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Just Remenbering - (Sega Saturn) Nights into Dreams…

Nights into Dreams... (ナイツ Naitsu, written as NiGHTS into Dreams...) is an action game released by Sega in 1996 for the Sega Saturn video game system. The game's story follows two children entering a dream world, where they are aided by the titular main character, Nights. Nights wasdeveloped by Sonic Team, with Yuji Naka as producer and lead programmer, and Naoto Ōshima as the character designer and director. The developers' intention was to make the sensation of flight the central gameplay element, achieved through 3D graphics and a combination of both 2D and 3D gameplay.

The game was re-released for the Sony PlayStation 2 on February 21, 2008 exclusively in Japan. A high-definition version was released worldwide for PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade in October 2012, with a Microsoft Windows version later released via Steam on December 17, 2012. A direct sequel, Nights: Journey of Dreams, was released for the Wii in 2007.

Every night, all human dreams are played out in Nightopia and Nightmare, the two parts of the dream world. In Nightopia, distinct aspects of dreamers' personalities are represented by luminous colored spheres known as "Ideya". However, the evil ruler of Nightmare, Wizeman the Wicked, is stealing this dream energy from sleeping visitors to gather power to take control of Nightopia and eventually the real world. To achieve this, he creates numerous beings called "Nightmaren", including two "Level One" Nightmaren, acrobatic jester-like, flight-capable beings called Nights and Reala. However, Nights rebels against Wizeman's plans, and is punished by being imprisoned inside an Ideya palace, a gazebo-like container for dreamers' Ideya.

One day, Elliot Edwards and Claris Sinclair, two children from the city of Twin Seeds, go through failures. Elliot likes to play basketball, but is challenged by kids from another grade and loses. Claris wants to sing in a play but is overcome by stage-fright in front of the judges. That night, they both suffer nightmares that replay the events. They escape into Nightopia and find that they both possess the rare Red Ideya of Courage, the only type Wizeman cannot steal. They release Nights, who tells them about dreams, and Wizeman and his plans, and the three begin a journey to stop Wizeman and restore peace to Nightopia.

Nights into Dreams... is split into seven levels, referred to as "Dreams". The levels are distributed equally between the two child characters; three are unique to Claris, three to Elliot, and each play through an identical final seventh level, "Twin Seeds". Initially, only Claris' Spring Valley and Elliot's Splash Garden are available, and successful completion of one of these unlocks the next level in that child's path. Previously completed stages may be revisited to improve the player's high scores; a "C" grade in all the selected child's levels must be achieved to unlock the relevant Twin Seeds stage for that character.

Each level is split up into four "Mares" set in Nightopia and a boss fight which takes place in Nightmare. In each level, players initially control Claris or Elliot, who immediately have their Ideyas of hope, growth, intelligence and purity stolen from them by Wizeman's minions, leaving behind only their Ideya of courage. The goal of each Mare is to recover one of the stolen Ideya by collecting 20 blue chips and delivering them to the cage holding the Ideya, which will overload and release the orb it holds. It is possible to complete some of the levels' goals by wandering around the landscape of Nightopia as Claris or Elliot (pursued by an egg-shaped alarm clock which will wake up the child and end the level if it catches the player), but the majority of the gameplay centers on Nights' flying sequences, triggered by walking into the Ideya Palace near the start of each level so that the child merges with the imprisoned Nights.

In the flying sections, the player controls Nights' flight along a particular predetermined route through each Mare. Players can only fly in the 2D plane of the screen, with their actual motion through the level determined by the automatic camera angle at that point in the Mare. The player has only a limited period available before Nights falls to the ground and turns back into Claris or Elliot, and each collision with an enemy subtracts five seconds from the time remaining. After retrieving the Ideya in a Mare, the player can either return to the Ideya Palace to progress to the next Mare, or continue flying more laps of the Mare (with replenished items).

Whilst flying, Nights can use a boost to travel faster, as well as defeat certain enemies littered across the field. Grabbing onto certain enemies will cause Nights to spin around, launching Nights and the enemy in the direction the boost is pressed. Various acrobatic maneuvers can be performed, including the "Paraloop", whereby flying around in a complete circle and connecting the trail of stars left in Nights' wake will cause any items within the loop to be attracted towards Nights. The game features a combo system known as "Linking", whereby actions such as collecting items and flying through rings are worth more points when performed in quick succession than they are individually. Flying through certain special rings activates a short period of time in which extra points can be earned through the performance of various aerobatic stunts.

At the end of each Mare, players are given a rank (between A and F) based on their score, and after all four Mares are cleared an overall rank for the level is displayed. Nights is then transported to Nightmare for a boss fight against one of Wizeman's Nightmarens. Each boss fight has a time limit, and the game will end if the player runs out of time during the battle. Upon winning the boss fight, the player is awarded a score multiplier based on how quickly the boss was defeated, which is then applied to the score earned in the Nightopia section in order to produce the player's final score for that Dream.

Aside from the immediate game mission, the game also contains an artificial life ("A-Life") system, a precursor to the Chao featured in Sonic Team's later Sonic Adventure titles. The system involves entities called Nightopians. The game keeps track of the moods of the Nightopians (harming them will displease them, for example), and the game features an evolving music engine, allowing tempo, pitch, and melody to alter depending on the state of Nightopians within the level. It is also possible to merge Nightopians with the small Nightmaren enemies, creating a hybrid being called a Mepian. It is even possible through extensive controlled breeding to produce a "King" Pian, or Superpian. An expanded version of the A-life system was included in Nights: Journey of Dreams.

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