Title  : Gex: Enter the Gecko
Platforms  : Sony PlayStation, Nintendo 64
Publisher  : Midway
Game Rating  : 8.5
Review by  : Ken Gagne

Although there are plenty of hit games available, few seem to come alive with their own sense of personality. Gex: Enter the Gecko, from Midway and Crystal Dynamics, is a PlayStation and Nintendo 64 game whose main character is quite a character. [PSX version reviewed here] 

Gex is a smart-mouthed lizard addicted to television. Having already appeared in side-scrolling games for the 3DO and PlayStation systems, now makes the leap to 3D. In a style similar to the groundbreaking gameplay of Mario 64, Gex romps through a multitude of worlds to complete specific tasks in each and collect remote controls, used to open new worlds. Each area is a spoof on a genre of cinema, from bad Japanese action flicks to Bugs Bunny to Halloween horror. 

The audio component is this game's best selling point. Gex's voice and personality are provided by the comedian Dana Gould. Given any situation, Gex will have a wisecrack or impression that will make you blink, chuckle, or guffaw. A few are expected, some are slick, others are random. When all is said and done, Gex will have poked fun at every celebrity and movie type available. Nearly the only topic lacking attention is the Clinton sex scandal! 

The music also speaks well for the game. It is mostly bouncy, but fits the topic of the current world well: techno for Circuit Central, an oriental theme for Kung-Fu Theater, spacey tunes for the Rocket Channel. 

Handling the tail-whipping gecko isn't a problem. His functionality does not approach the limitless capabilities of Mario's 3D adventure. Gex has one basic attack and can jump, as well as climb certain walls in gravity-defying scenes, and catch nearby outcroppings with his tongue. This is sufficient for the challenges he will face. The analog controller is also supported. 

The colorful worlds Gex visits are quite a sight. From dolls equipped with knives to mallet-wielding wildflowers, the surprises never stop. For each world, Gex is adorned with a different costume fitting to the genre. The graphics sometimes seem to "glitch" and not flow smoothly, resulting, for example, in walls that flex or bulge. The camera angles are adjustable (again, ala Mario 64), but move too often by themselves, often throwing off the control. Fortunately the camera can be set to move completely automatically or manually, or a combination of the two. The graphic artists should be applauded for their creativity and color, if not their talent. 

Not only are these worlds many, they are also huge. Not so big as those Mario has encountered, but they are mostly indoors, making it easy to get lost. The tasks laid before the lizard are often nebulous, leaving players to wander in search of the remote controls. But not all items need be discovered to progress. Games can be saved and continued with a memory card or password. 

Gex: Enter the Gecko is an imaginative title, and a unique offering for the PlayStation. Its humor and snap are its greatest qualities. Gamers looking to be entertained in more ways than one, and haven't already beaten Mario 64 to death, would be hard-pressed to go wrong with this member of the lizard family.


This article is copyright (c) 1998, 2007 by Ken Gagne. All rights reserved. Not to be distributed without permission.

Original publication: Sentinel & Enterprise, 09-Mar-98