Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko
|Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko|
Crave Entertainment (N64)
|Platform(s)||PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Game Boy Color|
Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko (titled Gex: Deep Pocket Gecko on Game Boy Color) is a platform video game. It is the third and final installment of the Gex video game trilogy. Danny John-Jules provided the voice for Gex in the UK and European release and comedian Dana Gould reprised the role for the American release, also starring the Playboy model Marliece Andrada as Agent Xtra, the only character that is featured in live-action. Unlike the first two Gex games, passwords are not used for saving (except in the Game Boy Color version). A controller pak on the Nintendo 64 or a memory card on the PlayStation were the only options for saving. The N64 version features small amounts of live action FMV sequences featuring Agent Xtra. The PlayStation version is the only game in the series to have received a T rating from the ESRB, although the Nintendo 64 and Game Boy Color versions were still E rated.
While watching television, Gex discovers that his partner and lover, Agent Xtra, now the head of the "TV Terrorist Defense Unit", has been reported missing. Xtra herself manages to contact Gex and inform him that Rez has returned once again and kidnapped her to lure him out. Through his secret lair, Gex returns to the Media Dimension and circumnavigates numerous television channels with help from his butler, Alfred, and in the process frees and befriends Rez's prisoners, Rex and Cuz. Together, they find Rez and challenge him to a final battle. In the aftermath, Rez is destroyed once and for all, and Gex saves Xtra. In the PlayStation version's ending, as Xtra tells Gex of her time in the Media Dimension, Alfred attempts to warn Gex of a world emergency, but is ignored. The game ends with Gex and Xtra making love.
Gameplay remains similar to the previous game, Gex: Enter the Gecko, with the addition of certain vehicles, such as a tank, a camel and a snowboard, as well as a gliding ability available with certain costumes. There are also some aspects of the game that are shared only with the first installment, such as: Gex can only collect bugs in all levels (100 per level earns a remote) and secret levels, instead of the variety of items he collected in Enter the Gecko (skulls, TNT plungers, carrots, TVs, police plates, etc.). He can spit fire and ice, as well as swim. Unlike Enter the Gecko, when losing a life, Gex retains only the amount of bugs collected up to the latest checkpoint; if the level has no checkpoint, Gex has to start from zero. Since there are one hundred per level, collecting bugs can get significantly more difficult than the items in Enter the Gecko. Also, similar to the first Gex game, he can collect footprint icons throughout the game which give him more energy, though unlike the first game, Gex retains the energy (eight hits total) once he collects one hundred footprints. Gex 3 combines some aspects from the first game not seen in the second installment, with the general 3D platforming from the second game. Levels are accessed via a more expansive hub, with more areas unlocked as the player collects remotes from each of the levels. Players can unlock and control three alternate characters, Rex, Cuz and Alfred, during bonus stages, though they play the same.
Four new characters appear in this sequel. Agent Xtra, a live-action female government Spy and whom Gex must help rescue from the clutches of Rez. Gex is also joined by his faithful butler, Alfred the Tortoise, who is a slight character reference to Bruce Wayne's butler Alfred Pennyworth. Alfred basically helps around and maintains Gex's secret lair which is known as "Mission Control". Alfred can be found in parts of most levels and tailwhipping him gives useful advice. The two last are Rex, a red Dinosaur who Gex unfroze from a block of ice in the "Holiday Broadcasting" channel, and Cuz, Gex's cousin, who Gex rescued from gangsters in the "Gangster TV" channel.
Crystal Dynamics wanted Gex 3, the sequel to Gex 3D: Enter the Gecko and the third game in the Gex series of platform video games, to raise the bar for focus more on its story than the series' previous entries did. They also wanted to further put emphasis on the title character's personality by giving him "over-the-top animations", according to Crystal Dynamics' Product Marketing Manager, Chip Blundell. Several of the in-game mechanics used in levels were concepts that were thought of during the development of Gex 3D, but could not be included due to issues with time constraints. Lead Designer Chris Tremmel wanted the gameplay of Gex 3 to hearken back to the series' initial roots as a 2D side-scrolling platformer. To achieve this, he included side-scrolling minigames in addition to the main platforming parts, in order to make level missions less monotonous. According to Tremmel, most people who had played Gex 3D weren't entirely invested into going out of their way to locate all of the collectibles in each stage as they were with other collectathon platformers like Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie; thus, the developers made three core collectibles that stay consistent throughout the entire game and significantly aid the player in completing it. The HUB world used to access stages was also retooled from the previous game and changed from an empty environment with several doors leading to levels to being more like a level in itself with items and secrets hidden within it.
With Gex 3, the developers tried to push the limits of the PlayStation's hardware further than they had with Gex 3D. For instance, the game's levels bigger than they were in the previous entry, having found a way to increase level sizes by one-fifth and include more enemies per stage while maintaining a high framerate. Textures also make use of environment mapping, something which Tremmel initially didn't think that the PlayStation could smoothly handle; according to him, he suggested using it to the programmers as a joke, not thinking that they could legitimately pull it off with the hardware limitations of the PlayStation, but found that the programmers had already begun working on implementing it the next day. The technique was used primarily for metal surfaces, such as certain enemies and Gex's shield and metallic armor that he wears at points in the game. A particular area of focus for Crystal Dynamics was improving the game's 3D camera system, which was frequently criticized in Gex 3D for being glitchy and difficult to use at times. Rather than including a multitude of camera options, they opted simply to feature a single system which was simple and didn't work against the desires of the player.
The PlayStation version of Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko received "favorable" reviews, while the Game Boy Color and Nintendo 64 versions received "mixed" reviews, according to the review aggregation website GameRankings. The N64 version was criticized for stuttering frame rates despite "PlayStation-esque graphics", not taking advantage of the analog stick, and failing to compare to the 3D platformer competition on the Nintendo 64 such as Super Mario 64. Whether the player slightly presses the joystick forward or presses it all the way, Gex runs full speed ahead. Running on the less powerful PlayStation, Gex 3 was rated higher due to less 3D platformer competition and impressive graphics.
- Ported to Nintendo 64 by Gratuitous Games and ported to Game Boy Color by David A. Palmer Productions
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