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Switches are a simple interactable contextual object seen throughout the Legacy of Kain series that can be interacted with allowing the operation of complex mechanisms. Switches generally have two distinct states of operation - usually corresponding to open/close or on/off - that can be 'switched' between to operate more complicated objects.

Profile[edit | edit source]

Role[edit | edit source]

Switches are a simple mechanism that is used throughout the Legacy of Kain series where an small physical device could be used to activate or initiate the process of a larger device or mechanism, typically by 'switching' the device between two or more states. Switches have appeared throughout all the games of the series and have a number of varying activation mechanisms, however broadly speaking they generally used a physical point of activation to change a larger mechanism between on/off or open/close states.[BO1][SR1][SR2][BO2][DEF]

The first switches seen in the series were encountered in Kain's Mausoleum in the chapter Seeking Revenge in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain.[BO1][BO1-C2] Most of the switches in Blood Omen were activated simply by approaching or walking into or over them to trigger the mechanism to activate. As Kain progressed switch mechanisms became more complicated: some switches could be activated or deactivated multiple time to different effects, some required specific patterns of switches to be activated and some could not be activated by hand, requiring possession spells or telekinesis to activate.[BO1][1][2][3]

Raziel activates a flip switch in Soul Reaver

For Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver the jump to 3D meant that many switches were updated and resdesigned for the new genre, although several apparently drew inspiration from the forms seen in Blood Omen.[SR1][BO1] Few switches maintained the simple activation from Blood Omen and many required Raiel to be in the Material Realm and physically push or pull part of the mechanism with the aid of the action button - although some switches could still be activated by walking onto them. Raziel could first encounter a switch in Raziel's Clan Territory (chapter) at the drawbridge tower in his territory which enabled him to lower a drawbridge and pass onward to the Necropolis and thereafter switches were seen throughout in varying forms.[SR1][SR1-C3][4][5][6]

Soul Reaver 2 continued in much the same vein as Soul Reaver although there were noticeably less variation and most switches were the same types as established previously. The only twist was that some switch types needed to be held down until the mechanism 'locked' into place. Switches were noticeably rarer in Soul Reaver 2 than previous games and played less of a role in puzzles - they were first seen in A Reaver in Time as Raziel used a wheel to escape the Sarafan Stronghold and the Great Southern Lake; switches were often used to temporarily bar doors and such, forcing Raziel into combat scenarios, with the puzzle components previously taken by switches often using elemental Reaver enhancements instead.[SR2][SR2-C1][7][8]

Blood Omen 2 flip switches mounted on Explosive devices

Switches returned to a larger role in Blood Omen 2 where they were seen much more often and were involved both in simple operations such as opening Doors and more complex puzzles - and were first seen from the opening chapter Welcome to Meridian. Once again familiar types of switch were seen, sometimes with slight differences from previous operations. Switches also could be featured in a number of more complicated operations, with some also be mounted on other mechanisms such as industrial machinery, Explosive devices and Glyph magic components. In addition, certain switches were out of reach and required Telekinesis to activate.[BO2][BO2-C1][9][10][11]

Despite their prevalence in previous titles, switches were seldom seen in Legacy of Kain: Defiance and like Soul Reaver 2, a lot of their functions seemed to have been taken by various elemental Reaver enhancements and other interactable objects. One type of switch that remained was Telekinetic switches, now a different design and origin but still operated by manually targeted telekinesis - these were seen from Infiltrate the Stronghold as Kain explored the caverns beneath the Sarafan Stronghold and could be seen involved in basic tasks as well as more complex puzzles.[DEF][DEF-C1][12][13]

Types of Switch[edit | edit source]

A Floor button (mid-left) and a wall button (top-right) in Blood Omen

Switches appear in various forms throughout the games, with many seen in a number of different titles. Each title has a number of different switch-types and many are seen to cross over between titles. A number of these can be identified visually, however they often have little official identification in materials beyond the title "switch". The following is a list of different types of switch mechanism that can be observed in the games.

