FAQ/Walkthrough by MSTie2K

Version: 2.0 | Updated: 02/15/14 | Printable Version


by "T3"

Updated: 2014-- Ten years later, I came back to this FAQ to add some
information I've gathered, improve the strategies for a few of the stages, and
I've added a new trivia section at the end. Additionally, I've done extensive
rewrites mostly because I can't handle my awful writing style from a decade ago.

In particular, I've added stage info for City of Forever, The Machine, and I've
included a clever glyph-bypass trick I never knew about until very recently!

Meanwhile, this FAQ has been viewed over 20,000 times! Thank you for your
interest, and I hope this guide has been helpful to all 20,000 of you!

Updated: 3/14/2005-- Clarified some rather ambiguous instructions on rescuing
the first dolphin in "The Vents". Thanks to Pure Mind for pointing this out!




0. Intro
1. Controls
2. Enemies
3. Walkthrough
   i. Home Bay
  ii. Bay of Medusa
 iii. Undercaves
  iv. The Vents
   v. The Lagoon
  vi. Ridge Water
 vii. Open Ocean
viii. Ice Zone
  ix. Hard Water
   x. Cold Water
  xi. Island Zone
 xii. Deep Water
xiii. Marble Sea
 xiv. The Library
  xv. Deep City
 xvi. City of Forever
xvii. Jurassic Beach
xviii. Pteranodon Pond
 xix. Origin Beach
  xx. Trilobite Circle
 xxi. Dark Water
xxii. Deep Water 2/ City of Forever 2
xxiii. The Tube
xxiv. Welcome to the Machine
 xxv. The Last Fight
4. Passwords
5. Cheats
6. Trivia
7. Legal Stuff



This is (hopefully) a comprehensive guide for the Genesis/Mega Drive version of
Ecco the Dolphin. That is to say, it doesn't contain info for the few stages
exclusive to the Sega CD version, but most of the information otherwise
applies. Keep in mind also this is based on my experience playing the US
version of the game, with only a few differences in the Japanese version
mentioned, only if I happened to know about them.

I recall this as being one of the most infuriatingly difficult games I'd ever
played when I first got it back in the Genesis heyday. It took about ten years
before I finally beat it, and its steep learning curve drove me to the brink of
insanity on more than a few occasions. Despite that, my recollections of the
game are mostly fond ones, and its great, weird, beautiful aesthetic is like
nothing I've seen in a game since. It goes to show that processing power isn't
worth much without the creative power to put it to use.

There may be some reading this who are old school Ecco fans that want to
finally find out exactly how to get past that damn inscrutable battle with the
Asterite on the twenty-first level. Or, maybe there are some new players turned
on by the recent re-releases on Steam and the 3DS Shop. Either way, it's easy
to imagine some of the games' archaic (and at times, punishingly difficult)
design philosophy might limit one's ability to enjoy what this game really has
to offer. I hope this guide can help as many fans as possible enjoy a weird and
wonderful old game that, despite its shortcomings, has a definite capacity to
be a significant cultural influence for those who enjoy it. Whether it's the
intriguing (if geologically inaccurate) prehistoric stages, or the surreal,
Geigeresque nightmare that is the final sections of the game, or the trippy
prog-rock-inspired soundtrack they eeked out of the Genesis' old synthesizer
chips, there's a lot that can provide a tangential learning experience for
anyone who's interested.

With that in mind, on with the FAQ!

1.       CONTROLS

No game I can recall designed with the Genesis' 3-button controller had
terribly complicated controls, but I might as well cover a few things before
moving on.

The A button will shoot out a wave of sonar. Holding down the A button will
cause the sound wave to bounce back, displaying a map of the immediate
vicinity. Hazards, enemies, air pockets, and other objects will be highlighted.

The B button will send Ecco charging forward. You can build up more force if
you hit B while stationary. While moving, the B button will simply give you an
acceleration boost.

The C button pushes you forward a little. The more rapidly you hit the C
button, the faster you'll go.

Some time into the game, you can learn special sonar attacks. To use these
attacks, hit the B button while stationary, and hit A before you charge
forward. The resulting sonar blast will either confuse or injure enemies.

2.        ENEMIES

Here's a catalog of enemies in the game, in alphabetical order:

Clams - Some clams emit healing bubbles when you "sing" at them. The one with a
reddish tint to their shells are poisonous.

Crabs- Surprisingly dangerous are the crabs in this game; they jump at you and
won't leave you alone until you're out of their range. They come in much larger
varieties in the arctic stages.

Dark Starfish - Not to be confused with the brightly colored starfish which you
can use to loosen boulders. Circles of these things will fan out and try to hit
There's not many of these, but they can do some damage if you're not careful.

