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Going green never looked so beautiful.
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EcoQuest is a series of two adventure games by Sierra, designed primarily for younger audiences. The story follows Adam Greene, a young boy and son of an ecologist, who has a remarkable tendency to meet talking animals and be recruited to save their dying animal kingdoms from some hazard inflicted by mankind.

In the first game, "The Search for Cetus", Adam meets a talking dolphin called Delphineus who was trapped in a fishing net and is being nursed back to health at a marine biology institution. He releases Delphineus back into the ocean, but Delphineus later comes back to request his aid. Together they dive to an underwater kingdom nestled inside ancient Grecian ruins and populated by a wide variety of talking marine life (where everything from manatees to clownfish seem to be able to hold an intelligent conversation). Adam learns that the ruler of this kingdom (an old and wise sperm whale) has gone missing, and Adam is tasked with finding him. To make matters worse, a gigantic manta ray who was mutated by a hidden underwater radioactive waste dump has been terrorizing the kingdom and must be stopped. This game is also notable for being the first game designed by Jane Jensen, creator of the Gabriel Knight series.

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In the second game, "Lost Secret of the Rainforest", Adam and his father travel to South America. Adam falls asleep in a rowboat, and is quietly taken downriver by — you guessed it — a pair of talking river otters. He is now tasked with saving a gigantic ancient tree called "The Heart of the World" who's slowly dying. Adam meets a slew of talking amazonian wildlife, and ends up in a hidden village of natives deep in the forest. When the village and the huge tree are both burned down by a ruthless and greedy poacher and his thugs, Adam must travel to an ancient Inca city to retrieve a unique sapling which could one day grow to become a new "Heart of the World".

Both games are characterized by cartoonish portraits and accessibility to children, and are some of the rare examples of Sierra games where the protagonist cannot die (no Have a Nice Death screen, otherwise a Sierra adventure staple). The puzzles are also slightly easier than the standard in Sierra adventures. Both games also have a pixel-hunt side-quest where Adam must pick up litter or record wildlife and ecological disturbances. Expect lots of Green Aesops, and yeah, talking animals.

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Examples:

