NiGHTS Returns…


For 11 years, NiGHTS has been asleep in the land of dreams, to finally be reawakened by SEGA. The hit video game of 1996 has a new installment: “NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams” for the Nintendo Wii. With re-envisioned gameplay and story by a changed Sonic Team, fans and newcomers take a hard look at what’s in store. The light, airy world of NiGHTS has become more of a dark dreamland akin to that of the “Neverending Story”. The graphics and level design impress, but the gameplay and story pull down what could have been another SEGA masterpiece. However, to the delight of gamers around the world, SEGA of Japan has released a graphically-updated remake of the first NiGHTS game.

NiGHTS: Into Dreams – PS2 Revision
In 1996, “NiGHTS Into Dreams” for the SEGA Saturn introduced players to the land of dreams where they could have fun flying around a whimsical wonderland known as Nightopia with the help of a friendly jester named NiGHTS. The story began with a boy and a girl who were having difficulty achieving personal goals and became gripped with the fear of failure. As they fell asleep at night, they ran into the world of Nightopia and the character NiGHTS who lives there. With NiGHTS’ help, the player would defeat pesky nightmarens who were encroaching upon Nightopia, and, as a result, the children who were dreaming up this whole adventure gained the confidence they needed to succeed in their lives.

With SEGA’s newest NiGHTS title for the Nintendo Wii, the story has turned darker, convoluted, and scary. Two children again are the focal point of the storyline, but developers drew too heavily on a long-winded script that has players questioning if they should even like or trust the friendly jester NiGHTS only a quarter through the game. As stage after stage unfolds, there are more pop-psychology explanations of the current level’s layout in relation to the child character’s emotional state than entertaining gameplay. In 1996, your greatest enemy was a comical looking alarm clock that could kick you out of dreamland is things went sour, but now the player’s character can expect serious in dream death threats, a la “The Matrix”, and, if time runs out, creepy ghosts come to wake one up.

The draw of the original NiGHTS’ game was the concept of flying and the unique gameplay of fluidly flipping through the air to accomplish goals or speed runs on a course that had multiple paths to roam. This concept has been improved upon in a few ways, such as adding objects that either aid of hinder you in your acrobatic exploits, however this joy is short lived when the main level ends so quickly and mini-games which are relative to the environment are a laborious requirement to get to the next level. The controls also suffer from a bad lag issue. You can toy around with the Wii remote, but if you want to advance in the game you will most-likely need a Wii classic controller. Even after, however, the game lacks the seamless fluidity of the original.

The graphics are smooth and the environment designs are beautiful. When the world of dreams shines, there is a sparkle to it as well. The downside is that is hard to appreciate it amid the constant oppression of nightmaren elements. The realm of the nightmarens can be described as hellish which is in contrast to the warped comical appearance of bad guy stages from “Into Dreams”.

The greatest feature of the game is its soundtrack which is enhanced and amplified by a full orchestra. This extremely well thought out score has all the feeling of a dream world with zippy, carefree melodies and calming lullaby-like entries. The nightmare sequences are in tune with what is on screen and are very similar in nature to the first game’s music. Several tracks are actually borrowed from “NiGHTS Into Dreams”.

NiGHTS Journey of Dreams for the Wii is too far removed from the first game to be acceptable as a sequel, with a dark and heavy re-invented story and choppy gameplay, the series could easily be dismissed. Thankfully, SEGA of Japan has a game that will wipe the nightmares of Journey of Dreams away. The original NiGHTS game is now available for sale in Japan for the PlayStation 2 for about $30-40. Nearly all in English, the game has had a major graphical update and packs in some bonuses. As a plus, there are unlockables as you advance in the game. Serious gamers can order NiGHTS: Into Dreams for the PlayStation 2 through an import store like Play-Asia.com or Amazon.com’s Japanese store.


NiGHTS: Into Dreams (SEGA of Japan) (PlayStation 2)*

  • Play-Asia.com Link
  • Amazon.com Japan Link
    (Amazon Japan Note: The website begins in Japanese, but look for the link that says “Would you like to see this page in English?” above the standard add to cart icon. When checking out, click on "Would you like to see this page in English?" a second time, then choose “International – Outside of Japan” when entering your address.)

*Note on Importing Games: Sony’s PS2 gamepads and memory cards are universal, but like DVD players, PlayStation 2 machines are region locked. To play imported PlayStation 2 games you must purchase an imported PlayStation 2 machine.