Gex 64: Enter the Gecko

Developer: Realtime Associates
Publisher: Midway Games
Released: August 31 1998
Regions: NA, PAL
Genre: Platformer
Multiplayer: 1 player
Cart Size: 16MB / 128Mbits
Saving: Controller Pak or Password
Rumble Pak?: No
Expansion Pak? No
- Required? No
It's Tail Time!

The original Gex game was a hit. It was a 2D sidescroller with some extremely impressive visuals, amazing gameplay, and great humor. It was the most popular game on the 3DO console and even ended up being ported onto the Saturn and Playstation. A sequel to it was inevitable. The sequel arrived first on the Playstation and wowed people. Then it came out onto the N64 to much less excitement. Unfortunately, this was a lazy port.

First of all, Gex has now moved up to the 3rd dimension. In this 3D platformer, Gex must explore many TV-themed, non-linear levels in search of red remotes. There are also collectables you'll need to keep an eye out for. What the collectable is varies on the level. When you're in Scream TV you're looking for skulls, tombstones, and hockey masks, or when you're in Circuit Central you're looking for Batteries, LEDs, and Atoms. You'll get a silver remote for finding a total of 120 of those collectables. A second silver remote can be found on each level, but it's hidden very well and will require you to think outside the box if you expect to find it. Finding these silver remotes will open up Bonus Stages. Bonus Stages always have one simple task, and that's to get a bunch of collectables in a certain amount of time. Completing Bonus Stages and defeating bosses will open up new areas and new levels to explore in the Media Dimension. There are 14 levels, 7 bonus stages, 4 bosses, and plenty of remotes to find. This is not a short game. You'll need to find almost all of them to be able to challenge the final boss and take back the Media Dimension.

The graphics of Gex 64 are a bit simplistic, but they do the job. The levels are all nice and colourful but unfortunately fog is present. The draw distance is longer than say, the first Turok game, but Gex 64 does not run as smoothly. Whenever entering an area with lots too it, or lots of enemies, the frame rate starts to dip. The slow down, and fog affect the hub area the most, so at least the actual levels improve. Gex himself looks great and he usually has got some kind of unique outfit to match the level he's in. A lot of enemies have simple designs. Some will act exactly the same, but their look will be changed to match what level they're in.

The gameplay is nothing short of fun. You run, jump, and attack like a typical platformer, but Gex can also climb sticky walls. Levels might have you reach a certain area, find some collectables, defeat enemies, or some other task. It's never anything too difficult but it's never easy either. I feel they did a perfect job of making the difficulty gradually increase. Most of the time if you miss a jump you aren't going to die. This does change in the later levels like Samurai Night Fever. One of the most intense levels I played was Pain in the Asteroid. That level is played in space with some of the trickiest platforming and it's easy to fall to your death. If that isn't enough then you also have your air supply to keep an eye on. This was probably the most difficult level in the game, but I loved every minute of it.

The biggest reason the N64 version is so inferior to the Playstation version, is the amount of content that was cut. The FMV cutscenes are gone. Due to this, there really is no way to find out the story in the N64 version in less you read the manual. There were also several bonus stages removed and one normal level removed. What's interesting though is that one new level was added to the N64 version. The removed level was called "PolterGex" and it was the 3rd level of Scream TV. Now every other channel only had 2 levels so it was odd Scream TV had one more. With PolterGex removed, a completely unique level was added for the N64. "Gecques Cousteau" was the new level and it was part of the "Sea Span" channel. This was a Titanic parody level and had Gex searching for the Titanic, as well as going under water, avoiding sharks and taking turtle taxis to help get through the level. Though this unique level is superior to having a 3rd Scream TV level, it's not enough to make up for the missing FMV cutscenes, story, and some bonus stages.

So Gex 64 has a superior level, but does Gex 64 do anything else better? Well surprisingly the Playstation version requires a password to save. I'm not sure why as memory cards were not a delicacy. The N64 version uses a memory card to save thankfully. They did also leave the password system in just in case you don't own a memory card. There's one more universal thing that the N64 version does better then the PS1 version. No load times.

Throughout the game, Gex will say some funny one-liners. Some are level specific, some channel specific, and some are just said anytime. Unfortuntately the amount of one-liners was slightly reduced in the N64 version. Gex 64 has some excellent background music. Everything fits perfectly with the theme and some are quite catchy. The theme in The Rocket Channel is one of my favorites. The only thing I hated was that when you get enough collectables to earn an extra life, the background music will start all over again. The sound effects are pretty standard. The music and sound effects can sound repetitious if you go from the same channel to the same channel. I recommend playing a different channel once you've finished a level.

If you're one of the many to find Navi annoying then you probably won't like this. Gex is voiced by Dana Gould in the North American version. Gex will constantly spew out one-liners and other smart ass remarks. The only problem is that he does this all too often and things do get repeated. Unlike OOT though, you can turn off Gex's voice in the options menu.

If you enjoy Nintendo 64 era platformers, then you might like this. The gameplay is fun, and you'll love the humour. Unfortunately if you own or have played a lot of the Playstation version, I would avoid Gex 64. It's clearly inferior in just about every way. If you're up for another platformer on N64 then go ahead and give Gex 64 a try.

Presentation: 4.0
No cutscenes or story. You're just thrown into the game with so much to see. Gex does have some excellent humor though.

Graphics: 7.0
Gex looks great, and so do the levels. Levels are large with plenty of nice looking textures and colours used. Maybe a bit basic.

Sound: 7.0
Good background music and good sound effects. Gex quotes can be a good thing or a bad thing.

Gameplay: 8.0
Plenty of levels and bonus stages. There's so many remotes to find and the platforming is almost as solid as Super Mario 64.

Lasting Appeal: 6.0
No multiplayer. It takes a while to finish the game and the only thing that'll get you to come back is your own curiosity.

Overall: 6.4

Written by Kevin Ames
October 24 2012