Cotton: Fantastic Night Dreams

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Cotton Fantastic Night Dreams Logo.png

Cotton: Fantastic Night Dreams (also referred to as Fantastic Night Dreams: Cotton), the first game in the Cotton series and the first game developed by Success, was released for the arcade in March 1991.

Cotton: Fantastic Night Dreams
Cotton Title Screen.png

Title screen

Developer: Success
Music: Kenichi Hirata
Program: Masaru Hatsuyama
Toshiyuki Kuwabara
Art: Hideki Tamura
Shinobu Ito
T. Kashima
Release date: March 1991
Next game: Next game in a series

Gameplay Overview

Cotton Screenshot Stage 1 075.png
Cotton Stage 3 Screenshot 109.png
Cotton Screenshot Stage 4 038.png

A traditional shmup featuring a variety of obstacle types and enemies with distinctive attack sprites and movement patterns. There are terrain obstacles which block movement but do not usually kill on contact.

The player's arsenal are a shot, missile and options, similar to Gradius, each of which are upgraded in a different manner, including powering up the shot by killing enemies. The player can also use a stock of magic to cast powerful spells.

Usually considered a moderately easy shmup to 1-ALL.


Cotton has two button controls with multiple actions per button.

Joystick (Two Buttons).png
  • A (Press): Fire Shot
  • B (Press): Drop Bomb
  • A (Hold, Release): Use Magic
  • B (Hold, Release): Launch Fairies
  • A+B (Hold, Release): Combination Magic


You play the witch called Cotton, 'who doesn't care such a thing and just loves "Willows"!'.





Cotton utilises a forward facing shot and downward angled bombs. She starts the game with one fairy and four magic (two fire, two lightning).

Main Shot Level and EXP

Cotton EXP Bar .png

The main shot increases in power by filling the EXP bar. The EXP bar is increased by shooting enemies and collecting yellow and orange crystals. Bigger enemies grant more EXP. The small yellow crystals give a similar amount of EXP to killing a medium-size enemy, which is equivalent to killing multiple small enemies.

The higher your shot level, the larger the EXP bar gets, and the more EXP you must collect to reach the next level. You will have to survive several stages without dying to reach the maximum shot level.

The diamonds next to the EXP bar indicate your current shot level. You start with one small diamond, which will grow to a medium size when you level up, then large size, then a new small diamond is added. The final power level, after three large diamonds, is indicated by one extra-large diamond. This makes ten total levels.

Bombs and Bomb Power-Ups

Bombs are dropped down and foward to hit enemies below (or very close to) Cotton.

Bomb Power-Up icons add new properties to your bomb.

  • 1 Power-Up: Two bombs can be on screen at once.
  • 2 Power-Ups: Three bombs can be on screen at once.
  • 3 Power-Ups: One of your three bombs are red.
  • 4 Power-Ups: Two of your three bombs are red.
  • 5 Power-Ups: All three bombs are red.

Red bombs continue travel along the ground when they hit it instead of exploding.


Urn Monster Fairy .png
Cotton Fairy Front .png

Faries are freed from certain urn-face monsters. Whens shot, these monsters will leave the screen return with a frozen fariy for you to shoot at and release.

Fairies will follow Cotton in a trailing line (similar to Gradius options) and fire fowards at enemies. When they touch to a non-boss enemy they will latch onto it and deal damage until the enemy is dead.

All fairies can be bunched together and thrown by holding and releaseing B. Faries that hit an enemy in this way will latch onto it as above.

The number of fairies you have also affects some of your spells.


Cotton Magic Icons.png

There are two types of magic: fire (red) and lightning (blue), gained by collecting the corresponding colour of crystal.

Six magic items can be held in stock, after which if another is collected one in the stock is removed (starting with the earliest collected). 500 points are awarded when this happens.

By expending her magic, Cotton can cast four spells.


Spell Type Image Description
Flame Dragon
Cotton Fire Magic.png
(Hold A)
Cotton Fire Dragon Spell.png
A large dragon head fires across the screen causing immediate large damage.
Cotton Lightning Magic.png
(Hold A)
Cotton Lightning Spell.png
A lightning bolt fires across the screen, lasting for severeal seconds and covering a large area.
Flaming Faires
Cotton Fire Magic.png
(Hold A+B)
Cotton Fairy Fire Spell.png
The player's fairies ignite and seek out enemies on the screen, dealing damage on contact.
Cotton Lightning Magic.png
(Hold A+B)
Cotton Shield Spell.png
The character is surrounded with a shield that protects against projectiles and enemies, and deals damage on contact with enemies.
The shield dissipates after several seconds, or shortly after dealing damage to an enemy.

Casting a spell does not grant any invicibility.?

Effect of Death on Weapons

  • Bullet level is halved
  • Bomb power is returned to weakest level
  • A fairy is expended in a screen clearing explosion (unless you have only 1 fairy)



A crystal may be dropped (usually at random, sometimes at fixed points) when an enemy is destroyed. They come in small, large and (very rarely) extra large sizes.

When a crystal is shot, it may change colour. They can also be destroyed if they take a lot of damage.

