Checkpoints were a gameplay mechanic featured in Soul Reaver 2, Blood Omen 2 and Defiance, where they allowed Raziel or Kain's progress up to that point to be temporarily 'saved'. If the protagonist was then killed, their progress would be resumed from the last activated checkpoint. Loading a game would also start it from the last activated checkpoint or save altar.[Soul Reaver 2][Blood Omen 2][Defiance][Soul Reaver 2 manual][Soul Reaver 2 strategy guide (Prima)][Blood Omen 2 strategy guide][Defiance strategy guide][Defiance manual]
- "As I passed this arcane landmark, a wisp of the Reaver's energy was drawn into the ring, illuminating it. This created a beacon of sorts in the spirit world – if ever I found myself depleted in the spectral realm, and my soul tossed on the ethereal winds, these beacons would draw me back to safety and restore me."
- ―Raziel — Listen (file info)[src]
- Category: Recurring Terms • Environment
- Introduced in: Soul Reaver 2 (2001)
- Related Articles: Save altars, Warp gates (Soul Reaver)
The Checkpoint mechanism was first used in Soul Reaver 2 where the checkpoint markers appeared as a ringed ouroboros symbol (a snake eating its own tail) mounted on walls or specific poles. The first marker observed was encountered by Raziel on the banks of the 'inner' Great Southern Lake as he exited the Sarafan Stronghold in the history preceding Blood Omen in A Reaver in Time. Their function was explained as the marker taking a wisp of the Reaver's energy to illuminate and create an orb of energy within the ring to create a beacon within the Spectral plane. If Raziel was ever depleted of health in this plane, the last activated beacon would guide his soul to it and restore him to full health while within the spectral realm. Only one beacon could be kept active at a time, whatever happened to the energy when it dissipated is unknown.[Soul Reaver 2][Soul Reaver 2/1][Soul Reaver 2 manual][Soul Reaver 2 strategy guide (Prima)]
A different form of checkpoints were seen in Blood Omen 2, where Kain first encountered a Checkpoint in his training in Chapter 1:the Slums - in contrast to Soul Reaver 2 they were given no verbal description and only in-game text tells players to "walk over the checkpoint to mark your progress"[Blood Omen 2/1][Blood Omen 2 strategy guide]). Thereafter checkpoints were seen regularly throughout the rest of the game. The checkpoints appeared as a set of red 'sparkles' which formed into a large red circular 'ancient symbol'[Blood Omen 2 manual (US)][Blood Omen 2 manual (UK)] resembling a blood splatter when Kain stepped over them[Blood Omen 2].
Checkpoints returned in Defiance where their appearance again changed to represent the two protagonists symbols - a red colored Kain symbol inside a circle for Kain, and a blue colored Raziel symbol inside a circle for Raziel - these checkpoints lacked 'sparkles' and simply appeared as Raziel or Kain stepped over them. Again these were first encountered in the initial Chapters as Kain infiltrated the Sarafan Stronghold in Infiltrate the Stronghold and as Raziel escaped the underworld in Escape from the Elder God Chamber.[Defiance strategy guide][Defiance manual][Defiance]
- Checkpoints are directly referred to as such in game manuals and Prima guides;[Soul Reaver 2 manual][Soul Reaver 2 strategy guide (Prima)][Blood Omen 2 manual (UK)][Blood Omen 2 manual (US)][Blood Omen 2 strategy guide][Defiance manual][Defiance strategy guide] in their Soul Reaver 2 description, they are named as "checkpoint markers" in stage directions and vaguely referred to as "arcane landmark(s)" and "beacons" in dialogue[Soul Reaver 2][Soul Reaver 2/1].
- Checkpoints are only given an in-game description in Soul Reaver 2 and are not directly mentioned inBlood Omen 2 or Legacy of Kain: Defiance -it is not elaborated whether the later checkpoints are even visible to the protagonist or Nosgoth's population. Blood Omen 2's PS2 manual does describe them as "ancient symbols on the ground that light up when Kain steps over them", though this is not technically true of how the checkpoints function.[Blood Omen 2 manual (US)][Blood Omen 2 manual (UK)][Blood Omen 2]
- None of the checkpoint variants is given any detailed background or origin, though their presence inside sealed forges,[Soul Reaver 2/3][Soul Reaver 2/4][Soul Reaver 2/6][Soul Reaver 2/8] or vague descriptions as "ancient symbols"[Blood Omen 2 manual (US)][Blood Omen 2 manual (UK)] may imply an ancient vampire creation. There are however some markers that appear to change position, notably in Soul Reaver 2 a beacon is seen in the Circle's gathering-room as Raziel emerges into the Era following Blood Omen in A Fateful Meeting that was not present in the previous Pre-Blood Omen era. Presumably this particular beacon is placed for gameplay reasons.[Soul Reaver 2][Soul Reaver 2/5][Soul Reaver 2/1]
- The Soul Reaver 2 checkpoint design heavily evokes the Ouroboros symbol. In the real-world such symbols are typically associated with self reference and Cyclical destiny; and within the series they relate to Raziel's fate in Soul Reaver 2 and Defiance. The symbol is seen throughout those titles, notably featured on the floor of the Chapter House where the final confrontation between the wraith and Human Raziel occurs.[Soul Reaver 2][Defiance]
- The Blood Omen 2 checkpoints fit the 'blood splatter' theme that is presented in much of the promotional artwork and videos, in that the checkpoints grow into a blood-red splatter pattern that dulls to a brown/black color shortly after activation[Blood Omen 2].
- In terms of the gameplay mechanic checkpoints are similar to, or work in tandem with, the save altars seen in Blood Omen and Soul Reaver 2 as both similarly allowed a point to 'load' a game from.[Blood Omen][Soul Reaver 2] Although not directly related the warp gates of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver could also be used for similar reasons - allowing the protagonist to quickly return to a desired area after loading a game, providing they had first been activated before the initial save.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)][Soul Reaver manual (UK)][Soul Reaver strategy guide (Prima)]