Claire (viperfox) wrote in originbeach,
Claire
viperfox
originbeach

Games: Ecco The Dolphin [エコー・ザ・ドルフィン]




Ecco The Dolphin is the first major title in the entire Ecco series, and set the precedence for the series as a whole with it's exploration, difficulty, and deep story. Released originally in July 31st of 1992 in the PAL/SECAM region, and followed on in the US and Japan in July 29th and 30th 1993, Ecco became a cherished classic with a cult following that still is ongoing to this day. The game is well known for being brutally hard thanks to the rental market often seeing many developers make games harder to generate more revenue with purchases. For many of us Ecco fans, it is of course the title that started our love for this wonderful series. It sold millions. It's still selling to this day, with recent ports of the original game available on large platforms like Virtual Console and STEAM, where it still gets critical acclaim across the board.

My personal story with Ecco is important as it shaped a lot of who I became as I grew up. My dad got me a copy of the first game after coming home from a business trip because he knew I loved dolphins - I mean they were a very in thing back in the early 90s how could my kid-brain not love them honestly, and I was in love with it despite the difficulty. Ecco was also one of the very first online communities I was a part of outside of the Sonic (and now later seen as very early Furry) communities. In particular a site called The Undercaves which was run by Blackfin, a series fan over in New Zealand, had a forum where people could share their love of the game and all its mysteries. I joined it back in its infancy in 1997/8. Thanks to social media nowadays I actually am in frequent contact with many of the original members of it and its more-or-less direct successor with Arkonviox.net, with most of us now being a part of Ecco Online.

All scans supplied are PNG format unless otherwise specified at 600DPI for archival purposes, as a result some files may be quite large.
If you'd like to find a specific game quickly, please utilise the code issued by the game's name in the index by searching for it with ctrl+f in your browser.

Index:
[MD01] Ecco The Dolphin [PAL]
[MD02] SEGA Gold Collection: Ecco The Dolphin [PAL]
[MD03] Ecco The Dolphin [NTSC-A]
[MD03] Ecco The Dolphin [NTSC-J]
[CD01] Ecco The Dolphin [PAL]
[CD02] Ecco The Dolphin (Not For Resale) [NTSC-U]
[CD03] Ecco The Dolphin CD [NTSC-J]
[GG01] Ecco The Dolphin
[PC01] Ecco The Dolphin PC Jack In The Box Limited
[PC02] Ecco The Dolphin PC Long Box Version
[PC03] Ecco The Dolphin PC Sega Game Main Series Version
[DS01] SEGA 3D Reprint Archives


Title: Ecco The Dolphin (エコー・ザ・ドルフィン) [MD01]
Media: Cartridge
System: Mega Drive
Catalogue: 670-2201-50
Released: 29/12/1992
Region: PAL/SECAM

Scans: Cover | Cartridge | Manual Sample | Manual [PDF]

Information:
The very game that started it in all its hard, and occasionally buggy, glory. While Tides of Time is my favourite of the series without a doubt, there is no denying how important the first game was for both the franchise's starting point and for myself as a kid. Its soundtrack was otherworldly, its difficulty a curve I enjoyed mastering (and probably developed some pretty rad motor skills, if I'm honest,) and it featured dolphins. It was a quintessentially 90s thing when you look back on it, and the influences it had across various media and genres still are felt today.

This is my original copy of Ecco that I got as a kid back in the day! I'd say I've done a bang-up job in keeping it in good condition, save for a missing manual in this main copy (it's okay, I still have a manual thanks to the Gold Edition that you can check out below.)

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Title: SEGA Gold Collection Ecco The Dolphin (セガ金復刻版「エコー・ザ・ドルフィン」) [MD02]
Media: Cartridge
System: Mega Drive
Catalogue: 670-2201-50/FDOL00SMC
Released: 29/12/1992
Region: PAL/SECAM

Scans: Cover | Cartridge | Manual Sample | Manual [PDF]

Information:
SEGA Gold Collection was a budget label given to re-released Sega Mega Drive games here in Australia by Ozisoft for their Metal With Attitude series. Gold releases was later superseded by the Platinum Collection label which you can catch over at [MD02] on the Tide of Time page. It's not known what requirements were to be branded as Gold Collection but the series only saw 12 releases, with Ecco being one of them. Asides from a new exterior box design, the rest of the game is the same as the original release.

