Ecco the Dolphin (Sega Genesis)

Alisia Dragoon

Alisia is one bad ass chick!  There’s a lot to like about this game; You’re a fierce female warrior, traversing a harsh landscape filled with monsters and creatures after you.  Along on this journey, a group of loyal animals protect you as you use powerful magic to destroy all evil in your path.  The graphics and the work on the “sidekicks” are both hugely fun aspects of this game.  Without them, it feels like a more expanded Golden Axe; but with them, it adds cool new elements that make the game fun to look at and control.  It’s a bit difficult, at least for me, as it takes a bit of time to figure out the targeting system as it’s generally pretty great and area of effect but some enemies can attack you from down low and controlling your sidekick creature’s targeting is a bit difficult at times too.  But, these are minor gripes involved with a really cool side scrolling action game.

Scores:

Playability/ Controls- 6        Graphics- 7.5        Music/Sound- 7.5     Replay Value- 5     Originality- 6.5    Final: 65%

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King’s Bounty

Alas good sir!  Do you know where I can find any dragons to recruit for my army?  Oh, no, another patrol of angry villagers, trolls and pixies?  What Am I to Do?

King’s Bounty is a muddled looking game that has a really interesting game design; sort of like an early RPG game but you have to recruit an army of sorts and there’s all kinds of different creatures and people you can recruit to your army, some of them stronger in different ways.  There are sort of two types of game modes going on as well; the recruiting phase which is tricky because you need to travel to recruit different types of “soldiers” but it becomes like Legend of Zelda where once you start traveling, you run into random encounters and starting out, you have nothing good to fight with and your opposing force usually has a ton of devilish monsters.  It’s a tough road to hoe at first; I had to read up on this game to figure out where the best stuff to recruit were.  I could see certain players really getting into this game and others being mildly bored, rather quickly.

Scores:

Playability/ Controls- 5       Graphics- 5     Music/Sound- 4    ReplayValue- 8     Originality- 10   Final: 64%

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NFL ’95

Another football game; I could take that approach.  The graphics doesn’t look that good.  The game play is okay, the routes seem really slow.  But, it does have the 95 rosters which maybe one of the most fun aspects of the game.

Scores:

Playability/ Controls- 5.5        Graphics- 4        Music/Sound- 4     Replay Vale- 6.5     Originality- 7.5    Final: 55%

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Rolo to the Rescue

Rolo is a goofy cartoony elephant who has to go around saving his fellow animal friends while avoiding enemies during the level. I don’t even know if many kids would find this game fun, challenging or entertaining.  There is a Friz Freeling-lite soundtrack to accompany it that was a bit catchy but Rolo, despite jumping well for a pachyderm, doesn’t endow you with anything fun to play with on your journey.

Scores:

Playability/ Controls- 3.5       Graphics- 5.5      Music/- 6.5     REplay Value- 2     Originality- 5     Final: 45%

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Wacky Worlds Creativity Studio

Sega’s answer to Mario Paint;  in that regards , it falls far short to Mario Paint’s creativity and genius.  But, this game still serves as a fun function.  You basically get to “paint” different settings, like a fish tank, a haunted house with different characters, pictures and other icons.  And they move!   It’s like those fun moving aquarium screen savers that were pretty popular in the early 00’s but this one has a lot of options.  It has merit; no doubt, but I don’t think the replay value would be high; especially after playing around through the 6 different screens, there’s not much else to explore.

Scores:

Playability/ Controls- 2      Graphics- 6     Music/Sound- 7      Replay Value- 3.5      Originality- 85.   Final: 54%

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Ecco the Dolphin

I’ve read when the idea of this game was first pitched, it was so out of the box and bizarre , that everyone was either stunned or optimistic about what this game could be.  When you first turn it on, you get a cut scene of the world you’re about to inhabit.  A lush, vibrant underwater color wheel of life and danger that is almost as fun to simply explore as to look at.

We used to play this game as kids and marvel at the graphics and how much fun we were having playing a dolphin as we were just starting to feel our own testosterone and want to punch stuff.  Mastering Ecco’s moves was the first challenge of the game as his controls are maybe the most fluid and sensitive and exact as any character in gaming at the time.  It’s a beautiful, difficult balance that is so fun and frustrating but rewarding at the same time.

Another thing to remember about Ecco is it’s unbelievably freakin hard game!  I had forgotten that piece to the pie.  But, you can readily find passwords to each stage so if you are a little rusty in your Ecco-skills like me you can skip around the game and try your hand at each level, which offers it’s own challenges, some harder than others but never easy.  Ecco looks and feels like a kids’ game but there is nothing simple about any of Ecco’s many levels.

But, Ecco still stands the test of time as being one of the more creative and unique game designs that Sega Genesis had to offer and kudos to them for taking a chance on such a non-traditional game.

Scores:

Playability/ Controls- 7.5         Graphics- 8      Music/Sound- 6     Replay Value- 7     Originality- 10   Final: 77%

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