Notice: This page is out-of-date and is no longer being maintained. Some of the information may be erroneous and the writing may
be embarrassingly bad. Proceed at your own risk.
-- Quick Jump --
Gameplay Info |
Behind the Screens |
Cultural Notes |
-- Story --
To sleep, per chance, to dream. Welcome to Nightopia, the dream world. Sleeping humans come and go
through this surreal place of intrigue and beauty. Maintenance of this fabled realm comes courtesy of cheerful little
dream beings known as Nightopians. Doesn't it just figure that some evil dude with spiky hair wants to conquer the place?
Wizeman, as he is known, has designs on Nightopia and a plan to make sure his wish comes to fruition. He
creates an army of nightmare beings known as Nightmaren. Among these maren, two in particular stand out: NiGHTS and Reala,
Nightmaren first-class, gifted with free will. Wizeman gives his legion of Maren one simple instruction: collect Ideya.
Ideya, or dream energy, are orbs of power possessed by sleeping humans. Ideya come in five different
colors, each representing a different trait: white for purity, green for wisdom, yellow for hope, blue for intelligence,
and the rare red dream energy, representing bravery. It is this rare red Ideya that Wizeman so desires, and he's finally
found two humans who possess it...
...Elliot Edwards and Claris Sinclair, two troubled teens from the city of Twin Seeds. Elliot dreams of
one day being a star basketball player, but rethinks his career choice after being humiliated by the champion team in a
'friendly' game. Claris was gifted with a golden voice and dreams of one day sharing her talent with the world, but she
blows her first big break by running off the stage like a coward at the Twin Dreams audition. And yet these unlikely
children possess the rare red Ideya, dream energy of bravery.
Wizeman orders NiGHTS, who is naturally attracted to red Ideya, to retrieve Elliot's. NiGHTS, sensing
his creator's evil intentions, refuses and is subsequently imprisoned in Ideya Palaces. Yet he discovers that by
"borrowing" a host body, such as Elliot or Claris, he can escape the Palaces long enough to destroy the Ideya Captures
where Wizeman stores his collected dream energy.
Elliot and Claris, with the aid of NiGHTS, succeed in defeating Wizeman. The dream realm, as well as the
real world, is saved. As a result of this adventure, the teens discover the courage within themselves as well as a very
special friendship in each other. The following day, Elliot busts out his mad skillz on the court and gives the champion
team what for, then dashes through the Twin Seeds 100th anniversary parade just in time to catch Claris' debut performance.
And of NiGHTS? The rebel Nightmaren is free as, well, a dream.
-- Gameplay Info --
2D, 3D...hell, why draw a line? NiGHTS gameplay takes place along a 2D plane, but this plane weaves in
and around a fully realized and gorgeously rendered 3D arena.
Your first line of business upon starting a new game is to create and name a save. (Incidentally, NiGHTS
remains the only Sonic Team game yet to allow you to actually name your save.) From within a save, you have access to a
number of cool features, but let's talk about the game itself first.
Each level (Dream) consists of four rounds (Mares), which are actually just four different 2D tracks
around the same 3D stage. In each Mare, the object is to destroy the Ideya Capture within the time limit by collecting 20
Blue Chips and depositing them into the capsule, which overloads and blows up. NiGHTS automatically picks up the Ideya
freed from the capsule, at which point you can advance to the next Mare by returning to the Ideya Palace where you started.
NiGHTS drops off the Ideya you picked up, and the next Mare begins. The timer resets when you start a new Mare, so if
you're good, you should have plenty of time left over to fly around the stage collecting points. Once you cash in at the
Ideya Palace, your score is tallied up and you receive a letter grade of A-E with A being the best. After clearing all
four Mares, you take on the boss, where your overall grade is based solely on how quickly you were able to defeat
After clearing the entire Dream, you're given an overall grade that is an average of your grades for all
four Mares and the boss. All you need is a C to advance, but special things happen if you manage an overall score of A in
all eight Dreams... Score a D or lower and it's back to square one. And don't suck this time, Orville.
