- "I surfaced into a very different landscape – the daylight barely penetrated the dense canopy of this forest. Here I discovered an ancient ruin – unmistakably one of Moebius's time-streaming chambers, but long-ago sealed and abandoned to the encroaching swamp.
I didn't currently possess the means to break this seal – but I thought, in time, that I might."
- ―Raziel — Listen (file info)[src]
The Swamp was a one of the main locations visited by Raziel in Soul Reaver 2. Consisting of a heavily forested marshland north of the Great Southern Lake, the Swamp contained several ancient ruins including the Dark forge and one of Moebius's Time-streaming chambers; ultimately allowing access between the Subterranean Ruins and the mountains leading to Uschtenheim. The Swamp was featured as a main area on maps and was encountered as a playable location in all of the eras visited in Soul Reaver 2.
The Swamp was a significant playable location in Soul Reaver 2 and one of the main areas on the map, shown as encompassing a large expanse north-west of the Pillars of Nosgoth and Subterranean Ruins, and north of the Southern Lake.[Soul Reaver 2]
Raziel first encountered the Swamp in the history preceding Blood Omen in Through the Swamp when he emerged from the Subterranean Ruins into a small building in the swamp. Raziel initially commented on the "very different landscape" in the area - a dense forest and swamp terrain, filled with shallow water which forced him to wade, limiting movement and slowing him considerably. Raziel quickly noted the presence of a Time-streaming chamber within the initial structures, but recognized that it was "long-ago sealed and abandoned to the encroaching swamp". Progressing through the area, Raziel realized that he was being watched and turned to discover Vorador himself observing him from a high balcony in the ruins, only for him to vanish when spotted. Pressing on through the area and confronting the vampire hunters present, Raziel was able to pass through several other ruins and clearings (including one with a Save altar) until he found a high passage which he suspected led northwards towards the mountain and Uschtenheim but was blocked by a fallen tree. Continuing on through the Swamp, Raziel was able to return to the top of the high balcony he had previously seen but discovered it empty with Vorador nowhere to be seen. Recognizing the symbols and sealed door arrangement on the ruins here, Raziel unsealed the door and entered the Dark forge.[Soul Reaver 2][Soul Reaver 2/3][Soul Reaver 2 strategy guide (Prima)]
After solving the Dark Forge and gaining the Dark Reaver, Raziel returned to the balcony above the swamp and found Vorador waiting for him. Cynical from his years of persecution, Vorador seemed to recognize Raziel from the ancient prophecies but was clearly suspicious of his true nature, eventually revealing that the long-dead Janos Audron held all of Raziel answers and cynically commenting that Raziel was "simply too late" before once again teleporting away. Briefly reflecting on Vorador's words, Raziel returned through the Swamp to the Subterranean Ruins, hoping to gain entrance to the Light Forge in the Southern Lake and ultimately use the Time-streaming chambers in the Sarafan Stronghold to return to the past.[Soul Reaver 2/3][Soul Reaver 2 strategy guide (Prima)]
Instead, Raziel was tricked by Moebius and sent to the Demon-infested Era following Blood Omen, a century after the Collapse of the Pillars. Investigating the era he now occupied, Raziel returned to the Swamp in A Fateful Meeting finding the area was now populated by Demon hunters and strange Mutants. Again Raziel commented on the Cracked door of the time-streaming chamber, noting that it was now his only was out of this era. Progressing to the mountains clearing, he found that the tree previously blocking passage to the north had moved and Climbing the wall revealed allowed Raziel to progress into the mountains and on towards Uschtenheim[Soul Reaver 2/5] and the Air Forge.[Soul Reaver 2/6] After solving the Air Forge and gaining the Air Reaver, Raziel once again returned to the Swamp in On to the Past and used the Air Reaver to blow open the Cracked door of the Time-streaming chamber and activating the device, he was swept back into the past.[Soul Reaver 2/7][Soul Reaver 2 strategy guide (Prima)]
Emerging from the Time-streaming chamber into the Swamp in Nosgoth's early history, Raziel found the Swamp liberally decorated with Sarafan banners but initially encountered no significant resistance with the swamp area largely abandoned. Again returning to the northern clearing, Raziel was able to use an Air plinth to ascend to the mountain passage, this time heading through Uschtenheim to Janos Audron's Retreat.[Soul Reaver 2/7] After meeting with Janos, solving the Fire forge and witnessing his former brethren and himself murder Janos,[Soul Reaver 2/8] Raziel pursued the Sarafan back to their stronghold passing through the Swamp again in Blade of Vengeance. On this occasion the swamp was more heavily defended, with several Sarafan patrols, and as Raziel approached the entry to the Subterranean Ruins he was confronted by a Black demon which taunted him. After defeating the demon and dispelling its combat barrier, Raziel was able leave the swamp for the final time and enter the ruins on his way to return to the stronghold.[Soul Reaver 2/9][Soul Reaver 2 strategy guide (Prima)]
Design and Layout
