Gex: Enter the Gecko (Playstation 1, Nintendo 64, PC, and Gameboy Color)

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Gex is a three foot tall, bipedal, talking, gecko. Why is there are three foot tall, bipedal, talking, gecko running  around? “Shut up! Go save the fabric of television!” is the game’s response– it’s bizarre how the mascoting got in the nineties.

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Welcome to the media dimension. The place where all television exists– in the waves… I guess.

History

Gex started his existence as one of those weird nineties animal platform game mascots. His original game was a simple 2 dimensional affair complete with Gex posing on the front of the box with sunglasses on– The story of the original game is that Rez, the self-styled lord of the media dimension, kidnaps him to make him a mascot… even the game knows.

 Strangely enough, this game runs off the engine from Tomb Raider 1. Eidos,  are you recycling game engines again?  It was written by Dana Gould, a writer for the Simpsons. He would also design costumes that Gex would wear in different levels and perform 700 one-liners as Gex’s voice actor.

Fun Fact: Gex if voiced by Leslie Phillips in the European release.

Gex: Enter the Gecko was released on January 31st, 1998. It’s competition was Resident Evil 2 (PS1), Skullmonkeys (PS1), Panzer Dragoon Saga (Sega Saturn).

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The voice behind Gex ladies and gents.

Nostalgia

Gex: Enter the Gecko was on of the first games that I got for the Playstation 1. I didn’t even know it was a sequel to anything, I just saw a 3D platformer and I was in. In fact, if I had thought it was a sequel I would have found the first in the series to play them in order. Which would have been a disastrous turn of events because I’ve played Gex and I didn’t really like it, which would have probably prompted me to not give this game a chance. It was also one of the first games that I needed a memory card to play. I remember writing down incredibly long passwords or starting the game over whenever I wanted to play. Was it a good investment, well let’s go on to the gameplay section.

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I was such a scaredy cat, I would avoid the horror levels because they scared me so much.

Gameplay

The controls and design of Gex are pretty simple. Gex can jump, karate kick which doubles as a long jump, tail whip to take on close attacks, and jump on his tail like a spring to get a lot of height and destroy enemies below. If he takes 4 hits, he’ll go down. Gex can also walk on certain types of walls, they’re pretty easy to spot because of their discoloration. Keep an eye out for them though because they usually mark hidden areas.

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The karate kick isn’t a very useful move but you’ve got to admit it looks pretty badass.

Every level has a theme, there’s Toon TV, Scream TV, Kung-Fu Theatre, and just about any other genre you can think of. How do you control the media dimension? With remotes of course. Each level has red and silver remotes. The red remotes are acquired by doing certain task specific to the level or reaching a certain point. Silver remotes are acquired by collecting enough things or finding the hidden silver remote in the level. You get gold remotes by killing bosses. These remotes unlock more channles and more sections of the media dimension.

Different levels have different themed obstacles and different themes within the levels. The Rocket Channel levels usually take place in space so a bad jump will send you hurtling to a bottomless space pit– how is there gravity in space? SHUT UP! And there are air stations, run out of air and Gex is dead. The Pre-History channel has tough enemies in it and so on.

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Gex’s costume changes a lot in levels. Unfortunately the lightsaber is just for show.

Gush

Every channel has different enemies so it’s not the same old hat dispatching monsters all the time.

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You wanna fight spoopy Pumpkins? Do it.

The music is usually very evocative of the style of each channel. The music matches the channel’s theme perfectly.

I love hunting for secrets and this game has got many secrets aplenty to go hunting for. There’s more hidden in this game than silver remotes, keep your eyes peeled.

The level design, even in the same channel, is unique. No two levels really feel alike. Different levels have different pieces doing different things. Then like any good game, they start putting them together.

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The design and music reach a new level if you can find Rezopolis.

Gex’s one-liners are usually really good but sometimes he’ll just keep repeating the same phrase again and again.

Kvetch

The bosses in this game are really underwhelming. I remember that Mushu Pork and Mecharez exist but I don’t remember peril or really what fighting them was like.

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Although if I had taken the time to enter over the shoulder mode with the camera I would never have been able to unsee Mushu’s screwed up eyes.

Some levels of this game have a lot of death pits. Most of the space levels are 99% percent pits and, looking back at platformers, pits are sort of a boring obstacle.

Verdict

This game is still pretty solid. It might be a little tough to track down but if you see it in a bargain bin somewhere and feeling like jumping around then I would recommend picking it up. I do warn that my nostalgic feelings for the game are pretty strong.

Next Week: Cave Story

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