Every now and then I will re-visit a game that just had everything that I like in a game. You level up in some capacity, the game has a great story and soundtrack, it is a bit dark, and it also has an almost "Zelda" type way about it. The fact that the story evolves around being a vampire that has to decide if they are going to be a good vampire or a bad one as the game progresses, is just an added bonus.
So why did this game fail to make any sort of mark on the industry? That's anyone's guess
One of the reasons that it didn't sell well could be because it was the first in a franchise and even though Crystal Dynamics was behind it, there wasn't a very big advertising push for this game either. Although games were becoming more adulty at the time, there were still some controversies surrounding violence in video games during the mid-90's - and Legacy of Kain certainly had plenty of blood and violence.
Unlike other action / adventure games, where you never killed anything and they just kind of went away or in some RPG's where you KO your enemies rather than have them die (I've always found this strange that you knockout someone with a machine gun) Legacy of Kain held nothing back about the fact that you were definitely ending the lives of your enemies as their blood spattered all over the screen.
For the time period, the cinematics and overall graphics were really pushing the limits of technology's capabilities. So much in fact, that during certain battles where there were too many enemies on the screen that gameplay would actually slow down quite a lot. This was one of my only gripes with the game but it was something that I was more than willing to deal with in order to have a game of this magnitude.
In the end the game only sold around 300,000 copies and this was not a good figure at all. The producers of the game claim that they had eventually sold over 2 million, but there is some chatter that this was simply a PR move to retain interest in the development teams because they offered up no proof that this was actually the case.
I don't have any idea why more people didn't buy this game but I am also happy that despite poor sales they realized they had a good idea here and eventually this lead to another one of my favorite games, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver a few years later.
I played this game again recently and although it is dated, it is still fantastic fun. Plus you can run it on any old potato of a computer these days without the aforementioned slowdown every happening. You can get the ROM, for free, HERE