The Swamp had the appearance of a heavily wooded marshland, largely consisting of a set of open clearings within a dense forest area, partially submerged with shallow water with several ruined structures throughout. The Swamp broadly encompassed a wide expanse in central Nosgoth with the clearings appearing to occupy spaces around the outside of the area and with several ruins (including the Dark Forge) in raised positions around the area.[Soul Reaver 2] The initial clearing of the Swamp encountered by Raziel was in the far south-east of the area, encompassing a square-shaped clearing with large areas submerged in the shallow swamp waters. At the north and south of the clearing stood two ruined structures on small 'islands' which housed a time-streaming chamber (indicated by a door bearing an infinity symbol) and the passage to the Subterranean Ruins respectively. Other ruins could be observed above the east of the area and ruined bridge (leading to an Air Reaver font) traversed the chamber on at a higher level across the top of the chamber but was mostly collapsed. At the northeast of the area a small passage followed the waters out of the clearing and bent east, passing below the Dark forge balcony where a ruined staircase prevented entry from this point, with the forge was too high to reach from below.
As it reached the end of the balcony, the lower path turned south passing reaching a doorway in a ruined wall. Beyond this the path turned in a wide arc passing around and beneath a high circular set of ruins, completing a full rotation and returning northward. After a short distance the passage widened eastward and rose above the water level into a broadly rectangular clearing with a prominent Save altar positioned at the eastern extreme along with a font and ruined battlement structures were located in the southwest and northwest corners of the clearing. By the northwest tower, the passage narrowed and headed northward, visibly becoming more uneven and slowly rising to a third clearing at the extreme north of the area - again rectangular or square in shape, this clearing contained a number of rocky outcrops in the north and one of these contained a high passage to the mountains (inaccessible in the history preceding Blood Omen), whilst the south west featured a partially ruined battlement which could be climbed. Scaling and jumping over the structure led to a passage returning south, rising sharply and passing a ruin on the western wall before reaching the high balcony overlooking the initial clearing, turn and doorway. The balcony passed a short distance along to the west in front of the Dark Forge where a font and the main sealed entrance to the Dark Forge was positioned to the north. From here the balcony could be jumped down to allow quick access to the first clearing and Subterranean Ruins.[Soul Reaver 2]
Several features within the Swamp were known to vary with era, though most were minor design changes which did not effect the general layout of the area. In the initial Pre-Blood Omen era, the color-scheme of the swamp was dominated by dark greens of the foliage and grass (or moss) with banners of Vampire hunters seen infrequently along with a few impaled vampire corpses. The ruined doorway next to the dark forge balcony was stuck in place in this era, requiring Raziel to forcefully kick the door off its hinges to proceed - after this the door itself was nowhere to be seen and the doorway would remain empty. In the northern clearing, the high passage leading into the mountains was blocked by a large tree and was inaccessible by normal means (the passages beyond only exist in later eras).Ignis Fatuus and Vorador's crows were also seen throughout the area in this era.[Soul Reaver 2][Soul Reaver 2/3] In the "wasteland" of the Era following Blood Omen, a century after the Collapse of the Pillars, the Swamp area became darker, with rocky or muddy brown and dark grey colors. Banners, corpses and crows were absent and many of the Ignis Fatuus lights, while present were extinguished in this era, apparently replaced by a number of more conventional standing metallic torches (or candles in places). The doorway in the ruined wall remained vacant and in the northern clearing tree blocking access to the mountains had fallen and was lying at the top of the clearing, exposing a scalable wall leading up to the mountain passages.[Soul Reaver 2][Soul Reaver 2/7][Soul Reaver 2/5]
In Nosgoth's early history, centuries earlier, the area was much brighter with 'frosty' white and light grey tones complimenting the green. In this era the door returned to a functioning state and the Ignis Fatuus lights were once again ignited, though metallic torches were seen in places. Banners of the Sarafan were frequent throughout the swamp in thie era, as were the impaled victims of their cursade. In the northern clearing the mountain passage was once again clear with an Air plinth replacing the scalable wall and the vanishing crows returned, albeit with far fewer of the birds present. Interestingly the main door to the Dark forge was inaccessible, bearing the 'permanent seal' pattern of a completed forge (though it would not be completed until the Pre-Blood Omen era, centuries later).[Soul Reaver 2][Soul Reaver 2/7][Soul Reaver 2/9]
- The hole in the ground within the southern ruin in the first clearing ("Swamp1") leads down into the Subterranean Ruins ascending chambers ("Pillars11") for passage to the Pillars, Lake and Stronghold
- The northern door in the same clearing leads into a Time-streaming chamber - through the entrance passages ("Swamp5" and "Swamp10") and onto the main device ("TSD1B") for access to Nosgoth's early history
- The high passage in the northern-most clearing ("Swamp4") leads into the initial mountain passes ("Janos1", "2" and "3") and on to Uschtenheim ("Janos4") for Janos Audron's Retreat.
