DescriptionBilly "Commander Keen" Blaze, an eight-year-old genius, has flied to Mars in his Bean-with-Bacon Megarocket build out of common household objects. But while Keen was exploring Mars, the alien Vorticons stole vital parts from his ship and hid them in the Martian cities. Now Keen must find the stolen parts if he wants to return to Earth.
Commander Keen 1: Marooned on Mars is the first in a series of platform games. Your objective is to find the 4 missing parts to your ship.
The game begins with a top-down map of Mars. This is the level select screen, where you can walk around and choose the next level you want to enter. On each level, you have to find the exit, and possibly grab a missing rocket part which may be on the level. Once you reach the exit, you're back on the map of Mars.
The levels are typically full of enemy creatures. Most numerous are Yorps, which are mostly harmless, if annoying, but other creatures are a genuine danger. If Keen gets shot or touched, or falls into a pit or some hazardous object, he dies, and you're booted out of the level back to the map of Mars and lose one of the lives.
Thankfully, Keen can defeat some of the enemies with his raygun. He can also find a pogo stick which allows him to jump very high. Other items to find include keycards that open locked doors and bonus items which give score (Keen gets an extra life if he collects enough score).
- "Commander Keen: "Invasion of the Vorticons" - Episode One: Marooned on Mars" -- In-game title
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The Press Says
|Abandonia Reloaded||Feb 23, 2008||4.6 out of 5||92|
|Christ Centered Game Reviews||Jun 01, 2005||80|
|The DOS Spirit||Dec 05, 2006||3 out of 6||50|
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DevelopmentTom Hall (via Classic Gaming):
The first game was actually a joke. It was called Dangerous Dave in 'Copyright Infringement.' (John) Carmack had just gotten a little guy to move around over a tile map, and I looked over at the Nintendo in the corner. I said, 'Wouldn't it be funny to make the first level of Super Mario 3...tonight?' Carmack smiled and said, 'Let's do it!' I copied the tiles pixel for pixel and made a map out of them while Carmack feverishly programmed the guy landing on ground tiles and getting coin tiles. At 5:30 in the morning, we dumped that on (John) Romero's desk and went home to crash. Romero played it all the next day, saying 'This could make so much money!' It was pitched to a friend of a friend at Nintendo, and they liked it so much, they wanted a demo. We added Mario graphics and Koopas and stuff, and sent it to them. It apparently got to the head guys at Nintendo, but they didn't want to enter the PC market.
Softdisk didn't want to use the smooth scrolling trick Carmack had discovered (since it didn't also work in CGA!), so we thought, well, if they don't want it, we could do something ourselves.... So we thought, hey, we'll make our own game. We needed a topic. I asked if they cared what topic-sci-fi, fantasy, whatever. I think Carmack mentioned a kid that saves the galaxy or something. I went off and fifteen minutes later, came back with the paragraph that you see in Keen 1. I read it in a Walter Winchell voice (he's a nasal 40s radio/newsreel announcer). Carmack clapped after I was finished, and we were off and running.
We got contacted by Scott Miller of Apogee, and once Keen was published, it was making enough for us to live on, so we quit and formed id.
ModsThere are some level packs and even mods (files changing the graphics in the games) circulating for this game.
ReferencesThroughout the game there are references to Keen's grandfather, whose name is William J. Blazkowicz. Interestingly, William J. Blazkowicz is the main character in Wolfenstein 3D, id's first person shooter made two years later.
SignsThe writings on the signs in the game actually make sense. Much like the runic writing in Ultima, you can translate it letter by letter and discover what they mean. There is a table to help you translate all those messages on 3drealm's website.
TrilogyMarooned on Mars is the first of three episodes of the series Commander Keen: Invasion of the Vorticons.
Information also contributed by Accetone, Maw and Xa4
Related Web Sites
- Commander Keen 1: Marooned on Mars (official website)
- Beyond the Pogo (This is the ultimate Commander Keen fansite. You'll find almost anything Keen-related here.)
- Cerebral Cortex 314 (Shrine for the Commander Keen series. Includes lots of trivia, fan art, fan created levels, mods and more.)
- "Marooned on Mars" Flash version! (Play through levels of Commander Keen 1 via your web browser!)