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Crystal Dynamics



BMG Int.

1 Player

Game Type


Mem. Card

Review Date

May 1997

Setting the Scene

Poor young Kain, our noble warrior's sole intention was to have a quiet night out supping a few beers at his local tavern. If only he knew the horrors that were about to befall him, I am sure that he would have stayed at home with a four pack and ordered a curry.

Now they say that bad luck comes in threes, surely that is but an old wives tale? Alas, neigh, for Kain's first change in fortune was by far the worst happening of this eventful night. No beer!
"The tavern is closing, best be on your way stranger" ordered the inn keeper.
"What, no mug of ale for a weary traveller from distant Core Haven" pleaded Kain.
"Things come with the night that no sane man would welcome" were the final warnings from the uneasy inn keeper.

So he left, cold of heart and soul, forced to the road with a long bitter night ahead. On leaving the tavern it became obvious that our heroes evening was not going to improve as his second turn of fate was catastrophic. He was set upon by a band of vicious thugs that leave his corpse lying in a pool of blood with a sword impaled in his chest.

Kain can only recall that he was in Purgatory, the waiting room between Heaven and Hell, when the Necromancer, Mortanius offered him the chance for vengeance, to return and kill his assassins...... but revenge is not free. If he was to return it would be in the form of a VAMPIRE.


The player takes the part of Kain who, as a vampire, must roam the villages and dwellings of Nosgarth to discover the secrets within the Pillars. Only then will your soul be allowed to rest. Armed with your trusty sword, you must fend off a wide range of enemies as you collect spells, weapons, armor and, most importantly, clues to the whereabouts of the objects that will heal the pillars and return the world to it's former state.

This massive world contains many puzzles that must be solved before you are allowed to advance across the land. You must interact with the town folk to obtain vital information and then, best of all, drain their bodies of life by sucking their blood to feed your soul.

I can already hear the groans of 'another boring role playing game', but fear not ye of little faith, as Legacy of Kain is predominantly an action / adventure game with only a hint of RPG included. There are many fights to be won by the use of your sword, axe or mace, although you could go for the easy option by standing back and blasting your enemies to pieces with a wide selection of wonderful spells.


The opening FMV sequences are nothing short of stunning and easily match the best seen on the PSX to date. They allow the drama of the story to unfold in a 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' style that shows blood and guts a-plenty. There are many quality FMV movies scattered throughout Legacy of Kain, with each providing clues to aid your quest, but once again be warned, as they go one step further than Resident Evil was ever allowed to go.

The viewpoint and the lighting often reminded me of ReLoaded in the way that the explosions lit up the surrounding areas while the switches are highlighted by a colorful downlight. The game is viewed from an isometric viewpoint in a 2D format, although Kain is allowed to explore a 3D environment. The shoulder buttons can be used to zoom in on the action or zoom back out again to offer a wider view of the immediate area. There is also a helpful top down view of the whole village that you are presently investigating.

There are many excellent effects as your enemies bodies explode across the screen and you will have great fun drawing the blood from your victims as you pound them into a state of Waver before sucking the blood across the room and into your mouth. This is great fun at first but take care as each 'meal' may be used only once and there are many villages that will require a return visit later in the game and you will struggle to sustain your health if you drain all of your victims just for the fun of it. Each victim will return to haunt the area of their demise in the form of glowing ghosts to, once again, hinder your progress, although this time they will have blue blood that will restore your magical powers. Unfortunately it is red blood that will retain your un-dead form, so take it easy.

Sounds and Effects

The sound effects are first class. When engaged in a battle there is the crisp clashing sound as steel meets steel, followed by the tones of Kain screaming his battle cry as he slices an opponent in two. The sound of wolves howling in the background is broken by the sobbing cries of a shackled virgin or the "help me kind sir" pleading from a chained prisoner. These, in effect, are Kains equivalent of convenience food. The slurping sound that accompanies the draining of your victims blood is enough to turn your skin white, while all of the action is backed by a medieval soundtrack that accompanies the atmosphere perfectly.

There was one instant that left me puzzled. Most of the town folk speak in a 'ye olde' medieval style but I came across a beggar that spoke with a French accent, perhaps there was a clue there somewhere. I don't know.


Similar to most adventure games, it is imperative that you quickly grasp the handling of the inventory screen where your spells and weapons are stored. As you pass through the towns you will come across an assortment of power-ups that appear in the form of a playing card. Walking through the card will place them in your inventory and a touch of the start button allows you to browse through your collection. Up to four items may be placed into Kains immediate menu for instant access during the game.

The game begins with Kain rising from his coffin in the inner sanctums. You must guide him through the maze of rooms, solving puzzles, collecting spells and slicing up enemies. On the right of the screen is a test tube full of blood that represents your health, this must be topped up with collected blood.

During the battle scenes Kains strength will increase if you fight during nightfall (the time is displayed on the screen as a small clock with a sun or a moon above it) but beware as he will be weakened during daytime. This will prompt you to carefully plan your visits to the villages where many enemies are present.

At the start of the game Kain will appear as a vampire but he will soon become trapped in enclosed areas, therefore to proceed he must seek out the power of transformation which will allow him to alter his shape. The Wolf form will allow him to leap onto different levels and race quickly through troublesome areas, swiping at the enemies with razor sharp claws. The Bat form allows him to fly to allocated points across the world, while as Mist he may pass through walls and cross over water (which will destroy vampires). A human disguise will permit him to interact with the locals undetected.

Each of the buildings may be entered and explored to re-charge your blood supply or simply search out new spells. The spells are divided into offensive and defensive. The defensive are straightforward enough, used to top up your blood, protect you from poison or lighten up dark corridors. The offensive spells are a wonderful selection of destructive powers, Implode will explode your enemy from within to leave the scenery stained with blood and guts, Flay will remove the flesh from it's target and Putresce will melt the enemy into a pool of green slime. Of the many spells and objects available the most useful must be Inspire Hate, which if released in a room full of enemies will send them insane with hatred and they will hack each other to death for the duration of the spell.

Beginning with a sword, Kain could upgrade his weapon to a Mace that destroys breakable objects. Hidden within the game are further upgrades to a two handed axe, a Flame Sword and a Soul Reaver, that explodes enemies with only one strike.

Value for Money

Legacy of Kain is a massive game that will take you an age to complete but boredom can often set in as there is a fair amount of trudging back and forth over previously explored territories. Luckily there are many save points that appear in the form of a temple although they are often set well away from a tricky section of the game, which is when they are needed most. A major gripe is, once again, the slow loading times that can ruin the flow of an otherwise splendid adventure.





Once again, BMG provide us with a thoroughly playable and entertaining game. You will find yourself engrossed in the atmosphere that Legacy of Kain provides with it's excellent effects, stunning FMV's and puzzles galore. I don't know if I will still be playing this game in a months time but, for the moment, this will do me very nicely indeed.











I loved the blood and guts in this game, it game it such a dark and somber feel to the game. There are enough areas to explore and tasks to complete to keep you playing this for a very, very long time.








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