Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams (also known as Christmas NiGHTS, or Christmas NiGHTS Sampler) is a promotional sampler disc of NiGHTS into Dreams that was originally released during the 1996 holiday season for the Sega Saturn. The game follows the story of NiGHTS, Elliot and Claris trying to find the missing star from the Twin Seeds' christmas tree.
This game was later bundled with the NiGHTS into Dreams HD remasters, where it appears as an unlockable.
Taking place after the events of NiGHTS into Dreams, the story takes place during Christmas time.
The city is covered in Christmas decorations and the crowd is searching to buy gifts for their loved ones. Among them are our heroes Elliot and Claris. The crowd is strangely in a rush. The crowd, however, mainly Elliot & Claris, feel that something is missing. In Twin Seeds City, the tower is decorated so nicely that it looks like a Christmas Tree. They then believe that it is the star on the tree that is missing. Elliot & Claris decide to go to Nightopia, find NiGHTS, and retrieve the star.
After defeating the boss, NiGHTS finds the star shining in 7 different colors. Unfortunately, the whole adventure was just a mere dream, of course. They did not tell anyone about the dream, but they did know that something amazing was bound to happen. The next day, they meet each other in town. However, Elliot was in a rush and, as a consequence for his clumsiness and lack of patience, slipped on some ice and bumped into Claris. The crowd watches this as Elliot helps Claris up and laughs and the narrator wishes the players a Merry Christmas.
As in the previous game, the player first selects to play as either Elliot or Claris. As soon as the visitors land on Christmas Spring Valley, the only level in the game, they are attacked by Shleeps and Kircles, who take all of their Ideyas but the red one.
The player will now, need to recover the stolen Ideyas. To do this, they must make Elliot or Claris dualize with NiGHTS and collect 20 blue chips in order to destroy the Ideya Capture. Once the player recovers an Ideya, they must bring it back to the Ideya Palace. The player must do this four times in order to beat the level.
The player will have 120 seconds to do this, otherwise the visitor will unfuse with NiGHTS and the Alarm Egg will appear. If the Alarm Egg catches the visitor, it will make them wake up and it will be game over.
Once all four Ideyas are recovered, NiGHTS is sent to fight Gillwing, the only boss in the game. Gillwing's battle is identical to his NiGHTS into Dreams version, where he will just fly in circles and the player can defeat him by paralooping the end of his tail or by grabbing and tearing off his head until he runs out of tail. In Claris's version of Spring Valley, Gillwing will start attacking from the left; in Elliot's version, he will start attacking from the right.
After completing the stage with either character, the player will have the chance to play a small memory-matching game with tiles of the characters. Matching two tiles will unlock a present. Most content includes various CG art galleries, photos and trailers for the original NiGHTS into Dreams.
The player shall be careful though, as if they uncover the tile with Reala, it will instantly end the game and the player will need to replay and beat the level once more to have a chance to play again. The unlockable presents are the following:
- Karaoke mode: A karaoke version of the song Dreams Dreams plays over gameplay, with lyrics appearing on screen to sing to.
- Time Attack and Link Attack: The player can aim for best time or highest link record in Frozen Bell. This is the only part of the game that allows the player to play as NiGHTS without a time limit.
- Music player: The background music for the main six dreams in NiGHTS into Dreams is made available for listening. As the soundtrack in the original game changes based on A-Life data, here the player can test how certain verses are altered based on various Nightopian moods and manipulate them as they please.
- Sonic the Hedgehog into Dreams: Taking control of Sonic the Hedgehog, this mini-game plays similar to playing as Claris and Elliot on foot without NiGHTS. As there is no time limit or fear of the Alarm Egg, the player is allowed complete exploration of the stage. The goal is similar in collecting Chips and destroying the Ideya Capture, except Sonic is only able to run on foot and jump. The boss fight involves fighting against arch-nemesis Dr. Eggman, although the battle is exactly like that of Puffy with the boss re-skinned to appear like Eggman. The appearance of boss stage remains unchanged, and music is an extended mix of the final boss theme in Sonic CD.
See main article: Clock Features
By playing the game on specific dates, special features such as new backgrounds, costumes for the characters and easter eggs may appear. It should be noted that these features are only available after beating every level in the game. They are present in both the Sega Saturn version of Christmas NiGHTS as well as in all of the NiGHTS into Dreams HD remasters.
- New Year's NiGHTS: When playing the game from January 1st to January 15th, the title screen will display a picture of NiGHTS with the message "Happy New Year". The theme that plays on this screen is called "New Year's ''9TH''". When playing the Christmas NiGHTS version of Spring Valley, Elliot and Claris will be wearing special new year outfits. The level's music track, Paternal Horns, will also change to a music track called "Jack Frost's Chime".
- Winter NiGHTS: When playing the game the game from January 15th to February 13th, February 15th to February 28th, November 1st to November 25th or December 26th to December 31st, the title screen will display a picture of NiGHTS in a snowy background. The theme that plays on this screen is called "Winter Sleep". When playing the Christmas NiGHTS version of Spring Valley, Elliot and Claris will be wearing winter outfits. The level's music track, Paternal Horns, will also change to a music track called "Jack Frost's Chime".
- Rain of Hearts: When playing the game on February 14th, the title screen will still be displaying a picture of NiGHTS in a snowy background and Elliot and Claris will still be wearing winter outfits. However, unlike in the previous dates, it's also gonna be raining hearts on Christmas Spring Valley this time around.
- Rain of Candies: When playing the game on March 14th, it will be raining candies on Christmas Spring Valley.
- Reala's April Fools Easter Egg: Playing the game on April Fool's Day will have the player play as Reala instead of NiGHTS, and will unlock playing as him as one of the game's Presents. The option to change the game into Christmas NiGHTS regardless of the time of the year is also available.
- Christmas NiGHTS: The core of the game, Claris, Elliot and NiGHTS wear Santa-colored outfits, and the background music is replaced by an instrumental rendition of "Jingle Bells". The game's Christmas story is also enabled, as well as a Christmas-themed boss battle with Gillwing. Beating Gillwing with both characters will show the story's ending, with credits featuring the A Cappella version of Dreams, Dreams.
- Santa Claus: Santa Claus may appear flying in the background when playing the game on December 24th and/or December 25th.
- NiGHTS: Limited Edition: When played outside the winter season, the game becomes "NiGHTS: Limited Edition". The game's presentation (title screen, menus and in-game) is similar to that of the full version of NiGHTS into Dreams with no visual alterations.
Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams is an unlockable in all of the NiGHTS into Dreams remasters.
To unlock it, the player must beat the game. Although all of Christmas NiGHTS' Clock Features returned to the game, none of the mini-games and special modes found in the Saturn version, such as the Sonic The Hedgehog Into Dreams mini game, returned.
- The ruby on NiGHTS' chest makes a cameo during the game's intro.
- The Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams European box art is currently the only box art of a NiGHTS game to feature characters other than just NiGHTS.
- The picture on the game's disk varies depending on the region.
- In North America, the disk has a picture of NiGHTS.
- In Europe, the disk has a picture of a Nightopian.
- In Japan, the disk has a silver colored NiGHTS holding a present.
- The music used in the game are "Joy to the World", "Jingle Bells", a Christmas remix of "Dreams, Dreams", and a few other Christmas carols.
- This game was Sonic the Hedgehog's first true 3-D appearance, even coming before "Sonic Adventure".
- The English narration for the cutscenes in Christmas NiGHTS was redubbed for the HD version, with no changes in the script itself.