The compass was an instrument used to aid navigation. Compasses appeared along with several maps of Nosgoth and in Soul Reaver 2 a compass was featured as part of gameplay, appearing as a dial in the upper left corner which indicated the direction the player was looking. This could also be combined with the in-game World map to assist navigation through the game world.
The Compass was an additional display designed to aid navigation. Compasses could be seen on official maps of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, Soul Reaver 2 and Blood Omen 2, however only Soul Reaver 2 presented a compass within the game which could be accessed along with the World map or actively used in gameplay.[Blood Omen][Blood Omen strategy guide][Soul Reaver 2][Soul Reaver 2 manual][Blood Omen 2]
The compass rose was a part of the heads-up display in game, positioned in the upper-left corner of the screen as a semi-transparent dial. It displayed north, south, east, and west, and its needle always aligned with the direction associated with the present perspective, roatating as Raziel navigated the game world. It could prove useful in conjunction with the world map. When Raziel chose to examine his surroundings, the compass would always accurately display the direction the camera was currently facing, and align itself accordingly if it looked left or right. North was marked in red.[Soul Reaver 2][Soul Reaver 2 manual]
Unlike the map, the compass was not linked to the ring menu. Instead, it was usually passively visible in the top left corner of the interface. It was possible to disable its presence.[Soul Reaver 2][Soul Reaver 2 manual]
Crystal Dynamics did not implement the compass feature in Soul Reaver 2 until some time after May 2000. Amy Hennig mentioned in an interview that it was introduced as a player aid, in response to criticism of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver that determining directions within the game world was difficult. She said, "we knew it was a problem, and it was just one of those things that just in the rush, we really have to get it out, we just said that's unfortunate, but there's nothing we can do about it. It's too big of a problem. [...] Well, what we're going to do is, we haven't done it yet, but we're going to put a compass on the screen". The world map was included for similar reasons.
Since its inception into the game, at least three different iterations of the compass display have existed, with two different versions appearing in previous builds before the final design was settled upon; as evidenced by the three versions of the compass that appear in pre-release images. The initial design featured a bright yellow dial with bright blue lettering and 'V' shaped arrow. Some time later this was updated to an all golden design with an orange highlight on the north marker. The final design which appeared in the retail version of the game toned the gold down to a burnt orange color and highlighted north in red. The early Soul Reaver 2 build used in the Air Forge demo notably uses the blue compass.[Soul Reaver 2]
- The functioning of the compass is slightly misrepresented in some sources, including the manual. The manual states: "the compass rotates to show you which direction Raziel is facing", however in-game the compass rotates along with the camera, showing the direction it is facing rather than that of Raziel.[Soul Reaver 2 manual][Soul Reaver 2]
- Although compasses were not seen as discreet objects in-universe and were most frequently encountered as part of the player orientated heads up display, the presence of compass roses on maps and repeated mentions of related directional language in dialogue suggests that compasses and the directions north, south, east and west do exist within Nosgoth in the same manner as the real world.[Blood Omen][Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver 2][Blood Omen 2][Defiance]
- World map
- Map of Nosgoth (Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain) at Nosgothic Realm (by Tenaya and Guilherme Coelho).
- Map of Nosgoth (Soul Reaver 2) at Nosgothic Realm (by Tenaya and Guilherme Coelho).
- Maps (Blood Omen 2) at Nosgothic Realm (by Tenaya and Guilherme Coelho).
- Soul Reaver 2: Director's Interview - PlayStation 2 Feature at IGN (by Douglass Perry), page 4
- Soul Reaver 2: Director's Interview - PlayStation 2 Feature at IGN (by Douglass Perry), page 5
- Toutes les images de Soul Reaver 2 at Gamekult
- Screenshots zu Soul Reaver 2 at 4Players
- Early versions of Soul Reaver 2 at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- The Air Forge demo at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)