- "An eternity passed, and my torment receded, bringing me back from the precipice of madness. The descent had destroyed me... and yet I lived."
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver is a third-person action-adventure video game, developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Eidos Interactive. It was released for the PlayStation and Microsoft Windows in 1999, and for the Dreamcast in 2000. As the second game in the Legacy of Kain series, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver is the sequel to 1996's Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, developed by Silicon Knights. It was succeeded by three games, one of which - Soul Reaver 2 - is a direct sequel.
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver begins 1500 years after the events of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, and chronicles the journey of the vampire-turned-wraith Raziel, lieutenant to Kain (the protagonist of the original game). Raziel is executed by Kain, but is revived by the Elder God to become his "soul reaver" and to exact revenge. Raziel shares this title with Kain's sword, the Soul Reaver, which he acquires during the game.
Crystal Dynamics began development of the game in 1997, but a deteriorating relationship with Silicon Knights created legal problems. This and other delays forced material originally planned for Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver to be excised or reworked into later entries in the series. The game was generally well-received by critics, attaining a score of 91 on Metacritic, and being praised for its Gothic story and high-quality graphics. However, it was criticized for simple and repetitive gameplay and an unsatisfying climax.
Backstory and setting
- "Do you suppose that time stood still for you, Raziel? Much has changed since you passed from the world of men."
- ―The Elder God
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver takes place within the fictional land of Nosgoth, where the health of the world is tied to the nine Pillars of Nosgoth, and each Pillar in turn is represented by a Guardian.[Blood Omen/2] Before the events of the game, the Guardians became corrupted, and, after Kain killed them in the events of Blood Omen to restore their Pillars, he discovered that he was the final one, representing the Pillar of Balance.[Blood Omen/3][Blood Omen/12] Refusing to sacrifice himself to restore the Pillars, he doomed Nosgoth to eternal decay and, five centuries later, proceeded to raise his vampire lieutenants, including Raziel, to besiege the land.[Soul Reaver/1][Soul Reaver/9][Soul Reaver 2] Victorious, he set his throne in the ruins of the Pillar of Balance, and established his empire.
Kain's conquest of the land was quickly successful. "Turning" the corpses of their slain enemies, his lieutenants each raised vampire clans, and - within a hundred years - humanity was considered "thoroughly domesticated", with the exception of some vampire hunters roaming the hinterlands in hopes of pursuing their holy war. Employing slaves, the vampires constructed the Sanctuary of the Clans around the Pillars of Nosgoth to signify their new renaissance, and built the Smokestack, a huge furnace, to incessantly belch smoke into the sky, shielding their bodies from the effects of the sun. Kain and his sons formed the Council, ruling the dystopian wreckage of Nosgoth together. Over time, they grew increasingly bored, and pit their clans against each other for amusement.
By the time of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver's introductory cinematic - 1500 years after the conclusion of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain - the humans have been decimated, and the vampire clans have each claimed a region of Nosgoth and turned their attention to internal matters.[Soul Reaver 2][Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/6] Unbeknownst to the vampires, beneath Nosgoth lurks the Elder God, an ancient and powerful entity. The Elder God controls the Wheel of Fate, a cycle of reincarnation of souls that circle the Wheel in a loop of predestination. However, because vampires are immortal, their souls do not spin with the Wheel, putatively causing the land to decay as the Wheel stalls.[Soul Reaver/1][Soul Reaver/2] By the time that Raziel is revived, 500 years after the game's opening cinematic, Nosgoth is on the brink of complete ecological collapse.[Soul Reaver/2]
- "I know you, Raziel. You are worthy."
- ―The Elder God
Of the original cast from Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, three characters (Kain, Ariel and Moebius) return in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, with all others making their debut appearances in the series.[Soul Reaver][Blood Omen] Crystal Dynamics considered it important to ensure that their writing, acting and voice direction was "compelling" and "intelligent", hoping to perpetuate the precedent Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain had set with an "original storyline, complex characters, high-quality writing and voice acting, and its fresh approach to vampire mythology".
- The protagonist of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver is the vampire-turned-wraith Raziel (voiced by Michael Bell), whom Kain casts to his death at the beginning of the game.[Soul Reaver] Raziel was conceived by Crystal Dynamics' Amy Hennig and Seth Carus, both of whom had worked alongside Silicon Knights to design Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, and concept artist Arnold Ayala. "Many iterations" of the character were considered before they "were able to collectively stand back and say, "yep, that's him"". The character of Cesare from the 1920 silent film The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari provided one of the "first seeds of inspiration" for his creation. His name, meaning "Secret[s] of God", was derived directly from Rabbinic lore, and other mythological associations helped to determine some of his features, such as his blue skin - borrowed from the Hindu deity Vishnu - and his "fallen angel" wings. Although the main character, he was deliberately written to encompass elements of villainy as well as heroism. Raziel's characteristic clan symbol was designed by creature art lead Daniel Cabuco, and resembles a question mark (or tears, when turned upside down). Just as Kain did in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, Raziel frequently narrates events, his surroundings and his thoughts through the literary device of retrospective soliloquy.[Soul Reaver][Blood Omen]
- Although Kain (Simon Templeman) was the protagonist of the previous game, Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, he is the primary antagonist, villain and final boss of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver.[Soul Reaver][Blood Omen] Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain concluded with a multiple-choice ending, in which Kain could elect to heal or damn Nosgoth.[Blood Omen/12] The Crystal Dynamics team decided to establish that the latter choice was canonical, feeling that "it would be interesting to fast foward a millennia [sic] or two, to see what Kain's decision engendered". His actions throughout the game appear to be highly villainous and malevolent, but sequels reveal justifications and rational motivations for each of them: Amy Hennig stated that "Kain is by no means a monster or mustache-twirling villain [...] in many ways, he's a more complex and sympathetic character than Raziel himself".[Soul Reaver 2][Defiance] Daniel Cabuco redesigned him under the premise that he "sees himself as a 'Dark God'", and his symbol represents "his arrogance (the Crown) and his vamprism (the Fangs)". Cabuco strived to tie him back to his Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain incarnation, adding a scar on his chest where he was assassinated as a human in the original game, and re-introducing Vorador's Signet Ring as part of his costume, with Hennig's approval. He wields the Soul Reaver sword (also from Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain) in the early stages of the game, but it later falls into Raziel's possession.[Soul Reaver][Blood Omen]
- The Elder God (Tony Jay) resurrects and assists Raziel, explains the game's controls, and describes previous events in the story.[Soul Reaver] In Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver he is presented almost exclusively as a beneficent and pedagogical figure, but as the series progresses, he transitions into its main antagonist.[Soul Reaver 2][Defiance] The Elder resembles "a giant squid", and was inspired by Gnostic myth - specifically, the concept of the Demiurge.[Soul Reaver 2/3]
- Ariel (Anna Gunn), who preceded Kain as Nosgoth's Balance Guardian, again appears as a specter and offers Raziel advice on occasion.[Blood Omen/2][Soul Reaver] Bound to haunt the Pillars of Nosgoth indefinitely by Kain's refusal, she seeks to assist in his destruction.[Soul Reaver/6]
- During his quest, Raziel meets the members of the Council, his vampire peers and brethren - Melchiah (Bell), Zephon (Jay), Rahab (Neil Ross) and Dumah (Templeman) - who serve as the game's bosses.[Soul Reaver] Having inherited the corruption in Kain's soul, the Council members have devolved into grotesque, monstrous beings by the time Raziel returns to Nosgoth; each one has adopted the warped traits of an animal in accordance with their personality (Zephon, for instance, has mutated to resemble a giant spider or insect, and Rahab is fish-like). Each is the progenitor and leader of a vampire clan, the fledgling and adult members of which serve as Raziel's enemies, and has developed different powers that Raziel partially gains by killing them and devouring their souls.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)]
Moebius the Time Streamer (Richard Doyle), the Time Guardian and a major antagonist in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, is depicted as a statue, and makes a brief appearance in person in the game's epilogue.[Blood Omen][Soul Reaver/14][Soul Reaver/15] Raziel also encounters, and is required to defeat, the Tomb Guardian (Doyle), a vampire and minor antagonist.[Soul Reaver/9] The characters of Mortanius and Vorador, both significant figures from the previous game, do not appear, but are mentioned in dialogue, and Vorador is depicted in a stained glass image.[Soul Reaver/6][Soul Reaver/9]
- "Redeem yourself. Or if you prefer, avenge yourself. Settle your dispute with Kain. Destroy Him and your brethren. Free their souls and let the wheel of fate churn again. Use your hatred to reave their souls... I can make it possible. Become my soul reaver, my angel of death..."
- ―The Elder God
The game's prologue takes place 1500 years after the events of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, and immediately after the events of the promotional Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver comic.[Soul Reaver 2][Soul Reaver comic] Beginning the story, Raziel narrates, explaining that Kain has been deified in Nosgoth since his fateful refusal at the Pillars, and that few know the truth: that "he was mortal once", but his "contempt for humanity drove him to create" Raziel and his brethren. Raziel was the first-born of Kain's lieutenants, and has served him for a millennium.[Soul Reaver/1] With the passing of time, Kain and his descendants physically evolved: they would periodically "enter the state of change and emerge with a new gift", becoming less human and more "divine". Always, Kain would evolve first, with his descendants following after, but never surpassing him.[Soul Reaver/1][Soul Reaver manual (US)]
The vampire Raziel arrives at the Pillars of Nosgoth in the Sanctuary of the Clans to attend a gathering with his five brethren and Kain. He approaches Kain's throne and bows before it in supplication, but extends newly-fledged wings - his latest evolutionary development - signifying that he has surpassed Kain, and has therefore committed the "ultimate blasphemy".[Soul Reaver/1] Kain reacts with surprise, and begins to examine the wings; in an act of "seemingly egotistical sadism", he suddenly tears the bones from Raziel's shoulders, to the shock of the other lieutenants.[Soul Reaver/1] On Kain's command, the wounded Raziel is borne to the Lake of the Dead, a large whirlpool and execution ground, where Kain orders Turel and Dumah to "cast him in". The Lake's water burns Raziel's vampiric flesh like acid, destroying his body.[Soul Reaver/1]
After enduring "relentless agony" for 500 years, Raziel's torment finally recedes, and he awakens in the Abyss, now a creature of the Spectral Realm: a devourer of souls.[Soul Reaver/1] The Elder God addresses him, having resurrected him to become his "soul reaver" and kill Kain, thus restoring Nosgoth. Though repulsed by the "pitiful form" he now inhabits, Raziel listens as the Elder describes the Wheel of Fate, Nosgoth's imbalance and the plague of the vampires. Tempted by the opportunity to avenge himself, he silently consents to pursuing this quest for vengeance. With the Elder God's guidance, Raziel adapts to this new existence, being tutored about warp gates, soul devouring, Sluagh, and gliding with the use of his ruined wings, and leaves the Underworld.[Soul Reaver/1]
The Soul Reaver
- "From this moment and ever afterward, you and this blade are inextricably bound. Soul Reaver and reaver of souls, your destinies are intertwined."
