#ThrowbackThursday Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver playthrough part 4

So, last week we happened upon a room with a large elevator. On the far side of that room, I find two switches, one is a lever on the floor, it doesn’t do anything right now, the other is on a wall above a grilled floor. Pulling this lowers the grilled floor to the level below, which appears to be the operating room for the larger elevator. After killing a few enemies I find a crank on one wall and a switch on the other. I try the crank first but it won’t budge, so pull the switch which moves the large gears that dominate this room into place, this then free’s up the crank, which when used lowers the centre of the “elevator room”.

After backtracking to the “elevator room”, I drop down to the new level, there’s a block in the wall I can pull out, but it doesn’t go very far as it’s on a track in the ground. To its right is a hole in the wall that leads down below this central area, following it down to its lower point, through one room, my way is blocked by a gate. I head back to the previous room and find torches on blocks surrounding it. Moving these blocks along their tracks places them beneath wood supports holding the ceiling up. Once these have all been burned away the ceiling (or as I’d been referring to it previously, the elevator) drops another level, into the room I’m in. The tracks that were on this platform align with those that the torch blocks were on, so, moving them onto the platform is the next step in the puzzle.

The platform has a slightly raised bit, which itself has cutouts on its corners, pushing the torch blocks onto these activates switches. Once all four blocks are in place and all four switches activated the central, raised part of the platform drops again and unlocks the gate that had been blocking my path.

As I’m doing this, I’m reminded of what made Soul Reaver feel so groundbreaking upon its release, aside from it being a rather good-looking game (for a PlayStation title) and its narrative that is. It’s these multi-room puzzles without any element of loading and how seamless the world is put together. I’ve not had a single loading screen or part where the game feels like its loading the next bit, which when you consider how developers try to disguise new areas loading behind parts where the player is purposely slowed down, well, it’s pretty amazing what Crystal Dynamics achieved here and you kind of feel like it was definitely before its time (though it was well-received critically and commercially).

Through the gate is a circular room with a circular fenced-off area in the centre. As I enter a growl emits from the depths of the room, Raziel tells the creature to reveal itself and is shocked to discover it is his younger brother Melciah. He’s mutated into a horrible, four-legged monster, Raziel is shocked by his appearance, and Melciah doesn’t seem particularly pleased by it either. He tells Raziel he should have remained dead or at least submitted to Kain’s command.

Hitting the huge creature doesn’t do anything, it looks like I have to use the environment somehow. In the alcove where Melciah appeared from is a crank, but like the one I used before, its locked or seized up. On the east and west sides of the room are two smaller rooms, they’re gated off but have small windows, fairly high up, that Raziel can jump through. Inside each is a level, pulling it raises the gate, and you can hold it open by keeping hold of the lever. Letting go closes it. The trick is to lure Melciah into the gateway, then drop the gate on him.

Once I’ve done this with both rooms, the handle on the crank drops to signal to me that I can now use it. A quick test reveals it activates a meat grinder in that central, fenced-off area. As Melciah can warp through gates, I have to lure him to the entrance to this room then make my way back quickly enough that he doesn’t walk around the perimeter (like Raziel is forced to do), get to the crank, use it and drop the meat grinder on him whilst he’s in that central area. It takes a few attempts to get the timing right. But once I do and Melciah realizes his fate, Raziel asks him where he will find Kain.

He’s told that Kain cannot be summoned or commanded, he will only reveal himself when he sees fit. And with his dying breath, Melciah cries out “I am released”.

I purple light leaves his body and enters Raziel’s.

“You have done well, Raziel”

The disembodied voice that has been guiding us tells him that consuming Melciah’s soul has given him a new gift. He now has the power to warp through gated areas (but not solid walls, and only when in the Spectral Realm). I’m told to return to the Sanctuary of the Clans to reveal its secrets, but first I backtrack to the courtyard with the lake and explore its depths, finding a crystal as my reward. Finding five of these “artifacts” will increase Raziel’s stamina, allowing him to stay in the Material Realm for longer.

The other gate that’s nearby leads to a room with a large carving that I think is supposed to resemble Kain, but I can’t currently do anything else here. I search around everywhere I’ve been previously and find one more crystal that I can reach, then head to the Sanctuary of the Clans.

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