Angry Video Game Nerd Wiki

Ecco the Dolphin (Sega Genesis) - Angry Video Game Nerd (AVGN)

(A punk cover of the Angry Video Game Nerd theme by B-Plot plays.)

The Nerd: Let me take ya back to the era of video game mascots. It was during the Console Wars, when competitors were pushing their own characters. Nintendo had Mario, Link, Samus, and Sega had Sonic, ToeJam & Earl... um... (holds up a boxed copy of the game) Ecco the Dolphin? Yeah. That's right. An ordinary looking dolphin. Not a skateboarding dolphin with a mohawk that shoots lasers and makes wisecracking jokes. No, no, just an ordinary dolphin.

The Nerd: It seemed pretty much everyone who had a Genesis, had this game in their collection, yet nobody wanted it! Seriously, I've never met one person who said anything nice about this game. But it somehow tricked every Genesis owner into buying it, and Sega REALLY pushed the shit out of it, too. It got ported onto different Sega consoles, including the Sega CD, it got a better sequel, Tides of Time, it got a toddler edition called Ecco Jr., it got a shitty Tiger-style electronic game, it got this Pico shit [Ecco Jr. and the Great Ocean Treasure Hunt], and it even got a goddamn reboot on the Sega Dreamcast! Speakin' of which, the Dreamcast is 21 years old this month! (happily) Wow! The Dreamcast, is old enough to drink. (Uncorks a bottle of Rolling Rock) So here ya go, Dreamcast! Have a Rolling Rock on me.

(As the Sega Dreamcast opens, the Nerd pours some of the drink inside the CD drive, but the console shuts down.)

The Nerd: Hmm... what a lightweight.

(He looks at the Rolling Rock bottle and frowns angrily.)

The Nerd: Today, I wanna focus on the original Ecco the Dolphin, but a review on the shitty Dreamcast might show up down the line, with its awful dolphin driving controls, and creepy rearview facecam like Ecco is a fuckin' car. (chuckles) Heh. Ecco facecam's funny as shit. But here we go! The game starts you off just swimmin' around with a buncha other dolphins. You can do a dash attack, you can shoot a sonar wave that lets you talk to the other dolphins, and also works as a map if you hold the button down. The opening is pretty straightforward. You're just chillin' out in the sea, with your dolphin friends, and then BAM! (A strange wave carries away Ecco's dolphin friends.) You get hit with one of the most TRAUMATIZING moments in video game history!

The Nerd: Seriously, that shit just came outta nowhere! When you jump as high as you can, it triggers a tornado. The screen flashes and every one of your dickhead dolphin friends gets sucked into the air, while the Genesis sound chip bombards you with the worst sound it has to offer. No joke. I actually know someone, who, as a kid, was SO freaked out by this part, they hid it under their bed, and under their bed it remained for years. True story.

The Nerd: This might be one of the earliest examples of a video game jumpscare. This was back in '92, when most people playing video games were kids. This game might have done more damage to kids' minds than Mortal Kombat. Who would've thought? A game about a wimpy dolphin, with stars on its head, would be one of the most... terrifying things ever? (Drinks Rolling Rock.)

The Nerd: If you manage to play past this point, you'll hit the first true level of the game: the Undercaves. And this is where shit REALLY hits the fan, and you're introduced to one of the most annoying things in the game: the air meter. Ecco is a dolphin, so that makes him a mammal of course, and mammals ain't fish, so, they can't breathe underwater! I've read in Zoobooks, that the average dolphin can hold its breath for 8 to 10 minutes. But the dolphin in this game? One minute, 20 seconds. And not only that, it fuckin' DIES! Pathetic. Really fuckin' pathetic. (Drinks more Rolling Rock.)

The Nerd: Ecco is not supposed to be your average dolphin. He's a super dolphin. Why can he only hold his breath for a minute and a half?! I think I can hold my breath longer! Is he a goddamn chain smoker or something? Chill out on the fuckin' Newports, Ecco! You can replenish the air meter by reaching the surface, finding air pockets, or places with bubbles. A majority of the levels take you deep under the ocean, and you only get a few places for air. It's like the underwater stages in Sonic, but WAY more frustrating. Each level gives you a laundry list of chores to complete with no clear direction, and ZERO checkpoints. The air meter makes you rush, which causes you to make mistakes, and of course, DIE!

