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View Full Version : Ecco games - the franchise that could.


oldsk00l
12-08-04, 11:51 AM
I swear, I broke out my dusty old Dreamcast and started playing Ecco on it.

What an under-appreciated and fun game.

The music, the music gets me quite a bit on this one. Tim Folin really did an incredible job at incorporating music with the mood of the particular situations you are in.

Example being the nightmare of man, when you first drop into this world you are in a dying depressed world. Your fellow dolphins reduced to bumbling ignorant creatures. The music was perfectly tuned to the atmosphere, a bass/sort of piano and vocal chant added to it.

Then there is the dolphin nightmare, where they have gained intelligence and ambhition but lacked any wisdom or humility. With this they all became a terrible imperialistic, arrogant, and power driven race bent on domination. I will remember playing through the hanging waters for the rest of my life, and I will likely end up waiting for the rest of my life for a gaming experience like swimming in the hanging waters.

This just reminds me of BattleZone, truly a fantastic and innovative game. Some of the best execution and feature-packed development I've seen. Yet, it won several of the "Best game that never sold" awards.

Why people keep buying the regurgitated "find key, get door, kill boss, chaingun/rocketlauncher/BFG" shooters, or the standard regurgitated "babes in a fighting game virtua fighter/soul calibur type game" or the really great "Yet another space RTS that gold old after Homeworld" or your standard run of the mill "top down RTS/Starcraft clone or WC3 clone" gameforms is beyond me. I guess that just proves we don't want anything truly great or special anymore, and games that innovate in their time like Hedgemonia, Ecco, Battlezone, what else, I can't think of any.

Doom3 is great, Halflife2 is wonderful, the extra dialogue, more shooting, more get key/find objective, get more dialogue, etc etc....yeah

I'm dissappointed, especially that I get more playtime/enjoyment from a game that's 4 years old and probably had 1/4 the development cost that Doom3 had...argh

You guys keep it, fine. Lately games seem stupid, and a re-iteration or 4th/5th in a line of franchise-gaming that is getting, quite frankly...tiring.

Edge
12-08-04, 12:33 PM
Hehe, I know what you mean, I just played through that game again a few months ago (I usually pick it up again every year or so). Graphics haven't aged particularly well (though for a 4 year old Dreamcast game they're still spectactular, and it actually has decent physics for objects), but the game was quite interesting. It's one of the few 3d games out there that are ACTUALLY 3d, it seems many games completely ignore the fact that you can look up and down except for the occasional cliff or something you can fall off of. In fact, a lot of games haven't seemed to have evolved past the 2d gameplay that Doom 1 had.

I thought the story really sucked (which is ironic since they got a major science fiction writer to do it), but the settings themselves were just spectacular. I especially like the "Shrine of Controversy" and "Hanging Waters" levels, and as you said the music was very good and fit the game perfectly. In fact, I still think Hanging Waters is the best level I've ever played in a game, I remember how amazing it was playing through that the first time. The sense of scale is just increadible, one of the first games where you could literally fall for a mile (in fact...still the only game?), and it just leaped at you with a sense of awe. And I liked the direction the game had: you always had an overall goal you were trying to accomplish (get to Atlantis in the first section, get to the peak of the mountain in the second and third)

Ecco was probably one of the most unique games ever released (how many other games let you play as a dolphin?), but it was largely ignored due to it's insane puzzle difficulty and slow pace. But for those who could get into it, it was one hell of a ride. Come to think of it, something like that might make a good mod project for a certain engine that handles physics and water graphics really well...;)

Edit: Bah, now I have that Shrine of Controversy music stuck in my head. I can't even tell what they're saying, but I remember the words clearly...

Yuet
12-08-04, 12:36 PM
I dunno, but I guess it is down to the publisher to play "safe" when they choose what games to publish, this forces the developers to choose to develop more popular or conventional types of game to develop, that's why lately, there are not much different types of game around, apart from some games develop by Japanese for consoles nowaday (I guess).

oldsk00l
12-08-04, 01:53 PM
@Edge, well, I have it stuck in my head too. Only because it's a good track. Tim Folin has a concept in his compositions in this game that I think alot of musicians have lost in their self absorbtion.

