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
4
6%
3.) The Perilous Pit
1
2%
4.) Cave of the Descendants
3
5%
5.) Chasm of Chills
10
15%
6.) Crystalus
11
17%
7.) Hillville
11
17%
8.) Sand Yego
3
5%
9.) Miragia
0
No votes
10.) Lifewater Oasis
1
2%
11.) Pyramid of the Moons
5
8%
12.) Pyramid of Shadows
2
3%
13.) Pyramid of the Gnosticene Ancients
5
8%
15.) Isle of Tar
1
2%
16.) Isle of Fire
8
12%
 
Total votes: 65

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Re: Keen 4 Least Favorite Level?

Post by StupidBunny »

I guess I can't speak for everybody else that voted for the Chasm of Chills, but...well, the main problem for me is that I don't truly dislike any of the levels in Keen 4 (except maybe the Well of Wishes, and even then it's tempered by my appreciation for the novelty of the level). The secrets in the Chasm of Chills are really cool, and indeed I've had dreams on more than one occasion about finding yet another hidden room or passage or chamber in this level specifically--there's not many others I can say that about. I love exploration and big open secrets, and...yeah, by all rights I should love this level.

I guess in one sense I can't fully put my finger on why it was never one of my favorites. Somehow I never got roped into the atmosphere of the level the way I was with some others that make other people's lists, like it always somehow felt it was missing something that I can't put my finger on. Maybe it's the visuals, or maybe I wish the secret areas themselves were a little more labyrinthine...like I would go absolutely crazy for a level with whole mess of secret tunnels with like switches and keys and the whole lot, all hidden underneath a really simple Hillville-esque map (got me thinking about a level design of my own now.) I guess if I'm really digging deep for nitpicks the secret area on top of the chasm probably could've used a proper sky or backdrop to make it clear that you're on the precipice of the chasm, but, again, I must emphasize that the level overall is objectively cool and it just speaks to the overall excellence of this episode that it makes the lower part of my list :p
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Re: Keen 4 Least Favorite Level?

Post by proYorp »

Right then, my turn. I'll start off by saying that for a few years, my preferred way to play the original Keen games was in a sort of "arcade style," playing on Hard difficulty and not using the save function at all (and, for the most part, playing the levels in numerical order), so my choices here are largely shaped by that.



Crystalus. Easy first pick. This level ended my run so many times, mainly because of one factor: the Skypests. They are basically a randomly determined death. They can decide to suddenly fly in from offscreen to snipe you down midair and you won't even have time to react. The tiny platform area at the top of the level is especially bad with this.

While it's nice that you can look up in this game, in this level you have to constantly be doing so or you risk jumping straight up into a Skypest. Even right near the start of the level it's happened sometimes. To make matters worse, there are places where you have to jump before you have a chance to look because the platform is falling away.

People are talking about the verticality being a problem, and I might offer a theory on why this is: you can't really see where you're going. The field of view vertically is much narrower than horizontally. Who knows if you'll jump straight into a death trap? And on this level in Hard mode, it's a very real possibility.

As I'm writing this, I just opened this level on Hard again to check, and falling down the chute to the green key I landed right on a Skypest that had flown up into there. There was nothing I could have done, save for wait around forever at the start for the bugger to land somewhere on the ground (that is if it doesn't land on me first or fly up the chute out of render distance), and that would be boring.

Basically, Skypests are pests indeed and the structure of this level with its flying leaps of faith makes them so much worse.

But besides that, the level is so big and so full of backtracking, going over the same place over and over again, especially playing without saving and having to restart the level (rather frequently, as plainly stated above) that it gets very tedious. And then it's easy to lose track of which door I should be going to next, and end up going to the wrong one and waste all that time and risk.

TLDR Crystalus is big and repetitive and your survival is based largely on odds. Long odds.... It's unfair and it's frustrating.



Chasm of Chills. I almost always skip this one, though to be fair while playing without saving I usually skip all unrequired levels. Doesn't seem worth the risk when I could be spending those lives progressing the game. Even though this one is pretty short, there's nothing really to be gained from it either (maybe if there was a nice ammo depot or something like that it would have a strategical benefit). This one just feels kinda pointless.

