Archive.png Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver in Computer and Video Games issue 207

"In the last game you had to suck blood. This time, the only thing on your personal diet plan are Souls. And lots of them. It's hard being undead don't you think?"[1]

Profile[edit source]

It's a complete reworking of the original Kain game, a title that has already gained a cult following in the US.

You control Raziel (pronounced Raz-eel), a former minion to the Great Devil himself, Kain. But he grows increasingly frustrated with the lack of power he has, so in a bid to break away, he gains some extra powers. Kain is not impressed though, and Raziel is banished to a bottomless vortex.

However, Kain is rescued by the Elder and told of how Kain too deprived him of his soul reaving. Together they will get their revenge...
Computer and Video Games[1]


Raziel doesn't carry any weapons – if you discount his metal claws on his hands – so he has to make do with any of the objects lying around the landscape. Objects can only be picked up in the normal dimension, but they can be carried into the Spectral realm. But they won't be of any use to you, as you cannot throw them! Darts-cum-spears are the first weapon you'll find. Walking up to it and pressing Square will make Raziel summon the item to his hands. By holding the button down you can skewer enemies by impaling them on the end of the spear, or you can simply slash away at them by repeatedly pressing the button. And for all of the Jocky Wilson wannabes, you can lob the dart too! The trick here is to make sure you hold R1 before you throw it, and it'll auto aim onto the nearest enemy.
Computer and Video Games[1]

PAY CLOSE ATTENTION...[edit source]

One of the most impressive aspects of Soul Reaver is the morphing between the two planes in the world of Nosgoth. There is the normal time, which is the world you stand in. Here, you have the ability to manipulate objects around you and use them as weapons. You also find Kain's minions in the normal world.

Once you've learned the morphing spell, however, the Spectral plane represents a new challenge. In this, time is frozen. All normal enemies disappear and new enemies come for you. The entire landscape morphs as well. This is worth remembering when you come to a section in the stage and think you are stuck. In some cases, this can fill up entire sections of a level with water or drain it.

The morphing effect between the two stages is very impressive, with the whole level changing colour and becoming distorted. You don't have to be in any particular position to do it either, just one tap of the button once the spell is in your possession will do the trick. Also, you can carry on moving as you do, which is very impressive.
Computer and Video Games[1]


We thought you'd like to hear from the programmers themselves, so we got in touch with Rosaura Sandoval, Associate Producer of Soul Reaver at Crystal Dynamics, to find out a little more about their newest title.

CVG: Do you have any inspirations behind the creation of this game – old Vampire movies for example?
CD: We were inspired by the history of vampires in ancient folklore as well as literature and films like Nosferatu.

CVG: Have you thought about having an instant camera view button that automatically returns the view to behind Raziel? Like the one you find in Zelda on N64?
CD: That is something that we are currently looking into. We have a camera committee dedicated solely to tackling the challenges of the camera in 3D space.

CVG: Can you tell us a little more about the weapons you'll be able to use. We've seen the dart and torch, but what other items have you got planned?
CD: There is also the Soul Reaver from the first game. The legendary sword of Kain. It is destroyed in one of your confrontations with Kain. It can, however, be reclaimed in the Spectral Plane and Raziel gains the ability to summon the Soul Reaver back to the Material Plane with all new powers that come with it.
The Soul Reaver can take on the abilities of the elements by bathing the weapon in an elemental forge. Sunlight, Water, Stone, Fire, Sound and Spirit – adding these elements to the Soul Reaver will make it an even more destructive force.

CVG: Can you reveal anything about the spells?
CD: Raziel gains abilities through out the game by defeating his brother vampire lieutenants, and fighting Kain. All of these abilities will be used against Raziel before he receives them.

Pass Through Barriers:
This skill allows Raziel to phase through gates to reach new areas.

Spectral Shifting:
Allows Raziel to shift between the planes at any time. This skill must be learned, otherwise Raziel must find a portal to get back to the Material Plane.

Possess the body of an enemy. This can be used to force enemies to solve puzzles for you, and to kill off particularly difficult baddies.

Raziel can now jump into the water without being sent to the spectral plane. The player can now reach all new areas.

Allows Raziel to move object from a distance important for puzzle solving.

Amplified Force:
A second version of Force that is more destructive than the first.

This ability allows Raziel to run around objects and enemies and cause a force that will turn dials and crush enemies in its centre.

Scale Walls:
Allows Raziel to climb walls to new areas.

CVG: Considering that you save so much of the game onto memory card, how did you manage to only use two slots?
CD: Now, if we told you that, it wouldn't be a secret, would it?

CVG: Have you managed to implement all the ideas for use with the freezing of time? For instance, do you think it'll be possible to throw a spear, morph to the Spectral time and run around the ledge before catching the spear again on the opposite side of the level?
CD: Everytime you go into the spectral plane, time stands still in the material plane. You can move a block off the edge of a chasm and, as it is in the air, switch to spectral to use it as a floating platform to access an unreachable area.

CVG: We've seen a few of the basic enemies, but what surprises have you got in store for us? Can you reveal anything about some of the bosses?
CD: I'll give you a taste of one of the bosses. The skinner boss is an enemy made up of a huge patchwork of flesh from a myriad of poor souls.
All of the bosses are at least twice the size of Raziel and each has its own particular weakness. After defeating each boss, Raziel acquires the skills of each boss whether it be immunity to water or the ability to climb walls.

CVG: Do you have any plans for a Soul Reaver game on Sega's new console, Dreamcast, or PlayStation 2?
CD: No comment.