- ―The Elder God
Raziel finds a planar portal and shifts back into the Material Realm, but learns that Nosgoth has changed significantly for the worse since his execution.[Soul Reaver/2] The Dumahim, Dumah's vampire clan and descendants, have malformed into "foul, scuttling beasts", and the Sanctuary of the Clans lies crumbling in ruin; Nosgoth's "unraveling" has "nearly played out".[Soul Reaver/2] Returning to the Lake of the Dead, Raziel is able to determine the direction of his own clan territory, but finds it utterly desolate when he arrives; his vampire clan has ostensibly been eradicated by Kain, futher fuelling his rage against his former master.[Soul Reaver/3] Infiltrating a Necropolis inhabited by the Melchahim vampires, Raziel finds his brother Melchiah, who has devolved into a beast unable to sustain his own flesh.[Soul Reaver/4][Soul Reaver/5]
After Raziel kills Melchiah and absorbs his soul, thus obtaining the ability to phase through gates, he confronts Kain at the ruined Pillars of Nosgoth in the Sanctuary of the Clans.[Soul Reaver/5][Soul Reaver/6] Incredibly, Kain is not surprised to see Raziel, apparently having even been expecting him, and implies that he has indeed destroyed Raziel's clan, which only enrages Raziel even further. When Raziel begins to criticize him, Kain simply launches a tirade against him before noting what has become of the empire and engaging him in combat. Kain quickly overpowers Raziel and attempts to strike him down with the Soul Reaver, a powerful sword that "[thrives] by devouring the souls of its enemies"; however, the Reaver shatters when it strikes Raziel, and Kain escapes, strangely satisfied.[Soul Reaver/6]
Raziel enters the Spectral Realm to find that the soul-devouring entity trapped within the Reaver - the Wraith Blade - has been freed. As he touches it, it "inextricably" binds itself to him, becoming his symbiotic weapon. After this, Raziel meets Ariel, who restores his strength, and offers to guide him in the future.[Soul Reaver/6] Raziel ventures into the Silenced Cathedral, once inhabited by the humans, and fights the Zephonim clan and their Vampire worshippers. After ascending into the cathedral's spires, he finds that Zephon is now a large arachnid or insect-type creature, whose body has merged into the enclave in which he dwells. Raziel kills Zephon, and thus receives the power to scale walls.[Soul Reaver/7][Soul Reaver/8]
The Tomb of the Sarafan
- "Take heed, Raziel. A forgotten history lies within. Know thyself - though it may destroy you..."
- ―The Elder God
Using the powers he has gained, Raziel discovers and infiltrates the Tomb of the Sarafan, an ancient crypt where the leaders of the Sarafan (a fanatical brotherhood of vampire hunters, killed centuries before Kain's birth) were entombed.[Soul Reaver/9][Blood Omen/5][Blood Omen/6] To Raziel's horror, he finds that the crypt was designated for him and his brothers; as cruel irony, Kain revived the Sarafan to serve him as his vampire sons.[Soul Reaver/9] They were "too long dead" to remember their Sarafan roots when resurrected, and remained completely ignorant of their heritage. Raziel ventures through a secret passage under the crypt, where he is accosted by the Tomb Guardian, a Turelim vampire. He kills the attacker, and finds a relic which grants him the ability to wield telekinetic force projectiles.[Soul Reaver/9]
In a Drowned Abbey inhabited by the Rahabim clan, Raziel learns that Rahab's children have overcome their vampiric vulnerability to water, and mutated into amphibians - Rahab himself has become a merman-like being.[Soul Reaver/10][Soul Reaver/11] Raziel tells Rahab what he has learned about their human pasts, but Rahab is unmoved, claiming that Kain "saved" them "from themselves", and attacks. By blasting windows in Rahab's lair, Raziel exposes his brother to sunlight, killing him, and devours his soul, thus gaining the ability to swim.[Soul Reaver/11] He then crosses the Lake of the Dead to the abandoned fortress of his brother, Dumah.[Soul Reaver/12]
Ash Village is strewn with Dumahim corpses, and Raziel realizes that Dumah must have been killed. He suspects that Kain was responsible, but the Elder God corrects him, explaining that the Dumahim were overcome by a vampire hunter ambush.[Soul Reaver/12] Exploring the city, Raziel eventually finds Dumah shackled to his throne, his heart pierced by stakes. Raziel revives Dumah, who thanks him, but Raziel refutes this gratitude, still aggreived that Dumah unquestioningly threw him into the Abyss. He lures Dumah into a giant Furnace, burning him alive, and devours his soul, obtaining the ability to constrict foes and manipulate switches with bands of energy.[Soul Reaver/13]
- "At last.
I must say I'm disappointed in your progress. I imagined you would be here sooner.
Tell me - did it trouble you to murder your brothers?"
East of Ash Village, Raziel discovers the Oracle's Cave, a cavern where Moebius the Time Streamer once hid the Chronoplast, a time machine. Finding a statue of Moebius, Raziel reflects that "even this cold image radiated a certain undeniable power", and continues through the subterranean network.[Soul Reaver/14] In the depths of the labyrinth, he finds a series of portals which display scenes of past, and, apparently, future events. As he passes each one, Raziel becomes increasingly incredulous, believing that they are deceptions laid there by Kain to trick or manipulate him. The visions imply that the events he has experienced have all been predestined, as - it seems - have those yet to come.[Soul Reaver/15]
Raziel finds Kain awaiting him in the Chronoplast's control room; Kain chides him, having hoped Raziel would "be here sooner". Raziel is infuriated over what he has learned on his journey, and bitterly condemns Kain for his crimes, but Kain argues that all of his actions have been justified, partially due to his being subject to destiny. He reveals that he is aware of the future, and hints that the Sarafan were not as altruistic as Raziel believes - that Raziel may have uncovered his past, but knows nothing of it, and that "those whose passion transcends all notions of good and evil" made for perfect servants.[Soul Reaver/15]
Raziel refuses to listen, and repeatedly attacks his former master while Kain continues to adjust the Chronoplast's controls. Although Raziel eventually gains an advantage, the Chronoplast activates, and Kain escapes through a time portal; he assures Raziel that "fate promises more twists before this drama unfolds completely", beckoning Raziel to follow. Raziel complies, and pursues Kain, ignoring warnings from the Elder God. Before ending the story, Raziel emerges from the time-stream and is greeted by Moebius himself.
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver ends on a cliffhanger with a postscript, a verse where Moebius comments on the nature of time and his ability to "plunge the fate of planets into chaos", leading directly into the events of Soul Reaver 2.[Soul Reaver/15]
- "But this is not where - or how - it ends. Fate promises more twists before this drama unfolds completely."
- "You are lost in a maze of moral relativism, Kain.
These apparitions and portents... what game are you playing now?"
