Avg. Difficulty of Keen1 of series?

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KÆRŠPѨÅቶ
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Avg. Difficulty of Keen1 of series?

Post by KÆRŠPѨÅቶ »

Hi,

I passed Keen1 just about last week, I don't think I was able to pass Keen1 since at least several years prior.
I'm wondering about moving onto Keen2, and it took a marginal amount of concentrative focus,
in order for me to pass Keen1 so that's why I'm trying to ask, should I expect Keen2 to be much more difficult than Keen1,
is Keen1 normally perceived to be one of the more difficult or less difficult games of Keen episodes 1-6 (one through six)?
¿And in your opinion how is Keen1 unique, if so, among games in this episodic franchise.

Thanks!
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StupidBunny
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Re: Avg. Difficulty of Keen1 of series?

Post by StupidBunny »

I would definitely say Keen 2 is harder than Keen 1. I’d also say it has the best level design in the Vorticons trilogy and some of the best in the series so it’s well worth the trouble :)

I’m not sure how Keen 1 is generally perceived here relative to the others. It’s definitely on the easier end of Keen games, although the Galaxy games are offset somewhat by having difficulty levels and in-level saves.

I think Keen 1 is the most primitive-feeling of the series in terms of visual design. A lot of the world feels more generic to platform games design, the floating blocks in the sky and the monochrome Martian soil and the sparse decoration stand in contrast to the rich world-building and scene-setting in the other games. None of this is to knock on a what is really good game, of course, and it’s not to say Keen 1 is missing that completely: the shrines with talking oracles are a good example of something that serves no special purpose other than to add layers to the environment and make Mars feel more like a real place Keen is exploring. But as the first full game id ever made I think they hadn’t quite found their respective voices yet.
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Re: Avg. Difficulty of Keen1 of series?

Post by Benvolio »

I find beauty in those simple platforming elements in Keen1. After all, progress in gaming was so rapid back then that those primordial days of early 90s PC gaming passed in the blink of an eye.... imagine being a preteen back then for instance. (Some of you maybe were; I was just getting born). You're ten years old and, having grown up with low performance CGA or EGA dos titles with relatively little happening on screen, you wholeheartedly enjoy the release of Keen1 and relish in how state-of-the-art free-flowing 16 colour 2D action is. By the time you're eleven, that format has reached its peak. You turn twelve and VGA rules the roost. But no sooner have you played through the key VGA platforming titles than BAM you're 13 and here comes Doom and oh look, platforming is dead forever! Nobody since then has experienced such rapid evolution in PC gaming.

In that context, Keen1 holds such a special place in history. Perhaps if ID had not made a game that drew so heavily on generic platforming visuals, then such a game might simply not have existed on PC, at least not at 1990s level of performance. As it is, it sets a benchmark and reference point for all subsequent PC games.

Turning to the topic of the thread itself, yes Keen2 is more difficult. But someone who has just been through the Keen1 learning curve is primed to make the most of Keen2. I agree with StupidBunny that Keen2 has the best levels in vorticons, and I recall being thrilled by much of the gameplay.

The same cannot be said for Keen3 which is quite mediocre. (And in my opinion is visually more generic and lazy than Keen1). That said, I dearly love the Mangling Machine. In fact my dream version of Keen3 would be a game entirely composed of bosses. I may have just given myself a mod idea... but as I'm writing it here maybe someone else will go ahead and make it for me.

In summary play Keen2 now, KÆRŠPѨÅቶ, and you'll have a good old time!
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Re: Avg. Difficulty of Keen1 of series?

Post by proYorp »

Keen 2 is quite a bit more difficult than Keen 1. I would also add that Keen 3 in its entirety is more difficult than Keen 2, but you only have to play 3 levels of Keen 3. So if you skip everything else then Keen 3 would be easier than Keen 2. For a first playthrough though, Keen 3 would likely be hardest.
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Re: Avg. Difficulty of Keen1 of series?

Post by Quillax »

I say Keen 1 is the easiest game of the series, although I haven't played episodes 4-6 on easy for a long time. Keen 2 is quite harder, and 3 is even harder than 2! Granted, as proYorp said, only 3 levels are required to beat Keen 3, which neglects the difficulty a lot, aside from the Mangling Machine perhaps. The entirety of the game, however, is another story.

Back to the subject of Keen 2, I remember the final level of Keen 2 being quite a challenge for me back then. I wasn't able to beat it for a long time. A lot of the challenge from Keen 2, I'd say, comes from the puzzles offered. They aren't terribly complex, though. Once you know how to solve the puzzles, you should be good. Keen 2 has many Vorticon Elites, which are among the most dangerous enemies of the entire Keen series, but most of them are either optional or can be easily lured away (they're not so bad when you learn a certain trick ;) ). I only remember like one or two Vorticon Elites that have to be confronted, without that trick, no matter what. I say the rest of the Vorticons trilogy (and the Keen series, I may add) is a lot of fun and well-designed, though, so they're totally worth playing! Any trouble will be worth it at the end! So go play Keen 2! (Interesting username you have, by the way.)

As for what makes Keen 1 unique compared to other games, I think it's the charming simplicity and coziness. The visuals are basic but yet somehow manage to be a bit iconic. As I said, it's also the easiest, and perhaps the least focused on tight action and platforming. All of that makes the game feel pretty friendly and cozy I'd say. :) It's the perfect way to start a legendary series! There's something about the game that makes me feel so nice; I feel like it brings me back to the simple old days. I think the fact that it was a very popular choice for mods and levelpacks back then has something to do with that; another thing that made Keen 1 stand out! I sometimes think it would be very fun to be part of the early levelpack scene; making experimental Keen 1 levels with KeenEdit (the ASCII character one, not the more user-friendly one Andy produced) and KMO and sharing them on CC314. Back when everybody was using Windows 95/98 and IE/Netscape. Back when people used dial-up and personal website hosting servers like Geocities. Who knows, I'd probably be amazed and feel a sense of relief when Andy's KeenEdit/KeenWright comes out, and especially so when Mindbelt comes around. :lol Kind of the same feeling I had for Galaxy level editors when the great, powerful Abiathar came out after working with The Omegamatic for so many years. I wonder if anyone still uses those old level editors -- what would their reasons for such picks be?
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Re: Avg. Difficulty of Keen1 of series?

Post by Hisymak »

I must admit, that I never finished any episode of the Vorticons series as a kid (and probably haven't even so far) without cheats.
Keen1 was game I was able to complete the biggest part of. I remember finishing all the levels except these two: Ice City and Vorticon Commander's Castle. In Ice City, I was always very afraid of the ending part guarded by a Vorticon. It was very tight with not much space to escape, and I was not brave enough to face the Vorticon who could easilt step on me. In the latter one, I was not smart enough and had no idea about the trick shooting at the rope which holds the ceiling above Vorticon Commander, which would kill him. I was trying to kill him by shooting without success, of course.
Keen2 was the game that I was the most afraid of and felt extremely hard to me. Mostly because of Vorticon Elites (which were dangerous as hell and always killed me with their gun) and also because I had no idea about what was the objective - I always pulled the lever which caused earth destruction and game over. Overally the levels were full of hazards and dangerous robots.
Keen3 was rather my favourite one I was trying to replay many times, and was a mixture of both easy and uncompletable levels. I liked those house-interior themed levels and I was able to complete most of them (always omitting some hard parts, of course), whereas some levels felt extremely hard so I even didn't attempt playing through them (those with many shooting lamps, fixed pistols, electric fence, nuclear barrels and other hazards). I was also not able to beat the final boss level so I did not finish this game (only later with cheats).
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