Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Christmas NiGHTS Into Dreams (Sega Saturn) - Quickie Review


This is a title I have been curious about for a long time. Released by Sega during the holiday seasons in limit run. It is basically a sequel/expansion to the original game with some impressive mechanics for the time. Click "Read more".


The story takes place around Christmas time and it is unclear as to whether or not it takes place before or after the original game, but most likely after. Elliot and Claris are Christmas shopping when they both notice that the tree in the city is missing its star. So, they decide to travel to Nightopia and have NiGHTS retrieve the star. 
It is a very simple plot because the single player campain is very short with one level and one boss for each kid.


There is only one stage in this title, Spring Valley or Christmas spring Valley which was the first stage of Claris' story in the original game. It was given a Christmas overall visually with even Santa making a cameo, but gameplay is not changed from the original. You fly through rings, make loops, rackup a high score, and collect blue spheres to obtain the gems needed to advance. All with great controls and music. After completing Spring Valley, you then face Gillwing, the only boss in the game and one from the original title. 

While the campaign is short, the title still has more to offer. While the Christmas theme is already unlocked and can be turned on from the menu, the game actually uses the Saturns internal clock to change the graphics based on the holiday.

Okay, yes you could easily change the internal clock to trick the game, but the effort is still there. The funniest one is April Fools where the game puts you in control of the villain Reala instead of NiGHTS.

After completing the stage you get to unlock presents. These include the usual stuff like cutscenes, sound tests, artwork, and karaoke. But, easily my favorite is Sonic. Sonic The Hedgehog can be unlocked as a playable character and he does not fly and this may be tied with Sonic Jam to the closest 3D Saturn adventure Sonic gets. Sadly, this mode was not included in re-releases and HD ports of the game. 

Sonic gets a different boss battle against Eggman. The fight is actually just the boss fight against Puffy from the original game with Puffy changed to look like a balloon Santa Eggman. Since Sonic does not fly, it is a much more difficult boss fight than the original one against Puffy. But, it makes you wonder why they did not include Puffy in NiGHTS' story.

Final Thougths

Christmas NiGHTS is a lovely add on to an already great game. They do not make titles like this anymore, not a sequel or following some formula to sell, it was an original idea made with passion. If only the Sega Saturn lived longer, this could have been a holiday tradition for mid-90s kids. NiGHTS Into Dreams was later ported to PS2 and later an HD version was released for PC, PS3, and 360. In those ports, Christmas NiGHTS became an unlockable mode which is what it should be because for as charming and enjoyable this game is it does not have enough content to be a stand alone title. However, it is disappointing that not all of the features made it to later ports, mainly Sonic Into Dreams. But, at least a physical version exists so it will not get lost to time. 
Play this if you ever get a chance. 5/5 

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