Sequel takes a bite out of time

Game: A vampire takes on his nemesis and a time-bending sorcerer in `Soul Reaver 2.' Its downside is players must repeat action.

July 25, 2002|By Phil LaRose | Phil LaRose,KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

Raziel is a soul man, literally. He's a vampire living in the fantasy land of Nosgoth and one of the entertaining characters in Soul Reaver 2.

In this sequel to the original PC game by Eidos Interactive, Raziel sets out to get his revenge against his immortal enemy, the vampire Kain.

But Raziel gets caught up in a complicated scheme involving Moebius, a sorcerer who can alter time and who tries to manipulate Raziel into changing history. It turns into a three-way fight.

Raziel's main tool of retribution is the Soul Reaver, a magical saber that can slice through living or undead foes.

Because of his vampire nature, Raziel can pass freely between worlds, both the Material and Spectral realms.

In the Material Realm, he has to fight his way past guards and dogs, jump to reach higher ledges and swim through flooded areas. The Spectral Realm presents a different challenge, filled with an assortment of monsters.

Being a highly evolved vampire, Raziel has developed bat-like wings that allow him to float on wind currents to reach inaccessible areas. Unlike the neck-biting, blood-sucking vampires of filmdom, he survives by "inhaling" the souls of defeated opponents.

There's a fair amount of puzzle-solving- finding keys and retrieving items - but half the game is sword fighting. Raziel can't take two steps without bumping into another enemy.

Players also will spend a good bit of time watching cinematic sequences in which the characters confront each other and relay parts of the history behind their conflict. While they're nicely animated and feature excellent the voice acting, they interrupt the action and can't be skipped. Since you can only save the game in a few spots, you're doomed to repeat action and watch the scenes multiple times.

But minor annoyances aside, Soul Reaver 2 presents an epic tale full of dazzling images. It has an M-rating for blood, gore and violence.

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