Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko

a game by Midway, Crystal Dynamics, Inc., and Eidos Interactive
Genre: Action
Platforms: Nintendo 64Nintendo 64 Playstation PSX
Editor Rating: 7.8/10, based on 8 reviews
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See also: Gex Games
Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko
Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko
Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko
Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko

Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko finds the indomitable reptile hero working his now-familiar tail-whomping platform-stomping formula with a few interesting gameplay bows to GoldenEye 007.

The GoldenEye homages will come in the form of first-person weapons views and vehicle driving. Gexs control skills will cover such rides as a tank, a snowboard, and even animals such as a camel and a burro. In some levels, you'll have to fire weapons, including a pirates cannon or a Gatling gun from a first-person view.

The prelim version ushered Gex through various TV and movie takeoffs with his usual flair. Even at this early stage, the tried-and-true Gex game engine handled the jumps, wall-crawling, sticky-tonguing, and baddie-whipping with aplomb. Plus, as is natural, Gex dresses for all occasions. The 14 preview levels (25 are planned for the final) found Gex mimicking Spider-Man, The Wizard of Oz's Tin Man, Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk, and even a wrestling superstar. It looks as though Gex has it going again!

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Game Reviews

Gex returns for another round of TV and pop-culture skewering--but despite plenty of exploration and strong visuals, the third game in the series starts to feel like a rerun.

REMOTE PATROL

Gex retains his super-spy persona from last years Enter the Gecko, but this time he's got a partner: Agent Xtra, played by baywatch beauty Marliece Andrada. When Xtra gets Rez-napped, its up to Gex to brave the Media Dimension once more and save the girl.

This time around, Gex parodies Greek myths, Christmas specials, war flicks, Clint Eastwood, The Wizard of Oz, superheroes, Mafia movies, Sherlock Holmes, pro wresding--even Crystal Dynamics' own Akuji--donning 25 outfits along the way. Most of the games 34 levels resemble the last game: You collect icons, complete specific goals (such as "Visit the worlds largest mound of poop"), battle sub-bosses, and earn remotes. There's more interaction with environments, plus special levels where you can ride donkeys, tanks, and snowboards or play as other characters like Rex and Cuz. Unfortunately, that doesn't add much; the side-games are mere distractions from the main task of tail-whipping enemies and collecting endless icons just like Gex did all through the last game.

A Shiny New Coat

Gex 3 certainly looks pretty, featuring clean lines and particularly cool reflections: Ice, metal, and water textures will catch your eye. The adjustable camera can't always keep up, however, and tends to make you queasy. Smooth, responsive control makes movement easy. There are plenty of smart-mouthed quips from comedian Dana Gould, who provides Gex's voice, but some of the jokes are too obscure (anybody care about Eva Gabors wig fridge?), and some rehash old territory (didn't we get our fill of Shining jokes last time)? But when Gex is on, you'll snicker. Meanwhile, Marliece Andrada does her best to look like Emma Peel, but she has the acting range of an orange peel. She's little more than curvy eye-candy.

Gex 2.5?

Don't doubt that Gex 3 is fun to play. Fans of the platform hero will enjoy the multiple hours of action. But the focus in this sequel is on addition, not innovation--which is fine, but Gex 4 will need more.

ProTips:

  • All the little critters-bunnies, piss, pigeons, etc.--will cough up a coinfly If you whip them. Comer them.
  • For accuracy on underwater levels, use a wide view to spot target objects and zoom in to collect them.
  • The wrestling sub-boss is pathetically easy. Just avoid his body splashes, then tail-whip his ankle.
  • Against the Wizard of Oz boss, avoid the balls and rush to the cannon when the TV crawlers appear. Fire the cannon, then whip the bad guys.
  • You'll find Clueless in Seattle's first mini-game in the mounted bear's head. Whip the fleas, earn a coin.
  • The donkey will help you climb steep hills in the western levels. Follow the hoofprints.

Graphics

The PlayStation shows its power with impressive reflections and a healtliy amount of detail. There's some annoying slowdown on stages, however; and sometimes the camera leaves you reeling, but its tolerable.

Sound

Some of Dana Goulds lines are sidesplitting. but some should've been sidelined--and sometimes they're hard to hear. The music matches the worlds' atmosphere every time, and die game's sound effects are crisp.

Control

You can use the analog stick for comfort, but you're still limited to eight-way directional controls, not true analog freedom. Everything's tight and responsive, though.

Fun Factor

Gex 3 is built on the solid icon-collecting. 3D-platform foundations of Gex 2--almost to a fault. Most elements seem too been-there. tail-whipped-that. But if the last game left you wanting more. Gex 3 delivers another heaping helping.

