including books by Joseph Campbell, Biblical lore, ancient vampire mythology, Eastern myth, and mysticism. Amy Hennig felt that "the best games (and books, movies, etc.) strike a chord with their audience because there are ancient and familiar themes being replayed in a contemporary context".[5]

In writing the storyline, Hennig focused on a handful of core ideas, "but the main theme revolved around the question of free will in a universe apparently ruled by fate". Both Kain and Raziel were portrayed as Oedipus figures (in a Sophoclean rather than Freudian sense), and Raziel's character arc was based on motifs from Gnosticism, where "the hero's goal is knowledge, enlightenment, and the exposure of the truth".[14] Latent themes from Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain were also expanded upon, involving "issues of trust, manipulation and betrayal; questions about the nature of good and evil; and most important, man's struggle for free will against the immovable forces of fate".[64] Thematically, the works of poet T. S. Eliot and writer James Joyce offered "oblique" direction, and Eliot's Four Quartets helped to drive the story's undercurrents of despair, hope and illumination. The literary style of period plays such as Becket, The Lion in Winter and A Man for All Seasons influenced the game's dialogue.[14]

The world design and visuals of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver were mainly inspired by steampunk, goth culture and the 1995 French film The City of Lost Children.[65][66] Comic book characters Madman, Nightcrawler and Spider-Man contributed to Raziel's design, whereas other vampires were influenced by Frankenstein, sadomasochism, Interview with the Vampire, Hellboy, The Dark Crystal, Yasushi Nirasawa's art, Rankin/Bass' The Hobbit and The Return of the King, and Dracula.[67] Character names were largely derived from the monikers of angels in Biblical mythology, and internal designators for the vampire clans included the Aluka (Rahabim; Aluka is Hebrew for "leech"), the Morlocks (Turelim; Morlocks are the cave-dwelling antagonists of H. G. Wells' 1895 novel The Time Machine, and the Ronins (Dumahim; rōnin were the leaderless Bushi of feudal Japan).[68] The stories of horror author H. P. Lovecraft were also cited as a "key influence" on the project in general.[69]

AudioEdit

SR1-Wallpaper-NR-15

Wallpaper image of Raziel touching down to earth after gliding.

Mark Miller of Crystal Dynamics, who worked on sound support for Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, had become acquainted with Kurt Harland, the lead singer of Information Society. Miller played Ozar Midrashim, a track from Harland's recent album, Don't Be Afraid, to the Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver team.[70] Amy Hennig already "had some fairly well developed ideas regarding the music" the game would need, and liked Harland's style of music and thought the job would be within his stylistic range. Ozar Midrashim became the game's main theme, and Harland was hired to compose the rest of the soundtrack, with adaptive audio programming and support from Jim Hedges.[SR1][23] All sound effects were produced in-house, within Crystal Dynamics' studios. Harland primarily used Voyetra Sequencer Plus Gold to compose the music, and Sonic Foundry's Sound Forge to design sounds. He remarked that, under Hennig's direction, he programmed music to change based on the current gameplay situation.[23] In general, each track had five divisons - ambient (indoors), suspenseful (outdoors), puzzle, danger and combat - plus Spectral Realm variations of each, which proved a "thorn in [his] side".[23][71] The variations were implemented using an in-house Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) driver created by Fred Mack, which replaced the usual Sony-issued driver, and altered music based on signals from the game engine based on location, proximity and game-state.[23]

Extensive scripting was required to ensure that the game interpreted these signals as planned, and Harland and Hedges collaborated to ensure that the compositions would work properly. Hennig also gave input on the feel she desired for each track, offering ideas on each environment and character, providing a lot of architectural drawings and photos, and describing the history and nature of each vampire clan. As such, each clan was given corresponding music; the unused Turel Clan theme was designed to be thick, slow, and thumping in accordance with the mechanically-oriented Turelim, and the Smokestack in which they dwelled.[SR1][23] Harland had always felt that videogame scores could be approached in this less "in-your-face" manner, arguing that "a fully-structured pop song can sound great to listen to once, but become a blood-sucking leech with teeth in your ear after the 47th repetition". He appreciated the opportunity to work on a game in which the music could be quiet, unobtrusive and filled with environmental sounds, liberally using ambient sounds such as rain, birds and screams at the producer's request. Although working with many variations of the same track was "a bit trying technically", he felt that it "was a lot of fun artistically" and "worked out quite well in the end".[23] Music from both Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver and Soul Reaver 2 was released on a promotional soundtrack in 2001.[72]

