Keen 4 Most Favorite Level?

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Vote for your 3 most favorite levels.

1.) Border Village
1
2%
2.) Slug Village
0
No votes
3.) The Perilous Pit
7
11%
4.) Cave of the Descendants
5
8%
5.) Chasm of Chills
3
5%
6.) Crystalus
7
11%
7.) Hillville
0
No votes
8.) Sand Yego
5
8%
9.) Miragia
13
21%
10.) Lifewater Oasis
3
5%
11.) Pyramid of the Moons
4
6%
12.) Pyramid of Shadows
3
5%
13.) Pyramid of the Gnosticene Ancients
2
3%
15.) Isle of Tar
10
16%
16.) Isle of Fire
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 63

Hisymak
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Re: Keen 4 Most Favorite Level?

Post by Hisymak »

The Shifted One wrote: Tue Aug 31, 2021 17:51
Hisymak wrote: Tue Aug 31, 2021 7:24 Note that I also created a remake of this level for Vinyl Goddess from Mars with a level editor I created for this game. I haven't released it yet due to losing inspiration during creation of my VGFM level pack, but I might at least release it separately for those who are interested.
I don't know how I ever missed that as I love that game.
I'll be sure to give that a shot when I have some extra time!
Here you go! viewtopic.php?f=4&t=12050
Enjoy the remake of my favourite CK4 level, along with the other new levels for this forgotten game!
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Soul Monster
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Re: Keen 4 Most Favorite Level?

Post by Soul Monster »

I found it to be much harder to decide on my favorite stages over my least favorites, since there's so many stages I like in Keen 4 and for various reasons. Ultimately, here's the ones I decided on and why:

Miragia: Like a lot of people have been saying, this stage just has a nice, chill vibe to it. There's never any part of the stage that feels unfair, and visually it captures how it feels to be indoors in the desert, like it's nice and cool indoors, but it just looks hot and barren outside. Also, the secrets are neat and I also really enjoy that little area where you find the extra life, and as StupidBunny mentioned, this stage just looks and feels like it's very cozy, and it makes you WANT to be in this stage.

Perilous Pit: I think this stage does a good job with a "less is more" approach. When you really break it down, it's a simple layout in a small stage. It's also nice that, unlike some of the other stages, you're out in a big, open space that acts as a hub to the other room. Also, visually, the woods stages have always been favorites of mine for their scenery, which while neat, can also be a little creepy at times. I've always been a fan of stages with a dark woods theme to them. Also, kind of like Miragia, this one to me has a bit of a cozy feel to it, having an underground theme while still being in the middle of the woods.

Chasm Of Chills: I'm surprised that so many people dislike this stage, personally it's one of my favorites. Before I get into detail, I want to mention that I do understand where people's frustrations come from on this stage, and I'm not even saying that it's the best designed stage in the game, but there's a few reasons why this one stands out to me. One of my favorite things about this stage is the atmosphere. Most stages in Keen 4 have a very bright, colorful look to them, and give you a sense of warmth and welcomeness. This one on the other hand has a very dark, gloomy look to it that makes it feel like a very drab, cold place (and now that I think about it, this is the only arctic stage in the Shadowlands that seems to capture that), from the mostly grey, rocky aesthetic, to the darker sky, to the feeling of being trapped in a pit, it gives the stage a more foreboding, unwelcoming feeling. Also, this stage left a huge impact on me as a kid, as it had one of my favorite creatures from the game: the Thunderclouds. As a kid, I had a fear of thunderstorms and when I first encountered these creatures, I was terrified yet fascinated by them. As for the level design, if you don't go looking for secrets it's pretty average, but that's what I think makes this stage so good is all the exploration the stage has to offer. This stage has a lot of secrets, and it adds to a lot of extra challenge and ways to rack up extra lives and points.
Last edited by Soul Monster on Tue Nov 23, 2021 7:02, edited 1 time in total.
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XkyRauh
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Re: Keen 4 Most Favorite Level?

