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In the end, though, Ecco the Dolphin is a faithful port of everything that made my Genesis outing great, with a few improvements to boot. The old, clunky password system has been replaced by the option to save my progress wherever I wish, and the many secrets in the game were left intact. Finding some of them even became achievements. With the only problem marring my quest being a hardware difficulty and not a software one, it's reassuring to know that my quest is just as good as it's always been... arguably even better.
While it may seem that I’m extremely down on Ecco given the criticisms listed here, I actually like it and look forward to playing it more. I feel, though, that it was a tough game when it came out for the Genesis, and that hasn’t changed now. The 400 Microsoft Points (about $5) is a small price to pay for the title; the bigger cost is in the time, effort and patience you’ll need to devote to this one in order to wring every drop out of it.
There is no doubt that Ecco the Dolphin shows its age, but it's still one of the most unique games out there. Watching Ecco leap out of the water and navigate the murky depths is still a lot of fun. You'll probably want to pass on this rendition of Ecco's adventure if you've played it on other systems because the improvements don't enhance the gameplay experience all that much. However, if you haven't played Ecco the Dolphin before and think you'd enjoy working through a challenging side-scroller as a bottlenose dolphin, you'll be able to squeeze enough play time and enjoyment out of this download to justify spending 400 points ($5) on it.
Ecco the Dolphin is a classic from SEGA. But sometimes classic's should stay in the past. For those who have played Ecco before, there's really no reason to come back to it. There are no extras offered and the Achievements are junk. If you've never played Ecco, then you may want to give it a go. It really is one of the more innovative titles of its time. But, again, that time has long passed and Ecco's gameplay doesn't stand the test of time like Sonic's.
I'll give just about any game a try, no matter how ridiculous it is or how difficult it may be, but I cannot find any enjoyment here. Nothing appeals to me. The graphics and audio are what you would expect from a Genesis game, and as such, do not hold up after all these years, even on XBLA. The only reason why someone would buy this is to take a trip down memory lane, and for even the most nostalgic of gamers, that trip will end far sooner than they anticipated.
I didn't play though this XBLA version. Once I started the game all the bad memories came flooding back. I thought maybe I could power through it now that I am older and wiser. Nope, couldn't do it.
But seriously. Do you really need to delve into this game now? And if so, wouldn't you feel much better about it if you could do so in the company of all sorts of other big Mega Drive names for a fraction of the price? Although you can excuse Sega for trying it on with a true classic like Sonic, foisting dated crap like Ecco on us yet again feels like a monumental waste of everyone's time. Download the free trial if you must, but don't even think about parting with your hard-earned cash for this. It might still look pretty, but Ecco plays like a dog. Avoid avoid-o!