Source: Wikipedia, "Legacy_of_Kain:_Soul_Reaver," available under the CC-BY-SA License.
In Soul Reaver, an action-adventure game, players control Raziel, a disfigured and ghostly vampire. The game is normally shown from a third-person perspective behind Raziel, but players can rotate the viewpoint around him by using the control pad. Gameplay relies largely on shifting between the material and spectral planes of existence to progress through areas. Although interaction with objects is limited in the spectral realm, this can be advantageous because Raziel can easily traverse water and phase through otherwise impassable gates there. However, blocks, doors, and switches can be manipulated only in the physical realm. Many puzzles are based on the differences between the two realms; for example, platforms and environment features in one realm may change form to open new paths in the other. Block puzzles are also common and require the rotation, flipping, and moving of large blocks to progress, often with a time limit and while avoiding enemies.
Combat in Soul Reaver is a hack and slash system, involving the use of combinations of various different attacks before a finishing move. Raziel's enemies are grouped into humans, spectral creatures, and most commonly, vampires. Human enemies include peasants, vampire hunters and vampire worshippers. In the spectral realm, players fight minor enemies called Sluagh and the souls of dead vampires who have become wraiths. Each brood of vampire enemies has unique powers reminiscent of their clan leader. Human and spectral enemies can be killed with Raziel's claws or any weapon, but vampires must be bludgeoned into a stunned state and then destroyed by impaling them, lighting them on fire, or tossing them into a hazard such as sunlight or water. When killed, enemies leave behind souls that replenish Raziel's health, which automatically decreases in the material realm and increases in the spectral. Possession of the Soul Reaver sword stops automatic degeneration of health in the physical realm, but Raziel loses the sword instantly if he sustains damage and can regain it only by restoring his health to full.
At first, Raziel can jump, glide using his torn wings, move blocks, and pick up and throw enemies. Initially unarmed, he fights using his claws, but can alternatively use weapons such as rocks, torches, spears and staffs, and the Soul Reaver. Raziel can freely shift to the spectral realm, but can return to the material realm only through special portals when at full health. Raziel automatically shifts to the spectral realm if he runs out of health. As the game progresses, Raziel becomes able to phase through gates in the spectral realm and climb walls in the material realm. Initially vulnerable to water, he overcomes this weakness and learns to swim. Players can find an ancient relic that gives Raziel the power to fire bolts of telekinetic energy, which cause little damage by themselves but can knock enemies into hazards and push objects from a distance. Baptism in holy flame can transform the Soul Reaver into the Fire Reaver, which can set enemies aflame and adds fire to Raziel's telekinetic bolts. Players can also find magical glyphs that allow Raziel to expend magical energy to attack groups of enemies simultaneously.