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Developer: Sonic Team USA
Official Site: http://www.sega.com/gamesite/nights/
NA: December 18th, 2007
JP: December 13th, 2007
EU: January 25th, 2008
We've all waited a long time for this game's announcement. Eleven years. Most of us thought it was never going to come. And since that announcement, it has been a rollercoaster ride of fear and excitement with each new detail or screen released.
Well now it is finally upon us. NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams ships for the Nintendo Wii in short order, no matter where you live. This thread is to celebrate the release and provide a good old central location for NiGHTS fans to talk about the game.
Now, for the overview. Certain gameplay aspects, like the masks, are discussed herein, so if you don't want to know, don't go too much farther.
Every night, we all fall unconscious and hallucinate for around six to eight hours. But where do we go? The dream world of Nightopia, of course, which is home to its own little ecosystem and characters. The good Nightopians, who create good dreams for all, are once again attacked by the Nightmaren, a group of villainous monsters who want to lay waste to the dream world. The only hope of defeating them is a renegade Nightmaren named NiGHTS. However, NiGHTS needs the strength of allies to gain his freedom and get his job done.
Enter: William and Helen. Two children with very different aspirations. They will help NiGHTS save Nightopia on this journey of dreams!
By all accounts, it's set up quite similarly to the first game, with a few small but highly influential differences. In total, there are seven different worlds in the game. How big are they? Yet to be seen.
At the beginning of each level, you start off as one of the children and see a key stolen by a bird. You must make your way to the palace NiGHTS is trapped in and free him. Then, taking control of NiGHTS, you must catch the bird to reclaim the key, scoring as many points as possible along the way. After this, you must return to the palace with the key at which point you will be set on the next branch of the level. You must do all of this within the time limit. Can you still do laps of the level? Seems that way, but the way score is calculated seems to be a bit different.
After finishing all the paths of the level, you'll face off against a boss. The bosses in NiGHTS: Into Dreams... were amazing set pieces, and this game looks to keep the tradition alive.
Controlling the children is like any other post Mario 64 platformer. Haven't heard yet if the alarm clock stalks you in kid form like it did in the first one, but there does seem to be parts of the game where you must perform tasks as the kids, so who knows.
NiGHTS him/herself is controlled in 2.5D, generally speaking. There are multiple control options. You can use the Wii wand to guide NiGHTS, or use the classic controller or GCN controller for a more traditional feel. Apparently the Wiimote controls are a bit mushy, so you may want to look into one of the other options.
New to NiGHTS are the Persona masks. Using these masks allow NiGHTS to assume alternate forms, a gameplay aspect that was handled automatically in the original.
The following Persona masks have been revealed thus far:
Dragon mask: to allow NiGHTS to withstand strong winds.
Dolphin mask: to allow NiGHTS to swim.
Rocket mask: helps NiGHTS reach high speeds.
Boat mask: lets NiGHTS float over water bodies and rapids.
Rail mask: transforms NiGHTS into a rail carfloat over water bodies and rapids.
As mentioned earlier, the kids seem to take more of a role in the game. Whether this is for good or ill, we shall soon know.
There are also other gameplay modes, including a few different multiplayer games and an A-Life toy called My Dream that looks to mix the original NiGHTS' A-Life with aspects of the Chao Gardens from Sonic Adventure. For more on these modes, take it away SEGA:
Originally Posted by SEGA on "My Dream"
"My Dream" mini-world makes the game personal: Play in your own sandbox where you can capture, raise and combine the inhabitants from the world of Nightopia. Artificial life (A-Life) and Wi-Fi connectivity features add to the evolution of the environment for a revolutionary experience on the Wii. By using NiGHTS’ ability to para-loop in the single-player game, the A-Life creatures can be captured and transferred to a player’s My Dream space. The My Dream world evolves dramatically depending on how the player nurtures the A-Life activities and the various objects that the player drops into the environment, creating a truly personal experience. Using the Nintendo Wi-Fi connection, you can also go online to explore the "My Dream" worlds of other players to trade items and chat with them. My Dream also taps into the Wii "Forecast Channel" to generate real-time weather effects specific to the territory players previously registered with on the Wii.
Originally Posted by SEGA on Multiplayer Modes
Online & Offline Two-Player Mode: Offline, two-player race and battle mode adds depth and encourages friends and family to play together. Online, via Nintendo Wi-Fi, players can race against their friends for additional exciting gameplay!
NiGHTS 2 Trailer
Nintendo Power: 9.0
Current Gamerankings average: 75%
Current Metacritic score: 73
Now, for some historical context.
NiGHTS: Into Dreams... (1996)
NiGHTS was introduced in 1996's NiGHTS: Into Dreams... for the SEGA Saturn. It was painted as the great hope of the Saturn, to do for it what Sonic did for the Genesis, to combat the upcoming Mario game for the Nintendo 64, to lead the Saturn to its rightful victory. Alas, it was not to be. NiGHTS: Into Dreams... did very well, although it was received somewhat weakly by some critics. It has gone on to achieve an amazing cult status.
