LEGACY OF KAIN: SOUL REAVER
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on November 23, 2018
Another Friday, another thrilling trip in the Big Red Timemachine! It's me, Sadhonker, freshly back from the hospital, where I resided after my bouncy castle mishap. Now, I still don't know why the seams of my castle ripped clean through without any apparent reason, nor why Dennis was in such a hurry to run off after I was catapulted - quite forcefully, I might add - trough the main hall of our Big Red Timemachine, but hey; at least I got to sue the asses off of the company that constructed said bouncy castle.
That's the fun thing about having a timemachine. You see, mere threats or, as I like to call them, sweet promises of violence, don't always work nowadays. But, dear readers, when you threaten to make sure their parents never meet because their mothers will be "otherwise engaged", I find that people are a lot more pliable and will usually do whatever the hell I want them to do! So, I'm patiently waiting for my boatload of money to be transferred to my bank account. I still don't know where Dennis went, or why he would leave me broken and battered after the incident. I thought we were making some real progress over the last couple of weeks. Oh well; back to the issue at hand! So, dear readers, please strap yourselves in and keep your hands and feet inside of the vehicle at all times. Everyone accounted for? Right then! Get ready to blast off and let's party like it's 1999!
August 1999, the time in which a lot of people were scared the world was going to end in about four months. Incidentally, it was also the exact moment that Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Interactive released Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, a 3D action game in which we assumed the role of a disfigured and, above all, dead vampire that went by the name of Raziel. You see, this Raziel had been the faithful lieutenant of the vampire of vampires: Kain. He is rewarded for his services by getting killed by his master which, if we're being honest, is kind of a bummer, no matter who you are. Luckily, and entity named the Elder God revives Raziel and makes him its henchman, or Soul Reaver, and send out Raziel to exact vengeance upon all those who have angered the Elder God.
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver is a thoroughly enjoyable game in which you mainly dispatch enemies using his claws and whatever weapons he can get his undead hands on. In time, Raziel can also use Kain's sword, which he finds at some point during the game. The fighting happens in a more or less traditional hack 'n slash type of combat. If you manage to destroy your enemies, they will drop souls, which replenish your health. This is a very important fact because, with you being a non-natural being, your health will automatically drain in the material realm and replenish in the Spectral realm. If you ever run out of health, Raziel will automatically shift to the Spectral realm, which basically means, you'll have to wait for your full health to return before you can even attempt to return to the material realm.
When you acquire the sword of Kain, the automatic draining of your health in the material comes to a halt, but be careful; one hit from an enemy and you lose the sword which, in turn, reactivates the draining of your health. In order to regain the sword, you'll have to fully replenish your health first. Apart from slashing through tons of enemies, Raziel has to overcome a number of obstacles by solving environmental puzzles. Key to solving these puzzles is Raziel's ability to shift between dimensions. You see, the game is played on two different realms of reality: the material and the spectral realm. By switching between these realms, Raziel is able to overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles on his quest for vengeance.
In the material realm, you can manipulate objects, but cannot continue if your path is blocked by some type of obstruction like, for instance, locked doors, rocks or rivers. If you shift to the spectral realm, these obstructions are no longer an issue, you can walk right through them. There is a catch however; you can shift to the spectral realm at any time you wish, but shifting back. that's a different story altogether. You can only return to the material realm by entering special portals, and it can only be done when at full health, so think before you shift!
The fun thing about playing as Raziel is that you actually grow stronger as you progress through the game. Yes, yes, I know; this is true of many games, but in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, it kind of makes more sense. Because you're in quite the sorry state at the start of the game, your movement is limited to a few basic things like jumping and gliding on what remains of your wings. You can also manipulate, pick up and throw certain items, but that's about it. Now, this will simply not do if you want to fulfill your quest. Luckily, the more vampires you destroy, the stronger you get, because you gain some of their powers. For instance, when you start off, you cannot abide water, so crossing a river is out of the question. Later on, however, you conquer your fears in the aquatic department and even learn how to swim, which opens up a number of new paths for you to take.
As with many older games, the controls could be a bit dodgy from time to time, but you'd only notice this when you play such a game in this day and age. Back then, we weren't used to something better, so, as far as my 19-year old self was concerned, the controls were practically flawless. I just remember having a lot of fun while playing Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver and didn't want the game to ever end. But hey, that might just be me! All I know for certain is that, at the time, the game got a plethora of favorable reviews and not without reason. It looked great, had a more than decent story to it and played really well! What's not to like, am I right? Silly question actually; I'm always right... at least, I like to think so!
And with that, another ride into the past comes to an end. Now, I don't know about you, but I had a lot of fun rambling on to you guys and girls out there. I sincerely hope that you join us next time, right here in our Big Red HQ, when Dennis (who will probably have resurfaced by then) will take you all on another quest through time and space. So this is Sadhonker, signing off and wishing you the best of times playing your favorite old videogames!
Now, to get that bunch of bouncy crap out of my office. hey, what's my machete doing here? This is not where I left it! Hmmm. misplaced machete. Exploding bouncy castle. Dennis running away in a big hurry. I know what happened her. It must have been those damn aliens again! Oh, they're gonna get it now. where the hell is my shotgun? I'm sorry, ladies and gentlemen, I know I promised Dennis never to use that thing again, but this time it's personal. Those blasted Hydrozoids have really gone too far this time. Destroy my bouncy castle, will you? Get ready for intergalactic war, space-scum!
LEGACY OF KAIN: SOUL REAVER
Crystal Dynamics & Eidos Interactive