You start off each Dream as either Elliot or Claris, depending on which Dream you select. As Elliot and
Claris, you have total freedom to explore the stage on foot, and while it is technically possible to collect Blue
Chips and destroy the Ideya Capture using this method, don't bet your "chips" on it. (Sorry...) The only special move
available to the two kids is the Mario 64 style triple jump: jump once, hit the button again the moment you hit the ground
for a higher jump, and hit it a third time for a super leap. You can hatch Nightopian eggs by walking over them and check
out all the nooks and crannies you can't explore as NiGHTS... But no matter what you do, your progress will be constantly
hindered by the Alarm Egg. After about 30 seconds of wandering around, the Alarm Egg appears and begins chasing you down.
It can't be destroyed, and should it capture you, it's Night Over (game over, in the traditional lingo). So if you're
going to play a serious game, dash for the Ideya Palace and transform into NiGHTS as soon as possible.
The mechanics change completely and the real gameplay begins when you transform into NiGHTS. While
you're now restricted to a 2D flight plane, the speed is kicked up to near Sonic levels and you can really cut loose with a
dazzling array of aerial acrobatics. While you don't have to deal with the Alarm Egg as NiGHTS, the timer kicks in. In
fact, there's no kind of power bar at all... when you take damage, five seconds are shaved off the timer. Run out of time
and you transform back into Elliot/Claris, which resets your score for the course almost ensuring a failing grade.
NiGHTS' basic attack is the Drill Dash, a forward spinning drill maneuver. Hold the button down to
perform a continuous Drill Dash, but mind the drill meter at the bottom of the screen. As you dash, the meter depletes.
When you're running on empty, you can't perform the Drill Dash. Fly through Rings to pump juice back into the meter. Use
the Drill Dash when you need a quick burst of speed, or as a means of destroying enemies. When you dash into a Nightmaren,
your unfortunate victim balls up and bounces around the stage. A variation on the Drill Dash, the Touch Dash, is performed
by simply flying into an enemy then hitting the action button for the same effect as a normal Drill Dash. The only
advantage to the riskier Touch Dash is that it gives you more control over where you send the Maren bouncing, which itself
is only useful for breeding Mepians which I have elaborated on further down the page.
A more integral attack strategy is the Paraloop. Trailing NiGHTS is a long 'tail' of stardust or
something. Create any kind of enclosed area (doesn't have to be a perfect circle) by looping the tail and everything
within gets sucked in the Paraloop like a vacuum. Use this handy maneuver to take out Nightmaren, grab items, or kill
Nightopians if that's your fancy you twisted bastard. A variation on the Paraloop, the Touch Loop, works similarly to the
Touch Dash: latch on to an enemy by simply flying into it, then hang on and spin around to perform a localized Paraloop that
sucks in that one Maren, leaving the surrounding area untouched.
While flying, pull the L and R triggers along with any direction on the analog pad to perform various
aerial acrobatics. There are 36 different tricks to perform in all (listed below), although they have no purpose other
than looking cool. Press L and R simultaneously to perform the Kuchu Brake (midair brake), an abrupt midair stop.
Move Dir But
Twister 1 R
Parasol 2 R
Roulette R 3 R
Arrow 4 R
Screw 5 R
Tornado 6 R
V-Fall 7 R
Ax R 8 R
Typhoon 9 R
Wind 10 R
Move Dir But
Mixer 1 L
Dance 2 L
Roulette L 3 L
L-Wing 4 L
Basket 5 L
Ballet 6 L
T-Fall 7 L
Ax L 8 L
Drill 9 L
Space 10 L
Move Dir But
Swing 1 R + L
Moon 2 R + L
Cross 3 R + L
Rock'n Roll 4 R + L
Triangle 5 R + L
Boomerang 6 R + L
Spin 7 R + L
Sling 8 R + L
Sonic 9 R + L
Scorpion 10 R + L
8 Cross: Make a figure 8
Clover: Draw a 4-leaf clover
Small Paraloop: Make a small Paraloop
Middle Paraloop: Make a medium Paraloop
Large Paraloop: Make a large Paraloop
Giant Paraloop: Make a giant Paraloop
The one basic goal is to collect Blue Chips, but playing it straight is the way of the LUH-HOOSER.
