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It’s Time For A Gex Reboot
Throughout my childhood, there were more than a few games that my brothers and I would fight over and spend hours playing on my Nintendo 64. We lived a few blocks away from the local Blockbuster Video, so it was not uncommon for us to rent games and play the hell out of them for the five days we had it. And while we managed to ravage several titles this way, no game stuck out to us in quite the same way as Crystal Dynamic’s Gex: Enter the Gecko.
And so, some thirteen years later, I’m going to put my foot down and say it: since we’re a culture who loves sequels and re-makes, it’s about time Gex was modernized and got the reboot treatment.
If you’re not familiar with it, Gex was one of the bizarre platformers that released in the late 90’s. Originally debuting as a 3DO title in the first Gex, Enter the Gecko was the sequel that saw the exploits of the Lizard on the PlayStation One and Nintendo 64.
While it takes on a cartoonish, quirky personality, Gex actually has a pretty dark story to it. In order to quell his depression, our hero develops a TV addiction that sees him in front of the tube every day for hours on end. After swallowing a transmitter, Gex is then sent into the TV, entering the Media Dimension to fight the evil Rez who seeks to make Gex his mascot.
In Enter the Gecko, Gex still has his TV obsession, but has been particularly fascinated with Kung Fu Theatre. It’s during one of his Kung Fu Theatre binges that two secret agents show up and request his help to bring down the returned evil entity Rez, who’s still locked away in the Media Dimension.
And so, your adventure begins, taking you across TV genres as you seek to stop the evil and restore harmony to the Media Dimension.
Now, it definitely looks like a cheesy 90’s platformer. But there is something to say about the unique qualities and nuances of Enter the Gecko that makes it worthy of a modern re-imagining.
First off, the series is nothing if not tongue-in-cheek, serving as an ironic commentary on television. When you’re transported into the Media Dimension, you’ll find yourself going through several different levels, each with their own feel and theme, be it a cartoon, Looney Tunes-ish world, a haunted mansion on Scream TV, or even a take on Kung Fu Theatre. Each level contains quirky references to television of the 90’s and pokes fun at pop culture in general, making it a relevant and interesting game.
Gameplay itself is pretty simple; platforming, with a handful of attack moves such as hops and karate kicks to fight off enemies. Collectibles vary depending on the world, ranging from takeout boxes in the Kung Fu level to skulls in the Haunted Mansion. The main objective of each level is to explore and collect remotes in order to reach the next level in the Media dimension. Once all levels have been unlocked and beaten, you’ll finally face off against Rez in the final battle.
Now, how would this game work today? Television has changed so much since 1998 that the game would suddenly have a fresh new platform to use for its level design and commentary. Superhero shows, crime dramas, soap operas, sitcoms, reality TV…there’s a list of endless possibility to structure new levels around, and I’d love nothing more than to play Survivor or move through a crime-themed world such as the one from NCIS through the eyes of Gex.
The classic platforming format has to make a return, but on top of that, I’d love to see a host of new ideas thrown in the mix of gameplay as well; give me weapons matching the theme of the universe, new unlockable moves, new collectibles, environmental puzzles,a fresh mix of enemies and levels and HD textures and models, and I’d be a happy woman.
So please, Crystal Dynamics…I mean, Tomb Raider looks great, and I couldn’t be more excited for it…but please, give me a Gex reboot. I need a new trip back to the Media Dimension in the worst way.