Wall buttons[edit | edit source]

Main article: Wall buttons

Wall buttons or Wall Switches were the first type of switch seen in the series. First seen in Seeking Revenge of Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain as Kain explored his mausoleum and seen throughout the rest of Blood Omen - perhaps being the most commonly found switch type in the game. These switches consisted of a glowing pattern or square on the wall that could be activated by walking into them or by using projectile attacks such as Energy Bolt.[BO1][2][1][3]

Wall buttons are called "wall buttons" in the Blood Omen manual[1][2] and given the alternative title "wall switches" in the official guide. Generally they are called "wall switches" or simply "switches" in the walkthrough section.[3]

Floor buttons[edit | edit source]

Main article: Floor buttons

Floor Buttons or Floor Switches were also found in Blood Omen, appearing as a colored square or pattern which could activate a mechanism when stood on As with wall buttons they were first fund in Kain's mausoleum and could be found prevalently throughout the rest of the game, with a number of different designs. Often floor switches could be hidden from view by obstacles or similar.[BO1][2][1][3]

Floor buttons are called "floor buttons" in the Blood Omen manual[1][2] and "floor switches" in the official guide. Generally they are called "switches" or "pressure pads" in the walkthrough section.[3]

Levers[edit | edit source]

Main article: Levers

Levers were found in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver and Soul Reaver 2, these generally consisted of a long handle pivoted at a control box on the ground which would activate depending upon the direction the handle was pushed. These were activated in Blood Omen simply by approaching them closely to flip the handle, whereas in Soul Reaver they required the action button to be pressed to pull the lever - occasionally levers required holding down until the mechanism locked in place.[BO1][2][1][3][SR1][6][SR2][7][8]

Levers are called "levers" in the Official guides of Blood Omen, Soul Reaver and Soul Reaver 2 and in the Soul Reaver 2 and Blood Omen 2 manuals.[3][6][8][7][9][10] They are called "floor levers" in the Blood Omen manuals"[1][2] - and occasionally titled as "floor switches" or simply "switches" in walkthroughs.[3]

Flipping switches[edit | edit source]

Flipping Switches were perhaps the most common switch design from Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver onwards. These generally consisted of a wall-mounted mechanism with one or two linked prongs emanating from it to form a handle, which could be flipped up or down to activate the mechanism. These switches were initially seen be seen in Malek's Bastion in Blood Omen where they were activated by approaching them, much like ordinary Wall buttons. They were found much more commonly in Soul Reaver from their first usage in the Necropolis - where they needed to be physically activated instead. Flipping switches were absent from Soul Reaver 2 but were found abundantly in Blood Omen 2.[BO1][SR1][BO2]

Flipping switches are named in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain: Official Game Secrets simply as "switches" and likely classified along with wall buttons.[3] They are referred to Soul Reaver manuals as "switches" under "manipulating objects" or "contextual objects"[4][5] and in Blood Omen 2 manuals as "flipping switches" under "using objects".[9][10] Both the Blood Omen 2 manual, scripts and the in-game prompts in Welcome to Meridian offer "lever" as an alternative title;[9][10][BO2-C1] although this term is notably more often related to larger floor mounted Levers in other games in the series.[BO1][1][2][3][SR1][6][SR2][8][7][BO2][9][10]

Rotatable Switches[edit | edit source]

Rotatable Switches were one of the rarer form of switches and were found only in the Silenced Cathedral in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. The rotatable switches consisted of a set of square tiles on the floor each of which bore two handles - the mechanism could be operated by using the handles to lift and turn the tile through 90 degrees before placing it back down. The first of these tiles to be encountered were initially covered in a glass dome which required specific sound frequencies to shatter.[SR1][SR1-C6]

Rotatable Switches are called "floor switches", "knobs" or simply "switches" in Prima's Official Strategy Guide - Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver[6]

Hatches[edit | edit source]

Hatches were another rare form of switch found in the Silenced Cathedral, these were related to the piping of the cathedral and its ability to create certain frequencies of sound. Ostensibly found covering pipes or air reservoirs these hatches could be opened to release a blast of air and sound at a certain frequency. The first of these was used to shatter the domes of the rotatable switches; an optional set of hatches could be used to emit a deadly sound wave killing any Zephonim vampires nearby.[SR1][SR1-C6]

Hatches are called "hatches" in Prima's Official Strategy Guide - Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver[6]

Pull Chains[edit | edit source]

Chains were seen frequently throughout Blood Omen where they were often used to imprison Chained humans. A few of these housed secret switches allowing the chains to be pulled to activate a mechanism - these were triggered similarly to wall buttons or floor buttons but required physical contact.[BO1]

Another pull-chain mechanism was seen later in the Drowned Abbey in Soul Reaver where it was necessary to ring the bell in the belltower of the abbey to open the way to Rahab's lair. The chain was pulled and the bell rung by the use of the action button.[SR1][SR1-C8] Other bells could be found in the Silenced Cathedral in Soul Reaver and Meridian Cathedral and the Upper City in Blood Omen 2 - with each having notable effects to ringing them - but these were not rung by pulling chains but by other means such as directly striking them or using other switch variants.[SR1][SR1-C6][BO2][BO2-C4]

