September 22, 2000
When Ecco The Dolphin was released on the Megadrive in the early 90's it became an instant hit. The game offered a new spin on the platform genere and most importantly introduced gaming to a female audience who could relate to the lovable dolphin. While the Saturn failed in the market, it did teach Sega one important thing. People want updates to classic games. With Sonic now updated (Sonic Adventure) it was time to move onto another classic series. In a strange move Sega handed development of the title to a company called Appaloosa.
Ecco The Dolphin has an interesting story to it as well. An evil force has struck Earth, and the harmony created by dolphins and humans is in mortal danger. The evil force ripped a hole in the space/time continuum, and one dolphin, Ecco, fell through into the past. His mission is to restore the former dolphin/human paradise, save the planet from self-destruction, and win back his future. To do this, Ecco must recover the stolen dolphin-power that has been scattered throughout time and space. The bottlenosed dolphin travels through mysterious and breathtaking underwater worlds filled with puzzles, friends, foes, and danger.
These worlds are truely breathtaking. As you can see from the above screenshots the level of detail is simply amazing, and the animation is said to be equally impressive. All of the underwater areas are high-res 3D with spectacular lighting effects due to the rippling surface above. In fact, the developers of Ecco The Dolphin have spent hours and hours studying videos and photographs of underwater environments to get the feel of the game just right.
It remains to be seen if this title will capture the limelight that it deserves. Hopefully, Ecco will be as well received as Sega's flagship title, Sonic Adventure. If anything, this will be one of the best looking games on the Dreamcast to date. Expect Ecco The Dolphin: Defender of the Future to make a splash towards the end of May.