- "As my agent, you are beyond death, Raziel. Your enemies cannot destroy you.
If you grow too weak, however, you will always be drawn here, to recover."
- ―The Elder God — Listen (file info)[src]
The Underworld, in the context of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, was a network of submerged caverns at the bottom of the Abyss and the Lake of the Dead, inhabited by the Elder God. It was where the Elder resurrected Raziel following Raziel's execution in the Soul Reaver era.
The Underworld was one of several subterranean areas in Nosgoth into which the Elder God's body had encroached. In Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, it served as the starting area for Raziel's quest against Kain's empire: whenever his health coil was fully depleted in the Spectral Realm, he would be drawn there and loading the game would also take him to this location.
In Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, the 'Underworld' is a set of submerged caverns beneath the Abyss and was apparently the permanent abode of the Elder God. Raziel was deposited in the Underworld at the end of the opening after his execution and resurrection as a wraith. It was here that Raziel first met the Elder God and was taught abouit his new nature as a wraith.
The following Underworld chapter was treated to somewhat of a 'training level' - the majority of which took place in the submerged ruins of the Underworld - including the use of Warp Gates, Souls and their consumption, jumping and Gliding, Sluagh, Planar Portals, the Spectral and Material Realms and Vampiric Weaknesses.
Raziel could return to the chamber throughout his journey and gain enigmatic hints about his quest from the Elder by using the Elder God's platform. Whenever Raziel was weakened and his health was depleted he would be returned to the Underworld in the Elder's chamber and loaded games would also begin in the chamber, requiring the use of Warp gates to return to previous locations. Jumping into the Abyss - which was positioned directly above the Elder's chamber - would also result in Raziel being returned to the Underworld.
The Underworld was not seen in further titles although both Soul Reaver 2 and Legacy of Kain: Defiance had similar submerged ruins where the Elder God held sway - the latter of which was also called the Underworld.
Layout & DesignEdit
The main area of the Underworld consisted of a number of in a series of interconnected caverns beneath the Abyss and the area nearby in central Nosgoth. Most of the caverns were flooded, were decorated with ruined features and spiral motifs and were inaccessible in the Material Realm.
The first Warp gate chamber of the game with its trademark octagonal shape, the chamber served to introduce the concpet of warp gates and was Raziel's shortcut back to the rest of the Nosgoth after a return to the Elder God. This chamber also contains some ruins reminiscent of the Lost City and one design is used as the symbol of the area.
The Soul Well roomEdit
A circular domed room with several pillars and an unusual circular platform at the center of the room with an aperture which dispensed Souls. This room served as an introduciton to the concepts of Souls and Soul devouring.
An open caverous chamber with a spiralling series of stepped platforms around the outside alowing Raziel to progressively jump higher and higher, culminating in a chasm which needed to be crossed to reach a high platform on the other side of the room. This chamber served as a tutorial on the jumping, crouch-jumping and Gliding mechanics used by Raziel.
A large open chamber supported by classical columns and populated by several Sluagh. The chamber served as an introduction to the Sluagh and Spectral Realm enemies, as well as introducing their Soul devouring ability to recover health. A high passageway soon after led out of the Underworld soon after.
Beyond the Underworld and Further Training AreasEdit
Beyond the exit of the Underworld several chambers and areas were still counted as training areas or included within the Underworld chapter. These included the following:
The Underworld Exit RuinsEdit
A large open air space hemmed in by cliffs. At it center was a circular plinth with a containing a circle of classical style columns with a planar portal in the middle, with this area serving as the introduction to mechanics of Shifting, Planar portals and the differences of the Material Realm. From here various other areas could be reached: A spiral marked doorway wall - which automatically blocked in the Material Realm - led back down to the Underworld, a gated doorway led off to the Silenced Cathedral exterior and the only other path through the chasm led onto the next areas towards the Sanctuary of the Clans and the Abyss. A high platform here - accessible only by Scaling walls - contained a Health power up.
After passing through a corridor containing the introduction to Water mechanics the pathway reached a large open chamber containing two Fledgling Dumahim feeding on a human corpse. The chamber also contained a water jump, several Wall spikes, a Sunlight beam and a block. The room served to introduce Vampire enemies and their weaknesses as well as block pushing mechanics. A Health power up could be found behind a grate underwater.
After the training areas the passage passed by the exterior of the Sanctuary of the Clans before heading down to the top of the Abyss where Raziel could progress to his clan territory and the next chapter.
In earlier drafts of the Soul Reaver storyline, the Abyss was apparently originally intended to be located in the Lake of Lost Souls rather than the Lake of the Dead, thus the Underworld beneath it may also have originally been located there.
In the Soul Reaver alphas there are a few changes to the Underworld compared to the retail version: there is no Elder God's platform, no Force fields in the area and the Soul Well goes through three different designs in the three alphas. Souls and the first Planar portal here also have different designs. Additionally there is nothing blocking access to the Underworld in Material, so Raziel can easily swim back down - although the water effect stops soon after. In the combat training area Melchahim are found rather than Dumahim and the corpse being fed on is notably simpler - and seems to have been killed with an axe.