Crystal Dynamics provided a very early peek at its latest adventure for the wise-cracking gecko. Using the same game engine as Enter the Gecko. G3 puts a new twist on the action with stages that feature Gex riding a donkey and even hitting the slopes for some snowboarding excitement.

Overview

Not so long ago, Eidos of Tomb Raider fame purchased Crystal Dynamics, the company responsible for last year's GEX 2: Enter the Gecko. While I have no proof that the following conversation took place after Eidos acquired Crystal, I would not be the least bit surprised to find it to be true:Crystal Dynamics Exec: "As you know, we are working on our third installment of the popular Gex games. Any suggestions from you folks at Eidos to help make this product a success?"

"Eidos Exec:" "Hooters!"

"Crystal Dynamics Exec:" "Excuse me?"

"Eidos Exec:" "Gotta have hooters!"

"Crystal Dynamics Exec:" "Umm, yes, but the GEX games have traditionally been aimed at the mass market. We have Dana Gould throw in the occasional mild profanity, but that is as far as it goes."

"Eidos Exec:" "Gotta have hooters! Hooters sell games!"

"Crystal Dynamics Exec:" "I do understand that sex sells, but we are talking about a freakin' gecko here. I don't really think that it is appropriate."

"Eidos Exec:" "Gotta have hooters! We own you now, lizard boy, and I say the game needs hooters!"

And so Agent Xtra, the cleavage-flashing Baywatch babe, was born (hatched?). Played by Marliece Andrada, Agent Xtra has been captured, and it is up to the green smart-ass to save her well-endowed skin from the evil Rez. If you liked the last GEX, you will be in heaven. If you were not so fond of the last incarnation of this game, I suggest you run far, far away.

Gameplay

For those of you who missed the first two GEX games, they can basically be summed up as platform games with minor puzzle elements thrown in. The first game, my favorite, was a traditional side-scroller that I really enjoyed. The second GEX sported a brand-new 3D engine, some nice-looking graphics and some decent gameplay, but it was hampered with a few problems. Since the game was such a drastic change, these shortcomings were forgivable. Why beat around the bush? This third game is almost exactly the same as Gex 2, complete with shortcomings.

Okay, there are a few changes in this game. The first change I have already touched upon (pun intended)'the inclusion of breasts. I know this sounds really weird, but I see absolutely no value added to the game by including the terrible acting of a Baywatch babe. The game now features cutscenes with Agent Xtra trying to help motivate Gex to get his tail in gear and save her. I think this would have worked better if she didn't have a speaking role.

Another addition to the game was the mini games that you find scattered throughout the levels. You will find yourself doing everything from smacking fleas on the mounted head of a bear to popping soap bubbles in a sink, and this is just in one of the first levels. These mini games do help break up the monotony of the levels a bit, but most of them end up as nothing more than a minor distraction and are not really challenging. After a few tries, you should be able to breeze through anything they throw at you.

Scattered across many of the levels, you will come across little turtle dudes. They are there to give you clues and hints on what to look for or how to do something in particular. I thought they were a nice addition for gamers new to the GEX world, except I found their English accent a bit difficult to understand at times. Their advice would usually be drowned out by a wise-ass crack from Gex, which is frustrating when you are stuck. I cannot count the number of times that I just shook my head, not understanding what the turtle was trying to tell me.

The final thing that you will find different in the game is the levels. Obviously they had to change the levels, but the cool thing they added was the total changes in gameplay mixed in. What I mean by this is that in the middle of one level you will actually jump on a snowboard and rip around part of the level on the snowboard. While you end up defying all laws of physics or gravity when snowboarding, it's still a nice change. You will also find yourself swimming, gliding, and racing, among other things.

What has not changed is just about everything else. The game still has a very frustrating camera system. While I complained of this in my review of GEX 2, it was more forgivable because this was the first attempt the company had made at a 3D game. While it was frustrating at times, I was willing to give them some leeway. Since this game is now their second and it uses basically the same game engine, I was nowhere near as forgiving for these camera problems. It was very frustrating at times not to be able to take control of the camera and look where I wanted to look. I actually missed things because of their placement on the screen and I could not look at all places on the screen. This was also frustrating on levels that had a timer. If I was racing against the clock and did not have time to line up to make a jump, 9 times out of 10 I would end up falling. This had nothing to do with skill. I fell because I could not get a good view of the jump. Just plain frustrating!

Also back is Dana Gould as the voice of Gex. The first game that they did, I found Gex to be very witty and kept me on the edge of my seat waiting to hear what he would say next. The second game, Gex had some decent quips, some rehashed lines and some obscure jokes. This game, Gould is really starting to wear thin. I will say that I was caught off-guard with a few of his lines but for the most part they were just too obscure, repetitive or just annoying. I guess if you really found Gex drop-dead funny, you might appreciate it a little more, but I feel that he is starting to wear out his welcome a bit.