Like the rest of the Legacy of Kain series, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver falls into the action-adventure genre, but with less emphasis on the role-playing game elements which were pronounced in the original game. The playable protagonist is Raziel, a disfigured and ghostly "ex-vampire".[Soul Reaver] The game is normally shown from a third-person perspective behind Raziel, but players can rotate the viewpoint around him by using the control pad. Gameplay relies largely on shifting between the Material and Spectral planes of existence to progress through areas. Although interaction with objects is limited in the Spectral Realm, this can be advantageous, because Raziel can easily traverse water and phase through otherwise impassable gates there. However, blocks, doors, and switches can be manipulated only in the physical world. Many puzzles are based on the differences between the two realms; for example, platforms and environment features in one realm may change form to open new paths in the other. Block puzzles are also common and require the rotation, flipping, and moving of large blocks to progress, often with a time limit and while avoiding enemies.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)]
Combat in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver consists of a hack-and-slash system, entailing the use of combinations of various different attacks before delivering a finishing move. Raziel's enemies are grouped into humans, Spectral creatures, and most commonly, vampires. Human enemies include villagers, vampire hunters and vampire worshippers. In the Spectral Realm, players fight minor enemies called Sluagh, and the souls of dead vampires who have become wraiths. Each brood of vampire enemies has unique powers reminiscent of their clan leader. Humans and Spectral enemies can be killed with Raziel's claws or any weapon, but vampires must be bludgeoned into a stunned state and then destroyed by impaling them, lighting them on fire, throwing them into a hazard such as sunlight or water, or destroying them with the Soul Reaver. When killed, enemies leave behind souls that replenish Raziel's health coil, which - over time - automatically depletes in the Material Realm and increases in the Spectral. Possession of the Soul Reaver sword stops automatic degeneration of health in the physical world, but Raziel loses the sword instantly if he sustains damage and can regain it only by restoring his health. After obtaining the Reaver, Raziel always possesses it in the spirit world.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)]
At first, Raziel can jump, glide using his torn wings, move blocks, and pick up and throw enemies. Initially unarmed, he fights using his claws, but can alternatively use weapons such as boulders, torches, spears and staffs, and the Soul Reaver. Raziel can freely shift to the Spectral Realm, but can return to the Material Realm only through special planar portals when at full health. Raziel automatically shifts to the Spectral Realm if he runs out of health, and, if he runs out of health in the Spectral Realm, is banished back to the Underworld area. As the game progresses, Raziel becomes able to phase through gates in the Spectral Realm and climb walls in the Material Realm. Initially vulnerable to water, he overcomes this weakness and learns to swim. Players can find an ancient relic that gives Raziel the power to fire bolts of telekinetic energy, which cause little damage by themselves but can knock enemies into hazards and push objects from a distance. Baptism in holy flame can transform the Soul Reaver into the Fire Reaver, which can set enemies aflame and adds fire to Raziel's telekinetic bolts. Players can also find magical glyphs that allow Raziel to find and expend eldritch energy to attack groups of enemies simultaneously.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)]
The Spectral and Material Realms
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver's shifting mechanics are fundamental to gameplay and puzzle-solving. The Material Realm is Nosgoth's corporeal world, where the living dwell, whereas the Spectral Realm is its afterlife, a mirror plane haunted by spirits and the souls of the dead.[Soul Reaver manual (US)][Soul Reaver 2 manual]
Raziel begins the game with the Shift Glyph, an ability accessible at any time from his ring (inventory) menu, and can freely cast this to shift from Material to Spectral. Alternatively, if his health coil is depleted, Raziel will automatically shift back to Spectral. In the Spectral Realm, he must possess a full health coil and be standing on a planar portal before the Shift Glyph becomes active.[Soul Reaver] The major differences between both planes are described as follows:
- "The Spectral Realm is a darker, more twisted version of the Material Realm. As Raziel passes from one plane to the other, the world warps around him, distorting and reshaping itself. This terrain distortion may open a path in one plane which is otherwise impassable on the other."[Soul Reaver manual (US)][Soul Reaver 2 manual]
- "Some of Raziel's mechanics are only effective on one plane or the other. In general, physical actions that require interaction with objects or terrain are only functional in the Material Realm."[Soul Reaver manual (US)][Soul Reaver 2 manual]
- "Different creatures inhabit the Material and Spectral Realms. But some creatures are able to shift planes to pursue Raziel."[Soul Reaver manual (US)][Soul Reaver 2 manual]
- "In the Spectral Realm, time is irrelevant. While Raziel is in the Spectral Plane, time stops in the Material Realm."[Soul Reaver manual (US)][Soul Reaver 2 manual]
- "While in the Material Plane, Raziel constantly burns spirit energy in order to maintain his physical form. To sustain his existence in the Material Realm, Raziel must feed on the souls of his enemies to replenish his spirit-energy. If Raziel becomes too damaged or fails to feed, he will automatically be shunted back into the Spectral Realm."[Soul Reaver manual (US)][Soul Reaver 2 manual]
- "In the Spectral Plane, Raziel's spirit energy gradually recovers. He can accelerate his recovery by devouring the lost souls wandering the Spectral Realm, and consuming the souls of his spectral enemies."[Soul Reaver manual (US)][Soul Reaver 2 manual]
Blocks, doors, switches and implements can only be manipulated in the Material world; in the Spectral Realm they are nothing more than insubstantial "shadows", completely immobile and non-interactive.[Soul Reaver/1][Soul Reaver] Raziel's claws and the Soul Reaver are the only objects he can use in both realms; when traveling to the Spectral Realm, he will automatically drop anything else that he is carrying, and any offensive glyphs he has collected become unusable.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)]
If a vampire enemy is killed in the Material Realm and Raziel fails to devour its soul, a corresponding vampire wraith will appear in the Spectral Realm of that area. If the vampire was killed by impalement, Raziel can remove the spear or staff from its body in the Material Realm, and it will return to life as a revived vampire, with some additional powers.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)]
- "My arrival in this miserable age... What trickery is this?"
Although Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver covers a smaller span of Nosgoth than Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, it still retains an expansive playable world with sidequests and many optional areas to explore.[Soul Reaver] The game employs a partially non-linear, free-roaming system inspired by The Legend of Zelda; Raziel can travel anywhere at will and backtrack to any point in the game, provided that he possesses the necessary abilities to progress, but is required to defeat bosses and trigger main storyline events in a set sequence.[Soul Reaver]
- The Underworld lies beneath the raging maelstrom of the Lake of the Dead (which first appeared in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain) and the Abyss within, and is the starting point of Raziel's adventure.[Soul Reaver/1][Blood Omen/6][Soul Reaver strategy guide (Prima)] It exists exclusively in the Spectral Realm, and is home to the Elder God, who dispenses advice to Raziel if his guidance is solicited.[Soul Reaver/Miscellaneous] When Raziel returns to the surface, he encounters the Lake from above, which acts as a familiar landmark and crossroads of sorts. From this hub, he can access several areas, but falling into the Lake again in either realm will result in his being banished back to the Elder's subterranean chamber.[Soul Reaver/2]
- Raziel's Clan Territory, just west of the Lake of the Dead, was once the fortress home of Raziel and his clan, but, by the time of his revival, only hostile vampires and tattered banners remain in the city.[Soul Reaver/3] Assaulted by packs of Dumahim, Raziel must overcome these foes before he can progress west, but a return journey later in the game will yield access to the Fire Glyph Altar through an underwater chamber.[Soul Reaver/3][Soul Reaver/Fire]
- The Necropolis, to the far northwest, is the territory of Melchiah and his clan, the Melchahim.[Soul Reaver/4][Soul Reaver/5] Effectively a mass graveyard, it is a predominantly open area, consisting of charnel houses, and a subterranean chamber housing a giant grinder which is used to kill Melchiah. The Force Glyph Altar is found within its lake.[Soul Reaver/4][Soul Reaver/Force] Later in the game, Raziel can optionally progress to its farthest northern reaches and discover Nupraptor's Retreat (a returning landmark from Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain), which has been partially destroyed since the Blood Omen era. It leads to the Stone Glyph Altar.[Blood Omen/3][Soul Reaver/4][Soul Reaver/Stone]
- The Sanctuary of the Clans is the heart of Kain's empire, housing the Pillars of Nosgoth. Architecturally resembling a mosque, it was once magnificent, but now collapses into ruin and decay.[Soul Reaver/2] It is accessible only after obtaining the phase through gates ability.[Soul Reaver/5][Soul Reaver/6] After fighting Kain for the first time here, Raziel can always return to the Pillars to safely replenish his strength, and receive enigmatic clues from the specter of Ariel as to where he should go next.[Soul Reaver/6][Soul Reaver/Miscellaneous]
- The towering Silenced Cathedral, to the east, is a huge spire ruled over by the Zephonim, and vampire-worshipping humans.[Soul Reaver/6][Soul Reaver/7] Accessed with the Soul Reaver, it was designed by Nosgoth's humans to blast a deadly hymn across the land - tuned to eradicate every living vampire - but was seized by Zephon before this goal could be realized.[Soul Reaver/7][Soul Reaver/Miscellaneous] Characterized by block puzzles and piping-related tasks, it is also home to the optional Sound Glyph Altar.[Soul Reaver/7][Soul Reaver/Sound] An even larger role was intended for this area before the game was redesigned to accommodate development time constraints.
- The southwestern Tomb of the Sarafan was once "impenetrably sealed", but Nosgoth's upheavals have exposed it to exploration.[Soul Reaver/9] When he obtains the capacity to scale walls, Raziel travels here, and rediscovers his terrible heritage as a former member of the Sarafan brotherhood. Beneath the main crypt lurks the Tomb Guardian, and a relic which gives Raziel the ability to wield telekinetic force projectiles.[Soul Reaver/9]
- The Drowned Abbey is situated in western Nosgoth, and, as its name implies, is a flooded area which was constructed by humans, but is now home to Rahab and his clan. Before Raziel obtains the ability to swim, it is one of the most perilous zones in the game, and he is forced to traverse many narrow ledges and columns to avoid slipping into the lakes below. Upon killing Rahab, he can immediately access the adjacent Fire Forge, where he can baptize the Soul Reaver in elemental flame.[Soul Reaver/10][Soul Reaver/11]
- Dumah's mountain stronghold has been reduced to a Ash Village in Nosgoth's northern wastes, ransacked by a vampire hunter ambush. Strewn with falling ash or snow, it is home to little more than corpses and dormant, yet advanced, mechanisms, including an enormous furnace which Raziel makes use of to burn Dumah alive.[Soul Reaver/12][Soul Reaver/13]
- The northeast Oracle's Cave (returning from Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain) and Chronoplast comprise the final level of the game, an "inverted clockwork" accessible with the constrict ability, and culminating in the last battle with Kain.[Soul Reaver/13][Soul Reaver/14][Soul Reaver/15][Blood Omen/5][Soul Reaver/Miscellaneous] Originally the lair of Moebius the Time Streamer, these arctic caverns - though populated only by the Turelim in the Soul Reaver era - still contain much of Moebius's still-active time-streaming apparatus. After descending into the Chronoplast area, Raziel is faced with several trials which demand the use of all of his abilities before confronting Kain in the final chamber.[Soul Reaver/14][Soul Reaver/15]
- The northern Human Citadel is one of the last bastions of free humanity in Nosgoth, a sprawling city engineered with deep moats and towering walls to keep the vampire plague at bay.[Soul Reaver/Miscellaneous] Crystal Dynamics intended for it to play a larger, mandatory role in the storyline, but in the final game is only an optional area, inhabited by human villagers, vampire hunters and some Rahabim.[Soul Reaver] After learning to swim, if Raziel has avoided killing humans, he will be welcomed by the human population, but otherwise will find it necessary to fight in order to access the Water Glyph Altar within.[Soul Reaver/City]
- The Sunlight Glyph Altar area, guarded by the Turelim, is a large, partially-flooded outdoor valley in the southeast, dominated by a large, inoperable lighthouse and other industrial machines.[Soul Reaver/Sunlight] It was one of the earliest areas built for the game by Crystal Dynamics, and featured as the setpiece for the first, widely-distributed public demo version of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, but in the full retail game it is a completely optional level, serving as the place where Raziel can choose to obtain the Sunlight Glyph after he learns to swim.[Soul Reaver/11][Soul Reaver/Sunlight] This is accomplished by solving a complex puzzle to reactivate the lighthouse's beam, then "freezing" the beam on the appropriate target by shifting to the Spectral Realm.[Soul Reaver/Sunlight]
Unlike subsequent games, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver does not employ a traditional checkpoint system, nor is there a "game over" screen as in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain.[Soul Reaver 2][Soul Reaver][Blood Omen][Defiance][Blood Omen 2] When the player loads a saved game, or if Raziel is killed in the Spectral Realm, all variables in Nosgoth (such as abilities earned, enemies and bosses defeated, positions of objects) remain constant, but gameplay always resumes in the Underworld, where the story begins.[Soul Reaver] Raziel is able to quickly return to areas of interest and resume his progress by using warp gates scattered throughout Nosgoth, which become permanently activated when the player first visits them. There are fourteen warp gate rooms in the game, identified by distinctive symbols and representing most major areas. The Underworld warp gate is located next to the game's first room, allowing for relatively quick travel.[Soul Reaver]
Items, equipment and power-ups
- "Unfettered from the flesh, a creature’s soul fades swiftly into the spectral realm. Draw it in quickly, Raziel, or you will be compelled to follow."