Dunkleosteus- These green jawfish appear only in the prehistoric levels, and
function just like sharks. In terms of realism, they should have been extinct
long before the time period Ecco visits, but they make a pretty cool inclusion

Jellyfish - alone, they're not much trouble. As you'll soon find out, though,
they can be very annoying in numbers. A single charge is enough to kill them,
but it's usually best just to avoid them if possible. Singing at them causes
them to freeze momentarily.

Nautiloids - These come in two forms: skinny, light-colored ones and larger,
colored ones. The skinny ones travel in lines, like rays, but the large ones
move diagonally.

Octopus - A glyph contains the tip "swim slowly past eight arms." Just tap the
D pad slightly when going past one, or else it'll deal a near fatal blow with
its tentacle.

Pufferfish - After they inflate their bodies, they usually start chasing after
you. They can actually cause a lot of damage, if you don't get rid of them or
loose them right away.

Sea Horses - Rarely seen (thank god) these huge creatures block your path in
and out of caves. They'll launch baby sea horses at you when you strike them;
otherwise they just float there. Invincibility shields are very useful.

Sea Worms- When you pass near these sessile creatures, they grab ahold and
attempt to hold you until you drown. To escape, point yourself diagonally away
from them and charge in a straight line, occasionally alternating to pumping
with C to reorient yourself.

Sharks - They come in several forms, some are aggressive and others barely
notice you. In either case it's best to keep your distance, because they can
deal massive damage and take quite a bit of effort to kill.

Sting Rays - They drift along straight lines. Avoid touching them as best you

Trilobites - These bottom-dwelling crabs are able to penetrate walls and
barriers to chase you down. They're inexplicably fast and dangerous. Kill them
as fast as possible.

Vortex Drone - They only appear in the penultimate and final stages of the
game. You must attack them with your sonar as a projectile; they take two hits
each. Careful of the injured ones; they move more quickly and can gang up on


  i. Home Bay
This is a basic, open-ended stage to let you get acclimated to the controls. To
trigger the story event, you must build up speed and jump as high into the sky
as you can. (Note, you must do this in an open area- it won't work if you're
behind the cliffs on the edge of the stage.) After the whirlpool, head to the
small save on the far right, where you'll find the exit.

 ii. Bay of Medusa
(Note that you now have a health and air meter.)

First, jump the first small island and head down. Go left into the air pocket
and jump over the small rock pillar which bisects the chamber. Now swim down,
right, down some more, and right again. Touch the key glyph and go back they
way you came. The exit is found at the rightmost extremity of the stage. Use
your sonar to dislodge the glyph and exit.

 iii. Undercaves
Head up and touch the first glyph. To your left is a barrier glyph, use your
sonar to knock it down. Charge by the next pit before the current pulls you
down. Go under the big rock in the next chamber (the current above can't be
overcome) and charge the shells until you have cleared a path.

Swim up until you see 3 jellyfish near a small cave. Head right (might want to
surface in the air pocket.) Further right down the tunnels is a key glyph, with
several puffer fish blocking the way.

Once you get the key glyph, head back out to the main chamber. On the small
platform in the upper right is a glyph and a conical shell. Push the shell off
to the right and maneuver it into the vertical barrier of round boulders. The
shell will destroy them, allowing you to pass through. Within the cave is a
barrier glyph, knock it out to proceed to the chamber with the octopus.

There are two methods for getting past this area. First, the "official" method:
position yourself upward, and tap the D pad so as to go SLOWLY past the
octopus. Once past, go left to get a key glyph, and double back. Hurry so you
don't grown, but remember to go slowly past the octopus on the way down too.

A sneakier method is possible. When you get to the octopus, rather than going
up to get the key glyph, simply head down to the left side of the barrier
glyph. Charge, and swing Ecco back facing the opposite direction as soon as you
reach the glyph. If you manage it right, Ecco will be bounced by the glyph
repeatedly, eventually being squeezed down into the chamber below without
having to remove it. (NOTE: There are only a few occasions in the game where
there is enough of a gap where this is possible. It's worth noting that this is
a design oversight which was fixed in the Japanese version of the game.)

Once past the glyph, head left. Allow the upward current to push you into the
ceiling, and move past the spikes. In the chamber all the way left is a key
glyph. Get it, head back, and remove the final barrier glyph blocking the small
cave to the exit.

  iv. The Vents
This stage is a welcome change of pace. To exit the stage, simply head as far
left as you can go from where you start. Below the floating island is a tunnel
with an upward current and a loose boulder you can use to go down. At the very
bottom is a pair of tunnels, the bottom of which is blocked by a glyph. The
unblocked tunnel is the exit.

