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Thread: Ecco the Dolphin MD

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    Blast processor Melf's Avatar
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    Opa-Opa Ecco the Dolphin MD

    You've undoubtedly played Ecco the Dolphin on the Genesis or European Mega Drive, but it's worth giving the Japanese version a try. Released last, it added some features the others lacked, including a more fleshed-out story and a new stage. Together, these additions make the Japanese release the definitive cartridge version of the game. Read our full review for all the details.
    Last edited by Melf; 11-28-2018 at 08:39 PM.

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    Raging in the Streets goldenband's Avatar
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    Huh, I had no idea the Japanese version had extras!

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    It's worth mentioning, since I don't think it was stated in the review, that there's a prototype version of the JP game with English text floating around out there (rev 01). Caverns of Hope hosted a copy before it went belly up.

    It was cool to see the exclusive level at first, but it's way too tedious for me ever to want to play through it again. It's kind of a suck fest, but consistent with the article I don't recall having issues with the sonar (this was the English version on real hardware). The review also mentions how you still get sent back to The Machine if the Vortex Queen kills you, but I don't remember that being the case; that was one of the perks of this version for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Assman View Post
    It's worth mentioning, since I don't think it was stated in the review, that there's a prototype version of the JP game with English text floating around out there (rev 01). Caverns of Hope hosted a copy before it went belly up.

    It was cool to see the exclusive level at first, but it's way too tedious for me ever to want to play through it again. It's kind of a suck fest, but consistent with the article I don't recall having issues with the sonar (this was the English version on real hardware). The review also mentions how you still get sent back to The Machine if the Vortex Queen kills you, but I don't remember that being the case; that was one of the perks of this version for me.
    --That's cool to know about the English hack of the JP cart version (called "Rev. 01"). I actually just learned about that hack, because I just noticed that it's now mentioned in that Steam webpage, which is linked in this review. (And this review is actually from 2017, so that hack wasn't out yet, AFAIK.)

    Hmm so that hack would be nice, and then the only difference would be... that we won't see the Japanese message-screens. And since the JP text has a prettier (swirling) animation, that the English text lacks... It's still worth a glance at the actual JP version lol. (Even without being able to read Japanese, the prettier message-screens still add something to the beauty of the game.)

    --The result of dying in the final boss fight, depends on how Ecco dies. Dying from overall damage will still send him back to The Machine, but dying from getting eaten, sends him to The Stomach. (It's very logical, lol.)

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    This was an awesome write-up, but it would have fared much better as a feature than as a review. It's way too long to read without pictures every now and then, plus it really isn't a review as it's more of a comparison between this version and the Western one. It doesn't tell anything subjective on topics of graphics, gameplay etc. which reviews should do.

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    Japanese Sonic CD FTW!!! Master of Shinobi Ecco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zebbe View Post
    This was an awesome write-up, but it would have fared much better as a feature than as a review. It's way too long to read without pictures every now and then, plus it really isn't a review as it's more of a comparison between this version and the Western one. It doesn't tell anything subjective on topics of graphics, gameplay etc. which reviews should do.
    That's an interesting thought; I certainly wouldn't mind if the review was re-cast as a feature of some kind. I thought it made sense as a review, because I figured that each review is already about a certain region of the game, implicitly.

    But yeah, it's kind of a unique case, that one version of a game is so similar, while also showing some important improvements. You're right that the article does avoid describing the classic, same content of the game, which is assumed to be already well-known (from all the other versions of Ecco the Dolphin).

    For pics, I think Ken just makes a lay-out that he likes, but sure, more pics throughout the text would be cool.

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    Also, what would be the best Feature for such an article: a Side-by-Side article?

    I don't think it's really come up much, but there are a few examples of games with important regional differences, which could be written about... like how Shadow of the Beast plays too fast in the US, so it's much worse than the original slower version in Europe... And since the existing review is focused on the US version, I think there certainly COULD be another review more focused on the PAL version... OR a Side-by-Side article (comparing both versions)...

    That's probably the best example I can think of, that's similar to this situation...
    Last edited by Ecco; 11-30-2018 at 10:12 PM.

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    I double-checked to see what happens when the Queen kills you in revision 01 the other night, and you do simply restart the final fight rather than being kicked back to The Machine. I used the debug mode to skip to the end, but I don't presume that to have an effect on it, and it's in line with my recollection. Have you checked this recently? Maybe that was a change made between the original Japanese release and the English revision, but I remember part of the reason I was interested in that version was because I had read something about that behavior.

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    Hedgehog-in-Training Hedgehog-in-Training Centrale's Avatar
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    This is a great article! Thanks for taking the time to thoroughly research and write this!