NiGHTS is all about skill, style, and score-crunching. The skilled player will almost invariably meet the Blue Chip quota
on the first or second round, but will continue to dash around the Mare using every last second of time to rack up points
and put on a show in general. After the Ideya Capture is trashed, Blue Chips turn into Gold Chips and point values double.
I recall a quote from an old issue of the defunct Game Players magazine: "Sonic collects Rings, NiGHTS
flies right through them. Gaming just keeps getting better and better." Throughout each Mare you'll find large, orange
Rings lined up in intricate, snake-like patterns. Fly through them for points. Chain them together to form Links, which
is easily the most effective means of racking up points in a short amount of time. A skilled player can zip around most
Mares over and over and over, creating a constant chain of Links and earning massive points. It's not uncommon to Link
into the hundreds, and the chain is usually only broken because you're almost out of time. There are four different types
Ring: normal orange Rings, worth 10 points. Disappear after you fly through them
Double Rings: yellow and blue double Rings, usually built at right angles. 10 points for each loop
Spine Rings: spiked Rings... good for 10 points when you fly through the middle, but don't touch the edges or you'll
take damage and lose 5 seconds
Acro Rings: fly through an Acro Ring and the trail of sparkles behind NiGHTS is replaced by a long yellow banner. For
10 seconds, you will earn points for performing acrobatics. When the music ends, the banner disappears and your
performance is rated from 1-10 along with a one-word commentary based on your score: 0 is Don't Mind!, 1-3 is Nice, 4-5 is
Wonderful, 6-7 is Excellent, 8 is Cool, 9 is Marvelous, 10 is Superb, and 11 is Dreamy!!!
Points are awarded based on the following criteria:
- Blue Chips: 10 points
- Gold Chips: 20 points
- Chip Box: break open these for a cool 8 Chips a pop, worth 80 or 160 points
- For every Chip in your possession when you start a new course: 50 points, up to a max of 99
- Star Chips: 10 points
- Don't kill any Nightopians and on the third course, a Pian will hold a sign counting the number of Star Chips you've
collected. On the fourth course, grab the sign and you're awarded 10 additional points for each Star, to a maximum of 255
- Defeat a Nightmaren: 200 points
- Destroy a snowball (Frozen Bell only): 30 points
- Destroy the Ideya Capture: 12,000 points minus 100 points for every second you took to get the job done
- Rings: 10 points for each Ring NiGHTS flies through, multiplied with each Link
- Acro Rings: 100 points for 1 stunt, 300 points for two, 600 points for three, 1000 points for four, 1500 points for
five, 2100 points for six, 2800 points for seven, 3600 points for eight, 4500 points for nine, 5500 points for ten, and
7500 points for eleven.
- Link Ball: form a Link chain of the requisite length before the Ball disappears and you'll be rewarded with major bonus
points depending on the number of Links you achieved
In addition to these basic items, there are three different types of Power Panels you may find. Power
Panels are invisible and can only be uncovered by Paralooping them. The Power Loop item expands the radius of any Paraloop.
The Power Dash item refills your Drill Dash bar to max. The Help Pian item calls forth a Nightopian who follows NiGHTS
around and attracts nearby items (a power that Elliot and Claris have by default). Except for the Power Dash, Power Panel
items are time-based and will expire after a brief period.
There are a total of 7 stages: three as Elliot, three as Claris, and one that's identical as both (but
must be cleared by both to complete the game).
