- "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.
- 1 Profile
- 2 Layout & Design
- 3 Development
- 4 Notes
- 5 Gallery
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 Browse
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 about his new nature as a wraith.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/2]
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.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/2][Soul Reaver strategy guide (Prima)]
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.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/2]
This area of 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.[Soul Reaver 2/3][Defiance/2]
Layout & Design
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.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/2]
The Elder God's chamber
The initial chamber of the Underworld which linked to the bottom of the Abyss, notably contained the Elder God and the Elder God's platform as well as some distinctive ruins.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/2] In terms of geographical position the Elder God's chamber was directly underneath the Abyss.
The Warp gate room
The first Warp gate chamber of the game with its trademark octagonal shape, the chamber served to introduce the concept 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.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/2]
The Soul Well room
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 introduction to the concepts of Souls and Soul devouring.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/2]
The Gliding Chasm
An open cavernous chamber with a spiralling series of stepped platforms around the outside allowing 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.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/2]
The Sluagh room
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.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/2]
Beyond the Underworld and Further Training Areas
The Underworld Exit Ruins
A large open air space hemmed in by cliffs. At its 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.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/2]
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.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/2]
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.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/2][Soul Reaver/3]
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.2
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.
In the retail version of Soul Reaver there were some differences between the GlyphX FMV and gameplay versions of the Elder God's chamber. In the FMV the area was largely seen as a darkened room covered with the eyes and tentacles of the Elder God, a few feint spiral shapes, and with only a few broken featureless pillars dotted around. The gameplay version of the area was brighter and more detailed although less sharp in its graphical style. Here the eyes and tentacles of the Elder God were supplemented by a number spiral and shell formations in the walls of the cavern and feint spirals could also be seen in the sand on the floor of the area. A number of pillars were placed around the area giving the impression of a set of ruins - with each decorated with a number of inhuman faces. The raised Elder God's platform stood at one end of the chamber. Perhaps the most notable feature however was the blue whirling conical impression of the bottom of the Abyss which emanated from the center of the ceiling.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/1][Soul Reaver/2]
- The Underworld is explicitly referred to as such in dialogue and in the official strategy guide - which also gives the title to the opening gameplay chapter.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/2][Soul Reaver strategy guide (Prima)]
- 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.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/2] These rooms are broken as follows:
- 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.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/2]
- 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.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/2]
- 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.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/2][Soul Reaver strategy guide (Prima)]
- Further areas leading upto the Abyss are also included as part of the underworld chapter 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".[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/2][Soul Reaver strategy guide (Prima)]
- 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.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/2][Soul Reaver strategy guide (Prima)] 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.[Soul Reaver 2][Defiance] In the Underworld area of Legacy of Kain: Defiance the Elder's tentacles physically block Raziel's progress instead of forcefields.[Defiance/2]
- 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.[Blood Omen/1][Soul Reaver/2][Defiance/2] In some situations however the term Underworld is clearly used as a synonym for the Spectral Realm and does not necessarily relate to any geographical location.[Soul Reaver/2][Soul Reaver manual (US)][Soul Reaver manual (UK)][Defiance/2] This is further complicated by the fact that the Soul Reaver and Defiance 'Underworld' locations can only be entered in the Spectral Realm. Both are also underwater.[Soul Reaver/2][Defiance/2]
- The Underworld area has a unique Warp gate symbol. Instead of the black and white abstract symbols associated with the other gates the Underworld uses part of the environment - in this case a face relief - to act as a symbol. Another warp gate which could be considered related is the Abyss warp gate which bears an image of a spiral (presumably indicating the whirlpool itself) between the island cliffs used to execute Raziel - this may indicate that the spirals used throughout the series may be thematically inspired by the whirlpool of the Abyss.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/2]
- Two tracks are associated with the Underworld and Underworld chapter. Spectral Underworld plays through the Underworld location but the track changes to a track named 'Underworld' at the transition to the Material Realm - and this becomes something of a general overland theme used throughout Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. [Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/2]
- A cut track - Underworld Lt - uses the same instruments and structure suggesting it was at one time considered to be linked or related to the other Underworld tracks. For the final release it used the instruments from the 'Pillars' track instead and is used for the Tomb Guardian boss encounter.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/6][Soul Reaver/9]
- In Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver it is stated that if Raziel should 'die', he will return to the Elder God's Lair in the Underworld.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/2] Raziel uses a different checkpoint system in Soul Reaver 2 but the rule is not wholly abandoned and due to his exertion at the end of Soul Reaver 2 Raziel returns to an imprisonment with the Elder at the start of Defiance in a similar Underworld location.[Soul Reaver 2][Soul Reaver 2/Epilogue][Defiance/2] Later after discovering the Spirit Forge and confronting the Elder there in Defiance, 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.[Defiance][Defiance/12] This could imply that the Raziel's return mechanic may not necessarily be related to the Underworld locations per se but could be related to the presence of the Elder God.
- Underworld (Blood Omen)
- Underworld (Defiance)
- Lake of the Dead
- Lost City
- Subterranean Ruins
- Vampire Citadel
- Spirit Forge (Defiance)
- Map at Nosgothic Realm (by Tenaya, Guilherme Coelho and Andrew Fradley).
- Early Versions of The Story at The Lost Worlds (by Ben Lincoln)
- Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver (Jan 23, 1999 prototype)
- Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver (Feb 4, 1999 prototype)
- Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver (Feb 16, 1999 prototype)
- Warp's answers from Amy at the Eidos Forums (by Blincoln)
- The Connection between the Lost City and the Abyss at DCab Design (by Jake Pawlowski/Daniel Cabuco)