- "As I neared the altar I suddenly felt the Reaver quickening of its own volition.
Just as in William's chapel, the balance of power tangibly shifted – voracious and willful, the Soul Reaver was now in control, and I, merely its helpless puppet.
The Reaver plunged itself into that mysterious altar – and devouring the energy that emanated from within, drained this place of its power.
Thus sated, the Reaver released me. And I realized, as I recovered control, that these ancient shrines were forges, each purpose-built to enhance the Reaver with elemental power."
- ―Raziel — Listen (file info)[src]
The Dark Forge was an elemental Reaver forge encountered by Raziel in Soul Reaver 2. Created by the Ancient vampires, the forge was located in the heart of the Swamp area in central Nosgoth and was the first elemental forge encountered by Raziel in the game, initially discovered and entered in the history preceding Blood Omen shortly after Raziel passed through the Subterranean Ruins and emerged in the swamp. Completing the puzzle of the forge Raziel was able to imbue the the Wraith Blade with elemental Darkness, creating the Dark Reaver.
- "Throughout this ancient shrine, murals depicted the winged race, and the apocalyptic war against their mysterious – and equally inhuman – adversaries. These winged beings, it seemed, were not only the architects of the Pillars but of this enigmatic place, as well. And just as in the Pillars chamber, this shrine was adorned throughout with imagery of the Reaver – depicted with the reverence of a holy icon."
- ―Raziel — Listen (file info)[src]
The Dark Forge was a playable location in Soul Reaver 2, indicated as one of the main areas on the World map - shown as encompassing an area in central Nosgoth north of the Swamp. The Forge was the first of the ancient elemental forges found by Raziel in Soul Reaver 2, being discovered and explored in the history preceding Blood Omen in Through the Swamp.[Soul Reaver 2][Soul Reaver 2/3]
Shortly after Raziel emerged from the Sarafan Stronghold in the history preceding Blood Omen, he discovered a sealed door in the cliffs surrounding the Great Southern Lake, marked by a distinctive symbol.[Soul Reaver 2/1] Investigating Nosgoth in this era, Raziel soon discovered a passageway leading away from the Pillars of Nosgoth and down into the Subterranean Ruins where he found the Subterranean Pillars Chamber and its murals depicting the events Before Nosgoth's recorded history.[Soul Reaver 2/2] Progressing through the ruins, Raziel soon surfaced in the dense canopy of the Swamp and found a number of distinctive ruins therein. Observing the vampire Vorador watching him from one of the high terraces around the Swamp, Raziel made his way around the Swamp until he reached the high terrace, where an unusual partially ruined building was positioned marked with the distinctive symbol seen earlier in the lake. Using the Wraith Blade Raziel was able to unseal the door and progress inside the Dark Forge.[Soul Reaver 2/3][Soul Reaver 2 strategy guide (Prima)]
Upon entering the forge, Raziel observed further murals depicting the events before Nosgoth's recorded history and the legendary war between the blue winged race and their equally inhuman adversaries. The Reaver was also present in these murals, depicted with "the reverence of a holy icon". Progressing further into the forge, Raziel was able to discover the main forge chamber, a dark shadowy room at the back of the forge with several distinctive murals, a large moon sculpture, an unusual circular altar and a small alcove room behind the moon containing a claw-like pedestal.[Soul Reaver 2/3][Soul Reaver 2 strategy guide (Prima)]
The main objective of the forge was to recover the polished Sun Disk and place it in the claw holder at the back of the main chamber of the forge and eventually bounce a beam of Sunlight through the forge to reflect off the disk and cause an eclipse effect on the forge altar as the beam was blocked by a moon-shaped sculpture.[Soul Reaver 2/3][Soul Reaver 2 strategy guide (Prima)]
This was achieved in several stages, with it notably necessary for Raziel to complete several light beam puzzles. First Raziel had to complete an eclipse-themed puzzle to open his way to the Sun disk on a pedestal on a high platform within the forge. Once the disk had been recovered and placed in the main chamber pedestal a different route was taken to a sundial-themed puzzle which allowed Raziel to activate a beam of light and bounce it through the forge and down to the sun disk pedestal in the main chamber below. Once this was completed the eclipse effect was completed, the main forge altar activated. Imbuing the Wraith Blade with the elemental Darkness therein created the Dark Reaver and activated all Dark-affiliated Reaver fonts.[Soul Reaver 2/3][Soul Reaver 2 strategy guide (Prima)]
After forging the Dark Reaver Raziel left the main chamber and encountered his first powered up font and realized that these served to temporarily imbue the wraith blade with specific elemental powers. Shortly after he also recognized the distinctive symbol he had seen earlier in the lake as representing elemental Darkness and realised he now had the means to enter the shrine in the lake. Returning to the Southern Lake, Raziel was able to use the Dark Reaver to unlock the sealed door and enter the Light Forge (Soul Reaver 2).[Soul Reaver 2/3][Soul Reaver 2 strategy guide (Prima)]
- "Concentric circles, one eclipsing the other...