    The Sega 3D Classics releases were accompanied by extensive interviews with the project leads at M2 and Sega, and occasionally with some of the members of the original development teams. This one goes into some detail about the differences between the original and Japanese versions of Ecco the Dolphin, and includes some interesting reminiscences with Ryoichi Hasegawa, who managed the Japanese localization. http://www.siliconera.com/2013/12/10...-versions-one/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ecco View Post
    Also, what would be the best Feature for such an article: a Side-by-Side article?

    I don't think it's really come up much, but there are a few examples of games with important regional differences, which could be written about... like how Shadow of the Beast plays too fast in the US, so it's much worse than the original slower version in Europe... And since the existing review is focused on the US version, I think there certainly COULD be another review more focused on the PAL version... OR a Side-by-Side article (comparing both versions)...

    That's probably the best example I can think of, that's similar to this situation...
    Shadow of the Beast is the exact same game in North America, it just plays faster because the console is set to 60 Hz and they didn't optimize for it. The Japanese version, on the other hand, is a different port made by another team. THAT version could be compared side-by-side to the PAL version.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Centrale View Post
    This is a great article! Thanks for taking the time to thoroughly research and write this!

    The Sega 3D Classics releases were accompanied by extensive interviews with the project leads at M2 and Sega, and occasionally with some of the members of the original development teams. This one goes into some detail about the differences between the original and Japanese versions of Ecco the Dolphin, and includes some interesting reminiscences with Ryoichi Hasegawa, who managed the Japanese localization. http://www.siliconera.com/2013/12/10...-versions-one/
    Also this interview with Ryoichi Hasegawa: http://shmuplations.com/ecco/

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zebbe View Post
    Shadow of the Beast is the exact same game in North America, it just plays faster because the console is set to 60 Hz and they didn't optimize for it. The Japanese version, on the other hand, is a different port made by another team. THAT version could be compared side-by-side to the PAL version.
    ^Ah OK, I'm not very familiar with the SOTB series, I just knew that the US version is viewed unfavorably (because it plays too fast), while the PAL version is viewed better, because it plays the correct speed. (I didn't know there's another JP version that u mentioned.)

    My point was basically that there's a small handful of games, with important regional differences... which could / should be written about. Whether it's a review (for each regional version)... OR whether it's using the Side-by-Side feature.

    I guess I'm rather indifferent about it, if a Side-by-Side is preferred by most people. (I just think that an article like this one, for JP MD Ecco, makes slightly more sense as a review, of a regional version. But it's possible that most folks might look at it differently.)

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    Along those lines, I figured that the exclusive updates of the JP version, belonged in the site's reviews of Ecco the Dolphin. (Because if someone is reading through the site's reviews, for all the different versions of Ecco, then they should know about the JP version, including its extra features, and its extra stage, The Stomach, which has implications for the whole series.)

    By the way, here are some more pics of exclusive details, that didn't make it into the published article.

    Here's the beginning limbo area, which normally has nothing but two different, mysterious tunnels. In the JP version, there are signs!

    Screen Shot 2018-12-01 at 4.21.17 PM.jpg

    Screen Shot 2018-12-01 at 4.21.38 PM.jpg

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    This is just showing how pretty the message-screens are, with JP text (and English question marks lol):

    Screen Shot 2018-12-01 at 4.46.17 PM.jpg

    ^The pic can't show how the JP characters swirl around the screen, quite pretty.



    This pic is just showing the new PAUSE screen:

    Screen Shot 2018-12-01 at 4.46.33 PM.jpg

    ^The pause-screen doesn't look like much, but the music-behavior is different: The music fades out for a pause, and then the music can't be played when paused, like we are used to.



    This pic just shows that The Stomach has its own formal title-screen and password:

    Screen Shot 2018-12-01 at 4.40.06 PM.jpg



    This next pic shows the aggressive crystals, who are enemies, that are chasing after Ecco:

    Screen Shot 2018-12-01 at 4.40.55 PM.jpg

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    Last post of screenshots lol. (There's a limit of images per post, which is why this is multiple posts.)

    This is from The Machine's new checkpoints:

    Screen Shot 2018-12-01 at 4.54.08 PM.jpg

    Here's just a bit more of The Stomach's lay-out:
    Screen Shot 2018-12-01 at 4.54.29 PM.jpg


    Finally, here's the end of The Stomach, this is the magnet-type of object, which needs to be placed next to the door, to make it open, so Ecco can leave the stage.
    Screen Shot 2018-12-01 at 4.54.46 PM.jpg

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