Doing dolphiny things to somehow save your family from aliens...
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I'm Gaming Jay: Youtube gamer, let's player, fan of retro games, and determined optimist... Join me in this series while I try out EACH of the video games in the book 1001 VIDEO GAMES YOU MUST PLAY BEFORE YOU DIE, before I die. The game review for each game will focus on the question of whether you MUST play this game before you die. But to be honest, the game review parts are just for fun, and are not meant to be definitive, in depth reviews; this series is more about the YouTube gamer journey itself. From Mario games to the Halo series, from arcade games to Commodore 64, PC games to the NES and Sega Genesis, Playstation to the Xbox, let's play those classic retro games that we grew up with, have fond memories of, or heard of but never got a chance to try! And with that said, the game review for today is...
Ecco the Dolphin
Developer(s) Novotrade International
Platform(s) Sega Genesis / Mega Drive
Ecco the Dolphin is an interesting a unique action-adventure game that sees you take on the role of a dolphin and explore the ocean in an attempt to (somehow) save your family from aliens. In typical Sega fashion, the gameplay is fast. At the time of this game's release, Sega and Nintendo were locked in a bitter console war, and Sega was known to advertise its "blast processing" capabilities. No one knew what blast processing really meant, except that games looked kinda fast on the Sega Genesis. And Ecco was no exception.
The gameplay is relatively simple in concept: you can swim around as a dolphin, jump out of the water, lunge at enemy fishes, and otherwise just sort of swim around. You do have the ability to use sonar, which both allows you to talk to other dolphins or whales, as well as to quickly map your environment. I actually really liked the creativity behind using your sonar for these dual functions. Other aspects of the game are that you need to watch both your health and your oxygen levels, as you do need to breath air to live. You can also eat little fish to recover your health if you're injured.
Much of your time in Ecco will be spent exploring labyrinthine caves in the ocean and having to find gem stones which give you the power to unlock other areas. One of my major complaints of this game is regarding these gem stones. All the gem stones seem to look alike. Hence, when you encounter a gem you never know if this one is going to give you a key or is locking off an area... it's an annoying an unnecessary aspect to the game. My other issue with this game is its difficulty. Not only is it actually kind of hard to stay alive, but levels themselves are needlessly obscure sometimes, making the game almost feel like a puzzle game at times. I actually had to look up a tutorial on the first level of the game as I got stuck. And just so you don't think I'm being over-dramatic here, the game's designer himself has said that he regrets making Ecco as hard as he did.
... continued at letsplay1001.com ...