Tuesday, 2 November 2021

Soul Reaver OST v8.2 update

Just a quick update as the recently discovered alpha build tracks are now part of this release. I also did a few small edits. This is the regular version of the soundtrack, the alpha version follows a slightly different structure (the tracks are divided differently).

Soul Reaver OST v8.2 download

Saturday, 2 January 2021

Top 10 games of 2020

This was a strange year but being thanks to the lockdown also fruitful for gaming experience. We have moved house in January and afterwards, played many last PS4 hits which escaped me previously. I finally got around to playing RDR2 and was blown away by how much detail developers put into a PS4 game, played Death Stranding, a game I had no clue about what it was about until mid/late game and realized how the walking and delivering can be addictive, the latest God of War to which I was resisting for a while but the its discounted price became irresistible, absolutely surprisingly excellent Hades (I do not usually play these kind of games) which made me buy its predecessor, Transistor, Persona 4 Golden which I almost finished for the 4th time (still need to see the new true ending), brain twister Baba is You which I played on Switch (enjoyed solving the difficult puzzles anywhere), the mystic space explorer Outer Wilds whose story is captivating, also finally got around to playing Dead Space series (spoiler: 1 is superior in every way) and finishing on Untitled Goose Game, a short but charming experience which I can recommend to try. These are the best games I have played in 2020 but did not necessarily came out this year:





1. Red Dead Redemption 2

This one was no surprise to me. I knew I was getting into loads of hours of playtime and started playing it around this time last year. Rockstar did not disappoint. It truly baffles me how some players can consider this boring. I agree that some parts are a bit dragged out, especially the tutorial, but once it gets going and you get to know the characters, it transforms into something more. There´s a huge game world, filled with astounding amount of detail. I have played RDR1 prior to this and while that one was more concise gaming experience, I still think that RDR2 improves this formula even further. I loved the gang and listening to their stories by bonfire at night, observing Dutch´s slow decent into madness (or perhaps his true character), things got worse, better, then worse again and we are there along for this amazing horse ride. RDR2 is a must play experience and I never had any doubts placing it as no.1 on this list. I can only hope that Rockstar is already working on RDR3 with a young Dutch and Josea which I would love to see (prequel to the prequel? :D).


2. Death Stranding

I watched Kojima play this at EGX London but still was not wiser on what actually this game is trying to do. The story is cryptic but that is what is great about it, you slowly unravel the threads as you go along while trying to avoid the deadly zombie ghosts floating around you, as you wade through rivers, mud and tall grass to get to the next distribution facility. You are and aren´t alone in your quest – once a location is connected to the system, you start seeing bridges and ladders from other players which can significantly improve the trips between the facilities which need deliveries. 

The base mechanic of the game is relatively simple – walk with a package to a remote area and deliver the goods in decent condition. Do it enough times, people will start to trust you and reward you with useful items which you can´t be 3D printed on mass. The simple mechanic of walking and shifting weight feels really good here, every step counts and being a delivering courier feels super satisfying when you get a good rating. Sound design is superb too and all those strange noises the game makes will make sense. And it also features some nice chill music from Low Roar and CHVRCHES, perfect when you are walking through desolate mountains.


3. God of War (2019)

This was a surprise to me. From the screenshots, videos and interviews it did look good, though, and since it was on a sale, it was hard to justify not buying it and I was super glad I did. I have played previous GOW games (1 and 2) and while they were decent and often brutal fun, they lacked the polish and depth of the combat from DMC games. Kratos is back again and he has grown up a lot since we last saw him. Taking place in the realm of Midgard, Kratos is now living with his son in a secluded forest. It won´t take long before the Norse gods find him, though, and this is the beginning of a new journey for Kratos. Seing him struggle to be a father to Atreus and their interactions in general was entertaining. Not to mention the super fun axe combat which I was not sure if it will work but it does. The different realms and the hub lake area all look amazing and as you slowly progress through the story, the lake changes, uncovering more and more secrets. Christopher Judge shines as Kratos and the dialogue between him and Atreus evolves throughout  the game, it was wonderful to watch them interact. Play this even if you missed out on the previous GOW games, though, you will miss a few references. 


