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Video Game / Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain

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The first game in the Legacy of Kain series, released for the PlayStation in 1996.

The player controls the protagonist Kain, a slain nobleman newly resurrected as a vampire. Seeking revenge against his murderers and a cure to his vampiric curse, Kain is tasked with traversing the fictional land of Nosgoth and slaughtering the Circle of Nine, a corrupt oligarchy of godlike sorcerers, but slowly begins to forsake humanity and view his transformation as a blessing.

Despite receiving a Windows 95 CD-ROM port, the only digital rerelease of this game to occur has been for the PlayStation 3.


Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Flame Sword, and especially the Soul Reaver. Both of them are powerful weapons (the Soul Reaver, in particular, has a tendency to one-shot anything you hit with it); unfortunately, they both also have a tendency to destroy the enemies' corpses (by incineration or Ludicrous Gibs) rather than stunning them in a game where your primary form of health restoration is to kill them by draining their blood, and the Reaver has the additional flaw of draining your magic gauge proportionally to the amount of damage you deal with it. That said, whether "kill things faster" or "heal afterwards" results in a healthier Kain is situational.
  • Admiring the Abomination: When Kain comes across the mutants in Dark Eden, while he finds the sight of them horrifying, he admits to having some admiration for the mind that created them.
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  • Alien Blood: This is Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Red blood restores your health, the blue blood of ghosts restores your mana, black blood lowers your health, and green blood poisons you.
  • An Axe to Grind: One of the weapons in-game are twin axes.
  • Animated Armor: Malek's spirit is infused to his armor as punishment for his failure to save the Circle from Vorador.
  • Animorphism: Kain can assume the form of a wolf and a bat.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The towns all have German-sounding names that don't actually mean anything.
  • At Least I Admit It: Kain is disgusted by the Vampire Hunters Moebius rallies for this reason; as he puts it, they're hypocrites that "cloak their bloodlust beneath a veil of righteousness", whereas he makes no pretense to justify his kills.
  • Attack Deflector: The Chaos Armor, although both you and the enemy would be harmed, and the 'repel' spell which causes missiles to bounce back.
  • The Big Bad Shuffle: The less lucid members of the Circle of Nine have varying schemes, and are dealt with in succession along with their guardian Malek. The Nemesis then steps up as a bit of an Outside-Context Problem, invading from the north, and combating this fearsome tyrant consumes much of the late game... until it turns out that he — and, more importantly, you — are pawns on the board for Moebius of the Circle, who tricks you into assassinating the Nemesis as a younger man and thus give him the impetus to rally Nosgoth on a vampire-hunting crusade. Kain then slays him too, and returns to the Pillars to reunite with his maker, the necromancer Mortanius... who is revealed to have killed you in the first place, as part of a plot to unleash a vengeful Kain against the crazed Circle and thus allow a new generation of guardians, untainted by Nupraptor's madness, to take their place. But then it turns out that Mortanius is housing a demonic entity — identified in later games as the Hylden Lord — who fought to possess his body and manipulated the circle into madness to begin with; this monster is your Final Boss.
  • Boring, but Practical: The Spiked Mace. You won't be killing things in a hurry while wielding it, but its attacks quickly stun enemies.
  • Butterfly of Doom: Late in the game, Kain discovers a time-streaming device, and when overwhelmed by the forces of the Nemesis, seizes the opportunity to go back in time by 50 years and assassinate him when he was still William the Just, a benevolent boy-king. By doing so, however, he provides just the excuse Moebius needs to ignite a genocidal hatred of vampires in Nosgoth.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • The oracle of Nosgoth is actually the Moebius the Time Streamer.
    • Janos Audron, the vampire from which the Heart of Darkness was ripped from, would become a central character in later titles.
  • The Chessmaster: Moebius the Time Streamer, who preys on William the Just's insecurities and causes him to become the Nemesis, while also manipulating Kain travel back in time and fight William. If Kain is killed, then Moebius doesn't have to worry about being the target of him and Mortanius. If William is killed, Moebius then gets to ignite a genocidal crusade against the vampires and leave Kain as the last surviving one, so that when the time comes for Kain to sacrifice himself to the Pillars, he will be forced into a Sadistic Choice between sending the vampire race towards extinction or letting Nosgoth decay further.
  • The Corruption: Before the beginning of the game, Nupraptor inflicted an insidious mental and spiritual "disease" on the entire Circle of Nine. This corruption tainted the Pillars of Nosgoth, and to restore them, the Circle had to be purged.
  • Cruel Mercy: Vorador defeated Malek when he butchered the Circle, but spared him, knowing that his shame would be a greater punishment than mere death. Mortanius promptly inflicts a Fate Worse than Death on Malek for his failure, binding him to his armour to serve for eternity.
  • Dark World: Nupraptor's keep is in the shape of a skull, built on a cliff. Looking through one eye socket will show you the lush landscape below. Looking through the other will show you the world through Nupraptor's eyes, a dead, twisted land with blackened ground and lava for water. Kain remarks that Nosgoth doesn't need help to make its corruption apparent.
  • Daywalking Vampire: Kain can be active during the day, but the sunlight still weakens his attacks.
  • Decapitation Presentation:
    • This is done to Vorador after his execution.
    • Mentioned, but not shown, is how Kain did this with the head of the Dollmaker.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: Both Mortanius and Moebius are aware that they are destined to be killed by Kain and have accepted it. It doesn't mean they're just gonna lay down and make it easy for him.
  • Doomed Hometown: Kain's hometown of Coorhagen has been overrun and ravaged by The Plague by the time he returns to it; dead bodies litter the streets, several carts loaded with bodies block Kain's path. The few surviving citizens Kain finds lament their fate and urge him to leave the city before the Plague claims him as well.