I recognized this symbol from the door sealing that other ancient shrine – the one I had seen in the lake, outside the Sarafan Stronghold.
Perhaps now, armed as I was with the elemental power of darkness, I could return and gain entry."
- ―Raziel — Listen (file info)[src]
Design and Layout
Like the other elemental forges, The Dark Forge is illustrated on the World map simply as a Darkness symbol and no effort is made to outline its area. The forge appears to be in central Nosgoth, north of the Swamp and directly south of the Termogent Forest and a short distance southeast of the Lake of the Dead and southwest of Uschtenheim; though the layout of the forge would suggest it extended some way north of the swamp area, possibly underneath the Termogent Forest.[Soul Reaver 2/3][Soul Reaver 2]
In game, the Dark forge was accessed from a raised balcony above the north-west clearing of the Swamp, where a notably distinctive ruined structure was marked with several ziggurat-like tower and darkness symbols, as well as a central sealed door activated by Wraith Blade which led passed an external checkpoint and into the forge. Beyond the doorway a modest L-shaped hallway turned to the west, lined with square columns and decorated with several symbol-marked hexagonal roofing beams upto an arched element doorway topped by a Darkness symbol. Behind, the passage once again turned north passed through a gate and emerged in the entrance chambers of the forge.[Soul Reaver 2/3][Soul Reaver 2]
The first entrance chamber was a much larger, much more open courtyard-like expanse, containing Scalable walls at the eastern and western walls which led up to two raised balconies running along the tops of their respective walls, each lined with square columns and a small roof, and with the back balcony walls each bearing a long mural depicting the Vampire-Hylden war and the events Before Nosgoth's recorded history. At the northern end, the courtyard was topped by two ziggurat-like towers and at the ground level a large arched doorway led further into the mid-chamber. Above at the balcony level, two modest staircases led from the northern end of their respective balconies and curved inwards and upwards to reach a high northern opening above the archway overlooking the mid-chamber.[Soul Reaver 2/3][Soul Reaver 2]
The mid-chamber was another open courtyard area, slightly wider than the entrance chamber with two ziggurat marked constructions in the eastern and western walls and a partially collapsed bridge running north-south across the center of the second level the chamber, connecting the entrance chamber balcony in the south with another balcony with a wide arched doorway at the north of the room. On the ground level, several doorways were placed around the room: in the foot of the western construction, a doorway led into a modest room containing a Darkness-attuned Reaver font; another entrance in the western construction (accessed from the south of the construction) headed west off to the double-level chamber containing the Sun Disk (which was initially too high to reach). At the north of the mid-chamber an initially inactive doorway was blazoned with an image of the golden sun disk and would be activated by its presence, whilst directly above it the second level balcony was decorated with images of crowds of Ancient vampires and one in particular prominently armed with the Reaver around the open archway leading north into the main activation chamber.[Soul Reaver 2/3][Soul Reaver 2]
The Main activation chamber itself was a much more enclosed and darker space, covered by a curved ceiling complete with many curved rib-like beams that led down into square columns decorated with the phases of the moon. Around the top of the chamber, images again illustrated crowds of Ancient vampires along with another prominent single figure in the north with a familiar visage, while beneath the chamber extended slightly further to several doorways and features. In the south of the chamber both the ground-level Sealed door and the second level open archway led back into the mid-chamber, and a large Rotatable reflector also positioned towards the middle of the south of the room was present, allowing the player to bounce beams of Sunlight onto Light-activated doors in the west and east of the room, providing access further into the forge. In the middle of the north of the room was positioned the circular forge altar on the floor, with a large purple crystal positioned directly above it, suspended from the ceiling. At the far north of the chamber, a large sculpture depicted the moon and beyond this a small staircase led upto a modest circular chamber containing a disk holder and a small areas of decorated flooring resembling the sun disk, as well as a small circular hole in the ceiling which allowed light to reach the holder.[Soul Reaver 2/3][Soul Reaver 2]