- The northern door on the balcony overlooking the initial clearings ("Swamp2") leads into the Dark Forge entrance chambers ("Dark4" and "5") for the main Dark Forge.
The murky depths of this treacherous swamp offer sanctuary for creatures that have retreated from the world, and its mists cloak secret places long hidden from the eyes of men.
The Swamp area bears many features which reference the similar environment seen in the nearby Termogent Forest seen in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, with the forest and swamp terrain, ruined battlements and Ignis Fatuus all observed in the Blood Omen area.[Blood Omen][Blood Omen/6] Much of the architecture of the ruins and the general environment of the Swamp area designed for Soul Reaver 2 was inspired by real-world ancient Cambodian temples and the architecture and scenery of the Khmer Empire and Angkor regions; in particular structures such as Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm. Much of the Angkor region is covered by low lying heavily forested swamp terrain, with over a thousand temples in various states of abandonment and repair positioned throughout the area.
In common with its real-world counterparts, the Swamp area in Soul Reaver 2 notably contained many ruined structures and features apparently "abandoned to the encroaching swamp". Of the ruins observed in game, only the time-streaming chamber and the Dark forge were formally identified and many of the other ruins were either too high to reach or otherwise inaccessible.[Soul Reaver 2][Soul Reaver 2/3]
During the development of Soul Reaver 2 it was planned for areas higher in the Swamp to be playable. The ruins themselves were featured prominently in Bonus materials of the Swamp area with concept art depicting at least one area taking place on high platforms among the trees (somewhat resembling the ewok village in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi) and developers would subsequently confirm that a tree-top village populated by Vampires was intended to feature along with a deleted cutscene which would show them treating Raziel with suspicion, telling him that "he was not one of them". This scene was apparently only added after the cutscene featuring the Female vampire was axed, due to general disagreements within the team about the role other vampires would play - the village scene was itself cut for the same reasons as its predecessor; with the dialogue deemed imperfect and the role of the vampires in the story questioned.
The cutscene itself was cut and is not present in the files of Soul Reaver 2, with the tree-top platforms also entirely absent from the in-game area. The high ruins in the swamp hide the few playable remains of this section that were presumably intended to lead to up to the village (possibly in Nosgoth's early history or an earlier period judging by the condition of the ruins). With the use of cheats or hacks to fly (or glide) the high ruins can be explored and stood on as regular platforms, revealing a number of potential routes across the higher levels of the Swamp - many of these are however blocked or otherwise impossible to navigate, appearing to rely on later abilities such as the 'hookshot' of the Spirit Reaver .[Soul Reaver 2]
- The Swamp directly referred to as "the Swamp" in a variety of sources including maps,[Soul Reaver 2] dialogue,[Soul Reaver 2/3][Soul Reaver 2/6] stage directions[Soul Reaver 2/3][Soul Reaver 2/7][Soul Reaver 2/5][Soul Reaver 2/9][Soul Reaver 2/6] and the Prima guide.[Soul Reaver 2 strategy guide (Prima)]
- The Swamp area is identified as "Swamp" under Debug menus and both debug menus and game files split the area into six 'rooms': "Swamp1" - the first 'clearing' between the exit of the Subterranean Ruins, Time-streaming chamber and Dark Forge facade, "Swamp2" - the raised Dark Forge balcony, "Swamp3" - the Save altar clearing, "Swamp4" - the back fort and mountain entrance, "Swamp5" - the Time streaming chamber entrance passage and "Swamp10" - the Time streaming chamber 'spiral' staircase. Each room is given a separate entry for each era, with names amended to "SwampB" to denote the Era following Blood Omen and "SwampC" for Nosgoth's early history. The "Swamp5" area is present in all eras, despite not being accessible in the Pre-Blood Omen era in the usual course of the game; the "Swamp10" area is only absent in the Pre-Blood Omen era.[Soul Reaver 2]
