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Release the Gillwing!
~ Wizeman, NiGHTS Archie Comics.

Gillwing (ギルウィング Giruu~ingu) is a second level Nightmaren and boss in NiGHTS into Dreams, as well as the main antagonist of Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams. He is a giant screaming dragon tadpole with bat wings.

Physical Appearance

Gillwing is a green and blue dragon tadpole with a long tail with pink and orange spikes. His face is blue and yellow with a blue horn on the top and large spikes at the bottom. Gillwing has green bat-like wings where tadpoles gill's are located.

In Christmas NiGHTS, Gillwing is red and green instaed of green and blue. His wings are purple and his tail has red, yellow and green stripes and pink and orange spikes.

NiGHTS into Dreams

In NiGHTS into Dreams, Gillwing is Spring Valley's boss and a Claris Nightmaren, who'll attack after all Ideyas are collected in the level. His boss battle theme is called "The dragon gave a loud scream".


Gillwing's battle is known for being the fastest in the NiGHTS series. All he does is constantly fly in circles and if NiGHTS flies into either his mouth or tail, they will be damaged. To defeat Gillwing, it's necessary to destroy his whole tail and the player can do that in a fraction of seconds by going behind him and paralooping the end of his tail.[2] The player must be careful though, as they may touch Gillwing's tail when trying to do that, which will damage NiGHTS.

A slower but safer way to defeat Gillwing is by grabbing and tearing off his head, which will regenerate and replace a part of his tail. Gillwing will start shrinking and once there's no more tail, he will be defeated.[3] The player shall not fly into his mouth, otherwise, it will damage NiGHTS.

It should be noted that the tail's hitbox size has changed in each version of the game. In the Sega Saturn version, it's much smaller, but in the remasters made for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC, it became much bigger, which means paralooping Gillwing's tail is much harder and risky in all of the remasters.

After the battle, Gillwing isn't seen again.


Gillwing's battle happens in a weird garden like environment with giant flowers which are constantly opening and closing, mushrooms which keep growing and shrinking, rocks floating around and two red suns. In the center of the area, there's a weird tree with a blue star spinning above it. It's possible that the garden is located in space or perhaps in another planet, due the dark sky, floating rocks and the two red suns.

Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams

Gillwing in Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams.

Gillwing returns to the promotional sampler disc of NiGHTS into Dreams, Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams, where he is once again the boss of Spring Valley (both Claris' and Elliot's versions of the level). In this game, Gillwing is keeping the Twin Seeds Christmas tree star on his tail.

The 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 run out of tail. In Claris's version of Spring Valley, Gillwing will start attacking from the left; while in Elliot's version, he will start attacking from the right.

After defeating him, the star on his tail is brought back to the Christmas tree.


Christmas NiGHTS Gillwing Environment.png

The environment where the battle takes place is similar to the one from NiGHTS into Dreams. Some flowers are replaced by Christmas decorations and presents, the red suns are replaced by purple nebulas, there are gems spinning around the tree in the center of the stage and after the fight, a giant Christmas tree appears in the center.

The star at the top of the Nightmaren tree-like formation in Gillwing's realm in NiGHTS into Dreams has use in Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams as after defeating Christmas Gillwing, the player is awarded with the star that will eventually sit atop a very tree-trimmed Twin Seeds tower. This will make the player win the game in Christmas NiGHTS, but they do not receive the star at the end of the battle in the original game.

NiGHTS Archie Comics

Gillwing in the NiGHTS Archie comics.

In the Archie Comics series, it's Elliot who fights Gillwing, contradicting with the game, where he is a Claris Nightmaren. In the first issue of the series, Wizeman releases Gillwing after seeing Elliot dualizing and releasing NiGHTS from the Ideya Palace. NiGHTS and Elliot were about to fight him when Claris, who was being attacked by Puffy screamed for help. NIGHTS unfused with Elliot to assist Claris, leaving him alone with Gillwing. As Elliot couldn't defeat Gillwing by himself, he ran into an Alarm Egg to wake up.

