Ecco the Dolphin (Megadrive) Review

Halloween 2014 is really close now and since it is already October its time for the traditional Raggle fraggle Halloween blogs.

This years theme is games and movies that you would not expect to be scary but in reality they are.

Lets begin with the first game of the season with the adorable Ecco the Dolphin for the Sega Mega Drive

Ecco_The_Dolphin_Cover

Released in 1993 Ecco the Dolphin is in my opinion Sega’s response to Nintendo’s popular game series Metroid

250px-Smetroidbox

The plot of Ecco the Dolphin is that your family mysteriously disappears in a storm and Ecco travels through the many dangers of the ocean to reunite with his family, while on on his travels Ecco is told to travel to the Artic to speak to a blue whale called Big Blue. Big Blue explains that these storms appear every 500 years and Ecco is directed to the oldest creature on earth the Asterite.

asterite

The Asterite agrees to help Ecco as long as he travels back in time to an ancient atlantian city so he can retrieve one of the Asterite’s globes that is missing (Globes are those multicoloured circles that the Asterite is made of) After receiving the globe Ecco is told that the storm was a harvest of Earths waters and this is a tradition committed every 500 years by an alien species called the Vortex. After learning this, Ecco travels 55 thousands years into the past and finds the Asterite and is forced to battle, after defeating the Asterite, Ecco is granted a power which turns his Sonar into a deadly weapon which he can use against the Vortex, Ecco is then sent foward in time to the hour of the harvest and this time he also gets sucked into the storm and ends up in the Alien space ship, Ecco then fights his way to the queen to save his family.

final boss

Thats right Ecco is a time travelling Dolphin who fights Aliens, That is freaking awesome

Ecco the Dolphin has really awesome game play, The game is level based, each level gives the player a new objective to complete but unlike traditional level based games Ecco the Dolphin feels a lot like Metroid, the player is going to get lost at certain points of the game. This is due to all of the different paths you can take to help you find your your objective and sometimes you need to solve puzzles in order to move forward for example you may need to push a rock to block of a strong water current in order to take a new path or you may need to use clever strategy to sneak past an angry octopus.

octopus

Ecco the Dolphin is surprisingly a really difficult game, this is due to the fact that just like a real dolphin Ecco can’t fully breath underwater and while playing through the game the player will need to find air holes in order to keep Ecco alive, Personally this was the most difficult aspect of the game for me, because finding air is not easy and Ecco runs out of breath really fast.

Also Ecco can easily take damage from enemies as well as taking damage from bumping in cave walls, luckily eating fish replenishes your health so this aspect of gamplay is not something that people will have too much trouble with.

What is an issue is the games controls, due to Ecco being able to move in a 360 degrees pattern the D-PAD on the Mega Drive controller became a big issue as I found controlling Ecco to be very clunky and awkward. I believe the game could really benefit from the use of an analog controller.

Ecco the Dolphin has a really awesome soundtrack, the music really makes the player feel like they are in ocean and the music changes depending on the scenario of the stage, at first the music feels really relaxing but as the games plot unfolds the soundtrack evolves into something more hardcore and dark. I love this soundtrack, it really helps the player feel the atmosphere of the game.

it is one of my favourite game soundtracks on the Mega Drive and I love every minute of it.

Here is a link to a playlist of every track in the game

Ecco the Dolphin is a really awesome game, apart from the  not so great controls it is definitely a game I reccomend to retro gamers but I do feel that it would not be popular with the modern gamers of today.

I also feel that the game would be a turn off to male demographic simply because you play as a dolphin which is most likely why the game did not do as well as the developers hoped it would back when it released.

I may not have enjoyed Ecco the Dolphin as much as I have enjoyed a lot of other Mega Drive titles but I do feel that is an underrated gem on the system and I recommend it to all retro gamers .

A cute little game which is surprisingly a little bit terrifying 7/10.

I hope you enjoyed this review of Ecco the Dolphin

if you respect my opinion I will respect yours

By Padawan

Time Lord (NES) Review

Today I review a game called time lord , now from looking at the cover you may think that the game looks awesome and you instantly want to buy it but beware hide your wallets and stay far away because behind that awesome cover art is a real video game demon.

image

Story

Time lord released in 1991 by Milton Bradley is based in the year 2999 it is January 1st and the earth is under attack by aliens, the aliens have sent armies to four historical locations with a plan to destroy the earth on January 1st 3000, the goverment send a time lord to travel to the four historical locations and wipe out the aliens before the planet is destroyed and to save mankind.

image

Gameplay

You take control of the time lord in this side scrolling action platformer and you need travel to all four historical locations (Medieval England 1250 AD, Western USA 1860 AD, Caribbean 1650 AD and France 1943 AD) before heading to the final stage to fight the Alien leader. Time lord suffers from a lot of issues within its game play you see before the player can fight a levels end boss they need to find and collect 5 orbs which they can use to power the time machiene to get to each location, the problem is that the game is so glitchy that sometimes these orbs don’t turn up so the only option is to die or hit reset, another issue is that the game is pretty much impossible due to it being time based, that’s right that one year or the planet is destroyed actually has the player racing against the clock the problem is that a day passes every four seconds meaning that the player only 24 minutes and 34 seconds to finish game otherwise its gameover. I don’t know if this was some sort of sick joke by the developers but you can not expect children to have that sort of patience plus the game is really difficult to play with its dodgy controls and the enemies having an unfair amount of health compared to the player so these issues really don’t help.

image

Graphics

The enviroments and colours used in a lot of the locations in time lord are quite pleasent to look at I only wish that the screens wouldnt repeat most of the time and because of this I feel the game lacks in creativity, for example in the medieval stage you are on top of a castle but all you can see in the background is mountains couldnt the developers have had dragons flying around, castles within the mountain, wizards etc. Its the same with the western stage all you seem to do is pass saloons and other buildings you have seen 10 times already. I would comment on the other areas but to be honest my copy never seems to give me the final orb in this stage so ive never passed stage 2. The characters in time lord for some reason all seem to be one colour the most common being the colour red, you could argue that there may be some radiation in the future or say that the time lord altered history and caused all the characters to look like they are from the old nicktoons show Doug but I blame laziness?

image

Music

Time lord may be a pretty awful game but if there is one thing it does right its the music, the music in time lord is awesome. The tracks are really enjoyable and they suit the evironments perfectly which is a real shame because if the game was this good in all departments I can asure you it would have become an instant classic.

Final Verdict

Time lord was desperatly trying to be Doctor Who, it had a similar concept but it failed in almost all departments. Like I said the music is fantastic but that does not make up for the rest of the game, time lord is one big false advertisement, what you see on the cover art you dont get and the game is a cruel and broken mess and so I now have no choice but to give time lord the lowest score we here at Raggle Fraggle have ever given a game , I give time lord for the NES a 2/10 definatly a game to avoid.

This review was written by Dan (Padawan)