Nights: Into Dreams - Sega/Sonic Team
by Psykik (email@example.com
The first thing I noticed, was that the Nights CD and case are labeled Not for resale. Why? As other Saturn games do not have this tag, the only possible conclusion I can make it that Sega plans to use this game as a pack-in title. Upon loading the game, I was 'greeted' with a message stating that I needed 197 blocks of memory free in order to save my games. Ugh, another reason to buy a memory cart, hopefully you'll have one, otherwise, be ready to delete some backup data from other programs. Loading time in this game is minimal, maybe a few seconds initial load time, and a few more between levels. Initially the game is one player only, you can choose between two characters: Claris and Elliot. Later on the game, after you meet the other character, a two player VS. mode is activated. The two player mode could be described as a battle mode. One is supposed to try to fly into their opponent, do paraloops, etc. Its basically like playing against a boss in the game. I have yet to get to this point so I cannot comment on how well this plays. The two player option can be found in the options menu (duh).
At the beginning of the game, one is on the ground, and usually placed near where you begin your flight. Each world is divided into 4 mares (stages), you do have a time limit, but I can be extended by getting certain power ups. At the end of each world, you will face a boss, each boss has its own pattern/secret to defeat it. If you lose (run out of time) its game over for you, when you 'die' you will be given a hint on how to defeat the boss. Depending on which person you chose, you will play different levels, and bosses. If one doesn't finish the mare in time, you will lose the ability to fly, and will have to walk back to the start to get another 'suit', an arrow will help guide you when you're on the ground. Flight is slightly restricted along paths, at first this can be annoying, but after a bit, you will be glad that the game is this way. Flying though rings and double rings, you can get points for style, and speed. Along the way, you will collect blue balls, golden stars, and various power ups. There are also enemies around the level, one can dispose of them by speeding up, and running into them. You will then grab onto them, and can throw them by hitting a button again. The power loop, will make a streamer train behind you. During this time one is awarded extra points for doing loops or varying size, and other acrobatic tricks. The L and R buttons will make you perform acrobatics when flying, and rotate the camera view when walking. My initial impression was that the levels seemed a little short, but after a few more hours of play I can say they are much, much larger than I had thought.
The graphics are crisp and move smoothly. During the game there is little pop-up, obviously there is some, but one won't notice it unless they are looking for it. Flying (or walking) about the world, you will notice how much detail went into this. Everything is textured beautifully, IMO this game looks just as good as Mario 64. Transparency, and other visual effects galore, its all here. Often one can find themself paying more attention to the graphics than the actual game. The camera pans smoothly and almost un-noticeably when in flight. At times it can be disorienting when the view changes but overall everything works quite well.
I purchased the game with the analog controller, and boy am I glad I did. The analog controller features two directional pads: the one on the top it the analog, and the bottom, the standard digital. The controller has two modes, + mode and O mode. Plus mode is the standard digital controller mode, O mode is for the analog mode. During the game, one can switch between either mode on the fly. O mode is great, at first it won't seem any different, but when you stick the controller into + mode, the difference is huge. The controller fits my hands perfectly, the L and R buttons are placed on the underside of the controller, and are positioned like triggers. This setup works flawlessly. At first you will have to get used to the position of the analog pad, but soon it feels natural, I know I won't be going back to the standard Saturn controllers for a while.
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