Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain is an action role-playing game developed by Silicon Knights and published by Crystal Dynamics, with distribution involvement from Activision and BMG Interactive. It was released for the PlayStation in 1996, and a Microsoft Windows port was developed by Semi Logic Entertainments and released jointly by Crystal Dynamics and Activision in 1997. The game is the first title in the Legacy of Kain series.
In Blood Omen, the player follows Kain, a newly resurrected vampire. Seeking revenge against his murderers and a cure to his vampiric curse, Kain is tasked with traversing the fictional land of Nosgoth and slaughtering the Circle of Nine, a corrupt oligarchy of godlike sorcerers, but slowly begins to forsake humanity and view his transformation as a blessing.
Silicon Knights designed Blood Omen as “a game which adults would want to play”, intending to evolve the action role-playing genre and bring artistic cinema to video game consoles. Reviewers praised its scope and storytelling, but criticized its lengthy loading times. After its release, a dispute arose concerning ownership of its intellectual property rights, after which Crystal Dynamics retained permission to continue the series with their 1999 sequel, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver.
Blood Omen is a two-dimensional action role-playing game. The player controls the protagonist, Kain, from a top-down perspective. Gameplay is divided between outdoor traversal and dungeon crawls, entailing hack and slash combat, puzzle-solving, and navigating hazards. To advance the story, Kain must locate and defeat the members of the Circle of Nine—who act as boss enemies—and return their tokens to the Pillars of Nosgoth. Humans, animals, and a variety of fantasy creatures inhabit the game world, whom the player can typically elect to kill outright, or alternatively wound in order to feed on their blood. As a vampire, Kain is required to consume the red blood of living creatures to replenish his health meter, which gradually drains over time, and diminishes more quickly if he sustains damage. When he casts spells or shapeshifts, he expends magic energy—this recovers in time, and can be replenished by drinking the blue blood of ghostly enemies. Conversely, undead opponents relinquish harmful black blood, and demons and mutants yield green blood which poisons Kain, causing his health to deplete at a swifter rate.
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