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Ecco The Dolphin

Ecco The Dolphin Sega CD BoxEcco The Dolphin is an action-adventure video game developed by Novotrade International and published by Sega.  Conceived by developer Ed Annunziata players take control of Ecco, a bottlenose dolphin who travels through time to combat hostile extraterrestrials in Earth’s oceans and on an alien spacecraft.

The game begins with Ecco and a pod of bottlenose dolphins swimming in a bay.  One of the dolphins challenges Ecco to a game to see how high he can jump in the air.   Ecco jumps out of the water and while in the air, something out of the ordinary occurs and all of the marine life in the bay are sucked out of the bay with the exception of Ecco.

Alone in the bay, Ecco leaves the bay to explore and try to discover what happened.   On his travels he meets other marine life and gets clues to progress through his adventure to find out what happened and to rescue his pod.  During his search he encounters an orca that tells him to travel to the Arctic to meet, “Big Blue”, a very old blue whale known for his wisdom.

When Ecco finds Big Blue he is informed that the events that transpired were caused by a storm that occurs every 500 years.   The whale is not sure what causes the storm to take place every 500 years and suggest that Ecco find the Asterite, the oldest life form on Earth to get more information.   Ecco travels into a deep cavern where he finds the Asterite and is told to visit the sunken ruins of Atlantis to use the time machine left behind by the Atlanteans.

Within the city of Atlantis, Ecco finds a library filled with Glyphs and giant crystals stored with information.  From the information found in the library Ecco learns of the origin of the storms.  An alien race known as the Vortex lost the ability to produce food on their planet and every 500 years when the planets align, they use their technology to harvest the waters of Earth for food.

The Atlanteans fought a war with the Vortex that ended when Atlantis was defeated by the Vortex and the city was sunk into the depths of the ocean.   Learning this, Ecco activates the time machine and travels back in time 55 million years.   While in the past Ecco is forced into battle with the Asterite where he dislodges a globe that opens a time portal sending him back to the present.  After receiving the globe, the Asterite in present time grants him the power to turn his sonar into a deadly weapon that can be used against the Vortex.

The Asterite instructs him to use the time machine to travel back in time to the hour of the harvest. This time Ecco manages to be captured by getting sucked into the storm with his pod. Ecco is sent flying through outer space to a giant tube-like machine. Making his way through the construct Ecco arrives on the planet Vortex engaging the aliens in combat. Making his way to the alien Queen, he engages her in a battle. When the Queen is defeated, she spits out Ecco’s pod that she ate, and they make their quick escape back to Earth.

The game was very successful upon release being prised for its unconventional story and unique game play.  It is one of the best-known Sega Genesis titles and spawned numerous sequels.

Ecco The Dolphin Logo
Developer(s)Novotrade International
SeriesEcco The Dolphin
SuccessorEcco: The Tides of Time
Platform(s)Sega Genesis
Sega CD
Media TypeCartridge
Optical Disc
ReleaseGenesis / Mega Drive
EU: December 23, 1992
NA: December 29, 1992
JP: July 30, 1993

Sega CD
NA: June 23, 1993
EU: July 10, 1993
JP: February 24, 1995
Development TimeTBD
RatingESRB: E
Rereleased Platform(s)Ports
Sega Master System -1993
Game Gear -1993
PC -1995

Digital Releases
Wii -2006
XBox 360 -2007
Nintendo 3DS -2013

Game Screenshots:

The Making of Ecco The Dolphin


Splash Wave

Splash Wave is a YouTube channel focused on documenting the 16bit era of video games from a creative, business and technical perspective.  The videos are researched, written, edited, and created by Strafefox (Jeroen Bekker).

E. Ettore AnnunziataE. Ettore AnnunziataProducer
László SzenttornyaiLászló SzenttornyaiDesigner
Zsolt BaloghZsolt BaloghGreat Art
Profile PlaceholderJózsef MolnárProgrammer
Profile PlaceholderMihály BrudnyákProgrammer
Spencer NilsenSpencer N. NilsenComposer
Brian CoburnBrian CoburnDigital Sound Effects
Profile PlaceholderMitch MankerWind Synthesizer Performance
Profile PlaceholderKadocsa TassonyiCD Version
Profile PlaceholderAlan BruceNarrator
Al NilsenMarketing
Special Thanks
Pamela Kelly BoogarMarketing
Dianna CarrollTester
Profile PlaceholderDavid ForsterTester
Profile PlaceholderDermot LyonsTester
Christine M. WatsonTester
Michael H. GilmartinTester
Profile PlaceholderSándor MezeiTester
Joe CainTester
Casey GrimmCasey GrimmTester
Steven ApourSpecial Thanks
Clyde GrossmanSpecial Thanks
Stephen J. FriedmanSpecial Thanks
Profile PlaceholderAndrás CsászárSpecial Thanks
Profile PlaceholderHugh BowenSpecial Thanks
Lucinda DelorimierSpecial Thanks
Carol Ann HanshawManual
Boris VallejoCover Artwork

Genesis (North American Release)

Sega CD (North American Release)

Game Gear (North American Release)

Sega Master System (Australian Release)

PC (North American Release)

Media & Promotional Material