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Title: Ecco The Dolphin (エコー・ザ・ドルフィン) [MD03]
Media: Cartridge
System: Mega Drive
Catalogue:
Released:
Region: NTSC-A

Scans: Cover | Cartridge | Manual Sample | Manual [PDF]

Information:
Asia region release.
[Coming Soon]

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Title: Ecco The Dolphin(エコー・ザ・ドルフィン)[MD04]
Media: Cartridge
System: Mega Drive
Catalogue: 670-3462
Released: 30/07/1993
Region: NTSC-J

Scans: Cover | Cartridge | Manual Sample | Manual [PDF]

Information:
Ecco received a bit more than just a standard translation when it came to being released in Sega's home market. In addition to the entire game being translated (if you know Japanese try reading the Asterite's text where it's entirely in katakana to melt your brain a bit,) the game also was patched to fix issues present in the original build, while also making the release even more unique with its own additional levels. The Stomach is the most well-known addition, a way of dialling down the difficulty for the Japanese market wherein you'd have to navigate the Vortex Queen's stomach to escape back out to The Final Fight, which was the basis for the drone level of the same task in Tides of Time which was in production at the same time. Welcome To The Machine has an arguably harder AI to deal with in regards to the Vortex Drones complete with new brown colours to make them stand out against the BG, but softens the blow with continue crystals being scattered throughout in the event of an unfortunate screen crush or drone slap; it also patched the exit point for the level as the original game had you swim through a wall at its original exit marker, an update carried over to the Mega CD and PC versions of the game.

Other small additions included using some of the unused tracks for main levels - The Big Blue's theme in particular is nice in lieu of the title screen and home bay music, and two versions of Open Ocean (one to get to the arctic, one to swim back south) where another unused track is featured. This build of the game has become my favourite over the years when it comes to the original Mega Drive games.

Ecco features new artwork across the board in the classic releases from the Japanese side of things. Going uncredited in every release except for the 1996 PC release, the artist in question is Hayato Takebayashi (竹林勇人) who handled the package design as well. You can download a monster-sized archival scan of the artwork for this game here (also mirrored here by our friends over on Ecco Online.)

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Title: Ecco The Dolphin(エコー・ザ・ドルフィンメガCD版)[CD01]
Media: Compact Disc
System: Mega CD
Catalogue: 4408/670-4098-50
Press: MK-4408P-0013
Released: 1993
Region: PAL/SECAM

Scans: Front | Back | Disc | Manual Sample | Manual [PDF]

Information:
Taking Ecco over to the Sega CD was a spectacular choice by Novotrade, allowing for a totally new soundtrack (the first QSound used for the system,) additional levels, and various bug fixes in addition to adding a newly animated attract mode.

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Title: Ecco The Dolphin (Not For Resale)(エコー・ザ・ドルフィンセガCD非売品版)[CD02]
Media: Compact Disc
System: Mega CD
Catalogue:
Press:
Released: 1993?
Region: NTSC-U

Scans: Front | Back | Disc

Information:
Pack in title? Investigating when arrives
[Coming Soon]

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Title: Ecco The Dolphin CD(エコー・ザ・ドルフィンCD)[CD03]
Media: Compact Disc
System: Mega CD
Catalogue: G-6041/670-6262 + 670-6477
Press: G-6041P-00283A (Disc 1), G-6041P-00284 (Disc 2)
Released: 24/02/1995
Region: NTSC-J

Scans: Front | Back | Obi | Disc | Manual Sample | Manual [PDF]

Information:
As mentioned above, taking Ecco over to the Sega CD was a spectacular choice by Novotrade. Japan got a pretty cool release when it came to the Mega CD where both games came in the one package instead of separate releases, featuring new art for it by the JP series release lead artist Hayato Takebayashi.

Ecco The Dolphin CD features both Ecco 1 and Ecco 2, so is featured both here and on the Tides of Time page.

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Title: Ecco The Dolphin(エコー・ザ・ドルフィン)[GG01]
Media: Cartridge
System: Game Gear
Catalogue: G-3344
Released: 11/03/1994
Region: NTSC-J (No Region Lock)

Scans: Front | Back | Cartridge | Manual Sample | Manual [PDF]

Information:
Fill me!

