Raziel gazes out over the domain of his brother.
"This charnel house bore the unmistakable marks of Melchiah's clan. To what depths had our dynasty plummeted, if these ghouls were the descendants of my high-born brother?"
"Were they so debased as to recruit fledglings from the desiccated corpses here interred?"
Raziel bares no qualms with destroying his brother's creations.
"My brother, Melchiah, was made last, and therefore received the poorest portion of Kain's gift. Although immortal, his soul could not sustain the flesh, which retained much of its previous human frailty. This weakness, it seemed, was passed on to his offspring. Their fragile skins barely contained the underlying decay."
As we progress into Melchiah's territory, we come upon another portal, which we activate.
Here we have the second puzzle theme in the game: annoying jumping puzzles. They all require multiple precision jumps, and missing any one of them means restarting the sequence - and in some cases, being forced to backtrack a long distance. In this instance, missing a jump means falling into the water, being forced to the Spectral Realm, and having to climb out again on the side we started on. Fun?
Oh, and right next to it, we can't miss this: It's another movable block! In this case, we're just moving it to the side a little to facilitate it's use later. (2)
These jumping puzzles would be somewhat less irritating if not for the rather sketchy control scheme the game sports. The camera has a bad habit of shifting of it's own accord mid-jump, causing us to fly off in a direction much different from that which we intended.
And here's a third puzzle theme. It doesn't look like much of a puzzle, but the situation is, we've emerged from the tunnel into a chamber. We can see where we need to go - up - but have no way to get up there. However, this wall looks interesting...
By shifting to the Spectral Realm, we find that this area is in fact different, there - the wall warps and extends outward, providing makeshift stepping stones - but only in the Spectral Realm. Once we re-enter the Material Realm, everything goes back to normal.
And as we shift, we find this creature waiting for us.
"Beware, Raziel. These wraiths are vampire spirits, fettered too long in the spectral realm. When their vampire natures adapt to this plane, they become eaters of souls. Do not allow these spirits to reinhabit their corpses..."
These wraiths attack with a beam of energy, which (quickly) drains Raziel's health in the spectral realm.
Upon shifting back to the Material Realm, we find the result of our climb: Another jumping puzzle! Hurray!
Oh, and another block moving puzzle. This time, we've got to move a block into this hole in the wall, whereupon a gate opens, allowing us to continue. (3)
Past the gate, we find yet another jumping puzzle, this time featuring these platforms, one on each side of the room. They're attached with a rope, and jumping onto one causes it to lower, and the other to raise. Jumping onto the other causes the reverse effect. Oh, and I can't forget about...
...another block moving puzzle, after dropping one of the platforms. Once again we're stuck behind a gate, and have to move this block across the room and into another hole...
... to open it. (4)
Contrary to appearances, Raziel isn't being crushed beneath that block - he's actually lifting it up onto the platform above. He may be skinny, but he's got muscles!
Back where we started, we now have to repeat the process, once again shifting to Spectral and jumping up the platforms.
But what's this? In the Spectral Realm, time passes extremely slowly. When Raziel shifted, he was holding this staff - and after shifting, he's no longer able to grasp it, but it doesn't fall to the floor - it appears to hover in place, right where he left it. When he shifts back again, and relative time speeds up to normal, the staff will commense it's drop to the floor, and can be retrieved where it was left.
Back here again at the platforms, we find the one we jumped onto still lowered, and the other still raised. But we can't jump onto the raised one, or it'll reverse the scales once again.
The trick is to shift to the Spectral Realm before crossing. Here, Raziel can't influence his environment - including this platform.
After shifting back to the Material Realm, we find... another block puzzle, to raise the gate in front of him. (5)
And past the gate, we find we're on a ledge above the first jumping puzzle we encountered - with another block to push! (6) This one we simply push off the ledge...
...where it lands on the one we moved previously...
...which allows us to move the stack into a favorable position to use as a stepping stone to reach this high ledge.
Following this newly accessible path, we encounter a vaguely industrial area.
Without going into all the details of this puzzle, it involves moving blocks... (7)
...moving more blocks... (8)
...which drops the platform...
...and opens a passage.
Raziel moves down the passage, and a metal gate slams shut behind him. Seems we're trapped!
Watch it here:
Video Raziel meets Melchiah
"Show yourself, creature!"
"Do you not recognize me, brother? Am I so changed?"
