ECCO: The Tides of Time

ECCO: The Tides of Time
a game by Novotrade
Genres: Action, Educational/Kids
Platforms: Sega GenesisGenesis, Sega Master SystemSega Master System, GameGear
Editor Rating: 7.1/10, based on 10 reviews
User Rating: 8.7/10 - 3 votes
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See also: Simulator Games, ECCO Games

Ecco's fans will welcome the return of their favorite mammal. Like the acclaimed previous games, this one generates hours of entertainment, though it may seem redundant if you're not an Ecco acolyte.

Sea Quest

When Ecco is warned about an impending threat to the sea's harmony, he embarks on a voyage to save the future. Throughout his long, strategic journey, he must solve puzzles, find the Asterite and teleport rings, battle undersea creatures, morph into other animals, and find air. While it sounds like a lot, the action unfolds slowly, which may send action-loving gamers elsewhere.

If you know the previous Ecco game, you'll know these controls. Ecco has a trusty Sonar for picking up cryptic messages, a Sonar Map to locate important items, and the patented swim, jump, and attack moves that make him the smoothest swimmer since Jacques Cousteau. Life's a beach for this quick, responsive dolphin.

A Sight to Sea

Ecco's games have always had glorious graphics, and this one's no exception. Beautiful colors and exquisite details fill every level. Morphing moves and weird beasts add visual variety, but be prepared for lots of aqua backgrounds.

You'll instantly recognize the sounds from previous Eccos. The astral music and sonar pings are just what you'd expect.

Don't be lulled by Ecco's beauty: This game's strategic challenge may frustrate younger gamers. Passwords help, but plan on diving in headfirst and staying underwater for a long time. This game's worth the effort, though, because Ecco's definitely back with a splash.


  • Don't attack these quick eels - just swim around them.
  • Use your Sonar Map frequently, especially in the later, longer levels.

Download ECCO: The Tides of Time


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
  • Game modes: Single game mode

Player controls:

  • Up, Down, Left, Right - Arrow keys
  • Start - Enter (Pause, Menu select, Skip intro, Inventory)
  • "A" Gamepad button - Ctrl (usually Jump or Change weapon)
  • "B" button - Space (Jump, Fire, Menu select)
  • "C" button - Left Shift (Item select)

Use the F12 key to toggle mouse capture / release when using the mouse as a controller.

Sega Master System

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Beware--the vortex is back and boy is it mad! Lead Ecco through the halls of time to stop this menace once and for all. Ecco: The Tides of Time is an adventurous, puzzle-solving trek through many levels of underwater splendor. This is a graphically spectacular game. The sound is very well done as well. Ecco is a little hard to control at times but his motion is very fluid. The levels are big and sometimes confusing. The puzzles are not difficult to solve since the answer is usually in the surrounding water, like the sea stars that are located to the left and above the first barrier you encounter.

During the course of the game you will encounter lots of objects that will both help and hinder your quest. You must find the Glyphs (white) and the Key Glyphs (yellow) to progress to the next level. Other mammals will either give you helpful advice or take you to another that can. Fish restore your health when you charge them. Circulating bubbles in the water indicate a metasphere that can transform Ecco into other life forms. You will also come across a barrier--look around at your surroundings to find a way through.


The graphics are some of the best for the Game Gear!


Ecco proves to be a little tricky to handle. It takes time to get used to moving him around.


That eight-armed octopus. What a terror he is!


People say:


Ecco appears to be a decent game tor the Game Gear. The graphics, animation and most certainly the colors are very impressive. However, the quest left me hanging as to exactly what I was supposed to do. The control of Ecco 2: Tides of Time doesn't match the overall quality of the game, hurting it significantly. Judging this game is a bit difficult. I didn't really care for it, but Ecco fans might.


This portable Ecco game holds somewhat true to the original 16-Bit game. All of the characters you've come to love from the first game are in here. Yet, there are a few additional features to keep the sequel fresh. The colors are intense, and the animations are smooth. However, I thought the game play could have been a bit more upbeat. An overall decent play for people who loved the first Ecco game!


Although this is a portable game, Ecco 2 still holds its own as a 16-Bit translation. Obviously, this can't be a true translation because of the Game Gear's limitations, so some changes in some of the levels were made to give the adventure a fresh look. Pretty cool, I think. Like the original 16-Bit, Ecco's animations are impressively fluid. The control wasn't bad, even though it took some time to get used to.