Kind of a sad decision. When I was little and played with cheats all the time, I remember I liked to hang out on the mossy top area and collect all the Licks and clouds together to follow me around. (Strange how that's such an instictual thing to do. If the Inchworms moved a little faster it might be more intuitive to collect them, because I think I was more drawn to leading around other creatures that could keep up.) Though I was also annoyed that I couldn't escape that area because down-jump doesn't work with Jump Cheat (except I recently learned that it actually does if you do it really fast and I was astonished).



Lifewater Oasis. Tough call for a third pick.... I ended up landing on this one because, in a similar manner to Crystalus, there is a part involving precision moving-platform jumps to be performed while simultaneously avoiding an airborne Skypest. Here there is an added annoyance though. At the very top of the level, just barely out of reach, there is a warp zone that teleports sprites into a random part of the level (we were this close to being able to reach the forbidden Lifewaters without cheating!) and when the Skypest flies into it, it lags the whole game, making it even harder to time the platform jumps. It's just... not fun. Plus those unreachable Lifewaters are kind of a troll. :p Other than that, the level's alright.



I'm noticing my choices for levels here are not too far into the game, probably because the early levels are the ones I played the most doing my arcade rush method. If I regularly made it to Isle of Fire, it might be another story. :p



Random last thought... it's interesting that people say the tunnels in Pyramid of the Moons are boring. For me they were pretty memorable. I remember when I was little I was fascinated by them, and I liked to go through them to get all the points. I think I had a poor sense of direction or something, and I had trouble telling apart the similar tunnels. Maybe I thought that the point items came back? Perhaps that was what I was so mystified by. :lol But... yeah I guess without that sense of wonderment they aren't quite as interesting and I usually don't bother with them anymore.
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Re: Keen 4 Least Favorite Level?

Post by Nisaba »

proYorp wrote: Wed Aug 25, 2021 22:10 [...] down-jump doesn't work with Jump Cheat (except I recently learned that it actually does if you do it really fast and I was astonished). [...]
whhaaaat?? wait a minute... this is possible?
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Re: Keen 4 Least Favorite Level?

Post by Lower IQ than 314 »

You have to tap the jump button as lightly as you can. It takes some getting used to, but eventually you'll be able to steamroll through levels that have tons of down-jumps, such the Chasm of Chills--and yes, everyone's favorite Keen5 level, Neutrino Burst Injector.

But that's a topic for a different least favorite level thread... ;)
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Re: Keen 4 Least Favorite Level?

Post by proYorp »

Yep. Found out one day when I was watching a bit of a video of some guy playing Keen 8 and messing around with cheats trying to find a way into a secret area. I was thinking, "Ah, poor guy, he won't be able to get in there with Jump Cheat on," and then he did it and I was like :O
https://youtu.be/ShlFTSfz74U?t=530

So I went and tried it... it is possible. You have to press Down and then Jump in quick succession, like the Impossible Pogo Trick. Like, jump before Keen finishes looking down.

Absolutely blew my mind because getting stuck on pipes with Jump Cheat was such a childhood pet peeve of mine. I had even sworn to myself that I would never put any such traps in any of my mods. Though, to be honest, I doubt I would have had the coordination to pull that off at the time.


edit: post ninja'd :foot
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Re: Keen 4 Least Favorite Level?

Post by Multimania »

I'm putting Chasm of Chills, Hillville, and Isle of Fire down, though — like everyone — it's hard to want to badmouth levels I've known for so long. (And, to their credit, I don't think any of those levels are terrible, just a bit boring.)

Chasm of Chills, for all the reasons everyone's said: the main path through it is boring. All the interesting bits can quite easily be skipped unless you really go looking for them.

Hillville also suffers from being basically a straight line from beginning to end. Again, the most interesting bit is seeing Lindsay, but otherwise this feels a lot more like a "first level" that isn't as interesting as Border Village. Also, "A Kick in the Pants in Good Ol' Hillville" doesn't play in this level, and it's bothered me ever since I learnt the track's name.

Isle of Fire isn't all that bad, but it also feels like the interesting stuff gets skipped on the average playthrough. It's the "Isle of Fire", but most of the Berkeloids and fire hazards are skipped by staying 'underground' most of the time. Also those mimrocks are just a touch too annoying.

Still, I think Keen 4's levels are — on the whole — pretty good, particularly in the way they feel like "places" and match what they look like on the map pretty well. Every level has a bit of it's own "feel", even these ones.
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Re: Keen 4 Least Favorite Level?