Kris Zimmerman was recruited as casting director, while Gordon Hunt provided voice direction.[3][SR1] With the exception of Paul Lukather, the entire voice cast of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain returned for this sequel, alongside sole newcomer Michael Bell, who voiced Raziel.[SR1][7] Bell commented that "Soul Reaver is a class act", adding that "a professional director is a luxury, and the project fares better for the input".[3] He attempted to play the game itself, but was unable to get beyond the Underworld area: "I have never been able to get Raz up on the friggin' cliff in the beginning of the game in Legacy of Kain. Poor sucker is still hopping".[73] A different, unidentified actor performed Raziel's voice in a very early trailer, but he was never intended to appear in the final game.[74]

Cut contentEdit

SR1-Promotional-SilencedCath2

A GlyphX model of the Pinnacle of the Silenced Cathedral, a cut location.

SR1-Character-Turel-Ayala-Kain8a1

Concept art of Turel, Raziel's brother and an omitted boss, by Arnold Ayala.

SR1-Enemy-UnusedMonsterA

Arnold Ayala's art of an unused monster enemy concept.

After it became clear during late stages of production that Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver could never be shipped in time under its present design conditions, Crystal Dynamics shaved down their game design plans to meet their deadline, removing additional powers for Raziel, a third and final battle with Kain, and an expanded spell system which would have integrated the Glyphs more tangibly with level design and puzzles, and given elemental powers to the Soul Reaver.[12][13][27][29][63] This decision explains the game's cliffhanger ending, and the appearance of originally planned material in later games. Despite the split, Hennig explained that the team left latent components - such as unused and partially-finished power-ups, areas and sound files - hidden in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver's game data to avoid unforeseen glitches that might have arisen from their removal.[29] Though the excised material was reported by Amy Hennig as encompassing less than a third of the game, it is considered the most well-known of any entry in the Legacy of Kain series, having been widely published after their original discovery through these residual sound files, which described some of the removed content.[13][27][63] Many of the deleted elements have gone on to feature in, or influence, later games.[SR2][DEF][13]

Alongside major removed events, areas and boss encounters, there are also a number of minor gameplay elements that are missing, or were altered.[32][61][75][76] There are several weapons that Raziel cannot wield in the finished game which were usable in earlier versions, as well as a few minor missing rooms.[77][78][79][80] The most wide-reaching removal, aside from excisions concerning the main story, involved the Soul Reaver enhancements.[81] In the finished game, Raziel can only use the standard Reaver and one elemental enhancement - the Fire Reaver.[SR1] Originally, though, he was to have discovered five further Soul Reaver enhancement forges, each one corresponding to the Glyphs in the final game (Sound, Stone, Sunlight and Water).[81] Furthermore, the most powerful Glyph was removed; the Spirit Glyph, and its accompanying Reaver enhancement.[81][82] All of these Reavers would subsequently be imbued by passing them through or striking the element, in the same fashion as the Fire Reaver is re-imbued in-game.[81] There were also two permanent Reaver enhancements, obtained by imbuing the blade with the souls of specific characters - the Ariel and Amplified (Kain) Reavers.[83][84] The Force Glyph did not have an accompanying Reaver.[81]

A number of enemy concepts were also sidelined, including winged vampires, wolf-like vampires and a variety of demon-esque monsters.[85]

Original endingEdit

Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver canonically ends with the sequence in the Chronoplast, as Raziel pursues Kain through a time portal and meets Moebius.[SR1] However, its originally-planned storyline was supposed to continue differently:

