Keen 4 Least Favorite Level?

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Vote for your 3 least favorite levels.

1.) Border Village
0
No votes
2.) Slug Village
3
6%
3.) The Perilous Pit
1
2%
4.) Cave of the Descendants
3
6%
5.) Chasm of Chills
9
17%
6.) Crystalus
9
17%
7.) Hillville
9
17%
8.) Sand Yego
2
4%
9.) Miragia
0
No votes
10.) Lifewater Oasis
1
2%
11.) Pyramid of the Moons
3
6%
12.) Pyramid of Shadows
2
4%
13.) Pyramid of the Gnosticene Ancients
2
4%
15.) Isle of Tar
1
2%
16.) Isle of Fire
8
15%
 
Total votes: 53

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proYorp
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Keen 4 Least Favorite Level?

Post by proYorp »

Which levels do you skip playing, or put off 'til the end? Why? Which ones seem to become more tedious than fun?

In case you need a reminder which is which: https://keenwiki.shikadi.net/wiki/Keen_4_Levels

Since the poll is limited to 15 options, I've excluded the 2 most obvious ones: Well of Wishes (water levels in general seem to be ironically notorious for lacking fluidity in player movement) and Pyramid of the Forbidden (brutal difficulty is an acquired taste, that's for sure). Give the other levels a "fair chance" haha.

Need this data for research purposes, thanks.
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Re: Keen 4 Least Favorite Level?

Post by Nisaba »

this is a real awesome question! I wonder why we haven't discussed this before.

mmm... I've gotta give this a thought bevor answering...
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Re: Keen 4 Least Favorite Level?

Post by proYorp »

Yeah, I figured that this might be a question that'd require some thought, so I enabled the option to allow users to change their vote in case you think of something else later. No pressure.
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Re: Keen 4 Least Favorite Level?

Post by DarkAle »

This poll is really cool! We will have to do this for Keen 5 and Keen 6 as well
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Re: Keen 4 Least Favorite Level?

Post by XkyRauh »

Crystalus.

The more I reflect on my preferences for levels, the more I realize that I'm not a fan of verticality! Bloogton Tower and Crystalus are among my least favorite Keen levels, and they're both tremendously vertical.
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Re: Keen 4 Least Favorite Level?

Post by Benvolio »

I feel real pangs of guilt trying to answer these... criticising these levels feels like betraying old friends.

I ended up clicking chasm of chills, Hillville and crystalus.

It is a difficult call. I feel that, as levels, they have less to offer than the others. However their position on the map as the moat obvious places to go after Slug Village means that they carry a lot of nostalgia for being among the first levels encountered when the game was at its most unfamiliar. One must try separate the nostalgic memories from the objective level layout to best answer the question.
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Re: Keen 4 Least Favorite Level?

Post by CHOCOLATE MILK »

I've thought about this while playing the Isle of Tar. It's probably the least memorable level for me because I usually do it near the end of a playthrough, and it doesn't really have anything unique in it to differentiate it from the previous levels, other than, well, tar. I use that shortcut next to the mushroom to skip the yellow key every time. I like shooting the slugs into tar though. :mort

For my least second favorite, I'd choose hillville, just because it's so short, and I've died way too many times trying to get those donuts over the fire. It's not even the real Hillville! It doesn't have buildings or kicks in the pants! >:

And for the third, I'll choose Pyramid of the Moons. Other than body part puns it's basically two simple rooms connected to a long hallway. You don't even have to go to the Inchworm room for the main exit.


What XkyRauh said is interesting because I really like vertical levels, I think they work well with galaxy's move set, what with Ledge grabbing, looking and shooting up, high pogoing, etc.. I liked climbing on high playgrounds and things as a kid and imagining jumping through the sky.

Vorticons definitely isn't designed for vertical levels, though.


It's been a while since I've posted, hasn't it? I have been slowly learning to mod Keen 4. I've made 7 levels so far and want to make 5 more.
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Re: Keen 4 Least Favorite Level?

Post by Soul Monster »

This was a tough one for me, because there aren't any stages in this game that I outright hate, but there's a few that I find tedious or just don't enjoy like others. I don't skip any stages when I play through a game, nor do I try to bypass portions of the stage, I still go through the whole thing. I think it was a good decision to leave off Well of Wishes and Pyramid of the Forbidden, because they would have been my first choices.

Anyway, here's the 3 stages I chose and why:

Crystalus: I never look forward to this stage. I always found it tedious and annoying with just how much backtracking you have to do in this stage, and I never really feel like I'm making progress because there's nothing in the stage to make any part of it stand out, so I feel like I'm just running around in circles until I accidentally stumble upon a gem I need. I have to go along with what XkyRauh said, this and Bloogton Tower are also among my least favorite stages of the entire series. It doesn't seem like many people like this stage, and in the Galaxy report card Tom Hall even admits that he hit the pits for creativity on this one.