4. Uncharted 4

I have played all Uncharted games in a succession but none of them got me as much as this one. It feels like everything is just right here, enough action but not too much (no more constant shooting arenas like in the first 3 games, but especially the first one, less so in the sequels) and finally more puzzles to solve and plenty of traversing. This is definitely one of my favourite action games, beating any of the modern Tomb Raider games easily. I love the characters and the funny dialogue (in comparison to the insufferable Lara in SOTR). This is what the series should have been from the start but to get all the easter eggs it is pretty much given that you would have to play the first three before this one. Fully recommended!


5. Hades

Hades was a sleeper hit for me. I was vaguely aware about it and when it finally came out of Early Access after two years, it got so many positives reviews that even I had to look at it. It has all the elements of what I do not like in games – procedurally generated dungeons, top down view (I can mostly accept this only in Zelda and Blood Omen) and death, meaning starting from the beginning every time. However, Hades has something others don´t. You can actually keep the most items you collected except coins (usable only within the dungeon and lost upon restart) so next time you try to escape the Underworld, you are stronger. You can also permanently upgrade your weapons and did I mention you get to chat to Greek gods while they send their blessings upon you? This game is super addicting even to me, who do not usually play this genre of rogue-like games. Add an absolutely amazing soundtrack from Darren Korb into the mix and you won´t regret this.


6. Persona 4 Golden

I have finished the original Persona 4 several times before playing this version, so was keen to see all the new additions akin only to the Golden edition (previously released on PS Vita). Atlus surprised me by releasing this on Steam and even for full price, it is a steal. You get 100h+ of a jrpg but instead of battling through most of those hours, you´ll spend half of that at a school. I know, does not sound too fun, right? However, it is there where you will meet your friends who help you in battle and by hanging out with them you can solve the mystery of a killer lurking in a small town if Inaba. This release also brings in adjustable difficulty setting so if you want less or more challenge, money, experience, you can tailor it to yourself right from the start (on Vita you had to complete the game once to unlock this). If you love jrpg, this is one of the best.


7. Baba is you

I spent way too many hours (over 60) in this and rightfully so! This is a unique puzzle game where you get to make the rules by creating statements. Baba is You makes it that you can push other squares with words on them and make new statements such as WALL IS PUSH which means now the wall will not stop you and you can push it aside. In some cases you can even become the wall itself and move around, it all hinges on your imagination and trying new things in order to overcome all the obstacles in the level. Sometimes I got stuck for days or weeks but coming back later, I usually found the solution (there´s still some I have no idea how to solve). Some levels are much harder than others so the game will keep you entertained for a long time.


8. Dead Space

I have tried this previously, but gave up after 30 mins last time (pc version has some issues with controls). With a fan patch added, this was an excellent horror experience. I can´t remember how many times I have jumped from my chair when a necromorph appeared out of nowhere. The sounds are unnerving and the setting of a derelict space station is just perfect. I was a lot less impressed with Dead Space 2, though. Excellent atmosphere and well done backtracking make this game a must for any horror fan.



9. Outer Wilds

The less you know about Outer Wilds, the better. Most I can say is that you explore a small solar system and try to to learn about its past while you only have 22 minutes at one time. It is a super intriguing concept but it is well implemented. You can only keep the knowledge of your discoveries but that is all you need. Thus you can also only play this truly once but it is well worth it. 


10. Untitled Goose Game

This tiny little gem is unlike anything else on this list. Only about 3-4 hours to finish first time but what it lacks in length it makes up with its fun mechanics. Being a naughty goose was never more fun! Even after you complete it, it has a new game plus where you get new objectives and some time based tasks as well. Did I mention you can play this in co-op? Double the geese, double the trouble! 


Special mentions:


It is really hard to judge this game. When it came out for PS3, it was boasting with realistic graphics and an emotional story. However, having played it now, it was hard to take it so seriously. The absolutely terrible control scheme (using R2 to walk forward with left stick to steer yourself) and wooden character expressions made it super hilarious instead. We were passing controllers between each other. The coolest parts was playing as the FBI agent, Norman. The rest was mostly button press fest. It is one of those games which are so bad that they are good and it was fun (shower and bathroom scenes, ninjas). It felt more like a prototype overall, with many cool ideas but not fully realized which I hope were fixed by Quantic Dream´s latest game, Detroit: Becoming Human (that is on the list to play this year). 

SSSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUUUN!


This is a nice relaxing game and while I usually do not play management sims, I love fish tanks and this game delivers in this department. You start with marine fish and slowly get more and more varieties and it even has freshwater expansion with even more requirements to check which is great as the base game can get a bit easy after a while.


Custom TR level special mention:

One of the best levels ever in the TR2 category. Super faithful and with custom animations/Lara blinking! Worth playing if you like the original Tomb Raider games. This one has Lara go to the Wreck of Maria Doria after finding the treasure in the first part.

Download here

Friday, 25 December 2020

The Arcane Tomes - The Soul Reaver video

Merry Christmas to all and hope you had a great day today! After many months of working on this video, I finally present you the latest update to the Arcane Tomes series which deals with the Soul Reaver blade in great depth. Dive in for this over hour long analysis of the legendary blade:



Reaver timelines download link




Thursday, 3 December 2020

Soul Reaver soundtrack updates

There are two latest releases - the retail based SR1 OST v8 and the alpha based SR1 OST v8a. The former was missing the Necropolis spectral puzzle track in its original release. I have now included it and fixed several other things as well, one of them being Necropolis spectral starting from the mid section. Both are now being hosted on G-drive for easier and ad free access.

Friday, 28 August 2020

Soul Reaver HD Texture pack announcement


Hello Soul Reaver fans! Today I can finally announce the brand new texture pack I have just finished making for the Dreamcast version of Soul Reaver. More info about it is found on a separate page here which has in-depth information about the procedures and a comparison gallery at the end. I hope this will provide enough incentive to play this awesome game again (it just had its 21st birthday). Enjoy!






UPDATE FOR PC USERS: User EagleEye559 also upscaled the PC version and while the textures have to remain 256x256, the look is a lot more cleaner and he also changed Kain´s textures to be the ones from Dreamcast. 

Thursday, 23 July 2020

The Arcane Tomes - Timelines

I have recently put up a new video dealing with the timelines. Its main purpose is to re-cap of all that we know and place the events chronologically and to also explore all 5 timelines possible in the world of Legacy of Kain. It is one of the most discussed topics regarding the series, so I and Bazielim have put together a brand new timeline just for this purpose. I hope this is a helpful guide, any questions, feel free to comment on the video.






Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Blood Omen 2 The Complete OST v2

This is the latest update to the Blood Omen 2, now a complete soundtrack. It features all the available in-game and unreleased tracks (except the remixes found on TLW). I also fixed a few things and uploaded the full playlist on YouTube.












Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Soul Reaver 2 The Complete OST v4

This is the latest update for the Soul Reaver 2 soundtrack. I have gone back and re-recorded all the tracks from scratch again so now they are all  have higher bitrate than earlier versions. I have also reorganized the prototype section. 

This latest release is also accompanied by a YouTube video upload below with the appropriate slides for each track and timestamps as well. I hope you will enjoy!










Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Interview with Raina Audron

One of the LOK fans approached me recently and asked if I would be willing to answer a few questions regarding Legacy of Kain and my channel/website. I am not sure how much of interest any of this will be but if you are curious on how the Ancient's Den started, below is the interview with questions from Alevat. If you have some not mentioned below, feel free to ask in the comments!





Alevat: How did your career start on YouTube? Has someone inspired you? Did you have a desire to share your findings with people? Personally, you inspired me!

Raina: Thank you, that is flattering! It was actually Ben Lincoln's The Lost Worlds who I always looked up to and still do. His site had the most amazing info back when I had no internet at home and sparked my passion into researching SR1 cut content. I remember I kept visiting internet cafés to check for the latest update! 

Regarding YouTube, I started with showing off the flying glitch and made my first video demonstration of it in 2007. I didn't have my own computer back then just yet, but soon after I moved to PC from PS2 which enabled me to start recording footage. Over time, I got better equipment which meant I could get better footage. Together with LOK Wikia/Fandom, we are currently preparing  LOK YouTube lore series dealing with various characters, events and timelines. It is still being made but I hope to share it with you soon. 


Alevat: What was your first game on PlayStation if you remember and which console do you currently own? 

