Format reviewed: PlayStation
Publisher: Crystal Dynamics
Developer: Silicon Knights
Submitted by: James Evans
Stumbling upon a small town in Nosgoth, Kain is murdered by assassins who is then given the chance of revenge by becoming a vampire. That's the short story laid out in what becomes an eventual fight against the very wizard who brought him back.
In what becomes a bloody gothicesque revamp (no pun intended) of a top down Zelda game, you search the land and catacombs for new abilities such as magic and weapons to help aid you in that particular area. The sword battles are entertaining and sound effects clanky and swashbuckly with the war cry 'hail victus' as you stagger your opponent before being able to suck his blood to regain health.
Graphically the game holds up quite well and the gameplay follows suit – the more you unlock the more you will be back tracking looking for those allusive secret areas previously unavailable. At a part in the game you are given the ability to turn into a lycan creature so you can climb higher and slash at foes… strange as wolves and vamps don't generally mix. The best feature I found was the ability to turn into a peasant so you can blend in with the townsfolk – turn back into Kain at an opportune time and let the slaughter commence!
The biggest let down (apart from the now shoddy cut scenes but they now add comic charm) was actually the end boss fight – far too easy in a game that is actually challenging in parts. Possibly most commendable is the voice acting. The actors obviously cared about the well written script.
This is the starting point of the Kain series – even introducing you to the Soul Reaver sword that becomes an important role in the future games. If there ever was a time to blow the dust off your Playstation, this would be it. Play on little vampire. Play on.