However, this stage has the first of two optional side-missions, which involves
rescuing three lost dolphins. It's worth doing this, because you'll be rewarded
with a powered-up attack.

You'll notice a dolphin nearby when you start the stage. Talk to her to begin
the mission.

You'll find the first dolphin by heading straight down (use the loose boulder
just to the right of the upward current to make your way down) and entering the
cave on your left. Swim just in front of him and he'll follow you. While you're
here, head into the chamber below where you found the dolphin and get the key

After returning the first dolphin to its mother, head back down and enter the
third cave on your right. Use your sonar to knock the barrier glyph out of the
way, and grab the other key in the cave at the top of the large chamber. Head
below, and break through the shell wall and move the next barrier glyph out of
the way. Head up through still another shell wall.
Further up, there's another key glyph. Further
up still there's another barrier, behind which is the second dolphin. Bring him
back the way you came, grabbing key glyphs and knocking out barriers as you
come across them.

Once you've returned the second dolphin, make your way to the right and jump
over the islands. Once you've passed the 4th island, head down and use the rock
to swim downward. On the second cave to the left you'll find another key glyph.
Use the boulder near the mouth of the cave to swim down to the bottom of the
pit and get rid of the final barrier. Inside the cave behind said barrier is
the third and final dolphin. Return him and you'll get the charge sonar move,
accomplished by hitting B and pressing A immediately after.

The cave just above where the third dolphin was is the exit.

   v. The Lagoon
Here is featured the second of the optional rescue missions. Since dolphins can
be found mostly in places you have to go to get through the stage, it's worth
doing for another upgrade.

From where you start, head straight down past the sharks, where you'll find a
trapped dolphin. Lead him back to the top of the pool, and jump over the island
to your right.

Once he's returned, head back the other way and jump over the next 3 islands
and head down until you see another cone-shaped shell. Run it into the round
boulder in your way and head through the gap to your right. Get the second
dolphin and grab the key glyph in the cave below you. In the upper right-hand
corner of the cavern there's some starfish. Use your sonar to direct them back
to the round boulders, which have respawned by now. Running the stars into the
boulders will destroy them somehow. Return the second dolphin and head back to
the pool you started in.

Head down and enter the second cave on your right and destroy the shells in
your way. Enter the cavern nearer the bottom and find the cave with the
starfish in it. Direct them back into the larger cavern and then straight up
towards the octopus. (This one's far easier to avoid.) Use the starfish to
destroy the boulder just behind the octopus and proceed right. (Make sure not
to get hurled up by the current here.) Further in the cave there's a barrier
glyph. Get rid of it and head down. Enter the cave on your left, head down, and
head left again. Lead the
dolphin out the way you came and bring him back to his pod. Your song will now
immobilize sharks.

Go back past the octopus, head all the way down the cave this time. (Avoid the
worms; see 'enemies' section for details on how to escape.) Destroy the shell
wall and hurry past the crabs. Get some air, and take out the nearby
pufferfish. Enter the lower cave and hurry past more crabs.
At the end of the tunnel head up and left. In the upper right hand corner of
the big cave are some more starfish. Direct them diagonally down and straight
into the cave near the bottom of the screen.(Also they make a good shield
against the crabs.) At the end of the tunnel are
some boulders; again use the starfish to destroy them somehow. Go up and to the
right until you see a huge tunnel leading upward filled with shells. Survive
the barrage to reach the exit.

NOTE: If you have trouble making it past the later half of the stage, a
somewhat sociopathic (but effective!) method is to take a stray dolphin with
you; if your health bar drains to zero while doing an escort, the other dolphin
will disappear and your bar will refill, essentially serving as a second life
bar. This necessitates that you not complete the rescue mission, though.

  vi. Ridge Water (aka "Deep Ridge")
Head down from the starting point and use the rock to go down against the
upward current. Near the bottom to the left is a cave; enter it and try to grab
the cone shaped shell. Run it across the bottom and into the wall at the
end of the cave. Now swim around the landmass in the center of the chamber and
swim all the way up to the small cave with a key glyph.

Head back to the main chamber and go above the landmass in the center. Direct
the cone shaped shell down into the wall blocking your way to the lower
cave.Make your way straight through the tunnel and get rid of the barrier
glyph. Head up into the next big cave, continue to go diagonally upward into
the long tunnel full of sting rays. All the way at the end are some starfish.
Use your
sonar to push them back along the way you came. Once at the end of the cave,
push them downward and take out yet another wall.

