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Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver

video game review video game review video game review Video Game Review: Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver Publisher: Eidos
Category: Adventure
Platform: Dreamcast, PS1, PC
ESRB Rating: Mature    Release Date: December 1999

Overall Rating: 3 Stars out of 4

Review by Tom Allen
3 Stars out of 4
(Review of Dreamcast version)

Just as with Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation, the Dreamcast version of Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver shames its original PlayStation (PS) version in terms of graphics.

I wasn't too thrilled with Kain on 32-bit (witness my controversial C+ rating). I found the whole experience to be too dark and shabby. In a way, I am reminded of Roger Ebert's complaints of "Gladiator." He thought the film was dark and muddy. On a bad day, this atmosphere, if too overpowering, can really ruin an experience.

In my original review, I actually complained about blood and excessive, tiring slaughter. This time, I didn't seem to mind, perhaps because the graphics seem more colorful. Call me crazy, but I swear the blood in the PS version seemed darker, not bright red. Lots of dark, realistic blood could be too much to handle in the context of a dark and dreary, PS-quality textured environment.

The textures in the Dreamcast version are rich and stable (no popping or blurring), so the world feels infinitely more wondrous.

I still spend half my time luring vampiral enemies (yes, vampiral) near fires, water, and spikes. This is probably the only reason why I don't go all the way with an "A" grade.

Plus, holding the Y button while walking (to carry an enemy) results in a frustrating screen wiggle. I imagine the wiggle was meant to convey difficulty in carrying heavy corpses, but in that case, the screen should wiggle vertically, not horizontally. Horizontal wiggling just makes aiming difficult, not to mention the possible sea-sick feeling.

Soul Reaver is yet another Eidos gem on the Dreamcast. The PlayStation just doesn't do it justice; it feels no more exciting than Akuji the Heartless. One can only wonder what masterpieces Eidos will be releasing in the next Dreamcast generation.

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