Legacy of Kain (PlayStation)

Today we have a guest writer, James Archer (@LeonBelmontX). James is a self-confessed video game addict who is constantly fighting a never-ending backlog. His favourite series include The Legend of Zelda, Kingdom Hearts, Yakuza, Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid and Legacy of Kain. He also writes a blog about his experiences as a gamer who suffers with anxiety.

I can’t even say what intrigued me about Blood Omen on the PS1 when I first picked it off a shelf in a rental shop when I was just starting secondary school. It’s cover art was never anything special in my eyes, and I didn’t know anyone else who had played it. Still, Kain would argue that this was fate, the start of a series of events that lead to my writing this very article.

The game left a lasting impression upon me. Compared to most games I had played at that point, the game was dark, broody and atmospheric. A 2D top-down game – in many ways reminiscent of the classic Legend of Zelda titles – Blood Omen was set in the gloomy world of Nosgoth; a grim, medieval world devoid of any sort of joy or happiness. Townspeople lived in fear of the creatures that stalked the world, cities were ravaged by the plague, and a depressed king let the world slip into ruin at the loss of his only daughter. The game’s protagonist, a nobleman named Kain, was inexplicably murdered whilst travelling and then offered a chance at revenge by a Necromancer named Mortanius. Reborn a vampire, Kain set off on a warpath to enact revenge on those that had organised his assassination.

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It’s Squall Good!

In denial and still heartbroken over what I saw as Square’s betrayal of Nintendo, I never really got into Final Fantasy VII. I had also never had the funds before to dabble in video-game-system-polygamy, and I had already opted for a Nintendo 64, for better or worse, with Final Fantasy or without, ’til GameCube do us part. But time heals all wounds and bagging groceries on Camp Pendleton was a fairly lucrative job so I wound up in possession of a PlayStation sometime in the fall of 1999.

The events of my life in 1999-2000 were a perfect storm for falling in love with the angsty, teenage-soap-opera that is Final Fantasy VIII. To recap, it was my senior year of high school so there was a bright light at the end of the tunnel that could lead to almost anywhere, and the possibilities were intoxicating; in order to woo a certain young lady, I had begun watching Dawson’s Creek, then airing season 3, which to this day is a masterful mix of nostalgia, heartache, angst, and wanting, not to mention the best slow-burn love triangle in TV history (seriously, watch it); as a young Mormon guy, I was getting ready to serve a mission, which can involve two years of service in a foreign country. All of this created a fertile field for the story of two star-crossed lovers and their team of teenage diplomats/warriors who crisscross the globe to battle a time-compressing future-wizard and her cronies.

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