Ecco the Dolphin (series)

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Ecco the Dolphin is the collective name given to a series of action/adventure science fiction video games developed by Novotrade International (now known as Appaloosa Interactive) and published by Sega. They were originally developed for the Mega Drive/Genesis and Dreamcast video game consoles, but have since been ported to numerous systems. The games are named after their main character, Ecco, a Bottlenose Dolphin. They are known for their high difficulty level.[1][2] Ecco was created by Ed Annunziata,[3] who also produced Chakan: The Forever Man.

The Ecco the Dolphin games hinge on the idea that cetaceans are sapient beings and have their own society. In the Mega Drive/Genesis games, humans aren't acknowledged. The cetaceans call themselves "singers". In the Dreamcast game, dolphins and presumably other cetaceans have united with humans in a cross-species society.

Ecco himself is a young adult male Bottlenose Dolphin, though his gender was ambiguous in the original game. He is very strong and intelligent, even for a cetacean. He is also able to use many unusual powers, such as shapechanging and using his sonar as a weapon. He has five distinct markings on his head which form the shape of the constellation Delphinus.

In the Sega Mega Drive manual backstory, Ecco is acknowledged as the only dolphin to have five stars on his forehead.

Games[edit]

Ecco the Dolphin[edit]

Main article: Ecco the Dolphin

Released in 1992, the original game followed the exploits of a young dolphin named Ecco as he searched the seas, and eventually time itself, for his missing pod.

Ecco II: The Tides of Time[edit]

Also known as Ecco: The Tides of Time. It was released in 1994, the sequel follows Ecco's exploits after the conclusion of the original game as he travels the oceans, the past, and the future in his quest to save the planet once more.

Ecco Jr.[edit]

Main article: Ecco Jr.

Released in 1995, this title was intended as edutainment and lacked the sophistication and difficulty of the previous two titles in series. When Ecco and his friends find out Big Blue, a wise and famous whale, is near they must do favors and break crystals in order to pass the stage and find Big Blue.

Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future[edit]

Released in 2000 and a reboot to the series, this Dreamcast title reinvisioned the Ecco mythos in a new Earth with a new premise. Despite being developed by the same studio none of the members associated with the Genesis games participated in the development.[4]

Ecco the Dolphin 2: Sentinels of the Universe[edit]

This was a game in development for Dreamcast that was likely canceled after the Dreamcast was discontinued in March 2001.[citation needed]

Storylines and ports[edit]

The Ecco the Dolphin games can be divided into two distinct storylines: the Mega Drive/Genesis games (Ecco the Dolphin, Ecco: The Tides of Time, and Ecco Jr.) and the Dreamcast game (Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future).

Ecco the Dolphin and Ecco: The Tides of Time were both re-released for the Sega CD, Master System and Game Gear, and Defender of the Future was originally released for the Dreamcast and later re-released for the PlayStation 2. The Sega CD version of Ecco the Dolphin was also ported to Microsoft Windows in 1995. Ecco the Dolphin was also re-released on the Game Boy Advance as part of the fourth Sega Smash Pack. All of the Mega Drive games have been released on Valve's Steam platform,[5][6][7] as well as being ported for Nintendo's Virtual Console[8] and the first game was ported to Microsoft's Xbox Live Arcade.[9]

Two six-part comic book series of Ecco the Dolphin stories based on the first game were featured in Sonic the Comic. Series one was written by Woodrow Phoenix and drawn by Chris Webster in 1993. Series two followed in 1995.

Soundtrack[edit]

Songs of Time
Soundtrack album by Spencer Nilsen
Released September 3, 1996
Genre Electronica
Ambient music
Length 64:17
Producer SegaSoft

Songs of Time is an album which contains the original soundtrack from the Sega Mega-CD version of Ecco the Dolphin and Ecco: The Tides of Time. It was released on September 3, 1996. The music is composed by Spencer Nilsen. The music is atmospheric and ambient, heavy on high-quality synthesizer, low-frequency percussion and various samples, including dolphin squeaks and squeals.[citation needed] The title is derived from Ecco: The Tides of Time.

Track listing[edit]

  1. Abyss (4:41)
  2. Botswana (3:14)
  3. The Desert Below (2:43)
  4. Deception (2:04)
  5. Deep Marjimba (3:14)
  6. Blue Dream (3:25)
  7. St. Gabriel's Mask (4:30)
  8. Heart of the Giant (2:39)
  9. Transcended (3:18)
  10. Mountains Below (3:36)
  11. Treefish (3:48)
  12. Aqua Vistas (4:24)
  13. Lonesome Search (1:49)
  14. Friend or Foe (6:09)
  15. Motion E (4:08)
  16. The Machine (3:25)
  17. Sounding Echo (3:10)
  18. Time Forgotten (3:59)

References[edit]

The following games and their instruction manuals:

  • Novotrade International (1992-08-16). "Ecco the Dolphin". Sega Mega Drive. 
  • Novotrade International (1995-10-10). "Ecco: The Tides of Time". Sega Mega Drive. 
  • Appaloosa Interactive (2000-08-16). "Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future". Dreamcast. 

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Goldstein, Hilary (2007-08-17). "IGN: Ecco the Dolphin Review". IGN. IGN. Retrieved 2008-02-01. 
  2. ^ Thomas, Lucas (2006-12-13). "IGN: Ecco the Dolphin (Virtual Console) Review". IGN. IGN. Retrieved 2008-02-01. 
  3. ^ "Interview with Ed Annunziata". The Arkonviox Network. Retrieved 2008-12-13. [dead link]
  4. ^ http://www.mobygames.com/developer/sheet/view/developerId,56812/
  5. ^ "Ecco The Dolphin on Steam". 
  6. ^ "Ecco - The Tides of Time on Steam". 
  7. ^ "Ecco Jr. on Steam". 
  8. ^ "SEGA games for Wii's VC found on ESRB website". Codename Revolution. Retrieved 2006-09-12. 
  9. ^ "Ecco the Dolphin - Game Detail Page". Microsoft. Microsoft. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-08-23. Retrieved 2007-09-25. 

External links[edit]

  • Ecco the Dolphin: Caverns of Hope - An Ecco the Dolphin news and resource website focusing on community interaction, music, downloads and preservation of Ecco games.
  • Ecco the Dolphin: DARK SEA - An Ecco the Dolphin resource and research site focusing on the original 8 and 16 bit games. Specializes in documenting unreleased prototype versions and interviews.