Graphics

There is no denying that this game has great graphics. They do a good job of squeezing the juice out of the PSX. There are a few occasions where if something gets too close, it looks bad but for the most part, everything looks great. I did enjoy the different themes of the levels and thought it was pretty cool to change your outfits in the different levels. I wish some of the creative genius that went into the graphics went more towards the gameplay.

Bottom Line

As I was playing this game, something hit me. I was not really enjoying myself. I was not offended or having a bad time, but I just was not having fun. I think that it was because this game was nothing that I had not already done somewhere else. Sure, the addition of hooters is always nice, but even those could not get me excited about playing this game. I may just be getting more picky as more and more games are released, but I was just disappointed in this game. I guess if you played all the way through GEX 2 and finally finished the game, you will enjoy the game. If you played GEX 2 and were not too impressed, there is nothing here that will win your heart over.

Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko is making its way over to the N64 from the PlayStation thanks to Crave Entertainment and Crystal Dynamics. This August release features three new levels exclusive to the system, two of which are more or less bonus rounds. More interesting is the lack of Gex's repeating voice--a problem found in Gex: Enter the Gecko. Apparently, a particular phrase will only be spoken once per level.

Overview

Not so long ago, Eidos of Tomb Raider fame purchased Crystal Dynamics, the company responsible for last year's GEX 2: Enter the Gecko. While I have no proof that the following conversation took place after Eidos acquired Crystal, I would not be the least bit surprised to find it to be true:

Crystal Dynamics Exec: "As you know, we are working on our third installment of the popular GEX games. Any suggestions from you folks at Eidos to help make this product a success?"

Eidos Exec: "Hooters!"

Crystal Dynamics Exec: "Excuse me?"

Eidos Exec: "Gotta have hooters!"

Crystal Dynamics Exec: "Umm, yes, but the GEX games have traditionally been aimed at the mass market. We have Dana Gould throw in the occasional mild profanity, but that is as far as it goes."

Eidos Exec: "Gotta have hooters! Hooters sell games!"

Crystal Dynamics Exec: "I do understand that sex sells, but we are talking about a freakin' gecko here. I don't really think that it is appropriate."

Eidos Exec: "Gotta have hooters! We own you now, lizard boy, and I say the game needs hooters!"

And so Agent Xtra, the cleavage-flashing Baywatch babe, was born (hatched?). Played by Marliece Andrada, Agent Xtra has been captured, and it is up to the green smart-ass to save her well-endowed skin from the evil Rez. If you liked the last GEX, you will be in heaven. If you were not so fond of the last incarnation of this game, I suggest you run far, far away.

Gameplay

For those of you who missed the first two GEX games, they can basically be summed up as platform games with minor puzzle elements thrown in. The first game, my favorite, was a traditional side-scroller that I really enjoyed. The second GEX sported a brand-new 3D engine, some nice-looking graphics and some decent gameplay, but it was hampered with a few problems. Since the game was such a drastic change, these shortcomings were forgivable. Why beat around the bush? This third game is almost exactly the same as GEX 2, complete with shortcomings.

Okay, there are a few changes in this game. The first change I have already touched upon (pun intended)—the inclusion of breasts. I know this sounds really weird, but I see absolutely no value added to the game by including the terrible acting of a Baywatch babe. The game now features cutscenes with Agent Xtra trying to help motivate Gex to get his tail in gear and save her. I think this would have worked better if she didn't have a speaking role.

Another addition to the game was the mini games that you find scattered throughout the levels. You will find yourself doing everything from smacking fleas on the mounted head of a bear to popping soap bubbles in a sink, and this is just in one of the first levels. These mini games do help break up the monotony of the levels a bit, but most of them end up as nothing more than a minor distraction and are not really challenging. After a few tries, you should be able to breeze through anything they throw at you.

Scattered across many of the levels, you will come across little turtle dudes. They are there to give you clues and hints on what to look for or how to do something in particular. I thought they were a nice addition for gamers new to the GEX world, except I found their English accent a bit difficult to understand at times. Their advice would usually be drowned out by a wise-ass crack from Gex, which is frustrating when you are stuck. I cannot count the number of times that I just shook my head, not understanding what the turtle was trying to tell me.

The final thing that you will find different in the game is the levels. Obviously they had to change the levels, but the cool thing they added was the total changes in gameplay mixed in. What I mean by this is that in the middle of one level you will actually jump on a snowboard and rip around part of the level on the snowboard. While you end up defying all laws of physics or gravity when snowboarding, it's still a nice change. You will also find yourself swimming, gliding, and racing, among other things.

