Back in the 90’s, as Sega’s Saturn was competing with Sony’s Playstation and Nintendo’s N64, it was rather shocking that there was no major Sonic game exclusive to the system. I mean, the closest we got were Sonic Jam (a combination of re-released Sonic 1 through Knuckles and digital museum celebrating Sonic) and Sonic R (a racer). However, Sonic Team came out with one of the most beloved games of the system, Nights into Dreams, a 2.5D side-scrolling flight game where you traveled through dream worlds and fought nightmares. And now Sega’s re-released it. Has it stood the test of time?
Nights into Dreams tells the dual stories of Claris and Elliot, a girl and boy respectively during their dreams. Claris dreams of being a singer but is afraid of failure, while Elliot loves basketball but is harassed by bullies. During their dreams they find out that all human dreams play out in a realm called Nightopia. Wizeman, the evil ruler of nightmares, is stealing the energy of human dreams in an attempt to conquer both the waking and dreaming world. To stop him, the two children will have to merge with the rebel nightmare who turned on Wizeman, Nights.
The gameplay has not changed at all since the Saturn, and I’m thankful. After the kids merge with Nights and take to the sky, flight is smooth and fun. It’s great paralooping to catch items and take out foes, and the music is still beautiful to listen to. In fact all the positives that’s been said about the game still hold up even now, showing that gameplay can make an old game still fun despite graphics. Speaking of graphics, I love that you have the option to play the game with either the upgraded HD graphics or classic Saturn look, and it doesn’t affect your saves. I could literally end one session in classic mode then jump back with the HD mode right where I left off.
Another great thing is that you can unlock the super rare and beloved Christmas Nights, a short game where you play one level of the main game with everything changed to give a Christmas feel. That may not sound like much, but if you come back on certain holidays it changes up, meaning you can have Halloween, or during April 1st play as Nights’ rival Reala. In other words, this is the ultimate Nights collection (unless you really want the painfully average Wii sequel as well).
So, you’re waiting on the negatives, huh? Well, the game’s difficulty with the timer, particularly in the last stage, can be merciless if you’re just fooling around and not completing the course as fast as possible. The gameplay can be seen as simplistic by those hoping for more hardcore challenges, and in what may be unforgivable, Christmas Nights did not include the two-player versus mode nor the awesome Sonic mode (where you can play Sonic flying through Nights’ world).
However, that shouldn’t discourage you from playing the game. It’s a gaming classic in many senses of the term, and everyone should try it once.
[learn_more caption=”Review Results”][one_half]Pros:
- Classic, unaltered gameplay
- Christmas Nights included
- Overall, just as good as it was years ago[/custom_list][/one_half]
- Timer can be harsh
- Christmas Nights missing a few features
- May not appeal to all gamers
To see where this review score falls in our scoring range, please read our review scale guidelines.[/learn_more]