I think the story did suck though, where...after restoring the guardian he morphs into the foe and blasts the entire ship apart in like 10 seconds...????

At least the gameplay rocked though.

@Yuet
I know exactly what you mean. In fact Todd Hollenshead mentioned this in an interview "With 10 million dollars, a publisher is going to take the lowest risk, and it's because of this we starve out some really good ideas because they are *risky*"

It was something to the effect of that. He hit the nail on the head though.

EciDemon
12-08-04, 08:25 PM
I see it like this:

Games now are better then ever (not just talking about PC games) but yet it dosent have the impact games used to have. I think that is cos we grow up. I still love to play games on my consoles and my PC, but i just cant play for as long as I could before. Some times I actually have the time to spend on games as before. I just get tierd of playing quicker.

The greatest impact any console/puter had on me must have been my Mega CD addon. It was the coolest thing in the world! Ive searched long and hard for find some of the old games I used to play so I can enjoy them once again with an emulator. But it still felt better before.

It's odd though, Now days I buy more games then I used to when I was younger playing on my Sega and stuff.

Edge
12-08-04, 09:05 PM
Ahh yes, the good old Sega/Mega CD, that was an amazing device for it's time. It constantly got panned for costing so much and not having many games (or too many FMV games), but it really did have some classics on it. Silpheed is one of the first games that really brought a shiver down my spine when I saw those huge battleships blow up in the background.

And yes, it does seem like we're almost...saturated by games now. I remember how excited I was to get every game, and how I'd almost always give every one a good effort and spend hours and hours on each. Now, I just pick up game for $10 on clearance, play them for maybe 5 minutes, and never pick them up again (even though some of them are quite good). But in the same way, it's just really hard to be impressed by games anymore. Seeing a T-rex smash through a building in Lost World Arcade, hearing the opening theme to Ecco CD and Sonic CD in crystal clairity, fighting a 50 ton mech while on foot in Metal Gear Solid: these are just some of the amazing moments I've experienced in games, and while some newer games have done things better than these examples, they just aren't substantial enough to have the same impact. The most recent game that REALLY got me hooked was the Natural Selection mod for Half-life, I just fell in love with that thing and would play it constantly (and I still do occasionally, but nowhere near the 14 hours a day I spent on it when it was first released).

Still...it amazes me that some things done in earlier games are still unmatched by newer ones. The recent Ecco example is one of them, but how many RTS games have given you the capabilities you had in the first RTS game of all time, Herzog Zwie? Or the Starfox 2 beta that I recently took a look at (the canceled SNES game): that has one of the most interesting aspects I've ever seen in a space shooter: you actually defend a planet against an attacking armada while attempting to strike back at the enemy. I'm at a loss for why these elements are totally forgotten about...surely it couldn't be THAT big of a risk for companies to take existing ideas that worked and build upon them? Now that I think about it, developers really do seem more and more afraid to take risks. I guess back in the old days when games only took a few people and a year to make, they were willing to try more new things than they are now when a single game can make or break a multimillion dollar company.

EciDemon
12-08-04, 10:12 PM
Silpheed was amazing back in the day. Ther's actually one for PC too you know. An old dos game with PC speaker sounds ;)
And there is a second one for PS2, but that one was a dissapointment.

I liked most of my games for the MegaCD, I don't remember how much my Megacd Cost me, but I bet it was alot as I got it when it was just released (the MegaCDII actually)

I never bought Ecco CD, that title seemd a bit too daring for me. Ive played the first two on the Megadrive (genesis) though.

But there were two games in particular that I really liked alot. Microcosm and later Novastorm (Novastorm was later released on PSX, big dissapointment as they changed the awesome music and did horrible things to the game). Those two games were so simple yet so fun and featured GFX you had never seen before.

Oh yeah :D Dune for mega cd (not to be confused with the RTS Dune 2), now there was an impressive game :D
When I later saw Dune 2 on Amiga I was expecting something like the first game, but then when I saw it I went like: Wtf! ... o_0 fun game though!

Games were different before Wolfenstein and Doom ever saw the light.
But even back then, there were loads of mainstream games as there is today, A few of them broke lose and offerd something new and found a place in our hearts ;)

I later sold my megadrive2/megacd2 and all them games I had for them to buy me a new Amiga. I regret selling my sega but I never regret buying a second amiga.