You should have stayed where the master sent you, Raziel. You will find Nosgoth less pleasant than you remember."
"What has become of my clan? Answer me, little brother, or I will beat an answer from your horrid lips."
"Everyone is afraid, sibling. You awake to a world of fear. These times of change are so... unsettling."
"Do you think I feel no revulsion for this form?"
"Do you believe for a moment that our Lord would risk his empire upon an upstart inheritance?"
"Enough riddles - what are you saying?!"
"You are the last... to die."
The key to defeating Melchiah is to use these side chambers. Each is blocked by a metal gate, but can be accessed by jumping into it. They have a lever, which raises the gate, so you pull it and wait for Melchiah to come for you, then release it.
Doing so drops the gate, hurting him - but this alone won't kill him. He tears the gate from it's moorings and continues after Raziel. After doing this twice, he's very weak.
We can then use the cage in the center. If we jump into it, Melchiah has an ability whereby he can shift into the Spectral Realm and pass through the bars, whereupon he shifts back to the Material Realm.
Once he does this, there's a few second interval before he can do it again to escape from the cage - so we jump out, and head for this switch.
"Tell me, Melchiah - where can I find Kain?"
"The master is beyond your reach, Raziel. He makes himself known when He sees fit - not when commanded."
The switch causes a large grinder to drop into the cage...
"I am released..."
When the grinder raises, we see the essence of Melchiah's soul dripping from it.
It forms into a ball...
...which Raziel consumes...
...is briefly electrocuted...
...and falls to the floor.
"You have done well, Raziel."
"Am I reduced to this? A ghoul? A fratricide?"
"Elevated, Raziel, not reduced. Consuming Melchiah's soul has endowed you with a new gift. Insubstantial barriers such as these are no impediment to you in the spectral realm. Will yourself to pass through, and you shall."
It seems we've inherited Melchiah's unique ability.
"Return to the Sanctuary of the Clans, Raziel. Melchiah's soul has endowed you with the means to gain entry. Beware, however - this hollow derelict is abandoned, but not uninhabited..."
We'll follow his advice, but not yet - we've got a small detour to take, first.
The exit is still barred, so we shift to the Spectral Realm...
...and pass through them.
Backtracking slightly, we return to the room with the first jumping puzzle, over the water hazard. Still in the Spectral Realm, we jump in, and find a metal gate underwater, barring the way to another tunnel. Now equipped to bypass this barrier, we do so, and discover a room.
The room features 3 pillars around a circle on the floor...
...which Raziel promptly vandalizes.
This creates a symbol on the floor...
...a brief light show occurrs...
...Raziel goes to investigate the glowing blue symbol hovering above the floor...
...and is thus imbued with a new power. This particular one allows Raziel to loose a blast of energy centered on himself that throw all nearby enemies away from him. This isn't particularly useful, to be honest, nor are the other, more potent abilities he gains later (some actually do damage, or set enemies on fire, or similarly unpleasant effects), but having at least one of them makes the final encounter in the game much easier, and this is the simplest of them to get. As such, I'm going to ignore the rest. I've never, ever used them for anything but the final fight, which in itself is almost an exploit. We'll get there.
We return, next, to the Sanctuary of the Clans, where we find our new ability grants us the access previously denied.
Watch it here:
Video - Raziel encounters Kain
(This video is unnecesarilly long - my appologies. It's a complete bitch to load a saved game and return, at this point, for another shot at it, and I managed to fuck up this encounter more times then I'd like to admit. So a solid 3 minutes or so of that 8-ish minute video is just me trying in vain to complete it.)
We shift out of the Spectral Realm in front of this large door - the door to the inner sanctum of the Sanctuary.
Upon entering, the door closes behind us. Raziel is immediately put on guard.
"The abyss has been unkind."
Kain very casually stands up and begins towards Raziel, as though without a care.
"I am your creation, Kain - now, as before. You criticize your own work."
"What have you done with my clan, degenerate? You have no right--"
"What I have made, I can also destroy, child."
Kain speaks in a firm, cool, and condescending tone, very indicative of his character.
"Damn you, Kain! You are not God! This act of genocide is unconscionable!"
"Conscience...? You dare speak to me of conscience? Only when you have felt the full gravity of choice should you dare to question my judgment!"
"Your life's span is a flicker compared to the mass of doubt and regret that I have borne since Mortanius first turned me from the light..."