- ―The Elder God
Raziel maintains his health by consuming souls, which manifest as glowing green orbs of energy. In the Material Realm, these are released whenever Raziel slays an enemy, but will quickly disappear if he fails to feed on them within a few moments. Souls abundantly roam the Spectral Realm, and it is not usually necessary to kill enemies to restore his health in that plane. While in close proximity to one or more souls, he must perform a special move to draw them into his body; while doing so, he is susceptible to attack, so the player should usually ensure he is in a safe place or has cleared the area of enemies first.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)]
If Raziel obtains a Glyph, eldritch energy will also begin to appear in Nosgoth. This energy manifests in the form of blue, flame-like sparks, and can appear in lesser or greater quantities (represented by size). Points of eldritch energy are expended whenever Raziel uses a Glyph (the cost is proportional to the strength of the Glyph). They can be recovered when Raziel comes into contact with loose points of energy, found in set locations, or occasionally left behind when he destroys an enemy.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)]
- Raziel can find a total of 15 health power-ups throughout Nosgoth, which shimmer and are golden in color, and look like fragments of a circle or a disc with a distinctive texture. They are hidden in set locations, and collecting five will permanently increase the capacity of Raziel's health coil in the Material Realm. Abilities earned by killing Raziel's fellow clan leaders are necessary to reach them, and considerable backtracking is required to obtain them all.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)]
- Also available are a total of 5 eldritch energy power-ups, similarly scattered throughout the land in secret areas, and resembling diamonds flaring with blue energy and bearing an eye sigil. Raziel's eldritch energy capacity increases whenever he obtains a new Glyph, but these power-ups each increase it even further, to a maximum reserve of 52 points.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)]
The Pillars of Nosgoth also house special "pads" which will immediately restore Raziel's health and eldritch energy reserves when he steps on them.[Soul Reaver/6]
Abandoning the inventory system of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver does not feature any retained weapons or armor besides Raziel's claws and the Soul Reaver itself. Instead, environmental hazards and transient weapons are used to overcome enemies.[Soul Reaver][Blood Omen]
- Raziel begins the game with his claws, and can attack with them in either the Material or Spectral Realms. They can stun, but can never kill, vampires.[Soul Reaver]
- Staves (also described as two-handed staff weapons) are the most common weapons in the Material Realm.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)] They deal more damage than Raziel's bare claws, and enable him to execute finishing moves against vampires; this can be achieved either by stunning them at close quarters and delivering impalement, or by throwing them at the vampire and hitting their chest. They can be retrieved from enemy corpses and utilized repeatedly. Most of the game's major areas feature staves unique to that location, ranging from railings and spears to staffs and Pipes, but these differences are aesthetic only; they all have exactly the same functions and attributes in combat.[Soul Reaver]
- Projectile weapons (or two-handed blunt weapons) include boulders, Urns and Zephon's eggs.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)] They are not durable; they simply shatter on collision with a target, and they can only stun common vampires, never killing them. If, after Raziel gains the ability to swim, he is carrying a projectile weapon and dives underwater, he will be able to walk on the lakebed and cast any of his glyphs as long as he holds it, but this special feature is largely a curiosity and does not figure into any of the game's puzzles.[Soul Reaver] Zephon's eggs are flammable, and are required to kill him.[Soul Reaver/8]
- Torches are also frequently discovered, and are necessary to complete certain puzzles. When ignited, they are deadly, capable of burning enemies to death at close quarters or if thrown accurately, and vampires killed in this fashion cannot be revived. If Raziel performs a finishing move on an enemy, or if he is submerged in water, the flame is extinguished. However, he can always re-ignite a doused torch by passing it through any interactive fire source (such as lit campfires or braziers). Extinguished torches will still deal damage if wielded in melee, but cannot kill vampires, and are ineffective when thrown.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)]
- The Wraith Blade of the Soul Reaver is perhaps the most significant of Raziel's weapons. It is also the only weapon, aside from his claws, which he can wield in both realms. After he obtains it after fighting Kain in the Sanctuary of the Clans, it becomes part of him, and can never be permanently lost.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/6][Soul Reaver manual (US)] When he is at full health in the Material Realm, the Soul Reaver will be visible, and it prevents his health coil from decreasing. However, if he sustains damage, it will be lost until he consumes souls and returns to full health. In the Spectral Realm, Raziel always possesses the blade, irrespective of his health level.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)] The Reaver is necessary to open some locked doors in Nosgoth, and is the only weapon effectual against Kain in the game's final battle.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/15]
- After learning to swim, Raziel can optionally obtain the Fire Reaver in a chamber near the Drowned Abbey.[Soul Reaver/11] This enhancement is unique to the Material Realm. Once he baptizes the blade in primordial flame, it can be re-ignited at any interactive fire source in Material. It is extinguished if he sustains any damage, is immersed in water or shifts to Spectral, but is the most lethal weapon Raziel can obtain; while it is active, a few blows are all it takes to ignite and kill any enemy from close range, and Reaver bolts also immolate foes.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)]
- "Even the strongest vampire is vulnerable."
Initially, Raziel is capable of melee combat, devouring souls, jumping and gliding (but not flying) with the use of his ruined wings, crouching to perform high jumps and avoid falling in precarious areas, sneaking to avoid enemies, and using the Shift Glyph to shift between the Spectral and Material Realms.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)] As he defeats each boss, he obtains a new power:
- Phase through gates is Melchiah's unique gift, enabling him to will himself through doors, gates and barriers which consist of railings (but not fully-solid gateways). When Raziel consumes Melchiah's soul, he is able to perform this ability, but only in the Spectral Realm. Running against any wall will impel Raziel to press up against it and try this move; if he is in Spectral and it is a valid gate with railings, he will force himself through.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/5][Soul Reaver manual (US)]
- Scale walls is an ability characteristic of Zephonim vampires, who can climb vertical surfaces. After killing Zephon, Raziel can climb certain walls with "worn" textures, but if he is attacked while climbing, he will lose his grip. In the Spectral Realm, these "insubstantial edifices" cannot be scaled.[Soul Reaver/7][Soul Reaver/8][Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)]
- The power to fire telekinetic force projectiles and Reaver bolts is granted when Raziel finds the telekinetic force projectile artifact, immediately after killing the Tomb Guardian. Projectiles can be fired from a distance in either realm, and will damage and knock back enemies (into hazards, if sufficiently accurate). They are also necessary to smash obstacles, and can move heavy blocks. Humans and Spectral foes can be severely damaged by projectiles, but vampires will only be stunned, unless Raziel has the Fire Reaver, in which case his Reaver bolts will lethally set them alight.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)][Soul Reaver/9]
- Whereas previously his physical body would be destroyed upon coming into contact with water, swimming renders Raziel immune to this vulnerability. In the Material Realm, he can swim freely, but in the Spectral Realm the ability has no effect; water still universally retains "neither heft nor lift".[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)][Soul Reaver/11]
- Constrict is the final ability Raziel earns, received by killing Dumah. By running in circles around certain switches (such as the sundial outside the Oracle's Cave) in the Material Realm, Raziel will release a trail of energy, which turns the object when the trail forms a complete circle. Enemies could also be constricted, dealing damage (non-lethal to enemies in itself, except for humans).[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)][Soul Reaver/13]
At the Glyph altars throughout Nosgoth, Raziel can also obtain other Glyph spells - offensive magic which he can cast in the Material Realm, provided he has enough eldritch energy:
- The Force Glyph (costs 1 point of eldritch energy), obtained near the Necropolis, simply throws enemies backward with waves of telekinetic force. Depending on what they impact against, flung enemies may end up damaged or destroyed.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)]
- The Stone Glyph (costs 2 points), obtained near Nupraptor's Retreat, creates a localized earthquake which temporarily petrifies enemies. Raziel can strike them with the Soul Reaver to destroy them, but otherwise, they will soon recover.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)]
- The Sound Glyph (costs 4 points), obtained in the Silenced Cathedral, is effective only when used against vampires - humans are not harmed by it, nor is it treated as an offensive action to use it around them. Waves of sound emanate from Raziel, injuring and stunning vampires within range.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)]
- The Water Glyph (costs 6 points), obtained in the City, is also ineffecive against humans, and also against Rahabim. Other vampires within reach are burned and temporarily stunned by ripples of water. The spell's range is wider than that of the Sound Glyph.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)]
- The Fire Glyph (costs 8 points), obtained near Raziel's Clan Territory, immolates all common Material enemies. Rings of fire expand from Raziel's body, fatally burning any humans and vampires within his proximity.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)]
- The Sunlight Glyph (costs 10 points), obtained at the Lighthouse, is devastating to vampires, but useless (and treated passively) against humans. Gathering sunlight into his body, Raziel disperses power in a blinding flash that chars all nearby vampires to cinders, releasing their souls.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)]
- "Am I reduced to this? A ghoul? A fratricide?"
Raziel's enemies can be grouped into four families: vampires, humans, Spectral creatures, and bosses. Each can be further sub-divided into individual enemy types.
