In a time where Sonic ran the industry and Sega's advertisements were brazen, clever, and humorous, Ecco: the Dolphin was released. A unique and innovative title that didn't really seem to fit into all the hype and commotion that Sega was trying to accumulate. Unfortunately, a lot of people passed this game by simply because it didn't look "fast enough" to be any good. Sadly, many people missed a great game in the same vein as Out of this World and Flashback.
Now don't think that Ecco is more running around as an obscure French guy, pushing buttons, finding keys, and survinving in a clever, McGyverish manner. Oh no, in Ecco you play a Dolphin who's pod has mysteriously vanished. Left alone in the ocean, you set out on a mystical quest to find your family and unravel the events leading up to their abduction.
What you'll likely notice first about Ecco is the game's graphics. The worlds you'll visit are lushly colored with detail and animation that's hard to come by on the Genesis, especially in 1992 when the game originally debuted. Even more impressive is that each level is vast with tons of hidden areas, each with its own theme and graphics. The animation on Ecco and all the creatures you'll encounter are also superb. Very smooth and realistic, you'll think there's a real ocean inside your TV!
The controls are rather simple though you'll need to master each of them to take on the sizable challenge that Ecco offers. You can dash to break objects and attack certain creatures, you can use radar to free animals and communicate with them as well as using it to see a partial map of the level you're in. And finally, you can jump by dashing and heading towards the surface of the water. The size and speed of the jump depends on your entry angle and dash speed; all very logical and precise, oftentimes requiring a few attempts to get it right.
With those three skills alone you'll have to solve numerous puzzles like breaking through barricades, passing dangerous creatures, and saving fellow dolphins and animals. All of the puzzles take some serious thinking and usually are only solved after a bit of trial and error.
Ecco is definitely one of the most interesting game's I've played. The experience is whimsical due to the graphics and atmosphere and the challenge is difficult and thought provoking. Overall, if you're into more adventure than action, like to solve puzzles, or have always wanted to be a dolphin, then give Ecco a try.
Graphics: Lush colors and detail coupled with the superb animation makes Ecco a marvel to watch
Sound: Sound effects are a bit scratchy but the ambient/incidental music is wonderful
Enjoyment: Solving puzzles and swimming around as a dolphin is fun and rewarding
Replay Value: The game is long and difficult and rather fun to return to just to jump around
This game is quite unique if you ask me, you play as a dolphin, not a dolphin that has a gun, not a dolphin that can fly or walk on land, just a dolphin that happens to be in the right place at the right time. You are Ecco (yes that's Ecco not Echo) and you lose the rest of your pod in a freak storm, you must literally travel the world and time and space to get them back. Yes I know this sounds a little cheesy but it is done in such as way as to grab you in and you get engrossed in this game. The controls can be a little hard to get used to as you are a dolphin swimming in water, and thus you do have a small turning circle, but once you get it sorted you can be as elegant as the dolphins themselves :). This game is beautifully done, from the opening sequence to the amazing music that flows through the game almost seamlessly, if your looking for a game that isn't just another action game, and will take you in for days if not weeks then this is the game for you.
People who downloaded Ecco the Dolphin have also downloaded:
Ecco The Dolphin (Windows 95), Dizzy: Fantasy World of Dizzy, Dizzy: Prince of Yolkfolk, Asterix: Operation Getafix, Dizzy: Fantastic Adventure of Dizzy, Grand Theft Auto 2, Dizzy: Bubble Dizzy, Gobliiins
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