Ecco the Dolphin is a familiar face for SEGA fans, appearing in 4 different games and gaining a bit of a cult following due to it’s bizarre and surprisingly dark premise of a dolphin traveling through time to save his comrades from evil aliens. What many people didn’t know is that there was a fifth game in the series that was in development, acting as a sequel to the Dreamcast game Ecco the Dolphin: Defenders of the Universe. The game titled Ecco II: Sentinels of the Universe started in development sometime in 2001-2000, around the time the Dreamcast was on it’s last legs, with the build leaked in particular being made on February 19th, 2001. The game did not reach far into development, not receiving press coverage of any type and being silently cancelled when SEGA started to move away from the console business, though Ecco the Dolphin: Defenders of the Universe receiving mixed reception may of also contributed to the cancellation.
Ecco II: Sentinels of the Universe itself was similar to the first Dreamcast game. As Ecco, a lot of the familiar abilities he had from the Genesis titles like the dash and sonar were retained, the main draw is that the game is in the third dimension. Because of this jump to third dimension, Ecco II: Sentinels of the Universe has an awkward control scheme where Ecco has tank controls, where the control stick merely changes Ecco’s direction, and a rather spastic camera to back it up. The demo, naturally being an alpha build, is incomplete. Graphics and animations are missing, there is no sound or music, there’s no goal, debug is active, and there are bugs present. But otherwise, Ecco II: Sentinels of the Universe can be played, both on emulation and on a real retail Dreamcast with a bootdisc. In the end though, the alpha is a curiosity at best for a game that never saw the light of day, and is yet another curious case of Ecco the Dolphin development history.