In Blood Omen the teleporter leading to the Lost City was positioned on the island in the middle of the Lake of the Dead. Ruins in the Underworld beneath the Abyss in Soul Reaver had led fans to speculate that the Lost City was directly beneath the Lake and that the lake had collapsed through and flooded the city beneath, although this was unconfirmed and developers simply indicated that the Lost City, Lake, Abyss and Underworld were connected. It is ultimately unknown what caused the creation of the Abyss. Later comments by Daniel Cabuco have indicated the possibility that the Elder God may have been responsible for pulling the lake and it's contents down, presumably to hide or destroy the city - although he was careful to state he was unaware of the supposed connection between the locations.
- The Underworld is explicitly referred to as such in dialogue and in the official strategy guide.
- The Underworld is referred to in the game codes by two overarching titles: "Under" and "Training". Within those distinctions the Underworld covers areas upto "Train6", but various source can extend the area further beyond the distinct Underworld area. These rooms are broken down thus:
- Under the "Under" heading - "Under1" refers to the Elder God's chamber, "Under2" refers to the first part of the corridor leading away from the Elder God, "Under4" refers to the second part of the corridor leading away from the Elder God and "Under3" refers to the Warp gate chamber and short passage after.
- Under the "Training" heading - "Train1" refers to the long corridor leading away from the Warp gate chamber, "Train2 " refers to the Soul devouring chamber with the Soul Well, "Train3" refers to chasm with the Jumping and Gliding tutorial, "Train4" refers to the short bend after, "Train5" refers to the Sluagh introduction room and "Train6" refers to the rising corridor which exits the distinct underworld area.
- The Training areas progress beyond the distinct Underworld area. Although these are not necessarily part of the Underworld proper they do comprise part of the Underworld chapter. These include the following areas: "Train7" refers to the external area with the circular pillars and first planar portal, "Train8" refers to the corridor with the Water jump, "Train9" refers to the area with the first Material Realm enemies, "Train 11" refers to the first part of the corridor leading to the Sanctuary of the Clans and "Train 12" refers to the second part of the corridor leading to the Sanctuary of the Clans. One room "Train10" is present in alpha builds but is removed from later versions and consists of a corridor leading from the bottom of the moat in "Train9" toward the Lighthouse and Sunlight Glyph Altar - the Lighthouse area is moved in later versions and the corridor is replaced by an alcove containing a Health power up.
- Further areas leading upto the Abyss are also included as part of the underworld chpater despite being far removed from the Underworld itself - these areas can be found under the "Pillars" and "Cliff" with "Pillars9" referring to the external Sanctuary of the Clans, "Clfpil2" referring to the corridor leading away from the Sanctuary toward the Abyss, "Clfpil1" referring to the cavernous fork, "Clfpil3" referring to the Abyss Warp gate, "Clfpil4" referring to the final bend leading to the Abyss and "Cliff1" referring to the Abyss itself. Jumping down through the Abyss does lead directly back to "Under1".
- The Underworld is one of the few areas in the game to use the mechanics of Force fields - shields apparently manifested by the Elder God which prevent Raziel from progressing until he has completed the task in the area. The fields are not seen in later areas or later titles although similar mechanics are seen such as the Combat barriers manifested by enemies to prevent Raziel's escaping combat situations. In the Underworld area of Legacy of Kain: Defiance the Elder's tentacles physically block Raziel's progress instead of forcefields.
- The term 'the Underworld' is used to refer to several interconnected areas through the series, creating some confusion as to the exact meaning of the term. Three separate geographic locations have been explicitly referred to as the Underworld - one in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, one in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver and one in Legacy of Kain: Defiance. Amy Hennig has suggested however that the term Underworld may be synonymous with the Spectral Realm. This is further complicated by the fact that the Soul Reaver and Defiance locations cannot be entered in the Material Realm and both are also underwater.
- In Soul Reaver it is stated that if Raziel should 'die', he will return to the Elder's Lair. Although Raziel uses different checkpoints in Soul Reaver 2, (The Elder is however located in a similar underwater location) the rule does seem to hold true as his exertion at the End of Soul Reaver 2 leads to his imprisonment with the Elder at the start of Defiance, similarly after discovering the Spirit Forge and confronting the Elder there, Raziel's physical form is 'dissolved' by the Hylden Lord possessed Janos Audron and he returns to the place of his latest meeting with the Elder. It may be that after unusual trauma Raziel is forced to return to his creator, rather than any set location.
- Lake of the Dead
- Lost City
- Subterranean Ruins
- Underworld (Defiance)
- Vampire Citadel
- Underworld (Blood Omen)
- The Lighthouse Demo at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln).
- Map at Nosgothic Realm (by Tenaya, Guilherme Coelho and Andrew Fradley).