Vampires in the Soul Reaver era are formidable and common foes. Each of the five clans possesses unique traits and abilities, and fledgling vampires are less durable than their adult counterparts - adults are immune to rays of sunlight, and are stronger overall. All vampires, young and old, can be killed by "wounds that impale, or inflame", and most are vulnerable to immersion in water, which "scorches like acid". The Rahabim are unharmed by water, but both their fledglings and adults alike are susceptible to death from sunlight.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)]
If Raziel fails to devour a vampire's soul, a corresponding vampire wraith will appear in the Spectral Realm to haunt that area. If he removes the stave from an impaled vampire's corpse, it will usually return to life as a revived vampire. These creatures are stronger than usual, and can be identified by blue sparks surrounding their bodies. They possess a new ability: if they strike Raziel, they will begin to visibly drain away his soul energy, unless Raziel breaks the link by attacking them or retreating.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)]
- The Dumahim (fledglings and adults) are the children of Dumah. They are the most frequently-encountered vampires in Nosgoth, inhabiting many open areas, and are the first vampire enemies that Raziel meets. They do not possess any unique ability.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)]
- Melchahim vampires (fledglings and adults), the descendants of Melchiah, are found in the Necropolis and Nupraptor's Retreat. Although relatively weak, they can burrow underground to ambush Raziel and travel at high speed.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)]
- The Zephonim (fledglings and adults) are Zephon's offspring, capable of scaling walls and ambushing Raziel from above. They are extremely agile, and seemingly the most insular of Nosgoth's vampires, found only in the Silenced Cathedral.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)]
- Rahabim (fledglings and adults) are the descendants of Rahab. Found in the Drowned Abbey and the City, they are the only vampires who can swim, and can fire projectiles at Raziel which deal damage.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)]
- The Turelim (fledglings and adults) are the children of Turel. They guard the Lighthouse and the Oracle's Cave, and are among the strongest foes Raziel faces, wielding telekinetic force projectiles against him.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)] The Tomb Guardian, a minor boss, is a revived adult Turelim.[Soul Reaver]
There are three classes of humans in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)] When Raziel first encounters vampire hunters, they will attack him, but if he avoids harming them and any villagers, they will see him as an avenging angel and become non-combative.[Soul Reaver/4] Raziel can "sip" at these humans' souls to replenish his strength, but if he goes too far, they will die. Devouring a human's soul completely, or any other act of aggression against either hunters or villagers, will provoke permanent hostility from both classes.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)]
- Vampire hunters (wielding crossbows and flamethrowers) represent the warrior class of Nosgoth's surviving humans, and are found in the Necropolis and the Silenced Cathedral, but are most commonly encountered in the City.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)]
- Villagers inhabit the City, and do not attack Raziel, but will flee from him in terror if he proves to be their enemy. They are extremely weak, and susceptible to almost all weapons at his disposal.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)]
- Vampire worshippers (novitiates and adepts) dwell exclusively in the Silenced Cathedral. They are hostile towards Raziel regardless of how he treats other humans, and Raziel can freely attack them without jeopardizing his reputation among the hunters and villagers. Adepts throw knives to defend themselves, whereas novitiates carry staffs.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)]
Some enemies exist only in the Spectral Realm. These creatures do not possess souls themselves; when Raziel damages them sufficiently, they fade into a transparent state, and he can devour them whole to replenish his health. If he ignores them, however, they will quickly recover.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)]
- Sluagh are the "scavengers of the Underworld", feral jackal-like creatures who hunt in packs. They are weak, but numerous, and are found in almost every area in the game. When alone, Sluagh will usually flee from Raziel, but if in groups of two or more, they often fight, and can swiftly overwhelm him.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)]
- Vampire wraiths are the unfettered spirits of dead vampires. They are far more dangerous than Sluagh, and will always attack Raziel. Capable of flying, they possess the same "soul-devouring tether" of revived vampires; if they strike Raziel, they will continue to drain his energy away unless he fights back or retreats.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver manual (US)]
Kain and Raziel's brothers - the Clan Leaders - serve as the bosses of the game. They are completely immune to all of Raziel's standard collectible weapons and glyphs, and (with the exception of Kain) are unharmed by his claws and the Soul Reaver. He must instead solve scripted puzzles to destroy them.[Soul Reaver]
- Melchiah can pursue Raziel in both the Spectral and Material Realms, and can phase through barriers to attack him. Raziel must weaken him by slamming two portcullises against his body. After this, once lured into the room's central cage, he will be trapped, and Raziel can unleash the grinder to destroy him.[Soul Reaver/5]
- Destroying Zephon's limbs or attacking his central egg-sac will force him to produce an egg, which Raziel must then ignite using a nearby flamethrower. Throwing three ignited eggs at Zephon will cause him to burn to death.[Soul Reaver/8]
- Rahab attacks Raziel with projectiles and a mighty jumping maneuver in an attempt to force him into the lethal waters of his chamber. Raziel must destroy the room's windows with telekinesis to expose him to sunlight and kill him.[Soul Reaver/11]
- If Raziel approaches his corpse in the Spectral Realm, Dumah will attack him, but only by reviving him can Raziel consume his soul. He must lure Dumah to Ash Village's furnace and turn it on to immolate his fourth brother.[Soul Reaver/13]
- Kain is encountered twice, once at the Sanctuary of the Clans after Melchiah's death, and again as the final boss in the Chronoplast. In both fights, he teleports around the area, and attacks Raziel with a devastating lightning attack which must be charged up. Raziel must strike him with his claws (first battle) or the Soul Reaver (second) three times to end the encounter and claim victory.[Soul Reaver/6][Soul Reaver/15]
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver originated circa February 1997 as a stand-alone project named Shifter, creatively unrelated to Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain and the Nosgoth setting. Crystal Dynamics employees Amy Hennig and Seth Carus were credited for devising this original concept.[Soul Reaver] With a "very small team", they started prototype work in April 1997, then filled out the crew of developers and began full production in October of that year. According to Silicon Knights' president and Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain director Denis Dyack, "[Raziel] was in a game originally titled Shifter – a game with an angelic theme where you shifted between 2 planes to complete the game". Like the final product, the story outline entailed the main character being cast down by his master and brothers, and returning to exact revenge. As a paper-design document, no production work was done on Shifter before it was transplanted into the mythology of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, though concept artist Arnold Ayala publicised some artwork created for the project.
With the successful release of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain in 1996, Silicon Knights intended to continue what they described as the "Blood Omen series", entertaining the notion of fully exploring the character of Vorador. Meanwhile, company executives at Crystal Dynamics, the publishers of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, proposed the idea of a sequel to their in-house team members who had co-developed the first game. Shifter was then re-imagined as a Legacy of Kain title, with the villainous antagonist being merged with the character of Kain, and the protagonist becoming Raziel as he appears in the final game. After learning that Crystal Dynamics was attempting to create their own sequel, Silicon Knights filed an injunction against the company to stop them from publicizing the game any further, alleging that Crystal Dynamics "took the concept of Kain 2 from a title that the Canada-based Knights were developing". Later, when asked what had happened, Hennig said "I really can't comment in detail on that. The issue was resolved, with Crystal Dynamics retaining the right to the Kain franchise (for this and any future products)".
Dyack later stated that "Crystal Dynamics definitely took the game in a direction that we would not have taken it. Crystal actually had no idea what we had planned – and it is safe to say it is not what it is currently", and also maintained that "Crystal Dynamics did not have confidence that [Shifter] would do well as an original title so midway through the development cycle they slapped Legacy of Kain title on it, gave Razeal [sic] the Soul Reaver and went on to call it Soul Reaver". However, his assessment is largely disputed as mistaken, with evidence more strongly suggesting that Shifter was not even worked on by a full team until it became Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. As of 2012, former Crystal Dynamics artist Daniel Cabuco remains unable to comment at liberty on the details surrounding the stand-alone Shifter concept due to legal issues (as do other Crystal Dynamics personnel, presumably). He has said, though, that "I wouldn't look too deep into Shifter, there really isn't as much there as you think".
As Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver
The production of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver was handled with a budget of US$8,000,000, and lasted 2.5 years from concept to shelf, with a year and a half period of full development. Of the main production and development team who had worked on the original game, seven members were also credited on this sequel - Amy Hennig, Seth Carus, Riley Cooper, Jonathan Miller, Caroline Trujillo, Jim Curry and Steve Papoutsis - with all others acting as new contributors to the Legacy of Kain series.[Soul Reaver][Blood Omen] The crew was directed by Hennig, and was "eager to combine the very best action mechanics [from Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain], in the areas of combat, exploration, and puzzle-solving, with storytelling that was deeply integrated into the gameplay". GlyphX Inc. was externally contracted to create high-quality 3D renders and images to promote the game, as well as the introductory cinematic (which was built by two of their artists from start to finish).[Soul Reaver] On her debut as a storywriter, Hennig later commented, "there was nobody else to write it, you know, and I could kinda put a couple words together... I could try, anyway, and so I just learned on the job and I thought 'well, I'll take a crack at it'".
While Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver was still in development, a secondary Crystal Dynamics team started work on Blood Omen 2, intending to focus more strongly on action and less on puzzle-solving. Although Eidos Interactive acquired Crystal Dynamics midway through development, the transition was "the smoothest [...] you could hope for", and did not affect the team's day-to-day reality. Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver was planned out while its engine was still being developed, creating challenges for design staff. Partially based upon the proprietary one used in Crystal Dynamics' Gex 3, it showcased several revolutionary technical achievements, including real-time environment morphing (shifting), and data-streaming functionality which eliminated the loading pauses prevalent in games of that era, instead seamlessly streaming content from the CD. It leveraged off of technologies developed in previous Crystal Dynamics games, such as 3D Baseball's animation system. The shifting function was accomplished by storing two vertex values for each geometrical object, allowing the artists to deform areas by hand. Other key technological features which were emphasized comprised high-resolution graphics, a solution to "sorting problems in [character] joints" and "segmented skeleton and joint interpolation", high-polygon entities, software Z-buffering, variable fog levels, strong AI and a transparent UI with "no unwieldy inventory screens to manage" (although Z-buffering was later compromised). Some early design proposals which were later revised included "12 bosses" and the ability to "recruit other vampires to the Elder's cause". Texture morphing (alternate textures for objects such as murals in Spectral) was considered, but abandoned due to lack of PlayStation memory and other development priorities. At least two beta versions of the game have been publicly leaked since its release, each with major and minor differences.
Originally slated for release in October 1998, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver was infamously delayed several times until its release almost a year later. Producer Andrew Bennett, who was put in charge to help finish the project in March 1999, noted that "it was seriously late", and stated he is "widely acknowledged within Eidos as having rescued [it]". Hennig lamented that they had previewed the game to the press too early, which had resulted in premature pressure to set a release date and provide other external and internal reports; this intruded into the team's concentration, and diverted their attention from production tasks. After release, it emerged that a small but significant amount of produced material had been cut to "get the game out, without any further delays". With some reluctance, Hennig had accepted that they "essentially over-designed the game", and the team excised about 4-5 hours worth of gameplay and features from the latter half of the story (roughly "the equivalent of the Silenced Cathedral level"), including multiple bosses, levels, abilities, Soul Reaver enhancements and the originally-intended ending. Daniel Cabuco recalled that "even with that extra time in, we didn't have enough days to finish the game the way it was imagined. There was just too much stuff. [...] One day, we had a come to Jesus moment where we just had to look at the (extremely large) overhead map and just start Xing out areas, powers, and abilities. It was painful and difficult. [...] (It was like killing your baby.. but Game Devs are the only ones who cry over it.. and people who find out about it later LOL). [...] we realized there was a lot of redundancy as well. It takes resources from every department (Character, Environment, Engineering, Audio, FX, UI, Design, and Production) to get a single feature realized, so we made cuts that helped as many departments as possible, and sharpened the overall experience". Despite this necessary re-imagining, the team said that "any minor disappointments are far outweighed by what we've managed to accomplish".
