Blood Omen is a two-dimensional action-adventure game. The game camera is fixed in a bird's eye view position and follows Kain as the character travels the world of Nosgoth. Gameplay is divided between outdoor exploration and visiting internal structures, including crypts, houses, castles, cathedrals and temples. The game screen constantly displays three features, being the sun gauge, and health and magic meters respectively. The sun gauge monitors the passage of time via the use of icons (e.g. sun and moon), with the screen also becoming lighter or darker to accurately reflect the time. Certain doors, or "Moon Gates", possess a "time trigger" and only open when a full moon occurs. A full moon briefly occurs once every two hours of real time. The health meter is a red blood vial that monitors Kain's current level of health. By finding small vials throughout the game it is possible to increase the size of the vial. The magic gauge is signified by a series of blue glyphs, and by finding additional glyphs the gauge increases in length.
During the course of the game, the character Kain acquires a variety of abilities, weapons, armor, magic and items. Kain acquires four additional forms, being "werewolf" (enhanced strength and speed), "bat" (instant travel to other locations such as Bat Beacons), "mist" (used to bypass solid objects and water) and "human peasant", later "nobleman" (to fool enemies and townspeople into talking to Kain). Weapons include an iron sword, a mace, twin battle axes (called "Havoc" and "Malice"), the Flame Sword and the Soul Reaver, with each having benefits and drawbacks (e.g. the use of the battleaxes prevents the use of magic and items, while use of the Soul Reaver drains the magic gauge). During the course of the game certain weapons are required to enable progression to new areas. Five different types of armor can be found, being iron, bone, chaos, flesh and wraith respectively. Each suit of armor has its own distinctive advantages.
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