Spring Valley ~the Ideal~ -- Claris' first Dream. A really nice place with
rolling hills, blue skies, and windmills on floating platforms. Enemies you'll encounter
- Shleep -- These fleecy marens can inflate themselves like balloons. If you try to grab
them while they're inflated, you'll just bounce off.
- Hollow -- These jester-owl things will throw objects at you.
- Kircle -- Clawed snail-looking maren that try to grab you and pull you into the ground.
If they manage to drag you all the way down, they explode when you hit the ground.
Boss: Gillwing basically just circles around the arena. His only vulnerable spot
is is head, and each time he takes damage, his massive tail gets shorter. To score a 2.0
and keep from losing points, you must have at least 110 seconds remaining.
Mystic Forest ~the Possibility~ -- Claris' second Dream. A rather dark forest
with traffic lights sprinkled about for no apparent reason. In one part of the level,
the camera switches to overhead with what seems to be a junkyard below. Look for a car
that follows you around: steer it into the garage for major points. There's also a
hidden underground cavern filled with points. Enemies you'll encounter include:
- Party -- Butterfly-fish-accordian Maren. They attack with a metal blade if you invade
their personal space for too long.
- Crewle & Pole -- This odd tadpole duo will fling magic spells at you. If you're hit,
NiGHTS is reduced to a quarter of his normal size.
Boss: Gulpo floats around in the center of his arena, firing electric pulses at
you. The way to defeat him is to fly into the small fish that surround the cylindrical arena.
They'll fire you straight through to the other side. Just aim for the scaly cretin. To score
a 2.0, you must have at least 105 seconds remaining.
Soft Museum ~the Confusion~ -- Claris' third Dream. Don't let texture maps fool
you, every surface in Soft Museum is 100% morphing polygon. Which basically means the
whole level reacts like it's made of jello. Other than that, it's like your standard,
everyday European garden. Bump the walls inside the museum to start up some artificial
gravity that lets you bounce along the floor and ceiling. In the mirror room, objects in the
foreground can't be seen: you have to judge your moves by their visible reflections. At another
point outside, the camera switches to a hind view as NiGHTS is bounced around in an almost
pinball-like fashion. Enemies you'll encounter include:
- Verol -- Chameleon maren who mimic Blue Chips.
- Gao -- Saber-toothed lion maren who have the ability to give off some serious volts of
electricity. It goes without saying that they can't be damaged while they're lit up.
Boss: Jackle dashes away from you, throwing giant razor playing cards at you along
the way. First you have to knock his cape off, then quickly smack him one before he gets
it back. To score a 2.0, you must have at least 105 seconds remaining.
Splash Garden ~the Affection~ -- Elliot's first Dream. A beautiful park with
fountains, flowers, and all that good, pretty stuff. There's giant bubble things all
around, which NiGHTS zips straight through with a burst of speed. You'll also go
underwater at one point, at which time NiGHTS' feet morph into a fin, and the camera
switches to a hind view. At another point, the camera switches to overhead above a
clock (that reads the real time off the Saturn's internal clock) formed with flowers.
Enemies you'll encounter include:
- Mamu -- Fish maren with pointy drill snouts. They surround themselves with a trio of
spiky balls ala Sonic's Unidus, making them difficult to hit.
Boss: Puffy must be hurled through various walls in her mansion-esque arena until
you've tossed her all the way to the end. To score a 2.0, you must have at least 95
Frozen Bell ~the Consciousness~ -- Elliot's second Dream. The requisite snow
level, flavored with mysterious trains and tracks that lead to nowhere. Down the fourth
course, NiGHTS transforms into a bobsled and the camera switches to a hind view for a
frosty slide down a cool half-pipe. Enemies you'll encounter include:
- Snip -- Speedy rabbit maren. If they latch onto you, NiGHTS will freeze in a chunk of
ice and fall to the ground. To score a 2.0, you must have at least 117 seconds remaining.