Isle of Tar: I've always hated those jumps down into that huge pit of tar near the bottom of the stage because it's so easy to miss one of the platforms and fall to your death. Aside from that, I find myself getting lost in this stage quite a bit because of how confusing the doors can get, especially when they keep dropping me off in places I've already been. Like CHOCOLATE MILK said, it's just not that memorable or interesting.

Isle of Fire: A lot of my frustrations on this one are because I play on normal mode, which places a Berkeloid in the bottom passage. I find it annoying waiting for it to get far away enough to let me get to the rest of the passage, and even when I do, I often get ambushed by it and have to reload my game. Also, the specific places where the fire is placed in the stage becomes annoying because you usually can't pull yourself up from a ledge without dying, because they're too close to the edge. This on top of the boosters below the platforms and the Poison Slugs on the platforms make certain parts of the stage incredibly cramped and difficult to navigate because of this.
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Re: Keen 4 Least Favorite Level?

Post by proYorp »

Benvolio wrote: Sat Aug 14, 2021 13:59 I feel real pangs of guilt trying to answer these... criticising these levels feels like betraying old friends.
Lol... my intention with this thread certainly was not to encourage outright hating on anything. (Hence "least favorite" rather than say "despise.") Rather I wanted to encourage analyzing the levels to see what can be learned from them. And, mostly, to collect data I need for a project of mine.... :p


DarkAle wrote: Sat Aug 14, 2021 8:38 This poll is really cool! We will have to do this for Keen 5 and Keen 6 as well
Yeah, that'd be interesting. Neutrino Burst Injector had been taking a bit of flak recently. :p I would start those after this thread has died down.


Soul Monster wrote: Sun Aug 15, 2021 3:05 I think it was a good decision to leave off Well of Wishes and Pyramid of the Forbidden, because they would have been my first choices.
Thanks for the feedback, it's nice to know my instincts were right. I was envisioning if they were on there and if each person only had one vote, they might be the only options with votes on them. :lol The poll size limit ended up working perfectly here lol, though I might still have opted to leave them off because that would not be the new information I wanted. :dopekeen
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Re: Keen 4 Least Favorite Level?

Post by Nisaba »

Commander Bean (FaceLaces) wrote: that was a pretty good question
personally i don't play episode 4 a lot due to the lack of enemy variety and lack of music variety, makes the whole game feel too samey. But most of the levels are still fun regardless of these issues so it really got my pondering as to which levels were my least favorite (excluding the ones proYorp kept out of the poll).

I came to the conclusion that I disliked Pyramid of the Ancients and Isle of fire the most. Pyramid of the Ancients because of the lack of any tension, it's just a very bland experience for me with the same 10 second song loop being the only thing keeping my attention in the game. And the Isle of Fire while i like the look of it, the placements of the Berkeloids in the tight underground corridors force you to manipulate the AI to chase you while you're above ground which involves a ton of waiting. Just to nab a key. Both of these come to being boring in general. That's my reasoning at least. I'm not sure if anyone else has these issues and if I'm just being nitpicky but yah :dopekeen:
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Re: Keen 4 Least Favorite Level?

Post by Nisaba »

Benvolio wrote: Sat Aug 14, 2021 13:59 I feel real pangs of guilt trying to answer these... criticising these levels feels like betraying old friends.
so true!

it's funny. I actually had to fire up the game to see which levels I tend to avoid on a regular basis.

I think Well of Wishes would have been my first pick, simply because I get lost way to easily and loose track every time even till today. but as it was left out I ended up clicking Cave of the Descendants, Chasm of Chills and Isle of Fire. here is why

Cave of the Descendants
It is a difficult call. I feel that it has long empty hallways and lots of unused space. there is also a lot of backtracking involved and it comes with dead end secrets, which feels like betraying the player. I do like the sections with the mushrooms though as this brings somethings fresh and unique to the table. But the rest is a bit to uninspired in my opinion. Compared to other levels, even shorter ones, it has less to offer. In a sense it I have the impression as if the level design is still unfinished...

Chasm of Chills
this one comes with a number of optional areas, which is per se a good thing. but somehow I miss the spirit of this level. for me it doesn't follow a clear narrative. it's just like a patchwork of different sets put together. it might feel strange to ask in a game like this for logic consistency. but I mean, why is there a flat grassland at the very top? And why can't those licks jump down like Keen does. it just doesn't feel right. and for some reason I can't really explain, it makes this level not very enjoyable for me...