The various remaining passageways leading out of the activation chamber (and mid-chamber) led into the remaining rooms of the forge:
- The eastern door led eastwards down another 'column and hexagonal beam' corridor, briefly tuning north and passing through a gate and by a large fire brazier before heading east again out to another large open courtyard chamber. This room contained several small structures built into layers of covered roofing, but most prominently featured a large tree in the center of the room, with a platform embedded in its high branches. Constructions were positioned at the east and west end of the chamber, leading from a smaller building and down an small staircase into the courtyard and across to a larger two-level layered construction in the west. At the north and south were two Scalable walls which allowed access to two high ledges among the roofs to reach the tree platform in the center and then the high second-level entrance in the western construction. Beyond this doorway, the passage reached a small square room marked with another arched element doorway in the south, where Raziel would be confronted with a Swordsman thrall carrying the Emblem key which would open the door.[Soul Reaver 2/3][Soul Reaver 2]
- Continuing through the triangular passage south led into the nearby eclipse room; a room featuring a central Rotatable reflector on a square platform beneath a ceiling opening closed by a Wraith Blade (or Material Reaver) marked shutter which could be opened with a Reaver bolt, allowing natural light to stream in. At the four corners of the platform were positioned four obelisks, with the southwest obelisk carrying a particular 'eclipsed obelisk' design and able to moved as a regular block, and the northwest obelisk having a broken tip which allowed it to be climbed.Around the walls of the chamber were positioned four sun designs, each obscured in various phases as though by an eclipse -leading from the 'full' sun on the northern wall above the entrance passage, the eclipsed phase grew with each clockwise image until presenting a total 'eclipse' on the western wall. By releasing the light from its source, manipulating the direction of the reflector dish and moving the nearby obelisk to cast a shadow beneath the 'total eclipse' sun caused the sun image itself to dissolve providing a high passage heading west, reachable from the top of the broken obelisk.[Soul Reaver 2/3][Soul Reaver 2]
- Following the high circular passage through to the west led to the top of the sun disk room; a high two-level chamber with a raised balcony containing the Sun Disk in a holder to the east, overlooked by the (previously dissolved through) sun symbol. On the northern and southern walls were positioned two murals depicting strange figures apparently in conflict. The only area accessible beneath the platform was in the west where a planar portal was present in the Spectral Realm and a small staircase led back up to the eastern door in the mid-chamber.[Soul Reaver 2/3][Soul Reaver 2]
- The western door in the activation chamber passed through a gate and then led up a small staircase, decorated similarly to the previous 'column and hexagonal beam' corridors, before turning to the north at a rotatable reflector and passing between two obelisks (one of which was movable) and dropping down into the Reflector room. The reflector room was a large two-level chamber dominated by a raised platform in the north containing a large rotatable reflector and surrounded by lower level drops including a circular area surrounding the platform and an open square 'courtyard'-like area to the south, with a planar portal placed at the far north of the lower circular area. Above the 'courtyard' area murals on the eastern and western walls depicted a crowd of Ancient vampires gathered at an edge and in spectral the image would alter to show the lead vampire walking across the gap on a mysterious bridge. By activating the light stream, rotating the reflector and moving the obelisk to cast a show across the chamber, Raziel was able to spawn his first shadow bridge and cross to the high reflector platform in the north. Here the chamber was decorated similarly to the eclipse room with a central rotatable reflector surrounded by four circular swirl patterns on the walls, although the platform was notably surrounded by gaps to the areas beneath. Again by unleashing the light stream from the ceiling by Reaver bolt and turning to face the circular opening in the east would cause the light to dissolve through it, leading down a modest staircase to the sundial room.[Soul Reaver 2/3][Soul Reaver 2]