And that reminds me of the PC/Amiga "wars" going on, ... Doom can not be done on amiga and poof there were loads of 3d shooters on the amiga hehe, Gloom, Fears Alien Breed 3d to name a few ...

Good old days ..

It's great to see more old game freaks like my self here ;) *Im _only_ 26 and have experienced most things since the C64, I can't help feeling sooo lucky!*

jAkUp
12-09-04, 02:26 AM
I remember Ecco on the original sega... interesting concept for a game :)

oldsk00l
12-09-04, 01:42 PM
Well, for a company like id, Activision looks at them and says "Do another FPS"

If id ever says "We're sick of FPS's, remember we use to do sidescrollers, like commander keen" Activision says "Hah, that was funny, anyhow, where were we? Something low risk right?" to which id says "mmmkay......"

id also lost a developer that went to the aoe company.

It's not that I tire of an fps game either, because I've downloaded and played a truckload of Doom3 mods. I loved most of them more than I loved Doom3 too.

lognoronon
12-09-04, 05:38 PM
The Ecco series is one of the best and most undersold/underappreciated games that made it to the U.S. IMO. I consider them to be the best games that have come from Sega and second to that would have to be Space Harrier 1,2. I wish Sega would release another Ecco but I fear if they did it would just not be as good as it could be due to wanting to be too mainstream.

Edge
12-11-04, 06:54 PM
Cool, I just found out that the people who created the soundtrack to Ecco-DotF have a few songs from it on their webpages that you can download :) . Here's the page for Laren d'Or (aka Attila Heger) who did the cinematics music, he has 3 tracks from the cutscenes availible on this page: http://www.larendor.hu/gb/download.htm

And secondly Tim Follin, who did all the in-game music, put a whole bunch of excerpts on his page here: http://www.timfollin.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/demos.htm . Didn't see the track from Shrine of Controversy on that page though, at first I thought it was Ethreal Excerpt but it turned out to be something else.

oldsk00l
12-11-04, 08:50 PM
If you want the entire collection of soundtracks pm me ;)

Peoples-Agent
12-11-04, 11:41 PM
I am very lucky, I see the birth of the entire gaming world ..... started with an old Atari console...then Spectrum, little thing with rubber keys ....an Amstrad, Vic 20 *lol*...C64....then I remember getting my first Amiga 500 ...that was the ultimate for me, really was.... then the Amiga 1200...SNES, Playstation ...PC....486 SX 33 w/ 8MB Ram ...lol
I really do feel for people younger than myself that missed out on all this... I really do!
lol ....have to say key moments for me ...were my Amiga and the games I had on that... remember chilling music from Castle Master, kick ass next gen games like Walker ...OMFG Shadow Of The Beast...anyone remember that?
Graphics at the time were mind blowing !

ahh remember playing Syndicate.... destroying a building for the first time on Syndicate Wars.... UFO (Amiga 1200) ....
Games use to come out , and they would be worth playing to the end and again and again, now...pfff ...can't even come close! Too much eye candy, not enough thought!

This thread really has made my day to be honest, reflecting on better times of my life ....and perhaps, just perhaps ...how my life was then ..could be why I had more appreciation ....
But whos with me on this one.... the very first time you placed that Voodoo 1 card inside of your PC, wasnt that just a devine experience lol

nVidi0t
12-12-04, 12:01 AM
I loved ecco on my Mega Drive. Talk about originality.

And the Mega CD.. lmao, too bad there were just so many damn FMV games. (If you could call them games)

oldsk00l
12-12-04, 12:18 AM
actually for me it was when I got nVidia's first real OGL ICD on my old Riva128.

Yeh, those were the days.

I also gamed a heck of alot on my old Genesis, and was a HUGE Ecco freak back in the day.

This experience I will never forget though, Voodoo, and Myth. The experiences like that were, poking my head out of the crashed ship for the first time in Unreal on a Voodoo2, starting up Turok for the first time, first loading up Ecco DotF, the original Ecco game (start to finish was a divine experience it seemed, Jurassic Beach is an Ecco level I recall with perfect clarity because of how amazing it was), hanging waters, ahhhh

lately games have not come close.

oldsk00l
12-12-04, 12:20 AM
I loved ecco on my Mega Drive. Talk about originality.

