We review the newest from Sega and Nintendo, including ''Ecco the Dolphin,'' ''Mega Man 5,'' and more

The latest in videogames

Presenting the latest games from the joystick frontier, including Road Runner tangling with Wile E. Coyote, the Little Mermaid avoiding shark attacks, and a do-it-yourself cartoon workshop.

Ecco the Dolphin (Sega, $50, Sega Genesis) Without so much as a bullet, bomb, or karate chop, this game still manages to be completely entertaining. Players use sonar to communicate with ocean dwellers, avoid jellyfish, and search for their family. Charming graphics and a lush soundtrack. B+

Ariel, The Little Mermaid (Sega, $40, Game Gear and Sega Genesis) Ariel’s underwater mission is to rescue her friends, whom the despicable Ursula has turned into plankton. The game is graphically gorgeous, the play relatively easy, and Sega deserves credit for producing one of the very few cartridges that feature a female protagonist. Unfortunately, the sequences are repetitive, and younger kids might be disturbed by the sight of Ariel being munched on by sharks. C-

Tiny Toon Adventures Cartoon Workshop (Konami, $50, Nintendo) Cartoon lovers left wanting by television’s animated antics get all the tools they need to create their own epics starring Babs Bunny, Plucky Duck, and other characters from the Tiny Toon Adventures TV show. Young children may need a little help in the beginning, but they’ll quickly get the hang of this lively and original game. B+

Road Runner’s Death Valley Rally (Sunsoft, $60, Super Nintendo) Beep beep. As Road Runner, a player zips through the desert, nibbling on birdseed and dodging Wile E. Coyote’s cockamamie contraptions (rocket-powered roller skates and rock-hurling catapults, among others). Although the fun, fast-paced game evokes the classic Warner Bros. ’50s-style cartoons, the Road Runner’s abilities have been modernized with out-of-place, Mario-Bros.-like jumping skills. B

Out Of This World (Interplay, $60, Super Nintendo) You’re a nuclear scientist who has been blasted into a strange, alien world by a stray lightening bolt; before returning home, you’ve got to solve a series of mysteries. With knotty puzzles, intense action, and bright, bold, detailed graphics, Out of This World is, well, out of this world. A+

Mega Man 5 (Capcom, $45, Nintendo) See Mega Man run. See Mega Man jump. See Mega Man vanquish dastardly foes. Clever scenarios — like the bewildering upside-down section and a wild Jet Ski race — offer hours of innovative obstacles and pure, unadulterated arcade fun. A-

Kid Critic
T2, The Arcade Game (Arena, $50, Sega Genesis) This is a great video game, and I like it because it’s an action game. There’s lots of bombing and shooting. The game is pretty much like the second Terminator movie: You try to reach the good guy, John Connor, before it’s too late, before the bad guy gets him. The bad guy is the T-1000 robot, but the graphics are not very good, so he looks more like a metal skeleton. The graphics for Arnold Schwarzenegger look very good; he looks like he really looks. BMarcus Williams, age 10, San Francisco

Vid Villains
Your child is playing video games in the living room. Nice, friendly, wholesome games. Yeah, right. In fact, each game is a life-and-death struggle with creepy, grotesque, impossibly evil characters. Here’s the rap sheet on the most outlandish nemeses your child is likely to do battle with.

Worst-Dressed Zombies Half anatomy-lesson, half Night of the Living Dead, the zombies in Splatterhouse 2 look as if they’ve been skinned alive. Their boss is a sort of giant intestine that spits leeches.

Deadliest Bimbos Don’t be deceived by their looks. In Streets of Rage, foxy Amazon babes clad in leather bustiers and boots punch, chop, spin-kick, and body-slam with deadly force.

Hungriest Martians With their sloped foreheads and eager jaws, the overgrown, slimy, outer-space reptiles in Alien3 are so frighteningly true to the Alien films that they even drool.

Toughest Thug With a Jump Shot He’s violent. He’s mean. He’s the biggest bully in the NBA. He’s Bill Laimbeer, and his video game, Bill Laimbeer’s Combat Basketball, features wild Bill tackling, battering, and otherwise tormenting opposing hoopsters.