Legacy of Kain Series

Publisher: Eidos/Crystal Dynamics
Medium: Playstation / Playstation 2 / X Box
Discs: 1 per Game, 5 discs Total
Blood Omen (1996), Blood Omen 2 (2002), Soul Reaver (1999),
Soul Reaver 2 (2001), and Defiance (2003)




In the Legacy of Kain Series, there are two sides. You will get to play the varied stories of our main characters, Kain and Raziel. The first side is Blood Omen: Kain, a nobleman from Nosgoth, returns home one night to be ambushed by townspeople. A sword is forced through his heart; he then is chained at the top of a cliff. As he looks off, all he can see is a fiery hell. A necromancer, Mortanius, gives him the option to die or live again for revenge. Kain takes the chance to get back at the ones who ordered his death, and Mortanius turns him into a vampire. He then gives Kain a clue to start him off on his journey of vengeance.


The second side of this mystery is that of Raziel. This starts off Soul Reaver: Raziel, the right hand in Kain’s vampire army, has evolved by growing wings, surpassing Kain. For this transgression, Kain orders him to be thrown into a watery vortex to which none can survive. As Raziel falls into the vortex, his body is mangled and burned. He awakes at the bottom of the abyss to an ominous voice which claims to be a god. The voice explains to Raziel that he saved him from death, by turning him into “his” Soul Reaver. He then commands Raziel to find and destroy Kain.


Gameplay: 9


Blood Omen played similar to the Nintendo version of Zelda, where the screen shifts up, right, left, and down over a huge image. There are many puzzles to unlock your way. Kain can also use transformations to help him progress through the game, using up his very limited but useful magic. Since Kain is a vampire, he begins to hunger for blood. In order to keep Kain from starving to death, you need to kill. As well as drinking the blood of humans, you could do the same with monster blood to refill your magic. Beware of the undead, for their blood is poison to Kain! The farther you progress, Kain runs into enemies that seem to be much more powerful than earlier on. In order to keep up with their strength, you have items that you can equip. Swords, axes, armor and magical items each have their own special abilities; for example, one of the armor items will automatically draw the victim’s blood as you slice at them. There is also the famed Soul Reaver to find. The Soul Reaver sword is unparalleled to any other weapon in this game! As the most powerful sword, the Soul Reaver, most opponents may be struck down in a single hit, tearing their soul from their body. This is by far the hardest item to find on the game. You can defeat Blood Omen without it, not realizing it is there.


When the Soul Reaver game came along, the series was no longer restricted to moving around on a large image, as it was now turned into a 3-D platform game. You now had a full 360 degree turning radius for looking, fighting and gliding! Since Raziel’s wings were ripped from his body by Kain at the beginning movie, you cannot actually fly, but prolong the time you stay in the air for longer jumps. After his second death, Raziel is now a ‘Reaver of Souls’, and lusts not for blood. A new game mechanic was used to create two different worlds for Raziel to roam about in. You have the ‘Underworld’, which is where the dead souls come and linger. While in the ‘Underworld’, Raziel cannot swim through water (it is the same as air), move or manipulate objects, open doors, or use magic. In the living world, Raziel has to consume souls in order to maintain his corporeal form. For Raziel to progress through the game, he has to obtain enhancements for his weapon, as well as his own body. One such enhancement is the ability to shift through gates in the ‘Underworld’. You then make your way to find Kain.


The rest of the series plays in this format as well, aside from Kain not able to access the ‘Underworld’. The developers did improve on all of the features with each game release. The Soul Reaver blade gets more enhancements, as well as spells. Kain gets new abilities also. The battle system did change during each game. In Blood Omen all you could do is swing a sword/axe and use magic. They allowed blocking, got rid of the normal magic, replacing it with Rage spells for Blood Omen 2. When Kain’s rage meter would fill, you could use a very strong attack on your opponent. In Soul Reaver, you could attack, use multiple weapons and use magic. They later changed this again to the Reaver Gauge in Defiance, allowing the use of actual spells, as well as rage moves. Also adding an air juggle to the battle system, that is quite useful. The only thing I was really disappointed with is that, when you start the next game, all the enhancements were gone, save the telekinesis ability. The only other thing that struck against the series was the stationary scene worlds in Defiance.


Sound Quality: 9


I really liked the overall feel of the games ambiance. There were background sounds in every part of the series. Great music set the mood, keeping the games a bit eerie. There were many moans and groans of the dead when you were in the ‘Underworld’. You hear chit chat from townspeople as you approach, and some will even talk to you. The sound effects of the fighting are nice, especially listening to Raziel swing his Material Reaver (sword) around.


Voice/Dialogue: 9


Legacy of Kain features the same voice actors throughout the entire series! The cast included stage actors as well as movie/tv actors. They have done an outstanding job, especially Simon Templeman (Kain).


Video/FMV: 8


Blood Omen, the first in the series had fairly poor graphics, even for it’s time. The world was nicely put together, and looked ok. The story and extras more than made up for it. When Soul Reaver came out (the second game released in the series), there was a major improvement in graphics, as well as the world layouts. The backgrounds are all 3D looking now, nicer bodies for the characters, and of course the cg sequences were upgraded as well. You get to see the characters develop over time, through their own trials. They not only grow with one game, but throughout the whole series. You can get new abilities, as well as weapon enhancements, and even develop an ability!


Controls: 8


The controls on this series started out a bit sluggish and odd during Blood Omen. After a small while, you would get used to them. After Soul Reaver came out, the controls were much more responsive and a lot easier to manage. You are now able to turn the view of the world in 360 degrees by the touch of a button, and use POV to look around. In Defiance (the 5th game), you could only pan views on a set stage. I would like to have seen a controller config option somewhere in the series. I have yet to see one.


Replay Value: 4


All the special features on the game are unlocked when you beat the games, which doesn’t encourage me to play again. Legacy of Kain has a great story, making you to want to finish it, without stopping. When you finally do, you will want to put it down for a while, then go back to them when they are fresh.


Overall: 8.5


Legacy of Kain Series is a must have, filled with puzzles, magic, fighting, FMV's and loads more! You will be just as confused in the mystery of what is going on around the characters as they are, right up until the end. Farther along in the series, they start to reveal a lot more of the backstory that you wouldn’t normally get. You start to put the pieces together and go “Whoa! So that’s what really happened!” I really enjoyed watching all the FMV’s throughout over a few times. There are a lot more extras on the Blood Omen side of the story than just about any game I have ever seen. You can view the cast names, photos, watch their voice sessions, out-takes, photos of the development team, concept art and 3D renders of both characters and the worlds, screenshots from previous games, the game trailers, credits, and view all FMV’s that you have unlocked during gameplay. This in itself is a big plus on their part.


Written by: Blue Ghost