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Moon The night has fallen over the small suburb of Twin Seed. Above the illuminated streets, the moon shines of a pale glimmer, with the stars all around spangling the sky. In the silence that replaced the daily uproar, people are sleeping, resting from a day that was happy for some and depressing for others. For Claris and Elliot, two fifteen-years old teenagers, this day was terrible and has profoundly sapped their morale. Into their dreams, they revive the humiliations they both suffered, and the dreams quickly turn into horrible nightmares. Chased down by villain creatures in the dark obscurity, they are saved in extremis by a surrounding bright green light that soon transports them into the chasm of the dreams.

Nightopia the land of dreams, and his inhabitants, the Nightopians, are in grave danger. Wizeman the Wicked has been stealing "Ideyas" from both human visitors and the pacific Nightopians. The "Ideyas" are colored balls of light that reflect the consciousness of a person, each color representing a different signification; White for purity, Green for development, Blue for intelligence, Yellow for hope, and Red for courage. Aided by a horde of scaring and cunning creatures called Nightmaren, Wizeman plans to take over our world by absorbing all the "Ideyas".
Nights, the former right-hand of Wizeman, will ask you to save the land of dreams. In Nightmare ruled by Wizeman, Nights with his independent nature demonstrated too much insubordination which brought down Wizeman's wrath on him. Furious, he cursed a spell that confined Nights in the realm of dreams to punish him of his defiance. Now, Nights only wishes to regain his lost freedom and to defeat Wizeman before he accomplishes his dreadful project.

Playing the role of either Claris or Elliot, the player will have to visit a series of areas throughout the land of the dreams, four sub-levels being included in each area. The goal in Nights is to retrieve twenty blue spheres in the least amount of time and deliver them into where the stolen Ideya has been placed. It will free the Ideya and will start the bonus time in which you must collect as many points as you can before getting back to your starting point with the Ideya. The more points you gain, the higher your grade will be. After you have finished the four sub-levels, you will meet a boss, one of the Nightmaren. The Nightmaren are scaring creatures grouped in three categories based on their intelligence. While First-level Nightmaren like Nights and Reala are incredibly smart and agile, Second and Third level Nightmaren will progressively become less intelligent but more violent.

Nights' game play is amazingly fast, and with the limited timing you dispose for each sub-level, it is not to make it slower. You must be quick or you are sure to achieve a low grade which will forbid you the entrance to the fourth area. If the timer reaches zero, Nights will transform into the character you play with (Claris or Elliot), and you will fall on the ground. If you didn't free the Ideya yet, all the blue spheres will be scattered around after your fall. You must then collect them again, walking and jumping freely in the 3D environment until you reach the Ideya holder. Once you have the Ideya, you must go back to your starting point exactly as if you were playing with Nights. The only differences besides not flying are that you won't get many points as it is hard to reach rings and other bonuses without flying, and that a clock is hunting you down. Once you pass in its vertical beam, the game will be over.
Only if you score a minimum grade of C in the first three areas, the fourth will become available. Points are gained when you deliver the blue spheres, collect stars, pass through rings to make links, and execute acrobatics. Using left or/and right shift buttons with the direction Nights is facing, you can obtain up to thirty different stunning acrobatics. Once you pass through a blue and yellow ring, Nights will have a yellow ribbon on his tail leaving a trail in the sky. During this short moment, you must try to execute a maximum of acrobatics as each will reward you with additional points.

The game designed by Sonic the Hedgehog's creator, Yuji Naka, and the Sonic Team, features not only a new concept, the A-Life, but also breathtaking graphics that will make everything you saw before obsolete and tasteless. Nights evolves in a beautiful 3D world that marvelously depicts the imaginary contained in the dreams. Through the landscapes ranging from magnificent gardens to dense forests and snowy mountains, players will discover an eery world rich in colors and realistic textures. Many features in Nights were made possible with Sega's new graphic development tools such as the ultra-fast movements of the characters, real-time environment, light-source shaded characters, and camera angles that naturally follow the action. Additionaly, players will experience several types of views in the game such as a view from the side, above and behind Nights making the game even more fun to play. Except for some draw-in problems that mostly occurs when you control Claris or Elliot, the graphics are just splendid and they literally draw you into this fairy world.
To compliment this dreamy environment, a great soundtrack has been written for the game. Mixing various musical genres such as jazz, rock, ethnic music, orchestral and voices, the soundtrack of Nights is in perfect harmony with the graphics. Both make the dreams become a reality, in which players will immerse again and again. Moreover, thanks to the new A-Life system, each time you play with the game, you will notice that the music slightly changes, adding variations to main themes.


Mentionned above, but never explained so far, the A-Life system (standing for Artificial Life) will make characters and their environment evolve the more you play with Nights. This means that if you play a second time in one area, you will find changes for both inhabitants and landscapes. Don't expect drastic remodeling of the levels though, but you will notice new hills and valleys, and encounter mutants within Nightopians at each visit. The A-Life system also regulates the behavior of the inhabitants in accordance with the way you control Nights. If you are agressive with Nightopians, next time they will see you, they will run away from you and hide. On the contrary, if you show friendliness by helping an egg hatch for example, Nightopians will become more sociable and you will see them flying close to you as they get more friendly. In the sub-levels, you can also encounter various creatures and traps that will decrease your counter by five seconds every time you touch them. If you dash into these creatures at full speed, they will shape into colored balls that you can then launch at Nightopians. This will cause a possible mutation, and next time you will come back in the level, you may see a mutant creature among the Nightopians.


Finally, although Nights is a one player game, a special versus mode will be unlocked when you beat the game. The goal is to make a 360 degrees turn around your adversary, player one assuming the role of Nights, and player two, his rival Reala. The winner is the first player that managed to do 3 turns around his adversary, or the one that did the most as here too the time is limited.


Words are missing to describe my feelings towards Nights. Its eye-popping graphics combined with a great game play and the enchanting soundtrack make this game enter straight into the legend.

Written by Frederick Claude

Click here for screen shots.


Overall: *****


In North America:

Sega of America Inc.,
255 Shoreline Drive,
2nd floor,
Redwood City, CA 94065

Web site: Sega of America

In Europe:

In UK:

Sega Europe Ltd.,
247 Cromwell Road,
London SW5 9GA

Web site: Sega Europe

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