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Ecco is a dolphin. A dolphin's life consists of swimming around all day, eating and playing. And that's what Ecco does. But one day something happens, and Ecco finds all his friends missing. The once friendly seas have become lonely and oppressive. It's up to Ecco to find out what happened.
Ecco the Dolphin is a 2D underwater adventure game. Players control Ecco and can guide him as he swims horizontally or vertically through the water. He can also jump above the ocean surface and use his sonar to talk to other dolphins or to map his environment. But because Ecco is a dolphin and not a fish, he needs to go back to the ocean surface periodically for air.
Ecco's supply of air is indicated by the blue dots on the upper left of the screen. If the blue dots all fade away, Ecco is out of air and dies. He can also take damage from the unfriendly creatures in the sea. The health level is indicated by the red dots on the screen. Should all these dots fade away, Ecco will be critically wounded and die. Before that happens, Ecco can have a clam heal him by singing to it.
Ecco must journey through the ocean completing the requirements in each level before moving on. He can talk to the other dolphins for clues as to what he must do. By holding down the sonar button, players can see a map of their immediate vicinity with creatures and items marked in different colors. ~ Kyle Knight, All Game Guide