Post by XkyRauh »

This is so hard for me to answer, because Keen4 is one of my least-favorite Keens to begin with. I voted for Cave of Descendants and Sand Yego, if only because they were the two Keen4 levels that came to mind first when thinking of levels from the game. I like that 'the cave of descending' has a pretty clear 'descending' theme, and I liked that Sand Yego was a joke on the city I grew up near (San Diego). :) Sand Yego also felt pretty magical to me, as a kid, with the first encounter with the Arachnut being very intense and memorable.
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Re: Keen 4 Most Favorite Level?

Post by XrackProject »

I think I cant really answer this question.... I like them all, I mean its Keen, right? But I picked the Cave of Descendents because I like the atmosphere and the experience as an explorer in there. Miragia because its unique look and Pyramid of the Moon because of its secret! :) They are the most memorable levels on my end! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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Re: Keen 4 Most Favorite Level?

Post by Hoogleboogle »

I voted based on the time I spent playing and replaying certain levels as a kid in the early 90s. I didn't actually finish Keen4 until I downloaded and played it again as a teenager/young adult around 2004.

As I kid certain levels just scared me for some reason and I never finished them. For example, I was scared of Berkeloids and never got past isle of Fire. If I recall I never finished Sand Yego, Chasm, Cave of Descendents, Isle of Fire and Well of Wishes as a kid. Since I was afraid of the lightning clouds, I never got the hint from Princess Lindsay in the Chasm about how to reach the Pyramid of the Forbidden.


I spent a ton of time playing Keen 4 back then though. I basically would just start new games and replay the same levels over and over without ever finishing. Miragia, Crystalus and Perilous Pit were the top and I probably played them 100 times each.
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Re: Keen 4 Most Favorite Level?

Post by Quillax »

It was a bit difficult for me to decide, although it's not as bad as deciding on least favorite levels. Every level in Keen 4 (and all Keen games) is really good, and my favorites (and least favorites) might change next time I replay Keen 4. For now, though, I went with:

Chasm of Chills, Pyramid of the Moons, Isle of Tar (love Benvolio's pun for the latter! "I Love Tar", how clever!)
  • Chasm of Chills: I know some parts have a bit of a copy-and-paste look, but other than that I love this level! I like how the fog actually makes the place feel chilly and the stormy sky above the edge of the cliff really makes this place feel a little dangerous! I like how, although, the level at first seems simple and straightforward, there are plenty (and I really mean plenty) of secret areas. It makes the level feel really mysterious! I also like how big the secret areas are -- makes them really special! It took me a long time to figure out how to get those four ice cream cones around the door on the tiny stone platform. In my latest playthrough, I died in this level many times, but I still have so much fun on each run! Chasm of Chills might actually be my top pick!
  • Pyramid of the Moons: I love the mysterious and almost calming feel of this level. There are so many secrets that are satisfying to find, making this place fun to explore. There's the Lifewater Flask, the door leading to the top of the pyramid (love the outdoorsy and king-of-the-hill feeling over there!), and of course we can't forget the mooning! :moon Back then, the whole family would play Keen altogether and when we discovered the mooning, we were all laughing so hard! :lol Also, 12 inchworms make a foot! That's got to be one of the most clever secrets in gaming history! While I know that some parts are a bit flat, I can't really think of any changes I'd make. I think sometimes a flat area isn't really a bad thing.
  • Isle of Tar: This place feels so dangerous and adventurous, I love it! It feels like you really are in a jungle filled with tar pits here and there. I like the maze-like design and secret areas, although I could probably do without the Skypests in that one secret room. I love shooting the slugs down into the tar when they're right at the edge! It's especially satisfying when you shoot them down through the big hole so they land on the bridge below, then you turn off the bridge and down they go! :poison :poison It feels nice when you finally get out of the underground section and see the nice blue sky again! You can even go into the house over there and get that Lifewater Flask through one cool pogo trick!
Other levels I considered picking are Miragia (this place has a nice sense of discovery similar to Emerald City from The Wizard of Oz), Cave of the Descendents, Isle of Fire, and maybe Sand Yego. Like I said, Keen 4 has so many good levels! If we could make as many decisions as we'd like, I'd probably pick all of the levels!
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Re: Keen 4 Most Favorite Level?