In the next chamber, head downward and swim into the small tunnel near the
bottom. Once at the end of the tunnel, head upward and get the starfish from
the small tunnel. Bring them down to the tunnel near the bottom, and push them
along to the right. Eventually you'll take out two boulders. Swim ahead and
head up into the next cave, and go into the tunnel to the left.
Head diagonally up past the sinking shells, and go left once you're in the huge
bay. To the far left is a small cave with an orca and a key glyph. Grab the key
head back to where you entered. Next to the cave you came through earlier is a
barrier glyph. Knock it away and get past the 2 sharks to the exit.

 vii. Open Ocean
Simply head right and avoid the droves of sharks that are out for blood. You
may have an easier time if you stick to the bottom as much as possible.

viii. Ice Zone
You've finally reached the far north, where the Big Blue is supposed to go to
die. The levels here are divided into sections, separated by huge chunks of
ice. Get to a different area by jumping on top of the ice and sliding across it.

Start this level by jumping on the first mass of ice to your left. Fall into
the fifth body of water you see. (This is counting ones that are frozen over.)
Swim down, but watch out for arctic crabs and jellyfish. A ways sown, there's a
cavern with a key glyph; hit it and go back up the way you came. (If you need
it, there are some edible fish two areas to the right.) Slide back to the area
where you started, and swim down until you find a barrier glyph. (Use your
sonar map to make sure you're going the right way.) The exit is to the right.

  ix. Hard Water
You'll start this level surrounded by sharks. Fortunately they are all docile,
but they still do damage if you run into them. Avoid them and jump up onto the
ice on your left, and slide into the first open water that you see.

Going down, you should see a huge block of ice moving back and forth in the
current. (One weird current...) Go
straight down, darting past the blocks as soon as they move out of the way. At
the bottom, there's a bunch of arctic crabs and a key glyph. Get it and head up
the path to the right. Yes, there's more moving ice blocks. Avoid them as best
you can until you've reached the surface. Leave through the opening that you
entered and slide as far to the right of the screen as you can. Go down (for
some reason, the tiger shark here has AI like a regular shark. i.e.: he'll
attack you) and get past yet more ice blocks.

Below, there's a huge open area with lots of erratically moving ice blocks.
Stick as close to the ice mass to your
left as you can. Only one of the nearby ice blocks should move diagonally and
come close enough to crush you, dart past when it moves away.

Hit the barrier glyph, go up and pass by yet more ice blocks, and get the hell
out of dodge!

   x. Cold Water
From where you start, head down and to the left, and swim up the narrow opening
as quick as you can. (There's some jellyfish, but they shouldn't be too much of
a problem. Just avoid them and fight the current.) Jump out to your left, and
grab the key glyph hovering just above the surface. Jump back on the ice, jump
over all the hazards you come across, and fall into the first opening you see.
(Make sure to plan your first jump; don't wait until you're right in front of
the hole or you'll run right into the spikes.)

Some ways down the narrow opening to the right (under the two glaciers you'll
see) there's a barrier glyph. Swim under the next big chunk of ice you see,
past the glyph, and keep going until you see the giant blue whale. (Hard to
miss, really.) Talk to him, and now your next goal is to find the being known
as the Asterite. Leave the way you
came (hurry, you'll probably be running low on air by this point.)

Use the key glyph to knock away the barrier glyph a second time. Fight your way
back to the opening by which you came in, and jump to the right as far as you
can go. Going down, you'll see a shark. Just behind him is the exit. (Note: the
exit isn't accessible until after you've completed the dialogue event with the
Big Blue.)

  xi. Island Zone
Jump over the first 4 or so islands (jump no less than 4 and no more than 6)and
head down into the huge chasm filled with pufferfish. There's a cave to the
left a ways down, go in there and grab the key glyph all the way to the upper
left. Go further down into the main pit and up into the right part of the
lowest cavern. Here is one last octopus to sneak past, same as with the rest.
Go over into the next chamber and rid the world of another barrier glyph, and
head into the network of tunnels.

Simply head straight down until you get to the bottom, and head left. Here is
one long tunnel, keep going as far left as you can until you get to a huge open
cave. (Remembering to stop for breath periodically...) The next chamber is full
of sharks, which will be fully aggressive again. In the upper half of the
chamber there's a glyph. Hit it and head back into the long tunnel. Pass the
first tunnel going upwards, and keep going until you come upon a second tunnel.
Head up and take out the barrier glyph.

 xii. Deep Water
The main strategy for this stage is to head down as quickly as possible. There
are very few air pockets, so breathe at every opportunity. Firstly, head down
under the big chunk of rock and head straight down the hole. Enter the second
tunnel on the left. Going further down, you'll enter and exit another long
tunnel, and at the bottom of the next cave is yet another set of tunnels.

