Commander Keen Invasion of the Vorticons is the first trilogy and consists of “Marooned on Mars”, “The Earth Explodes”, and “Keen Must Die!”. The first was released for free as Shareware while the last two episodes were sold via mail order.
The game is a traditional platform game but has a pogo stick as stand-out feature which allows you to jump higher at the cost of agility. Unlike Duck Tales (which had a similar jumping mechanic) you could not kill enemies by jumping on top of them.
Between levels you navigate an overheard map where you travel from location to location, similar (and likely inspired by) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES) released a year earlier. Unlike TMNT however, there are no hazards on the overhead map. While on the map the game allows you to save which comes in handy because the game could be quite challenging – a single hit meant instant death.
The game was only released for MS DOS, features EGA graphics and utilizes PC speaker sounds. It could be run on even the most basic of systems at the time (system requirements state a 8086 CPU).
- This game was actually developed by Ideas from the Deep which would later become better known as id Software.
- Commander Keen was born after Nintendo turned down their remake of Super Mario 3 and they felt the technology should not be wasted.
- Faster systems may encounter stutters which were fixed by a fan patch.
- Commander Keen got a second trilogy after this using an updated engine as well as an “unofficial” release called Keen Dreams.
- Commander Keen could be found in Doom II as an Easter egg.
In 2019 the user named Kajuby started work on a modern remake of Commander Keen called ‘Commander Keen Remastered’ or “Keen A Fan’s Tribute”. The latest version at time of writing this (v.0.0.7b) dates from 2020 and can be downloaded for free at the Keen wiki (SHIKADI).
These cheats work for all three games (episodes).
- GOD MODE: hold G+O+D while in-game to activate
- GIVE ITEMS: hold C+T+SPACEBAR while in-game to activate
- BYPASS LEVEL: hold SHIFT+TAB on the map screen to activate
Press thumbnail to start video
Longplay – Copyright DOSGamert