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 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:





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