  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: Several in the first game:
    • Adam's oxygen tank never runs out of air when underwater.
    • Adam can talk underwater.
    • Pressure depth doesn't have any effects on him.
    • Prolonged exposure to low temperature under water has no effect on Adam.
  • Adults Are Useless: Adam has to solve all of people's problems by himself. However, there are some cases where adults were needed, such as Adam calling the authorities to clear a sea cave of toxic drums.
  • Ambition Is Evil: The manual states that in the early stages of his mutation, Flesh-Eater became greedy and tried to manipulate his way to power. But as his mental state deteriorated further, he lost his human-like intelligence and began acting only on instinct.
  • And I Must Scream: The manual reveals that Flesh-Eater was once a normal Elurian named Icarus. His exposure to toxic waste mutated him to monstrous size and warped his mind, until he lost his ability to speak as well as his capacity for rational thought. Fortunately, Cetus states that this may be reversed once the poison is taken away.
  • Banana Republic: EcoQuest 2 is set in one, if how easily Slaughter bribes the guard at the beginning is any indication.
  • Black Comedy: Some of Delphineus's jokes go into this:
    Delphineus: Did you know cats have nine lives?
    Adam: I heard that, but I don't believe it.
    Delphineus: You should. There's a bullfrog I know who's croaked a hundred times!
  • City of Gold: What Slaughter is after in EcoQuest 2. Subverted in that the true treasure is not gold, but Forest Heart's seedling.
  • Copy Protection: In EcoQuest: The Search for Cetus, the door's security code in the beginning of the game. In EcoQuest 2: Lost Secret of the Rainforest, the Shaman's face paint patterns.
  • Cutting the Knot: A few puzzles in the first game tempt you with complicated adventure game combining-items solutions, but can be solved by just literally cutting through something.
  • Enfante Terrible: Assuming that Elurians age similarly to humans, Flesh-Eater is this. The manual states that he's nine years old.
  • Everything Sensor: The Ecorder.
  • Evil Poacher: Maxim Slaughter, the villain in EcoQuest 2. His room is full of various endangered animal trophies.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The first game's antagonist is called "Flesh-Eater". It's made clear that the name is not just for fun.
  • Foreshadowing: The Oracle's second riddle is about a creature that "glides like a bird but cannot fly." The answer is "fish" but that description is particularly apt for a manta...
  • Friendly, Playful Dolphin: Befriending a dolphin is what leads the main character on his adventure.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Playing EcoQuest 2 with a computer that is too fast results in an "888.pal not found" error at a certain point in the game. This bug can be averted by using a slowdown utility.
  • Game Over: Unlike the vast majority of adventure games by Sierra, it's impossible to die or lose the game (except... see Unwinnable by Mistake, below).
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Subverted. The Elurians think Flesh-Eater is this, but the manual reveals that he was once one of Cetus's subjects, and the toxic waste has mutated him to the point that he's no longer recognizable as the same manta.
  • The Good King: Cetus is a benevolent ruler and keeps the kingdom safe from pollution and other hazards.
  • Green Aesop: It's the whole point. Expect several of these per minute.
    • From The Search for Cetus:
      • In the first puzzle, Adam's dad asks him to use some special bacterial fluid to clean a cormorant bird that got soaked in petroleum.
      • Delphineus's parents were killed by getting stuck in fishing nets.
      • On the way to Eluria, Adam and Delphineus pass by a cruise ship dumping massive amounts of garbage into the ocean - and for some reason leaking a copious amount of black oil.
      • Eluria is littered with garbage thrown into the ocean from above. Cleaning this garbage nets you extra points.
      • A local statue made of corals is covered in oil, and must be cleaned using the same liquid used at the beginning of the game.
      • Gregarious the manatee is holding his breath underwater because he's afraid to go up to breathe. Every time he goes up, he gets struck by the propeller blades of a fishing boat. The solution is to swim up to the surface and install a cage over that one boat's propeller.
      • A lionfish has decorated her apartment with a bottle of bleach, causing her to fall unconscious.
      • Erroneous the Sea Turtle is choking on a plastic bag he swallowed by accident, thinking it was a jellyfish.
      • The main antagonist of the game is a manta that has been mutated due to a nearby toxic (nuclear?) waste dump. He's not only turned into a gigantic monster, but has also become cruel, violent, and hungry for man-flesh. At one point Adam needs to use a signal buoy to call in a cleanup crew that will remove the toxic waste and open the way forward.
      • The object of your search, the eponymous Cetus, has been harpooned by a whaling boat and will supposedly starve to death if not helped.
    • From Lost Secret of the Rainforest:
      • The Ecorder can detect most ecological hazards, and getting the high score means recording each and every one of these throughout the game.
      • A merchant in the town at the start of the game is illegally selling wild-caught parrots. Adam must free them.
      • Much as in the previous game, the rainforest floor is littered with garbage that should be cleaned up for the maximum score.
      • Before climbing into the rainforest canopy, Adam comes across a campsite for loggers who have apparently been preparing to chop a huge tree down. Shortly afterwards, Adam gets to see how many animals live up in that tree. This is further driven home by those animals being able to talk.
      • A pair of toucans are panicking because a burning cigarette bud has apparently landed in their nest, right next to their egg - possibly thrown by one of the loggers who were working below. It is not explained how the butt got several dozen feet up into the top branches of the tree.
      • Adam ends up in a village of South-American natives who have apparently not come in contact with any modern civilizations yet. They are highly in-tune with nature, are happy and content with their lives, and don't even bat an eye at Adam being a white person and wearing modern clothes. Also, they all speak perfect English.
