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GEX 3: Deep Cover Gecko

Rated E for Everyone

Platform:

Nintendo 64 (N64)

Publisher:

Crave Entertainment

Developer:

Crystal Dynamics

Released:

September 1999

ROM Size:

256 megabits

Players:

One

Genre:

3D Action/Adventure

Save:

Controller Pak (1 page)

Optional:

None

 

 

> Final Rating: 3.9 out of 5.0

Introduction

You probably recall that Midway brought a less-than-spectacular port of GEX: Enter The Gecko to Nintendo 64 in 1998. For GEX's third adventure, Crave Entertainment has picked up the N64 publishing duties. GEX 3: Deep Cover Gecko is a much-improved port over the first N64 version. The twice as large cartridge size has enabled the developers to fit all the levels, textures, and voice samples from the PlayStation version. Furthermore, the frame rate, play control, and camera work are improved significantly over the first N64 GEX game.

Gameplay & Control

In GEX 3: Deep Cover Gecko, bad guy Rez has kidnapped GEX's partner and sweetheart, Agent Xtra. She's trapped in the Media Dimension. GEX must work his way through 24 pop culture-related TV dimensions to find the dashing dame.

 

In each level, you have three different missions. Here are names for some of the levels: The Organ Trail, Holy Moses!, Totally Scrooged, War is Heck, and Clueless in Seattle. The object in each level is to collect a TV remote for each of the three objectives met. The game gives you a hint as how to acquire it. Maybe you just have to work your way through and find it. Or maybe you have to complete a task, such as destroying a certain number of things. Or you might have to solve various puzzles.

 

Along the way, you'll have to collect some things, too, but it's not overkill like some other games. For instance, collecting 50 fly coins gives you an extra life, and if you find all 100 fly coins in a level, then you get a fourth, hidden TV remote. You'll also find 10 paw coins in each level, and if you collect 25 of these, then you'll add another paw to your health meter. Finally, three bonus coins are hidden in each level. Find them to enter bonus levels throughout the game.

 

Each of the levels is a self-contained, vibrant world with multiple sections. Therefore, a lot of your time is spent wondering around, trying to figure out what to do, collecting items along the way. You may need to go back and forth between sections to find everything. The problem is that once you meet an objective, you have to leave the world after you collect the TV remote. So you can't collect multiple remotes in one pass. Leaving the world and coming back means everything is reset—just a small gripe.

 

As mentioned above, each level is based on a theme. The attention to detail is fantastic. Everything from GEX's costume to his wisecracking comments is based on the level's theme. For example, in Totally Scrooged, which is a snow level, you'll find many Christmas-like sound effects. You'll hear jokes and puns about snowboarding, Santa, and the weather. You'll notice that all the graphics are holiday-related. All levels have this same attention to detail.

 

The control in GEX 3: Deep Cover Gecko is much better than in GEX 64: Enter The Gecko. Both the analog Control Stick and the digital Control Pad can be used in the game. This time the movement is smooth and responsive. Furthermore, you can change the analog sensitivity in the options screen, making it more relaxed or more precise.

 

The A button is used to jump. You can double-tap it for a tail bounce and can hold it down to swim underwater. The B button is your tail whip, which is your main method of attack. The Z button is a tongue lash, which eats bugs. The R button is a duck maneuver. While running, you can jump and press R at the same time to perform a karate kick. Finally, camera control is accomplished with the C group. Pressing Top C centers the camera behind GEX and holding it enables you to look around with the Control Stick or Control Pad. The Left and Right C buttons rotate the camera view.

 

In the Options screen, you can toggle the aforementioned Analog Sensitivity, you can change audio levels, you can switch the camera setup between Novice and Expert, you can switch game difficulty between Standard and Beginner, and you can delete unwanted Controller Pak data. GEX 3: Deep Cover Gecko only requires 1 page on the Controller Pak to save your game.

Graphics & Sound

The graphics in GEX 3: Deep Cover Gecko reflect a larger cartridge size and a better grasp of programming on N64. Compared to GEX 64: Enter The Gecko on N64, the fuzzy graphics are gone. The jerky camera has been cleaned up. Fog is not used anywhere near as much. Most clipping problems have been eliminated. And the choppy frame rate has been improved.

 

Present on all levels is a wide variety of clean textures. With many N64 games being known for a mundane, repeated look, it's refreshing to see this much variety in GEX 3: Deep Cover Gecko. On the downside, the animation isn't great, special effects are pretty much non-existent, and the camera still can be bothersome.

 

The audio department benefited greatly from a larger cartridge size. Beside the fact that there are theme-specific sound effects, soundtracks, and one-liners for each level is the fact that there's a lot of variety in them. GEX 64: Enter The Gecko had a limited number of one-liners that got repetitive quickly. The one-liners in GEX 3: Deep Cover Gecko are more numerous and don't get boring anywhere near as fast. Sound effects are especially impressive. Listen closely, and you'll hear a number of high-quality sound effects for every action on every level. It's impressive. The fitting MIDI music is actually good, too.

Conclusion

GEX 3: Deep Cover Gecko is a good game and a great port. It's up there with the best third-party 3D platformers—behind Nintendo and Rare's efforts, of course. As a character, GEX will appeal to kids, but it's the older gamers who will appreciate the effort put into the parody and humor portion of the game. And now that the control, frame rate, and camera problems have been fixed, there's a lot to like here. If you missed the game, think about trying it.

 

Graphics:

4.0

Sound:

4.0

Control:

3.9

Gameplay:

3.9

Lastability

3.1

OVERALL:

3.9

 

DOWN THE ROAD

Not available.

 

Review by: Scott McCall

First Reviewed: May 17, 2000

Appendix Added: N/A

 

 

 

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