  • Rather than escaping through time upon his defeat at the Chronoplast, Kain was to be wounded by Raziel in that encounter, who would gain a "partial victory" and devour a small measure of Kain's soul. This was to bestow upon him the ability to Shift-at-Will; he would no longer require planar portals to shift from the Spectral Realm to the Material. Kain would flee to his Mountain Retreat, and Raziel would pursue.[86][87][88]
  • Directed by the Elder God, Raziel would then travel to the Human Citadel, using his new power to access a hidden, subterranean complex called the Undercity, which was home to a vampire-worshipping cult. Navigating these confines, he was to progress to the nearby Temple, the home of the cult's leader - the Priestess. The ensuing boss battle involved her summoning "monsters" from a high ledge against Raziel, and, reflecting this, Raziel would obtain the Possession ability upon slaying her. This power would enable Raziel to project his soul energy and possess humans and vampires (in a similar vein to the Control Mind spell in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, and the Charm Dark Gift of Blood Omen 2').[31][88][89][90]
  • Raziel would next have entered the Turelim clan territory, the industrial heartland of Kain's empire, which included the Smokestack seen in the opening cinematic. There, he would confront Turel, Kain's second-born son, and his last surviving brother. Presumably making use of water to destroy him, Raziel would devour Turel's soul, which would have gifted him with the Amplified Force Projectile ability - an upgrade of the standard telekinetic force projectile.[88][91][92][93]
  • Next, Raziel would have to travel to Kain's Mountain Retreat; the top of the Smokestack would be tall enough for him to glide there. He would be advised by Ariel that the Soul Reaver itself was not powerful enough to defeat Kain, and that he would need to imbue it with her soul. Raziel would have struck Ariel down with the blade, thus gaining the Ariel Reaver, which would have allowed him to prevail against his former master. Using the Ariel Reaver, Raziel would have engaged in a final battle with Kain himself, finally killing him and absorbing his soul to obtain the Amplified Reaver.[83][84][88][94][95][96]
  • With this all-powerful permanent alteration to the Reaver, Raziel would have been able to glide from the summit of Kain's Retreat to the sealed Pinnacle of the Silenced Cathedral (also seen in the opening video), where he would be able to use the Amplified Reaver to fight off an onslaught of desperate vampires. Fending them off and racing to the top of the Cathedral, he would have fulfilled its original purpose by opening its dormant sounding pipes, blasting a great hymn across Nosgoth and purging the world of its entire vampire population. His vengeance and destiny fulfilled, Raziel would be congratulated by the Elder God as the cycle of birth and death resumed, and the story ended.[97][98]

Despite their invalidation by later titles, some of the major events in this original storyline are depicted in the Chronoplast visions near the end of the game.[SR1-C9] Crystal Dynamics later rationalized these as "alternate futures or possibilities of things that could have been, or illusions created by Moebius to steer Raziel off course" in canon, and Soul Reaver 2 and Legacy of Kain: Defiance both featured scenes visually similar to those in the visions (though in re-framed contexts, distinct from the original intentions in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver).[95][96][99][100] Aspects such as the Spirit and Ariel Reavers, the Possession ability, Turel, and the death of a main character to produce the game's ultimate Reaver enhancement were also restored to the series in Legacy of Kain: Defiance.[DEF-C10][DEF-C12][DEF-C13]

ReleaseEdit

PromotionEdit

SR1-Promotional-Anger

Promotional rendered image representing Raziel's anger.

In 1998, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver was showcased at E3, where attendees were given free demo discs.[101] Over time, further demo discs with preview trailers were released, including one bundled with Official PlayStation Magazine.[74][102][103] The first, widely-circulated playable demonstation for the PlayStation featured a very short section from the beginning of the Lighthouse area, lacking Spectral Realm functionality, but featuring full movement mechanics, swimming and combat with vampires.[32] Later, a second playable demo - a complete version of the Fire Glyph altar area, featuring the full puzzle to obtain the Glyph, and functional shifting - was released for multiple platforms.[104][105] The game was released for the PlayStation in 1999, with the PC version following later that year. The Dreamcast port was released in 2000. The PC and Dreamcast versions featured a much higher frame rate than did the PlayStation version, and the Dreamcast port had further graphical enhancements.[105]

