By Al Giovetti
Console and coin-op games are being translated to the PC at an extremely fast rate, with even average games finding that conversion. Companies seem to think that one way to expand their sales is to just make a conversion. So go ahead and convert a game that did not sell well, it is a sure fire way to make more money off of a title or license that requires little more investment. The process is called leveraging your properties.
Gex by Crystal Dynamics was first released for the 3DO. Gex was not a fabulous game but it was a solid game on the 3DO. The conversion to the PC is competent but not spectacular.
Gex is a side scrolling shooter where the green one travels from left to right vanquishing monsters on three different worlds with a boss monster at the end of each.
Gex can throw fireballs and iceballs (literally he hurls or throws up items he has swallowed previously -Ed.), climb up buildings and move to the back of the screen and avoid the bad guys. Eat power up bugs to increase your energy levels. The gecko can run past enemies, tail whip items to cause them to be weapons. The toungue lash captures gold flies, bugs and power-ups in mid-air.
You play across five different worlds which include Graveyard World, Kung Fu World, Cartoon World, Jungle World, and Rez's Nerve Center. The graveyard world is a hokey horror movie background with a dark and foreboding flavor of textured tombstones and gargoyles.
You fight franken geckos, mad slashers, and central casting rejects as you fight over a simulated world of bad television and movies. Jump to another television or movieworld (you pick from five) by reaching a television set teleporter. Killing the television allows Gex to escape into the next television world.
Powerups include various bugs and balls. Each item has its own effect, for example the butterfly gives an extra life immediately. The blue firefly allows the gecko to hurl ice balls from his stomach out his mouth. Some bugs, like the caterpillar, even confer temporary invincibility.
You get to play Gex, a smart alek tail-whipping gecko as he defends the world against television and movie flops which threaten to take over the world. Rez, the evil Media Dimension chairman of the board grabbed Gex from his lazy-lizard lounger to bronze him as the mascot for Rez's new network. Gex has to fight his way throug the five different worlds of bad television and movies to reach Rez's domain and defeat him there.
Basically two dimensional graphics with shading and lights so that the green one appears to be in three dimensions. there is no full screen high resolution mode.
AnimationThere are over 450 frames of three dimensional animation that propells are gecko into action. The introduction and exit animations of the game are done in three dimensions with full light shading and other effects. The green gecko is shiny black so that the animators added black background to increase the smoothness of the cut scenes and make the animation look less 3D studio atificial.
Voice ActorsComedian Dana Gould is the voice of the gecko, who populates the game with over 400 one line jokes to keep the action hip and fast moving. Does He Kiss His Mother with that Mouth? The digitized voice of Dana Gould, headliner of HBO and Showtime comedy specials, stars as GEX with rapid-fire wise-cracks and one-liners. It's GEX's mouth that gets him in trouble, but it's his thrashing tail that gets him out. The one liners appear to become annoying because you hear 20 of them over and over again. You will eventually turn the sound off.
UtilitiesThe game requires a four button joystick or gamepad to play effectively. Microsoft would like you to play the game with their new SideWinder game pad. You need passwords to save the game, which is only true in a console game and should never be a requirement in a computer game. You also can only change where there is a VCR under the TV on the world map. No PC game should prevent you from saving your game anywhere you wish, this is also limited to consoles due to design flaws.
Multi-player FeaturesThere are no multiplayer features.
Cheats, Hints, WalkthroughTail whipping turns all powerups into a health boost.
ReferencesSteve Bauman, Computer Games, issue 77, April, 1997, pg. 73, 60%.
JasonD'Aprile, Computer & Net Player, volume 3, number 10, pg. 57, 70%
Colin Williamson, PC Gamer, volume 4, number 4, April, 1997, pg. 141, 58%.
Microsoft's Gex Web Site
Crystal Dynamix's Web Site
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