"Once acquired, these Glyphs empower you with elemental lore. Each spell exacts a sacrifice of energy, however. Use them sparingly – and wisely."
―Elder God — Listen (file info)[src]

The Spirit Glyph Altar was an apparently cut area originally intended to be featured in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. Supposed to be the location where Raziel gained the similarly cut Spirit Glyph, the ultimate appearance and location of the altar remained unknown until the exposure of Soul Reaver alphas in 2020, which illuminated the original position and use of the altar - while showing that it had in fact been repurposed for another use in the final game.

Profile[edit | edit source]

The Spirit Glyph Altar was a playable location that was intended to make an appearance in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, and was one of many Glyph altars that were supposed to make an appearance in the game. The altar was a special chamber associated with elemental Spirit where Raziel would be able to obtain the Spirit Glyph. Like the other glyphs the enhancement and area were entirely optional and it was not necessary to visit the altar as part of the story of the game. Due to the time constraints both the Spirit Glyph and its altar were cut from the game - although later discoveries showed that the area itself had remained in the game and was modified to suit another purpose.[Soul Reaver][1][2][3][4][5]

Development[edit | edit source]

Model of the Spirit Glyph altar as it appears in the alphas

The Spirit Glyph Altar and its accompanying Glyph were originally mentioned and featured in pre-release materials promoting Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver which discussed the planned enhancements for the game - and a full list of seven glyphs - although no imagery of the shrine was present in these materials.[4][5][6][7][8]

Despite records of its presence the release version of Soul Reaver contained only six of the planned glyph altars with the seventh Spirit Glyph altar apparently cut before release. The Spirit Glyph itself is likewise missing from retail and beta releases and the location of the shrine was not definitively known until many years later.[Soul Reaver][9][4][5]

In 2020 alpha versions of the game containing much of the previously cut content were publicised and these contained the lost Spirit Glyph altar. In this version the furthest snowy canyons did not contain the Oracle's Cave, but instead housed Turel's Clan Territory. The Spirit Glyph altar was found in a cave just off the snowy valley leading between the Ash Village and Turel's Clan Territory, with the same cave present in the retail version but only containing a large bonfire. Interestingly the alphas revealed that the Spirit Glyph altar had in fact made it into the retail game in a way - the rooms had been repurposed and could be found in the in the Human Citadel where they occupied the space formally taken by the deleted Undercity level and contained a fountain and a health power up.[1][2][3][5][Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/City]

The original puzzle of the altar involved Raziel activating a switch to trap himself in the top room with an advancing Melchahim and luring it on to the pedestal where its soul would be released to empower the Spirit Glyph. Much of this functionality is still present in the alphas but actually gaining the glyph requires coded activation.[1][2][3]

Main article: Spirit Glyph


The Robert Chang tests[edit | edit source]

Prior to the discovery of the Soul Reaver alphas in 2020 the appearance of the Spirit Glyph altar was not definitively known. In 2003 Artist Robert Chang's portfolio was updated with images of some test rooms created for Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. These test rooms notably had a layout which bore hallmarks of both the Reaver forges and the Glyph altars and notably featured an early version of the symbol of the unused Spirit Glyph, leading to speculation that this was the Spirit Glyph altar - although this ultimately turned out not to be the case when the Soul Reaver alpha discoveries in 2020 exposed the forge. The layout and design of the test rooms does have several features which match both the later forges and shrine but also hearken back to Spirit forges of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain - potentially suggesting that the test rooms were the progenitors of the later forges and shrines and were themselves inspired by the Spirit forges.[10][11][12][1][2][3][Soul Reaver][Blood Omen]

Main article: Robert Chang tests

Design and Layout[edit | edit source]

The Spirit Glyph altar was originally found near in the snowy "Mrlock" valleys leading eastward away from the Ash Village and toward the final canyon that housed the entrance to Turel's Clan Territory (or the Oracle's Cave in the retail version). Just before the final snowy clearing the trail curved southward around a rocky outcrop bearing a high construction atop the cliff and at the base of the construction a cave could be found. This cave contained the entrance to the Spirit Glyph altar - in the retail version the cave led only to a large bonfire.[1][2][3][Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/14]

The cave led through to a a small zig-zag cavern before emerging into a larger open circular chamber with a pair of curved staircases bending around the outer walls of the room. At the center of the chamber was a circular platform surrounded by a striped pattern. In front of the platform between the two staircases the wall was decorated with a number of script letters and a face-like design bearing fangs. Another flat platform was positioned above joining the top of the two staircases with a grated door positioned at the midpoint. A flip switch was present on the wall which lifted the grate allowing passage to the room beyond and the altar.[1][2][3]

The altar room bore some of the trademarks of Glyph altar design: a V-shaped room with a domed ceiling and circular back, ribbed walls and an arrangement of six pillars lining the way to a stepped altar. The back area bore striped walls and the main altar was circular in shape - bearing the same stripes - and consisted of a series of circular steps rising to a small circular platform which was colored blue.[1][2][3]

Upon entering the room the portcullis door would lower, trapping Raziel in the room with a Melchahim vampire. To gain the Spirit Glyph it was necessary to lure the vampire onto the blue platform where it would be disintegrated and an effect - presumably representing the glyph tablet - would appear in its place. Despite the Spirit Glyph being present and partially functional in the game, the Glyph could not be gained from the altar and picking up the item generated had no effect on Raziel's Glyphs or the Ring menu, necessitating the use of Debug menus to access the Glyph.[1][2][3]

