MobyGoal achieved! Thanks to all contributors who helped us reach 250 documented ZX81 Games.

Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver (PlayStation)

89
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
...
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Not an American user?

Description

One thousand five hundred years after the events of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, the vampire Kain's decision at the end of that game has finally defeated the human kingdoms and brought the world of Nosgoth under his control. Ruling from a castle built on the Pillars of Nosgoth, Kain has established an empire of six vampire clans, each ruled by a lieutenant, the sons of Kain. Raziel was one such lieutenant, but lost his position through the insolence of receiving a new evolutionary "dark gift", the growth of feathery wings, before his master had acquired it. Fearing that Raziel might one day surpass him, Kain tears off Raziel's wings in a fit of range and banishes him into the Abyss. There, Raziel is lost in time, dead and his body consumed. The Elder God recovers Raziel's soul and rebuilds the broken body, not as a living vampire, but as a strange new creature of the underworld. Swearing revenge on Kain, Raziel now phases seamlessly between Nosgoth and its underworld, using his new powers to become a terrible reaver of souls...

Soul Reaver is a third-person perspective action game with puzzle-solving and some platforming elements. The game follows Raziel on his quest to purge the land of vampires and take revenge on Kain and his brothers, leaders of the six clans. The player views the environments from behind Raziel's shoulder, moving him in any direction, climbing, attacking, jumping and using specific abilities. Raziel's can grip onto the edge of ledges and his torn wings allow him to glide gently downwards. He can also shift through the material world into the spectral realm at will, but must find specific locations in order to shift back. The two realms mirror one another, with distortions which give access to new areas and platforms. Existing in the material world drains Raziel's life energy at a constant rate.

Throughout the game, energy is recovered by consuming the souls of defeated enemies. If Raziel is able to defeat one of his brothers, he will additionally gain a new ability ("dark gift") upon drinking his soul. Examples include: the ability to swim, file telekinetic projectiles, or the ability to phase through locked gates. Raziel can arm himself with a variety of weapons including spears, daggers, swords, axes, as well as attacking enemies barehanded. Eventually, he will also come across Kain's personal sword (named the Soul Reaver), and will use it to create a powerful energy blade weapon.

The world is left open to Raziel, he can return to areas previously completed and explore the world of Nosgoth at will. Access to certain areas however sometimes requires the use of gained specific abilities. Many of the puzzles the player will need to solve in this quest are block puzzles, requiring the placement of certain large structures (usually square blocks), either to activate switches or to build access to out-of-reach areas.

Screenshots

Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver PlayStation Fighting a vampire hunter who has a flamethrower.
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver PlayStation The same spot in the spectral plane.  Most of the games puzzles involve switching back and forth between the two planes.
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver PlayStation Most of the cutscenes are done in-game.  This is from the opening.
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver PlayStation The titular Soul Reaver

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

What An Epic! Zsolt Pardi (60) 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
" A chapter in a series of Masterpieces... " Decrepify (2) 4.8 Stars4.8 Stars4.8 Stars4.8 Stars4.8 Stars

The Press Says

Playstation Illustrated Dec 17, 2002 99 out of 100 99
Power Unlimited Apr, 1999 9.6 out of 10 96
PSX Extreme Sep 03, 1999 9.6 out of 10 96
IGN Aug 19, 1999 9.3 out of 10 93
Gaming Age Aug 20, 1999 A- 91
GameSpot Aug 16, 1999 9 out of 10 90
GamesCollection Jan 28, 2009 9 out of 10 90
VicioJuegos.com Aug 21, 2012 87 out of 100 87
Game Critics Sep 04, 1999 8.5 out of 10 85
Game Revolution Sep, 1999 B- 67

Forums

Topic # Posts Last Post
Saving problem??.. 20 Lain Crowley (5412)
Jul 19, 2010
What if.. 13 Indra is here (19677)
Jan 28, 2009
PC version sound bug/problem 11 Dr. M. "Schadenfreude" Von Katze (590)
Aug 11, 2008

Trivia

Alternate ending (Spoiler)

The cut alternate ending, as rumoured:

You may remember the corridor with the strange visions. One of these was the one where Raziel strikes Ariel with his wraith blade, resulting in her being absorbed by it. In the Alternate cut, this happens in the game. With the enhanced Reaver, Raziel kills Kain in the Moebuis's Retreat. Afterwards, Raziel would have journeyed to the Silent Cathedral and made all of its bells ring a certain frequency fatal to vampires, thus deleting every single living vampire in Nosgoth, himself included.

Comic

There was a graphic novel based on the game. It was published by Top Cow.

Cover

The front cover of the UK Playstation version features a hologram, which if you twist in the light shows Raziel in the spirit world with the twisted pillars found in the game. If you twist the other way, it shows him in the mortal plane with the pillars straight. Naturally, holograms don't scan well but you can see the cover in the cover art section with both planes dimly featured.

