The Ecco game was hailed as the first of a new breed of video games which would eschew violence in favor of constructive, thought-provoking gameplay. Ecco is more puzzle game than arcade game, with spectacular water effects and a brilliantly colorful undersea world. Your dolphin's movement is silky smooth, and at first, swimming around in the open sea and jumping out of the water is fun in of itself. The goal of each stage is not immediately apparent, but you'll find hints by "talking" to other sea creatures you run encounter. In Ecco game, you'll open passages, save other dolphins, avoid deadly predators like sharks, and eventually destroy an "ancient evil" in the grand finale.
Your 25-stage journey will take you through past worlds, including the lost city of Atlantis. It's fun to see what each new level has in store. The difficulty level is perfect - it provides plenty of challenge but little in the way of frustration, and a password is provided at the end of each stage. In addition to the gorgeous graphics, the music is also amazing. The ominous but relaxing undersea tones are very appropriate.
The gameplay was essentially side-scrolling, although it scrolled vertically as well, since Ecco is a swimming creature. Attacking enemies was accomplished by making Ecco ram into them at high speeds. Swimming could be made progressively faster by tapping a certain button, and the speed could be maintained by holding it down. Players could perform a purely aesthetic spin in the air when jumping out of the water. Two unique features of the game played on actual dolphin habits. One was a sonar map that could be brought up by making Ecco "sing" (this was also how he talked to other Singers as well as interact with certain things such as clams and Glyphs) and then holding the button down to make the "song" return to him, a la echolocation in real dolphins. The other was the fact that Ecco, being a mammal, had to surface periodically for air, or else find an air vent. Ecco would drown if his "air meter" ran out. His health was measured by a separate meter; it was depleted by enemies or when his air meter had run out, and it was recharged by eating fish, "singing" to clams, or, later in the game, singing to special Glyphs and statues. Ecco's song could be optionally "upgraded" at two points in the game; one allowed it to be used in combination with a charge as a long-range weapon, and the other made singing at a shark temporarily disorient it.
The Glyphs were crystals that would respond somehow if Ecco sang to or touched them. Some blocked paths, and a "Key Glyph" had to be found in such cases to pass. Others gave information, and a few in later levels would replenish health and air and give Ecco temporary invulnerability.
In a world of video games that emphasize blowing things up and committing violent acts, a game that emphasizes friendship is a breath of fresh air. I enjoyed Ecco Jr. from Sega Club even though I am well above the four to nine age group that the game is meant for. The graphics, as with the Ecco game, are very well done. The sound was great and I especially liked the two extra mammals you can play as. The puzzles aren't too hard, but should provide enough of a challenge for the younger kids. The controls are a little difficult to get used to, but once you do, you can make him turn on a dime. If you liked the Ecco game and have a child around age four, this is a must-get: even if you don't, you might want to check it out. I'll be playing it well after I finish this preview.
As with all of the Ecco games you will encounter many Impressive sea creatures. From giant sea horses and sharks, to tropical fish and stingrays. In Ecco Jr., none of the sea creatures are hostile toward you, and friendship is emphasized.
Processor: PC compatible, P-200
OS: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game Features:Single game mode
Sega Genesis Screenshots
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