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Ecco the Dolphin

aka: 3D Ecco the Dolphin, Ecco

Description official descriptions

Travel through time along with Ecco the dolphin, in the only game that could call itself a "dolphin simulator". Indeed, you can do pretty much everything a typical dolphin does, including eating fish, surfacing in order to breathe, using your biological sonar and of course, jumping out of the water to amaze your friends.

The storyline is actually deeper that one may think by looking at the box illustration. As Ecco, you are the only dolphin who managed to escape from a giant whirlpool which sucked down your entire pod. The five shining stars on your forehead show that you are the chosen one to save them. But that task will be not be an easy one, as you will have to travel through time and space with the Atlantean time machine, and meet the mystical Asterite in order to defeat the Vortex Queen.

The main part of the gameplay in Ecco the Dolphin relies on exploring various aquatic levels. They are usually nonlinear, with submerged caverns and tunnels branching out from the main bodies of water. The navigation is impeded by islands that must be hopped over, volcanoes that spit hot lava, powerful currents, deadly spikes, and dangerous predators such as octopi and giant eels. The sonar ability has multiple functions: you can communicate with friendly animals, map out the nearby area (echolocation), activate glyphs, and eventually defeat enemies. Activating glyphs is necessary because they can unlock unexplored parts of the current level, including the exit that leads to the next area; some of them can even bestow the gift of invincibility on Ecco for a limited time.

You must keep an eye on the life and breath meters. Dolphins can't stay underwater for a long period of time and must return to the surface for air. However, the cavern systems may hide the occasional pocket of air as well. Every time you are hit by spikes, lava, or an enemy, Ecco loses health, and once it reaches zero you will have to replay the level from the beginning. The life meter can be replenished by eating fish or by finding healing clams, called the Shelled Ones, and communicating with them. It's possible to avoid most enemies, but Ecco can kill troublesome creatures using the death sonar or by charging them head-on.


  • エコー・ザ・ドルフィン - Japanese spelling

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Credits (Genesis version)

33 People (23 developers, 10 thanks) · View all



Subject User Date
win 3.x compatible eXo (346) 2014-07-28 17:13:50
Favorite level music from Ecco the Dolphin Johnny de Alba 2008-08-29 08:16:46


1001 Video Games

Ecco the Dolphin appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Cut content

There are two spots high above water along the left and right walls of Origin Beach where there were once glyphs (Or some creature) that was removed from the game. However if you use your sonar against those walls you still get messages from them.

The left one says:

*"We hear song in the ocean!"

"We hear our kind in the sea!"

"Never have we heard songs in the sea!" The right one says:*

*"You sing our song under the waves - who are you?"

"Could we sing in the sea? Could we live in the sea?"

"Perhaps we will try!"*

Ed Annunziata explained that this was the answer to the question Ecco was asked in Home Bay "Why do Dolphins live in the sea?"

Ecco was supposed to be talking to his prehistoric ancestors and convincing them to join him in the deep! Unfortunately they were removed to time constraints.


  • FLUX
    • Issue #4 - #100 in the "Top 100 Video Games of All-Time" list

Information also contributed by Big John WV

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Cochonou.

Wii added by Corn Popper. Game Gear added by yprbest. Nintendo 3DS added by Michael Cassidy. Windows 3.x added by eXo. SEGA Master System added by Tibes80. Nintendo Switch added by Kam1Kaz3NL77. SEGA CD, Xbox 360 added by Kartanym. iPhone added by Sciere. Macintosh, Linux added by Foxhack. Windows added by Tomaweezi.

Additional contributors: chirinea, Opipeuter, Deven Gallo, formercontrib, Patrick Bregger, Starbuck the Third, FatherJack, Harmony♡.

Game added June 10th, 2002. Last modified April 17th, 2023.