Mega Drive Mega CD
Ecco the Dolphin 2: The Tides of Time


Ecco 2

Click case for larger image

From the Case...

"The evil Vortex has returned and Ecco faces a dangerous adventure. With help from beautiful Trellia, guide Ecco through over 25 levels of aquatic action including amazing 3D scenes. See Ecco morph into a shark, jellyfish and even a seagull as you battle to level the tides of time!"

The previous game - Ecco the Dolphin, became in instant classic through it’s unique style and concept, challenging gameplay and smooth flowing graphics. Ecco 2 is a step up from the original being double the size (cartridge size that is) allowing more room for the inclusion of more detailed graphics and larger levels.

The game was developed by Novatrade and released in 1994 for the Mega Drive. A slightly enhanced Mega CD version followed a few months later.


Ecco has returned to Earth safely with his pod.

Songs of praise echo throughout the ocean - Ecco is a hero: he saved the earth, and he destroyed the evil Vortex.

Or So he thought...

The Vortex Queen detaches from the hive and falls into the tube behind the pod of escaping dolphins.

She is puzzled by what has just happened: a small dolphin has managed to attack the hive and battle it’s way to her chamber. The dolphin attacked her during her feed state - she was weak and very suprised.

He beat her.

Now she must follow the pod to the Earth and start a new hive.


Whilst Ecco frolics with his family in Home Bay (as dolphins do) he is unaware of the new danger that now lurks on the sea bed. The weakened Vortex Queen followed Ecco back to Earth after being defeated whilst Ecco was out to save his pod. The queen takes up root in a deep chasm feeding on the creatures in the sea and spawning more Vortex young.

Meanwhile in Home Bay Ecco comes across teleport ring allowing near instantaneous travel to new waters. Whilst exploring something happens to him. He looses the powers bestowed upon him by the Asterite.

Dolphins from the future contact Ecco. The timeline must be changed to prevent the Vortex fromtaking over Earth. With their help Ecco travels to the future, helps the Asterite and has his powers restored to then fight the Vortex.


The gameplay to Ecco 2 is very much the same as the original game. Ecco swims around freely in various stretches of ocean solving puzzles, collecting information and helping other marine animals in exchange for new abilities and information.

Ecco can move in full 360o motion around each level when underwater. When out of water you succumb to gravity and are pulled back into the water. Ecco - Our Hero

The D-pad moves Ecco left, right, up and down. By holding any direction for a few seconds will make him swim at a slow speed in that direction. Sonar

The A button is Ecco’s sonar. This is used for communicating with other aquatic creatures and attacking enemies. Tapping A once will release a short wave. Point towards another creature and Press A to sing to them. If they communicate with sonar they will reply. This is also the same for attacking but only certain enemies. On some levels a power-up can be found and will upgrade your sonar to a damaging 5 directional burst.

The sonar is also used to get a map of the surrounding area by means of Echolocation. By releasing a sonar wave and holding down button A it will return to Ecco and bring up a map on the screen. See below for more on Echolocation map. Charging

The B button is for charging; used for attacking enemies and feeding. When pressed Ecco lunges forwards at speed - which can also be useful for evading enemies quickly. Pressing B twice gives a double charge. This is for quickly following up an attack with another one as some enemies will require several hits to defeat.

The C button is for building up swimming speed and used in conjunction with the D-Pad. Pressing repeatedly gains more and more speed. When surfacing for air with some momentum pressing C also makes Ecco roll in the air.

Pressing A and B together gives a sonar charge. This is basically a sonar wave but can do damage to enemies and objects. Ecco's Health

At the top right of the screen are two rows of 5 bars. The top row, darker blue, represents Ecco’s energy. When there are no bars left Ecco dies. You are hurt by touching an enemy or a hazard.

