"Vorador enjoyed his game. I was but a fledgling vampire to him – a child to be coaxed and baited. Vorador bore no ill towards his own kind, so long as I knew my place, he said, I would be safe."
―Kain — Listen (file info)[src]

Blood Omen Chess Match (Alpha)

The Chess match was a sequence intended to appear in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain in Vorador's Mansion in the eponymous chapter, serving as something of a boss encounter for the vampire Vorador. The sequence was ultimately removed from the final game as it was found to contain a number of bugs.

Profile[edit | edit source]

The Chess match was intended to appear at the end of the Vorador's Mansion chapter and acted as something of a boss encounter for Vorador. Just before Kain met with Vorador he was to enter a room where he would be challenged by Vorador to a chess match on a life size board with living beings as pieces which were moved using the Control Mind spell.

Watching the move made by Vorador, Kain was required to pick the correct piece and move it in the correct way to place Vorador in checkmate - this would result in all the pieces falling dead, Vorador congratulating Kain and the door to the dining room opening where Kain could meet with the elder vampire. Failure to pick the correct move would result in all of the pieces coming to life an turning on Kain - with it then necessary to fight and kill all of them for the door to open and Kain to progress.[1][2][Blood Omen]

The Chess match room

The sequence was ultimately removed before the retail release of Blood Omen due to the prevalence of bugs within.[1][3]

Background[edit | edit source]

"Why pretend, child? Face your fate as a mortal!"
―Vorador — Listen (file info)[src]

Although not implemented in the final game, the Chess match was one of the most well known pieces of cut content related to Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain. The sequence was publicized in early magazine review, previews and guides - notably issue 30 of EGM2 from December 1996 - which mentioned and featured images of the chess match.[1][2] The absence of the sequence from the final game caused Silicon Knights to address the issue in their FAQ.

"I read in a magazine that there was a chess match in Vorador's, but I can't find it:
There originally was a chess match in Vorador's Mansion, but a serious bug was discovered just prior to shipping, and in order to not delay the release, it was removed at the last minute.
The chess match was a board with real people on it, which Vorador had set up to challange Kain. Kain had to figure out which piece to move using the Control Mind spell, and, if he made a mistake, the pieces would come to life and attack him. The correct move was a classic chess checkmate. "

This acknowledged the existence of the chess match and also mentioned that it was removed due to bug issues. Later Crystal Dynamics test manager Chris Bruno also gave a similar account of the sequence:

"I remember testing the BO1 Vorador's Chess game, it just was not working very well towards the end of the development cycle, so it was cut"

Vorador's sprite

Some assets relating to the chess match do remain in the files of the retail version of the game with a sprite for Vorador present - where he only appears in cutscenes and as a corpse in the final version. Dialogue relating to the chess match was also found to still be present but unused in the final game.[Blood Omen][Blood Omen/Cut content][1][4]

Ultimately developmental alpha and beta versions of Blood Omen were found with the Chess match still present - showing that the Chess match had survived intact until quite late in the development process, although it still bore a number of bugs, glitches and issues that could easily disrupt gameplay.[Blood Omen] These showed that the sprite version of Vorador was indeed intended for use in the chess match, as was the dialogue - although it was not a continuous conversation but alternate lines, with some lines only used in certain versions.[1][4][Blood Omen][Blood Omen/Cut content]

Notes[edit | edit source]

The chess match in the EGM2 magazine guide

"Oh ho! So there IS fight in you after all! Heh heh.
Hmmm, perhaps there is more to you..."
―Vorador — Listen (file info)[src]
  • The move required to defeat Vorador in the chess match was noted in the Silicon Knights FAQ to be a classic checkmate.[1][3]
  • Although the reason for the removal of the chess match is commonly cited as due to its prevalent bugs and glitches, another potential issue is the possibility of player confusion at the sequence - the procedure is never explained and the even to someone familiar with both the game, chess and the sequence itself, the appropriate action to take can be unclear.[1][3][Blood Omen]
  • The Blood Omen alpha and betas have their own versions of the Developers' level select, each with different doorways and different passages functioning. These showed that the doorway marked "VOR" within the "Boss" directory - which was inaccessible in the retail version of the level select - was indeed intended to link to the chess match. Presumably access through the doorway was cut when the room and sequence were removed.[Blood Omen][5]
  • The room of the chess match is counted in files as "M0002909" (or "Map 0029 Sect 29") grouping it with the other areas of Vorador's Mansion.[Blood Omen]

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