We’re taking a look at some of the best games with Christmas themes, just in time for the holiday, and we’ve got a selection of a few favorites that you’re sure to love – even if you’re not playing them today or tomorrow.
Of course, we have to give some notice to one of the few Christmas games that actually has the name of the holiday in the title – Christmas NiGHTS Into Dreams. And while this was originally released as a sampler for the main Sega Saturn game, it’s packed with enough content for many players to consider it a full release in its own right.
This release originally came with an issue of the Official Dreamcast Magazine as a bonus offering to subscribers, although there were other ways to maintain a copy. The game only includes two variants of a single stage, instead of a number of stages like the original NiGHTS. However, it also comes with a number of “gifts” that can be opened over the course of the game, providing players with access to new modes and other goodies throughout.
The game once again brings back Claris and Elliott, the two human characters that work alongside the “dream warrior” to eradicate evil forces from the world. The gameplay is about the same, as you perform loops around enemies to eliminate them, while also collecting items such as stars and orbs throughout the stage.
However, Christmas NiGHTS has a holiday-themed design that matches up with the holiday, including decorations and a wintery theme throughout that match the nature of Christmas. For good nature, there’s also a boss, who, once beaten, opens up content within the game.
This content varies, between the core Christmas NiGHTS component with bonus gifts, as well as extra modes like NiGHTS: Limited Edition, which features the content without the winter motif (though why you’d want to play that way is beyond us); Winter NiGHTS, which features a special soundtrack and a wintery teme; and New Year’s NiGHTS, which only works when the Saturn is scheduled for New Year’s Day, featuring a different title screen and song.
There are other little changes as well, like playing as Reala instead of NiGHTS on April Fools Day, as well as different effects depending on the time of day, like a lunar effect at 3:00 AM, rainbows, clouds and confetti at 12:00 PM, and, our favorite, candy at 3 PM.
Christmas NiGHTS also has other bonus goodies, like an A Cappella version of “Dreams, Dreams”, a karaoke mode, a music player, and, during one particular stage, the ability to play as Sonic the Hedgehog in a time attack-based mini-game. There’s also Sonic CD music included with that mode.
The game also released for the PlayStation 2 in Japan under the Sega Ages label, but with a few changes, like the missing Sonic mini-game. However, it offered up its own bonus content, like bonus costumes for the kids (Halloween and summer oriented) and more.
Still, most players will be pleased with the Saturn version, mainly because of the many presents that it offers. It’s going for a pretty high price on eBay right now, but ask any die-hard Sega fan and they’ll tell you – it’s worth it.