Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Nights Into Dreams: Virtua Dreams Speak to Me

Love at first sight is a concept many do not believe. Well, in this case, it was true. I loved this game the moment I saw the Saturn trailer it was featured in. I wanted the game for well over half a year before I finally received it. That love was never misplaced. Case and point, Nights is flight!

The game is not afraid to throw you directly into the world, and after a brief menu screen, you are transported directly into the dream world. With the choice of two levels, either the boy, Elliot or the girl, Claris. Both of these children are caught within the nightmare world, ruled by Wizeman the Wicked, which is threatening their dreams by turning them into a very dangerous place. One of the Nightmarens shows pity on the children and decides to help them by inhabiting their dreams willingly, which gives them the power to fight back.

Nights is about as surrealistic a game can be without being straight up incoherent. The game, itself, has been accused of being such, but it really only takes a short amount of time to figure the game out. Not only does the game drop you many, many hints on how to play it, but it also becomes quite easily played on basic intuition and instinct. The method of spin attack and whirling around enemies to create whirling attacks to defeat them is reminiscent of Sonic the Hedgehog’s gameplay, only in flight (not to mention the game was developed by Sonic Team).

With its wondrous look and artistic value in dreamscapes and bosses. You must figure out how to defeat the main enemies. At some points, the learning curve can be somewhat steep, but with just a bit of experimentation, you will find this a satisfying fighting style. The free flight capability was cutting edge for its time. While the paths are somewhat linear with the normal controller. With the 3D Controller Pad, you can free flight through the whole level without bounds other than what is set for the whole level itself.

Aside from a few scenes and pictures of Nights, we honestly never get a whole lot of character with her in ways of personality. The game itself is more a “show don’t tell” aspect, as she is seen smiling. She was never given a speaking role in the game, but was in the sequel “Journey into Dreams.” Even though the character was given an English accented female voice, the character herself is actually genderless and “completely up to the player (hence why I go with she, just because).

The story is quite deep for what little they show in the actual game. Though, we are introduced to the children in the beginning cut scenes, the rest of the story is more or less included in the narrative outside of the game itself. This is probably for the best, as too much story could overload the real object of the game. Nights was created to test the limitations of a new system of the time.

The game was met with critical and public success, though the financial success it reached is something of an unclear subject. It is still hailed today as arguably the greatest game on the Saturn. It is universally loved and even acknowledged by gamers who have never played the Saturn. If you have Steam, a PS3 or Xbox 360, then you can get the game rather easily and for cheap. Try it out and experience it for yourself. Virtua Nightmares Realized...

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