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Ecco The Dolphin: Defender Of The Future

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Released: 2000

Genre: Adventure

Format reviewed: Dreamcast

Publisher: Sega

Developer: Appaloosa

Submitted by: Alex Gandolfo

A game from a series that is both obscure and frequently misunderstood. Defender of the Future was the first Ecco game I experienced, and also the first game I ever played on the Dreamcast. What a perfect first game to play on the Dream Machine (Dreamcast)!The game purely embodied the theme of the Dreamcast. The gaming experience was dreamlike, the graphics were surreal and the soundtrack was otherworldly. I thought, as I played, “Wow! Awesome! I’m playing as a dolphin! Look how high I can jump! I can tail walk? Sweet.” I can confidently say that the game changed my idea of how creative games could be.

Years later, after finally getting my own Dreamcast and Defender of the Future, the game still has that magic. But like any game there are flaws, and being an adventure game you may already know what I’m going to say. While the environments range from tunnel filled reefs to open expanses, they all are pretty complex. Obviously this leads to confusion concerning where you are and what your supposed to do next. The riddle giving crystals, strewn across the levels, don’t help much either. The other problem is that while the graphics are superb the other side of the coin is frame rate slowdown. Otherwise, the game possesses no other notable flaws. The controls for both movement and camera view shifting all work well, allowing such action as ramming sharks to swimming backwards. The sonar mechanic of gameplay is also wonderful, enabling you to communicate with other creatures but also to stun sharks and call for aid. Later you even wear a special suit that emits a tractor beam which allows you to move objects.

Bottom Line:Altogether, the game provides a good change of pace from the so prevalent RPGs and FPSs of today.