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Remembering Gex

The video game mascot craze of the 1990s brought many icons into the world of gaming with some mascots who are still around today, with others who lasted for only a few games until they were gone from the spotlight. Gex the gecko from Crystal Dynamics had potential to continue, but after 20 years since his last game, how and when would he return? For now we can only reminisce about the trilogy, and how Gex became a favorable character in gaming.


The original Gex started out on the failed 3DO game console back in 1995, with Playstation and Sega Saturn releases following later.
If you're familiar with the name, Crystal Dynamics worked on a handful of other titles such as Legacy of Kain, the two Pandemonium games and the revered Tomb Raider series. Gex begins with the origin story about a gecko with the same name who once lived in Hawaii with three of his siblings while his dad worked for NASA and later died in a rocket accident, leaving Gex to mope around the house and use his television day after day to stop thinking about his loss, then later moved to California with his mom and she threw out his TV, not putting up with her wanting him to change, he moves away after his late uncle inherits 20 million dollars to him allowing him to get a mansion of his own in Maui, and the largest TV ever, leaving him to lounge without worry, or so he thinks....

Rez, a cybernetic being from the world of television called the "Media Dimension" plans to overthrow it and enslave those who watch TV, then proceeds to watch Gex through a monitor only to pull him through his own TV screen and bringing him into the Media Dimension itself, and Gex going through different television channels being levels in the game.

The U.S. releases for the games had HBO comedian Dana Gould providing the voice of Gex, while the talkative TV gecko had different voice actors for other regions of the game.
The gameplay of the first game had a simple 2D design with Gex traversing on different elevated platforms and sticking to wall surfaces on two different planes while collecting remotes that are in plain view, or more hidden ones that opened up bonus areas and new worlds. Dana Gould provided quite a number of one-liners and gags, and more amounts of them increased with the sequels.

Gex's first game was an interesting 2D romp using mostly sprites, just like the original Rayman game from the same year.
Following by 1998, Gex 2: Enter the Gecko had released and had Gex not only make the jump to 3D, but included some fitting costumes for him to wear here and there for certain themed levels. The plot this time around had Gex being tasked to forcefully go back into the Media Dimension after a couple of agents offered a deal to him to go up against him again.

The transition to 3D was a welcome form for Gex and made for some interesting new ideas for progression in levels.
Remote collecting returned, however it came in the form of a variety of missions such as making it through a maze in a haunted mansion, defeating a dragon from a China themed movie and traversing the exterior of a volcano in a prehistoric world. Bonus areas also returned with the task of collecting a bunch of items before time would run out. Overall Gex 2 was fairly received by critics, leading up to the last game, Gex 3: Deep Cover Gecko.

Courtesy of Nintendo Power, this photo was taken during one of Dana Gould's many ad-libs of the game while Gex 3 was still in development.
Deep Cover Gecko followed the same gameplay formula of its predecessor, having Gex in a 3D overworld with camera control and the return of remote rewards through missions, however Crystal Dynamics went all out with this final outing. Gex had many, many more voice lines compared to the first two games, and now level themes didn't repeat.

A neat celebrity appearance had Baywatch star Marliece Andrada take the role of Agent Xtra, a damsel in distress whom Gex is tasked to rescue.
Gex 3's plot starts off with Gex watching the news about Agent Xtra being kidnapped by Rez, only for the transmission to cut to Xtra herself urging Gex to get a move on to settle the score with Rez in the Media Dimension and go channel surfing one last time as his new assistant Alfred teaches him the ropes of each new area or world he goes into.

Gex 3 improved on 2 in many ways with more varieties of level themes, a better 3D camera and had a neat "vault" bonus content feature requiring the completion of all of the bonus levels.
Although the Playstation system had the definitive versions of Gex 2 and 3, they both saw different versions on the Game Boy Color and the Nintendo 64. They didn't quite hold up however. The transition to handheld to recreate the levels made for some wonky game design and the N64 versions had a majority of Gex's voice lines absent due to cartridge space. Aside from the Playstation releases getting decent to good reviews, these other versions didn't sit well with critics, and after 1999 Gex was no more.

An unexpected cameo saw Gex appear in another Playstation game, Hot Shots Golf 2 as a hidden character.
In conclusion, it's sad to see an intriguing concept for a company mascot to end so shortly. Gex himself even appeared next to the Crystal Dynamics logo during the span of 1995 to 2000, and it's only fitting to have him there as all three games in the trilogy sold over 15 million copies total. With Gex now being owned by a new developer only time will tell, and if there's a ray of hope, that he will return someday to defeat Rez yet again.

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Benjanime Posted on Oct 08, 2019 at 09:56 PM


your feedback and comments always make me smile! thanks for reading! :)

Julie Posted on Oct 08, 2019 at 09:40 PM

To me, Gex is synonymous with Panasonic 3DO, a very expensive video game console with an unusual realism proposition. When I had access to a copy for the PlayStation, Gex: Enter The Gecko had been released, and surprisingly with a graphics quality comparable to that we see in Nintendo 64 games, with that typical awesome color quality. A very beautiful result for an innovative game that captivated by the high quality and beauty. You mentioned the first version of Rayman, just my favorite to date. Very well written post, loved it!

Mr Magic Posted on Sep 27, 2019 at 03:11 PM

He and that Geico dude should do commercials together.

Vaporman87 Posted on Sep 27, 2019 at 12:05 AM

Gex, to me, was going to be the successor to Mario and Sonic. But, like many platformer mascots before (and since), he just didn't resonate with a really large audience. Too bad too, because he was a great character. I would put him up there with Toe Jam

echidna64 Posted on Sep 26, 2019 at 10:01 PM

I have fond memories of playing Gex on a friend's Panasonic 3DO

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