The Machine is the Vortex hive on their homeworld. Ecco navigates The Machine after traveling through The Tube. In its deepest section resides the Vortex Queen. The level itself is named Welcome To The Machine, and is quite lengthy.
It is widely known as the hardest level in all of Ecco's history. The stage is a rapidly progressing auto-scroller that changes direction every few seconds. It takes about six minutes to beat. Ecco can get crushed to death in a matter of seconds if the player does not memorize and learn the exact route to take. In addition to this, Vortex Drones fly in rapidly from off screen and can provide Ecco with a swift death. Furthermore, in the American version of Ecco the Dolphin, dying during the final level (The Last Fight) will force the player to re-run the entirety of the level, though the player can simply quit and enter the password obtained for The Last Fight. In the Japanese version, players only have to navigate the Japanese-only level of The Stomach to return to The Last Fight, which is very similar to how dying while fighting the Queen in Ecco: The Tides of Time is handled.The area itself is very large and full of strange machines. Green pellets will shoot out of holes in some of the walls which will damage Ecco if touched.
- The New Machine in Ecco: The Tides of Time is similar to The Machine in Ecco 1, they both are side-scrolling, but The New Machine in Tides of Time is easier than The Machine in Ecco 1.