The game's premise is not too far off of the new sequel's. Claris and Elliot are two kids with problems that they lack the confidence to solve. In their dreams they meet up with NiGHTS, a rogue Nightmaren who has decided to fight against its master, Wizeman, to defend the dreams of people everywhere. For his crime, he has been imprisoned, and he can only be released if one of the kids switches places with him.
The kids can do this because they possess the ideya of Courage. There are four other Ideyas that are captured at the beginning of each stage, and the goal of each level is to free them and proceed to the boss.
To free them, you need to collect 20 blue chips and fly into the capture to break them free. Once you do this, you proceed to the Palace you started at and the next path (and capture) are opened to you. Of course, there is a time limit. This time limit is your worst foe. Well, almost. Time can be lost by getting hit by an enemy, injured by an environmental hazard, and of course just by the seconds going by. Once you run out, you revert back to being the kid and must make it back to the palace before an alarm clock catches you and wakes you up, ending the game.
It is in this time limit that the genius of the game is achieved. Everytime you do a lap of a particular path, all the scoring elements are reset. Once you've broken the capture, everything is worth more points. Great for the rest of the lap you're on, but then what? Well, you can purposefully skip the palace by flying over it and run another lap to increase your score. How many laps you do is up to you, but get too risky and you can lose your bonus points in a hurry.
There are seven levels in all. Three for each kid, and then one level which plays out identically for the two kids. The game can be very short, but it will keep you coming back for more, even eleven years later.
Some video footage of NiGHTS: Into Dreams..., courtesy of GAF SEGA Army member Rlan.
NiGHTS: Into Dreams
Christmas NiGHTS (1996)
As a special bonus, in Christmas of 1996, SEGA released Christmas NiGHTS, a sampler/add-on disc for the SEGA Saturn. This was free through various means in various regions. For most of the year, it simply appeared to be a demo of NiGHTS. However, on certain holidays, most notably the month of December, the whole demo changed into something quite amazing.
First of all, the stylings of the game were completely changed. The kids would wear new outfits, NiGHTS would be in new colours, Christmas music would play during the level, and the levels and power-ups would be decked out in holiday regalia. You could also earn presents in this game, which were various "toys", screenshots, and movies. Of the toys, there were things to play around with the A-LIFE Nightopians, a "demo" level of Sonic the Hedgehog: Into Dreams..., and more. Another bonus of this game is that by choosing Elliot instead of Claris, you got a whole new set of paths through Claris' first level. Keen!
For costume fun, set your Saturn's clock to:
December: Christmas NiGHTS
New Year's Day: New costumes for the kids
April Fool's Day: Playable Reala
Video footage here: Christmas NiGHTS
Sonic Adventure (1999)
NiGHTS appeared in this game in pinball form, giving hope to people everywhere that he would make a return on SEGA's Dreamcast.
Video footage: NiGHTS Cameo in Sonic Adventure
Samba De Amigo (2000)
"Dreams Dreams", the theme from NiGHTS, appeared as a downloadable/unlockable in this amazing game.
Various NiGHTS knicknacks could be found in the gatchapon machines. Collect them all!
Sonic Adventure 2 (2001)
Posters for NiGHTS could be found in the City stage of this game.
Phantasy Star Online I&II (2002)
Billy Hatcher (2003)
A cool downloadable game called NiGHTS: Score Attack could be downloaded from these Gamecube games to the GBA. Billy Hatcher also featured a hatchable NiGHTS helper.
Video footage of the GBA download: NiGHTS Score Attack GBA
Video footage of the appearance in Billy Hatcher (with some other cameo stuff):
NiGHTS Cameo in Billy Hatcher and other stuff
Sonic Pinball Party (2003)
NiGHTS gets a whole board to itself in this fun GBA pinball game. It's a really robust board too, with lots of music from the game and a surprisingly decent adaptation of the gameplay elements.
Video footage: NiGHTS Pinball Boss Stage
SEGA Superstars (2004)
Hey, you can play as NiGHTS! Eyetoy fun! And you only look kind of like a re-re doing it! Pretty sweet cameo though.
Video footage: Some kid wailing on the NiGHTS Eyetoy game
Sonic Riders (2006)
Our friend NiGHTS was an unlockable racer in this made-for-the-bargain-bin special. S/he's using a board just to be sporting.
Video footage: NiGHTS: Into Shite Racing Game...
Stuff to look forward to:
Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity (2008)
NiGHTS returns in this sequel. That means enough people bought the first one. Yeesh.
NiGHTS: Into Dreams... Remake (2008)
The original returns on PlayStation 2 with some graphical tweaks and maybe more. This is the next big one after Journey of Dreams for NiGHTS fans!
That's all folks! Discuss! Enjoy! If you troll, I'll eat your cherished family pet!
EDIT: Temjin has pointed out a picture of the Japanese pre-order bonus! Lucky Japanese Gaffers!