Reaper archons were an enemy class encountered in Legacy of Kain: Defiance. Part of the archon creature family, the reaper archons were native to the Spectral Realm and could be encountered throughout Nosgoth in the Spectral Realm as Raziel explored the events of Blood Omen.
Reaper archons were shark-like predators native to the Spectral Realm that fed on Souls and were capable of flying through the air with Swimming-like motions. They were encountered only by Raziel in the Spectral Realm and were particularly dangerous for their ability to remain in the air and stay out of reach, regularly swooping down and attack Raziel with their claws - often this was combined with their trademark Draining Leash ability - opening a wound through which they could draw further energy in a glowing tether until the link was broken through attacking force or retreating to a distance.
Reaper archons were first encountered at the end of the chapter Escape from the Elder God Chamber as Raziel explored the Cemetery in the events of Blood Omen and discovered several Souls attempting to escape that were swiftly consumed by the archons - which were subsequently identified as fellow Soul devouring agents of the Elder God. Thereafter Raziel could encounter the archons as enemies throughout the Spectral Realm.[Defiance][Defiance/2][Defiance/4][Defiance/6][Defiance/8]
Draining Leash - The reaper archons swoop in and land a strike on Raziel which opens a spiritual tether through which the archons can drain further energy. Only striking the enemy or retreating to a safe distance could break the bond.
Description: The Reaper Archon is the smaller of the two types of Archons. They are built more for speed and quickness than strength and prefer to attack while floating along the spectral currents they effortlessly swim through (generally keeping within easy Air Combo height of the Player)Special Attacks/AI: Draining Leash – The Reaper Archon's main form of attack other than swiping with their claw like forearms is a leash-like chain of energy, which can be latched onto its prey. As long as the chain of energy is intact the Reaper Archon will continually drain health from the victim. However this draining link between hunter and hunted can be disrupted if the Reaper Archon is attacked and successfully hit.
Strategy: The main unique part of the Reaper Archon's strategy is position in relation to the character. As this is the closest thing to a ‘flying' enemy we have it can only be reached and dealt with at air-combo level. Efforts will be have to constantly be made to cancel out the drain leash as the player deals with this enemy by successfully forcing or hitting the Reaper Archon while engaging with its sinuous swooping movements.
- The archons are only identified by their overall creature family in manuals, scripts and dialogue. The individual classes are identified and subdivided as reaper archons and dreadnaught archons in Legacy of Kain: Defiance: Prima's Official Strategy Guide.[Defiance manual][Defiance strategy guide] Reaper archons are listed as "archon_h" in game files.[Defiance]
- The term "archon" come from the ancient greek world and means "ruler" where magistrates were typically given the title. However the word has a deeper meaning in Gnosticism (which inspired Legacy of Kain) where it relates to "demonic entities subordinate to the embodiment of evil". Among some belief systems they prevent souls leaving the Material Realm. The term "reaper" relates to an implement (originally scythe-like) that is used to gather grains at harvest-time. Imagery associated with this is often associated with death as in the case of the Grim Reaper - the personification of death and harvester of souls.
- The moves of the dreadnaught archons are named specifically in the Legacy of Kain: Defiance: Prima's Official Strategy Guide where they are identified as Projectile Hold and Energy Draining Leash.
- The Draining Leash ability of the archons is actually listed slightly differently for the two Archon variants in the official guide. The reaper archons' variant is listed as "Draining Leash", while the dreadnaught variant is listed as "Energy Draining Leash" - the similarity of the attack is noted however and the only difference referenced is the tendency of the dreadnaught archons to use it as a follow up to their Projectile Hold attack. Visually and in gameplay terms the two leash attacks seem to be virtually identical.
- The reaper archons, the dreadnaught archons and the Tentacles enemy class share a common theme - all being identified as agents of the Elder God. This label could also apply to Raziel, Moebius, Janos Audron, Ancient vampires in general and the Ancient, primitive cult.
- Like other Spectral fauna, the archons are only found where they are required as enemies. Attempts to enter the Spectral Realm in Kain's chapters through Debug menus or the like will include few Spectral effects and no Spectral enemies.
- In terms of gameplay the archons are something of a successor to the Vampire wraiths in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver and the Greater sluagh seen in Soul Reaver 2 as the highest predators of the Spectral Realm in each title. Each of these enemies is notably only seen in the one title and cannot be seen elsewhere and the reasons for the absence in other areas/time periods unknown.
- The archons' original appearance in Escape from the Elder God Chamber is more significant it initially appears with the Souls attempting to ascend towards a bright light representing another plane of existence - potentially Heaven - before being consumed by the archons. Although not clear in the final scene the original intent is clearer in artwork and the original scripts.
- Although it is only explicitly listed as an ability in Defiance, the Draining Leash ability bears a remarkable resemblance to the unnamed ability used by Spectral entities such as Vampire wraiths, Revived vampires and the revived Dumah to drain Raziel's health in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver - both are used by species and individuals that have adapted to the Spectral Realm and learnt to consume souls or soul energy, both require an initial wound to be opened, both consist of a similar blue/purple band and both form a 'leash' of sort that can be broken by distance or damage. Arguably Draining Leash may be considered to be the same ability with updated visuals. Another ability that is highly related is Constricting, which again uses a similar spectral band and may have been directly developed from the vampire wraith ability.[Defiance][Soul Reaver]