Elliot comes back to fight Gillwing in the second issue and defeats him off screen. Jackle later informs Wizeman about the news. Gillwing later makes one last appearance in the fifth issue, where he tries to fight Reala along with Puffy, Jackle and Clawz after Reala proclaiming himself the new ruler of Nightmare. Before Gillwing or any of the Nightmarens have a chance to fight Reala, the latter attacks and makes them fall into an abyss.

Other Appearances

  • IconGillwing.png
    NiGHTS into Dreams (LCD): Gillwing appears as a boss in the LCD adaptation of NiGHTS into Dreams. Defeating Gillwing adds 100 points to the game's score.
  • Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure DX: Gillwing made a cameo in Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure DX as a card in the NiGHTS thematic pinball table from Casinopolis.
  • Sonic Pinball Party: Gillwing appears in Sonic Pinball Party as the boss of the Spring Valley's pinball table. To defeat him, the player must make the ball paraloop him enough times under 180 seconds.
  • Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed: Gillwing makes a cameo in the first lap of the Dream Valley circuit, when the racers are transported to Nightmare. Additionally, a NiGHTS sticker set, which included a Gillwing sticker, was made for the game, but it was not used in the final game. [4]
  • Gillwing in the Nightmare Zone DLC from Sonic Lost World.

    Sonic Lost World: Gillwing appeared as the sixth boss of the Nightmare Zone DLC of Sonic Lost World, where he is ridden by Zavok. Gillwing will slide across the stage and shoot fireball at Sonic. To defeat him, Sonic must attack a red orb at the end of his tail enough times until he gets defeated.
  • Gillwing's cameo in Skullgirls.

    Skullgirls: On April 5th 2022, one of the artists who worked on the 2D fighting game Skullgirls revealed that in one of the attacks of the character Umbrella, her living Umbrella friend Hungern turns into Gillwing for just a single frame.[5]

Descriptions and Profiles

Japanese bio (NiGHTS into Dreams)

"By Second Level standards, he’s got a huge, enormous body but he’s really just a big air-head. The moment he considers you an enemy, he’ll stop at nothing to chase you down. He possesses the ability to re-grow his head from his long tail."[6]


Gillwing has two different themes. In NiGHTS into Dreams, his theme is The Dragon Gave A Loud Scream.

In Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams, his theme is The Dragon Gave A Loud Scream in Holy Night.



Gillwing's roar.

Gillwing's roar.

Gillwing when he is attacked.

Gillwing when he is defeated.


  • Possible early version of Gillwing.

    In some of the earliest concept arts of the game, there's what appears to be a squid-like Nightmaren, who was most likely one of Gillwing's earliest designs, as he has similar color patterns.
  • Gillwing's name most likely comes from the fact he has wings where tadpole's gills are located.
  • In the Beta version of the game, Gillwing is Frozen Bell's boss.[7]
  • The third level Nightmaren Party looks a bit similar to Gillwing design wise, though with more feminine traits and different colors.
    • Just like Gillwing, Party's tail is its main weapon.
  • Gillwing is one of the two second level Nightmarens who can be defeated with a single attack, the other is Queen Bella from Journey of Dreams.
  • In the Sega Saturn version of both NiGHTS into Dreams and Christmas NiGHTS into Dreams, Gillwing's battle theme will not play until Gillwing roars.
  • In the Sega Saturn version of NiGHTS into Dreams, the hint on how to defeat Gillwing is "Lure the boss into a Paraloop",[8] while in the HD remasters it is simply "Try to use the paraloop attack!".
  • Girania's boss battle from Journey of Dreams is similar to Gillwing's in NiGHTS into Dreams.
    • Both Girania and Gillwing launch themselves into NiGHTS to damage them.
    • They both shrink as they are damaged.
    • NiGHTS can't fly into their mouths, not even while drill dashing.
  • Gillwing is the only villain, other than Wizeman, to appear as the main antagonist of a NiGHTS game, being the main antagonist of Christmas NiGHTS.
  • Gillwing is the only Nightmaren, other than NiGHTS, who has a holiday themed outfit.
  • In the NiGHTS into Dreams game files, Gillwing is nicknamed "#M1:FROGED-DRAGON".[9]