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Legacy of Kain II: Soul Reaver

An RPG? Maybe. An amazing game? YES!
Raziel, undead hero
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   The original Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen garnered a cult following not because of its particularly innovative play style or features, but because of its world and environment. The land of Nosgoth was ripe with vampires and fresh for Kain's feasting. The sequel Soul Reaver, however, takes the world of the first Kain and adds more innovations than you can shake a stick at. The results are perhaps the surprise game of the show (besides Zelda :) ).

   At the end of the first game, Kain achieved god-like powers and conquered the world of Nosgoth. 1000 years later, you take control of Raziel, a disowned Lieutenant of Kain's vampire army. You must traverse Nosgoth and regain your honor as you wreak vengance upon Kain. Gameplay is extremely similar to Metroid or Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Defeat enemies and absorb their souls to gain their powers. These powers will let you swim, fly, and otherwise gain access to new areas. They also, of course, can simply increase your offensive and defensive powers. Kain, however, is the first Metroid-style game to enter the brave new world of the third dimension.

   And what a world it is! Amazing vertex lighting, dynamic morphing - aw, screw the buzzwords: this game LOOKS AWESOME. It does things you didn't know a Playstation could do. Control is also tight, as you run, jump, crouch, hover, glide, attack, swim, grasp, climb, and otherwise negotiate your world. Check out some of the screen shots to see how it looks - but you must navigate the torch-lit halls yourself to appreciate it.

   Zelda 64 may have all the glory - and it well deserves the praise. But between Soul Reaver and Brave Fencer Musashi, Playstation fans can hold their head high with triple-A action RPGs to call their own.

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