- The sundial room itself was a semi-circular chamber dominated by a semi-circular sundial like object on the floor of the chamber with a raised 'fin' and marked with several swirl and eclipse patterns at appropriate intervals. Above on the ceiling another band of swirl and eclipse patterns ran east-west, with another reflected embedded in the ceiling which moved in turn with the sundial fin. Around the outside of the chamber were several circular pillar constructions and several wall murals depicting various light swirls and familiar humanoid mural. On the floor directly east ('above') the sundial was a circular sun symbol around a hole in the floor which led down to the sun disk holder in the main activation chamber, and by manipulating the position of the fin, Raziel could bounce the light from the reflector room down into the activation chamber below and bounce it off the (properly placed) Sun Disk to focus it on the moon sculpture and cause an eclipse effect on the forge crystal, which activated the forge.[Soul Reaver 2/3][Soul Reaver 2]
From the main forge altar chamber ("Dark2"):
- The western sun activated doorway leads up a staircase ("Dark11") to the top level of the Reflector puzzle room ("Dark8"). From here an eastern passage leads to the sundial puzzle room ("Dark9"), where a hole drops back into the main chamber ("Dark2")
- The northern alcove ("Dark9") contains the Sun Disk holder an a hole in the ceiling (drop through only) which connects to the Sundial room above ("Dark9")
- The western sun activated doorway leads down a Z-shaped corridor ("Dark12") to the open tree and platform room ("Dark13") where a high doorway in the east leads to a small chamber with an elemental door in the south. This leads into the eclipse puzzle room ("Dark3") with a high western passage leading to the top level of the two-tiered Sun Disk chamber ("Dark6")
- The southern bottom level Reaver doorway and the second level balcony opening both lead out into the mid-forge chamber ("Dark1") at their respective levels.
From the mid-forge chamber ("Dark1"):
- The northern bottom level Sun Disk doorway and second level collapsed bridge/balcony opening both lead into the main forge altar chamber ("Dark2")
- The western doorway lead to a small chamber containing a Dark Reaver font ("Dark1")
- The eastern doorway leads to the bottom level of the the two-tiered Sun Disk chamber ("Dark6"), where a high opening at the east of the second tier (accessible only from above) leads into the eclipse puzzle room ("Dark3")
- The southern bottom level doorway and collapsed bridge/balcony opening both lead south into the mural chamber ("Dark1")where a scalable wall allows access to the higher level. A doorway in the South leads down the entrance corridors ("Dark5" and "Dark4") to the raised balcony in the Swamp ("Swamp2")
The external Dark Forge facade and Swamp areas bear many features which reference the similar environment seen in the nearby Termogent Forest in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, with the forest and swamp terrain, ruined battlements and Ignis Fatuus all observed in the Blood Omen area.[Blood Omen][Blood Omen/6]Like the other forges of Soul Reaver 2 The general environment also bears architectural elements from real-world ancient temples, with which much of the architecture of the ruins and designed for Soul Reaver 2 inspired by real-world ancient Cambodian temples and the architecture and scenery of the Khmer Empire and Angkor regions; in particular structures such as Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm. Much of the Angkor region is covered by low lying heavily forested swamp terrain, with over a thousand temples in various states of abandonment and repair positioned throughout the area. In common with its real-world counterparts, the Swamp area in Soul Reaver 2 notably contained many ruined structures and features apparently "abandoned to the encroaching swamp". Of the ruins observed in game, only the time-streaming chamber and the Dark forge were formally identified and many of the other ruins were either too high to reach or otherwise inaccessible,[Soul Reaver 2][Soul Reaver 2/3] though more was planned for these areas during the development of Soul Reaver 2.