This does a good job of retaining the appeal of the 16-Bit version by using a lot of colorful backgrounds. This new version may use a few new techniques, but overall it is the serene, smooth look that attracts its crowd. Fans of the first game will like it for all the same reasons but may not think there is a lot new to it. However, I liked the original and didn't want them to change a good thing. As a portable it is fun to carry with you.

  • Manufacturer: Sega
  • Machine: Genesis

They called him Flipper... Flipper', but you'll call this 'boring, boring', even though there are some really beautiful graphics in the game. If you don't have the first Ecco game, you might wanna pick this one up - otherwise, we'd forget it.

  • Manufacturer: Sega of America
  • Machine: Genesis and Sega CD

Question: I just purchased the game for my Genesis, and I can't get past the Crystal Springs. The dolphin that swims around me is not much help. Is there a pattern in which I have to sing to the glyphs or something? I have found four glyphs and none of them have given me any clues. Help me!

Answer: This is one case in the game (and there are others) where glyphs don't give info, but have to be used in other ways. The big trick here is to time your sonar blasts so that the glyph 'bounces' farther and farther every time. Eventually, they break free, and you can steer them to the one that doesn't move in the lower left side of the area.

  • Manufacturer: Sega
  • Machine: Genesis

They called him Flipper, Flipper, but you'll call this boring, even though there are some really beautiful graphics in the game. If you don't have the first Ecco game, you might wanna pick this one up - otherwise. we'd forget it.

  • Machine: Sega CD.
  • Manufacturer: by Sega of America.

Depending on whom you asked, Ecco: Tides of Time for Genesis was either fun or frustrating. Personally, I've always kind of liked the little guy, although controlling a swimming dolphin isn't as intuitive as making a small furred animal run somewhere.

Tides of Time for Sega CD is almost identical to the Genesis version, except that the graphics have a lot more depth, and the music is much better. The real advantage though, is that Tides of Time for Sega CD adds a series of 'history glyphs', - mystic crystals which trigger rendered animation sequences, showing Ecco's life story.

This second Ecco game should come with a label: "Warning! Prolonged exposure to Ecco 2 can lead to addiction." The Tides of Time is packed with some new sights, sounds, levels, and dangers that will both thrill Ecco's many fans and draw in a lot of new fans.

King of the Sea

This CD's very similar to the cartridge version (except for slightly snazzier graphics and superior sounds), but if you loved the original Ecco, just rush out and get this game -- you won't be disappointed. The undersea world is very similar, and the controls are instantly familiar, featuring all the usual Ecco moves, such as charging attacks and aerial flips.


  • Press Button C to keep up with Blackfin as he leads you through the Four Islands.
  • To defeat the Globe Holder, sonar it loose from the walls, continue to sonar It into the walls without getting crushed, and swim from comer to comer when it attacks.
  • Some Glyphs are broken in half. Move the two halves together with your sonar.
  • Refer often to your sonar map during long levels.

This time, Ecco's mission is to destroy the Vortex Queen, who was weakened in the first game but not killed. The game sends the bottle-nosed hero through two possible futures -- your challenge is to defeat all the enemies and solve all the puzzles to ensure that the good future will come true.

Along the way, you have to save baby killer whales, dodge sharks, sing songs, and morph into other creatures. Succeed, and everyone in the world gets along like the characters in The Partridge Family, fail, and angry aliens will take over and set up the Vortex Queen as Earth's ruler.

Dolphin Delights

What has always made Ecco stand out are the superior graphics. They're awesome. Study Ecco's smooth, graceful movements or the alien creatures in Medusa's Tube, and you'll see why the graphics get a 5.0. Adding to the enjoyment are the History Glyphs, which are only on the Sega CD version. These digitized clips show you spectacular highlights from earlier adventures.

To loosen a Glyph, approach it from above at a 45-degree angle and press Button A.

The sounds are equally superior. Plug in some headphones to hear beautiful sounds like singing whales.

Sea Quest

Like the recent Genesis version, Tides of Time Sega CD is an excellent sequel, offering enchanting graphics and sounds. It's not easy, though, so be ready for a strategic challenge. Nor is it a fast action/adventure game, which means you may be calling out the tuna boats if you don't have a lot of patience. But those who love long, slowly unfolding strategy adventures will love this mammal. He's still the King of the Sea.