Continue going down, and when you see 2 tunnels take the left one. Take the
first right, then go down, then right again. Talk to the Asterite and exit the
level by heading straight left.

xiii. Marble Sea
Head left from the tunnel where you begin; there will be a large ruin with a
tunnel leading underneath it. Go into this tunnel, soon enough you'll find a
strong current pushing up. Head to the left and there'll be a large block
sitting on a brick surface. Push the block into the current and trail behind
it, leaving enough room to charge at and destroy the chains in your way. Once
past this obstacle, head left for an invincibility statue.

Head down and right to a small tunnel. Destroy the puffers and crystals in your
way. Along the tunnel somewhere is a block, which you'll need to run into the
chain at the end of the path to destroy it. In the room at the end of the path
there's a key glyph. Head back the way you came, using the starfish to break
the chain, and go down further through the tunnel on the left. All the way at
the bottom there is a glyph that, when hit with your sonar, will say "Access
granted". Head into the path above you, head right, and take out the barrier
glyph. If you hit the
Access glyph, the exit will be open.

 xiv. The Library
Head left until you get to the large chasm. Head down until you see a big chain
stretched across the span of the hole. Head left into a large hallway and go up
at the end. Somewhere above you is a statue which will render you temporarily
invincible when you shoot your sonar at it. Use the block you see sinking down
and push it over the large brick walls. Use it to destroy the chains. (I
recommend periodically heading back for more invincibility so you don't run low
on air. It will also let you work on moving the block without being attacked.)

Once that's done, proceed to the right and watch out for the huge stone
plungers that move rapidly up and down. Watch their movement for a bit and dart
through at just the right moment, or you'll be crushed. At the end of the next
chamber is a tunnel leading upward. Watch out again for these crystals that
sink down towards you, as they can cause a lot of damage. A single charge will
destroy them.

Now head left, avoiding the crystals mounted on the floor and ceiling (these
ones can't be destroyed) and keep moving until you get to the exit.

  xv. Deep City
This level starts out with a tremendous wall you have to jump over. Back up and
get a running start to build some speed. Charge as soon you reach the surface
and hopefully you'll clear the wall in less than 50 tries. (Ignore the chamber
below where you start; as far as I've ever been able to tell it's some kind of
red herring.)

Next, swim all the way to the right. Head down and destroy the gold colored
chain by charging into it. Head all the way down and to the right, then down
again. (Use the block to fight the current, and try keeping to the right.) When
you see the barrier glyph, keep going further down and you'll find its
corresponding key glyph. Now blast the
barrier away and use the invincibility statue to restore your health and air.

Head up and over the wall, taking out any chains you come across. When you're
going down, you'll see two paths. Take the higher one and head upwards until
you see another, larger tunnel. Follow the winding tunnel, taking out the
crystals as you see them, until you see a pit heading down. (Be sure to make
use of the invincibility statue here.)

Head straight down using the block and then dart left. Get the glyph to grant
you access to the exit, and head back up and to the left. There are a few
strong current pulling upward; dash past them or you'll have to use the blocks
to fight the currents back down to the main tunnel. (and this is a very tricky
and tedious task...) Dart quickly past the second current and you'll have
reached the exit.

 xvi. City of Forever

There are two ways to get through this stage: the standard method and a massive
short cut. Skip below to see it; I provide the standard directions for
completion's sake.

The standard method involves following the path from the beginning right, up
and around to the left. As you head left through the large hallway full of
diamond-like hazards, keep an eye out for a lone jellyfish. Press into the
ceiling near the jellyfish; you'll find a hidden passage going up into the
first pool.

(Note: it is possible to jump into the first pool from the leftmost vertical
tunnel, but it's extremely difficult. I'm not sure what, if anything, the glyph
at the end of the diamond hallway does in the US version. In the Japanese
version, you must sing to it to open the hidden vertical path I just described.)

Now, you must leap over the walls to the right until you fall a long ways down
into a large open area. Down and to the right is a glyph that will make you
invincible. To the upper right is a forked path, with a current pulling upward
and another pulling to the right. Avoid getting pulled up, and head to the
right while staying close to the ceiling. A small upward path will appear in
the ceiling; make sure you get in there before the current pushes you past it.
Keep moving along, until you find a huge chasm opening below you with diamond
like objects drifting laterally. Get to the bottom, where a glyph will open a
doorway. Go back up, and destroy the gold chains in your way, jump over the
mound, heading left.

