One game that still has a place in my heart, despite seemingly being left to the annals of time, will forever be the superb Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain.
It’s one of those ’90s adventures that was astonishingly forward-thinking in its design. You were turned as a basic vampire and sent on a simple quest for revenge. As is always the case with vampires, the quest soon became one of betrayal, classic “I tricked you into doing this all along” setups and almost half an hour of cut-scenes that, honestly, were pretty good for its time.
I’ve heard some outrageous claims that Legacy of Kain was one of the best stories of all time in gaming, which I’m not so sure about. It was one of the better endings of its time, no doubt, but I think a lot of the hype was just down to the sheer amount of double crossing, time paradoxes and the amount of no-it-was-me-all-along style twists. Which was still pretty great for its day, to be fair.
Anyway, part of the problem with Legacy of Kain is that you couldn’t really experience it for yourself anymore without the original discs. Square Enix has had the game available to license for developers as part of its indie collective, but the original game hadn’t been re-released in any form. Today, GOG has rectified that for the measly price of $8.99. The reappearance of the classic vampire adventure comes 25 years after it was first published on the PlayStation 1, although Activision’s PC port wasn’t released until 1997.
It’s also to coincide with GOG’s 13th birthday, so naturally there’s a whole bunch of other goodies going for a song. If Zelda with backstabbing vampires isn’t your cup of tea — and if not, really? — then the 25 percent off Return of the Obra Dinn is a solid bargain. The Witcher 3 GOTY edition is only $15 now, and the newer Blood Omen games — like Soul Reaver 2 or Defiance — are pretty cheap today.
But the one that always stood out was the original Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain. I remember a friend who had it growing up who couldn’t understand why people were into games like Mario 64 or Ocarina of Time when there was this dark, gritty game with bloodsuckers, secret societies, shapeshifting, ancient evils, non-linear exploration, solid combat and some quality cut-scenes.
There’s nothing wrong with those other games, of course: they’re just as good. But you could play and enjoy their skill and craft for years. Legacy of Kain, not so much. Today, that’s changed. So go forth and find out why fans loved Kain so much.