NiGHTS: Into Dreams… first appeared on the Sega Saturn 1996. Even though the Saturn didn’t quite last as long as other consoles, NiGHTS has continued to be released on various platforms up until now on the XBLA and PSN. NiGHTS follows two children Elliot and Claris who enter a dream world which are then called upon by NiGHTS to help stop the ruler of Nightmare from taking over Nightopia.
As you enter the dream world not much is explained other than you’re attacked by several monsters who take your dream energy. From here you then need to meet NiGHTS and start your energy recovery. This task requires you to collect blue orbs from around the level and used them to release the energy from a capture chamber in the level. From here you then need to complete the various parts of the level which are made up into race like areas where you need to earn points, collect orbs, starts and rings to progress.
The games design is very simple, collect everything you possibly can and free your dream energy. At the end of each level you will then need to fight a tough boss, which can be dealt with fairly easy once you work out the pattern to beating them.
Audio is one of this high points in the game as it takes up such a large portion. There’s no spoken roles in the game, and everything else is covered in music to bridge the gap of silence. The music and sound effects fit well with the titles overall high contrast color palate. As you speed your way through the various stages collecting start, orbs and flying through bright colored rings to earn points you will have a very suitable soundtrack to listen to. After a while the music and sound effect do become monotonous, but the amount of time you spend in each stage will vary. If you’re trying to achieve those high scores and A ranks, then the music may start to wear on you once you exceed the the barrier of no return.
Each area has it’s own soundtrack, so you won’t be listening to the same music throughout the whole game, and boss fights also have a change in pace and music as well. So even though there is a lot going on, the music compliments what you’re doing and the world you’re in.
This is where the game really shines. Even though the title comes with the original untouched game as a bonus. You have the option of playing the new enchanted HD version of the game. You can see that Sonic Team have really put some time and effort into updating the game, but trying to keep it as close to the original as possible without some of the glaring issues that you see in the original.
Even though the developers have done a good job in updating the title to bring it up to today’s standards, there are still a few glaring issues such as large pixellated textures while on the ground and in some areas of the game. Even though these are small blemishes, they’re still obvious. This is most likely down to the size restrictions on the digital files. The games overall performance is really high. There are very few issues outside of the odd texture being low resolution.
It’s a really nice touch that instead of just releasing an updated version of NiGHTS, Sega decided to leave the older untouched Saturn version as part of the page for anyone who wants to remember the game how it was originally released. This obviously doesn’t really compare to the new updated version, but it’s nice to have the option to experience the game how it was originally.
The overall story starts out fairly sparse, but it’s not until you really dig in and learn what’s going on that everything makes sense. The game doesn’t really make too many hints about what is going on, other than what you see in the cut-scene at the beginning of the game. There is no real dialog in the game, you’re just hinted at what to do, though the how to play menu screen tells you the back story of what’s going on and how you have to help save the dream world from an evil force.
There’s not a whole lot to say other than the story fits and sets the tone for what you’re doing. But other than that, the game keeps it simple and to the point with most things.
Let me begin by saying that I’m far from a master of this game, and this is my first real time playing the title. With that in mind, I jumped in and found that I was a little confused to begin with due to the how little direction you’re really given. Now, if you find yourself in this situation look for the how to play section the help and options menu. Once you know what to do, you just need to ease yourself into the game and get used to how it controls.
Once you’re situated and worked out what you’re doing, from here you main objective is to get through the levels by collecting blue orbs to release the dream energy which has been captured in the areas capture pod. In between all this mayhem you also need to collect stars for points and beat the time which will rate you at the end of the stage. From here you then need to repeat this process to release all the dream energy for this area which leads to a boss fight.
You also have two characters to play has, Elliot and Claris who’s dreams are turned into this nightmare. Both characters have several levels to progress through, so you have some variety with each character type. Though the only real difference is the color of your NiGHTs. The one drawback to the gameplay other than it can become slightly repetitive is the fact that the controls feel a little stiff. Even though this is an updated title, the controls remain the same as the original, so between each version of the game you play, you won’t notice a difference in the controls.
Even though NiGHTS seems like a world of organized chaos, it will take you a lot of patience, practice and effort to master each level to earn the perfect scores the game ranks you on. You also have the leaderboards to compete with if you want to challenge your friends.
The games overall performance for an older title is still great fun to play. Though it may take some time to get used to the feel and how to play the game. Though this shouldn’t be an issue for NiGHTS veterans who played the game to death with it’s short life span on the Sega Saturn.
So what is the main conclusion?, many may want to try this out as it’s a fast paced race against time and points, where as others may want to try before they buy. For the price the game offers quite a lot. You’re not just getting your hands on a re-release, but a double feature where you can play the original title, untouched and in it’s former glory. Or you can play through the new remastered version with improved visuals. I recommend that everyone tries this, it’s something a different and should be experienced at least once by everyone.