Tuesday Oct 02, 2012
It’s a good day for fans of classic SEGA.
Both NiGHTS and Sonic Adventure 2 are priced at $9.99/£6.49/€7.99 on PlayStation Network and 800 MSP on the Xbox 360. The games have been remastered in HD and are stocked with unique achievements.
Sonic Adventure 2 also offers players the ability to grab the “Battle Mode” downloadable content for an additional $3.00/£1.99/€2.49/AU$4.25/240 Microsoft Points this Friday, adding in maps and characters from the the Gamecube re-release of the game. Meanwhile, players who buy a copy of NiGHTS into Dreams… will receive free access to the Christmas NiGHTS bonus content, containing levels previously only available through special promotions and SEGA Saturn holiday bundles.
Additionally, anyone who buys a copy of either game on the PlayStation Network will receive a free, exclusive NiGHTS or Sonic Adventure 2 theme for their PlayStation 3.
Last bit of official notice before I pontificate for a bit about each game: both games will also be coming to PC digital download in the coming months, so if you’re a PC gamer (as I am) then you’re in luck — stay tuned for more info!
Sonic Swan Song
As a fan who grew up with Sega in the 1990s (okay, and the 80s) it’s definitely a kick and a trip to see these two games arrive on these platforms on the same day.
Sonic Adventure 2 released in 2001 for the Dreamcast — it was the last and the biggest Sonic game on that system. Introducing Shadow the Hedgehog and combining both the arcade thrills of old-school Sonic with the sprawling adventure made possible by new hardware, Sonic Adventure 2 was a wonderful swan song for a beloved system. Featuring an epic plot and six playable characters — including the he’s-so-bad-but-ladies-couldn’t-you-make-him-change Shadow the Hedgehog, the game was definitely memorable.
And yet it was nearly eclipsed by another feature within the game — to this day we get letters from fans about Chao Gardens, the delightfully ahead-of-its-time ‘battle’ feature that allowed you to raise, evolve, and battle for supremacy with the adorable little Chao. At the recent Penny Arcade Expo I had fans walk up and tell me that they still had their Dreamcast VMU, and still had their Chao saved to it.
Given the game’s critical success and lasting popularity with fans, it was also probably inevitable that it would end up with HD remastering as a digital release.
Dream a Little Dream
Maybe less inevitable was the (ahem) journey that NiGHTS took to get here. The pure definition of a cult classic, NiGHTS was released on the SEGA Saturn in 1996. Part of the middle-child “fifth generation” of consoles (along with the Nintendo 64 and the original PlayStation) released in the 90s, some truly unique and awesome games showed up for the Saturn, as games began for the first time to experiment with transitioning from 2D platformers to 3D spaces.
NiGHTS was and remains unlike anything else that’s been released. Partly, this is the still-dazzling aerial navigation through 3D space and the technical achievement of smoothly pulling off so much wizardly. But technically impressive achievements can always be surpassed and what’s given NiGHTS lasting appeal is that it has a unique and haunting story — there is an ethereal feel of other-worldliness to the game. The game follows the nocturnal journeys in the dream realm of its child protagonists, who use the form of the eponymous purple jester as a sort of avatar to explore the dreamscape and take back stolen dream aspects.
It’s a mythology-heavy and even existential plot that deals with the slippery nature of identity and how our dreams inform our reality and vice-versa — and if that seems kind of heavy for a wild-looking racing/adventure game bursting with color where you play as a magical purple-clad jester, tell that to the legion of fans who are to this day inspired by NiGHTS to create music and artwork. Since arriving at SEGA five years ago I have learned that NiGHTS fans are one of the most tirelessly devoted and best organized groups of I’ve ever encountered. They’ve been carrying the torch for this game for sixteen years, and it’s — ahh, I’ll just go ahead and say it, please forgive me — a dream come true to release this.
If it seems like I’m getting all emotional here, well … games like the enigmatic NiGHTS and the rollicking and ambitious Sonic Adventure 2 are why I love games in the first place, and it’s my pleasure to re-introduce them to our old fans, and introduce them for the first time to new fans.
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