Winter Video Game Music: Ice Zone (Ecco the Dolphin)

Five out of five. And because I felt like it, here’s another multiple track post! The original Genesis/Mega Drive version and the Sega CD version. I wanted to include a Game Gear track, but from what I can see the Game Gear version didn’t have its Cold Water track replaced by an Ice Zone track, so I don’t feel it’d fit to include the Game Gear’s Cold Water track. If you want to know my thoughts on it, though: It’s screechy, but suitable atmospheric for the level. As much as a Game Gear track can be. I enjoy it, my ears don’t.

Anyhow.

Ecco the Dolphin… There’s really nothing quite like it. This series in general is more than a video game, it’s an experience. The concept alone was/is fairly unique (non-anthro dolphin vs. aliens, also there’s time travel involved), and the execution? Yeah, the devteam(s) really knew what they were doing. The end product is a beautiful, haunting, strange, and atmospheric series that sticks with you once you play it.

It’s also tough as nails, but no one said it would be a relaxing experience.

Ice Zone/Cold Water is, as the names imply, an ice world. It has admittedly been awhile since I’ve played the game, but I remember this level being fairly.. empty, yet no less atmospheric and mesmerizing. Plus watching Ecco slide on top of the ice was very amusing for kid me and, I’m not ashamed to say, is still satisfying for adult me.

The Genesis/MegaDrive version is a mixture of hypnotic beauty and eeriness, bringing to mind the empty, cold water it represents. It’s lonely, it’s unfamiliar, but yet you find yourself lost in the wonder of the shimmering ice. It’s cold and uninviting, and you really can’t wait to be out of it.

The Sega CD version? Absolutely ethereal. It trades the eerieness of the Genesis/Mega Drive original for a more contemplative melancholy. And yet within that melancholy are moments of outright triumph. These are strange waters, but you’ll find your way. Through the coldness and the emptiness, you’ll find a sliver of hope.

I can’t think of a better track to end this set with, really. See you next winter!

 

 

 

 

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