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Ecco the Dolphin (Genesis)

86
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.8
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  J. G. (7)
Written on  :  Mar 27, 2005
Platform  :  Genesis

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Summary

Solitude...

The Good

If you're reading this, you probably know the story already. You're a dolphin who goes off on his own to find its pod after a turbulent underwater whirlwind, if we can call it that. From there, it's you again the deep big ocean.

And that's how it feels too.

I don't think I've ever gone through the whole game, but it doesn't matter to me. Everytimes you start a new game, you're sucked into this whole underwater world of solitude and isolation and strange myths. Something I've always loved, and found somewhat eerie, is that humans don't seem to matter at all in this game. It's not the surface-dwellers' world you're part of, it's all about the underwater kingdom and their extra-planetary concerns.

Gameplay? Oh, right... gameplay.

You could call it a platformer, I guess, but most of the time you actually have to jump out of the water and OVER platforms. This game is just beyond genres. Sometimes you just have to make your way through underwater mazes (watch it down there cuz you gotta catch your breath every now and then) and sometimes you have to help your fellow dolphins. You can communicate with crystals, or at least extract information from them, or to other mammals such as the aforementionned dolphins or with orcas. Oh and there's a whale too... a big, long whale, peacefully swimming in the cold waters. I was just awed by the size of that thing on my TV back then.

Of course, there some hazards to deal with. As I've mentionned before... air. You're a mammal and you like to breathe. Sometimes you'll need to surface and sometimes you'll need to find underwater pockets of air. So when you're exploring an underwater maze, things can get quickly claustrophobic. Not only that, but you'll have to cope with the usual baddies such as sharks, jellyfishes and some rather bitchy octopuses (you know how these things get). To discard these enemies (minus the octopus), you have your thrusty (haha!) nose to ram into your opponents or you may, in some cases, make use of your radar (after proper upgrading, of course.) Ahhhh yes, the radar. Now that's one of the reasons this game is so interesting. You don't have an in-game map per se, but you can get little segments of it by using your radar (Your name is not Ecco for just no reason you know.)

Sound is actually pretty good for a Genesis game. I especially loved the sound orcas make when you talk to them. But the music is... it's just amazing. It seems that there's always a song that's suiting for the current situation and it contributes extremely well to the overall ambience.

The Bad

Nada.

The Bottom Line

It's this kind of weird games the Genesis was good at churning out. The game is pretty straightforward and you're given very little explanation about what's going on. Great! I'm always ready to surrender to this kind of stuff. It's nice, simple and clean.