The Dark Forge also seems to be one of the first playable sections of Soul Reaver 2 completed - it is unclear if any sections were completed for the cancelled Dreamcast version before the title was moved to the PlayStation 2, though prerelease imagery as early as the Dreamcast version depicts a number of locations visually identifiable as within the Dark forge. These images reveal a number of changes to the area and game mechanics during the development of Soul Reaver 2: in many places subtle differences can be seen in minor artistic flourishes, completely different murals are seen on occasion and a number of statues and other features were moved or removed during development.
- The "Dark Forge" is named as such in Soul Reaver 2 stage directions[Soul Reaver 2/3] and the Prima guide.[Soul Reaver 2 strategy guide (Prima)] Under Debug menus and game files the internal forge area is broken down into several chambers each listed under the main "Dark" entry. The rooms are listed as: "Dark1" - the mid forge chambers with the collapsed bridge and mural room, "Dark2" - the main forge activation chamber, "Dark3" - the eclipse puzzle room, "Dark4" - the Dark forge entrance corridor, "Dark5" - the element door at the end of the dark forge entrance corridor, "Dark6" - the two tiered chamber containing the Sun Disk, "Dark8" - the Reflector puzzle room, "Dark9" - the Sundial room, "Dark11" - the staircase leading between the main altar chamber and the reflector puzzle room, "Dark12" - the corridor leading between the main altar chamber and the tree/platform room and "Dark13" - the tree-platform room and adjoining element door chamber. The areas all only exist in one era, the history preceding Blood Omen. None of the internal forge areas are formally named, though the "eclipse room", "reflector room" and "sundial room" are titled as such in the Prima guide.[Soul Reaver 2 strategy guide (Prima)]
- Through the Swamp marks the formal introduction of the Dark forge as a playable location in the history preceding Blood Omen - the area cannot be entered before this time as Raziel has not yet reached the location, or revisited after this time as the forge seals itself shut.[Soul Reaver 2/3][Soul Reaver 2] The facade of the forge is still visible and bears the 'completed forge' seal design in both the Era following Blood Omen[Soul Reaver 2/5][Soul Reaver 2/7][Soul Reaver 2] and Nosgoth's early history, despite the latter taking place several centuries before Raziel even entered the forge.[Soul Reaver 2/7][Soul Reaver 2/9][Soul Reaver 2] The Dark forge does not recur in later titles, though a different Dark Forge is encountered within the Vampire Citadel in Legacy of Kain: Defiance.[Defiance][Defiance/4][Defiance/7][Defiance/9]
- Through the Swamp and the Dark forge feature a number of debuting concepts and gameplay mechanics that will be reused throughout Soul Reaver 2 and even in later titles. These include: the first Rotatable reflectors, Emblem keys, Undead and Thrall variant enemies in forges, main mural explanation highlighting ancient history, movable Reflector dishes, Sunlight and light-related puzzles, elemental Darkness, crystals sensitive to light/darkness, plot-related Wraith Blade enhancements, Reaver fonts and Sealed doors. A shadow bridge is also used for the first time, spawned by casting a shadow from an obelisk across a canyon; later Shadow bridges will rely on Dark Reaver-attuned Shadow Bridge activation plates to power them.[Soul Reaver 2/3]
- The Dark Forge features a unique weapon variant design that is found exclusively within that forge, in this case a unique staff design which functions the same as other two handed weapons. This trend is repeated in later Soul Reaver 2 forges.[Soul Reaver 2/3][Soul Reaver 2]
- Several significant murals are seen in the Dark forge and some relate to significant events and concepts in the history of Nosgoth and the forge itself:
- Repeated imagery throughout the forge depicts the Darkness symbol, relating to the elemental alignment of the forge. Reaver symbols are also prominent throughout, relating to the weapon it enhances.[Soul Reaver 2/3][Soul Reaver 2]