According to senior designer Richard Lemarchand, John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost served as a "jumping-off point" for the team, who felt that the idea of a fallen vampire who becomes an eater of souls would be an intriguing concept. The designers and artists avoided drawing from the popular media when cultivating their inspiration, instead using traditional sources, and familiarizing themselves with contemporary vampire-related stories to ensure they would not "accidentally replicate something that had already been done". Mythology and theology as a whole were major influences, including books by Joseph Campbell, Biblical lore, ancient vampire mythology, Eastern myth, and mysticism. Amy Hennig felt that "the best games (and books, movies, etc.) strike a chord with their audience because there are ancient and familiar themes being replayed in a contemporary context".
In writing the storyline, Hennig focused on a handful of core ideas, "but the main theme revolved around the question of free will in a universe apparently ruled by fate". Both Kain and Raziel were portrayed as Oedipus figures (in a Sophoclean rather than Freudian sense), and Raziel's character arc was based on motifs from Gnosticism, where "the hero's goal is knowledge, enlightenment, and the exposure of the truth". Latent themes from Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain were also expanded upon, involving "issues of trust, manipulation and betrayal; questions about the nature of good and evil; and most important, man's struggle for free will against the immovable forces of fate". Thematically, the works of poet T. S. Eliot and writer James Joyce offered "oblique" direction, and Eliot's Four Quartets helped to drive the story's undercurrents of despair, hope and illumination. The literary style of period plays such as Becket, The Lion in Winter and A Man for All Seasons influenced the game's dialogue.
The world design and visuals of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver were mainly inspired by steampunk, goth culture and the 1995 French film The City of Lost Children. Comic book characters Madman, Nightcrawler and Spider-Man contributed to Raziel's design, whereas other vampires were influenced by Frankenstein, sadomasochism, Interview with the Vampire, Hellboy, The Dark Crystal, Yasushi Nirasawa's art, Rankin/Bass' The Hobbit and The Return of the King, and Dracula. Character names were largely derived from the monikers of angels in Biblical mythology, and internal designators for the vampire clans included the Aluka (Rahabim; Aluka is Hebrew for "leech"), the Morlocks (Turelim; Morlocks are the cave-dwelling antagonists of H. G. Wells' 1895 novel The Time Machine, and the Ronins (Dumahim; rōnin were the leaderless Bushi of feudal Japan). The stories of horror author H. P. Lovecraft were also cited as a "key influence" on the project in general.
Mark Miller of Crystal Dynamics, who worked on sound support for Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, had become acquainted with Kurt Harland, the lead singer of Information Society. Miller played Ozar Midrashim, a track from Harland's recent album, Don't Be Afraid, to the Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver team. Amy Hennig already "had some fairly well developed ideas regarding the music" the game would need, and liked Harland's style of music and thought the job would be within his stylistic range. Ozar Midrashim became the game's main theme, and Harland was hired to compose the rest of the soundtrack, with adaptive audio programming and support from Jim Hedges.[Soul Reaver] All sound effects were produced in-house, within Crystal Dynamics' studios. Harland primarily used Voyetra Sequencer Plus Gold to compose the music, and Sonic Foundry's Sound Forge to design sounds. He remarked that, under Hennig's direction, he programmed music to change based on the current gameplay situation. In general, each track had five divisons - ambient (indoors), suspenseful (outdoors), puzzle, danger and combat - plus Spectral Realm variations of each, which proved a "thorn in [his] side". The variations were implemented using an in-house Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) driver created by Fred Mack, which replaced the usual Sony-issued driver, and altered music based on signals from the game engine based on location, proximity and game-state.
Extensive scripting was required to ensure that the game interpreted these signals as planned, and Harland and Hedges collaborated to ensure that the compositions would work properly. Hennig also gave input on the feel she desired for each track, offering ideas on each environment and character, providing a lot of architectural drawings and photos, and describing the history and nature of each vampire clan. As such, each clan was given corresponding music; the unused Turel Clan theme was designed to be thick, slow, and thumping in accordance with the mechanically-oriented Turelim, and the Smokestack in which they dwelled.[Soul Reaver] Harland had always felt that videogame scores could be approached in this less "in-your-face" manner, arguing that "a fully-structured pop song can sound great to listen to once, but become a blood-sucking leech with teeth in your ear after the 47th repetition". He appreciated the opportunity to work on a game in which the music could be quiet, unobtrusive and filled with environmental sounds, liberally using ambient sounds such as rain, birds and screams at the producer's request. Although working with many variations of the same track was "a bit trying technically", he felt that it "was a lot of fun artistically" and "worked out quite well in the end". Music from both Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver and Soul Reaver 2 was released on a promotional soundtrack in 2001.
Kris Zimmerman was recruited as casting director, while Gordon Hunt provided voice direction.[Soul Reaver] With the exception of Paul Lukather, the entire voice cast of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain returned for this sequel, alongside sole newcomer Michael Bell, who voiced Raziel.[Soul Reaver] Bell commented that "Soul Reaver is a class act", adding that "a professional director is a luxury, and the project fares better for the input". He attempted to play the game itself, but was unable to get beyond the Underworld area: "I have never been able to get Raz up on the friggin' cliff in the beginning of the game in Legacy of Kain. Poor sucker is still hopping". A different, unidentified actor performed Raziel's voice in a very early trailer, but he was never intended to appear in the final game.
After it became clear during late stages of production that Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver could never be shipped in time under its present design conditions, Crystal Dynamics shaved down their game design plans to meet their deadline, removing additional powers for Raziel, a third and final battle with Kain, and an expanded spell system which would have integrated the Glyphs more tangibly with level design and puzzles, and given elemental powers to the Soul Reaver. This decision explains the game's cliffhanger ending, and the appearance of originally planned material in later games. Despite the split, Hennig explained that the team left latent components - such as unused and partially-finished power-ups, areas and sound files - hidden in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver's game data to avoid unforeseen glitches that might have arisen from their removal. Though the excised material was reported by Amy Hennig as encompassing less than a third of the game, it is considered the most well-known of any entry in the Legacy of Kain series, having been widely published after their original discovery through these residual sound files, which described some of the removed content. Many of the deleted elements have gone on to feature in, or influence, later games.[Soul Reaver 2][Defiance]
Alongside major removed events, areas and boss encounters, there are also a number of minor gameplay elements that are missing, or were altered. There are several weapons that Raziel cannot wield in the finished game which were usable in earlier versions, as well as a few minor missing rooms. The most wide-reaching removal, aside from excisions concerning the main story, involved the Soul Reaver enhancements. In the finished game, Raziel can only use the standard Reaver and one elemental enhancement - the Fire Reaver.[Soul Reaver] Originally, though, he was to have discovered five further Soul Reaver enhancement forges, each one corresponding to the Glyphs in the final game (Sound, Stone, Sunlight and Water). Furthermore, the most powerful Glyph was removed; the Spirit Glyph, and its accompanying Reaver enhancement. All of these Reavers would subsequently be imbued by passing them through or striking the element, in the same fashion as the Fire Reaver is re-imbued in-game. There were also two permanent Reaver enhancements, obtained by imbuing the blade with the souls of specific characters - the Ariel and Amplified (Kain) Reavers. The Force Glyph did not have an accompanying Reaver.
Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver canonically ends with the sequence in the Chronoplast, as Raziel pursues Kain through a time portal and meets Moebius.[Soul Reaver] However, its originally-planned storyline was supposed to continue differently:
- Rather than escaping through time upon his defeat at the Chronoplast, Kain was to be wounded by Raziel in that encounter, who would gain a "partial victory" and devour a small measure of Kain's soul. This was to bestow upon him the ability to Shift At Will; he would no longer require planar portals to shift from the Spectral Realm to the Material. Kain would flee to his Mountain Retreat, and Raziel would pursue.[Soul Reaver/Cut content]
- Directed by the Elder God, Raziel would then travel to the City, using his new power to access a hidden, subterranean complex called the Undercity, which was home to a vampire-worshipping cult. Navigating these confines, he was to progress to the nearby Temple, the home of the cult's leader - the Priestess. The ensuing boss battle involved her summoning "monsters" from a high ledge against Raziel, and, reflecting this, Raziel would obtain the Possess ability upon slaying her. This power would enable Raziel to project his soul energy and possess humans and vampires (in a similar vein to the Control Mind spell in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, and the Charm Dark Gift of Blood Omen 2').[Soul Reaver/Cut content]
- Raziel would next have entered Turel's Clan Territory, the industrial heartland of Kain's empire, which included the Smokestack seen in the opening cinematic. There, he would confront Turel, Kain's second-born son, and his last surviving brother. Presumably making use of water to destroy him, Raziel would devour Turel's soul, which would have gifted him with the Amplified Force Projectile ability - an upgrade of the standard telekinetic force projectile.[Soul Reaver/Cut content]
- Next, Raziel would have to travel to Kain's Mountain Retreat; the top of the Smokestack would be tall enough for him to glide there. He would be advised by Ariel that the Soul Reaver itself was not powerful enough to defeat Kain, and that he would need to imbue it with her soul. Raziel would have struck Ariel down with the blade, thus gaining the Ariel Reaver, which would have allowed him to prevail against his former master. Using the Ariel Reaver, Raziel would have engaged in a final battle with Kain himself, finally killing him and absorbing his soul to obtain the Amplified Reaver.[Soul Reaver/Cut content]
- With this all-powerful permanent alteration to the Reaver, Raziel would have been able to glide from the summit of Kain's Retreat to the sealed Pinnacle of the Silenced Cathedral (also seen in the opening video), where he would be able to use the Amplified Reaver to fight off an onslaught of desperate vampires. Fending them off and racing to the top of the Cathedral, he would have fulfilled its original purpose by opening its dormant sounding pipes, blasting a great hymn across Nosgoth and purging the world of its entire vampire population. His vengeance and destiny fulfilled, Raziel would be congratulated by the Elder God as the cycle of birth and death resumed.
