Commander Cool in "Where's My Bears?" (FULL RELEASE)

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TheBigV
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Commander Cool in "Where's My Bears?" (FULL RELEASE)

Post by TheBigV »

Well finally, a year after the public beta here's the full release of Commander Cool 1! Happy early Keen Day!

Image

Image

In case you missed the public beta thread:
This Keen 1 mod started back in 2014 as a levelpack entitled "Back to Mars" and was later changed to star my original character. There were several long hiatuses in production.
In this mod, you play as Commander Cool as he explores Mars trying to retrieve his teddy bears, which were stolen by the Martians.
Thanks to everyone who played the public beta and gave feedback!

Changes from second public beta:
  • Added two more pairs of small SGA letter tiles.
  • Added more colored tiles under a few more hazards.
  • Rearranged the tileset a little.
  • Added a missing exit reflection in the Raygun Shrine.
  • Added a patch to display the secured score in the status window.
  • The help section now says the maximum possible score.
  • Mentioned three more tools in the Mod Info.
  • Tweaked some of the player sprites.
  • Updated the DOS ending screen to have KeenWiki's new address and to list me as one of the creators of Keen 4 Retro.
  • Removed an arrow sign from Hopeless Jail since it could be confusing and the red keydoor indicated the drop was safe.
  • Increased the value of the point item near the exit in Hopeless Jail.
  • Revised the hints sheet.
  • Corrected the help section to say that the arrows move Cool around, not Keen.
  • Further revising of the final level, to lessen the difficulty further.
  • Added an extra bonus area to the final level.
  • Added a Tank Robot sign tile for the Hopeless Jail level and also redrew the Yorp and Garg tiles.
  • Tweaked some lighting in Hopeless Jail.
  • Tweaked the place near the "B" bridge in Ice Cannon City.
  • Revised a graphic from the ending's ship-flying sequence.

Download (latest version): https://drive.google.com/uc?export=down ... nOh9A2P8If
Download (first release): https://drive.google.com/uc?export=down ... 3RdUXAnqfc
Last edited by TheBigV on Sun May 01, 2022 14:15, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Commander Cool in "Where's My Bears?" (FULL RELEASE)

Post by proYorp »

first :p

Review time! I did help write the story, and contributed a few small graphics here and there, so I can't comment on that. But as for the rest of it....

- - - -

This is a nice levelpack, half-mod, whatever you want to call it. It's surprisingly polished, maybe more than you might expect from this type of production. The strongest point would have to be the levels.

The levels are well-designed and easy to follow, yet provide puzzles clever enough to make the player stop and think. The more complex parts are generally in safer places, allowing the player room to breathe to figure things out. The difficulty progression throughout the mod is smooth and gradual. Just remember to wear your helmets; it gets a little tricky towards the end.

A characteristic feature of this mod is the unique use of bridges and switches. The level Green Land first introduces the midair bridge switch, introducing you to the idea in a straightforward manner and then immediately expanding upon the concept, providing new and unique puzzles revolving around this core idea. Further levels continue to present new variations on the use of the bridges.

Besides bridge puzzles, we also see other areas of clever detail in the level design. For instance, the level Frozen Shrine provides an easier path through a difficult area for those observant enough to catch it.

While simple in style as Marooned on Mars is, this mod manages to capture a few random moments of atmosphere. Near the end of Hopeless Jail we find a lonely billboard of a robot floating in the sky above the Martian landscape with a few small red platforms, which gave me a surprisingly strong sense of deserted and barren emptiness, similar to the earth environments of Pixar's WALL-E.

Overall, a fun romp through a familiar environment, in an endearing expedition to save your beloved teddy bears. If you're itching to explore the increasingly expansive landscapes of Mars once again, give this one a go. If you like Vorticons Keen, you'll love this mod.


"Makes me wonder where my own teddy bears are." --IGN
"Friendly. Very friendly. Too friendly." Image
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Re: Commander Cool in "Where's My Bears?" (FULL RELEASE)

Post by TheBigV »

I have been working on a small update to this mod. If anyone has found any bugs, please report them.

Has anyone played the full release yet?
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Re: Commander Cool in "Where's My Bears?" (FULL RELEASE)

Post by TheBigV »

Oh, dear. It's been over a year since the first release, and I still haven't put out the second release I announced. Sorry about that, real life got in the way.

At any rate, hopefully there shouldn't be much more of a delay for the second release, as I am now working on getting that out.
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Re: Commander Cool in "Where's My Bears?" (FULL RELEASE)

Post by TheBigV »

And release 2 is finally out! There's nothing too major in this release, in spite of the long wait. I'm leaving open the possibility for another release, but that may not happen for a while. Changes:
  • Removed the "D" switch and bridge in the final level, which didn't look right when activated and was not that useful.
  • The secured score in the status window now updates immediately when going back to the world map and also when loading a game.
  • The maximum possible score is now visible from the high scores screen.
  • Made the Vorticon death animation more like the one in Keen 2/3, because that may work better for Vorticons that take one hit to defeat.
  • The help text now mentions bridges.
  • Fixed a typo in the story text.
  • Removed a tile in the final level to make a jump easier.
Download: https://drive.google.com/uc?export=down ... nOh9A2P8If

The download in the OP has also been updated.
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Re: Commander Cool in "Where's My Bears?" (FULL RELEASE)

Post by Benvolio »

Definitely found it enjoyable to give this another play. The levels are great, nice and varied and high quality. A few ups and downs with the difficulty levels, though admittedly when I found out the hit points of blue vorticons, the sprite placements made more sense. It's amusing nonetheless how one can in several places grab a pogo and die in the process, but it doesn't matter as you still keep a pogo after that.

It's nice to see the switches in action - we've been using them in Keen1 mods for the longest time but this mod actually gives a simulation of what it might have looked like if that feature had been used in the original Keen1. I also particularly enjoy the mechanic where you have to jump on top of an expanding platform in real time. In this mod it remains a relatively stress free situation but I can think of ways that real urgency and pressure could be created with this mechanic.

There's a slightly odd glitch with a butler robot in one of the levels, level 8 I think. One of the bridges over green spikes has a butler and you can knock him into the spikes, after which he glitches out to the right of the wall. Not sure if intentional but it doesn't ruin the level, just creates a small amount of amusing mayhem.
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Re: Commander Cool in "Where's My Bears?" (FULL RELEASE)

Post by TheBigV »

Thanks for the feedback! I think I might've noticed that glitch before but didn't think it was something that really needed to be fixed.

Also, not too long after I released the update I made this trailer for the mod: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-miHa6kC7mU

Release 2 still doesn't have a KeenWiki download yet. It would be much appreciated if someone with the privileges to do so could upload it.
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Re: Commander Cool in "Where's My Bears?" (FULL RELEASE)

Post by DoomJedi »

Quite a simplistic trailer TBH but does the job :)
It's cool to have trailers for Keen mods.
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Re: Commander Cool in "Where's My Bears?" (FULL RELEASE)

Post by KeenRush »

Perhaps you've heard through the grapevine -- and I hope you have -- that I really, really loved these levels. I played through the beta version several times and think these are some of the best Vorticons engine levels seen in years. I'm yet to play the finished version but I'll do so when I'm able to. These levels just are so good, I suggest everyone to check them out.
My newest mod - Commander Keen: Sunset: viewtopic.php?t=8568 | codename H.Y.E.N.A.
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