      • The natives in the village pay their respects to a gigantic tree growing nearby, which they call the Heart of the World, and which is supposedly responsible for the well-being of the entire ecosystem around it. And yes, it can speak too.
      • The second act ends with the game's main antagonist - an evil poacher - burning down the Heart of the World and the native village.
      • Adam is captured by the poacher's crew and held captive in their little compound, where he comes face to face with the poacher's collection of animal memorabilia. This includes such things as bunny slippers made from bunnies, an elephant foot stool, and several other grotesque items. The poacher himself has a small black book of phone numbers that includes the names of some particularly reviled real-world personalities.
      • On escaping the camp, Adam has to row downriver past the smoldering remains of the burnt rainforest, driving the point home.
      • Adam falls into an underground river where bats who've survived the fire have come to join a local bat cave, and have to file for refugee status.
      • At the very end of the game, both Adam and Maxim Slaughter reach the ancient Inca city to find its fabulous treasure. Slaughter thinks it is going to be a mountain of gold, but Adam knows that the real treasure is actually a sapling that could replace the Heart of the World.
  • Hammerspace: Adam's magic recycling bag, that can hold garbage like chairs and TV sets but doesn't show up on his sprite or inventory at all.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: "I guess the hermit's out of the crab, so to speak!"
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Delphineus makes these like they're going out of style.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Flesh-Eater seems to have brutally killed the pirate crew who harpooned Cetus.
  • Last Lousy Point: Each of the two games has a pixel-hunting minigame which requires you to keep your eyes open constantly.
  • Magical Native American: The Grove People.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Adam and Noah Greene. Considering these are games based around Green Aesops...
    • The manual reveals that Flesh-Eater's original name was Icarus. It's quite fitting, considering his curiosity led him to get too close to something harmful...
  • Mini-Game: The first game has a mosaic puzzle and a columns matching game.
  • Missing Mom: Adam's mother has passed away years ago when he was still very young.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Flesh Eater in the first game. Maxim Slaughter in EcoQuest 2.
  • Not Worth Killing: If Adam tries to enter Flesh-Eater's lair while he's still in it, Flesh-Eater chases him out, but doesn't try to harm him further.
  • Nuclear Nasty: The first game's villain, Flesh-Eater, is just a harmless manta ray turned into a monster due to exposure to barrels of glowing waste. Also a case of Toxic Waste Can Do Anything if he actually returns to normal after the barrels were removed, as Cetus speculates.
  • Parental Abandonment: Delphineus' parents died when he was young. The Oracle said they were caught in a drift net.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The villain of the first game, Flesh Eater, has red eyes.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: The Oracle in the first game speaks in rhymes all the time.
  • Sapient Cetaceans: The Search for Cetus features a number of ocean creatures that are able to communicate with the human protagonist. The first one he meets is an injured dolphin named Delphineus.
  • Scare Chord: Flesh-Eater's theme from the first game.
  • Shout-Out: In EcoQuest 2: "All that is gold does not glitter." A reference to The Lord of the Rings.
  • Sickly Green Glow: The irradiated waste dump in the first game.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Adam spends 95% of the first game underwater. He's only wearing a couple of tiny oxygen tanks, but these will last indefinitely.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: The Great Senator speaks of that "blasted blubber farm of a whale." Adam asks him if he was talking about King Cetus. The Great Senator says he did and then clumsily denies referring Cetus in such manner.
  • Talking Animal: Many, many, many, many.
  • Underwater Ruins: The city of Eluria which are Greek ruins inhabited by ocean wildlife.
  • Unfortunate Names:
    • Superfluous, the "Great Senator" hermit crab.
    • The sea turtle named "Erroneous". Also a Meaningful Name since you have to save him from his mistakes.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: Do NOT forget to pick up the oil-dissolving bacteria at the start of the game. Pretty harsh considering that this is a game for children.
    • This no longer seems to be an issue in the game (perhaps thanks to a patch), as Adam’s dad simply hands him the flask of oil-dissolving bacteria at the start of the game to make sure Adam doesn’t leave it behind.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Adam spends the entire first game shirtless. Granted, he's wearing scuba gear the whole time...
  • Was Once a Man: Flesh-Eater was once a friendly Elurian named Icarus. When he swam into toxic waste, his mental state rapidly deteriorated, to the point that he can only act out of base instincts, like fear and hatred.
  • Wham Line: "I got it!"
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Flesh-Eater isn't really responsible for his actions, given that his mind has been mutated by toxic waste. It's suggested that once the poison is removed, he may return to being a harmless manta.
  • World Tree: The Forest Heart in the second game. You need to find a new one 'cause the old one's about to die. Oh and by the way - for some reason it can talk.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: The Great Senator speaks like this, but only in a couple of phrases. He was just trying to act sophisticated.
  • Your Size May Vary: Flesh Eater is a big, scary thing no matter what, but his size tends to fluctuate suddenly. For instance when he swats Adam away and carries off Delphineus, or when he fights Cetus, Flesh Eater balloons up to somewhere like 3-5x the size he is when he chases Adam and Delphineus away from his lair late in the game.

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