Grizzly Gaming

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Whatever Happened To - The Legacy of Kain

Kain (l) and Raziel (r) are mortal enemies and central figures of the "Legacy of Kain" series

With the “Twilight” fervor/hatred dying down in recent months, it’s the perfect time to resurrect a video game vampire series that hasn’t been seen in quite some time. The “Legacy of Kain” series, developed first by Silicon Knights and later by Crystal Dynamics, spanned from 1996 to 2003. The events of the series were largely influenced or directly impacted by the titular character, Kain. At one time, Kain was a regular human being (a wealthy man or a noble, if memory serves) who was murdered and cursed to return to the living world as a vampire to seek revenge on his killers. These earlier events in the life of Kain were detailed in the first game, “Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain.”
I never ended up playing “Blood Omen” but I became a huge fan of the series after playing next game in the series, “Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver.”  Following one of the endings of “Blood Omen,” “Soul Reaver” takes places years after the first game. Kain now rules over the land of Nosgoth with an iron fist and an army of vampires. In fact, vampires greatly outnumber humans in Nosgoth and have pushed their mortal enemies into hiding or seeking refuge in the sole remaining human city.
There’s all sorts of other background information relating to the mythology of Nosgoth involving fate, eternal spirits and all sorts of other strangeness that’s, frankly, way too in-depth and confusing to get into right now. But the events of “Soul Reaver,” my favorite game of the series, are some of the most important in the series. In the game’s opening cinematic, Raziel, one of Kain’s lieutenants, has evolved a set of wings before any other vampire. Taking this as an insult, Kain tears Raziel’s new wings to shreds and casts him into a massive whirlpool. Since water is fatal to vampires in this universe, Raziel is dissolved to nothingness. However, what seems like the end is only the beginning.
1500 years later, Raziel is raised by The Elder God, an ancient entity that revived Raziel and turned him into a wraith. In his new form, he is tasked with killing Kain and restoring Nosgoth. As a “soul reaver,” Raziel devours the souls of his enemies and can travel between the material and spectral realms.
Traveling between the two realms was one of the game’s main mechanics as well as selling point. When Raziel shifts to the spectral realm, the material world around him twists and changes. The differences between the two realms is where many of the game’s puzzles are derived from. In the spectral world, Raziel can walk through gates and openings as well as find new paths not available in the material world, such as through water (which, again, is deadly to vampires). However, he can only interact with switches and other objects in the material world, creating dilemmas for Raziel as he pursues Kain.
Along with the puzzle elements found created through the switching of realms, “Soul Reaver” had elements of the “Metroidvania” style of games, where new skills or powers must be acquired to reach later areas of the game. These powers were obtained by killing bosses which allowed Raziel the ability to reach secret areas, of which there were many scattered throughout Nosgoth.
The more I played “Soul Reaver,” the more I was drawn into the lore and the backstory of Nosgoth as well as Kain and Raziel. Though the two are enemies at first, their fates are intertwined and even work together later in the series. The world of Nosgoth was very intriguing, in large part due to the unique dynamic of vampires ruling the land with humanity constantly on the run. Granted the more games that were introduced to the series, the more confusing it got, which is why it could easily be rebooted into a modern action-adventure title, or even a cinematic action title.
Though the long absence of the “Legacy of Kain” series from the gaming world doesn’t seem to bode well, there may be a ray of hope on the horizon for fans like me wishing to return to the dreary land of Nosgoth. A post on revealed that Square Enix recently registered a couple new URL domains, one being “” I’m hoping that the odd capitalization of letters is a bit of misdirection and a new “Legacy of Kain” game is actually coming, though a registered URL is hardly evidence that a new game is on the way. (The Joystiq post can be found here.)
It seems that only time will tell whether or not we’ll get a chance to return to Nosgoth.


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An avid gamer and long-time pro wrestling fan, stay tuned to Grizzly Gaming and the Delco Elbow Drop for game reviews and pro wrestling news.

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