Although most of the games produced
by id Software are extremely violent and are inappropriate for
children, some of their earliest games were not like that at
all. One of my favorite games of all time happens to be an
old DOS game produced by id Software: Commander Keen!
Actually, Commander Keen was not just one game but a whole series of great
I have recently
rediscovered these wonderful games because of a new freeware
utility called DOSbox,
which allows you to run old DOS games on newer versions of Windows
and even on other operating systems like Linux and Mac OS X.
I've had a lot of fun lately, playing some of my favorite old DOS
games like Commander Keen!
Commander Keen is great for kids - it
was a non-violent series of games that are just good clean
fun! The game follows the adventures of 8-year old Billy
Blaze, a boy genius who builds a spaceship out of old household
items. When his folks are away and his babysitter is asleep,
he dons his brother's football helmet and becomes Commander Keen,
Defender of the Universe!
took him to many different worlds. In four of the seven games in
the original Keen series, the worlds were rendered at a slightly tilted
angle, giving the game a 3D look that no other side-scrolling game had
at that time. The level designs took full advantage of this to
create interesting hidden areas for the player to find.
world was populated with unique and interesting characters. Each
character had its own personality and its own peculiar behavior.
Some characters were helpful, but most characters posed some sort of
danger or obstacle for Keen.
Part of the fun of the game was
discovering new characters and being caught off guard by some unexpected
behavior, like the rocks that stood up and followed you when you turned
your back on them, or the slug that occasionally left a lethal little
slime puddle behind it.
interesting feature of the Commander Keen games was the fact that you
could choose which level to play next. The game featured a huge
map, and each level was a location on the map. Between levels, you
could wander around on the map and decide where to go next. So if
you were having trouble beating one level, you could go try a different
story in each Commander Keen game was imaginative and delightful.
Each story was epic in scope, and featured a powerful villain with a
diabolical plot that Keen had to foil. But each story also
featured humorous elements that made the game fun and entertaining.
There are seven
official Commander Keen games in all. Episodes 1 and 4 were
released as shareware and can be downloaded for free. In order
to play the other episodes, you will have to pay for them. All
of the Keen games except Episode 6 can still be obtained from the
distributors that originally sold them.
best place to go for more information about Commander Keen is the fan
site at www.commander-keen.com.
From this site, you can download Episodes 1 and 4, as well as the demos
for Episode 6 and the lost episode Keen Dreams.
To purchase the games, click on the
3.5 (Keen Dreams) - this "lost episode" was the
prequel to Episodes 4-5, and was created as an experiment for the
3D look of the later episodes.
- Episode 6 (Aliens Ate My Babysitter)
- unfortunately, FormGen doesn't exist anymore, so it isn't
possible to purchase this game. But you can download the
first few levels of this game for free from www.commander-keen.com.