Boss: Clawz zips around the top and bottom platforms of his arena (which are
spinning opposite directions), setting off mouse bombs. You need to destroy the lit mice
before they explode: once all the meeces are boomed, you can attack Clawz himself.
Stick Canyon ~the Revival~ -- Elliot's third Dream. This canyon's under major
construction, with some BIG-ass tools [snicker]. Down one course, you'll encounter a
magnetic machine that imbues NiGHTS with a serious case of the gimmes. The object in
this magnetic phase is to have as much stuff (items and enemies) attached to you as
possible. The more you attract, the slower you'll fly, and if you hit a wall, stuff
falls off. Every item you've still got on you at the end adds up to points. The fourth
course consists almost entirely of a HUGE roller coaster ride, preceded by an agonizing
vertical trip up a corkscrew course. Enemies you'll encounter include:
- Cuttle -- Jellyfish-looking maren. Their tentacles form a triangular ring... fly
through it and NiGHTS becomes surrounded with an electrical field that syphons all of
his Dash meter.
Boss: Reala has all of NiGHTS' abilities. The goal is to Paraloop the wannabe
three times. To score a 2.0, you must have at least 105 seconds remaining.
Twin Seeds ~the Growth~ -- No NiGHTS here, you're controlling Claris or Elliot
high above the city of Twin Seeds. There are four courses as per usual, but you've got
ONE three-minute time limit to clear 'em all. You can't Paraloop, but there are no
enemies, and objects are attracted to you (as when you're roaming the ground). In the
final course, you're circling Twin Seeds Tower (NiGHTS awaits at the center)... pop the
balloons for Blue Chips.
Boss: Wizeman attacks in three different ways, all designed to slow you down and
keep you away from your target. The first is an attack of giant boulders which fly at
you randomly. His second attack is similar, only the boulders come in rows that go up
and down along the course. His final attack is to hurl a pair of hourglass-shaped
tornadoes at you. When you reach him, he's surrounded by a barrier. Your partner (also
in the shape of NiGHTS) helps break the barrier while you dash in and pop one to Wizeman.
To score a 2.0, you must have at least 65 seconds remaining.
There are a total of four different endings: Claris' ending, Elliot's ending, Claris & Elliot's ending,
and the perfect ending. The first ending you see will be either Claris' or Elliot's, depending on which one you finish the
game as first. When you finish as the other one, you'll see the Claris & Elliot ending. The only way to view the perfect
ending, which features the real "Dreams Dreams" (not the kids version) is to score an overall "A" in all eight Dreams.
The options include a requisite sound test, the ability to toggle between stereo or mono output, a rather
unique feature that lets you toggle the screen size between normal and wide, and an option to randomize the boss encounters
at the end of each Dream (opened only after the game has been completed). Using the Dream Data selection, you can view
your best times and Links for each Dream. After beating Reala, the 2-player versus mode is unlocked, where player one
controls NiGHTS and player 2 Reala. The goal is to Paraloop your opponent three times.
And that, my fellow dreamers, is the game. BUT! You haven't seen it all until you've started breeding
Nightopians, which turns out to be a whole game within a game...
Inhabiting six of the eight Dreams (you won't find any Pians in either version of Twin Seeds),
Nightopians begin their life cycle as purple-striped eggs. Eggs can be hatched by walking over them as Elliot or Claris,
latching on to them as NiGHTS, or just leaving them alone and waiting. Because NiGHTS is restricted to eggs within his 2D
flight plane, it's generally more functional to leave the mother hen work to the kids.
Nightopians, it seems, hatch right into full-grown adults. At this point, they begin performing any of
several simple activities which vary depending on the Dream they're in. In Splash Garden, for instance, sweeping seems to
be a popular hobby, while fishing (using a piece of cake for bait) is all the rage in Mystic Forest.
