Monday, January 7, 2013

Game Review: Nights Into Dreams HD

I can still remember the very first time I saw Nights. It was a summer afternoon outing with my mother and sister. We entered the local Media Play, which was an electronics chain back in the 90s. Most of you are too young or too old to remember its short lifespan, but lo and behold, there was the most magical thing my 13 year old eyes had seen: Nights into Dreams.

And when I picked up that controller, I just flew, soaring through dreamscapes on the wind of imagination. It literally changed me after a couple of minutes with it. Needless to say, we owned a Sega Saturn from that day onward.

I first beat the game with my sister; I would play Elliot's levels, and she would play Claire's. We often fought a lot growing up, but when it came to playing Nights, there was nothing but synergy. Sonic Team created such a pure and powerful experience, and I hope they do something with Nights and the Kinect 2.

So I guess it's time to ask how this game stacks up to someone without the nostalgic factor. And really, I don't have the slightest clue. A big part of the appeal to the original was its groundbreaking graphics and game play. If you're in your early 20s or younger, then that's not going to impress you at all. Although, I still think some of the artistic elements are quite beautiful, and the score is just as awesome as ever.

The game play is simple: Destroy each sub boss as fast as possible to get the biggest bonus, then loop around the stage as many times as you can, while avoiding the gazebo, collecting as many points and chips while while making it back to the Nights gazebo before your clock runs out. Remember, the higher the string the higher the points multiplier is. And after the boss bonus, aerial combos are the next biggest way to amass a ton of points. So take full advantage of every ring that allows you to enter that mode.

Easy A
Either way, I figured this out as a kid before Internet access was common. And I do find it hilarious how some adult reviewers have complained about the difficulty. This isn't your typical new Nintendo release that will baby you through it, but it isn't a hard game, either. However, trying to actually compete for high scores, like anything else, can be a real challenge. But I'm only a fraction as good at this game as I used to be, and I still unlocked all its achievements, easily.

Graphically the game looks better than it ever has. You have a couple options between which versions you wish to play. The original version is just the straight Saturn port in standard definition, offering no graphical enhancements. The New Dreams is the HD version. It is in wide screen format with higher resolution textures, higher poly count models,and HD scaled video. Honestly, this version looks more like what I remembered Nights to be like than the original!

Bonus Content:
There are a couple of unlockables and some extra bang for your 800 MS bucks. Anyone who actually owned the original, will remember that putting the disc into your PC gave you access to the entire soundtrack and the FMVs. While staying true to spirit of owning the disc, you can access the entire soundtrack and watch the movies from the Presents menu.

Now my favorite unlockable bonus is Christmas Nights. Growing up, I never could find a copy of it. And the only friend I knew, whom had it, wouldn't let anyone play it, let alone borrow it. It was really, really annoying. But now I finally have it, so fuck you in the face! Mwa ha ha ha ha ha ha.

It's Christmas Time in Nights!
Lastly, there is a Nightopian Collection mode. Basically, it keeps track of all the eggs you've hatched, in every stage. I don't know if anything happens when you collect them all or if that's just it, but it, in the very least, adds a little extra layer to the game.

I do think the game holds up well as an arcade title. And to me, it's always going to be one of the greatest games ever made and is worth owning for anyone wanting to experience a true piece of video gaming history. Anyways, I leave you with my favorite Sega Saturn commercial for Nights:

1 comment:

  1. Awww. Nights into Dreams, bringing families together since the 90's.