What has not changed is just about everything else. The game still has a very frustrating camera system. While I complained of this in my review of GEX 2, it was more forgivable because this was the first attempt the company had made at a 3D game. While it was frustrating at times, I was willing to give them some leeway. Since this game is now their second and it uses basically the same game engine, I was nowhere near as forgiving for these camera problems. It was very frustrating at times not to be able to take control of the camera and look where I wanted to look. I actually missed things because of their placement on the screen and I could not look at all places on the screen. This was also frustrating on levels that had a timer. If I was racing against the clock and did not have time to line up to make a jump, 9 times out of 10 I would end up falling. This had nothing to do with skill. I fell because I could not get a good view of the jump. Just plain frustrating!

Also back is Dana Gould as the voice of Gex. The first game that they did, I found Gex to be very witty and kept me on the edge of my seat waiting to hear what he would say next. The second game, Gex had some decent quips, some rehashed lines and some obscure jokes. This game, Gould is really starting to wear thin. I will say that I was caught off-guard with a few of his lines but for the most part they were just too obscure, repetitive or just annoying. I guess if you really found Gex drop-dead funny, you might appreciate it a little more, but I feel that he is starting to wear out his welcome a bit.

Graphics

There is no denying that this game has great graphics. They do a good job of squeezing the juice out of the PSX. There are a few occasions where if something gets too close, it looks bad but for the most part, everything looks great. I did enjoy the different themes of the levels and thought it was pretty cool to change your outfits in the different levels. I wish some of the creative genius that went into the graphics went more towards the gameplay.

Bottom Line

As I was playing this game, something hit me. I was not really enjoying myself. I was not offended or having a bad time, but I just was not having fun. I think that it was because this game was nothing that I had not already done somewhere else. Sure, the addition of hooters is always nice, but even those could not get me excited about playing this game. I may just be getting more picky as more and more games are released, but I was just disappointed in this game. I guess if you played all the way through GEX 2 and finally finished the game, you will enjoy the game. If you played GEX 2 and were not too impressed, there is nothing here that will win your heart over.

So where do we stand on the Gex issue? Well we're thoroughly against him of course, particularly after his dismal Enter the Gecko on the N64. However, Gex's adventures in good old 2D tend to be miles better than the 3D versions, so we're prepared to give the lizard a chance.

Deep Cover Gecko is based on the diabolical N64 game, with Gex doing his usual channel-surfing thing and cavorting around various themed levels. He gets a different costume in each one (that's where the 'deep cover' bit comes in), and he can stick to certain walls, whack things with his tail and eat flies. The flies kind of buzz around him when you find them and can be eaten at any time to provide a handy health boost. There's an unusual multiple jump feature which takes some getting used to and allows Gex to bounce happily on his smooth green bum, but the lizard never acquires the range of abilities you'd find in a Mario or Kirby game. It's competently done though, if rather uninspired, with big levels and plenty of separate missions to accomplish in each one, and the way Gex splatters on the ground after a heavy fall is definitely worth seeing, particularly if you still harbour ill feelings after shelling out for Enter the Gecko.

Last month we had the fair-to-middling platformers Earthworm Jim, 40 Winks and Rayman 2. We didn't realise how lucky we were until the hideous Gex: Deep Cover Gecko shambled into the office like some kind of rogue abomination freshly escaped from the Game Boy Gallery.

It's a real mess, from the horrendously jerky intro through to the horrendously jerky gameplay (such as it is). We can tolerate the occassional drop in frame rate, but a mere five minutes of staring in utter disbelief as the utterly loathable Gex twitched and spasmed around his vile world was enough to bring on a real humdinger of a headache (thanks largely to the strobe effect created by the incessantly flickering camera). Quite why it jerks around so much is unclear, because the pointy, stylised graphics must push the N64 about as much as Carmageddon does, but Gex is one of the most painful- looking games we've ever seen.

Naturally, the gameplay is spectacularly crap too. Generic, mindless platforming dross, involving the traditional quest for green blobs to open up a series of uninspired levels filled with wild and crazy goings on. How we laughed at Gex's madcap antics. How we thrilled to the sight of dancing animals and freaktastic creatures. Actually, no. When you've seen one leprechaun monster dressed as a Christmas elf, you've pretty much seen them all. Gex is positively filled with such tedious, unimaginative creations. It really does set a new benchmark for dull character design. And as a final death blow to the ailing lizard, the voice samples are simply awful, inspiring genuine hatred. You'll just want to wring Gex's scrawny green neck as soon as he opens his mouth. Fatality!

Snapshots and Media

Nintendo 64/N64 Screenshots

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