Depending on your tolerance for frustrating game mechanics, hairpoint precise platforming that seem to require more luck than skill and labyrinthine levels with some overly cryptic puzzles, Ecco The Dolphin stands as either one of the most immersing, most atmospheric games ever made (never mind being by far the most atmospheric Sega Genesis game ever made), or as an aggravating mess with pretty graphics and an excellent soundtrack. Ecco The Dolphin was born in a time when Sonic The Hedgehog was incredibly popular and everybody wanted a piece of the pie, but rather than poorly ripping off the blue blur like Bubsy and Aero did, Ecco was fine with being more about an actual dolphin exploring ocean caves and offshore buildings like a dolphin would in real life. If nothing else, it helped the game stand out from the crowd. But it's in popping that cartridge into your Sega Genesis/Mega Drive and playing even a few minutes that you start to really see just what this game is all about.
THE GOOD: Freedom to do whatever you like Atmospheric - nice combination of music and visuals Quite a challenge
THE BAD: Very difficult in places
SUMMARY: The basic gameplay has you controlling Ecco, through a vast amount of beautifully detailed (for it's time) sea levels ranging from coral reefs, to icy seas and even pre-historic times. Plenty of enemies lurk in Ecco's way as well as puzzles to solve to continue and the constant need for oxygen.
One of the things I like most about the game is how challenging it is, this is not something you'll breeze through, the sheer volume of levels and difficult puzzles to finish should keep you busy. Some of the puzzles are very difficult due to the combination of executing them successfully and keeping Ecco alive, either from being eaten or drowning. He's a dolphin remember, he needs air.
There is also the fact that, this is one of those games where if you get tired of your task, you can just swim around, jump out of the water, perform tricks, go catc...