A Japanese release for Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver was planned, but cancelled.[105] Eidos Interactive spent US$4,000,000 on a pre-release advertising campaign, which included magazine articles, television commercials, and a tie-in comic book published by Top Cow Productions.[SR1-Comic][106] A further $1,000,000 advertising and marketing campaign was launched on October 28, in the "spirit of Halloween" (compared to a $5,000,000 campaign for Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation).[107] Despite the game's success, some of its developers "winced" at the direction the marketing had taken, with Daniel Cabuco later explaining that "there was a lot of people who didn't quite get Soul Reaver at Crystal and Eidos", and that "a lot of people didn't get the whole 'city of lost children/lost steampunk' vibe we were going for.. And they sure as heck didn't know what the path of a Gnostic hero was. So mainly it was 'Rawr blood and souls'".[65] The lack of load times was a key marketing point praised by several reviewers.[106] After the game's release, Eidos and BBI partnered to release action figures of Raziel and Kain.[108] Prototype figurines of Dumah were also created, but they never made it to a mass-production stage.[109]

Critical receptionEdit

Reviews
Publication
Score
Icon-GR Game Revolution B-[110]
Icon-GS GameSpot 9/10[111]
Icon-IGN IGN 9.3/10[112]
Official PlayStation Magazine 9/10[113]
Official PlayStation Magazine (UK) 9/10[113]
Icon-GA Gaming Age A-[114]
Compilations of multiple reviews
Icon-MC Metacritic 91/100
"Universal acclaim"
(based on 17 reviews)[113]
GameRankings 88.16% (based on 29 reviews)[115]
Awards
Icon-GS GameSpot - "Editors' Choice"[111]
Icon-GS GameSpot - "The Best Voice Acting in Games"[116]
Icon-IGN IGN - "Editors' Choice"[112]
Icon-IGN IGN - #2, "Top 5 Opening FMVs"[117]
Icon-IGN IGN - #1, "Best Voice Acting" (top 5)[117]
Icon-IGN IGN - #23, "Reader's Top 25 Games of All Time"[118]
Official PlayStation Magazine (UK) - "StarPlayer"[113]

Metacritic, a website which aggregates reviews of video games, deemed from 17 reviews that Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver had achieved a score of 91/100, representing "universal acclaim".[113] GameRankings, a site with a similar function, aggregated the game's reception at 88.16% based on 29 reviews.[115] Both scores indicate that it has been the most critically-successful game in the Legacy of Kain series to date.[113][119][120][121][122]

Sampling major online reviews, GameSpot's Joe Fielder called it a "far different animal than its predecessor", regarding it as "a deep game possessed of myriad impressive little touches". He felt the puzzles were "inventive", that "the graphics [were] among the best that have ever been on the PlayStation", that the storyline's presentation was "well-crafted" and "wonderful high drama, with much less of the overstated breathy gothness found in Blood Omen", and that the soundtrack was "excellent". However, he was critical of the warp gate system - finding its symbols "impossible to remember" - of the "frustrating" camera, and of the easy level of difficulty. Despite these "warts", he summed it up as "an extremely solid game [...] that's as much of an experience as it is an adventure".[111]

Doug Perry of IGN found the game superlative, elucidating that "it's told with an amazing sense of vision and imagination that's rarely been seen in any game. Every aspect of this game - sound, atmosphere, gameplay, design, and especially the use of language - is saturated with a foreboding dark wrath, intelligence, and plodding, plodding details". He said it was "a complete world, a near-perfect realization of a concept that's never been achieved with such clarity and ambition", and that it had a "seamless blend" of exploration and adventure. On graphics and atmosphere, he said the game was "a beauty", and that "the intro movie for this game is one of the best I have ever watched". Problems cited included an over-abundance of block puzzles, a lack of clear goals at times, and some seams in the levels. Perry concluded by writing that "Soul Reaver is such an ambitious game - and one that achieves nearly everything it sets out to do - that few games come close to it. This game puts Tomb Raider to shame".[112]

In addition to critical praise, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver also won several accolades from websites, including the "Editors' Choice" merit from both GameSpot and IGN, a listing on the "Best Voice Acting in Games" ranking at GameSpot, listings on IGN's "Top 5 Opening FMVs", "Best Voice Acting" and "Reader's Top 25 Games of All Time" lists, and a "StarPlayer" merit from the Official U.K. PlayStation Magazine.[111][112][113][116][117][118]