Post by proYorp »

Nisaba wrote: Fri Sep 03, 2021 13:13
proYorp wrote: Fri Sep 03, 2021 6:35 What do you mean when you say that favorite is not defined? I did pose some questions to help guide answers in the original post. Otherwise I was assuming people would refer to the default English definition of "the one you personally like more than all the others." (Or in the case of "least favorite," maybe less obvious, "the one that you personally don't like as much as the others.")
well, criticism wasn't intended. you did a great job introducing this two votes.
I think what I wanted to point out is that it is in the nature of things that everyone interprets "favorite" slightly differently. The gaming experience can be "enjoyable" because it is particularly challenging, or because it evokes childhood memories, or it is visually very appealing, and so on. The choice of each one will likely depend on the weighting of different values.
Oh. I guess I thought you were saying something about the fact that the way a question is presented has an effect on the answers (which is true enough, according to this video, or more specifically, this study). But I guess then you were basically saying the same thing I was.


Soul Monster wrote: Fri Sep 03, 2021 21:16 Miragia: Like a lot of people have been saying, this stage just has a nice, chill vibe to it. [...] visually it captures how it feels to be indoors in the desert, like it's nice and cool indoors, but it just looks hot and barren outside.
That's a really interesting take on it. I don't think I've ever thought of that. Repetition usually kills atmosphere for me (and I've replayed these levels many times), but the idea of Miragia being a cool sanctuary in a hot desert makes so much sense. I can totally see it.
Soul Monster wrote: Fri Sep 03, 2021 21:16 Chasm Of Chills: [...] This one on the other hand has a very dark, gloomy look to it that makes it feel like a very drab, cold place (and now that I think about it, this is the only arctic stage in the Shadowlands that seems to capture that)
Again, it's difficult for me to feel atmosphere when I've repeated it a lot, but this is interesting because someone else had mentioned to me recently-ish how Chasm of Chills actually feels cold. You seem to be able to pick up on atmosphere pretty easily, which is cool. Thanks for sharing your observations with us. :)



I find it interesting that this thread isn't as active as the companion "least favorite levels" thread (though they do have roughly the same amount of votes). Maybe given that this entire forum is dedicated to Commander Keen, everyone has already had plenty of opportunities to discuss their favorite everything, whereas discussions of criticism are less common, so there's more left over to say.



I should probably post my level picks before I get sidetracked again. :dopekeen Keen 5 polls still need to happen.
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Re: Keen 4 Most Favorite Level?

Post by proYorp »

Okay finally got around to actually writing out and cementing my loose thoughts on what levels I most enjoy and why. I've kind of surprised myself by what I've decided on as favorites, because like Xky, Keen 4 is actually one of my least favorite episodes!



Isle of Tar. I always forget about Isle of Tar. I don't usually play it. But going through it again now, I have to say I really enjoyed it. I seem to remember finding it very confusing in the past, but now being pretty familiar with good strategies on how to explore levels (having played a decent amount of mods), including some careful memorization of keydoor color and location, it wasn't hard to figure out. I liked the complexity and the use of doors to minimize backtracking (which reminded me of Gridlock's stuff). Since I rarely play it, I forget about most of the paths to follow, so it's like having a fresh new level to play.



Miragia. I'm a fan of shortcuts so I like that if you know where you're going, you can skip most of the level, but if you're in the mood to explore and take a little extra risk you have the option to. The choice is up to the player and in everything I've observed, player freedom generally leads to an overall better experience. Then since I only play the extra parts when I want to, I'm not sick of them and it's actually fun to explore.

