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Least favorite Keen game?

Posted: Thu Nov 25, 2021 10:34
by Quillax
Since I just created a "Favorite Keen game" poll, I decided to make a "least favorite" poll to go along with it! Besides, it seems that the closet we ever had something like this before is an old topic from 2009, which didn't have a poll anyway. So this should be really interesting!

Which Keen game is your least favorite, and why? I left out Keen GBC in the poll, because I figured that it wouldn't be a contest otherwise.

Re: Least favorite Keen game?

Posted: Thu Nov 25, 2021 12:15
by Pandakeen
Hard to say, because the Keen games are like my childrens. I love all of them. But if I had to pick least favorite, it'd probably be Keen 3, because of how rushed it is.

Re: Least favorite Keen game?

Posted: Thu Nov 25, 2021 14:33
by StupidBunny
Keen Dreams, easily.

The concept of fighting evil vegetables is cute, I suppose, and I do like some of the creative choices and design decisions, and certain levels are pretty cool (I've always liked Grape Grove). But the environments and visuals, to me, lack the vibrance and uniqueness that the other episodes have. So much feels rather flat and barren, and thematically doesn't have the weird creative idiosyncratic mixture of the futuristic and primitive, familiar and alien that a lot of the other games have. The gray, generically medieval design of Castle Tuberia feels so anonymous to me. The enemy balancing also feels off in some way. Mostly though I think Dreams has the worst control in the series, and I perpetually feel like Keen is slow and clunky and that his flower grenades aren't gonna hit anything 60% of the time. Part of this is lack of practice, I'm sure, but the grenades also lack the direct, immediate simplicity of simply shooting in the direction you want to. The lack of ledge grabbing doesn't work well with Keen's slow moon jumps, and the larger sprite sizes mean there's a lot more occasions that I really wish I could look up and down. Vorticons controls are simple, simpler in many ways than Dreams (you can't shoot up or down, e.g.), but Keen moves faster and more of the level is visible at a time; and I don't know how I didn't think of this until now, but you have a pogo in Vorticons. Given how much of the Keen experience is fluid control, this is probably the main point against the game for me.

It's not that I think Dreams is bad, as such--it's a decent proof of concept for a proto-Galaxy engine, and I admire them for trying something new with the weird Flower Power thing. But, well, if we're asking which my least favorite is, then Dreams is up against too stiff of competition to measure up.

Re: Least favorite Keen game?

Posted: Thu Nov 25, 2021 20:53
by Soul Monster
My least favorite is Keen 3.

That's not to say I don't enjoy the game, but you can tell that they didn't put as much time into this one. There's still a lot to like about his one, from the story, to the visuals, the enemies, and even some levels. The 2 biggest problems I have with this game are the unfair challenge in many of the stages, and the large number of glitches.

To this day, I have never been able to play through Keen 3 without using cheat codes. I try to minimize my use of GOD mode, but being a completionist, there's a lot of items that seem to be impossible to obtain without using cheats, and there's some stages like Fort Vorta Bella and Cape Canavorta that just throw so much at you that the difficulty becomes very cheap. I think this problem could easily be resolved by adding more ankh powers to some stages, and having their effects last longer. Also, I just realized something, Keen knows the Vorticons aren't evil, so you'd imagine that he'd try to avoid killing them when possible, yet there's so many times in the game where you have no choice. Wouldn't this be a neat work around for that? I mean, there's a lot of stages in the game that either throw a bunch of enemies and traps at you at once, or just go on forever.

As for the glitches, it always irritates me when there's stages where there's inaccessible goodies lying around. Hal's Kitchen is the worst offender of this, as the entire top half of the stage is completely inaccessible without cheating. Also in Fort Vorticon I often find myself caught in an unwinnable situation where the ball in the bottom right of the stage gets stuck in the passage to the exit, forcing me to restart the entire stage over again.

Again, I'm not saying it's bad, it's just unpolished. It is a great game to end the first trilogy, but they just needed to spend more time on it to perfect its flaws.

Re: Least favorite Keen game?

Posted: Fri Nov 26, 2021 8:24
by The Shifted One
This was a difficult choice between Keen 3 and Keen Dreams but I went with Keen Dreams.

It's the only game in the series I've only played through once and cannot find myself going through again.
I've started on multiple occasions but for reason its never been able to keep my attention for too long.
If I compare it too Keen 3 then Dreams is better in almost all aspects but for some reason Keen 3 still feels more playable and interesting.
Even with all its flaws Keen 3 is still more interesting and fun overall.

That's not to say Dreams is a bad game, its just mediocre; which in the Keen series makes it almost seem bad ;)

Re: Least favorite Keen game?

Posted: Fri Nov 26, 2021 9:34
by Nospike
Since saying Keen GBC would be cheating, I have to give this to Keen 1.

Not that it's a bad game by any means. But the bland artstyle personally doesn't really speak to me, Vorticons gameplay I think is objectively somewhat inferior to Galaxy, and I have no special connection to Keen 1 by virtue of it having been my first Keen game or anything similar, like it is for many of you guys.

Out of all the Keen games it feels the least immersive. I definitely understand why some Keeners appreciate it for its minimalism. Personally I'm into more lively, colorful, natural-looking environments, as evidenced by my own modding efforts in Botafloria. (And counter-evidenced by those in Mura, I guess that's the exception that makes the rule. :p )

It's mainly for this reason that I've always actually kinda liked Keen Dreams and Keen 3.