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Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future

Developer: Sega | Publisher: Acclaim
Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 03/03/02 | Genre: Adventure

Ecco the Dolphin is a very poor game. Being a re-release of a Dreamcast title of the same name, it's behind its time in terms of graphics, gameplay, and most importantly, fun. Its original feel is almost the only good quality of the game.

Ecco is an important dolphin destined to save a world where humans and dolphins are peacefully the two superior species of the planet. After a movie-like introduction, you take control of Ecco the dolphin. The control is simple and fun to toy with for a while--like jumping out of water, over a rock, and into a new area to explore.

But simple dolphin tasks like that are crazily blown out of proportion enough to where jumping and sonar noises are used to save the world from dangerous invaders... it doesn't seem like the story matches the gameplay at all.

Graphics are neat but are definitely lacking. So watching the game in action will not impress gamers like myself who hope to see what these next-gen consoles can really produce. Don't get me wrong, the graphics aren't terrible--they are just nowhere near the level of quality the PS2 can churn out. This is due to the title being a straight port of the Dreamcast version. While the graphics are dated, the action underwater is done quite well. Marine life is everywhere and Ecco can talk, eat, or attack most of the things he comes across. However, the camera can get really wacky at times, which can cause you to lose direction and become extremely confused. But this is a problem that plagues most 3D games.

You will encounter lots of marine noises during your gaming time along with some relaxing music. I found this to be one of the game's strong points. Ecco is normally a very quiet game with calm music that would soothe my soul if it wasn't such an overall bad experience.

So if you're considering purchasing Ecco the Dolphin for the PS2, please consider my scenario, it will give you an idea of the approximately 0% replay value and lack of intrigue that you may think you have for playing the game. I received my reviewable copy of Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future at approximately the same time I started playing Virtua Fighter 4 and the GBA's Breath of Fire 2. With all the other things going on in my life, plus BOF2 and Virtua Fighter 4, I dreaded Ecco every time I placed it into my PS2's disc tray and was several weeks passed my deadline to write this review. Fortunately, my boss understood how bad the title was and forgave my tardiness. However, I can't forgive Ecco for being a bad title. Avoid this one.

By Keith Schaefer - 04/30/02
ESRB Details: Animated Blood
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Screenshots for Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future

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