Ecco the Dolphin is an action-adventure game.The game opens with Ecco, a bottlenose dolphin, as he and his pod are swimming in their home bay. A podmate challenges Ecco to a game to see how high he can jump into the air. When he is in the air, a giant waterspout forms and sucks up all marine life in the bay except Ecco, leaving him alone in the bay. Upon leaving the bay, Ecco swims around meeting other marine life including other dolphins who tell them they have felt the storm and the entire ocean is in chaos. Gameplay: Ecco can attack enemies by ramming into them at high speeds. Swimming can be made progressively faster by tapping a certain button, and the speed can be maintained by holding it down. Players can perform a purely aesthetic spin in the air when jumping out of the water. Two features of the gameplay are based on actual dolphin habits: one button causes Ecco to sing, allowing him to speak with other cetaceans and interact with certain objects. The same button is used for echolocation: holding it down causes the song to return, generating a map of the area. Several levels contain enormous crystals called glyphs, which respond in different ways if Ecco touches or sings to them. Some block paths, and a “key-glyph” must be found in such cases to pass. Others give information, and a few in later levels replenish health/air and give Ecco temporary invulnerability.