Review: Ecco Jr. (MD)

The aquatic adventures of Ecco come to life for a younger generation of gamers.

Ouch - what happened here? Ecco the Dolphin, suddenly transformed into a kid-friendly educational game?

In this game, you play as Ecco Jr., a younger version of Ecco, or one of his two friends (Tara the baby orca or Kitnee the baby Atlantic dolphin). There is no real difference between them besides looks, however.

When you get to the actual gameplay, you have to wonder what the developers were thinking. Basically, they took Ecco the Dolphin, removed all the enemies, made the levels smaller, and added random objects you have to find. Yes, that's right, you cannot die in this game. All you do is search out specific objects or creatures in a stage with your sonar, swim up to them and use the sonar again, search for a crystal in the same way, then exit the stage. There are some different types of stages, like one where you find an object and guide it to a specific location, or one where you swim through rings, but for the most part, you do the exact same thing over and over again.

Speaking of stages, there's not many, given their size. Only 27 and the game's over. Given the fact that you can blow through half of them in under a minute, that's not very impressive. Note that all 27 levels are only playable on "Hard" difficulty - which doesn't actually change the difficulty, it just lets you play through more stages.

To further add insult to injury, the game includes a "Parent Info" section, only accessible with a password, where you can find information on dolphins for children. Oh man.

Conclusion

All in all, this game is a disgrace to the Ecco name. It would've been ok without the Ecco license, but now it just seems like a cash-in attempt. It was an embarrassment to Sega then, and it's an even bigger embarrassment that they're rereleasing it now. No wonder it took Sega until the Dreamcast to make a new Ecco! Stay far away, Ecco fans included!