And the Mega CD.. lmao, too bad there were just so many damn FMV games. (If you could call them games)

Dude I hear ya, watching the game...yea that was a blast....

nVidi0t
12-12-04, 12:33 AM
I think it is more nostalgia than anything else. The quality of games is definately improving (generally). No game on any system has created the atmosphere, interaction and cinematic quality that HL2 has. I wouldn't dare dig up my Mega Drive to replay the old 'classics'. It would surely ruin the memories.

nVidi0t
12-12-04, 12:40 AM
Dude I hear ya, watching the game...yea that was a blast....

I remember there was some helicopter game where your chopper would run on a set rail and you would have to shoot targets (all in FMV). I actually noticed that I would do better if I just didnt touch the controls at all.

Damn I owned at that game.

Edge
12-12-04, 03:13 AM
Haha, I have that game too...can't quite remember what it was called. It was all hand-animated, right? I think the developer made quite a few games like that for the Sega CD, where the interaction was minimal and the "game" was basically playing a cartoon. I did fall in love with Road Avenger though, from the intro FMV (which was actually kinda sad and touching, to be honest) I was hooked. Sure, the game pretty much consisted of pressing the direction the arrow told you, but back then it was still fun. Heh, I remember getting a whole crapload of Sega CD games for like $5 each back then, even the FMV ones were worth it though since it was basically an hour long movie (just really, really low quality, heh). Luckly I also got a few classics like AH3 Thunderstrike and Silpheed out of that, though. And even though I replayed Silpheed a few months ago, I still thought it was amazingly cinematic and entertaining. And after playing the PS2 Silpheed game, I can say with absolute confidence that the Sega CD version is by far superior, even without the nastalga value. Sometimes the older games really ARE better than newer ones. Donno if I could go back to playing Road Avanger though ;)

But yeah, it's funny going back to some of the old games you played so many years ago. I'm tempted to whip out my Intellivision or Commodore 64 again just to play those games. You know those were the first platforms that really started using voice in games? I'll never forget hearing things like "Pad Six Please" in Space Taxi. Well, back then the technology was so limited that it sounded more like "Pwwd Saaacks Pwaaas", but it was still amazing for the time :D

Oh, and after listening to the old Ecco CD soundtracks again, I must say: why in the hell is music in games WORSE now than it was 10 years ago? When the Sega CD came out, it was amazing to finally hear perfect quality music in games, and it turns out it's STILL better than most of the crap we have nowadays. Yeesh, it's like games take a step forward and then take two steps backward, which is really inexcusable considering how big their budgets are now.

Peoples-Agent
12-12-04, 10:24 AM
actually for me it was when I got nVidia's first real OGL ICD on my old Riva128.

Yeh, those were the days.

I also gamed a heck of alot on my old Genesis, and was a HUGE Ecco freak back in the day.

This experience I will never forget though, Voodoo, and Myth. The experiences like that were, poking my head out of the crashed ship for the first time in Unreal on a Voodoo2, starting up Turok for the first time, first loading up Ecco DotF, the original Ecco game (start to finish was a divine experience it seemed, Jurassic Beach is an Ecco level I recall with perfect clarity because of how amazing it was), hanging waters, ahhhh

lately games have not come close.


..... Oooo Unreal when you first walk out into the wilderness and witness that waterfall and the music , that really did hit a note in my soul :-)

nVidi0t
12-12-04, 11:52 AM
Out of all gaming moments, the part in Unreal when you walk out of the Vortex Rikers onto Na Pali and see the flora/fauna, beautiful skyboxes, water effects, scale and that fantastic waterfall stands above all else for me.

oldsk00l
12-12-04, 12:47 PM
In fact, Unreal's sky is still better than alot of games today....how strange.

Yuet
12-13-04, 08:52 PM
This thread made us people gaming in the 80s looks old (xmastong)

oldsk00l
12-14-04, 09:38 AM
Yeah, but we did have a few gaming moments that have touched us in some way that current games don't.

It's good to see how numerous us "seasoned" gamers are.

TacT
12-14-04, 10:04 AM
Ecco the dolphin was bloody quality stuff, played to death many times on my sega mega drive, brilliant sound track! (xmasgrin)