Raina: My first fully 3D game on PlayStation was Tomb Raider 3. I remember I felt confused by the tank controls as I was used to Doom and Heretic before. I got used to them in the end and even though these controls are outdated by now, they are perfect for the box-like layout of the old TR games. I still play custom TR levels from trle.net from time to time with my PS2 controller, it's amazing how the community progressed over the years. Currently, my main platform is PC (playing Dead Space series atm) but also have PS4 and Switch Lite. 


Alevat: Tell us where did your own adventure with this series started? Did someone introduce you to LOK? 

Raina: When my parents got me my first PlayStation, they also bought me the official PS magazine monthly (Czech version). The first issue I got contained Soul Reaver demo and Sanctus Christus trailer. I have replayed both numerous times as the music in the trailer, exciting locations and fighting looked amazing! The demo itself I enjoyed as well. As I was mostly used to shooting in TR games, so hand to hand combat felt like breath of fresh air together with gliding which was super fun (can´t ever forget that memorable parachute sound every time Raziel spread his wings). Then I discovered that the previous issue had a review of Soul Reaver, so I got that one soon after.

While the review claimed that Tomb Raider 3 was still superior game in the end, I knew there was more to it... Months went but the full game was nowhere to be found and then the news of the delay hit. In the meantime, my parents got me a copy of the game, but it was all broken and barely playable. I didn't understand this at the time but now I know I somehow had the beta copy and later traded in back for the retail, unfortunately.

Must say that Zephon's and Melchiah's boss encounters gave me nightmares, haha. I loved the full game, however, but was surprised that none of the mechanics mentioned in the previews and reviews were there (no multiple forges to imbue the Reaver for example). The ending came rather abruptly as well and that's when I knew, something was missing. 


Alevat: You are the person who is still doing a lot for the series, where thanks to you the whole world has the opportunity now to see the original plans for Soul Reaver and its deleted content. Judging by the work of Kevin Chatmajo and his discoveries of animations for Turel and Priestess, there could be more alpha prototypes. Does it mean that there is a chance to see even more of the original content of Soul Reaver? 

Raina: These recent discoveries definitely opened up a lot of possibilities and we finally know what those deleted levels and bosses looked like. It seemed it was lost forever, but thanks to the efforts of many fans, we got to see it in the end. Who knows, other builds might be still out there but we know that the Mountain Retreat was textured sometime around March 1999. It would be amazing to find a build from that time. 


Alevat: We discover a lot in the world of Soul Reaver, however, as we know, this game is not the only one that has cut content. In your opinion, is there a chance in the future to see more discoveries of prototypes from other games in the series? 

Raina: There is a slight possibility that SR2 might have leaked at some point as well, but we have yet to see the evidence other than magazine screenshots. If it is out there, it better not take another 20 years, haha!


Alevat: Do you think there is any chance that someone will have the Dreamcast SR 2 Demo? E3? or maybe the cancelled PS1 prototype of SR2? 

Raina: Potentially, really hard to say. I hope they are out there somewhere still.


Alevat: What do you currently think about Crystal Dynamics & Square Enix, what do you think about LOK's return on their part? Should they ever do this? 

Raina: This is a lot trickier than it looks and I understand their positions after failures with Dark Prophecy, Dead Sun and Nosgoth to be reluctant to pick up the series again. Of course, then there is the hardcore fan base which will notice any imperfections and inconsistencies (as seen in Dead Sun's case) and there is a lot of pressure to do the series justice. However, I believe it can be done if the new developer has respect for the source material and willingness to adhere to the established lore. In short, no small feat but many of the recent remakes show us it is possible to achieve. 


Alevat: What do you think about the BluePoint rumour about remaking Legacy of Kain? 

Raina: Unfortunately, as much as we all want to be true, this rumour is false. However, I think BluePoint have shown they are more than capable team to remake/remaster the older games and would be interesting to see what could they do with LOK series. 


Alevat: Who is your favourite LOK character and why? 

Raina: I think that would be Raziel, starting with his absolutely unique, memorable design and relatable backstory. As a teenager, I really identified with his passion to undo the wrongs done to him and his determination to uncover the truth. I think that helped me a lot to get through hard times but I also understand Kain's difficult position as his every move could cause grave consequences. Not an easy burden to carry but in the end, he strives to do what was right for the world. 