Silicon Knights received so many queries regarding the game that they had to publicly distance themselves from Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, placing an entry in their site's front-page FAQ saying "NO. We are not involved with that product in any way other than as the originators of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain".[123] In a 2008 interview, Denis Dyack criticized the story of the game as having had "nothing to do with" his vision and ideas for a Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain continuation, and commented that the Soul Reaver was supposed to be "just a weapon" in the original game rather than an extensive plot device, but admitted that "a lot of people liked what [Crystal Dynamics] did" and said that "Crystal Dynamics is not a bad developer".[124]

Speaking retrospectively on the game's flaws, Amy Hennig was critical of the game's "patchy" use of story, dialogue and cinematics, the fact that the use of the Spectral Realm was "a little incidental", the "unfortunate" optional nature of Raziel's Glyph spells (which was not the team's original intention), and the overuse of block puzzles in level design (saying "part of it was different people working on different levels and suddenly you look at how it comes together and oh, wow, we all used blocks"). She and the Crystal Dynamics team attempted to amend these problems when designing Soul Reaver 2.[13][125][126]

SalesEdit

Analysts predicted that Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver would perform well in the video-gaming charts prior to its release, noting that the high proliferation of horror movies in Summer 1999 (including The Mummy, The Blair Witch Project, The Haunting, Lake Placid, Deep Blue Sea and The Sixth Sense) ensured that its release in mid-August 1999 was ideally-timed.[106]

Bolstered by high publicity and critical acclaim, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver had sold over 1.5 million copies by 2001, becoming the first Legacy of Kain game to be inducted as a Sony's Greatest Hits title.[127][128] According to a 2007 annual report from the SCI Entertainment Group Plc, the Legacy of Kain series as a whole had sold roughly 3.5 million units. Therefore, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver was easily the highest-selling Legacy of Kain title as of that time, accounting for roughly 43% of the series' total sales.[129]

Re-releasesEdit

Slightly over ten years after its original release, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver was included in the PlayStation Store's catalogue on November 19, 2009, and as a PSone Classic on the same service on March 2, 2011.[130][131]

On April 26, 2012, Eidos Interactive released Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver's Microsoft Windows port in digital download format through GOG.com.[132]

ContinuationEdit

"Destiny is a game, is it not? And now you await my latest move..."
―Kain
SR2-Cover-PC

Cover art from Soul Reaver 2.

Main article: Soul Reaver 2

Following Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver's "slam dunk" release, a sequel, Soul Reaver 2, was quickly announced.[5] Amy Hennig affirmed that "there wasn't a master plan for what the next game would be. Just that there would be one".[13] The story picks up directly after the events of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, following Raziel as he travels through time for answers to his destiny, while meeting with (and being manipulated by) various beings, including Kain, the Elder God and Moebius.[SR2]

The game was praised for its involved storyline and improved gameplay, but was criticized for having no side-quests, and for being easier than its precursor.[120] Initially developed as a PlayStation and Dreamcast sequel by the same Crystal Dynamics team, it was reworked during production into a PlayStation 2 exclusive.[127] Again published by Eidos Interactive and released on October 31, 2001, it also met with high sales and strong reviews, but was not as successful in either regard as its predecessor.[SR2][120][133]

CreditsEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Icon-DC Soul Reaver: Background Story at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn)
  2. Icon-DC Soul Reaver 2: Background Story at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Icon-NR GLoK Interviews with Amy Hennig at Nosgothic Realm (by Raziel Fan), post #5 (by RazielFan)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Icon-GS Blood Omen 2 Q&A at GameSpot (by Sam Newman)
  5. 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 Features: Interview: Soul Reaver's Amy Hennig at SegaWeb (by Craig Hansen)
  6. 6.0 6.1 Icon-GS Legacy of Kain: Defiance Designer Diary #2 at GameSpot, page 1 (by Richard Lemarchand)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 7.9 Icon-NR GLoK Interviews with Amy Hennig at Nosgothic Realm (by Raziel Fan)
  8. Icon-Eidos For Mr. Daniel Cabuco at the Eidos Forums (by Vampira), post #34 (by KainPainter)
  9. Icon-Eidos For Mr. Daniel Cabuco at the Eidos Forums (by Vampira), post #31 (by KainPainter)
  10. Icon-Eidos Kain's Scar at the Eidos Forums (by gklok), post #62 (by KainPainter)
  11. Icon-Eidos Kain's Scar at the Eidos Forums (by gklok), post #77 (by KainPainter)
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Icon-DCab A few questions at DCabDesign (by Divine Shadow), post #2 (by Daniel Cabuco)
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 13.6 Icon-NR GLoK Interviews with Amy Hennig at Nosgothic Realm (by Raziel Fan), post #4 (by RazielFan)
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Icon-IGN The Influence of Literature and Myth in Videogames at IGN (by Douglass C. Perry), page 3
  15. Icon-DCab Defiance question at DCabDesign (by Liquid Yarullin), post #6 (by Daniel Cabuco)
  16. Icon-TLW Question and Answer with Jen, Richard, and Kyle at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  17. Icon-DA Zephon at deviantART (by SpectralJin)
  18. 18.00 18.01 18.02 18.03 18.04 18.05 18.06 18.07 18.08 18.09 18.10 18.11 18.12 18.13 18.14 18.15 18.16 18.17 18.18 18.19 18.20 18.21 18.22 18.23 18.24 18.25 18.26 18.27 18.28 18.29 18.30 18.31 18.32 18.33 18.34 18.35 18.36 18.37 18.38 18.39 18.40 18.41 18.42 18.43 18.44 18.45 18.46 18.47 18.48 18.49 18.50 Icon-SR1 Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver manual (US version). Crystal Dynamics. (Eidos Interactive). (August 16, 1999) Download.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Icon-DC Soul Reaver 2 (Raziel) (archived at Dark Chronicle)
  20. Icon-DC Soul Reaver 2 (Kain), page 3 (archived at Dark Chronicle)
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 21.5 21.6 Icon-SR2 Soul Reaver 2 manual. Crystal Dynamics. (Eidos Interactive). (October 31, 2001) Download.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 22.5 22.6 22.7 Icon-NR Map at Nosgothic Realm (by Guilherme Coelho, Tenaya and Andrew Fradley)
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 23.4 23.5 23.6 Icon-IAsig The Eidos Interview at IAsig (by Alexander Brandon)
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 Icon-Prima Prima Games / Mel Odom. Prima's Official Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver Guide. (1999)
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 25.4 Icon-SR1 Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver miscellaneous dialogue. Crystal Dynamics. Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. (Eidos Interactive). PlayStation. (August 16, 1999)
  26. Icon-Eidos Chris@Crystal's Greatest Hits at the Eidos Forums (by Divine Shadow)
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 27.4 Soul Reaver quietly cut before release (spoilers) at the Gaming Intelligence Agency
  28. Icon-TLW The Pinnacle of The Silenced Cathedral at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 29.3 Icon-GS Soul Reaver Response at GameSpot (by Chris Johnston)
  30. Icon-DC The Ruined City of the Dumahim (Ash Village) at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn)
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 Icon-TLW The Undercity and The Temple at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 Icon-TLW The Lighthouse Demo at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  33. Icon-DC Soul Reaver: Warp Gates at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn)
  34. Icon-DC Soul Reaver: Health Power-Ups at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn)
  35. Icon-DC Soul Reaver: Eldritch Energy Power-Ups at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn)
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 36.3 36.4 36.5 Icon-DC Soul Reaver: Glyphs at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn)
  37. 37.0 37.1 Icon-DC Vampire Wraiths and Revived Vampires at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn)
  38. Icon-DC The Dumahim at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn)
