Air plinths were elemental platforms encountered in Soul Reaver 2 and Legacy of Kain: Defiance that allowed the user to be blasted upwards by an Air updraft. Usually their operation depended upon the Air Reaver.
Air Plinths were featured in Soul Reaver 2 and Defiance. They could first encountered as early as Decision at the Pillars of Soul Reaver 2 where Raziel could find them in several areas beginning in the Subterranean Ruins,[Soul Reaver 2/5] but he could not identify or use them until he progressed to the Air forge in The Air Forge (chapter) in the Era following Blood Omen. After gaining the Air Reaver at the forge, Raziel could use it to activate an air plinth for the first time and it expelled an Air updraft which he could use to glide upwards to a high opening and escape the main forge chamber.[Soul Reaver 2/6] Thereafter Air plinths were seen throughout the rest of the game; each activated by the Air Reaver and expelling an air updraft which Raziel could glide on to reach higher platforms or areas. Notably the plinths were necessary to reach the Time-streaming chamber in the Swamp, to reach the mountains and Uschtenheim in Nosgoth's early history and to complete the puzzles in the Fire forge and Janos Audron's Retreat.[Soul Reaver 2][Soul Reaver 2/7][Soul Reaver 2/8][Soul Reaver 2/9]
The Air plinths returned in Legacy of Kain: Defiance with much the same functionality and a slightly different design. Here they could be observed from the Reveal the Guardian Citadel when Kain visited the Pillars of Nosgoth - but as before they were initially unreachable inactive and unable to be utilised.[Defiance/5] Soon after, Raziel reached the Pillars himself in Find the Location of Vorador's Mansion and was able to locate a Sealed door which he could enter to find a Warp gate leading to the Air forge within the Vampire Citadel. Once Raziel had completed the puzzle and gained the Air Reaver he could activate the air plinths, sending a blast of air upwards and physically pushing him to higher areas and allowing him to escape the forge.[Defiance/6] Thereafter Air plinths were seen throughout the rest of the game, each activated by the Air Reaver and each pushing Raziel upwards on an air updraft to a higher platform. Notably the plinths were used to reach Vorador's Mansion and at several stages within; and in several areas within the Vampire Citadel, including the Earth forge and Spirit forge.[Defiance][Defiance/8][Defiance/9][Defiance/10][Defiance/12][Defiance/13]
Design and Usage
Despite their similarities, the appearance of the Air plinths changes and they function slightly differently between Soul Reaver 2 and Defiance.
When they first appear in Soul Reaver 2, the design of the Air plinths consists of four brown-colored circles arranged in a 'Y'-shape, each with a circular hole at the center. The middle circle had a slightly raised brown border and the outer edge was lined with an orange trim which spiraled inwards to the center hole, giving the appearance of a whirlwind-like shape. The three outer circles had their own similar borders which were instead lined with a pale blue color, with each border containing a number of subtle symbols. At the heart of the outer circles was positioned an Air symbol, with the centre space occupied by each circles central hole.[Soul Reaver 2][Soul Reaver 2/6][Soul Reaver 2/7]
This basic design was continued through Soul Reaver 2, however when Raziel reached the icy areas of Janos Audron's Retreat in Nosgoth's early history, the coloring of the plinths was altered become a uniform pale blue (with the orange trim dulled to a light brown), as if the plinth had become frozen with the falling temperatures. Several plinths in this area were initially hidden, but could be nevertheless be identified - in this state, they appeared as a subtle brown outline of the plinth, with a small Air symbol visible in the middle of the center circle. When activated, these hidden plinths were 'spawned' by a fountain of Blood, briefly appeared as a completely red 'bloody' version, with air symbols at the center of all four circles, before fading to their blue design.[Soul Reaver 2][Soul Reaver 2/8] The plinths that appeared in Defiance bore a much simpler design, consisting of a basic circular stepped stone platform. Several light grey colored curved stone bricks were visible curving around the central circular platform, which itself was lined with a border of the same light grey color. The center of the platform, backed by a darker shade of grey, consisted of a large Air symbol, with a small hole in the center of the symbol for activation.[Defiance]
In regards to their function, the plinths in Soul Reaver 2 were initially encountered in an inactive state and were activated by Raziel driving the Air Reaver down through the opening on the central circle, which caused the plinth to begin issuing air from the openings on the outer rings before expelling a larger, more powerful updraft from the central opening. This updraft would remain in place, allowing Raziel to (manually) jump and use his wings to glide upwards on the updraft until at sufficient height to reach the obstacle or platform; often his would entail circling within the updraft or crossing the stream several time until the desired level was reached. In Defiance this process was slightly different. Initially the plinths would be inactive, but once Raziel gained the Air Reaver, they would begin to issue a subtle air-stream from the central opening. Driving the Air Reaver into this opening would cause the plinth to issue a single large 'burst' of air, immediately propelling Raziel to the sufficient height without requiring manual adjustment or the use of gliding to get there; and from here he could continue onward, gliding if necessary to reach platforms. It is likely this change was for gameplay reasons - making the plinths easier to use for players who found the Soul Reaver 2 version overly sensitive and difficult to remain in the air stream.[Soul Reaver 2][Defiance]
- The term "Air plinths" is never explicitly mentioned in dialogue and when mentioned they are only referred to as "this", however stage directions do name them using this term.[Defiance/6] Alongside this, both the Soul Reaver 2 and Defiance Prima guides name them as such.[Soul Reaver 2 strategy guide (Prima)][Defiance strategy guide]
- In the puzzle to ascend Janos Audron's Retreat, Air plinths can be seen frequently and optionally used to reach levels Raziel has previously fallen from. These plinths are unique in that they are not intended to be initially present but are 'spawned' by a fountain of blood on each occasion that Raziel progresses upwards a level. A bug does however enable them to be used on certain versions of the game, with the barely visible plinths able to be activated straight away on the Playstation 2 release of the game - the issue is corrected by the PC release.[Soul Reaver 2][Soul Reaver 2/8]
- The Air plinths all appear as part of the environmental textures in game files and are thus counted as part of their respective rooms rather than having discreet named entries. Textures exist for the brown, blue and red Soul Reaver 2 variants however the 'hidden' plinths do not have their own texture and are instead created from a combination of the red and background textures - the only component that exists separately is the air symbol at the center which is overlaid in white or red.[Soul Reaver 2][Defiance]
- In Soul Reaver 2, several Air updrafts were planned to have featured in and around Uschtenheim that allowed access to some of the higher platforms in the area, however these were prone to causing serious bugs and so the updrafts were removed. It is unclear where this high updrafts section would have led to, but their removal may have included the removal of several air plinths.[Soul Reaver 2]
- Though unusable by Kain, the Defiance air plinths can often be observed in Kain's chapters where the same location is visted by both protagonists; indeed the first plinth can be seen in Reveal the Guardian Citadel where one is present above the waterfall area behind the Pillars of Nosgoth - the same plinth is later used by Raziel to travel to Vorador's Mansion in Find the Location of Vorador's Mansion.[Defiance][Defiance/5][Defiance/6]
- No origin for the Air plinths is explicitly given in game, however their location, design and activation by the Air Reaver would presumably suggest they are a creation of the Ancient vampires.[Soul Reaver 2][Defiance]
- Despite the appearance of several Air updrafts for Raziel to glide on in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Air plinths do not explicitly occur in that title and the updrafts featured are usually produced through more mundane means such as gas, fans or other machinery.[Soul Reaver]
- Soul Reaver 2 questions at DCabDesign (by Raina Audron), post #2 (by Daniel Cabuco)