The Nerd: So the game boils down to just... swimming around for 20 minutes here and there and... tryin' to figure out where to go, and... dying over and over again! It's an "unda da sea" frustrating FUCK frenzy! (Drinks more Rolling Rock) So in the first level, ya have to nudge this glowing shell over to these boulders, which makes them disappear. I don't get why, but apparently, this seashell is so strong it disintegrates boulders. This is a lot easier said than done. Ecco controls like he's swimming in vodka rather than saltwater. Every time I miss the goddamn rocks, I have to swim a quarter mile away to make the shell reappear. All that, just to completely fuck it up yet again, and then you gotta repeat the process, over, and over, and over! Fuck! (Rapidly) Come on--c'mon--c'mon--c'mon--c'mon--c'mon! DARRGGHHH! (Deep voice) FUUUUCK!

The Nerd: I don't know how many tries it took me, but it was a lot! And then after all that, I found out I needed a "key glyph"! Ya see, there's these giant crystals all over the levels. Some are keys, and some are like doors. You need to touch the key crystal, so you can shoot the door crystal. It makes me wanna shoot a meth crystal into Ecco's ASS flipper! (Sighs) So, I swam around until I found the key glyph crystal in this cave, and it really sucks to get to. There's invisible sea currents in random places, so the controls will just go dead without any clear reason why. All the while, blowfish are flyin' all over tryin' to insert themselves into Ecco's anus, while he just floats there like a jackass. I get the key, shoot away the door, but I'm runnin' low on air. So I gotta turn back to the air pocket real quick to catch my breath before moving forward, and... the door glyph re-FUCKIN' SPAWNED, and won't let me PASS!

The Nerd: Are you KIDDING me?! I have to go all the way back to the key AGAIN?! Ohhhhh, the sea... is a cruel mistress! (chugs down two cans of Rolling Rock) So, I go all the way back, get the key glyph, shoot the door, and then encounter the giant octopus. You have to gently tap the controller to get past it. If you try to go any faster, the octopus will FUCK-SLAP you back to the password screen. Which means doing EVERYTHING... OVER... AGAIN! (Drinks more Rolling Rock) So get the key glyph, disintegrate the rocks, shoot the door glyph, breathe that fuckin' air, and swim slowly past the octopus... again. Oh, okay... ohh, I'm almost there. You just gotta get past the door... FUCK, I'm runnin' outta AIR! Yep... okay! NOOOOOOOOO!

The Nerd: (Grabs a whole keg full of Rolling Rock and glugs it down) The level isn't actually that hard. It's just a complete lack of direction that keeps messing me up. I'm finally through the Undercaves, and on to the next shit storm. The next level has you rescuing dolphins that are stuck throughout the caves. There's three dolphins you need to find to exit the stage. Also, you 100% NEED to find them all so you can upgrade your sonar, and it'll let you attack enemies with it. I saved one dolphin, and then accidentally exited the level. Since it let me progress, I didn't think anything was wrong, until I found out you need to find all three, or you don't get the sonar upgrade!

The Nerd: So I have to reset... enter the password... and find ALL THREE OF THESE STUPID FUCKING DOLPHINS! (Glugs some more Rolling Rock from the barrel) There's always an easy dolphin that's right near the beginning. It's just a tease though, because usually you have to go damn near to hell and back to find the other two dolphins. You need to use boulders to swim down into the tunnels, without getting pushed back up the current, and then hopefully pick the right path. Most of the paths lead absolutely nowhere, and you end up having to return to the surface just to head back down again. I finally found two dolphins and just need one more. The last one is all the way near the end of the level, so ya need a rock to block the currents. Oh fuck! I missed-- wait, no! Oh, goddamn it! The current pushed me out the exit, so I missed the sonar upgrade again! I have to do everything all over again! AGAIN! AGAIN!

The Nerd: Then again -- after repeating this level so many goddamn times, I basically have it memorized. You end up dying and starting over so many times that it becomes muscle memory, and after all that, I FINALLY saved the third dolphin, got the sonar upgrade, and got to the next level... which is... rescuing THREE MORE DOLPHINS?!

(The Nerd finds the barrel empty, and rushes to the bathroom gritting his teeth anxiously. He then proceeds to empty his entire Rolling Rock supply into a bathtub, then dives into it. Finally the Nerd submerges in the beer and lets off a tremendous underwater roar. He drinks a Rolling Rock while submerged in the tub. He then gets out, dries off, and returns to the couch.)

