Where to start?

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OceanMadman
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Where to start?

Post by OceanMadman »

I bet this thread has been done before but i'm too lazy to look for it. Anyway, I know pretty much nothing about Commander Keen, i've never played any of its games in my life, but just like 20 minutes ago I figured i'd give it a shot. But the thing is I don't know where to begin. Which game should I play first? Do I have to play all of them? Is there any good sourceport? Help please!
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Quillax
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Re: Where to start?

Post by Quillax »

Welcome to PCKF, OceanMadman! It's great to hear that you're interested in trying out Commander Keen! I'm sure it'll be a great experience you won't regret! :)

Of all the Keen episodes, Keen 1, Keen 4, and Keen Dreams can be downloaded without any charge, since they're shareware. The Keen 6 demo is also shareware. I personally recommended Keen 4; it's a common fan-favorite here! It's got the most visual variety, lots of quirky monsters, and many cool secrets that are waiting to be discovered! Keen 1 is also pretty great, if you can get over the unusual jumping physics and basic graphics. In each of those links I just posted, you can find the download link in the bottom of the infobox that's by the right.

If you're running a modern computer, you're going to need DOSBox to run these games. Once you have installed a Keen game, you must run the executable file (e.g. for Keen 4 it's KEEN4E.EXE). In Windows, you can just drag-and-drop the Keen exe file into the DOSBox exe file. I don't know much about Linux, but if that's what you're using, there's a tutorial on KeenWiki that might really help you.

We do have a few Keen source ports that can run without DOSBox, such as Commander Genius and Omnispeak, if you'd rather try those. I personally recommended playing the games on DOSBox if you can, however.

If you really enjoy the shareware episodes and would like to play the other games (trust me, all 7 DOS episodes are totally worth playing!), you can get episodes 1-5 for only five bucks on GOG.com. Episode 6 is, unfortunately, not available for sale due to rights issues, so the only legal way to get is through second-hand purchases.

Hope this response helps! If you have any more questions, feel free to ask. Happy Keening! :)
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Roobar
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Re: Where to start?

Post by Roobar »

You can try the way they were released with the first trilogy. Or you can start with Keen 4 first, which is considered the best. Both are hard for beginners, but in Keen 4 at least you can save anywhere.

I'd still recommend to begin with where it all started. Plus later, you're gonna experience and enjoy the more advanced and refined second trilogy.
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proYorp
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Re: Where to start?

Post by proYorp »

Where you should start depends on what you want to do.

If you're interested in the story, start with Episode 1. There's a progressive plotline that takes place through the episodes in order (spoiler: it was never officially completed but we have a set of mods considered to be "fanon" to resolve the ending).

If you're interested in the gameplay, the first and second trilogies play a bit differently so check out one game from each set to see what suits your taste. I recommend testing Keen 1 out of "Invasion of the Vorticons" and Keen 4 out of "Goodbye Galaxy!" if you want to see the exploration side of it; or Keen 2 from "Invasion of the Vorticons" and Keen 5 from "Goodbye Galaxy!" if you want to see the action-puzzle platformer aspects. There's also a "bonus episode" called Keen Dreams which has its own flavor of mechanics (and it takes place between episodes 3 and 4).

Have fun!
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Benvolio
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Re: Where to start?

Post by Benvolio »

And never forget the Keen6 demo, which contains a lot of the audiovisuals that make Keen6 itself worthwhile. That is the legal way to play Keen6. Worth bearing in mind though Keen4 is more of a priority.
OceanMadman
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Re: Where to start?

Post by OceanMadman »

Thanks everyone! I've started playing Keen4 and it's been very fun so far :)
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entropicdecay
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Re: Where to start?

Post by entropicdecay »

Second the recommendation of Keens 1 and 4 as a starting point. Particularly Keen 4, the in-level saving makes it more accessible as an introduction (and the Vorticons trilogy's "wind up" on jumps might take a little getting used to), but Keen 1 is definitely still worth a shot.
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Re: Where to start?

Post by Benvolio »

I agree the jumping in Keen 1 has a slight learning curve but once you have firgured it out, it allows a huge degree of precision provided you're concentrating hard enough!
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entropicdecay
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Re: Where to start?

Post by entropicdecay »

Yeah it's not a bad mechanic it just might take a little getting used to. Although honestly I don't recall having had any problem getting used to it, but I think I actually played the Vorticons games pretty early in terms of my history of first playing different games, so it might be that I didn't have as much formed expectations of platformer control mechanics / feel as someone who's say, playing them for the first time after having played various other platformers for years might.
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