  39. Icon-DC The Melchahim at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn)
  40. Icon-DC The Zephonim at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn)
  41. Icon-DC The Rahabim at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn)
  42. Icon-DC The Turelim at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn)
  43. Icon-DC The Tomb Guardian (Morlock) at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn)
  44. Icon-DC Sluagh at Dark Chronicle (by Marie Tryhorn)
  45. 45.0 45.1 45.2 45.3 45.4 Icon-TLW Shifter at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  46. 46.0 46.1 46.2 46.3 Icon-IGN Something interesting Denis Dyack once said. at IGN (by HGLatino)
  47. 47.0 47.1 Icon-Wordpress character concept art << Dogma5150's Blog at Wordpress.com (by Arnold Ayala)
  48. Icon-NR Recreated PSXnation.com Interview with Denis Dyack at Nosgothic Realm
  49. Icon-GS Knights Fight for Kain at GameSpot (by Chris Johnston)
  50. Icon-1UP Denis Dyack on Story and Content in Games, Part 2 at 1UP.com (by Phillip Kollar)
  51. Icon-DCab Shifter at DCabDesign (by Divine Shadow), post #2 (by Daniel Cabuco)
  52. 52.0 52.1 Icon-Linkedin Andrew Bennett at LinkedIn
  53. 53.0 53.1 53.2 Icon-GS Legacy of Kain: Defiance Designer Diary #1 at GameSpot, page 1 (by Richard Lemarchand)
  54. gallery_loksr1 at boydlake.com
  55. Icon-PSN Qore®- September, 2011 Episode 40 at the PlayStation Network
  56. Icon-GamersHell Soul Reaver 2 announced at gamershell.com
  57. Icon-TLW Soul Reaver's Gex Engine at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  58. 58.0 58.1 Icon-IGN Soul Reaver 2: Director's Interview at IGN, page 6 (by Douglass C. Perry)
  59. 59.0 59.1 59.2 Icon-TLW Early Versions of The Story at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  60. Icon-IGN Soul Reaver 2: Director's Interview at IGN, page 4 (by Douglass C. Perry)
  61. 61.0 61.1 Icon-TLW Beta Comparison - Introduction at The Lost Worlds (by Raina Audron)
  62. Icon-IGN This news just in: Legacy of Kain ships tomorrow! at IGN
  63. 63.0 63.1 63.2 Icon-TLW Soul Reaver at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  64. Icon-IGN The Influence of Literature and Myth in Videogames at IGN (by Douglass C. Perry), page 5
  65. 65.0 65.1 Icon-DCab Blood Omen 2 at DCabDesign (by Divine Shadow), post #2 (by Daniel Cabuco)
  66. Icon-DCab Vampire's attire in Nosgoth at DCabDesign (by majinkura), post #4 (by Daniel Cabuco)
  67. Icon-DCab The Vampires Of LOK at DCabDesign (by majinkura), post #20 (by Daniel Cabuco)
  68. Icon-TLW Early Character Names at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  69. Icon-IGN The Influence of Literature and Myth in Videogames at IGN (by Douglass C. Perry), page 2
  70. Icon-ISB InSoc.Eyep.net interview at Information Society Brazil
  71. Icon-TLW Beta Comparison - Music and Sound Effects at The Lost Worlds (by Raina Audron)
  72. Icon-GS Eidos packs in the extras with Soul Reaver 2 at GameSpot (by Shahed Ahmed)
  73. Icon-MG An Interview with Michael Bell at Mygamer.com (by R. Peterson)
  74. 74.0 74.1 Icon-TLW Salvation, Revelation, Deceit at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln and Jeff Howson)
  75. Icon-TLW Early Vampires at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  76. Icon-TLW An Alternate Introduction at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  77. Icon-TLW The Deleted Armoury at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  78. Icon-TLW Alternate Silenced Cathedral Areas at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  79. Icon-TLW The Push and Test Rooms at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  80. Icon-TLW The Secret Passage at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  81. 81.0 81.1 81.2 81.3 81.4 Icon-TLW The Elemental Reavers at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  82. Icon-TLW The Spirit Glyph at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  83. 83.0 83.1 Icon-TLW The Ariel Reaver at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  84. 84.0 84.1 Icon-TLW The Amplified Reaver at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  85. Icon-Eidos Soul Reaver- Art of Female, Wolf and Winged Vampires (Razielim?), Hunters and Demons at the Eidos Forums (by Divine Shadow)
  86. Icon-TLW The Aftermath of The Chronoplast at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  87. Icon-TLW Shift-at-Will at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  88. 88.0 88.1 88.2 88.3 Icon-SR1 Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver deleted dialogue. Crystal Dynamics. Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. (Eidos Interactive). PlayStation. (August 16, 1999)