- The two murals in the entrance mural room depict the war between the winged race and their adversaries in the period Before Nosgoth's recorded history. The winged race are depicted in flight and on horseback and several structures appear in the background that may represent ancient architecture and the Dark forge itself. Curiously the Reaver blade is depicted in the final image despite apparently being forged after the war; it is unclear if its meaning here is prophetic and related to the role of Vampire champion.[Soul Reaver 2/3][Soul Reaver 2]
- Murals on the outside of the archway leading to the activation chamber feature crowds of Ancient vampires, above these are a border of other subtle symbols , featuring dragons, Ouroboroses and other idol figures. Most prominently featured is a taller ancient vampire armed with the Reaver, who may relate to the guardian of the Reaver Janos Audron or the prophetic figure of the Vampire champion, revealed later to be Raziel.[Soul Reaver 2/3][Soul Reaver 2][Defiance] The character seems to be virtually identical to one depicted later in murals in the Air forge.[Soul Reaver 2/6]
- Murals around the inside of the activation chamber also depict crowds of ancient vampires heading towards the back of the room where a single vampire is positioned flanked by two Darkness symbol-bearing gates. Though depicted as winged, the vampire bears a striking resemblance to Kain and may represent the prophetic role of the Scion of Balance.[Soul Reaver 2/3][Soul Reaver 2]
- Repeated imagery depicts the Sun and phases of the moon, as such these may relate to the elemental association of the forge or the components necessary to complete the forge, particularly to the Sun Disk Light beams and eclipse/shadow methods used throughout the forge.[Soul Reaver 2/3][Soul Reaver 2]
- Two murals in the sun disk room depict two figures holding clubs, apparently in conflict beneath a dark sun, with differing backgrounds; as such this image may represent the Vampire-Hylden war.[Soul Reaver 2/3][Soul Reaver 2]
- Two murals in the reflector room depict crowds of ancient vampires at the edge of a chasm. In the spectral realm this changes, showing a bridge extending and a vampire crossing over. This demonstrates the nearby usage of a Shadow bridge.[Soul Reaver 2/3][Soul Reaver 2]
- The Sundial room contains a mural of a humanoid man that was previously featured in the Fire Glyph Altar in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver.[Soul Reaver 2/3][Soul Reaver 2][Soul Reaver] The same area also features an unusual diagram of shapes, flanked by squids, which is similar to the complex triangular symbol seen in the Sunlight Glyph altar at the Sunlight Glyph Altar.[Soul Reaver 2/3][Soul Reaver 2][Soul Reaver]
- Several cutscenes in the Dark forge will play out in slightly different fashion depending on the components of the puzzle completed at that stage (so a puzzle with a light beam, reflector and block will play out differently depending upon which parts are completed first.) The routes through the dark forge are also interchangeable, meaning that either route (Sun disk or reflector/light beam) can be completed first.[Soul Reaver 2/3][Soul Reaver 2]
Murals and Textures
- Through the Swamp
- Sun Disk
- Dark Reaver (Soul Reaver 2)
- Soul Reaver 2 Bonus Material - The Reaver Forges at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln).
- Soul Reaver 2 - Map of Nosgoth at Nosgothic Realm (by Tenaya)
- Soul Reaver 2 - Map of Nosgoth at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni)
- The (almost) definitive Legacy of Kain maps thread at the Eidos Forums (by Shrykull/Bazielim) (preserved at Cult of Hash'ak'gik)
- Various art and plot questions at DCabDesign (by Dubiel), post #2 (by Daniel Cabuco)
- My Visit to Crystal Dynamics at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- The Ruins in the Swamp at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Vampires (Soul Reaver 2) at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Soul Reaver 2 questions at DCabDesign (by Raina Audron), post #2 (by Daniel Cabuco)
- Soul Reaver 2 for the Sega Dreamcast at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- SR2 Dreamcast version at DCabDesign (by Raina Audron), post #2 (by Daniel Cabuco)
- Soul Reaver 2 questions at DCabDesign (by Raina Audron), post #2 (by Daniel Cabuco)
- Early Versions of Soul Reaver 2 at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)