- Only then would he realise that he’d been the Elder God’s pawn all along, that the purging of the vampires had devastating consequences, and that the only way to set things right would be to use Moebius’ time-streaming device to go back in time and alter history(in the Sequel)
Despite their invalidation by later titles, some of the major events in this original storyline are depicted in the Chronoplast visions near the end of the game.[Soul Reaver/15] Crystal Dynamics later rationalized these as "alternate futures or possibilities of things that could have been, or illusions created by Moebius to steer Raziel off course" in canon, and Soul Reaver 2 and Legacy of Kain: Defiance both featured scenes visually similar to those in the visions (though in re-framed contexts, distinct from the original intentions in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver). Aspects such as the Spirit and Ariel Reavers, the Possession ability, Turel, and the death of a main character to produce the game's ultimate Reaver enhancement were also restored to the series in Legacy of Kain: Defiance.[Defiance/10][Defiance/12][Defiance/13]
In 1998, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver was showcased at E3, where attendees were given free demo discs. Over time, further demo discs with preview trailers were released, including one bundled with Official PlayStation Magazine. The first, widely-circulated playable demonstation for the PlayStation featured a very short section from the beginning of the Lighthouse area, lacking Spectral Realm functionality, but featuring full movement mechanics, swimming and combat with vampires. Later, a second playable demo - a complete version of the Fire Glyph Altar area, featuring the full puzzle to obtain the Glyph, and functional shifting - was released for multiple platforms. The game was released for the PlayStation in 1999, with the PC version following later that year. The Dreamcast port was released in 2000. The PC and Dreamcast versions featured a much higher frame rate than did the PlayStation version, and the Dreamcast port had further graphical enhancements.
A Japanese release for Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver was planned, but cancelled. Eidos Interactive spent US$4,000,000 on a pre-release advertising campaign, which included magazine articles, television commercials, and a tie-in comic book published by Top Cow Productions.[Soul Reaver comic] A further $1,000,000 advertising and marketing campaign was launched on October 28, in the "spirit of Halloween" (compared to a $5,000,000 campaign for Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation). Despite the game's success, some of its developers "winced" at the direction the marketing had taken, with Daniel Cabuco later explaining that "there was a lot of people who didn't quite get Soul Reaver at Crystal and Eidos", and that "a lot of people didn't get the whole 'city of lost children/lost steampunk' vibe we were going for.. And they sure as heck didn't know what the path of a Gnostic hero was. So mainly it was 'Rawr blood and souls'". The lack of load times was a key marketing point praised by several reviewers. After the game's release, Eidos and BBI partnered to release action figures of Raziel and Kain. Prototype figurines of Dumah were also created, but they never made it to a mass-production stage.
Metacritic, a website which aggregates reviews of video games, deemed from 17 reviews that Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver had achieved a score of 91/100, representing "universal acclaim". GameRankings, a site with a similar function, aggregated the game's reception at 88.16% based on 29 reviews. Both scores indicate that it has been the most critically-successful game in the Legacy of Kain series to date.
Sampling major online reviews, GameSpot's Joe Fielder called it a "far different animal than its predecessor", regarding it as "a deep game possessed of myriad impressive little touches". He felt the puzzles were "inventive", that "the graphics [were] among the best that have ever been on the PlayStation", that the storyline's presentation was "well-crafted" and "wonderful high drama, with much less of the overstated breathy gothness found in Blood Omen", and that the soundtrack was "excellent". However, he was critical of the warp gate system - finding its symbols "impossible to remember" - of the "frustrating" camera, and of the easy level of difficulty. Despite these "warts", he summed it up as "an extremely solid game [...] that's as much of an experience as it is an adventure".
Doug Perry of IGN found the game superlative, elucidating that "it's told with an amazing sense of vision and imagination that's rarely been seen in any game. Every aspect of this game - sound, atmosphere, gameplay, design, and especially the use of language - is saturated with a foreboding dark wrath, intelligence, and plodding, plodding details". He said it was "a complete world, a near-perfect realization of a concept that's never been achieved with such clarity and ambition", and that it had a "seamless blend" of exploration and adventure. On graphics and atmosphere, he said the game was "a beauty", and that "the intro movie for this game is one of the best I have ever watched". Problems cited included an over-abundance of block puzzles, a lack of clear goals at times, and some seams in the levels. Perry concluded by writing that "Soul Reaver is such an ambitious game - and one that achieves nearly everything it sets out to do - that few games come close to it. This game puts Tomb Raider to shame".
In addition to critical praise, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver also won several accolades from websites, including the "Editors' Choice" merit from both GameSpot and IGN, a listing on the "Best Voice Acting in Games" ranking at GameSpot, listings on IGN's "Top 5 Opening FMVs", "Best Voice Acting" and "Reader's Top 25 Games of All Time" lists, and a "StarPlayer" merit from the Official U.K. PlayStation Magazine.
Silicon Knights received so many queries regarding the game that they had to publicly distance themselves from Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, placing an entry in their site's front-page FAQ saying "NO. We are not involved with that product in any way other than as the originators of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain". In a 2008 interview, Denis Dyack criticized the story of the game as having had "nothing to do with" his vision and ideas for a Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain continuation, and commented that the Soul Reaver was supposed to be "just a weapon" in the original game rather than an extensive plot device, but admitted that "a lot of people liked what [Crystal Dynamics] did" and said that "Crystal Dynamics is not a bad developer".
Speaking retrospectively on the game's flaws, Amy Hennig was critical of the game's "patchy" use of story, dialogue and cinematics, the fact that the use of the Spectral Realm was "a little incidental", the "unfortunate" optional nature of Raziel's Glyph spells (which was not the team's original intention), and the overuse of block puzzles in level design (saying "part of it was different people working on different levels and suddenly you look at how it comes together and oh, wow, we all used blocks"). She and the Crystal Dynamics team attempted to amend these problems when designing Soul Reaver 2.
Analysts predicted that Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver would perform well in the video-gaming charts prior to its release, noting that the high proliferation of horror movies in Summer 1999 (including The Mummy, The Blair Witch Project, The Haunting, Lake Placid, Deep Blue Sea and The Sixth Sense) ensured that its release in mid-August 1999 was ideally-timed.
Bolstered by high publicity and critical acclaim, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver had sold over 1.5 million copies by 2001, becoming the first Legacy of Kain game to be inducted as a Sony's Greatest Hits title. According to a 2007 annual report from the SCI Entertainment Group Plc, the Legacy of Kain series as a whole had sold roughly 3.5 million units. Therefore, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver was easily the highest-selling Legacy of Kain title as of that time, accounting for roughly 43% of the series' total sales.
Slightly over ten years after its original release, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver was included in the PlayStation Store's catalogue on November 19, 2009, and as a PSone Classic on the same service on March 2, 2011.
- "Destiny is a game, is it not? And now you await my latest move..."
Following Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver's "slam dunk" release, a sequel, Soul Reaver 2, was quickly announced. Amy Hennig affirmed that "there wasn't a master plan for what the next game would be. Just that there would be one". The story picks up directly after the events of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, following Raziel as he travels through time for answers to his destiny, while meeting with (and being manipulated by) various beings, including Kain, the Elder God and Moebius.[Soul Reaver 2]
The game was praised for its involved storyline and improved gameplay, but was criticized for having no side-quests, and for being easier than its precursor. Initially developed as a PlayStation and Dreamcast sequel by the same Crystal Dynamics team, it was reworked during production into a PlayStation 2 exclusive. Again published by Eidos Interactive and released on October 31, 2001, it also met with high sales and strong reviews, but was not as successful in either regard as its predecessor.[Soul Reaver 2]
- Director: Amy Hennig
- Producers: Andrew Bennett, Amy Hennig, Rosaura Sandoval
- Executive Producers: Rob Dyer, Jon Miller
- Original Game Concept: Amy Hennig, Seth Carus
- Initial Concept Art: Arnold Ayala
- Lead Programmers: Carl Stika, Marc David
- Programming: Jason Bell, Scott Krotz, Hong Park
- Additional Programming: Jonah Stich, Tom Desmarais, Doug Banks
- Interface Programming: Charles Martin, Erik Strickland
- Audio Programming: Fred Mack
- PC Programming: Jurjen Katsman, Michael Heyeck
- Additional PC Programming: Lee Briggs
- Senior Designer: Richard Lemarchand
- Design & Layout: Seth Carus, Riley Cooper, John Dumala, Aaron Keller
- Lead Animator: James Guilford
- Animation: Paul Vernon, John Hood, Eric Elliott, Troi
- Creature Art Lead: Daniel Cabuco
- Mesh Lead: Cory Stockton
- Mesh & Layout: Mike Gonzales, Freddie Lee, Mark Meier, Cory Stockton, Casto Vocal, Caroline Trujillo
- Texture & Lighting Lead: Timothy Linn
- Textures & Lighting: Arnold Ayala, Daniel Cabuco, Brett Hartshorn, Timothy Linn, Dave Reyes, Stephen Trusty
- In-Game Cinematics Lead: Jeff Morgan
- Additional Cinematics: Jeremy Bredow, Aaron Keller, John Dumala
- Concept Art: Arnold Ayala, Daniel Cabuco, James Guilford, Freddie Lee, Dave Reyes, Stephen Trusty
- Additional Art: Leon Cannon, Troi, Gary Ellington, Ross Harris, Jeff Morgan, Damon Redmond
- Art Interns: Jon Guilford, Adi Taylor
- Script: Amy Hennig, Richard Lemarchand, Jim Curry
- Voice Director: Gordon Hunt
- Casting Director: Kris Zimmerman
- Voice Talent (English):
- Michael Bell as Raziel and Melchiah
- Tony Jay as the Elder God and Zephon
- Simon Templeman as Kain and Dumah
- Neil Ross as Rahab
- Anna Gunn as Ariel
- Richard Doyle as Moebius and the Tomb Guardian
- Recording Studio: ScreenMusic Studios
- Full Motion Animation: GlyphX, Inc.