This level also has probably the best use of the Skypests. They are contained in small areas so they don't fly for too long before landing, giving you a lot of opportunity to squish them, and they don't get lost in the sky where they might come out of nowhere and bite you.



The Perilous Pit. Surprised I ended up with this as a third pick since this isn't a level that particularly stood out to me as amazing. It's just... pretty chill I guess. The most noteworthy thing I can think of about this level is not strictly about its own design, but how it affects the entire game. In my last playthrough of Keen 4 I went through The Perilous Pit early on, and collected quite a large amount of ammo, as there is much to be found here. Several levels later (not sure where exactly, but I think it was in the desert), I noted that it was nearly depleted. The Pit provides just enough to get comfortably through the next few levels, but then your ammo does not continually pile up to become an egregious amount. I've seen several debates on ammo distribution and even ammo capping in mods and I think there's something to be studied here.



And with that out of the way, I intend to start the Keen 5 Least Favorite Level poll sometime in the next week. Don't anybody panic. That's my job. :p
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Re: Keen 4 Most Favorite Level?

Post by Soul Monster »

proYorp wrote: Fri Nov 19, 2021 21:40 That's a really interesting take on it. I don't think I've ever thought of that. Repetition usually kills atmosphere for me (and I've replayed these levels many times), but the idea of Miragia being a cool sanctuary in a hot desert makes so much sense. I can totally see it.
As I was writing that, it reminded me of the time I was at an airport in Las Vegas, and how it came off as an oasis. If you remember the backdrop in Miragia, that's pretty much what it looked like outside, just with some mountains off in the distance. There were no trees, no buildings, nothing. Just barren rock and occasional shrubs. I could feel the heat outside just by sitting at the window and boarding the plane, and it made me feel good knowing that I didn't have to be outside in that, I was inside where it was nice and cool. After that realization, I get the same impression with Miragia.
Again, it's difficult for me to feel atmosphere when I've repeated it a lot, but this is interesting because someone else had mentioned to me recently-ish how Chasm of Chills actually feels cold. You seem to be able to pick up on atmosphere pretty easily, which is cool. Thanks for sharing your observations with us. :)
I can't remember, but I recall saying something like that in another thread. Now that you mention it, it does seem like I have an affinity for finding atmosphere, which is a huge part of my style as an artist. But anyway, Chasm Of Chills has always stood out to me for that reason, as there's a contrast in mood from the rest of the game, and I've always been a fan of dark and gloomy stages.
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Re: Keen 4 Most Favorite Level?

Post by proYorp »

Soul Monster wrote: Tue Nov 23, 2021 4:47
Again, it's difficult for me to feel atmosphere when I've repeated it a lot, but this is interesting because someone else had mentioned to me recently-ish how Chasm of Chills actually feels cold.
I can't remember, but I recall saying something like that in another thread.
It was actually someone I had talked to in real life that I was referring to there. I just wanted to point out that it seems like Chasm of Chills really does seem to widely capture that chilling feeling, even if I myself don't notice it very well. I took a look at the level to try to see if I could feel it... maybe it's the low clouds at the start of the level? Mist is cold.
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Re: Keen 4 Most Favorite Level?

Post by Soul Monster »

proYorp wrote: Tue Nov 23, 2021 6:43 It was actually someone I had talked to in real life that I was referring to there. I just wanted to point out that it seems like Chasm of Chills really does seem to widely capture that chilling feeling, even if I myself don't notice it very well. I took a look at the level to try to see if I could feel it... maybe it's the low clouds at the start of the level? Mist is cold.
Gotcha. Yeah, I think part of it is the low hanging clouds in the stage, but also the drab color palette compared to the rest of the game. Something else I just realized is that there's no vegetation in the chasm, aside from that grassy field at the top of the stage, so I think that also contributes to that feeling of a cold, desolate environment.
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