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Commander Keen 4: Secret of the Oracle (DOS)

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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.0
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
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Description

Commander Keen 4: Secret of the Oracle is a platform game, the fourth in the Commander Keen series as a whole, and the first in the second series Goodbye, Galaxy.

Eight-year-old genius Billy "Commander Keen" Blaze receives an interstellar transmission while working on a Photachyon Transceiver (a radio that can receive signals anywhere in the galaxy). While the transmission is choppy, Billy manages to figure out that the galaxy is once again in danger from an alien race known as Shikadi. In order to get more information about this threat, he sets out to consult the Oracle. But it turns out that the eight Council Members necessary for the Oracle's activation have been kidnapped by the Shikadi and imprisoned in the dangerous Shadowlands. Billy heads out to save the Council Members.

The game begins with a top-down map of the Shadowlands. This is the level select screen, where Billy can walk around and the player can choose the next level they want to enter (though some of the levels are islands located on a lake and require you to find a wetsuit if you want to reach them). On each level, Billy has to make his way to the exit. Once a level is completed, Billy ends up back on the overhead map.

The levels are typically full of enemy creatures, such as poison slugs, deadly mosquitoes or hopping crazy mushrooms. There are also many hazards - pits, cannons, spears. If Billy gets shot or touched by an enemy, or falls into a pit or touches something hazardous, he dies and loses one life.

Thankfully, Keen can stun most enemies with his raygun, although some cannot be stunned at all, and some are only stunned for a few seconds. Keen also carries a pogo stick which allows him to jump very high. Other items to find include: ammo, gems that acts as keys to open locked doors, bonus items which give score, raindrops (100 raindrops give extra life) and the rare Lifewater Flask which gives an extra life.

Screenshots

Commander Keen 4: Secret of the Oracle DOS All hail the Slug Emperor! (CGA)
Commander Keen 4: Secret of the Oracle DOS The Story Page 1 (EGA)
Commander Keen 4: Secret of the Oracle DOS Tip of the pyramid (CGA)
Commander Keen 4: Secret of the Oracle DOS Jumping through trees! (EGA)

Alternate Titles

  • "Commander Keen IV: The Secret of the Oracle" -- Alternate title
  • "Commander Keen IV" -- Micro Star release title
  • "Commander Keen in ... "Goodbye, Galaxy!": Keen Episode Four - Secret of the Oracle" -- In-game title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Cool platformer for the PC? No sweat, oh guardian of wisdom! אולג 小奥 (168607) 4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars
What is the secret of the oracle, anyway? *Katakis* (37741) 4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars
Commander Keen: The Next Generation Zovni (9367) 4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars
Boing Ashley Pomeroy (233) unrated
Often considered best part of the series. It's my favorite Keen game. Rensch (203) 4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars
The new-look Commander Keen is a hit! Steve Hall (322) 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
Simply Excellent Sebastian Oliva (6) 4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars
The best platformer of all-time. xofdre (70) 4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars

The Press Says

Thunderbolt Games Oct 17, 2010 10 out of 10 100
Freegame.cz May 29, 2003 92 out of 100 92
Examiner Dec 10, 2013 4 out of 5 80
The DOS Spirit Dec 14, 2009 4 out of 6 67

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Trivia

Dopefish

Developer Tom Hall on the creating the infamous Dopefish (taken from the 3D Realms website):
"The Dopefish, upon reflection, is pretty much based on one of two little faces my brother, sister, and I would draw on everything. Except stuck on a fish. I guess they were sort of the emoticons of the seventies. And of course, he's inspired by the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. That's why they're the SECOND dumbest creature in the universe."

Eat Your Veggies

The song "Eat Your Veggies" in the Well of Wishes level actually was written for Commander Keen: Keen Dreams, but was removed from that game to save disk space. Explains the name, now, doesn't it?

Graphics

There was a special version released specifically for CGA, as the EGA/VGA version didn't support CGA.

OEM version

The game was bundled with the Gravis PC Gamepad

References

The opening sequence (with the words floating by each other) is a parody of the opening sequence of the movie The Terminator. When you select "Return to Demo" from the options screen, the story that's shown is an obvious parody of the Star Wars scrolling text opening sequence

Information also contributed by Itay Brenner, Jimmy Sherril, Kirschsaft, Roedie and Tony Gies

Related Web Sites

Tomer Gabel (4394) added Commander Keen 4: Secret of the Oracle (DOS) on Aug 15, 1999