Think of great Sega games, and most people will talk of Sonic, Golden Axe, Virtual Fighter and the like. Ask your die-heard Sega fan and they'll add another - Nights Into Dreams, the first game to be featured in RadioSEGA's new 'Game Of The Month' feature. From the mind of Sonic Team's legendary Yuji Naka, this Saturn classic from 1996 combines colourful visuals, a beautiful soundtrack and simple controls to make a game that you can't help but make you smile while you play it!
While the game features beautiful 3D visuals, it plays mainly as a two dimensional game requiring the player to control Nights as he flies through the various levels or 'dreams' in Nightopia collecting blue chips to release energy contained inside the Ideya Capture. Each of the seven dreams are split into four sections or 'mares' where the player must collect a certain amount of blue chips and deliver them to the Ideya Capture before the timer runs out. Once the four mares are complete, Nights is transported to Nightmare to battle face a boss battle.
The flight mechanic of the game means that Nights has a few acrobatic manoeuvres in his locker, including the "Paraloop" where Nights can fly in a 360-degree circle and attract all the items inside that circle to Nights. While Nights could be played with the standard Saturn controller, Nights Into Dreams supports a special Saturn 3D controller, one of the first to feature an analogue stick, giving the player precise control over Nights' movement on screen.
The game also spawned a seasonal spin-off, Christmas Nights, which was given away via various means from Winter 1996. This game was basically a demo of Nights Into Dreams, however it read the Saturn's internal clock, meaning that during the month of December, the land of Nightopia had a distinct Christmas theme, with snow covering the ground, Christmas presents replacing item boxes and Christmas trees instead of the Ideya Capture.
Nights Into Dreams is almost unanimously loved by the people that have played it and the gaming press. However, it never achieved mainstream appeal or acclaim. Whether it be because of the simple 2D nature of the game, or being released as Sony's PlayStation was beginning it's world domination, it never hit the heights of acclaimed games like Super Mario 64. Despite this, it features in many of the 'top games' lists you see in magazines and online. It's one of the best games that most people have never played!
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