The Nerd: Ugh! So now that I've gotten that out of my system, this level is like the last one, but WAY worse. Again, there's a dolphin right at the beginning to tease you. I really don't get why this dolphin couldn't just swim up. It's literally just straight down from the beginning. This dolphin's just a lazy piece of shit, and I hate him. The second dolphin is also kinda easy to get to, but I can understand why it would need help getting back. It's a bit far off from the rest of the pod. This dolphin... is okay in my book. This level has you using the glowing shell again, but this time it just falls into place without you having to nudge it. I guess the game coders decided to have a little mercy on you here, considering the last dolphin is a bitch and a half to find. First, ya have to swim through this tunnel filled with these weird tentacles that grab on to you. You have to do a mix of dashing and swimming real fast to get out. All the while the game slows down to a crawl. And up to this point it was so fuckin' fast; I mean that processing, is so goddamn BLAST! So then ya have to swim past another octopus and find these weird spiky balls that break rocks. They're like the shell, but they're spiky balls instead. To get them to the rock, ya have to scoot them around using your sonar. This is super FUCKIN' frustrating. It isn't always clear on where you need to position them, and it's VERY easy to get them stuck in the wall. I guess you could say this game is really... "balls to the wall".

The Nerd: Like -- look at this! I got them all the way to the boulder, but I was off by an inch, and now they're stuck in the rocks and I'm FUCKED! So, you know what I gotta do? I gotta go back, and do it all again! This time, I got them in the right place and broke the boulder, but I went the wrong way, and ended up... BACK AT THE BEGINNING OF THE LEVEL! So, time to swim back through the tunnel of tentacles and pass the octopus. Thankfully the boulder's still gone. Oh great, a fuckin' door glyph! And I haven't found the key. The key is all the way back where the second dolphin was. Back to the door glyph, I shoot it away and move on to a maze of tunnels that are infested with jellyfish, and crabs that just fly all over the place! But they're not really crabs, they're just flat pictures of crabs that don't even move! But they're flying all over! BULL... SHIT! So finally, I get down to the furthest depths of the maze, and there he is... the asshole dolphin. HOW THE FUCK DID THIS DOLPHIN MANAGE TO EVEN GET HERE?!

The Nerd: It makes absolutely no sense. How... in the crap hell did this... THIS SUCK-BITCH DOLPHIN GET DOWN HERE?! How did it pass the octopus, tentacles, crabs, and jellyfish without dying? Did it also shoot the spiky walls into the boulder, and then put the boulder back? How is it even ALIVE?! Ecco dies after a minute and a half without oxygen, but I've been playing this level for almost 20 minutes, and this dolphin hasn't died! Okay, who cares? All that matters is I've rescued the last one, and they gave me another new sonar upgrade that... makes sharks confused? Awesome. Time to get the hell out of this godforsaken level, and never return. So, back through the tentacle tunnel, the octopus room, the crab maze, and I'm finally nearing the end! Oh, and great. I'm dangerously low on health, AND air! Please, for the love of fuck, I just want this to end, please! Okay, I got the spiky things. Just have to get them to the end, and I'm out! Huh! Fuck off, crab! Fuck you! Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you! Damn it, wait... w-where are the spiky things?! FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!

(The Nerd builds in rage, and instead of swearing, make a loud dolphin noise, causing the screen to shake violently due to the force.)

The Nerd: This game, shoots DIARRHEA out its FESTERING BLOWHOLE, raining down on all the aquatic ASS-masters in the ASS-lantic Ocean! I SWEAR on Poseidon's puckered PISSHOLE, that this games makes me wanna cram a CRUSTY CRAB up my cornhole! Ecco the Dolphin? More like... FUCKIN' SHIT DOLPHIN!

(The Nerd lunges at the TV screen and grabs Ecco straight out of it. He falls back on the couch and starts repeatedly punching Ecco, as he constantly gives off Sonar bleeps. He then grabs a funnel and stuffs it in Ecco's blowhole, then proceeds to defecate down the funnel, causing Ecco to puke shit all over the couch.)



Cultural references[]

  • The Nerd chirping like a dolphin and saying he would rather shove a crusty crab up his cornhole is a possible reference to the popular animated series SpongeBob SquarePants.


  • Kyle Justin was edited out of the opening sequence, but the bottom of his guitar is visible in the bottom left panel during the line "He's the Angry Nintendo Nerd."
  • At one point, the Nerd backtracks because he's "low on oxygen", even though he has 4 out of 5 bars left.