CVG: Finally, do you have a message for CVG readers and other mad gamers?
CD: I would just like to say thank you, because without them, we would not have the exciting and enjoyable job of creating video games.

Computer and Video Games[1]


There are ways to kill enemies without using weapons. You can use the puzzles that are there to test you as an added weapon.

For instance on one stage, you're required to fix together a small section of water piping so that when you turn the supply on, the water flows through. However, there are a couple of enemies lurking around the valve section where you activate the water, so all you have to do is lure them back to the pit and chuck them in.

Now turn the water on and Bob's your uncle, one dead minion. If you run back there quick enough, you can also nab their soul for your troubles. Because water burns vampires skin like acid, this can be used as a useful ploy to dispose of pesky enemies.
Computer and Video Games[1]


The object of the game is to steal souls. So once you've killed an enemy by sticking a spear through their windpipe, you'll notice the small green glow that appears from their corpse. Holding circle will make Raziel absorb the soul and give himself a bit more energy. If you look closely at him when he sucks in the spirit, you can see that as he pulls down his face mask, he has no jaw or neck! Spooky. You have to be quick when getting the soul though, because if you leave it there too long, then the body will reanimate.
Computer and Video Games[1]


The animation on Raziel and in general throughout the game is top notch. Crystal dynamics enlisted the help of Hollywood animators to make sure that Raziel looks and moves to the best standard.

When he is swimming the effect is especially good as well with streams of bubbles emitting from his feet and hands. Architect students have also been drafted in the ensure the look of the levels is as believable as it is colourful and imaginative.

Take a look at some of the buildings in some of the later levels and you'll see where all of the time and effort has gone.
Computer and Video Games[1]


Crystal Dynamics have also worked hard on making sure that the AI on the enemies is not just a simple slash-fest until someone dies.

As soon as you get in range of a rival vamp, it'll start to move forward and attack you. However, some enemies will try to run away and scarper if they take a pasting and others will lure you into a wide open space so that two of them can team up and attack you from the front and behind.

They also learn how you attack and try to develop their attack patterns accordingly. Bosses will try and use their obvious size advantage over you. And if you're the lover not a fighter type, you can try recruiting other vampires to the Elder's cause, just so that you're not always on your todd!
Computer and Video Games[1]

YOU PUSH IT REAL GOOD![edit source]

OK, so pushing blocks isn't exactly revolutionary, but the way in which Raziel does it is especially cool. If you tap square, he'll push the block a short distance. Holding square will see him continually force it in a direction. If you move it sideways, he'll practically rip the block in that direction.
Computer and Video Games[1]

REAVE WITH ME[edit source]

For the those wanting proof that their Dual Shock pads were a good buy, you'll be pleased to know that Soul Reaver is also compatible!
Computer and Video Games[1]

SOUL STREAMER[edit source]

Another cool element of the game is one that most of you won't give a second thought to. This game doesn't load like standard titles as there's no waiting in between each stage.

Once you start the game an initial bulk is loaded, which is about four to five sections of the level, and stored onto the PlayStation's memory. Everything else is streamed direct from the CD. This allows you to see much more of the level and fogging is reduced to a minimum.

You can also save off the entire world state to your memory card. This means that whenever you move a block or throw a spear and leave it stuck in a wall, the world state has changed.

You can save those changes to your card, so if you ever want to go back to a level to finish a puzzle, everything will still be as you left it. This, surprisingly, only takes one or two slots on your memory card!

And when you consider that Soul Reaver is programmed on an enhanced version of the original Gex 2 engine, it makes the whole thing seem even more impressive.
Computer and Video Games[1]


Some of the puzzles in Soul Reaver require a great deal more than just hitting a switch or killing some enemies. There is one level that requires you to complete a mural on a wall. The cool thing is, this story is meant to be the plot for the original Legacy of Kain!

Locate the blocks hidden around the room, and drag or push them down into the hieroglyphics. They may also need to be flipped around to make them fit the puzzle.

Another cool puzzle involves pipes and water. The idea is that you have to connect two pipes together to complete the water flow. This requires moving blocks with holes already in them so they all fit together and complete the system.

If you manage to do this and turn the water on, this will power a huge water turbine, which in turn feeds a power supply for another level making the whole thing light up. How cool is that?

Computer and Video Games[1]

REAVE YOUR MAGIC[edit source]

Next month should, hopefully, see a finished version of this potential stormer of a title. We're awaiting this one with baited breath.
Computer and Video Games[1]

Captions[edit source]

  • The enemies have to be bleeding before they can be skewered like this.
  • One fried vamp coming up! Weaken the enemy, and throw the torch at them.
  • If you look closely, you can see his jaw missing when he sucks in souls. Gross!
  • I'm addicted man... These souls man... I can't get enough man... It's da bomb honest...
  • The bubbles appear after every stroke and foot paddle.
  • You come across humans as well. This soldier carries a gun, for what it's worth.
  • This demon is about to get whacked for six! Laters.
  • The detail on his body is excellent. Couple that with the lighting effects from the stained glass window behind, and it looks amazing!
  • Switch planes here, and new ledges will appear.
  • Check out the lighting effect.
  • Eye eye cherry pie! Ho ho.
  • The spear will kill off the undead much quicker than your claws.
  • Don't forget to check out all the patterns on the block.
  • Holding the crouch button and hitting square flips the block.
  • Pick up pots and lob them at enemies to make them weak!
  • This boss is made up of skins – from other human beings! Awesome!
Computer and Video Games[1]

Gallery[edit source]

References[edit source]

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 Archive.png Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver in Computer and Video Games issue 207

Browse[edit source]

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.