Eventually you will find a green block to push down against an upward current.
Get past it, and then it's an easy track leftward until you find the time

From where you start, head right past the jellyfish. Eventually you will have
to head upwards,and you might see a large greenish block. Swim further upward
and to the right; in the upper extremity you'll see a greek statue. Hit it with
you sonar and you'll see the message "Access Granted." Head back to where the
green block was and swim into a chamber with a glowing circle. Enter the circle
and you'll be warped straight to the end of the stage! Now just swim up and hit
either of the time machine's dishes with you sonar.

xvii. Jurassic Beach
From where you time warped, head down and to the left. Watch out for the
Dunkleosteus; these function just like sharks and are unvaryingly aggressive.
Talk to the glyph, and it will summon a Pteranodon for you. (Despite what it
says, you don't need to sing into the sky.) Head back up and to the right and
jump into the air. The Pteranodon will catch you and bring you to another pool.

Leap between the two sand bars and into the tunnel leading
downward, into the huge cavern. Swim into the rightmost pool of lava (no sic)
and grab the key glyph. Swim left, and enter the second-to-last large lava
pool. Head down and take out the barrier glyph at the end of the large slope.
Head all the way down and HURRY through the huge tunnel. It's filled with
inexplicably deadly (and extant…) trilobites.

At the end of the tunnel is an invincibility glyph. Take out the trilobites and
head up and to the right. Get another key glyph. Head back to the invincibility
glyph, and head left and then up. Take out the next barrier, and go all the way
up. Now go right, where you'll eventually find the exit.

xviii. Pteranodon Pond
From where you start, head up and jump over the small island. Head all the way
to the left and talk to the glyph. It will summon another Pteranodon. Now head
back to the island and the Pteranodon will airlift you to another pool. Dive
down and under the first ridge of rock you see. There's a key glyph there. Grab
it, and continue heading downward. Eventually you'll see a barrier glyph.
Dispose of it and head into the next cavern.

In the upper right hand corner there's an invincibility glyph. Make use of it
as you head to the left. Straight up the tunnel is another key glyph. Get it
and head back
down, hitting the invincibility once more before you swim down to where the
barrier glyph is.

Head through to the next chamber, and swim straight down to take the left path.
Hurry along counterclockwise in a circle. Near the bottom of the lower portion
there's another key glyph. Grab it, and watch out for the trilobite nearby.
Continue along the circle until you see the leftward current. Swim up and to
the right to where
there's yet another barrier glyph.

Head up and to the right, riding the current through the tunnels. Once you
cannot go any higher up, go left and down another tunnel. Check your sonar map
for an area with 2 glyphs. The one in the room on the other side of the rock
ridge is an invincibility; you can still reach it
with your sonar so get it. The nearby glyph is a key glyph. Grab it and head
back to the first tunnel; this time head right into the wall near the top of
the cave. In the next area, head down and get rid of the barrier glyph. In the
cave below is another glyph that summons a pteranodon.

Head up to the surface,going towards the left so you're in the right pit. Leap
up into the thing's claws and he'll carry you to yet another pond. Swim
straight to the bottom, and the exit is on the right.

 xix. Origin Beach
NOTE: See the trivia section below for some cool, non-essential information on
this stage!

Head straight down from the starting point and into the center pit, where
you'll find a glyph (watch out for the trilobite.) Swim up and to the right,
and jump over the island. Head straight down ad take out the barrier glyph.

Head right until you see a chunk of rock in the middle of a large cave. Go
under it and swim down the pit. (Go all the way down for an air pocket.) Next,
swim through the upper left tunnel. Keep going left, past the air pockets, and
go down the lowermost tunnel. Follow the tunnel
through the caves, and when you get to a series of tunnels branching out, take
the rightmost one. Once you exit this tunnel, head left and exit the stage.

  xx. Trilobite Circle
Head up until you reach the surface. Jump over the next 3 islands to the right
and head down diagonally until you see an inexplicably massive seahorse. You
can just barely squeeze over or under him into the next room, just wait for him
to drift downward (or upward). The glyph in here is both a key and an
invincibility glyph. Get both powers, and either slip more easily past the
seahorse, or kill it to get by.

Swim down, and left once you're near the bottom. Take out the barrier glyph and
continue left (though there is an air pocket at the top of the room just past
the glyph.) Go left as far as you can, and go straight up, making sure to take
the left path. Jump straight in the air to the... exit...

 xxi. Dark Water
Head right until you see a tunnel leading down. Dive straight down there until
you get to a big chamber with some dunkleosteus. (Watch out, at one point there
is a shell that moves like those ice blocks from earlier.) To the far right is
a tunnel leading down, but first go straight up and get the invincibility. Head
back down, where there are 2 more death shells. Get past them, and go left and
up through the small tunnel. Go left, and down toward the key glyph. Go back
the way you came, until you get to the room with the invincibility. Get it, and
swim over to the area where a current pushes you back. (There are two spikes on
the roof.) Pressed as far to the ground as you can get, charge through the
opposing current. Head up the path, take a moment to mock the barrier you just
snuck past (there is a LONG path you would have taken to get the corresponding
key to it; I just described a feasible shortcut), and head left. Take out THIS
and head up into the Asterite's chamber.

