The first installment, titled The Search for Cetus, was released first on floppy disk, then on CD-ROM with full speech. Adam's attempts to help a dolphin his father has rescued take a turn for the weirder when it starts speaking. In no time flat, he's trying to seek out Cetus, the whale king of Eluria, an underwater kingdom populated by marine animals. He has assistance in the form of several creatures found in the various ecosystems of the world; for instance, a dolphin named Delphineus is an important contributor to the quest. Aside from the considerable liberty of sentient talking animals, the game is more realistic than cartoony - it needs to be, to tell about the real world's environment and pollution. The Search for Cetus introduced the recycling symbol to Sierra's standard palette of command icons, giving the player bonus points for picking up litter. The game features a primitive form of copy protection in the first scene: the player must input a code into a security door to exit the room. The code is 9731, and could be found in the game's manual.
In EcoQuest: The Search for Cetus, you play a little boy named Adam who is the son of an ecologist and was brought up to value preserving the Earth. The game starts with Adam moving to a new location, with no friends. What's a new kid to do? Well, if you answered "Make friends with a talking dolphin and begin an undersea adventure to save the ocean," you'd be correct! What begins as a simple friendship with the talking dolphin, Delphinius, soon explodes when he requests aid from you to help his undersea city. Leaving the surface world behind, Adam begins an adventure involving the discovery of his role in a prophecy of a human boy removing the human waste in the ocean, defeating the flesh-eater, and freeing Cetus, the city's protector. In the end you save the city while learning many important life lessons.
The gameplay is similar to any other Sierra game of the time, with a basic point-and-click interface. The graphics are on par with King's Quest 5 and make for a great game. This game also introduces the recycling icon, whereby Adam can collect trash in his recycling bag! Not only do you learn important ecological principles, but these principles aren't force-fed to you. This game was originally designed for teaching young kids the importance of preserving the Earth, yet is fun for all ages. The only reason this game got a 4 rather than a 5 is its length. After logging a decent hour - maybe two hours - of game play I discovered I was already three quarters of the way done. Due to such short game play and the somewhat linear plot, this game only scores a 4 with me. Also the puzzles are fairly straightforward with usually very little trouble involved in solving them.
In the end, this game is a decent adventure game for all ages. It may be short, but during that short period it's a lot of fun. A quick note; the code for the door in the beginning is 9721. Sorry to give it away but if you can discover this number without using a guide, be my guest. So sit back, grab your recycling container, turn off all your unnecessary light sources and get ready for some light ecological fun!
Part of the EcoQuest Series
Part of the Sierra Discovery Series
People who downloaded EcoQuest: The Search for Cetus have also downloaded:
EcoQuest 2: Lost Secret of the Rainforest, Discworld 2: Mortality Bytes, Conquests of the Longbow: The Legend of Robin Hood, Discworld, Escape from Delirium, King's Quest: Quest for the Crown VGA, Fable, Eric The Unready
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