Ecco the Dolphin Hands-On

Forget about Flipper - Sega's lovable seafaring mammal is back in a brand-new adventure for the Dreamcast. Check out our hands-on impressions for a look into the life of Ecco.

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Have you seen Ecco these days? He's looking pretty damn good. Sega had a playable version of Ecco sitting in their booth at E3, and I got a chance to get my hands on it. In the brief level that I played you had to find this huge humpbacked whale and communicate with it via your sonar. In doing so you find out that the whale's baby is trapped somewhere nearby, and it's your job to rescue it. You'll follow the whale noises until you find that the baby is trapped inside a cave. Huge boulders block his exit, and you have to figure out how to free him. Once you swim around a bit you'll find another group of dolphins who are eager to help you free the baby. Lead them back to the cave and together you'll move the boulders that block the cave's mouth.

The cool part about Ecco the Dolphin is that you're underwater - meaning you're completely free to fully roam about. You can swim up, down, left, right - there's really no limit. Unfortunately, this means that sometimes you'll find yourself swimming the wrong direction, or upside down, and some of the camera work needs some serious tweaking. Sometimes I found myself struggling just to figure out exactly where I was going.

The graphics are very nice. All of the animals found in the game look just like their real-life counterparts and are instantly recognizable. The environments are colorful and do a good job of showing off the beauty of undersea life.

Ecco looks like a very solid title, and should please people looking for a little underwater action.

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