Level Select Thursdays: Spring Valley and Splash Garden
Before reading the rest of this post, I want you to go ahead and think about any game from your childhood that you loved but didn’t clearly understand what in the blue hell was going on. Well for me it game on the Sega Saturn called Nights Into Dreams. When it comes to games in 3D my mind doesn’t directly think of the 64, but rather the Sega Saturn (most likely due to getting that console first). So outside of Virtua Fighter, I received this magic piece of a game. You may or may not know this Sega property, so I will take you through the first two levels for one my favorite games of all time.
I’ll get this out of the way first, but I have no idea what is going on at all in this game. You get the choice of playing of either a young boy or young girl, but other than two different opening levels it doesn’t affect game play styles since you end up playing as Nights anyways. If you were looking for some reason as to why you are in this world, well (at least in the first world) you won’t get any of that. Which I honestly don’t mind, sometimes diving right into something can be amazing.
I mean since this game is based around the ideas of dreams as levels, do you as person understand all of your dreams? I know I don’t so in that sense it works.
When playing any game you expect some sort of obstacle in your path, and that could either be enemies or the environment. Sonic Team for this game actually combines this idea, but with the rate of speed that Nights fly’s at it will be hard to tell initially what is enemy or not. However once you do figure that out, you can use the enemies to some extra bonus points.
Since we are dealing with two levels, that means two different music tracks. Spring Valley’s music is possibly the most upbeat track I’ve heard in a video game before. The sheer energy that pours out it just makes me want to play this level over and over again. When you switch over to Splash Garden it’s in fact the opposite. It’s a more somber musical piece, but trust me it doesn’t lull you to sleep. It feels more like the start of a dream and Spring Valley is the next progression where the player in a more lucid dream state.
Or at least that’s how I see it. I could honestly be wrong.
Since both of these are at the start of the game the actually level design is okay a best. It’s mere taste of what’s to come later in the game. I’ll wrap this up with by saying Nights Into Dreams left a amazing impression on me as a kid. I never knew a level in any game could look or sound so fantastic. I know a lot of people give the Sega Saturn a ton of flak, but this is a title worth a look at.