fter getting my hands all pruny with Ecco yet again (the original Defender of the Future released on the Dreamcast), I would like to pat the artists on their backs, and stab the programmers in theirs. Ecco has such great, ocean-worthy graphics; but it plays so, so poorly.
Ecco dumps gamers into the briny deep, and often leaves them virtually clueless as to the next course of action. Most tasks are very platform-like in nature, but the fact that you're underwater greatly complicates matters. Saving a baby whale, catching a tricky fish, and singing songs to turtles are just some of the missions that lay ahead. Are they fun? Not usually.
Both the combat and the camera are drowning in a sea of woe. Ecco fights by thrusting his snout at enemies, and it's pretty difficult to line up your charge. When the dolphin goes above the surface, which you must do in order to refill Ecco's oxygen supply, the camera struggles more than an octopus with its legs cut off.
Defender of the Future's visuals ar very good interpretations of the world under the sea, and brought back snorkeling memories. Too bad the rest of it reminded me of nearly drowning in my neighbor's pool as a child.