Cut content

Large parts of this game were cut or changed from the original conception. While this is not important in and of itself (almost every game goes through a period of change during development), it's notable the sheer quantity of what was altered or overlooked. Without spoiling the plot too much, let me just say that there was an alternate ending planned, at least two more bosses, expanded areas, a lot more power-ups to the Soul Reaver and one of Raziel's brothers, Turel is missing completely. Word is that Eidos thought the game was taking too long and tightened the deadline.

One boss that was left out of the final cut was the Priestess. She was supposed to be the leader of a human cult that worshiped vampires. When she is defeated, Raziel receives some sort of possession/control ability.(In fact the first three words said in the game are "Kain is deified". They're said at the start of the intro, so that's not really a spoiler.) Whilst she didn't show up in the game, she did appear in the graphic novel.

Cutscene

In the Windows version of the game, there is a small cutscene that does not work properly. This cutscene occurs in the lair of Zephon (aka "The Silenced Cathedral") when Raziel opens up three of the Organ pipes. The resulting hymn destroys the two vampires in the room. It is believed that this cutscene was originally part of something larger, and perhaps an alternate ending to the game.

Development

Here's an interesting fact: When the game concept was originally conceived, it was a stand-alone game called Shifter, according to Dennis Dyack of Silicon Knights. The title was obviously a reference to the realm-shifting gameplay mechanic.it was changed into a Blood Omen sequel before any work was begun on the project.

However, the Shifter influences made into the game: Namely, the story of the vengeful servant hunting down his former master and brothers, and the incorporation of Angelic and Biblical imagery and motifs.(Raziel and his brothers are named after angels, not to mention Raziel's design.Also, on a side note, Kain is something of both a God and Devil figure in Nosgoth, in this game at least. Though that may not have been intentional on the developer's part.)

Dyack has disclosed separately that Silicon Knights intended to produce a Blood Omen sequel, but has not elaborated on the details other than to comment that it would have been very different than the direction Crystal Dynamics took the series in. Given that "Legacy of Kain" is actually the suffix of the first Blood Omen, it is entirely possible that their plan was for a sequel (or sequels) with a different (anti-) hero altogether, and that the result would have been something more like the next game they created - Eternal Darkness.

Duman

You find your brother Dumah (5th boss fight) lying immobile on his throne, his body pierced by the spears of vampire hunters. As you learned earlier with other vampires, the way to get him to revive in order to take proper vengeance with your own hands is to remove said spears. However, if you switch into spectral realm before reviving him, you'll have the opportunity to chit-chat a little with his wandering ghost.

German version

All red blood outside cutscenes was coloured green in the German version.

Glyphs

Glyphs are the magical artifacts that give Raziel elemental based powers.
Every time you kill a boss you gain a new physical ability which lets you access places you were previously unable to, not only to proceed with the game, but also to find 'secret sub-worlds' in which the Glyphs lie. These side-searches are really worthy because of the beautifully designed environment that these 'secret sub-worlds' are.
One of them is specially interesting for fans of Blood Omen: the place in which the Stone Glyph (for reaching which you need Zephon's walk-climbing ability) is hidden is no other place than Nupraptor's retreat. The giant skull-shaped castle on the side of a mountain in which Kain's very first target used to live. Words can't begin to describe what it means for a fan of the series the view of this familiar place in all its 3D glory, but with the weight of 1000 years on it.

Humans

Throughout your journey you'll encounter a few human survivors whose primary reaction will be to attack you.
If you just run away without harming them, later in the game you'll notice that, every time you run into a human, not only he won't attack you, but he will fall to his knees and bow to you!
Looks like the rumor of the kind-hearted blue demon spreaded quite fast.

Music

Soul Reaver's main theme song, "Ozar Midrashim 1.1", was composed by Kurt Harland from Information Society, and it is featured on their 1997's album "Don't Be Afraid".

Ratings

Soul Reaver was initially rated T by the ESRB for Windows and PlayStation, but the Dreamcast version was rated M. The original two versions were later rerated to M as well.

Raziel

The name Raziel means "God's secret" in Hebrew. The protagonist of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver is named after an angel in Jewish mythology, who is particularly prominent in the occult Jewish teaching Kabbalah: according to it, Raziel possessed secret knowledge of the Divine and wanted to share it with Adam and Eve after their expulsion from Eden. Apparently, God didn't take this lightly, further punishing the first human couple; however, Raziel was spared and is said still to be out there, with all his knowledge intact...

References to the game

  • Speech samples from this game were used by the industrial band Velvet Acid Christ in their songs Dial8 and Mindphlux (Trip Zone Mix) on the album Twisted Thought Generator.
  • The intro from this game was partially used on the beginning of doom metal band Tristitia's third album, The Last Grief.
Information also contributed by Ace of Sevens, chirinea, Dr. M. "Schadenfreude" Von Katze, haynor, Mark Ennis, phlux, Unicorn Lynx and WildKard

Related Web Sites

Grant McLellan (545) added Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver (PlayStation) on Apr 01, 2001
Other platforms contributed by Charly2.0 (30546), GTramp (31430), Grant McLellan (545) and MAT (70378)