Vampire Wraiths are a Spectral Realm enemy class that feature in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. The wraiths represent the Souls of deceased vampires whose vampire nature has adapted to the Spectral Realm, allowing them to feed on souls. They are the most dangerous Spectral enemies encountered by Raziel in Soul Reaver.
The Vampires of Kain's empire in the events of Soul Reaver were particularly hardy and usual methods of killing them would only result in temporary incapacitation - only when their souls were devoured would the vampire completely 'die', demonstrated by their bodies turning to ash or completely disappearing. Vampire wraiths are the souls of vampires whose bodies have been put into a death state but not completely killed. While in their death state their souls wander the spectral realm until their vampiric natures adapt to that plane, with them changing from Blood drinking to Soul devouring and using the 'Draining Leash'.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver strategy guide (Prima)]
Rather than being glowing orbs of energy (as with ordinary souls) vampire wraiths have an actual solid spectral form that doesn't glow, meaning they have officially become creatures of the spectral plane. Like the Sluagh when completely weakened their solid form will become transparent and when that happens any soul-devouring creature can consume them whole.
Vampire Wraith are first encountered by Raziel as he enters the Necropolis to find Melchiah in the Necropolis chapter, where he is warned of them and their attributes by the Elder God. Thereafter vampire wraiths can be found wandering the Spectral Realm, often appearing in more dangerous areas and locations, such as in boss encounters. Sometimes the wraiths can be found along with a corresponding 'dead' body in the Material Realm that represents their corpse. If the cause of death is then removed the wraith is able to reinhabit its corpse and become a dangerous Revived vampire, bringing with it the advantages of its Spectral existence, alternatively consuming the wraith will dispose of their body.
Vampire Wraiths are present in the Soul Reaver alphas however they are used much more sparingly than in the retail or beta version of the game. They appear to only be able to attack from a flying swipe while sounds indicate their usual draining is active there is no leash effect and Raziel's health does not drain. Like the Sluagh and Raziel himself, the Vampire Wraiths have a colored halo representing their health level - the wraiths start at the blue level - a step above the Sluagh and a step below Raziel.
- The Vampire wraiths and Revived vampires have a unique ability that uses a tether of spectral energy to drain health from Raziel. Hinted to be an adaption of their vampire natures to the Spectral Realm, the ability is never named or directly explained and is only vaguely described as a "drain" or "drawing"of Raziel's energy.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/4][Soul Reaver manual (US)][Soul Reaver manual (UK)] The spectral band used by Dumah (and later Raziel) when Constricting appears to be similar and may be created using the same energy or directy adapted from this ability.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/13] Later in Legacy of Kain: Defiance similar spectral entities, the Archons, are seen using an almost identical ability named "Draining Leash" - this ability could be considered to be the same as was used by the vampire wraiths in Soul Reaver and may be a direct attempt to classify them as such.[Defiance][Defiance strategy guide]
- The exact process of becoming a vampire wraith is not seen in game, although it is described as an adaption to the Spectral plane. The change from a soul to a wraith is never observed and vampires that are killed and not devoured do not become wraiths automatically, suggesting that the change takes some time to learn. There a measure of dispute among the sources over this, with the US manual claiming that "If a vampire's body is destroyed on the Material Plane and its soul is not consumed, a Vampire Wraith is born on the Spectral Plane" - suggesting a more immediate change. However this is contradicted by the UK manual which describes them as "long-dead vampires" suffering a "long vigil". The latter version is backed up in game, with the Elder describing them as "fettered too long in the spectral realm" and no immediate changes observable.[Soul Reaver][Soul Reaver/4][Soul Reaver manual (US)][Soul Reaver manual (UK)]
- According to Daniel Cabuco, the wraith's design was predominantly influenced by mummified bodies and Alan Lee's paintings of Nazgul:
- Revived vampires
- Vampire Wraiths and Revived Vampires at Dark Chronicle (by Ardeth Silvereni ).
- Soul Reaver Questions at DCabDesign (by Raina Audron), post #2 (by Daniel Cabuco)