Isle of Fire.
Like Soul monster said, Isle of Fire causes a lot of frustration because of the higher difficulty level. I do have to admit though that this place has this unique touch, as it is the only place in the Shadowlands where the Berkeloids can be found. But unfortunately Berkeloids are just real hard enemies to pass. they cannot be stunned, not even temporarily. And at the same time you have long waiting times that are so annoying. And what strikes me the most is, again, the lack of logic consistency. Why on earth floating fire platforms carried by, dunno, firing rocket elements? This doesn't make sense, does it? So as this level isn't required to win the game I most likely tend to skip this entirely.
EDIT: this is clearly a misconception of mine. shout outs to proYorp for clearing that up


further notes:
XkyRauh wrote: Sat Aug 14, 2021 13:25 Crystalus.

The more I reflect on my preferences for levels, the more I realize that I'm not a fan of verticality! Bloogton Tower and Crystalus are among my least favorite Keen levels, and they're both tremendously vertical.
I'm also not a huge fan of verticality. but somehow I like this level. maybe because it has this Vorticon like level design style to it. could be those one-tile sized platforms which require to execute "perfect jumps" in the upper area that give me this association. dunno. it's by far not my favorite level cause it also lacks colour and contrast in my eyes. and some level design choices require quite a bit of backtracking. but, yeah, it somehow has this Vorticon bonus ...
CHOCOLATE MILK wrote: Sat Aug 14, 2021 19:26 And for the third, I'll choose Pyramid of the Moons. Other than body part puns it's basically two simple rooms connected to a long hallway. You don't even have to go to the Inchworm room for the main exit.
That's an interesting call. to me this level is quite interesting as it features secrets within secrets. and as I love to explore this level holds quite some neat extras to discover. but yeah, other than that you can pretty much rush through it if you want to
Last edited by Nisaba on Fri Aug 20, 2021 6:55, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Keen 4 Least Favorite Level?

Post by Ceilick »

My least favorite is also the least memorable level for me, Chasm of Chills. So much of this level is optional/secret, similar to many Keen 4 levels actually, but the primary, required path is completely uninteresting, and even the secrets never felt special to me. The top area with all the clouds and Lyndsey feels like it comes straight from a bad levelpack.

Second least favorite actually surprised me, being Hillville. I just think it could have been longer, and I never really enjoyed everything in the level after Lyndsey.

Third least favorite is Slug Village. I think the upper party is incredibly bland, and nothing about the design says Slug Village to me.

I'm kind of surprised by the dislike for Crystalus, as this one would be a potential contender for best keen 4 level for me. I love how the search for the key gems plays out with relatively few enemies along the way. This level holds some of my earliest keen memories, so perhaps there's some bias here.

I'm surprised no one voted for Miragia. Probably my fourth least favorite, due to half the level being, possibly unintentionally based on the design, optional.
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Re: Keen 4 Least Favorite Level?

Post by Soul Monster »

proYorp wrote: Sun Aug 15, 2021 6:47 Thanks for the feedback, it's nice to know my instincts were right. I was envisioning if they were on there and if each person only had one vote, they might be the only options with votes on them. :lol The poll size limit ended up working perfectly here lol, though I might still have opted to leave them off because that would not be the new information I wanted. :dopekeen
(By the way, this is late, but I don't think I've welcomed you to PCKF yet. Hello and welcome. :) )
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Re: Keen 4 Least Favorite Level?

Post by proYorp »

Oh dang people are talking about this in the Discord? I really should try to get on there again sometime. :dopekeen
I'm surprised how popular this is. Even got Xky and Ceilick in here wow. The thought did occur though that this topic seems just like some old threads Xky started on Keen:Modding from like 2006 haha.


Commander Bean (FaceLaces) wrote:I'm not sure if anyone else has these issues and if I'm just being nitpicky but yah :dopekeen
Lol. If "nitpicks" are the only thing that comes to mind, that's fair.


Nisaba wrote: Sun Aug 15, 2021 20:17 Isle of Fire. [...] as this level isn't required to win the game I most likely tend to skip this entirely.
I find it very interesting that you say that... I think there's been a few times that off the top of my head I assumed Isle of Fire wasn't required, but it is, and Isle of Tar is not. Just the other day someone said something to me to the effect of "Isle of Fire is not a required level. ...Wait actually it is." How odd... seems to be a recurring misconception. Maybe something that deserves its own thread....
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Re: Keen 4 Least Favorite Level?

Post by Nisaba »

proYorp wrote: Mon Aug 16, 2021 7:20 I find it very interesting that you say that... I think there's been a few times that off the top of my head I assumed Isle of Fire wasn't required, but it is [...] How odd... seems to be a recurring misconception. Maybe something that deserves its own thread....
You are right. This level is indeed required. How come I have missed that? What a strange misconception. Well, thanks for clearing that up
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