- According to maps, the Swamp area occupies a position roughly bordered by Nachtholm, the Great Southern Lake and the northern edge of the Lake of Serenity at its western, southern and eastern extremes respectively. Despite similar structures, features and terrain to the nearby Termogent Forest, the Swamp does not appear to occupy the same position on maps, with the Termogent Forest area appearing to be directly north of the identified Swamp area. The Dark Forge of Soul Reaver 2 appears to be at the border between the two locations and may occupy the raised area seen south of the forest in Blood Omen[Soul Reaver 2][Blood Omen][Blood Omen/6] - Additionally, the Termogent Forest area in other titles is referred to either by variant spellings of the "Termogent Forest" term or as the "Black Forest",[Blood Omen/5][Blood Omen/6][Blood Omen strategy guide][Defiance/6][Defiance/7] with the "Swamp" term merely referring to a terrain type in Blood Omen.[Blood Omen manual (Windows)][Blood Omen strategy guide] The in-game map in Soul Reaver 2 shows the swamp area as somewhat distorted and simplified compared to the layout presented in game, with only the outlines of the "Swamp1" "2" and "3" areas depicted and the "Swamp 4" clearing apparently not included. The actual layout of the swamp area is more complicated, with Raziel following several twisting routes and effectively circling around the outside of the location.[Soul Reaver 2]
- The Swamp in Soul Reaver 2 features the return of the Swamp terrain last seen Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain (where is was notably used in the Termogent Forest area).[Blood Omen][Blood Omen/6] The effects of the Swamp on Raziel are somewhat different to those experienced by Kain, with the shallow water causing Raziel to wade slowly through instead of proceeding at normal pace. Several methods were available to overcome this handicap, most obviously by avoiding the water altogether and jumping between the small islands. Once Raziel had gained and equipped the Air Reaver, the effect of the swampy terrain was negated and Raziel could progress as normal. The wading effect of the swamp had no effect on combat, with Raziel able to use combos, dodge and lunge as usual.[Soul Reaver 2][Soul Reaver 2 strategy guide (Prima)]
- The Swamp area is given some extra details on the (former) official Soul Reaver 2 site, where it is again named as "The Swamp" and it is noted that: "At the heart of Nosgoth lies a primeval forest – ancient, dense and nearly impenetrable. The crumbling ruins here offer mute evidence that this forest was once occupied by men, but has long since been abandoned to the rising waters that have rendered the forest an uninhabitable swamp. The murky depths of this treacherous swamp offer sanctuary for creatures that have retreated from the world, and its mists cloak secret places long hidden from the eyes of men."
- Several Animal species can be observed in the Swamp, with appearances by Vorador's crows in both the history preceding Blood Omen and Nosgoth's early history. Several Frogs are also visible throughout the all three eras.[Soul Reaver 2]
- Swamp (terrain)
- Termogent Forest
- Time Streaming Device (The Swamp)
- Dark Forge (Soul Reaver 2)
- Mutants (Soul Reaver 2)
- Soul Reaver 2 Bonus Material - The Swamp at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln).
- The Ruins in the Swamp at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln).
- The (almost) definitive Legacy of Kain maps thread at the Eidos Forums (by Shrykull/Bazielim) (preserved at Cult of Hash'ak'gik)
- Various art and plot questions at DCabDesign (by Dubiel), post #2 (by Daniel Cabuco)
- Soul Reaver 2 - Map of Nosgoth at Nosgothic Realm (by Tenaya)
- Soul Reaver 2 - Map of Nosgoth at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni)
- My Visit to Crystal Dynamics at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- The Ruins in the Swamp at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Vampires (Soul Reaver 2) at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Soul Reaver 2 questions at DCabDesign (by Raina Audron), post #2 (by Daniel Cabuco)
- Deleted Elemental Reavers at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Blood Omen - Map of Nosgoth at Nosgothic Realm (by Tenaya)
- Blood Omen - Map of Nosgoth at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni)
- The Swamp: Crystal Dynamics. Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2 (Eidos Interactive). (2001) The Swamp at the Official Soul Reaver 2 site (preserved at Dark Chronicle)