The purple-suited jester is back!The worlds that we travel to when we’re fast asleep are filled with our wildest desires and deepest fears and over the years many developers have offered their unique take these magical wonderlands. This typically involves creating a deluge of cute Disney-type characters, whacking them against a colourful backdrop and scoring an angelic soundtrack suitably slushy enough to make a grown-man weep. One developer that has arguably used more imagination and creativity than most in their dream world creation, whilst still managing to embrace each of these three elements, was Sega with their enchanting 1996 Sega Saturn game, NiGHTS.
The classic platformer has appeared in a fair few ‘greatest games of all time’ lists, but at the time of release it didn’t quite have the necessary vigour to fend of the N64’s brilliant Super Mario 64. Still, hardcore fans have been demanding a sequel ever since its inception. With such a visually strong character as NiGHTS, the hero of this fantasy tale, it was only a matter of time before Sega brought the genderless purple-suited jester out of the closet, so to speak, for a well-deserved airing.
I refer to NiGHTS as a female from this point forth, though you can make your minds up.
In NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams, players fly through the colourful and picturesque, cutesy-character encrusted dream world of ‘Nightopia’ using acrobatic skills to discover inventive ways to dispose of the threat of the ‘Nightmarens’, who have come from the world of ‘Nightmare’ hoping to destroy the peace in ‘Nightopia’.
Though NiGHTS is a ‘Nightmaren’ herself, her rebellious antics have landed her in a spot of bother and her evil ruler, WiseMan incarcerates her in the world of ‘Nightopia’ to prevent her from interfering with his devious plans.
This is where William and Helen, two children who have been dreaming about this magical world, enter the story. You step into their shoes and find yourself inside the dream world where you discover you have a skill called dualising, which allows you to touch NiGHTS, move into her body and use her skills. As you pass through the dream gate you’re greeted by an owl who introduces you to the game’s main hub area and your first mission. After a brief tutorial, introducing you to the controls, you find yourself surrounded by numerous doors that act as portals to the other worlds, the missions and the eye-catching big bosses that await your challenge.