"To know that the fate of the world hangs dependent on the advisedness of my every deed - can you even begin to conceive what action you would take, in my position?"
Kain emphasises his words carefully, his voice becoming firm, but not quite angry. He never loses his cool.
"I would choose integrity, Kain."
"Look around you, Raziel - see what has become of our empire."
"Witness the end of an age. The clans, scattered to the corners of Nosgoth..."
"This place has outlasted its usefulness - as have you."
Kain reaches up to draw his fabled blade - the Soul Reaver.
"The Soul Reaver, Kain's ancient blade - older than any of us, and a thousand times more deadly."
"The legends claimed that the blade was possessed, and thrived by devouring the souls of its victims."
"For all our bravado, we knew what it meant when Kain drew the Soul Reaver in anger."
"It meant you were dead."
Kain proceeds to teleport about the room, conjuring energy into the Soul Reaver at each stop, blasting Raziel with it once he's charged enough. To win this fight, we've got to run around and hit him before he's able to do so.
Failing to hit him soon enough results in a painful blast, and an instant trip to the Spectral Realm. Fortunately, there's a conduit within the room, and we can rejoin the fight almost immediately.
Once Raziel hits Kain 3 times, Kain appears to weaken...
...but immediately regains his composure, and delivers a focused blast from the blade to Raziel, who collapses to the floor.
Kain raises the Soul Reaver above his head, and brings it down on Raziel's fallen form...
...and in an enormous release of energy, the blade shatters as it strikes him.
Kain and Raziel both pause for a moment, comprehending what has just taken place.
"The blade is vanquished. So it unfolds... and we are a step closer to our destinies."
Kain teleports out of the room, and Raziel falls to the Spectral Realm.
When he does, he discovers the Soul Reaver - not the material blade, but the spirit formerly trapped within it - waiting for him.
"I swore I saw a glint of satisfaction in Kain's eye when the Soul Reaver was destroyed. I did not understand the game that Kain was playing..."
Raziel reaches for the blade...
"But I knew the finishing move."
As Raziel touches the Reaver, there's a burst of light, as it affixes itself to his arm.
"From this moment and ever afterward, you and this blade are inextricably bound. Soul Reaver and reaver of souls, your destinies are intertwined."
"By destroying the sword, you have liberated it from its corporeal prison, and restored it to its true form - a wraith blade, its energy unbound. No longer a physical blade, it can only manifest itself in the material realm when your strength is fully restored. Once manifest, it will sustain you."
From this point forward, when Raziel reaches full health in the Material Realm, the Soul Reaver becomes manifest, providing him with an utterly devastating natural weapon. Further, while the blade is manifest, Raziel no longer constantly loses health in the Material Realm. But if he sustains even a single hit, the blade disperses until he heals up again.
Further, Raziel can drive the Reaver into the heart of a disabled victim, completely destroying their body - a new, permanent finishing move.
"What are you, little soul? Another of Kain's creatures, come to taunt this bound spectre?"
"I did not intend to disturb your rest."
"Rest...? A body is needed for sleep... Flesh and bones are required to recline. No, child, all I may do is watch, and remember, ceaselessly conscious as this wretched world's history unfurls. Ghastly past, insufferable future, are they one and the same...? Am I always here?"
"How have you come to haunt these Pillars?"
"Kain refused the sacrifice. The Pillar of Balance, corrupted to its core, stands as a monument to his blind ambition. Now these pillars serve only to bind me here - my prison and eternal home, thanks to the avarice of your master, Kain..."
"That bastard can claim no allegiance from me."
"Then we share a common foe, Raziel."
"Return here when you have need. Ariel remembers what others have forgotten..."
If we seek Ariel's guidance immediately, she obliges us, albeit cryptically:
"Far in the eastern mountains, a stifled titan stands in mute surrender - unwilling host to a parasitic swarm."
The Elder God offers a more clear-cut answer:
"Your brother Zephon's keep lies far to the east, beyond the ruins that greeted your first exit from the Underworld. He and his brood have cocooned themselves in a derelict cathedral, having murdered its human guardians."
"Seek out Zephon's lair, Raziel... beyond the ruins that greet your exit from the Underworld. Armed with the Soul Reaver, you may gain entry where your path was previously blocked."
Next time: The Silenced Cathedral, Zephon's domain