  • Not everything is as it appears. Use your sonar on shells, rocks, and aliens to uncover secrets.
  • Ecco can fly... sort of. When you find sea gulls, press Button B to charge out of the water and touch them. You'll morph into a gull and fly to the next level.

Ecco the Dolphin, one of Sega's more interesting video games last year, was a big success. Because it had such unique game play and control mechanics, it was fun to just fiddle around with. The graphics were also special -- with his fluid movements, Ecco looked less like a video game character and more like an actual dolphin.

ProTip: To get through the teleport rings, keep Ecco dose to the surface to see If the ring Is above or below the water.

Is There an Ecco In Here?

Perhaps granting players' wishes, Ecco's second soiree, The Tides of Time, is more playable than the first, giving players smaller puzzles to tackle and less intimidating levels to hack through. It also expands on Ecco's mobility, not only recreating his swooshing swims, leaps, and flips, but also adding some fun forward- scrolling challenges.

Finding supplementary air sources, like this bubbling shell, Is essential to solving some of the deep puzzles.

Further expanding on Ecco's appeal -- and the player's ingenuity -- the designers have given the mammal's appearance some malleability. He can now morph into other characters, but more importantly, those characters represent a double- edged sword: They can do things that Ecco wouldn't normally be able to, but their respective shortcomings also have to be taken into account. These nuances add to the game's strategic appeal.

In Crystal Springs, break the three crystals loose and reunite them with the one circling at the bottom left.

All the Time in The World

The Tides of Time story line is pretty wild. After saving the ocean dwellers from certain disaster in his premiere, Ecco again finds the Vortex putting its catastrophic spin on the future. Ecco travels into the future, where he must head off a potentially hazardous alternate time line.

This setting gave the game's designers an opportunity to stretch their graphical creativity. Visual treats are everywhere -- for instance, in the future, the main waterways are linked by tubes that enable Ecco to swim through the skies! The graphics throughout the game are wonderful, with vivid backgrounds and the same signature animation that graced the original Ecco ride.

The haunting soundtrack is also prominent, though it doesn't get in the way of the action -- call it mild Musak for the mind that's a great listen on headphones. All the game's audio is simple, soothing, and effective, because Ecco doesn't offer the intense pulse-pounding excitement of other action/adventures. There are some fairly exhilarating sections, however.

Ecco meets his mirror Image just before he receives some important words of wisdom.

A Bump on a Waterlog

Where the game suffers is in its control, and as a result, the FunFactor dives somewhat. Intricate control-pad calisthenics require you to double-click buttons while simultaneously steering Ecco with the directional pad, and the results are frequent rude encounters with rocks and enemies.

And even if you are an Ecco veteran, the new locations may drive you crazy. The water tubes especially can test your game skill and patience, because if you drop out of the path the least little bit, it spells dolphin disaster. It'll be a miracle if you don't get severely stuck bouncing between the Sky Tides and Tubes of Medusa stages.

  • Watch out for the pull of these aerial whirlpools In the Sky Tides. If you're pulled In, you're thrown back to the level's beginning.
  • Nudge the tortoise so he retreats into his shell. Then use him as a shield against the raging current.
  • This glyph splits In two but Is open only a short time. Dash through quickly.

Jump In -- The Water's Fine!

There's no doubt that Tides of Time offers a lot, providing a scenic variety of levels for the player to swim through and solve. Occasional control glitches do bring their share of frustration, but you still get a solid dose of entertainment. This sequel proves that Ecco's washed up yet.

As the shark, Ecco only has to keep moving through the water to get air, unlike his dolphin form.

ECCO - The Tides of Time is a direct sequel to the original Genesis hit, Ecco the Dolphin. The Vortex Queen has followed Ecco to Earth and has established a new hive. It's up to Ecco to once again navigate the depth and heights of his sidescrolling world to meet up with marine life, solve puzzles, and take on the alien threat. New to the series are some 3D levels and the ability to turn into different forms via metaspheres. Ecco can transform into a seagull, jellyfish, shark, a school of fish, and a Vortex drone.

Ecco: The Tides of Time Features:

  • Morph into other creatures of the sea
  • 40 levels of discovery
  • All kinds of challenging puzzles to solve
  • Five 3D levels

Snapshots and Media

Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Screenshots

GameGear Screenshots

See Also

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