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NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams

NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams

Publisher: SEGA
Platform: Nintendo Wii
UK Price (as reviewed): £28.93 (inc. Tax)
US Price (as reviewed): $49.99 (excl. Tax)

I have a terrible confession to make: before I bought an original Xbox, I hadn't owned a console since the days of the Atari 2800 and the Intellivision. You'll be glad to know that I have since recognised the error of my ways and, as an act of repentance, now own all three current gen consoles.

What this means is that I missed out on a whole raft of seminal games – the endless Mario games, the endless Sonic games, and those weird Japanese games with strange storylines, Japlish subtitles and gameplay only vaguely connected with the story.

Hell, I even missed Goldeneye!

Thankfully, I can now live through that last category courtesy of SEGA and their new game, NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams. This is a sequel to the 1996 SEGA Saturn classic, NiGHTS Into Dreams, and is something that SEGA said it would never do, not wanting to sully the original game's cult status.

NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams
Click for hi-res

Twelve years on, the folks at SEGA have changed their minds and provided the sequel that gamers everywhere have been asking for.

The question is, after such a long time, will NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams live up to the fond memories that people will have of the original classic, or should SEGA have stuck to their original plan? Can the Wii bring anything new to the mix, or is this a poorly produced port?

Family Values

Like the original game, NiGHTS is set in the dream world of Nightopia, and centres around the entwined stories of two children, William and Helen. William is an aspiring football player, Helen a young violinist and each has their own set of levels and stories that run parallel to one another, finally merging at the end of the game.

The stories are both based around the concept of family. William's father is often absent on business trips, leaving William abandoned and lonely. Helen on the other hand is forced by her mother to play the violin when she would rather be out playing with her friends, but when she goes off to have fun, she feels guilty about leaving her mother.

NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams
Click for hi-res

Families... Who'd have them, eh?

In their dreams, we find that Nightopia is being invaded by evil creatures called Nightmaren, and it's your task as either William or Helen to help get rid of these creatures by "dualizing" with the titular purple jester character, NiGHTS. During a lengthy (and unskippable) tutorial level, you dualize with NiGHTS and learn to fly around, gathering blue spheres for energy, flying through rings for power boosts and flying circles around enemies to defeat them.