Gex 64: Enter the Gecko

Gex 64: Enter the Gecko is a 3D platformer for the N64. It’s actually the second Gex game, the first being on the 3DO. In this game, you play as Gex the gecko. There’s supposedly some kind of story… but… it’s not explained well nor is it important. You basically just go into differently themed levels that are based on TV and movies. Some levels are based on horror movies, some based on cartoons, and some based on sci-fi among other things. In each level you are given a number of main missions to complete, each one ultimately leading to you collecting a red glowing remote. Collecting these opens up new areas for you to continue playing the game. There are also two white remotes in each level. One is hidden in a hard to reach or hard to find area of the level, while the other is obtained by collecting a certain amount of the collectible items in each level. The items vary depending on the level, and each level has three different sets of them. After you collect enough of the first set they change into the second set, which may have different placements, and this happens again when changing to the third set. After getting enough of the third set you will receive a white remote. These remotes are used to unlock bonus levels. The bonus levels generally are timed levels geared around collecting objects as fast as possible and getting to the exit to get green remotes.

The game is a 3D platformer. You can walk or run, jump, pogo jump on your tail, long jump, crouch, and attack with your tail. There are a few powerups and gimmicks thrown in to spice up gameplay on certain levels, such as climbing on walls or swimming underwater. There are even a few parts exclusive to the N64 version. Gex is fully voiced, which means he has many phrases he will randomly say during gameplay. There’s some decent level design and some okay references for humor. Plus, there are even boss fights at the end of certain areas in the game. With tons of collectibles, pretty colors, and that classic N64 feel, Gex 64 is definitely a 3D platformer of its time.

However, it hasn’t aged as well as some other games of its time. The controls are manageable, but they’re a bit awkward and stiff at times. When walking, you can turn in any direction instantly, but when you’re running you have to take round turns which is weird to get used to these being different. The jumps also feel a bit inconsistent. Sometimes you’ll make a pogo jump just fine and the next time you’ll not go high enough somehow even though you feel like you did everything the same. Sometimes when you’re close to an edge after a jump you will use your tongue to pull yourself up onto it, and other times you won’t for seemingly no reason. The game can be awkward and broken at times, the camera isn’t always on your side, and sometimes it’s more than you’ll want to bear to replay a level right after making good progress and dying. Also, the constant phrases will get recycled pretty fast and get on your nerves. The references leave some originality to be desired, especially after you get multiple iterations of level themes using the same assets. The music isn’t really all that memorable or great either. Oh, and the space level that forces you to keep going to the small stations to refill your oxygen… ugh. The game certainly falls victim to unpolished design and the limitations of the age.

Still, Gex 64: Enter the Gecko is a decent platformer of its time that simply hasn’t aged gracefully. I like a lot of things about the game, especially since I’m a fan of 3D platformer collect-a-thons and N64 games in general. It just isn’t as impressive as the classics in the genre, much less some more recent games in the style. If you’re into 3D platformers and N64 games, it’s definitely worth picking up for 20 bucks or less, but it’s certainly not a must have by any means. More reviews are coming so don’t touch that dial! 

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