Colour Small Large Effect
Cotton Crystal Yellow.png
Cotton Large Crystal Yellow.png
Small EXP
Cotton Small Crystal Orange.png
Cotton Large Crystal Orange.png
Large EXP
Cotton Small Crystal Red.png
Cotton Large Crystal Red.png
Fire Spell / Fire Spell x2
Cotton Small Crystal Blue.png
Cotton Large Crystal Blue.png
Lightning Spell / Lightning Spell x2

Other Items

Item Image Effect
Bomb Power-Up
Cotton Bomb Powerup Animated.gif
Adds new properties to your bomb.
Double Bomb Power-Up
Cotton Double Bomb Powerup.gif
Has the effect of two bomb power-ups.
Cotton Dark Teacup Item.png
Cotton Light Teacup Item.png
Award points.
Acorn Dropped when a fairy is freed. Awards 3000 points.



Stages and Loops

There are 6 full-length stages and a final stage comprising only of a boss fight.

Not including cutscenes, the playtime of the first loop of stages is approximately 29 minutes.

After completing the final stage, the player is asked if they want to "Go Extra" and can proceed to a second loop.

If the 2nd loop is completed, a different ending is played.?

Extra Lives

Scoring extends are awarded at 100,000 points, 200,000 points and...?

Cotton Lives Icons.png


The Cotton end-of-level scoring screen
Action Image Points Description
Dealing Damage 10 points/damage? Awarded for damaging enemies or crystals.
Destroying Enemies Varies Enemy point values start at 100. The first boss and midboss are worth 3000. The final boss is worth 25,000.
Collect Acorn 3,000/acorn When a fairy is freed from an urn, it drops an acrorn straight down.
Excess Magic 500/crystal If the player already has the maximum stock of 6 magic, 500 points are awarded when a blue or red crystal is collected.
Collect Dark Teacup
Cotton Dark Teacup Item.png
500 points/cup
These items fall at the end of a level.
End of Stage Bonuses
Retain Magic
(Magic Bonus)
1,000 points/magic stock This is awarded if the player has magic in stock at the end of the level. It is counted on the end-of-stage bonus screen as "Magic Bonus".
Collect Light Teacup
(Attack Bonus)
Cotton Light Teacup Item.png
100 points/cup
(at end of level)
These items fall at the end of a stage. The score is counted on the end-of-stage bonus screen as "Attack Bonus"
Avoid Teacups
(Special Bonus)
20,000 points If the player avoids the whole end-of-stage teacup attack instead of collecting any (of either colour), they will be awarded this bonus. It is counted on the end-of-stage bonus screen as "Special Bonus", which replaces "Attack Bonus".
End of Loop Bonuses
Retain Lives
(Cotton Bonus)
10,000 points/life Lives left at the end of stage 7 (including the current life) are cashed in for points. As there are not teacups on stage 7, this replaces the Attack/Special bonus on the final bonus screen, and is listed as "Cotton Bonus".
Retain Magic
(Magic Bonus)
3,000 points/magic stock As with the equivalent end-of-stage bonus, this is awarded for magic left in stock, but for a greater number of points per magic. It is counted on the final bonus screen as "Magic Bonus".


See Cotton: Fantastic Night Dreams/Strategy for stage maps, enemy and boss descriptions, walkthroughs, and advanced play strategies.

Basic Survival Tips

Use your fairies effectively. At the start of the game when your shot is weak you will kill medium and large enemies much quicker by flinging your fairies at enemies and firing while they are all latched on. As your train of fairies gets larger you can effectively protect yourself from enemies that try to collide with you by positioning the fairites between you and the enemies. They will latch on and eliminate the threat before it reaches you. Similarly, you can attack enemies that you can’t reach with your shot by hovering your fairies near to an enemy even if it is above, below or behind you.

Stay powered up and save your magic. Magic does it does not offer invincibilty and only kills things slightly quicker than your levelled-up shot. Magic is useful for hitting things when your shot is blocked, as it hits across the screen, but it is generally not essential for survival. However, after a death you take a significant hit to your shot power. Not being able to kill enemies or boss parts as quickly can make many situations highly unsafe. User your magic in these situations, making up for your lower damage output while you slowly build back your shot power.


Cotton Story Edit Transparency.png

Darkness has fallen over the land. The secret to bringing the morning and restoring light is with the seven coloured Willow candies of Fairyland, each of which is currently held by an evil monster.

The fairy Silk leaves Fairyland to seek help, and comes across the powerful witch Cotton. Cotton has little interest in saving the world, but does have a sweet tooth for Willow candies. Silk promises Cotton that if she gathers all of the Willows, they will turn into a giant Willow.

Ending: Having gathered all of the Willows and defeated the leader of the evil monsters, Cotton reaches fairyland. The queen of the fairies thanks Cotton, and releases the colors in the seven Willows to restore the light. With the Willows gone, Silk apologises to Cotton for lying, but mentions a gold Willow in the next land. Cotton is rejuvenated with energy and dashes away to seek the gold Willow...

Development History

If available, you can include information here about the hardware, the development of the game, and its general reception. Try to have as much information in this section cited as possible.

Version Differences

Cotton has had multiple ports, some notable for various reasons.

  • The PC Engine port, released on February 12, 1993[1], has been praised for its remixed, CD-quality soundtrack.
  • The Sharp X68000 port, released on September 24, 1993 [2], featured redrawn, high-resolution graphics and fine-tuned gameplay, and is sometimes considered the definitive version.


  • Cool facts and random tidbits go here!


See (Template Page)/Gallery for our collection of images and scans for the game.

Video References

If the game already has an existing entry in the Video Index, please link to the page here. If you want to link to smaller clips perhaps not included in the Index, you can also leave them here.

References & Contributors

  2. User:72.8% Water