You must strike 4 globes of the SAME COLOR while avoiding his lightning attack.
(No, the game gives you no hint whatsoever to do this.) There's a concentration
of orange globes in the bottom left corner that are relatively easy to hit.
Once you've done this, you'll warp back to the Deep Water stage.

xxii. Deep Water 2/ City of Forever 2/ Home Bay 2
Same strategies as before. But once you return the Asterite's globe, you no
longer have an air meter to worry about.

xxiii. The Tube
This whole stage is essentially an autoscrolling gauntlet. Here are some solid
tips for getting through it:

• Early on, the walls are lined with these radiator looking things. You can
maneuver back and forth to avoid them, but they can only be destroyed by a

• As the level goes on, the auto scrolling becomes faster and faster. Soon,
radar screen-like machines and gem-like antibodies will appear. They can only
be destroyed by your sonar.

• There is only a short part of the level where both the radiator-looking
barriers and the lightning cannons both appear together. After a while, it will
be only lightning cannons. Stay in the middle, or near the top of the screen to
reliably avoid at least some of the bolts. Most, but not all of the cannons
only discharge a moment after appearing on screen. Keep pulsing your sonar to
take out the patrolling antibodies before they appear.

• There appears to be a sort of "sweet spot" in the middle of the tube where
you can travel more safely in the later phases of the stage. In the center,
there is a strip of slightly lighter-colored background texture, with a
bisection marking where the two halves of the tube mirror each other. Try to
position Ecco exactly in a half of the light green strip in the center. If done
right, you will assuredly bypass any radiator-looking obstacles on the walls as
they appear.

NOTE: The US and JP versions of this stage seem to differ somewhat, so these
tips might not work as well in the later.

xxiv. Welcome to the Machine
Welcome to hell! This is another autoscrolling stage, this one more
over-the-top difficult even than the tube. Definitely infamous among Ecco fans
as "That One Level." Finishing this stage takes about six minutes, probably not
coincidentally about the same length as the Pink Floyd song 'Welcome to the

This long, long autoscrolling stage can't really be FAQ'd easily, but here are
a few general tips:

• Stay away from the edge of the screen. Keep shooting sonar blasts pretty
much constantly in advance of attacking enemies, but be mindful that off-screen
injured drones won't come on screen unless you stop for a second. If you don't
take a break from your attack occasionally, you're liable to get swamped by the
drones that have accumulated off screen.

• There is only one point in the entire level where you will go UP into a
dark green tube-like area, and it doesn't happen until you go past it and
double back.

• You will also go DOWN into a dark green tube at the left of the screen
toward the end of the stage. Likewise, this is the only occasion where you do

• Sometimes your path is more or less bisected by a very thin block. You
should stay to the RIGHT of these, especially when moving down.

• There are two occasions where you get corralled near a box-like structure
on the left of the screen. The first time, stay OUT of the box, or you will get
trapped. The second time, get in, and the screen will scroll over almost to the
point of crushing you before doubling back. There is only ONE time where this
happens, about two and a half minutes in.

• The stage is decorated with strange tank-like objects. Generally you should
move AWAY from them unless you very obviously have to move toward them, and you
should never go underneath one if given the option not to.

xxv. The Last Fight
This battle isn't all that hard once you get the hang of it, but be prepared to
hate it none the less. If you get killed, you get sent back to the beginning of
the Machine. (Although the JP version mercifully lets you start the stage over,
and even has a recovery stage called the Stomach that triggers when you get
swallowed.) Take note that, unlike the Tube and the Machine, your health does
not regenerate during this stage.

• As soon as you start the stage, there is a drone waiting
near the entrance. Start sonar-blasting as soon as you begin to take it out.
Keep in mind that as soon as it's off screen, it will respawn.

• Next, swim down to either side of the monstrous green head. (That would be
the queen.) Shoot sonar at one of her eyes until the pupil comes out. You
should do blasts of three, and only when she drifts to the far side of the
room, so as to avoid getting hit by the projectile spheres that issue forth
when you hit her.

• Also watch out for the blobs that periodically come shooting out of the
walls to the left, right and bottom of the queen.

• Once both her eyes are out, strike her jaw by charging into it. This is
best done from the side, to avoid getting stuck in her mouth. (Also make sure
she's not about to inhale before you do this.) Her jaw wills top regenerating
after it's been knocked off 3 times.

• Once the jaw stops regenerating, start charging the roof of her mouth, and
she'll flash red. You can actually charge her anywhere, but by facing upward
you'll be in a good position to sonar blast the drones that come to her rescue
when you hit her.