Health is replenished by charging at schools of fish that appear randomly in each stage. Generally two fish will restore health to full. Some plants on the sea bed also release ‘healing bubbles’. By pointing Ecco’s nose at them and singing - blue bubbles will be released which will heal.
Ecco 2 Ecco 2

The lower set of bars, lighter blue, represents Ecco’s air level. When there are no bars Ecco drowns and the level is restarted. Air is replenished by finding pockets of air or reaching the surface. A leap out of the water will restore Ecco air to full immediately. Poking Ecco’s head out of the water into the air will restore air gradually. Underwater there are some pockets of air which are shown as small rising bubbles

Enemies throughout each level include sharks, jelly fish, blow fish swarms, crabs, aliens and of their technological devices. Aliens occasionally appear in earlier levels and touching one invariably causes instant death.

Hazards vary from falling rocks, spiked shells either stationary or falling, fast flowing water pulls Ecco through small stretches quickly. Poisonous gasses vented from the floor, wrecked ships and some plants which appear as orange bubbles.

Some vents have water currents flowing upwards which are too strong to swim through. This is usually overcome having a rock or a turtle on your nose and swimming downwards. Some vents have currents flowing left or right which can not be swam against.

There is no time limit for completing a stage and there is no limit on the amount of lives you have. A stage can be restarted by pausing the game and pressing C. The music can be stopped and restarted by pausing the game and pressing A.

The end of the stage is when you exit the area which is beyond the tasks you will have to perform.

Throughout the course of the game you will also encounter the following -

Glyph Crystals

Glyph Crystals
These are an essential component of the game. They perform a variety of functions. Some act as doors or keys, some give special powers, hold information and give clues and others act as restart markers. They are activated by either touch or singing to them. Some Glyphs will be broken and their pieces need to be brought together for them to work. Other glyphs may need to be grouped with others like it.

Pulsar - sonar power ups
By collecting this your sonar becomes a weapon. By pressing A twice, a sonar wave in released in 5 directions surrounding Ecco. This will damage anything it comes in contact with.

These are spheres which when touches can change Ecco into another life form. This could be a jelly fish or shark but the really annoying one is a seagull.

Teleport rings
Teleport are blue/white rings and by entering one you will begin a pseudo 3D intersection. All the rules of normal gameplay apply with a slightly different view. As you swim along teleport additional rings will appear. These can be above or below the surface. Ecco must swim through 5 of these to arrive at the destination. Some of the rings above water can be tricky to reach. Using sonar can deflect a teleport ring away from you. Miss more than 3 rings and you are returned to where you entered the first ring.
Teleport Ring Sequence Teleport Ring Sequence

Flying dolphins
These are found on the levels that are set in the future when Dolphins now have the ability to fly. They can be both underwater and in the air. When in the air they can carry Ecco when the touches them. They will also talk to Ecco when he sings to them.

Sky tubes
These are lanes of water which extend outwards from the sea into the sky. These are found on levels which take place in the future. Ecco can swim up these to reach high places.

This is granted by certain glyph crystals and last for a few seconds.

Other creatures
Apart from the usuals that harm Ecco (jelly fish, sharks etc) there are some creatures that have to be manipulated to helping you. For example, on one stage there is a barrier that can be broken through by luring the giant worm to wards the barrier which it will then destroy.

The game has 3 difficulty levels. Easy, normal and hard. The mode is selected when the game is first started inside the cave. Swimming straight forward activates normal mode. By destroying the two shells above, swimming out through this corridor activates hard mode. Swimming to the exit top-right activates easy mode. Some levels are only available in hard mode. Swimming left takes you to the password screen to resume a previous game.

Each time a stage starts you will be given a password. See below for list of passwords.

Echolocation Map

When a location map is on screen items are shown your position indicated by a flashing dolphin, undersea passages and outlets to the surface.
  • Dangers appear as orange circles. These are hazards such as spiky shells.

  • Large bubbles indicate pockets of air. Swim here to slowly stock up.

  • Glyph crystals are shown as crystals.

  • Teleport rings appear as circles with arrows pointing inside them.

  • Yellow arrows point towards the exit.

  • Metaspheres appear as glowing solid circles.

  • Pulsars are shown as curves spreading from a point.

  • Rings of stars can be coasted via sonar into smashing through objects like rocks.

