Review by Sword Seraph
Reviewed: 02/25/02 | Updated: 02/26/02
Lock the doors and put the kids to bed, the Reaver's coming to town!
The Legacy of Kain series is pretty well known for making great games that incorporate both puzzles and hack-and-slash battles. Now, this may remind you of Tomb Raider. Except it's better because it has...VAMPIRES!
All of the Legacy of Kain games currently available (Blood Omen, Soul Reaver, Soul Reaver 2, Blood Omen 2 [this one is out soon]) have a recurring character: Kain. Kain is a nobleman-turned-vampire, his story is explained mostly in Blood Omen. Even if you've never played Blood Omen, you get tidbits of info in Soul Reaver, so you're not completely in the dark about why Kain acts the way he does.
All Legacy of Kain games occur in Nosgoth, a land where (thanks to Kain's vampire rule) sunlight doesn't shine much. Vampires don't like it, it seems. So they enslaved humanity after Kain took over and build factories to fill the sky with smoke, blotting out the death from above.
In Blood Omen/Blood Omen 2, you play as Kain. In the Soul Reaver games, you play as Raziel, one of Kain's former vampire generals, cast out in the opening moments of the game for evolving before Kain did (Raziel grows wings, and is damned for it.)
The basic, non-spoiling aspect of the plot is that Raziel is awakened by a powerful being and has the opportunity to return in a new body to exact his revenge against his master, Kain, and his brothers who betrayed him. Well, duh, who wouldn't want the chance?!
Raziel quickly learns that his old vampire hunger for blood has been replaced by a hunger to consume souls. So maybe he ISN'T still a real vampire after all...
Legacy of Kain is an ongoing series, so we really don't know how things will wind up in the end.
From the start, gameplay is executed perfectly. Soul Reaver streams continuously, so you have no noticeable slowdown time, even when acing multiple enemies. This game truly pushes the PSX to its limits, but it still plays flawlessly. It makes it a little harder that you can't kill enemy vampires with your bare claws, you have to either impale them, expose them to sunlight, set them on fire, or throw them into water. Usually, when you fight a vampire, these options will be available to you around you.
The graphics are incredibly detailed, and again push the PSX all the way. Raziel, enemies, settings, and weapons all look great. Raziel can find Glyphs, which allow him to use magic spells (also called Glyphs.) These spells look incredibly cool, Top-notch job, especially the lack of slowdown.
The producers of this game have again put in a great soundtrack. It fits the mood of dark, deadly Nosgoth and is appropriate to this medieval world.
Once you see the ending for the first time, I guarantee you'll be all ''WTF?! Is that it?!'' It's done that way to allow the story to continue in Soul Reaver 2 and any other Legacy of Kain games made. The ending can be rather disappointing (and NO, there is no alternate ending.) If you missed any Glyphs along the way or just want to kick around more vampires, play again, and you'll still love it. I think it's still fun to play, though, as Raziel is just DAMN COOL.
Despite the lack of new features on a replay, this game still rocks. The creepy settings and roaming hordes of vampires will get your blood moving and that old bloodlust will make you hungry for a nice crunchy soul. And if you wondered, YES, you do get the Soul Reaver (in a slightly different form) at a certain point in the game.
Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
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