Beta Comparison - Story
The traces of the original story are present in each of the three versions since the cut audio is present on the disk. However, only the early beta has the most altered dialogue triggered in-game. In this section, I will briefly comment on the difference between cutscenes in the three versions.
The intro dialogue during the intro FMV has a few different lines, but overall is the same as in the RV. Raziel has simplified animations during the cutscenes in the Underworld and sometimes a different take is used than in the final version (ex.: "I am destroyed!"). Lots of lines are not played during cutscenes in the early beta (ex.: after using a planar portal for the first time, there is no voice over after defeating Morlock). The dialogue in the late beta is usually the same as in the retail with a few exceptions (defeating Zephon) and cutscenes have different angles (notably after defeating Zephon and during the second Kain encounter).
The first major difference is the cutscene by the Sanctuary of the Clans in TEB. It is divided into two parts and the cutscene ends by Raziel contemplating about his long absence caused by the Elder God:
Raziel: "Damn you! How many ages did you bind me in your grasp?"
The Elder God: "A millennium... or a moment? We who stand outside the rim of time dwell not in past or future ages. There is only the now."
This may have been cut because the Elder is supposed to represent Raziel's support in his quest for revenge and not an antagonist.
The earthquake occurs at the entrance to the Lake of the Dead and since there already is another cutscene at that location, this cutscene was probably merged with the one at the Sanctuary of the Clans when the last part of the Sanctuary dialogue was cut.
In general, the game progresses in the same way as in the final version, but there are minor differences along the way. In TEB in the Razielim Territory, Raziel only says: "Utter desolation; my once proud kin wiped from this world like an excrement from a boot." and the second sentence hinting at Kain's doing is missing, unlike in TLB and RV.
In the early beta and later betas, the cutscene explaining the wraith vampires takes place in Raziel's stronghold, with a force field "blocking" the way until Raziel devours the wraith in TEB (the force field wasn't apparently finished, it is passable and doesn't vanish like the others).
The wraith explanation cutscene was moved to the Necropolis, probably because it was more appropriate place for a wraith enemy to occur for the first time in the game.
After Raziel defeats Melchiah in TEB, a cutscene in which Elder tells Raziel to seek the Silenced Cathedral occurs right after defeating him. There is also a second cutscene, right before exiting the building complex, but there is has no dialogue.
It seems that the developers decided to change the place where the dialogue with the Elder God would take place, since it was too close to the previous one.
After getting the phase through ability, Raziel visits the Sanctuary of the Clans. There is no cutscene at the Pillars throne room in TEB, but Raziel can get the Soul Reaver just like in the final version and proceed to the Silenced Cathedral. It is possible to get to Zephon's chamber but it is impossible to kill him, since this boss encounter is unfinished in TEB. In TLB the only difference from retail are the different camera angles after defeating Zephon and that the Elder aids Raziel twice on where to go next after killing Zephon.
By using the debug menu in TEB, Raziel can still obtain the climbing ability and access parts of the Human Citadel and the Nupraptor's Retreat. There is an additional cutscene in TEB when entering the middle part of the Citadel. The camera circles around the Water Tower, revealing an Eldritch energy orb at the top. All the other areas are the same with one exception of the City9 which has some scalable walls and holes in the walls missing in TEB. TLB and RV are identical in this area.
Returning to the Pillars, Raziel finds the entrance to the Sarafan Tomb. The cutscene in TEB is the same as in RV, however, it ends with the Elder God's warning. In RV this is a separate cutscene and occurs after phasing through the gate.
The cutscene inside the tomb in TEB is the same as in TLB and RV. However, in TEB, the caskets have the Sarafan names on them and are decorated unlike the final version, where the walls behind caskets have the names written on them. It appears that the order of the caskets was changed in TLB and RV for unknown reasons.
The order in TEB is (from left to right): Turel, Malek, Rahab, Raziel, Zephon, Melchiah, Dumah. The order in TLB and RV is Zephon, Malek, Melchiah, Raziel, Rahab, Dumah, Turel.
The cutscene with Morlock is unfinished in TEB, while in TLB and RV it is the same. The Drowned Abbey has an additional cutscene in the drainage room and it was removed in TLB and RV, possibly for being redundant. Also, there is no cutscene when Raziel reaches the Drowned Abbey main area in TEB.
In TEB, there is a Crystal Dynamics logo playing instead of a Chronoplast vision (they are not included on the disc). In TLB, the cutscenes are present. The Chronoplast visions have much higher contrast in TLB than in the RV. The Reaver coils very fast and is shorter in the second vision and the white core was replaced with a black one in the final vision. The order in which Raziel witnesses the cutscenes is also different in TLB. While in RV, he sees himself facing Kain first, then Ariel's destruction and lastly, himself standing with the Amplified Reaver. In TLB the order is the following: Raziel sees himself standing with the red and white Reaver (almost the same as the Fire Reaver in the TLB version), then he is standing in front of Kain, and lastly, he destroys Ariel.
The order was probably changed to correspond with Raziel's intended progress (face Kain, imbue the blade with Ariel�s soul and finally, destroying Kain, wielding the Amplified Reaver at the top of the Mountain Retreat). Also the colour of the blade was changed to probably differentiate the Amplified Reaver from Fire Reaver.
TEB does not have an ending, because there is no Chronoplast portal leading back to the past in the Chronoplast chamber and it is impossible to finish the game because of the missing levels (The Turelim Clan Territory and The Mountain Retreat are not in the game). The regular wall in TEB was replaced by a swirling brown mass to be replaced by a starry mass in RV. TLB plays almost the same way as the RV and has the ending chronoplast cutscene with Kain. Kain escapes to the past after the fight but player must walk to the portal on his own in TLB, unlike in RV, where cutscene takes over. After Raziel steps through, Moebius greets him. The cutscenes in TLB have different angles than RV and also the infinity symbol is missing from the floor.
TLB does not have the extended credits that are in the RV.
|1.||See An Alternate Introduction for downloadable videos of the alternate opening FMV, and the first two cinematics that Raina refers to.|