- AV Manager: Steve Papoutsis
- Audio/Video Lead: Greg Shaw
- Sound Design & Music Composition: Kurt Harland, Information Society
- Adaptive Audio Programming: Jim Hedges
- Additional Sound Effects: Steve Papoutsis, Greg Shaw
- Test Manager (Crystal Dynamics): Alex Ness
- Lead Tester (Crystal Dynamics): Billy Mitchell
- Crystal Dynamics Testers: Brian Becksted, Chris Bruno, James Cabot, Rolef Conlan, Joseph M. Damon, Rich Krinock, Samson Maciel, Todd Malone, Mark Medeiros, Chris Pappalardo, Matt Prescott, Jacob Rohrer, Jeff Wilkinson
- Test Managers (Eidos): Tony Bourne (UK), Mike McHale (US)
- Lead Testers (Eidos): Patrick Cowan (UK), Corey Fong (US)
- Eidos Testers: Jonathan Arday, John Arvay, Lars Bakken, Dominic Berzins, Chris Charles, Michael Hanley, Alex Lepoureau, Darren Lewis, Tim Moore, Ralph Ortiz, Greg Rizzer, Franklin Vasquez
- VP Marketing: Scott Steinberg
- Marketing Manager (US): Jim Curry
- Assistant Product Manager (US): Jon Guilford, Adi Taylor
- PR Manager (UK): Brian Silva
- PR Manager (US): Steve Groll
- Marketing Artist: Colin O'Connor
- Manual (US): Hanshaw Ink & Image
- Special Thanks: Ted Ardell, GEX Team, Akuji Team, Glen Schofield, Sam Player, Adrian Longland, Danny Chan, Lita Unruh, Jason Walker, Patrick Bradley, Malachi Boyle, Rita Fovenyessy, Chris Stefanetti, Dave Dao, Karl Hagemann, Brendan Cahill, All of our friends & family who missed us during the crunch
- Legacy of Kain
- Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver at GOG.com.
- Soul Reaver chapters, transcripts and walkthrough
- Soul Reaver characters
- Soul Reaver locations
- Soul Reaver items
- Soul Reaver equipment
- Soul Reaver abilities
- Soul Reaver enemies
- Soul Reaver glossary
- Soul Reaver cast
- Soul Reaver crew
- Soul Reaver cut content
- Soul Reaver gallery
- Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver at Wikipedia.
- Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver (1999) at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni).
- Soul Reaver at Nosgothic Realm (by Wolf Reven and Tenaya).
- Soul Reaver at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln).
- Soul Reaver: Background Story at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni)
- Soul Reaver 2: Background Story at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni)
- GLoK Interviews with Amy Hennig at Nosgothic Realm (by Raziel Fan), post #5 (by RazielFan)
- Blood Omen 2 Q&A at GameSpot (by Sam Newman)
- Features: Interview: Soul Reaver's Amy Hennig at SegaWeb (by Craig Hansen)
- Legacy of Kain: Defiance Designer Diary #2 at GameSpot, page 1 (by Richard Lemarchand)
- GLoK Interviews with Amy Hennig at Nosgothic Realm (by Raziel Fan)
- For Mr. Daniel Cabuco at the Eidos Forums (by Vampira), post #34 (by KainPainter)
- For Mr. Daniel Cabuco at the Eidos Forums (by Vampira), post #31 (by KainPainter)
- Kain's Scar at the Eidos Forums (by gklok), post #62 (by KainPainter)
- Kain's Scar at the Eidos Forums (by gklok), post #77 (by KainPainter)
- A few questions at DCabDesign (by Divine Shadow), post #2 (by Daniel Cabuco)
- GLoK Interviews with Amy Hennig at Nosgothic Realm (by Raziel Fan), post #4 (by RazielFan)
- The Influence of Literature and Myth in Videogames at IGN (by Douglass C. Perry), page 3
- Defiance question at DCabDesign (by Liquid Yarullin), post #6 (by Daniel Cabuco)
- Question and Answer with Jen, Richard, and Kyle at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Zephon at deviantART (by SpectralJin)
- Soul Reaver 2 (Raziel) (archived at Dark Chronicle)
- Soul Reaver 2 (Kain), page 3 (archived at Dark Chronicle)
- Map at Nosgothic Realm (by Guilherme Coelho, Tenaya and Andrew Fradley)
- The Eidos Interview at IAsig (by Alexander Brandon)
- Chris@Crystal's Greatest Hits at the Eidos Forums (by Divine Shadow)
- Soul Reaver quietly cut before release (spoilers) at the Gaming Intelligence Agency
- The Pinnacle of The Silenced Cathedral at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Soul Reaver Response at GameSpot (by Chris Johnston)
- The Ruined City of the Dumahim (Ash Village) at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni)
- The Undercity and The Temple at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- The Lighthouse Demo at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Soul Reaver: Warp Gates at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni)
- Soul Reaver: Health Power-Ups at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni)
- Soul Reaver: Eldritch Energy Power-Ups at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni)
- Soul Reaver: Glyphs at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni)
- Vampire Wraiths and Revived Vampires at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni)
- The Dumahim at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni)
- The Melchahim at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni)
- The Zephonim at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni)
- The Rahabim at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni)
- The Turelim at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni)
- The Tomb Guardian (Morlock) at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni)
- Sluagh at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni)
- Shifter at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Something interesting Denis Dyack once said. at IGN (by HGLatino)
- character concept art << Dogma5150's Blog at Wordpress.com (by Arnold Ayala)
- Recreated PSXnation.com Interview with Denis Dyack at Nosgothic Realm
- Knights Fight for Kain at GameSpot (by Chris Johnston)
- Denis Dyack on Story and Content in Games, Part 2 at 1UP.com (by Phillip Kollar)
- Shifter at DCabDesign (by Divine Shadow), post #2 (by Daniel Cabuco)
- Andrew Bennett at LinkedIn
- Legacy of Kain: Defiance Designer Diary #1 at GameSpot, page 1 (by Richard Lemarchand)
- gallery_loksr1 at boydlake.com
- Qore®- September, 2011 Episode 40 at the PlayStation Network
- Soul Reaver 2 announced at gamershell.com
- Soul Reaver's Gex Engine at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Soul Reaver 2: Director's Interview at IGN, page 6 (by Douglass C. Perry)
- Early Versions of The Story at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Soul Reaver 2: Director's Interview at IGN, page 4 (by Douglass C. Perry)
- Beta Comparison - Introduction at The Lost Worlds (by Raina Audron)
- This news just in: Legacy of Kain ships tomorrow! at IGN
- Soul Reaver at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- The Influence of Literature and Myth in Videogames at IGN (by Douglass C. Perry), page 5
- Blood Omen 2 at DCabDesign (by Divine Shadow), post #2 (by Daniel Cabuco)
- Vampire's attire in Nosgoth at DCabDesign (by majinkura), post #4 (by Daniel Cabuco)
- The Vampires Of LOK at DCabDesign (by majinkura), post #20 (by Daniel Cabuco)
- Early Character Names at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- The Influence of Literature and Myth in Videogames at IGN (by Douglass C. Perry), page 2
- InSoc.Eyep.net interview at Information Society Brazil
- Beta Comparison - Music and Sound Effects at The Lost Worlds (by Raina Audron)
- Eidos packs in the extras with Soul Reaver 2 at GameSpot (by Shahed Ahmed)
- An Interview with Michael Bell at Mygamer.com (by R. Peterson)
- Salvation, Revelation, Deceit at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln and Jeff Howson)
- Early Vampires at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- An Alternate Introduction at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- The Deleted Armoury at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Alternate Silenced Cathedral Areas at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- The Push and Test Rooms at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- The Secret Passage at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- The Elemental Reavers at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- The Spirit Glyph at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- The Ariel Reaver at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- The Amplified Reaver at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Soul Reaver- Art of Female, Wolf and Winged Vampires (Razielim?), Hunters and Demons at the Eidos Forums (by Divine Shadow)
- The Aftermath of The Chronoplast at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Shift At Will at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- The Priestess at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Possession at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- The Turelim Clan Territory at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Turel at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Amplified Force Projectile at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- The Mountain Retreat at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- The Death of Ariel at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- The Final Battle with Kain at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Opening the Sounding Pipes at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
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Behind the Classics – Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver
- Answers to questions from the Defiance team at the Eidos Forums (by Chris@Crystal)
- Alternate Aerie Exit Cinematic at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Direct From SF -- 10 Years Of Attending E3 at MTV.com (by Patrick Klepek)
- The KainDemo Video at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Video Demo - 1999-03-16 at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln and Thiago Paulino)
- The Fire Glyph Demos at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver: Release Summary at GameSpot
- Highly-Anticipated `Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver' Looks to Take a Bite at the Electronic Game Charts This August; Television, Magazine Ad Buys and a Retail Promotional Onslaught Put the Word Out on Eidos Interactive's Sequel to `Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen' at The Free Library
- Lara: Kain's Jealous at IGN
- Retail Action Figures at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Prototype Action Figures at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver at Metacritic
- Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver for PlayStation at GameRankings
- Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain for PlayStation at GameRankings
- Soul Reaver 2 at Metacritic
- Blood Omen 2 at Metacritic
- Legacy of Kain: Defiance at Metacritic
- Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver Review at GameSpot (by Joe Fielder)
- Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver review at IGN (by Doug Perry)
- The Best Voice Acting in Games at GameSpot
- Top 25 Games of All Time: Complete List at IGN
- IGN Reader's Top 25 Games of All Time, Part One at IGN
- The New Silicon Knights Webpage
- Soul Reaver 2: Director's Interview at IGN, page 1 (by Douglass C. Perry)
- Soul Reaver 2: Director's Interview at IGN, page 2 (by Douglass C. Perry)
- Soul Reaver 2 exclusive to the Sony PlayStation 2 at GameZone
- PlayStation Greatest Hits: Complete List at IGN
- SCi Entertainment Group Plc: Annual report and accounts 2007 at miranda.hemscott.com
- PlayStation Store Update at the PlayStation Network (by Grace Chen)
- Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, more PSone Classics rated by the ESRB at Joystiq (by Randy Nelson)
- Release: Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver at GOG.com
- Eidos plc: Fifteen month results at eidos.co.uk