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Title: Ecco The Dolphin PC Jack In The Box Limited (エコー・ザ・ドルフィンPC ジャック・イン・ザ・ボックス限定版) [PC01]
Media: Compact Disc
System: PC
Catalogue:
Press:
Released: 1999
Region: No Region

Scans: Cover | Disc

Information:
This is a promotional release of Ecco PC that was part of a promotional tie-in that Sega was running with Jack In The Box, a large fast-food chain in the US. The kids meal you could get had either a Sonic, Knuckles, Ecco, or Bug toy and the games were $1.99 if purchased with the kid's meal or $5.99 on their own.

The game is the same as the original PC release, just with promotional packaging.

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Title: Ecco The Dolphin PC Long Box Version(エコー・ザ・ドルフィンPC ロングボックス版)[PC02]
Media: Compact Disc
System: PC
Catalogue: HCJ-0114
Press: C0114P01191
Released: 13/12/1996
Region: No Region

Scans: Front | Back | Disc | Manual Sample | Manual [PDF, 508.6MB]

Information:
This is a long box, or big box, release of the game distributed by Sega PC themselves. In many cases a long box release is often the most sought after release, especially if a later release occurs, but as far as I've been able to discern there is only this singular release — and that alone makes it a rather rare beast to both find and find in good condition. The JP PC version has the same enhancements seen in the US/EU PC releases, but loses some of its original adjustments from the Mega Drive version such as The Stomach level, a trait shared with the Japanese Mega CD release as well. In terms of design from a box perspective the entire package is both incredibly Ecco, incredibly Japanese, and incredibly 90s era; it's not hard to see why vaporwave tends to sample Ecco in multiple ways when you look at this kind of art.

This build of Ecco PC, like others, is horrendous to try run on modern machines and worked best in Windows 3.x series and '95.

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Title: Ecco The Dolphin PC Sega Game Main Series Version(エコー・ザ・ドルフィン セガゲーム本舗版)[PC03]
Media: Compact Disc
System: PC
Catalogue: SGH-005
Press: IFPI L303
Released: 20/11/2003
Region: No Region

Scans: Cover | Obi | Disc | Manual Sample | Manual [PDF, 103.9MB] | Troubleshooting Card

Information:
This is a much later PC release designed to work on Windows 98SE, Me, 2000, and XP released as part of MediaKite's 'Sega Game Main Series' releases. Unlike the prior 1996 Ecco JP, the Sega GMS version is port of the original Mega Drive game, complete with original sound, making it an oddity in the releases. Analysing it with the Ecco Online community it seems it may be running in a Sega proprietary emulator with their own ROM. It is not yet known if this ROM is of the same Japanese retail build released in 1993, or a revised one with further fixes and adjustments, but either way it is an exciting find and is completely exclusive to the Japanese market.

I supplied an archival copy of this that you can check out and download via our friends at Ecco Online.

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Title: SEGA 3D Reprint Archives (セガ3D復刻アーカイブス) [DS01]
Media: Cartridge
System: Nintendo 3DS
Catalogue:
Released: 18/12/2014
Region: NTSC-J (No Region Lock)

Scans: Cover | Cartridge | Manual Sample | Manual [PDF]

Information:
The SEGA 3D Reprint Archives was a release that saw the only physical issue of 3D Ecco The Dolphin, a 3D enhanced port that was made by M2 for SEGA and released back on 26th of June in 2013. The port featured both the international and Japanese versions of the game, something M2 reported was difficult to do as both roms are very different in how they behaved, so building a map editor in 3D to allow them to code the effects was quite a feat, and includes a Super Dolphin mode so people can play the game in god-mode essentially to mitigate its difficulty.

The release itself is interesting in that this physical copy was only issued in Japan, as Ed Annunziata was securing the full rights to Ecco from Sega in 2014, making the SEGA Classics collection releases internationally only contain the games from the reprint archives 2nd and 3rd iterations. The companion book for the series which featured extensive behind the scenes access, production art, and interviews has 3D Ecco The Dolphin greyed out with a notice of 'due to circumstances [unforseen/out of our control] this work cannot be shown' and the removal of Ecco in the Sugimori cover art for the book.

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Tags: ecco the dolphin, game gear, games, mega cd, mega drive, ntsc, ntsc-j, pal, pc, secam, sega cd, sega mega drive
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