Crystal Dynamics

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When you look at the 3DO games's library, you can find action games, edutainment titles, interactive movies, simulations, strategy and sports games and even RPG's. It might surprise you not to find the so popular traditional 16-bits console games such as Nintendo's Donkey Kong Country or the Sega's Sonic series. There are at least two reasons to explain this phenomena. The first one comes from the developers themselves. Nearly all the 3DO affiliates are also producing PC games which means they tend to develop similar titles for the 3DO. Fortunately, some of them use the powerful 3DO architecture extensively to design games that would make a PC gamer dream. Think of Road Rash or The Need for Speed to see what I mean. The other companies who didn't specialize in PC games (Crystal Dynamics, PF Magic, etc...) published innovative titles with no equivalents in the other consoles's libraries. The Horde is typically an example of how original the 3DO games can be. The platform games do not belong to a brand new video games style, it is probably one of the oldest with games like the original Donkey Kong and Q-Bert. This genre has invaded the consoles for years with characters such as Mario, Sonic and others and the 3DO with its 32-bit design tried to offer something different for players, something they never saw before. The second reason is the target audience of the 3DO which is more adult-oriented than 16-bit consoles from Nintendo and Sega. All in one, it explains why the platform games (in general preferred by kids) have not flourished on the 3DO.

With the recent release of Gex from Crystal Dynamics, the 3DO has its first platform game which not only looks amazing but also plays great.

Gex is a young gecko who has not been helped by life. His father died in an accident at the NASA and the family's life has never been the same since this day. The only thing that the poor lizard still enjoys in life is his television set. He spends most of his time watching his favorite cartoons and movies in a big armchair with a bowl of fresh flies nearby. The introduction of the game shows how Gex has been trapped in the Media Dimension by Rez, after having eaten what Gex thought was a fly. His only hope remains in collecting the remote controls in the Media Dimension to destroy TV sets and escape the world of Rez. His ultimate goal is to find the last remote control to blow up the final TV and return to his homeworld.

Gex is divided into 5 worlds (Cemetery, New Toonland, Jungle, Kung Fu and Rez) and each one includes several levels, a map and a boss stage (when you complete a world). Each map features TV sets that turn on when you find the corresponding remote control to send you to the next level.

From all Crystal Dynamics's games, Gex is definitively my favorite (with Samurai Shodown). The graphics have never been so good on the 3DO and speaking of music, I have no words to describe how great it is. What I like with the music in Gex is its variety. Each world has its own soundtrack even the maps and boss stages. As you can guess, the music matches perfectly with the atmosphere of each world. Gex's voice and other sounds from living creatures add a touch of humor as well, all over the game.

As you play as a lizard, you will move and act as a lizard! You can jump, use your tongue to snag flies and power-ups, use your tail to whip your enemies or to simply smack bug power-ups, and also stick and crawl up the sides and faces of walls. Never before have I seen a character with so many possible actions and it is great to have it on the 3DO! Over 1,400 frames of animations have been used for Gex character's animation and it should give you an idea about the overall graphics's quality. Gex's levels are not huge but big enough to provide you with a real challenge. Do not think you will finish the game in a couple of hours because that is far from the truth. The bosses are tough to beat and many deadly surprises will make you cry in despair.

One feature that I particularly like in Gex is the Snapshot Milestones. They are polaroid cameras that allow you to restart from the last one you hit with a tail whip instead of having to start again from the beginning. As we mentionned earlier, the game features power-ups which give you special abilities. There are power-ups to restore or gain extra hit paws, gain a life, make you jump higher and farther, increase your speed or also hurl fire balls, ice balls or bolts of electricity. Each one has a limited time of functionnality. For example, the fire balls only last until you are hit and the invincibility only lasts for a short time.

There is one thing however, I would have liked differently: the save option. In Gex, you can not save your game when you want. The only way to save your game is to find a videotape and finish the level where you got the tape. When doing this, the game will be saved automatically as it also does when you beat the boss at the end of a world. Sometimes, it takes a lot of time to complete a level, it would have been a good idea to let the player save the game when it is needed and not when the programmers intended to do it.


The lucky buyers of a FZ-10 Panasonic 3DO console who bought or will buy one between February 1, 1995 and May 31, 1995 will receive a free copy of Gex. (Great news!). For the others, we strongly urge them to buy this astonishing game. It is addicting with superb graphics, smooth animations, an out-of-this-world soundtrack and a good dose of humor. Buy it and you will never watch TV the same way as you did before playing with GEX!


Crystal Dynamics
75 Willow Road, Suite 200
Menlo Park, CA 94025-3691

Web Site: www.crystald.com


In North America:

See developers.

In UK:

BMG Interactive Entertainment,
Bedford House 69-79,
Fulham High Street,
London SW6 3JW.

Crystal Dynamics Technical Support:

Phone: +44-21-326-6418
Fax: +44-21-327-0067

In Belgium:

BMG Interactive Entertainment,
Square Francois Riga 30, Bte 8,
1030 Brussels.

Rest of the World:

Contact your local BMG Interactive Entertainment office.

Overall: ****


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