Post by Soul Monster »

Ok, I take it back, Isle of Tar is no longer a least favorite of mine. Lately I've been playing through the entire series again (including Ceilick's TUIT trilogy), and I found that Isle of Tar is not as bad as I remember. It has a cool look and feel to it, and like other people are saying, it has an atmosphere to it that makes it stand out. The level, I'll admit, may have some frustrating aspects such as the pits of tar that you blindly jump down into, but I think my reasons for initially disliking it came from how frustrated I became on this stage as a kid for that sole reason.

I had a real hard time deciding on what other stages I would put as my least favorite, but that's the thing. Like The Shifted One said, there really aren't any stages in the Galaxy series that are outright bad, just mediocre at worst.

I had a really hard time deciding which stage I would replace that spot with, because there aren't any stages I hate, but after thinking it over, I settled on Hillville. Personally, I don't mind this stage, and I think it's ok, but it just feels kind of barebones and makes you wish there was more to the stage than what we got. Another reason I changed my vote to Hillville is because I find obtaining the secrets a real pain as there's a lot of times I died because of the precision it takes to land on some of the floating platforms just for a few goodies that hardly seem worth it in the long run. Also, while trying to navigate the platforms on the right side of the stage, it's easy to miss your destination and fall into the fire or spike pits below, which just adds to my frustrations.

Like I said, this wasn't an easy decision, but I felt that the secrets in Hillville caused more aggravation for me than most other stages.
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Re: Keen 4 Least Favorite Level?

Post by XrackProject »

Thats a interessting question!
As a casual player I dont have any least favourite level but from the perspective of a speedrunner Isle of Fire but also the pyramids are the most runkillers. So these have been put at the beginning and Isle of Fire at the end which gives me the biggest heart attacks. :) It has to be at the end due some time saving tactics.
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Re: Keen 4 Least Favorite Level?

Post by Quillax »

I replayed all the levels of Keen 4 in normal difficulty not too long ago and even then it was still hard for me to decide. The thing is that all the levels in Keen 4 (and the entire series, I'd say) are very well designed, hold many fond memories, and I like the variety and how they have a lot of secret areas to find. I always like to play them all. Even just imagining a least liked level is pretty hard, let alone three. In the end, though, I went with:

Hillville, Pyramid of Shadows, and Pyramid of the Gnosticene Ancients

Again, none of these levels are truly bad -- in fact, they're actually quite good fun. Here's what made me choose them:
  • Hillville: Perhaps my top pick for least favorite. I like that it's short and simple -- it makes it a nice little break from the more complex levels. However, I guess it does feel slightly unfinished. It could've used some houses and the Kick in the Pants song. Also, I died a few times trying to land on those little flying glass platforms. Not to mention, two doughnuts don't seem very rewarding for the two tricky pogo jumps you have to make over the fire.
  • Pyramid of Shadows: I like the spiral-like layout of the first part and how the changing hazards and gradual darkness give a sense of progression. (Though, I would've made the background for the last part completely black to really make it feel like you're in the shadows.) It was satisfying when I finally figured out how to get the Lifewater Flask by the slime pool -- first time I found out I think! It was really exciting when I found a bunch of Lifewater Flasks near the very end, although I would've liked it better if the tar wasn't hidden; it made getting in there rather awkward. I don't understand what's with the pit you can walk on near the end of the second part. Shouldn't there be points?
  • Pyramid of the Gnosticene Ancients: The Treasure Eaters are neat and the general design is good. In fact, the top half was inspiration for Mortrix #4 from The Mortrix. It slightly annoys me that once you go into the secret area by the tar, you can't backtrack to get into the vertical passage with the candy bars leading to the big door with the green keystone. And in that room with the door, you can't pogo upwards to get into said passage, at least not on Normal and Hard. If it's possible, though, I'm sure you have to be very precise, so precise that it's probably not worth it. It's funny seeing the Licks commit suicide in the end, but I guess it's a little weird. I actually wonder if at one point the Licks were meant to kill you on plain contact. Otherwise, the end part isn't really bad and has a nice "this is it" feeling. Maybe in Hard it's a little more interesting.
While spending hours and hours trying to figure out my choices I also considered picking Slug Village, Sand Yego, and Lifewater Oasis. Again, there are no levels in Keen 4 that I dislike at all and even the levels I mentioned are well designed. They just happen to have a few minor problems at worst. Who knows, I'll probably change my mind after replaying Keen 4 yet again, maybe on Hard for once (I like the sound of proYorp's method of playing).

