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Gex: Enter the Gecko (PlayStation) artwork

Gex: Enter the Gecko (PlayStation) review

"a simple platformer that doesn't complicate things, and is good, consistent fun. "

Gex isn't the most appealing character in the world. An ugly lizard who constantly dispenses 'hilarious' one-liners, he's hardly the next Sonic, or even Rayman. Luckily his games are very good. His 2-d platforming debut on the playstation (And one or two other systems) was met with a fairly warm reception from the public and press alike. But this game is a lot better. The lizard's first attempt at a full-blown 3-d platformer offers a lot of entertainment than the average Playstation offering and, while it contains no new ideas, does a lot right.

Thrown into some kind of temple ruins floating in the sky, faced with a quest to defeat a robot who is terrorising the media dimension (The world inside the TV), Gex is free to learn his moves. These are nothing special, the basic attack, double jump etc. So THEN you are given a choice to enter either of the first two levels, ones based on classic horror films, and the other on old WB cartoons.

And so the platforming begins. There's no need to explain much to you because, well, Gex 3D does nothing you haven't seen before. There's no gimmick to separate it from other platformers, and there aren't even any in-level mini-games to add some variety. Generally, each level has two or three tasks which can be completed to collect a gold remote control. This usually is something simple such as getting to a certain point in the level, killing a mini-boss or finding and destroying level-specific objects (Purple mushrooms in the cartoon world, blood tanks in the horror world). And so, in all honesty, Gex is nothing special.

But it's the actual platforming that entertains. There are some well-designed, carefully thought out platforming challenges and there are a HELL of a lot of them. Gex isn't about exploring or puzzle solving at all (I dare say there's absolutely none of the latter to be found at all). The game may present you with a couple of wide-open fields to run around or multiple routes to choose, but it's values are old-fashioned. Leaping up the towers in the mechanical world is very fun, you need to be charged up from a charger to do so (And therefore only have a limited amount of time). Plus maneuvering about the towers as you fly in the air is very difficult.

But it's things like this which test your skills and provide the exciting moments. Gex 3D is the next step on from 2-d platforming and, if Mario 64 hadn't of taken the genre two steps forward already, it would feel considerably more impressive. But it's still a lot of fun, which is the important thing. It's constant flow of classicly styled challenges and clever level design will keep you occupied until the very end. The boss battles are similarly well done, and the final boss is very dramatic indeed.

The game also holds an authentic atmosphere. The references seen in the film genre spoofing levels are sometimes a little vague but at least give the game a different personality from most other platformers. Being able to dress up as bugs bunny and daffy duck and walk around killing elmer Fudd lookalikes, while dodging the fangs of live mail-boxes is a simple, but wonderfully presented example of the game's appeal.

Technically, the game's graphics are a bit glitchy. All the usual fogging, pop-up and character-walking-into-walls problems are here. So it often looks a bit scrappy. But otherwise it's very varied, the star wars space levels are a radical departure from the Kung Fu japan levels. But it's colourful, well designed (level-wise) and has tonnes of little details. The enemy design is a bit basic, but there are at least a lot of them and they are quite original (The fire breathing skeleton ghosts are particularly frightening).

The music is occasionally very fitting (Like in the horror levels) but otherwise is quite, well, crap. None of the levels (Aside from the hub) seem to have ACTUAL music, it seems more like a couple of sound effects clustered together to form some sort of awkward background tone. In the UK version, Leslie Phillips of Carry-On fame was brought into voice Gex, with his magnificently sleazy voice. The lines written are a little corny though (I won't bore you with examples), and they are repeated over and OVER again so you get extremely sick of them.

Gex is a big game. There are loads of levels (Around twenty) all with more than one task, and then there are the item collecting bonus levels. There are a lot of secrets to find after completion as well and, as long as you like platformers, you shouldn't get sick of it.

Overall Gex is a simple platformer that doesn't have any new ideas, or much variety. But it's also a simple platformer that doesn't complicate things, and is good, consistent fun. If you want something good without having to think too much, then this is for you.

The joy of Gex
+ Easily accessible
+ Challenges your skill often
+ A lot of fun
+ Loads of levels
+ Good level design
+ Good bosses
+ Long-lasting
+ Entertaining level themes

- A little too basic sometimes
- Never requires any thought
- Not original in the least
- Bad sound
- Glitchy
- Camera problems

If you like this....
Gex - Playstation: Basic, fun, challenging 2-d platformer
Gex: Deep cover Gecko - Playstation:The sequel to this, good fun and has more variety, but frustrating in places.

maxh's avatar
Community review by maxh (Date unavailable)

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