There came a time when I was a huge fan of vampires. Bram Stokers masterpiece gothic horror novel, Count Dracula was the main inspiration for countless movies, however it didn’t take long for the terror of the night to crossover into the gaming world. Now these days when we say vampires everybody thinks about a teenager dude, with a shinny body when he enters the sun, and with an emotion spam big as a kumquat. Even in video games, a good vampire hasn’t been seen in recent years, which might be the reason why I fell in love with the main protagonist of this major entree. A huge step in a promising direction, a good vampire is defined as a bloodthirsty and a creature that resents humanity in all its glory, and Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain captures that perfectly.
What made Blood Omen so compelling at the time was its storytelling, which at the beginning looked simple as a kindergartener home assignment, but turn two pages in that video game notebook and there is master degree under that title. The main premise of the game follows Kain, a nobleman who was mysteriously killed by a group of assassins. In the afterlife, Kain, is given a chance to return to the mortal realm and exact his revenge on his murderers, tho he does not ask his benefactor, the necromancer Mortanius, why out of thousands of dead souls was he offered this chance, and at the moment he didn’t care. Yet in the video game world and in any fantasy world that i know off, nothing comes without a price, and Kain is resurrected as a vampire, cursed to stalk the night to suck the blood of the very enemies he seeks. What started out as chase for Kain’s murderers, soon lead him to a place of mystery and wonder, the pillars of Nosgoth. There he meats a spirit of a deceased woman, Ariel who opens the games main plot to the player.
The land of Nosgoth is the world that our players inhabit, and it holds a dark and a clouded past hidden from the eyes of many. The land supposedly is functioning on the shoulder of the pillars of Nosgoth, with nine pillars each one is given to a specific human who is his rightful guardian. However after Arials death the members of the circle went mad and the life of this once proud land had been corrupted, so naturally its up to somebody to fix this mess, and that is where our shine protagonist comes in. Tho playing a role of a pawn by multiple kings, on this chess board there are allies who would aid our heroic night crawler, but as Vorador, Kain’s mentor and an elder vampire, said, meddling in the affairs of men will do you no good, and soon the other figurines on this chess board would be exposed. Tho you can grasp the small portion of this story, to truly immerse yourself in it you must delve deeper into the character. Kain represents both balance and discord and both wishes to save humanity, but also resents it for what it has become, and in the end the fate of the people will be decided by the coin that he tosses.
The world of Blood Omen is a very dark and grim place and in order for you to survive as a vampire you will need to use all of the skills at your disposal. It’s a good thing that our protagonist is blessed with all kinds of powers or this would be one short action-adventure. Kain’s most notable powers include shape shifting, werewolf, bat, mist – you name it Kain can become it and thanks to these forms he is able to traverse and travel with ease. Besides his shifting ability the vampires are blessed with other natural talents, such as shooting lightning, using your own blood to drain other victims and the ability to control other people’s minds. Of course all of these powers demand learning, and before our hero could use them he has to find them in multiple dungeons, caves and castles.
Beside his trusty spells, Kain is blessed with other items, weapons and armors, which like his previous gift must first be found. The items are similar to the spells with the only difference being that they could be used only a limited time. As for the armors they are only a few of them with the most powerful being the bone armor, while the weapons range from swords to axes and maces. The greatest piece of gem in his arsenal is the requiring weapon throughout the future installments, the Soul Reaver, a master great sword forged to kill all kind of monsters and to devour their souls upon their destruction, who ever weld’s it has only one intention, to kill.
Blood Omen may seem an easy game, and you would be right if you would play it for a few second, but as you exit the first area, you will find you self indulging in all kinds of challenging battles. The AI isn’t forgiving and since this is a hack ‘n’ slahs action-adventure game, most of your battles will be up close and personal. The most interesting part of the game is by fare the battle between the forces of Nosgoth and the forces of the Nemesis, once a loyal servant to the court of Nosgoth. The battlefield is overpopulated with dead bodies from both sides, blood spilled everywhere, on both sides casualties and yet Kain stuck in this conflict, fighting for nether sides, only observes the massacre. The knights of the Nemesis are the most imposing enemies and the player should not take them likely, but then again you have a bunch of spells and items, and the legendary sword at your disposal.
One of the more interesting aspect of the game is its day and night cycle, which was not implemented in many games at the time. The entire game is played in a top-down perspective, in an open world environment, while the occasional cutscenes are made in 3D, and are at sometimes laughable. The main characters were all given a voice and the legendary Simon Templeman, who has over 30 voice covers in video games, acts as the grisly and angry vampire himself, and just like soft butter its pleasing to hear him. There was a certain charm in Blood Omen, and it was the first one that would start a franchise with even greater narratives.
Legacy of Kain is a masterpiece in terms of storytelling and has 5 games under its name, and while this game is currently being remade with HD textures as Blood Omnicide, the best game is yet to be covered in our future articles. But what do you think, did Blood Omen had an amazing story and is Kain one of the best vampires in video game history? Is it a PlayStation classic?