Review by NiGHTS Man Rick
"Simply put: Best Game EVER"
Words alone cannot define the pure, euphoric gaming bliss that is Sonic Team's most wondrous creation, NiGHTS. This is without a doubt the most original, most innovative, and most fun times I've ever had and maybe ever will have with a video game in my life.
For their time, these were graphics to remember, with backgrounds filled with lush colors racing along with you as you flew as NiGHTS at high speeds through the courses collecting Ideya Orbs. Pop-up throughout the backgrounds, however, was never that much of a problem because of the game's innovative 2.5D gameplay. NiGHTS, Claris, Elliot, and all the enemies are all marvelously animated and brilliantly colored. Sonic Team would not make a game with such lush environments until Phantasy Star Online for Dreamcast.
Not only does this game have some of the most brilliant gameplay Naka-san and crew has ever graced us with, but he decides to throw in one of the best game soundtracks I will ever hear. From the enchanting catchiness of Message From Nightopia to the sheer loveliness of Dreams Dreams, the music of NiGHTS was obviously handled with just as much delicacy as the gameplay inside the pretty packaging. Sound effects, surprisingly, are well-fitting, and barely get tedious at all.
Okay, so using the standard Saturn controller, it's not so hot. Especially for people with big hands who will no doubt frequently press L accidentally and pull off a trick that they really didn't need to do at the moment. But, if you're lucky enough to have your Saturn 3-D Analog Controller at your side (looks like a black DC controller) you're in perfect harmony with the games every maneuver and trick as you pilot NiGHTS through the wonderfully dreamy worlds of Nightopia. Control scheme itself is very simple, manuever up and down or side to side (depends on perspective), dash with any ol' button, and perform tricks by moving the analog stick in tune with the L trigger, R trigger, or both. It's the perfect type of scheme that any newbie can jump in and enjoy and every veteran can find time to master.
Okay, okay, I'll explain the story of this very awkward game to you, with a lot of help from quotes and paraphrases via the instruction manual. And I'll agree thats its kind of corny, and its hard to understand exactly whats happening by playing the game, but I couldn't help but find it to be a charming and enchanting story:
Claris and Elliot, both children thinking themselves as failures, neither of them know each other. Claris chokes up and can't perform at a singing audition, and Elliot is beaten at basketball by a bully, and they feel as though they can't succeed in any activity they do. Both of them retire for the night, not knowing that the fate of their world is about to fall into their laps. In the land of Nightopia, where all of our dreams occur, a fearsome creature named Wizeman the Wicked has taken control of Nightopia with his evil Nightmaren, and is stealing dream energy from humans while they sleep and dream. If he is given enough power from the dream energy, he will have the ability to break away from the subconcious plane and enter our world! The only warning that Earth can find is an acrobatic Nightopian who escaped from Wizeman's grasp, NiGHTS. He begs the sleeping Claris and Elliot to help save both the realms of Earth and Nightopia from the clutches of Wizeman before its too late. Claris and Elliot feel a great courage inside their hearts, and accept the pleading Nightopian's request. The only way to destroy Wizeman's grasp on Nightopia is to destroy his Ideya Captures. Ideya is the dream energy collected from humans in a spherical shape called an Ideya Orb, and it comes in 4 forms; Purity (white), Wisdom (green), Hope, (yellow), and Intelligence (blue). How do you destroy an Ideya Capture? Overload it of course! Collect 20 of each Ideya Orb from each world in Nightopia, placing them in the Ideya Captures consecutively. Once 20 Ideya Orbs are placed in each, they will overload and explode, freeing the area from the grasp of Wizeman! But, it's not all that easy, as Wizeman has not only made Nightmaren scattered about each world, but he has also sent guards of his most powerful Nightmaren to preserve order in each world of Nightopia, these powerful Nightmaren being Gillwing, Gulpo, Puffy (<--My favorite!), Jackel, Clawz, and Reala, NiGHTS' evil duplicate. Claris and Elliot need the help of the acrobatic NiGHTS to save their world and his. (Or hers, I'm still not sure if NiGHTS is male, female, or neither for that matter.)
As for the ending? I'll leave you to see it for yourself!
One of the most original schemes ever in a game. As NiGHTS, oyu must fly thorugh each world obtaining different Ideya Orbs and placing 20 of each of the 4 kinds onto the Ideya Captures. (Explained in detail above.) During this time, you can gain more points for a higher ranking by linking together the Orbs you collect, starts you grab, and rings you fly thorugh. The higher number of links you get and lower your time is before reaching zero, the better your score! As you fly, you can perform tricks by using the L and R triggers (see Control) for extra points and some rings will give you special time to do tricks for plenty of extra bonus points, including circles, loops, and spins. Despite what the commercial says (if you remember it), this game is not 3D. It is polygonal, and has several elements of 3D, especially when you are roaming the worlds as Claris or Elliot, but it a predominately side-scrolling 2D game with polygonal graphics. Bewtween the 3D elements and large 2D gameplay, I have labeled this game as 2.5D, or in other words, unlike anything you have ever seen. How does it play? Words cannot express the sheer gaming bliss and unbridled enjoyment you feel while playing this magnicient game.
Not too many stages, and overall a rather short game, but if you're like me, you won't care at all. Making the high scores and getting all ''A'' rankings, not to mention the simple fun of just playing the level, will keep you coming back to your Saturn of nothing else will for quite some time to come, and probably many years after this game will somehow be long forgotten by the fickle masses.
For crying out loud, YES! If you can find this game, (and if you do, believe me it shouldn't be more than $10) buy it and if you don't have it a Sega Saturn immediately. Who knows how long it will be before copies of this treasure of a game will be almost extinct? Why take the chace? If you can, BUY IT NOW!
This is the most fun, exhilarating experience I've ever had with a video game, and I know that even if I ever found anything quite like it I'd use it as a basis for comparison for the rest of my gaming life. As I said, simply put, Best Game EVER. Its games like this that truly make me enjoy what I do as a hobby and as an obsession.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 04/23/01, Updated 04/23/01
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