Review Price £9.93
Nights: Journey of Dreams
Sometimes it's best to come straight out with it. If, like me, you've spent the time since 1996 eagerly awaiting a sequel for Sega's cult classic Nights into Dreams, this is going to come as a big disappointment.
The original Nights was hopelessly equipped to do the job Sega wanted it to do - be the Saturn console's answer to Super Mario 64 - but it's still fondly remembered as one of the freshest, most original games of the era. In a way, it felt like an aerobatic version of the Sonic games; despite the 3D looks, the titular jester-like hero spent his time flying through a world of dreams along an essentially 2D path, speeding and looping through rings and crushing enemies using a high-speed 'drill-dash' attack or cool 'paraloop' manoeuvre. Nights didn't have anything like Mario's revolutionary 3D worlds or open gameplay, but it did have a mysterious main character, a quirky, dreamlike story, eccentric bosses, and - most of all - the graceful, flowing nature of its flight. On release, Nights came bundled with an all-new analogue pad, and that totally made sense. No digital D-pad could pull off such acrobatic loops and twists.
Now, you might think that, launching on the Wii, the long-awaited sequel would use the system's innovative controller to take that feeling one stage further. Has the Wii remote been harnessed to send Nights swooping, turning and soaring, perhaps in full, free-roaming 3D this time around? In a word, no. In the flying sections of the game, Nights behaves pretty much as he always did, flying on a preset, 2D plane along a trail of rings and orbs. At times the game does take on an into-the-screen 3D view, but these work in pretty much the same way as in the 3D Sonic games - as quick, spectacular scenes that offer limited player control or scope for manoeuvre.
Sadly, the implementation of the Wii controller is a disaster. Using the remote as a pointer, you control a cursor on the screen which steadily drags Nights towards it when you press A. This works reasonably well when you're just flying in a straight line, but try pulling off complex aerobatic combos or even staying on path when the camera suddenly shifts perspective - which it does - and the system simply isn't responsive enough to cope. Anyone with any sense will rapidly switch to the Nunchuk option, which uses the analogue stick to steer and the buttons on the remote for the drill-dash. It's a bit dull, but at least it works.
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