  • Dangers such as sharks and jelly fish are represented as sharks and jellyfish.

  • Dolphins are other dolphins. You can usually communicate with them.

Echolocation Map

The echolocation map is only short range. You are likely to be using this many times on each level as you make progress.


Crystal Springs Sky Way
Sky Way Sky Lands
Tube of Medusa Moray Abyss
The Eye Gravitor Box
New Machine City of Forever


The Mega CD version of the game is essentially the same as the cartridge version in terms of gameplay. The games intro sequence and the cut scenes are replaced with computer generated FMV in the standard Mega CD quality.

The Mega Drive FM tunes are replaced with CD audio tracks and according to the manual the in game sound fx are recorded with QSound which simulates 180o audio range from two speakers should your Mega CD be connected in such a way and you really want it.

Progress through the game is saved to the Mega CD’s internal memory but the password system can also be used.


Passwords between the Mega Drive and Mega CD versions are slighty different. Some though do seem to work but there are no guarantees.


Normal Mode

Hard Mode

Crystal Springs



Fault Zone



Two Tides






Sky Tides



Tube of Medusa



Aqua Tubeway

(Hard Mode Only)





Fin to Feather



Eagles Bay



Asterites Cave



Maze of Stone

(Hard Mode Only)


Four Islands



Sea of Darkness



Vents of Medusa






Moray Abyss



The Eye



Big Water



Deep Ridge



The Hungry Ones



Secret Cave



Lunar Bay



Black Clouds



Gravitor Box



Globe Hoder



Dark Sea



New Machine

(Hard Mode Only)


Vortex Queen



Home Bay






Fish City



City of Forever



View Ending Sequence

Enter CEWSXKPA as a password.

Invincability and Unlimited Air

For unlimited life and air, move Ecco left and right, and pause the game while Ecco is facing you. Next, press A,B, Right, A, C, A, Down, A, B, Right, A (Abra Cadabra). Your health and air will drop to 0 and you will no longer die however you can still be crushed causing the level to restart.

Debug Mode

Turn Ecco so that he is facing either left or right - side on view. Turn either left or right and in mid turn pause the game. Press ABCBCACAB. From here you can access any stage and play with the music if you really wanted to.

Debug Mode


A version of this game was released on the Game Gear. Ecco 2 on Game Gear Ecco 2 on Game Gear

About the same time this game was released a much easier version of Ecco was developed. Dubbed Ecco Junior this game had more cutesy graphics and less difficult puzzles to solve. Version of this were released Mega Drive, Master Sytem and Game gear.

A prototype Ecco game was apparently in development for the Mega Drive 32X. It turns out that this was only a demo movie of a few seconds to show FMV running on the system.

The orignal Ecco the Dolphin has been re-released on Game Boy Advance as part of the Sega Smash Pack containing Golden Axe, Sonic Spinball and Ecco.

Ecco: Defender of the FutureEcco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future

The next game in the series was Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future on Dreamcast released in 2000. The game was a full 3D 128-Bit affair with fantastically rendered underwater scenes of great detail.

You are tasked to save the planet against an a time-jumping enemy known as the Foe. This has to be done 3 times in different time frames; the present time, one where humans rule, another where evil dolphins are in control and more nightmarishly where the Foe are in control.

This version was also released on the PS2.
Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future
Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future


Emulator Compatibility

Mega Drive Version :: Works perfectly with the latest versions KGEN, Kega, Fusion and Gens.

Mega CD Version :: Works perfectly with the latest versions of Kega, Fusion and Gens.


For the ultimate in all things Ecco the Dolphin checkout Caverns of Hope. It is a stunning website with plenty of hard to find information about the whole series of games.

An Ecco 2 Review

There was actually a soundtrack released of Ecco the Dolphin tunes. Check it out here.

Mega Drive/Genesis Sega

Back to Mega Drive/Genesis Feature

Back to Sega Main Index

Top of Page Sitemap Homepage

Return to Homepage

Return to Sitemap

Return to Top of Page