Shades were soulless shadow-like creatures introduced in Soul Reaver 2 and present in all its eras in a variety of locations. The shades had a shadowy semi-transparent humanoid figure with large hands and claws which formed around a glowing heart at the center of its chest. Shades were attracted to the spiritual energy present in activated fonts and sealed doors and often appeared to guard these devices, stealing their energy and preventing Raziel from using them until the Shade was defeated and the stolen power restored[Soul Reaver 2].
In combat, shades were fairly weak enemies, felled by a single lunge and combo or a charged Wraith Blade, and they were not particularly quick or strong. Shades made up for their weaknesses however, by hiding in darkened areas where they were often difficult to see and attacking in large groups. At long ranges the shades would shoot projectiles at Raziel, whilst at closer ranges they attacked with strikes from their enlarged claws. Shades existed in both the Spectral and Material Realms and this combined with their lack of a consumable Soul mean they could potentially be dangerous enemies. Shades habit of stealing elemental power often meant that Raziel was forced into combat[Soul Reaver 2][Soul Reaver 2 manual][Soul Reaver 2 strategy guide (Prima)].
Raziel first encountered Shades in the history preceding Blood Omen as he made his way beyond the Pillars and into the Shade-infested Subterranean Ruins. Shades would frequently be encountered through all three eras of Soul Reaver 2 in a variety of locations; though they appeared to favor darkened areas, such as the Subterranean ruins, and areas with elemental power sources such as the Dark Forge, Light Forge, Air Forge and Janos's retreat[Soul Reaver 2].
- The term 'Shades' has a number of shadow-related connotations: with Shade being the absence of direct (sun)light, as well as Shades - mixing a color with black to darken it. Shades are likely derived from the Shades of mythology - shadow-like spirits of the dead hailing from the underworld.
- Soul Reaver 2's Shades were often associated with the 'spiritual energy' found at fonts and Sealed Doors. As such they were often presented in color variations dependant upon the elemental energy they had stolen, with the colour of the heart, claws and 'skin' of the shade all varying depending upon the source of power and associated element[Soul Reaver 2].
- Shade enemies would return in Legacy of Kain: Defiance where the design of the Shades was altered to a more smoke-like appearance with three shade variants presented; the Greater, Lesser and Mini shades [Defiance]. The back-story of the Shades was also fleshed out in their Defiance appearance (as well as the Prima Guide and developer interviews) which mention that Shades are the "shattered remnants of cruel and malicious souls that coalesce and shift through the spectral wastes", suggesting that although they are soul-less they are made up of 'Soul fragments' and may thus be considered as both technically undead and Spectral native, with it also suggested that Shades reach the Material Realm through the weakening of dimensional boundaries[Defiance strategy guide].