When they're happy, Nightopians will breed like college kids on spring break, filling the stage with more
cute Nightopians for you to hug and snuggle. Aww. They will also run up to greet NiGHTS as he passes, waving gleefully
and sometimes even singing for him. The general mood of Nightopians in a level also affects the music. If they're happy,
the music will be high and upbeat; if they're cranky, the music will be low and moody.
So what makes Nightopians sad? Death. If many Nightopians start dying rapidly, the dwindling population
will become depressed very quickly. Death is usually caused by rampaging Nightmaren, who will kill any Nightopian they
come in contact with. It can also be caused by YOU: Drill Dash Nightopians or catch them in Paraloops and they become
quite upset. Go figure.
But having all plain Nightopians is boring. Inject some cultural diversity into your little Pian
civilizations by creating Mepians. A Mepian is a mixbreed of Nightopian and Nightmaren. And no, they aren't created like
that. Notice how when you Drill Dash or Touch Dash a Maren it rolls into a ball and goes bouncing around the level?
Should the bouncing Maren happen to smack an innocent Pian, the poor Pian loses consciousness and spouts a psychadelic egg.
Hatch the egg and a Nightopian with bits and pieces of the Nightmaren that hit it is born. This mutated mixbreed is known
as a Mepian. Existing Mepians can be further smacked with new Maren to create elaborate and nearly endless combinations.
And then there's the legendary Superpian. For all the hours, weeks, and months I devoted, I was never
able to get one of these. The formula for acquiring a Superpian is complex, involving lots of happy Nightopians and
Mepians. The crowned Super walks around until a suitable location is found at which point he constructs a miniature castle
on the site. If you get one of these, you're better than me.
-- Codes --
Sound code: Pause the game, then simultaneously press L, R, and Y. A small menu appears displaying the code for
the song currently playing. The BGM changes according the mood of the Pians within the stage, and this feature is just so
you can have some idea of what you're listening to.
-- Behind the Screens --
Shortly after the completion of Sonic 2, Yuji Naka was headed back to Japan. As his plane took off, he
was struck with the idea of a game about flying. He had other business at hand, though, so the idea went on the back
burner for a few years. When Sega's Saturn was finally out and about, the idea was revived and work began on Sonic Team's
first original project since Sonic 1.
The original concept was of a young bird too weak to fly, but who gained the ability as he grew and
strengthened. The bird idea was scrapped for fear it would draw direct comparisons to Sonic, and this was followed up with
a few more ideas destined for the trash heap, including an Indiana Jones wannabe and a military-themed character. When a
dream theme was finally decided upon, Naoto Ohshima and Takashi Iizuka, the games directors, hit the books and studied
various texts on psychology, including writings by Carl Gustav Jung.
Since controlling NiGHTS' fluid movements with the standard Saturn D-pad would blow gales, Sega decided
to release the game with a special analog controller. That's what they say, anyway. The more obvious reason is that it
was created as a direct answer to Nintendo's revolutionary N64 analog control pad. But if you ask the kids on the bad side
of town, they'll tell you that Naka actually demanded an analog control pad be designed for the game... and what
Naka wants, Naka gets. Most likely, though, it was all of the above.
When NiGHTS hit the shelves, it was going head-to-head-to-head against the triumphant return of Mario and
Sony's successful bid at mascothood, Crash Bandicoot. Sadly, NiGHTS was not enough to secure a position for the ill-fated
Saturn in the three year war that followed. However, ask any Saturn-owner what their favorite game for the little console
that could was, and the answer will almost invariably be NiGHTS. There's also no question that NiGHTS is the top contender
for the collective Sega sequel wishlist, and nobody can argue that it wasn't an artistic success in every sense of the
Written content and original graphics copyright © 1997-2005 Jared Matte. Screenshots thanks to Lucas Echeverria. Hosting and administration thanks to
Nathan Tsui. NiGHTS characters, logos, and images are trademarks of SEGA Corporation. The GHZ is an independent fansite
and is not affiliated with SEGA Corporation.