GameOver Game Reviews - Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver (c) Eidos Interactive, Reviewed by - Lothian

Game & Publisher Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver (c) Eidos Interactive
System Requirements Pentium 133, 32MB Ram, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 81%
Date Published , ,


Divider Left By: Lothian Divider Right

A millennium has passed since Lord Kain set his capital in the ruins of the Pillars and began his conquest of the world. You, Raziel, were one of the six snared souls from which were birthed Kain's lieutenants. The six souls prowled the twilight of purgatory, building six legions of vampires to pillage Nosgoth. The destruction of the major human kingdoms was inevitable. Within a hundred years, humanity had been thoroughly domesticated. After the taming of the humans, the real work began; shaping Nosgoth to Kain's will. Slaves built a shrine around the Pillars. Huge furnaces were constructed to belch smoke into the sky, shielding the land from the poisonous effects of the sun. As a vampire matured, its earthly body evolved into a higher form. Through The Change, they assumed the power and nobility of the Dark Gods. Always, it was Kain that would Change first. After the master had experienced a new gift, one of the six would follow, in a decade or so. That is, until Raziel had the 'audacity' to evolve before his master. He was gifted with wings and for his impertinence ,was damned.

To a vampire, the touch of water is agony; it burns their flesh like acid. Raziel was to be cast into the Lake of Lost Souls; the execution ground for traitors. His sacrifice deposited him in the other realm: the spectral realm. For eons the Elder fed upon the souls of Nosgoth, until Kain's empire of vampires deprived the Elder of sustenance. For centuries his hunger grew and festered in this place. The elder offered Raziel redemption; if he would stalk the material plain slaying his former brethren, he would have the chance to avenge himself against Kain. Now however, the bloodlust of the vampire has been replaced by something deeper: the famine of the Soul Reaver.

Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver boasts an excellent 3D engine. Continuous data-streaming provides seamless gameplay and real-time environment morphing as you shift between the material and spectral realms enhances the sense of realism LoK creates. One definite plus for this title is the large characters as opposed to the overhead view in Blood Omen. Visually stunning backgrounds bombard your eyes at every turn, though the NPC and AI's are made up of rather large polygons. Though impressive, Raziel could be a little smoother (meaning not quite so "blocky") especially with resolution set to 1024X768 and 3D Hardware acceleration enabled. Regardless, for an obvious PSX port, this title is rather impressive graphically.

Light ambient music surrounds Raziel's exploits in the material and spirit realms. Though not as elaborate as some recent titles, it does set the mood effectively. The grunts and growls of the AI as well as the digitized speech of the NPCs also adds nicely to the gloomy atmosphere in Soul Reaver. Verbal transactions between Raziel and the Elder convey a definite student to master feel. Raziel also speaks in an older English fashion so as to enhance the players feel for his age and place in this new, ravaged Nosgoth.

Raziel the Soul Reaver is much more versatile than he was as one of Kain's lieutenants. Having been reincarnated into his new form, he no longer thirsts for blood as he had in the past. His hunger can now only be satisfied through drawing the souls of his victims. This can be done in either the material realm or the spectral realm. Should you fail to draw a soul after combat in the material realm, a quick astral shift to the spectral realm is all that is required to draw the now waiting soul's energy. This is a convenient feature since some puzzles can only be solved in the spectral realm, since the scenery shifts too (causing flat walls to yield platforms). Though a shift from material to spectral can be done at any time, the opposite requires you to find a portal (blue circle). Portals can only be accessed when Raziel's health is full. Another interesting feature is the gates. Saving the game can be done at anytime but restoring always deposits you in the Elder's chamber in the spectral realm. As you progress through the game, you will uncover doors marked with certain symbols. Through these doors are gates that, one accessed, can be accessed from any other gate in the game. A blue circle on the opposite side of the gate will indicate if the gate is active. Raziel can now jump higher than before since a crouch+jump will yield a high jump. His battered wings also serve a purpose in that they allow him to glide. He can sneak up on opponents and crawl along the floor as well.

Combat is much more interesting too. You can either dash and strike (VERY ineffective) or you can enter a combat mode, where you are always facing your opponent. In combat mode, you can strafe, dodge or attack your enemy. If the enemy is undead, you can pick him up and throw him when he's dazed. This adds yet another interesting element to the game. You can't directly kill most enemys; they must either be scorched (water, fire, sunlight) or impaled. Weapons can be picked up along the way to aid Raziel in his battles, such as torches (which can be thrown to incinerate an enemy) or spears (which impale foes).

The storyline of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver is excellent and will definitely appeal to fans of the last Kain title. The graphics are much improved and though blocky at times, are more than adequate and do enhance the dark atmosphere of Nosgath as well as the darker atmosphere of the spectral realm. The one major drawback of the title is the camera movement. Though it's automated and follows the character (ala Tomb Raider), several times it rotates to an angle in front of Raziel and you can't see where you're going or what's ahead. This can be very confusing, especially when precision jumping is involved. There are however zooming and panning keys. The combat system is great and reminds me of days of yore when games such as Quest for Glory II offered the same style of battles. This game is definetly more for intermediate players as some of the puzzles can be rather taxing.

Rating System
Graphics17/20
Sound13/15
Gameplay26/30
Funfactor17/20
Multiplayer0/5
Overall Impression8/10


Rating
81%
 
  

  
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