What would you expect to see when you pop in a video game about dolphins? Adorable squeaking sounds? Maybe some rainbows and beach balls? These are all reasonable answers, especially for the Sega Genesis era of sugary, kid-friendly games. Such is not the case for Ecco the Dolphin, however. With Ecco, you’re dealing with f*cking alien tornadoes and time travel.

Ecco the Dolphin starts out innocently enough, with you and your pod of carefree sea mammals swimming around your bay. Naturally, your dolphin friends challenge you to a game of “how high can you jump.” Being the spry young creature you are, you accept. After familiarizing yourself with the controls and a few test jumps, you finally go for the biggest vertical you can muster in an attempt to outdo the other fish-things. Speeding through the crystal-clear water of the ocean, you burst through the surface and trump the other dolphins’ jumps.

It’s at this exact moment of mid-air suspension that the serene tranquility of Ecco’s opening is rocked by a lighting-tornado storm. Ecco is suspended in mid air as the entirety of the sea is sucked through a tornado into the sky. Dolphins, jellyfish, bubbles, and seashells all float upwards as thunder rocks your sh*tty early 90’s TV speakers. Dear sweet lord, not the seashells.

After the storm passes you go back into the water and swim around a lot. Sometimes you ram jellyfish and tool around with a stupid sonar thing. Eventually, after hitting some talking crystals with your nose and singing to clams to restore air, you run into a creepy, screen-filling blue whale in the arctic that knows where the hell your dolphin pals went. The aptly named Big Blue says this ocean-cleaning storm crap happens about every 500 years, and that Ecco should probably talk to something called an Asterite.

Once found, the Asterite thing (basically a double-helix of orbs probably there just to show off Genesis’s stupid Vectorman-ballz technology) says it can help Ecco out. Problem is, the Asterite (which is also the oldest creature on Earth), is missing one of its balls.

Predictably, Ecco travels through time to recover the ball using an ancient machine found in Atlantis. Once he makes his trip 500 years into the past he learns that an alien race called the Vortex occasionally slurps up all the earth’s sea life because they don’t know how to cook, and that’s why that tornado did that thing. The next step for the spunky little finned-thing is to jump back in time 55 million years and find the dumb Asterite again. Wait, but this time it instantly assaults him in a surprise twist and Ecco nose-rams the hell out of it, thus scoring an awesome dismembered orb.

Ecco travels back through time, gives the ball back to the DNA-monster, and turns into a god-dolphin-savior. With the ability to breathe water, restore health, and destroy aliens the Christ-fish travels back through time to the moment when his pod and dolphin-friends were transfused from the sea. Ecco is then abducted with his pals and travels up a deadly space-tube into the alien craft, which is filled with a bunch of water. He fights green kraken-squids and does other stuff that dolphins don’t do.

Eventually he finds the Vortex queen and stabs her eyes out with his nose. She pukes jellyfish until Ecco tears off three or four of her jaws, and she explodes or something and vomits dolphins everywhere.

Then you and your friends escape and play in the water.


What the hell did I just play?