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SummarySmall but solid improvements make Keen 2 one of the coolest platformers for the pc.
The GoodPractically the same as the original gameplay-wise, The Earth Explodes is the second and probably best episode in the original CK trilogy. As you came back from Mars at the end of the last game, you happened to notice that the Vorticons had positioned their dog-shaped mothership near earth, and apparently they mean to blow it up! As Commander Keen, defender of the galaxy, Billy Blaze has to get back on his starship and get to the mothership in order to kick some Vorticon ass and save the earth.
As I mentioned, this game is practically the same as CK1, but now you aren't collecting space ship parts, instead you have to explore the mothership and disable it's individual laser guns (each targeted at a different location on earth). I feel that this simple change makes the game much more foccused than it's predecessor and with new and much more intriguing levels and enemies like the fearsome Vorticon warriors, who jump around but remain land-locked when the lights are out (a significant gameplay concept that one has to remember to beat some levels), plus the addition of a much more cohesive background and graphic style (you are after all in a space ship) gets you a much more solid Keen game than it's prequel.
The BadPractically nothing, the only bad aspects CK2 has come with the genre, and that's about it.
And the lack of major additions can't be really considered since this was the second episode on an already developed trilogy instead of a "real" sequel (following the standard "first episode free, two others by order" shareware mantra).