The retail version of these chambers in the City were much brighter with functioning in game lighting that was missing from much of the alphas. The pillars were removed and the altar made a more conical shape with the top step sunken to become a pool with a water fountain and health power up in the middle.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/City]

Inhabitants and Collectibles[edit | edit source]

  • Glyph-spirit.png The Spirit Glyph (can be picked up but does not count as 'gained' in known builds): "The glyph spell creates a localized vortex of soul-sucking energy, tearing the souls out of any enemies within a prescribed radius. The souls are magnetized directly into Raziel, replenishing his health energy."[7][13]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • The Spirit Glyph Altar is not directly named in dialogue, however it was titled as such in pre-release materials and follows the convention mentioned for the rest of the "Glyph altars" in guides and manuals.[7][Soul Reaver manual (UK)][Soul Reaver manual (US)][Soul Reaver strategy guide (Prima)]
    • In game files, the Spirit Glyph altar rooms are labelled as "Mrlock7" and "Mrlock8" - with "Mrlock7" relating to the area with the double staircase and "Mrlock8" relating to the main altar area with the activation platform. The "Mrlock" coding relates to the outer areas of Turel's Clan Territory and refers to the "morlock" internal codenames used for Turel and the Turelim. The coding was used even into the retail game for rooms in that area, with "Mrlock1" and "Mrlock2" referring to the the valley area leading from the Ash Village and the area outside the entrance to the Oracle's Cave/Turel's Clan Territory respectively.[1][2][3][Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/14]
      • Due to the "Mrlock" labelling of the fountain area of the Human Citadel in retail, it was long suspected to have been repurposed from a hidden area related to Turel. The Water forge was the main suspect until the the alphas showed this was not the case and it was the Spirit Glyph altar which had been modified.[Soul Reaver][14]
  • Close examination of the Glyph altars - including the Spirit Glyph altar - reveals that most have a common basic design: each consisting of a V-shaped room with a domed ceiling and circular back, ribbed walls and an arrangement of pillars lining the way to a stepped altar - although the pillars are notably absent from the Stone Glyph Altar. These features are also present in Robert Chang tests which notably resemble the layouts of the Reaver forges, potentially suggesting they may have been the progenitor of both.[1][2][3][Soul Reaver][10][15][16]
  • The Spirit Glyph Altar requires the sacrifice of a vampire enemy to power the shrine and although not functional it seems likely that the Spirit Forge also required a sacrifice to power the forge - this time of a nearby human vampire hunter - with both perhaps intended to be activated using the deleted Possession ability. This links the Spirit element to the Spirit forges of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain which could likewise be used with a sacrificial victim if using Control Mind.[1][2][3][Blood Omen]
  • The Spirit symbol used for the Spirit Glyph and Spirit Reaver underwent several changes during the course of development. The original version can be seen in early video previews where it appears as a light colored spiral similar to Raziel's Health coil. A flipped version of this symbol was seen in the official guide where it was mislabelled as "Stone Glyph warp symbol". In the alphas, the Spirit Glyph is represented on the Ring menu by a thicker version of the symbol colored pale green, blue and purple. A later 'finalised' version of the symbol was created by artist Daniel Cabuco, consisting of a half spiralling pattern resembling the crest of a wave - however the glyph was cut before this was implemented. The design was shown by Daniel Cabuco in a stream in 2020. Later games featured a different Spirit symbol consisting of multiple circular spirals which was evocative of the previous designs.[4][Soul Reaver strategy guide (Prima)][1][2][3][17][Soul Reaver 2][Defiance]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | 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 Wiki-Icon-SR1.png Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver (Jan 23, 1999 prototype)
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 Wiki-Icon-SR1.png Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver (Feb 4, 1999 prototype)
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 Wiki-Icon-SR1.png Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver (Feb 16, 1999 prototype)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Wiki-Icon-TLW.pngThe Spirit Glyph at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln).
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Wiki-Icon-TLW.pngThe Spirit Glyph Area at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln).
  6. Icon-TAD.png Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver by 'Dave' in PS Extreme, Volume 4, Issue 3/February 1999, Archived at Legacy of Kain Magazines (by Raina Audron)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Icon-TAD.png Hot As Hell/Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver in PSM, Volume 3, Issue 19/March 1999, Archived at Legacy of Kain Magazines (by Raina Audron)
  8. Icon-TAD.png Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver by John Davison/Michael Sexton in Electronic Gaming Monthly, February 1999 issue, Archived at Legacy of Kain Magazines (by Raina Audron)
  9. Wiki-Icon-SR1.png Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver (May 12, 1999 prototype)
  10. 10.0 10.1 November 7, 2003 snapshot of Soul Reaver at Ethereality (by Robert Chang)
  11. October 21, 2003 snapshot of Textures at Ethereality (by Robert Chang)
  12. Soul Reaver at Ethereality (by Robert Chang)
  13. November 24, 2001 snapshot of Soul Reaver Playstation (PSone) Cheat Codes in ABSOLUTE PLAYSTATION ( PSX, PS, PS1 ) - Soul Reaver at ABSOLUTE PLAYSTATION
  14. Wiki-Icon-TLW.pngThe Elemental Reaver Forges at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln).
  15. October 21, 2003 snapshot of Textures at Ethereality (by Robert Chang)
  16. Soul Reaver at Ethereality (by Robert Chang)
  17. YouTubeBRUSHPOINT LIVE: Legacy of Kain with Daniel Cabuco at YouTube (by Brushpoint Academy).

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