I personally wouldn't pick Chasm of Chills, Crystalus, nor Isle of Fire for least favorites based on my latest experience and old memories with them. Chasm of Chills might actually be one of my favorites. I can understand why some people don't like those levels, though. I might also be a little biased with Crystalus because it's my dad's favorite, although I also kind of like the Vorticons-like feel of it as Nisaba pointed out. It's fun to explore and hunt for gems as well!

EDIT: After some time I decided that Slug Village would be slightly below the pyramids. The Pyramid of Shadows and Pyramid of the Gnosticene Ancients have interesting designs and good challenges and feel distinct. Slug Village, while it has a good design (like the idea of choosing between a straight walk to the exit or exploring to get all the goodies), isn't as special as other levels, especially those of its kind like Chasm of Chills and Pyramid of Moons. The only thing that says "Slug Village" are the sleeping Slugs and even The Perilous Pit has those. :slug Where are the houses? Also, it's a bit hard getting what is essentially just a jawbreaker and a few drops over the Mad Mushroom. In my latest playthrough I actually took a break from this level and went to The Perilous Pit after dying many times. I think ChargingMoose's 2nd levelpack had a better idea of what Slug Village should've been. It took me a while to figure out which of the pyramids should be spared but in the end I decided to swap the Pyramid of Shadows with Slug Village. I love the excitement I felt from discovering those secrets in my latest playthrough and I like the sense that you're in a place they don't want you to be in.
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Re: Keen 4 Least Favorite Level?

Post by Quillax »

Just to clarify what I meant when I said that "ChargingMoose's 2nd levelpack had a better idea of what Slug Village should've been", I was thinking of level 1, at least in terms of concept. Like, you would have the underground tunnels, but there would also be houses that have poles leading downwards to areas with doors that connect to the underground tunnels. Basically, just take the original Slug Village, add houses with their own underground areas, and maybe move the King Sluggy statue over there. In some ways that's what Food Street in my Keen 4 levelpack, The Sunnylands, is kind of like.

So, proYorp, did you plan for how long these polls will be open? I think you said you would open similar polls for Keen 5, right? If so, when will they be up? It seems like the discussion for Keen 4 has died a while ago, so the community might be ready to move on.
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Re: Keen 4 Least Favorite Level?

Post by proYorp »

Right, right. :o I really need to respond to some posts in the other thread and do my own votes. I've been putting it off for some reason but I did write some things yesterday. I'll start the Keen 5 polls after I finish with that.
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Re: Keen 4 Least Favorite Level?

Post by StupidBunny »

proYorp wrote: Tue Nov 02, 2021 23:13 Right, right. :o I really need to respond to some posts in the other thread and do my own votes. I've been putting it off for some reason but I did write some things yesterday. I'll start the Keen 5 polls after I finish with that.
I'll be waiting for it! I have so many opinions on Keen 5 and 6 maps to share

And thankfully, these two episodes will let you poll every single level, so there'll be no repeat of me being unable to give my thumbs up to the Pyramid of the Forbidden :p
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Re: Keen 4 Least Favorite Level?

Post by Soul Monster »

proYorp wrote: Tue Nov 02, 2021 23:13 Right, right. :o I really need to respond to some posts in the other thread and do my own votes. I've been putting it off for some reason but I did write some things yesterday. I'll start the Keen 5 polls after I finish with that.
I look forward to the next poll. I just recently played through the entire series, so everything is fresh in my mind.
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Re: Keen 4 Least Favorite Level?

Post by Quillax »

I'm looking forward to the next poll too!I played through all of Keen 5 not too long ago and am about halfway through Keen 6, so the levels are a bit fresh in my mind too. As StupidBunny said, at least no levels from those games will have to be left out! :)
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Re: Keen 4 Least Favorite Level?

Post by Pandakeen »

I have a feeling it's going to be easier for me to decide my favorite and least favorite Keen 5 and 6 levels than with Keen 4. Keen 5 has probably my favorite levels of the series, and with Keen 6 the quality of each level stands out more due to it being rushed. I really couldn't tell you what my favorite and least favorite Keen 4 levels are so I opted out of voting in these threads.
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