Main article: Bells

Pull chains are called "chains", "chain switches" or simply "switches" in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain: Official Game Secrets. They are also named as a chain" in Prima's Official Strategy Guide - Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver[3][6] Bells are referred to as such in prima guides[6][11] and occasionally in dialogue.[SR1-Comic][BO2-C4]

Wheels and Valves[edit | edit source]

Main article: Wheels

Wheels, Valves or Cranks were a from of circular switch that was wall mounted and operated by rotation. Seen throughout Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Soul Reaver 2 and Blood Omen 2 wheels could be operated by a single press to turn the device or held until they rotated to the proper point and locked in place.[SR1][6][SR2][8][BO2][11][9][10]

Larger wheels are named as "cranks" in Prima's Official Strategy Guide - Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, with the smaller ones named as "wheels" or "valves"; they are called "wheels" in Prima's Official Strategy Guide - Soul Reaver 2 and "valves" in Prima's Official Strategy Guide - Blood Omen 2 - the Blood Omen 2 manual calls them "wheels" or "wheel switches"[6][8][11][9][10]

Pressure Pads[edit | edit source]

Pressure Pads were a series of floor based switches seen in Soul Reaver that acted similarly to the floor buttons of Blood Omen. Activated by standing upon the appropriate area until it dropped and locked in position, these were fairly rare in the retail version being seen only once in the Silenced Cathedral, however more were seen in beta developmental versions of the game.[SR1][SR1-C6][6][14]

Pressure Pads are simply called a "platform" or variant terms in Prima's Official Strategy Guide - Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver[6]

Wall Switches[edit | edit source]

Wall Switches (not to be confused with the similar wall buttons of Blood Omen) were a form of switch seen only in Blood Omen 2 in the Upper City and the mausoleums close to Meridian Cathedral. Appearing as a wall high panel bearing significant symbols, certain panels (bearing Kain's symbol) could be pushed in a manner similar to regular Blocks, pushing them back slightly and activating a mechanism which opened the back entrance to the Cathedral.[BO2][BO2-C4][11]

Wall Switches are named primarily as "wall switches" in Prima's Official Strategy Guide - Blood Omen 2, but "stone walls" and simply "walls" are listed as alternatives.[11]

Glyph seals[edit | edit source]

Main article: Glyph seals

Glyph Seals were a series of wall-bound switches appearing in Blood Omen 2 that had a distinctive green circular design. Typically too high to reach by hand, these switches were activated by the use of the Telekinesis dark gift. Kain was first educated on their usage and shown their design by the Seer in Wild Places before he was teleported to the Device, whereupon he used one to gain entry. Glyph seals were seen frequently thereafter and were generally linked to the Hylden.[BO2][BO2-C7][11]

Glyph Seals are called "TK switches" in stage directions,[BO2][BO2-C7] but named as "Seals" in on-screen prompts and "Glyph Seals" in Prima's Official Strategy Guide - Blood Omen 2.[BO2][BO2-C7][11]

Telekinetic switches[edit | edit source]

Main article: Telekinetic switches

Telekinetic Switches were wall-bound switches seen in Legacy of Kain: Defiance and something of a successor to the Glyph seals of Blood Omen 2. Like their predecessors they could not be activated by hand and required Telekinesis to activate, but their design was different and possibly more inspired by the Ancient Vampires symbolism. These switches were first encountered by Kain in Infiltrate the Stronghold as he opened the way to Moebius's chamber and could be found throughout Nosgoth thereafter, though they were notably usually found in areas connected with the ancient vampires.[DEF][DEF-C1][12][13]

Telekinetic Switches are vaguely called "distant switches" in sections dealing with manually aimed Telekinesis in the Defiance manual. Named as "TK switches" and other "switch" variants in Prima's Official Strategy Guide - Legacy of Kain: Defiance.[12][13]

Background[edit | edit source]

This article or section is written from a real world perspective. Not all, if any, of its content is to be considered a constituent part of the Legacy of Kain canon and universe.

Several of the switch mechanisms in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver appear to have undergone changes in the course of development, with some being changed to different mechanisms between the beta and the final version of the game. An example of this is the crank wheel in Melchiah's lair which was initially featured as an ordinary lever in the early beta and the crank wheel in the 'bell corridor' within the Silenced Cathedral which was originally an ornate pressure pad platform in the early beta. Crank wheels do appear in the Fire Glyph altar area in the early beta, clearly indicating that the crank mechanism had been designed and presumably suggesting the change was because the the final device was either yet to be implemented or was initially planned as another mechanism and changed because the original lever was found to be unsuited to the task.[14][SR1]

