Review by joec2003
Sonic Team really made a gem
Nights into Dreams. In a lot of ways that sums up the Saturn. This was its biggest and the one that Sega needed to combat Mario and Crash Bandicoot. Released in 96 and packaged with the Saturn in some cases, it seemed that Nights instead of Sonic would be the one to run the Saturn. How did it turn out? Here are my ratings:
I don't think the Saturn ever got better than this. The stages in this game still look very good, Nights looks good and the two kid characters like pretty solid, albeit a bit blocky. I don't know how Sonic Team pulled together this worlds, these ideas, anything, but they really are the most creative I have ever seen. They are vast and really give you the feeling you're in some kind of a dream. The game also runs at a great speed and there isn't any slowdown. There is some clipping and popup, but it is very minimal. The different camera angles and views you get during the different parts of the level are also well done. Like I said, this has to be the Saturn's best offering, at least from what I've seen and played.
Each dream features some very fitting music. The tracks are very high quality and really add tremendously to the experience. Sound effects are pretty standard, you can actually hear the different creatures that live in these areas making noises and moving about. The very few sound clips are a little muffled and hard to hear, but man it's tough to fault this department for much. They even developed a song for the end credits that is pretty good.
There is a quote on the back of the CD case: "The most revolutionary 32-bit game yet", from a gaming magazine that I can't remember, but even today I would agree with that completely. Nights moves as fluidly as any character I have ever seen. Even today, with much stronger technology and better systems, no character handles as well and is as easy to use. They nailed it here. The game is in essentially a 2.5D game; it is on-rails but many of the textures and Nights himself is in 3D. The idea is to collect a large amount of blue orbs to destroy the Ideya capture, a contraption that holds one of four orbs. Collect the four orbs after going through four separate runs and you will go to the boss. These bosses are great. Each one is a different experience, looks great graphically and you need a different strategy to beat each one. What's also great is that during the levels, while you're flying around, there are different areas where the game switches it up. In one level, you enter a bobsled run as the bobsled and collect orbs. In another, you link on to a door of some kind and go on a rollercoaster ride. It's really tough to explain, but once you see them you won't forget them. There is also an A-Life system that even today I don't fully understand. Basically the creatures that live in the levels have a mood that changes depending on how you treat them, and the music of the level changes in turn. It is more complex than that, but that is as much as I've gathered. I also want to mention that the final boss is one of the best I've seen. The stage, the music, the battle...it's all perfectly done.
LASTING VALUE/REPLAYABILITY: 6/10
This game is one that you should play at some point, just for the sheer experience, and if you own it you may find yourself breaking it out every now and then for a go. But for the story and 1P mode, you could get through it in under two hours. Each dream is maybe ten minutes and there are eight of them. It's too short of an experience. I would imagine Sonic Team had to jam all those textures and pixels on there so that they could not fit many worlds. It detracts from the game quite a bit, but there is always the option to run the dreams again and improve on your score. There is also a 2P mode which is a 1-on-1 battle which is actually kinda cool. Still, it can't hold you for that long.
WORTH BUYING: YES
Without a question. Nights is in many ways the epitome of the Saturn. It doesn't go for much, maybe a couple bucks, and there's also a 3D pad which allows Nights to handle even smoother. This is one of those games that you need to play to see and experience, because a dozen years later nothing has surpassed it in terms of sheer innovation. All that being said, Nights couldn't save the Saturn. But that only makes me think that the Saturn was doomed from the start, because this game is still one of the best out there.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: NiGHTS Into Dreams... (US, 08/31/96)
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