Alevat: As you know the title The Dark Prophecy was to show us the restoration of Pillars of Nosgoth, however, looking at the pictures, it would not have ended there. It looks like Raziel might have appeared to help Kain solve puzzles. However, we know this makes no sense, but do you think there could be another way to see Raziel again? And let's not forget about Dead Sun. As we know, although they had a race of Vampires, they are different. They ate souls, they could move between the Spectral Realm and Material Realm, Asher/Gein could fly with wing upgrades, etc. What do you think about the main character and his abilities? In my opinion, I think it would ruin Raziel's uniqueness. 

Raina: Regarding Dark Prophecy, we have seen that one screenshot with Raziel in it. Daniel Cabuco since confirmed they shot this idea by Ritual down quite quickly and did not plan to reintroduce him back into the game. My thoughts about Dead Sun can be found here, but in general, I regard it as a misstep and I agree with you that much of it made no sense and gives the vibes that Climax did not study the source material well enough.


Alevat: What was the biggest mistake in the history of Legacy of Kain according to you? 

Raina: I would probably regard BO2 and Defiance, as they are the weakest entries for me due to retcons these games introduced. It seems that the problem was that the subsequent games after SR1 not being able to reproduce the same amount of success. Where SR1 sold over 1,5 million, no other game in the series got close enough to match it. Also a lower budget might have contributed to this. Even though Soul Reaver 2 got plenty of preview space in the magazines, when it came out it was not regarded as ground breaking as its predecessor and did not get as high scores.

However, Amy still made it work well in the end. Personally, I think BO2 has rather uninteresting gameplay with some questionable character behaviour, while Defiance has some good parts which are let down by the useless cinematic camera, the copy paste forges, forced combat parts and lore inconsistencies. The last two entries just seem not as polished to me (there were changes in the company at the time which would explain things).


Alevat: And now we will deviate a little from the topic of LOK and tell me which are your 3 favorite games? 

Raina: I'll do a top 5 as 3 is almost impossible and they are not in a particular order: 


Red Dead Redemption 2: I completed this one recently and I do not think there is a game out there just like it. After finishing it, I was asked to name 22 characters on one poster and had no trouble remembering all of their names. Its phenomenal attention to detail is unmatched and I recommend it if you love story games.

Okami: Its distinct art style stemmed from them being unable to do realistic graphics on PS2 and what a great decision it was. Also called PS2 Zelda, simply love everything about it. It's a beautiful, emotions filled journey till the end.

Devil May Cry 3: One of my first action games on PS2 and still remains the best one! Don't think any other game tested my patience as playing the original DMC3 release on DMD mode. 

Spyro the Dragon: I have replayed this one many times, simple yet addicting platformer. Love the gliding mechanic, colourful worlds and Stewart Copeland's awesome music! 

Metal Gear Solid: This was together with SR1 my most played demo I had in my library, one of the must play games on PS1.


Alevat: Many people complain of remasteres & remakes because other new games could be created instead, what do you think about it? 

Raina: I like both remakes and remasters as some of the older games have either aged terribly (looking at you, RE1 on PS) or they are no longer being sold and the only way to play them is to emulate, but they have to be done right. It is always great to hear the new generation of players liking the old school games but it would be better if they had easier access to them and remakes and remasters allow that. There are definitely some bad examples out there (Dark Souls, RE3) but also plenty of great ones (Shadow of the Colossus, Crash and Spyro, RE1 and 2). They can never fully replace the originals, of course, but it is a good thing to be able to play them in modern times too. 


Alevat: Have you met other people from the LOK community, such as Kevin, Ben Lincoln, etc.? 

Raina: Some of us were invited to SE London HQ to see Nosgoth in 2013. I was so surprised but honoured to be one of them! That's where I met other LOK fans for the first time (more about that here) and that night was the best ever, I will always remember it fondly. LOK fandom is the best and I am grateful I got to meet such amazing people. Most of us are still in regular touch too which is awesome!


Alevat: We are coming to the end of our interview. Quick questions! 