  89. Icon-TLW The Priestess at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  90. Icon-TLW Possession at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  91. Icon-TLW The Turelim Clan Territory at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  92. Icon-TLW Turel at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  93. Icon-TLW Amplified Force Projectile at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  94. Icon-TLW The Mountain Retreat at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  95. 95.0 95.1 Icon-TLW The Death of Ariel at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  96. 96.0 96.1 Icon-TLW The Final Battle with Kain at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  97. Icon-TLW The Pinnacle of The Silenced Cathedral at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  98. Icon-TLW Opening the Sounding Pipes at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  99. Icon-Eidos Answers to questions from the Defiance team at the Eidos Forums (by Chris@Crystal)
  100. Icon-TLW Alternate Aerie Exit Cinematic at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  101. Direct From SF -- 10 Years Of Attending E3 at MTV.com (by Patrick Klepek)
  102. Icon-TLW The KainDemo Video at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  103. Icon-TLW Video Demo - 1999-03-16 at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln and Thiago Paulino)
  104. Icon-TLW The Fire Glyph Demos at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  105. 105.0 105.1 105.2 Icon-GS Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver: Release Summary at GameSpot
  106. 106.0 106.1 106.2 Icon-TFL Highly-Anticipated `Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver' Looks to Take a Bite at the Electronic Game Charts This August; Television, Magazine Ad Buys and a Retail Promotional Onslaught Put the Word Out on Eidos Interactive's Sequel to `Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen' at The Free Library
  107. Icon-IGN Lara: Kain's Jealous at IGN
  108. Icon-TLW Retail Action Figures at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  109. Icon-TLW Prototype Action Figures at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
  110. Icon-GR Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver Review at Game Revolution (by Colin)
  111. 111.0 111.1 111.2 111.3 Icon-GS Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver Review at GameSpot (by Joe Fielder)
  112. 112.0 112.1 112.2 112.3 Icon-IGN Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver review at IGN (by Doug Perry)
  113. 113.0 113.1 113.2 113.3 113.4 113.5 113.6 Icon-MC Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver at Metacritic
  114. Icon-GA Review - Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver at Gaming Age (by Patrick Klepek)
  115. 115.0 115.1 Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver for PlayStation at GameRankings
  116. 116.0 116.1 Icon-GS The Best Voice Acting in Games at GameSpot
  117. 117.0 117.1 117.2 Icon-IGN Top 25 Games of All Time: Complete List at IGN
  118. 118.0 118.1 Icon-IGN IGN Reader's Top 25 Games of All Time, Part One at IGN
  119. Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain for PlayStation at GameRankings
  120. 120.0 120.1 120.2 Icon-MC Soul Reaver 2 at Metacritic
  121. Icon-MC Blood Omen 2 at Metacritic
  122. Icon-MC Legacy of Kain: Defiance at Metacritic
  123. The New Silicon Knights Webpage
  124. Icon-1UP Denis Dyack on Story and Content in Games, Part 2 at 1UP.com (by Phillip Kollar)
  125. Icon-IGN Soul Reaver 2: Director's Interview at IGN, page 1 (by Douglass C. Perry)
  126. Icon-IGN Soul Reaver 2: Director's Interview at IGN, page 2 (by Douglass C. Perry)
  127. 127.0 127.1 Icon-GZ Soul Reaver 2 exclusive to the Sony PlayStation 2 at GameZone
  128. Icon-IGN PlayStation Greatest Hits: Complete List at IGN
  129. Icon-MHS SCi Entertainment Group Plc: Annual report and accounts 2007 at miranda.hemscott.com
  130. Icon-PSN PlayStation Store Update at the PlayStation Network (by Grace Chen)
  131. Icon-Joystiq Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, more PSone Classics rated by the ESRB at Joystiq (by Randy Nelson)
  132. Icon-GOG Release: Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver at GOG.com
  133. Eidos plc: Fifteen month results at eidos.co.uk
The Legacy of Kain series
Icon-SR1 Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver characters
Icon-SR1 Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver locations
Icon-SR1 Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver terms
Icon-SR1 Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver items and equipment
Icon-SR1 Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver abilities
Icon-SR1 Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver enemies and NPCs

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