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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Nights: Back into the Dreams...

It has always been inside of you.

When I first played Nights: Into Dreams... on my SegaSaturn back in 1996, it was a magical experience. Everything about the game just worked extremely well - from the gameplay, the music, and all the way to the game's unabashed Freudian sensibilities. The game also looked beautiful with its imaginative characters and colorful, whimsical landscapes. Even back then however, I always thought that the game had a really horrible pop-up problem. Yes, those pop-ups were so very dreadful and they really ruined the overall visual splendor of the game. When walking as the kids or flying as Nights, you can only see areas that are within your close vicinity while everything just appear out of nowhere only when you get near them. If only this problem could be fixed... When Sonic Team released the dreadful sequel Nights: Journey of Dreams for the Nintendo Wii, the pop-up problem was indeed resolved and that game looked mighty impressive at the cost of the original's overall gameplay creativity and cohesiveness that is...

Mirrors never lie.

So, has the main problem in the game addressed now that the Personal Computer high definition re-release is here? The answer is unfortunately a no. That's right, even with the high-tech and glorious graphical technology that is readily available, apparently, the development team responsible for this HD version decided to just keep the pop-ups there. All of them. This is true. Does this mean that you should ignore this re-release if you are a fan of the game? No. Because you know what? The game does look a whole lot better than it did before. The SegaSaturn version can be played in widescreen in the first place so the 16:9 is not a new addition to this release, but at least the character models have been improved where even the enemies and those creepy Nightopians are now full 3D models. The texture details were barely touched but everything still holds up pretty well... except for those annoying pop-ups!

Dreams allow you to take risks without damaging repercussions.

This re-release includes the original SegaSaturn version of the game which I will bet you that you will stop playing after checking it out once because it's kind of silly to do when the HD treatment is a lot more enjoyable and you are pretty much playing the same game with a shared save file. Christmas Nights is also included and thankfully, in HD form as well. I use the X-Box 360 controller to play this game, and I do suggest that you find a controller with an analog stick for this, but the game is playable with the keyboard for those crazy people who will play nothing on the PC unless it is playable with the keyboard and yes, you can assign your own keys but good luck with properly playing the game. I personally found the analog stick on the 360 controller inaccurate compared to that yummy, smooth, comfortable, but large analog "stump" on the SegaSaturn. After a bit of practice, it's manageable however. I found it shocking that there are some missing features here so this is not entirely complete release of the game. The jukebox is missing where you can mix and match all the exchangeable parts of each soundtrack - the soundtrack remixes are thankfully still happening in-game while you play - and in its replacement is just a simple soundtrack menu where you can only listen to one version of the soundtrack. Perhaps I just haven't unlocked it yet? It's been a long while since I played with it on the original so I will update this article if it is indeed eventually unlockable. The 2P versus mode is also not here even though it's just a silly distraction. The most annoying thing about this re-release however is the inability to change your local save name! So at the end of the stages, you are automatically named "Nights". Oh well, at least your Steam account name shows up when you check the awesome online leaderboard, which is something that the original game desperately needed because of the score-driven gameplay.

If you feel moisture while fighting this monstrosity, that means that you have wet the bed.

If you are a true believer that Nights: Into Dreams is the best game that Sonic Team has ever created, then this re-release is perfect for you. Sure, there is a gaping hole of missed opportunities here in terms of actually perfecting the game but this is still the best way to play one of the greatest games of all time. For those new to Nights and its shenanigans, welcome to the dream paradox but be careful - you may never wake up from this particular slumber.

FIRST IMPRESSION: 5 out of 5

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