13 Video Game Sequels Better Than Their 'Classic' Originals
13. Ecco: The Tides Of Time > Ecco The Dolphin
Is Ecco the Dolphin considered a classic in anybody else's mind other than my own? I'm quite sure it is, but I did grow up in something of a Sega-obsessed bubble.
Bubble! That's a relevant word. Because it's all like, underwater you see?
Anyway, Ecco was a brilliantly brooding adventure, its pelagic setting totally distinguishing it from the multitude of mascot platformers clogging up consoles during the period. There was little else like it.
But it was hard. Damn hard; the inability to breathe seldom makes things easier. The cetacean's second soirée, Tides of Time, was just as difficult. In fact, it was an even more punishing porpoise puzzler. As a result, few people had the wherewithal to see it through to its conclusion, instead telling the frustrating game to shove it up its blowhole.
It's worth fighting against the current though, if only for the portentously sombre ambience which thickly pervades every cubic centilitre of Ecco 2's watery world. The brimming oceanscapes—as elegantly depicted as the softest of oil paintings—feel alive at the surface. The tone drops and the pressure gradually ramps up as the player plunges to the ocean's lowest depths. (Then there're some bits in a sort of, sky tunnel, just ignore those.)
The mood is densely enveloped by an unreal, Pink Floyd-esque soundtrack, easily the best on the Mega Drive, and perhaps the most gloomily atmospheric ever employed in a video game. The opening sequence alone is enough to leave anybody wet. Because it's in the sea, you see.
Benjamin was born in 1987, and is still not dead. He variously enjoys classical music, old-school adventure games (they're not dead), and walks on the beach (albeit short - asthma, you know).
He's currently trying to compile a comprehensive history of video game music, yet denies accusations that he purposefully targets niche audiences. He's often wrong about these things.