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Game: NiGHTS: Into Dreams
Song: Growing Wings (Twin Seeds)
Composers: Naofumi Hataya, Tomoko Sasaki, Fumie Kumatani
Above: Dream delights kick in at around :30
What NiGHTS fans lack in numbers, they make up for with unbridled passion for the best little Sega series that never truly got its fair shake. 1995: The Saturn wasn’t taking too well to 3D but Sega needed to harness all its polygonal power and showcase itself as a console capable of doing everything that was blowing the minds of people playing PlayStation, and soon on the Nintendo 64. Give gamers an analog stick, open of an extra plane to play on, maybe? Boy, did they deliver! And for the few who bought the ticket, NiGHTS was a truly unforgettable experience.
In spite of the platform’s demise, the Saturn was a pretty great time for Sega musically. The company had always been a little more “cutting edge” audibly, and NiGHTS falls into the wonderfully weird little period where game music wasn’t quite chiptunes, and wasn’t quite orchestral. You wouldn’t hear a lot of actual instruments, but this was still “Game Music” in the purest sense, using the latest digital technology to reach the what some condier the height of the VGM evolution. NiGHTS is no exception, of course, and the entire soundtrack is filled with peppy melodies, trippy ambiance and glorious fanfares. My favorite though occurs at the end of the game, provided you’ve earned a C rank or better on the previous levels. A bit of a SPOILER, but hey, you’ve had almost fifteen years to play it, so I dunno... deal.
Throughout the entire game you’re playing as two flightless children who must call upon Nights in order to take to the skies. During the final Twin Seeds stage both Elliot and Claris are thrust far away from the genderless jester, seemingly eliminating the transformation, and thus the option of flight. You’re stuck on a floating island with nowhere to go but down, down, down. An arrow urges you onward, but without Nights it looks like the game is pushing you to... certain death?!
Above: "Is the game asking me to kill myself?"
It’s time to take a leap of faith… and the dark, brooding music fades away...
Above: NIGHTS-less FLIGHT!!!
BOOM! A cheery "flute" kicks in with a quick, lighthearted reprise of the game’s theme song as you burst back into the heavens to defeat Wiseman, flying without the power of NiGHTS! A moving climax if there ever was one. See it unfold in realtime below.
Above: Scrub to the 1:15 mark to feel the magic and ignore those ugly screengrabs above
Unfortunately for NiGHTs fans, the Wii’s Journey of Dreams fell ridiculously short of everyone’s hopes and expectations for the series, so a true sequel seems as unlikely as ever. However, Sega has recently expressed interest in porting Saturn games to PSN/XBL so I thoroughly recommend you head here if you’d like to show your support for a digital release, or here just see a kickass NiGHTs fan site.