NiGHTS into Dreams HD Review | Video Games

Beauty and the Best

NiGHTS into Dreams HD Review

Poor SEGA. I used to be one of their soldiers during the Great Console Wars but it seems like they just can't do anything right these days. They keep releasing sequel after sequel to Sonic the Hedgehog and their open world series Yakuza to lower and lower scores. And when they take chances on publishing intriguing third-party games like Vanquish or The Conduit, people just don't buy them. It's sure not like the good old days but SEGA knows it. That's why they've started re-releasing HD updates of some of their classics on the PSN and XBLA. Now new audiences can experience SEGA's lost glory in full high definition.

The latest classic game to get this treatment is NiGHTS into Dreams. It isn't quite like anything that came before it or anything that has come since, unless you count its disappointing sequel for the Nintendo Wii - which I don't! In it, you play as either Claris Sinclair or Elliot Edwards as they fight off the demons of their nightmares with the help of Nights, an androgynous flying jester who merges with your player to collect Ideya crystals and defeat the evil six-handed Wizeman.

I've lost you haven't I? Don't worry about it, the stories in older games aren't as important as the experience and like I said, NiGHTS into Dreams isn't like anything you've experienced elsewhere. It is a 3D game which, for the most part, locks you onto a 2D side scrolling path. That sounds ordinary enough but remember, I also said Nights can fly. After walking your character to a shrine, you take control of the titular character who moves fluidly through the air, spiraling and circling past enemies while you collect as many points as possible.

This is done by defeating opponents, collecting items, doing gratuitous tricks whenever possible and getting a good time. Behind it all, NiGHTS into Dreams is a score attack game but one that is made extremely fun due to its intuitive controls. The original was even bundled with an analog controller before Mario 64 was ever released and it also had widescreen support in 1996. If you can say one thing about SEGA, it's that they definitely knew how to think forward because I barely knew anyone who had a widescreen television in 2006.

This is all brought together through a very colorful and cheerful presentation with the graphics and sound. Of course the visuals aren't as impressive as something brand new, even with the upgrades for its re-release but they're very refreshing compared to the brown and greys that make up the majority of today's gritty "realistic" releases. The 
music itself is extremely upbeat and catchy, stuff you might find yourself humming later if you aren't careful.

So if this already sounds good to you then let me tell you that it gets even better. The recent re-release also has online leader boards, for you to finally prove you're the best androgynous flying jester around and put those questions to rest forever, as well as content from the SEGA Saturn demo disc Christmas NiGHTS that includes specially themed levels perfect for the holidays around the corner.

If Prozac were a game, this would be it. I should add however, that this game has some really strange and appropriately nightmarish end bosses to its stages. It's nothing that would really scare any of your younger family members but it can be a startling juxtaposition and sudden stress inducer to figure out. This isn't a complaint, mind you, just something to watch for. In any case, I want you to watch for NiGHTS into Dreams whether it be on the original SEGA Saturn, the Playstation Network, Xbox Live Arcade or soon where it will also be available on on Microsoft Windows compatible platforms.

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