Gex's problems with TV are seriously starting to affect his life. He's a secret agent who lives in his own high-tech spycave, but the only kind of case he ever seems to get entails collecting remote controls and entering television sets that transport him to strange new worlds. In his latest adventure, he must rescue fellow agent X-Tra (Baywatch's Marliece Andrada, whose presence here screams, "You're being marketed to, little boy.") from his long-standing enemy, Rez. In typical third-season fashion, the makers of this hit series aren't straying too far from formula, and you can tell that, like Gary Coleman in Diff'rent Strokes, Gex is having a tough time showing off his range.
As mentioned before, Gex enters variously themed worlds where he must accomplish a number of tasks before receiving a remote-control prize (there are four per stage). The more controllers he gets, the more worlds he can enter. Gex gets around by running, jumping, bouncing on his tail, climbing grooved walls with his sticky gecko feet, and leaping with a karate kick. That kick can also be used against enemies, as can the tail bounce, tail swipe, and his spit after he swallows special power-ups.
Probably the signature feature of the Gex series is that comedian Dana Gould spits TV- and movie-related one-liners throughout. While the jokes were an inventive feature in the first Gex game, they've since gotten really tired. The writers behind Dana Gould's quips simply seem as though they've run out of ideas. The comments are a lot less Austin Powers-obsessed than they were in Enter the Gecko, and since the N64 can't handle as much in the way of audio as the PlayStation can, they're fortunately much less frequent.
The game engine behind Gex 3 is indubitably the little engine that could. It's responsible for Gex: Enter the Gecko, Akuji the Heartless, this game, and the Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, too. Each game has seen its own modifications; and this is of course an N64 iteration of the latest PlayStation iteration. Graphically, it looks much the same as the PS version, but with more pop-up and slowdown, as well as a general jerkiness unseen in its 32-bit brother. The views are still nowhere as tight as in Insomniac's Spyro the Dragon or Rare's Banjo-Kazooie, and it can still be terribly difficult to judge distance and depth from your viewpoint, sometimes making 3D-platform jumps a grueling proposition. This doesn't come up a great deal of the time, since there's a surprisingly small amount of platform jumping in this platform game, but when the platform jumping appears, it can be a real teeth gnasher. It seems that the developers had realized this, because once you get further into the later levels, shortcuts appear. So, if you miss a jump, you won't lose too much ground. But the final stage - where you hop from satellite to rotating satellite on your way to battle Rez - is a perspective nightmare, with dark textures on top of a dark background.
Visual gripes aside, the game is more fun than the last Gex N64 title. Gex's new outfits often provide him with new abilities. For instance, when he's wearing a vampire's cape or Little Red Riding Hood's hood, he can glide. When he has a pirate's hook, he can use it to slide down ropes. There are also minigames that place him in a kangaroo's pouch or in a tank. These elements may sound lame on paper, but they do break things up. This, along with the improved level design, made the PlayStation game addictive enough that you wanted to play it through and maybe even go back and discover everything there was to find within. Unfortunately, the graphical problems in the N64 version are frustrating enough to make you want to avoid the game, let alone play it all the way through. Because of these problems, the N64-specific worlds and extra options are little comfort. At its heart, it's a better game than the last N64 version, because Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko is superior to Gex: Enter the Gecko, but it's still resides firmly in the shadow of its PlayStation counterpart.