Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain
In this game you start off alive, die seconds later, become reconstituted at the hands of a friendly necromancer and then set about avenging your own death as a blood-sucking vampire. Like it so far? Then let's continue.
In this top-down action adventure ported over from the massive PlayStation hit, you control Kain as he travels through the land of Mosgoth, chopping into mince anything that moves and picking up everything else that isn't part of the scenery. Apart from the obvious hack and slash fun to be had, the coolest thing in this game is that to stay 'alive' you have to drink the blood of all and sundry. Whether they're dying foe, wandering villagers or ex-Tory MPs chained up against dungeon walls, they're all fair game. However, take care whom you suck on.
Some characters have bodily fluids with magical properties, while others can have poisonous side effects. Nobody ever said being undead was easy.
As you progress you'll assume the ability to morph into a wolf, a bat or even a... er, cloud of mist. While this adds an extra element, you soon discover that these abilities don't actually add to the gameplay, but merely act as distractions that allow you to progress further through what is in essence a very linear game, in which level design, character control and interaction are limited.
Intelligence-wise, it's not so much artificial as non-existent. The baddies start off in set places and they move towards you or follow their set pattern. Moreover, if your haemoglobin levels are topped out, you can just run past them into the next section which makes it all a bit farcical.
Despite various distractions (new weapons, magic, monsters, and so on), after a while the whole thing becomes a bit of a chore - if you can't find that one elusive switch you can't really get any further - which leaves you feeling frustrated rather than challenged. The fact that you can only save the game at certain points also proves annoying.
Legacy Of Kain probably did so well on the PlayStation because there isn't really anything else like it available. On the PC, however, you're spoilt for choice when it comes to games of this ilk, so the stakes (no pun intended) are that much higher.
If you really want to wander around dungeons slaying monsters, buy Diablo. It's heaps better everyone who might get in your way. The big problem is the control system. Using the mouse to blast away at your foe is fine in itself, but moving around the layered, flick-screen environment proves a real bind.
Your character moves so slowly and takes so long to walk into or out of the screen that sadly it all becomes a bit of a chore, rather than a fast-paced blast fest. Moving from screen to screen isn't too clever either: arrows pop up to show you where to exit, but it seems more a matter of luck than judgement to get your character to walk off the screen.
Sure enough, the graphics look nice, but set off a big explosion and the whole shebang starts to crawl, even on a Pi 33 (and this is a sprite-based game, folks); there's no blood; your enemies belt around the screen far too quickly compared with your good self; and it hates Windows 95 (but then, so do I so I'll let it off on that one). When it comes down to it, the actual gameplay isn't all that bad, but it's a shade too simplistic to offer lasting appeal. More depth, and a better control system would do it the world of good, so hopefully the side-scrolling sequel that's currently in development will fare a bit better.
Download Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features: Single game mode
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2018-12-17 Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain game added.