Eventually, she'll start flashing red and sinking off screen. Congratulations!
That's the end of the game.


The Undercaves: SYCIACCE
The Lagoon: VDIYTAJG
Ridge Water: KCLABVNG
Open Ocean: TGQLBVNJ
Hard Water: UOAXDVNQ
Cold Water: WZWAWJNJ
Island Zone: HGIETJNO
Deep Water: HHULTJNX
Marble Sea: JKSPVJNR
The Library: BRLTVJNN
City of Forever: QVEXVJND
Jurrasic Beach: RHZIMCLE
Pteranodon Pond: ZESMMCLG
Origin Beach: IPLQMCLX
Trilobite Circle: XMAFCZLA
Dark Water: IXIQUNLV
City of Forever 2: BCAJGPLS
The Machine: TNOBKMLC
The Last Fight: LYWMLMLU

5.       CHEATS

Here are some helpful cheat codes for this game:

• Turn Ecco back and forth and pause when he is facing you. Now press
R,B,C,B,C,D,C,U. A cheat screen should come up.

• Enter a level password, and hold A and Start when the level name comes up.
Hold A and Start until Ecoo appears on the screen. Unpause and you are

• Enter 'LIFEFISH' as a password to get unlimited air.

6.       TRIVIA

Here I'll provide some information which is not so much related to playing the
game but which I think will be interesting to fans of the series.

• The original instruction manual for the game included an excerpt from The
Living Sea by Jacques-Yves Cousteau. It also included pages of real, non
game-related facts about dolphins, including anecdotes from aquarium workers.
You don't see that kind of dedication in most game packaging!

• The manual also had a list of recommended books about dolphins:

Dobbs, Horace, Follow the Wild Dolphins. St Martin's Press, 1982

Howorth, Peter C., Whales- Dolphins- Porpoises of the Pacific. KC Publications,
Inc., 1985

Patent, Dorothy Hinshaw, Dolphins and Porpoises. Holiday House, 1987

Seligson, Marcia, Dolphins at Grassy Key. Macmillan, 1989

Time-Life Television Books, Editions of, Whales & Other Sea Mammals. Time-Life
Films, 1977

Watson, Lyall, Sea Guide to Whales of the World. E.P. Dutton, 1981

• Speaking of books, creator Ed Annunziata shared in an interview with DARK
SEA some of the works that inspired the Ecco story:

Lightning by Dean Koontz, Sounding by Hank Searls, Center of the Cyclone by
John Lily (and other works by Lily).
He also mentioned the Terminator films and the art of HG Geiger as influential
to the concept!

• The (now seemingly defunct) Arkonviox Ecco fan site had a fascinating
interview with Annunziata, where he shared details of the plot of Ecco. It is
there that the backstory for Origin Beach was first divulged, as well as
confirmation that Ecco 2's mysterious 'secret password' was meant to unlock
content in the as-yet unmade Ecco part 3. At some point, Annunziata also
mentioned that the mysterious 'double' who you encounter a few times early in
Ecco 2 was in fact Ecco from the future, after using the time machine at the
end of Ecco 2!

• On Origin Beach: This level contains the remnants of what was supposed to
be an even explaining how Ecco's ancestors first started living in the water.
Swim to the far left and far
right side of the level, and shoot your sonar diagonally up into the air, where
you'll be treated to two secret messages from the land-dwelling Pakicetus, the
small dog-like creature that began the evolutionary track that includes all
modern whales and dolphins. In regards to the plot, Ecco always wondered why
his kind lived under water if they had to breathe air, and in this moment he
becomes the unwitting answer to his own question! The planned sequence was cut
due to time restraints.

• The art for the prehistoric levels was largely borrowed from the book 'Life
Before Man', which included illustrations by Czech painter Zdenek Burian.
Burian was a highly influential paleontological artist with a career spanning
five decades. Odds are, any image you have in your head of a dinosaur or any
other prehistoric life form was influenced by his imaginings.

• However, it's worth noting that many of the creatures we see in the
prehistoric levels seem to have been culled from various parts of the book,
which covered many millions of years of geological history. With a few
exceptions, most of the plant and animal life seen in the game should have been
long extinct as of 55 million years ago! (Of course, the question would remain
as to why trilobites of all things would be billed as the deadliest of all
prehistoric enemies…)

• On Twitter, Annunziata mentioned that SEGA's marketing department
originally wanted Ecco to be named Botticelli the dolphin, apparently in
response to the enormous popularity of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, all of
whom were named after famous Italian figures. Fortunately, he was able to talk
them out of it.


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use this FAQ.

Ecco the Dolphin, Sega, Genesis, Sega CD, and Game Gear are all trademarks of
(c) 2004,2014 Keith Richards