Raziel or Kain? Raziel 

Soul Reaver or Blood Omen? Soul Reaver

Coca-Cola or Pepsi? OJ :D 

Xbox or PC? PC/PS4 

Cat or Dog? Fish ;) 

Winter or Summer? Winter/spring 


Alevat: Thank you, Raina, for finding time for this interview! Would you like to give shout out to someone? 

Raina: I would like to thank our whole team who helped to discover the secrets of the alpha version. Special thanks goes to Ben Lincoln as we wouldn't be where we are without him. Thanks for the interview, Alevat! Long live Kain!

Monday, 25 May 2020

The Lost Content Series - Enemy, boss and NPC comparison

Today we have a new video focusing on analysing all the enemies found within Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. It appears that the textures from the alpha stages have been greatly downsized in the release version. PlayStation and PC version appear to have the worst texture quality (with the exception of Dumah), with the Alpha being the best and Dreamcast is close second. Below are the screenshot comparisons found within the video:



SPECTRAL CREATURES:





VAMPIRE CLANS:













HUMANS:












BOSSES:








Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Soul Reaver Soundtrack v8a release

Hello Soul Reaver music lovers,

since the joyous discovery of the alpha version of SR1, the complete soundtrack v8 has been re-packaged into a special edition. I have re-arranged all the tracks to match the new progression throughout the game (Cathedral comes after Necropolis now, for example) and also split indoor Lighthouse tracks into Smokestack and kept outdoor ones for the Lighthouse. Pillars-tomb indoors became Oracle's Cave instead.

There were also brand new prototype tracks discovered and are now part of the OST3 (Necropolis, Cathedral, Pillars-Tomb, Drowned Abbey, Ruined City and Smokestack) and I have added Necropolis - spectral - puzzle which I somehow forgot to include last time! Read Me file has more detailed descriptions of all the changes. Hope you'll enjoy this new arrangement!

UPDATE 29.5.2020: Added 2 tracks to OST3 (Drowned abbey - sus v2 - proto and spectral danger) and also replaced the PlayStation credits version with the one from Dreamcast as it is much higher quality.

Download Soul Reaver Alpha v8a OST Mediafire (Size: 811MB)

Download Soul Reaver Alpha v8a OST G-Drive (Size: 811MB)





Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Soul Reaver Alpha – Graphics Comparison



Thanks to the recent alpha leaks, we now know that Soul Reaver underwent extensive changes during its development process. Several years ago, a few beta builds have been exposed and I did an extensive beta comparison with the final version of the game. That showed us the transition just before the game's shipping in mid August in comparison to the May and July builds of the game. Some of the changes were more subtle, but unfortunately, they did not contain any of the cut content of the game such as the Undercity, Smokestack, Kain's retreat or deleted forges.

Examining the different beta builds, I was able to compare in detail on how the game progressed and what type of changes were made between these versions. With the newly emerged alpha builds, this gives me further material to compare and come to the conclusion that the retail release version has been somewhat downgraded since its alpha stages. This is mostly apparent in the resolution of game's textures, which has been notably lowered but lighting has on the other hand was more or less improved. The draw distance is a bit hit and miss and areas which had a farther draw distance are often found to be the opposite when comparing between the alpha and the retail version. Notice also the shift from strangely colourful spectral realm to a more unified bright blue/green colours as seen in the retail version. There is also a case of missing polygons on Raziel's body in 16th Feb build. It seems that in an effort to maintain his chest and lower jaw visible even with the cowl on, the developers accidentally flipped over certain polygons on his body. In the case of top of the buildings, these seem to be more conscious removals in an effort to improve framerate and remove anything not in player's sight from the screen.


Below are examples of the most notable changes in the different builds. If there were significant changes in more than one build, I have included them in the comparison. I have split this up according to the areas and always tried to included the exact shot from all builds, or at least an approximation. However, there are certain cases where this wasn't possible or that the location has moved. If you prefer to view the screenshots in higher resolution, download below!


The Underworld























The Abyss








Raziel's Stronghold














The Necropolis

























Sunlight Glyph






























The Silenced Cathedral
















































































Stone Glyph
























Sanctuary of the Clans



















Sound Glyph















Sarafan Tomb





















Drowned Abbey












































Fire Glyph

















The Human Citadel




































Water Glyph









Ruined City

































Northern wastes











Oracle´s Cave