Nights: Into Dreams

Nights: Into Dreams
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Game Name: Nights: Into Dreams
Media: 1 CD-ROM
Publisher(s): SEGA
Developer(s): Sonic Team (Sega AM8)
Genre(s): Action-Adventure
Release Date: 7th October 1996
Serial Number: MK81020-50 / MK81048-50 (Bundle with 3D Controller)
Region: PAL

Nights: Into Dreams Opening Screen ScreenshotBack in 1991, Yuji Naka catapulted SEGA onto the stage with Sonic the Hedgehog, the revolutionary platformer was one of the reasons the MegaDrive enjoyed success across the globe going on to sell 15 million copies worldwide. Sonic the Hedgehog was responsible for breathing life into a stagnant genre by adding elements such as speed, loops, springboards, and the rings now permanently associated with the series.
With the arrival of the Saturn and having just completed work on Sonic & Knuckles, Yuji Naka and Sonic Team once again had the opportunity to completely revolutionize the genre.

NiGHTS: Into Dreams does not disappoint, said to be inspired by fictional angels the jester-like main character bears little resemblance to SEGA’s iconic blue spiky hedgehog.

Nights: Into Dreams Menu ScreenshotSet in the fictional dream worlds of Nightopia and Nightmare, distinct aspects of dreamer’s personalities are represented by luminous coloured spheres called ‘Ideya’.

The story starts off as Wizeman, the evil ruler of Nightmare, is stealing dream enerygy from unsuspecting dreamers by creating beings known as ‘Nightmaren’. NiGHTS rebels against Wizeman and is punished by being imprisoned inside an gazebo-like ‘Ideya palace’.
The two playable characters, basketball playing Elliot, and wannabe single Claris suffer nightmares and become cought up in the plot eventually leading to the release of NiGHTS.

Nights: Into Dreams Gameplay Screen ShotNiGHTS gameplay is a true breath of freshair, initially feeling like ECCO: The Dolphin the game really comes into its own with the objectives required to complete each level or ‘Dream’. Each level contains the characters ‘Ideya’ which represented by orbs of stolen from the children by Nightmarens and scattered throughout the stage.
The children have the choice of collecting these on foot or unleashing NiGHTS, who flies around the vast and beautifully presented stages via 4 linear routes to each Ideya known as ‘mares’. Each mare is completed by collecting blue orbs, once 40 of these have been collected NiGHTS is able to collect the Ideya and move onto the next mare.

The genius of the game lies in the points system, points are built by collecting objects scattered throughout the stages, most importantly the rings…

Nights: Into Dreams Gameplay ScreenshotFlying through rings is known as linking, and the more of these that are linked in a set time-limit, the higher the score. NiGHTS can also collect objects using a ‘paraloop’ which sucks objects towards the character as the result of a full mid-air loop. Completed with a time limit and a rankings system, the game becomes an utterly addictive experience as players master the game in order to get higher scores.

Once a Dream is completed the player is transported to Nightmare where NiGHTS confronts one of six Nightmarens. These end of level bosses take many forms and the design of the stages is genius, one of these involves being chased by the giant Gillwing which can either be defeated by being grabbed and thrown, or cleverly timing paraloops in its path. Another, Clawz, is defeated by exploding rockets. Once all 6 Nightmarens have been defeated, players can team up to defeat the evil Wizeman.

The six Dreams are totally unique and beautifully designed. Players embark through stages that vary from grassy meadows completed with lush gardens and rainbows, to snow swept mountains, lush forests and rocky canyons. Each is completely unique and accompanied by immersive music which changes depending on experience and the time of year controlled by the Saturn’s internal clock. These stages are inhabited by ‘Nightopians’, these dwellers are a form of ‘artificial life’ which evolve over time and depending on mood can alter the pitch and tempo of the music. Smashing a Maren into one of these creates a hybrid called a Mepian with hilarious results.

Just as Sonic revolutionised the platform genre, Sonic Team once again have redefined what videogames are all about. From the truly unique gameplay to the beautiful graphics and soundtrack, NiGHTS completely changes the medium and brings inspiration to the entire industry. An essential purchase.

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