In the real world, switches are a component in an electrical or mechanical system intended to either break the circuit (thus turning the system 'off') or to divert the current or power to a different part of the system (usually 'switching' the system to a different function). Often switches use a form of external stimuli to control them - such as through levers, buttons, pull chains and dials - with several variants of these seen in the switches of the Legacy of Kain series.[15]

Notes[edit | edit source]

A Blood Omen 2 flip switch mounted to a Glyph magic box
  • The "switch" title in sources is generally used to refer to commonly used contextual objects that have on/off (or open/close) mechanisms. Examples of this include the classification of "Buttons, Switches and Levers" in the Blood Omen manual (which is sub-divided into "Wall buttons", "Floor Levers" and "Floor buttons")[1][2] - this classification is re-iterated in the official guide with the same sub-types broken down under the "switch" umbrella;[3] the "Contextual Objects" section of the Soul Reaver and Soul Reaver 2 manuals - which is subdivided into "Doors" and "Switches" (with "Levers" briefly mentioned as a sub-type of switches);[4][5][7] and the "flipping switches" section of the Blood Omen 2 manual - which breaks down into "by lever", "pressed" or "turning a wheel" and is itself a sub-division of "using objects".[9][10] The Defiance manual has a section dealing with "manipulating objects" which more broadly deals with all the interactable object types of previous games but does not specifically mention switch mechanisms.[12] The individual types of switch can be given their own titles in guides and manuals but most are alternatively called "switches" or classified under switches in guides and manuals. Switches are also occasionally referred to directly in both stage directions and dialogue of scripts[SR1][SR1-C4][SR1-C11][SR2-C0][SR2-C5][SR2-C7][BO2-C7][BO2-C8].Individual naming conventions are noted in 'types of switch' section.
  • Scripts sometimes apply the "switch" title to some unusual mechanisms or those not directly used by the player, such as the controls of the Chronoplast and Time-streaming chambers.[SR1-C11][SR2-C0][SR2-C5][SR2-C7].
  • The term "switch" is often used somewhat vaguely and is is often applied to a number of quite different objects throughout the series, although there are similarities that unite them - generally they are points of interaction for a mechanical or electrical system that controls on/off or open/close operations. Thus the term is something of an ambiguous 'catch all' term for related mechanisms and the label could potentially be applied to a number of activation mehanisms that are not specifically mentioned specifically implied as switches. Examples of mechanisms which could be considered 'switches' or are highly related in some way include: Constrict objects, Rotatable objects, Explosive devices, Glyph magic and Glyph batteries. Perhaps notably switches do not appear to require special enhancements or items to use them per se - and even telekinetic switches are implied to be activated by physical stimuli.[BO1][SR1][SR2][BO2][DEF]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Wiki-Icon-BO1.png Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain manual. Silicon Knights. (Crystal Dynamics). Playstation. (November 1, 1996) Download.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Wiki-Icon-BO1.png Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain manual. Silicon Knights. (Crystal Dynamics). PC. (November 1, 1996) Download.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 Icon-Prima.png Prima Games / Ian Osborne. Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain: Official Game Secrets. (1996)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Icon-SR1.png Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver manual (US version). Crystal Dynamics. (Eidos Interactive). (August 16, 1999) Download.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Icon-SR1.png Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver manual (UK version). Crystal Dynamics. (Eidos Interactive). (August 16, 1999) Download.
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 Icon-Prima.png Prima Games / Mel Odom. Prima's Official Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver Guide. (1999)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Wiki-Icon-SR2.png Soul Reaver 2 manual. Crystal Dynamics. (Eidos Interactive). (October 31, 2001) Download.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 Icon-Prima.png Prima Games / Demian Linn and David Hodgson. Prima's Official Soul Reaver 2 Guide. (2001)
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 Wiki-Icon-BO2.png Blood Omen 2 manual (US version). Crystal Dynamics. (Eidos Interactive). XBox. (March 19, 2002) Download.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 Wiki-Icon-BO2.png Blood Omen 2 manual (UK version). Crystal Dynamics. (Eidos Interactive). (March 19, 2002) Download.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 Icon-Prima.png Prima Games / Mark Androvich. Prima's Official Blood Omen 2 Guide. (2002)
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Icon-Defiance.png Legacy of Kain: Defiance manual. Crystal Dynamics. (Eidos Interactive). PC (November 11, 2003) Download.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Icon-Prima.png Prima Games / JDP and Gerald Guess. Prima's Official Legacy of Kain: Defiance Guide. (2003)
  14. 14.0 14.1 Wiki-Icon-TLW.png Beta Comparison - Graphics at The Lost Worlds (by Raina Audron)
  15. Icon-Wikipedia.png Switch at Wikipedia