  • Downer Ending: One so critical to the series it's not able to marked as a spoiler. The canonical evil ending has Kain refuse to sacrifice himself and instead reign over the decaying landscape with plans to thin out the rest of humanity. This leads into all the sequels. And then the sequels reveal that this was merely a Sadistic Choice.
  • Dual Wielding: Kain can find twin axes, Havoc and Malice, and do this.
  • Emergency Temporal Shift: Halfway through the game, Kain acquires a time-streaming device in Avernus Cathedral, but finds little use for it until the final battle against the forces of the Nemesis goes horribly wrong. With his back to the wall, he uses the device and finds himself fifty years in the past - back when the Nemesis was still known as William the Just. Kain tries to retroactively save Nosgoth by killing William... only to end up turning the entire country against his fellow vampires in the process, for as far as the people of the era knew, a vampire just murdered their beloved boy-king for no reason whatsoever.
  • Evil Laugh: Kain's lovely dark chuckle.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Morally, Kain is little better than his foes, often musing on dark personal thoughts, revelling in the carnage his new powers allow him to bring, and expressing admiration for some of the more inventive cruelties he comes across. Notably, after fighting through the perverse vampire lord Vorador's mansion – a veritable altar of bloody human sacrifice for its lord's twisted pleasure – Kain ends up agreeing with much of his opponent's attitude towards their curse, and the two part as allies. And of course, it's the “evil” ending that's canon.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: It's possible for Kain to wipe out all of his would-be assassins at the start of Blood Omen, even without a GameShark if proper caution is taken. However, all the exits out of town are blocked off, and you'll just have to walk into and out of a building to respawn the enemies and let him die like he's supposed to.
  • Find the Cure!: Kain's initial motive for going after the Circle of Nine is a cure for his vampirism... though he slowly begins to embrace it.
  • First Installment Weirdness: Unlike the rest of the games which are 3D exploration based genre, this game plays more like a The Legend of Zelda game. The vampires are also treated more like traditional vampires and less like eldritch abominations that we see in later games.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: Hash'ak'gik (and the way in which he conducts business) is referenced a few times throughout the game, if you take the time to uncover optional lore. But his connection to Mortanius — the latter's eyes briefly flash the same red as his demonic host's after he slays Anarcrothe — is only shown right at the end of the game, minutes before The Reveal.
  • Flaming Sword: One of the unlockable weapons in the game.
  • Foreshadowing: Willendorf's library will give Kain two nuggets of lore that cast ripples through the rest of the series: the Pillars of Nosgoth choose a new scion when one of the Circle is killed, and there once existed a cult which worshipped a strange god that was linked to tales of human possession.
  • Gangplank Galleon: The HMCS Bitter is often believed to be an example, judging by the stockpiles of loot found around the wreckage of the ship. It wasn't found until 2010 when fans were examining the game code, and it was commonly believed that the area was Dummied Out; Denis Dyack claims it can be reached legitimately, just via a very obtuse method.
    • The legitimate method was eventually found in ten years after the original discovery. Calling it "very obtuse" doesn't even begin to describe it.
  • A God Am I: In the bad ending:
    Kain: Once I embraced my powers, I realized Vorador was correct. We are gods — dark gods — and it is our duty to thin the herd.
  • Hate Plague: Using the Inspire Hate spell, Kain can magically cause enemies to attack one another.
  • I Am Who?: After killing the Final Boss and seeing the Pillar of Balance still corrupted, Kain has an epiphany: he himself is the final insane Circle member, Ariel's unwitting successor as Balance Guardian, culled in the brief interval between her death and the Pillars' corruption. The "cure" to vampirism which he sought is his own death.
  • Lethal Lava Land: Dark Eden, a land twisted beyond recognition in a project of the guardians of nature, energy and states. And then it starts raining fire... This may not be a case of Convection Schmonvection, since Kain and the creatures there are all unnaturally resilient, and the world's foundations are rather loose by this point anyway. This trope is also used in the Dark World version of Nosgoth seen from Nupraptor's keep.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: Even in the inventory screen!
  • Market-Based Title: The game was called Kain the Vampire in Japan.
  • Multiple Endings: Players can choose one of two endings:
    • In one, Kain sacrifices himself to restore the Pillars, and Nosgoth with them, but ensures the extinction of the vampire race.
    • In the other, Kain decides to damn the world, in which case the Pillars collapse, leaving Nosgoth an irredeemable wasteland, with Kain fully embracing his curse and living on as the most powerful entity in the land. This ending is considered canon, leading into the rest of the series.
  • Off with His Head!: Vorador is beheaded by guillotine in front of a bloodthirsty lynch mob. Kain kills both Moebius and Elzevir this way.
  • Scienceville: The city of Stahlberg in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain was reportedly one of the greatest centres of learning in all of Nosgoth, housing some of the most prestigious universities and libraries known to humankind. Unfortunately, the armies of the Nemesis have destroyed the place long before Kain arrives.
  • Skeletons in the Coat Closet: The bone armor, which fools lesser forms of undead into not attacking you, and to a lesser extent the flesh armor. Mortanius the necromancer also seems to wear some large bones over his chest.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Wandering around a human settlement without glamouring yourself will cause certain able-bodied human in your vicinity to try to kill you. These attempts range from reasonable, but ill-advised (guardsmen, butchers, and the like) to downright suicidal (unarmed ladies chasing you down to give you a slap, and the relentless hostility of some hapless peasants in general, who'd do much better to run as fast as they can).
  • Überwald: This period in Nosgoth is this - the thick, dark forests with plentiful wolves, the small villages with Germanic-sounding names dotting the landscape, an overabundance of undead, the works.
  • Weakened by the Light: Kain's attacks are weaker during the day.


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