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Commander Keen 1: Marooned on Mars DOS Main Menu


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Billy "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 1: Marooned on Mars DOS The entrance of another weird Martian city
Commander Keen 1: Marooned on Mars DOS Story
Commander Keen 1: Marooned on Mars DOS Find gun
Commander Keen 1: Marooned on Mars DOS Keen frying a Garg

Promo Images

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Alternate Titles

  • "Commander Keen: "Invasion of the Vorticons" - Episode One: Marooned on Mars" -- In-game title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

The first game in a great series Katakis | カタキス (42876) 3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars
Who said side-scrolling platform games were not possible on PC's?! Rensch (216) 3.75 Stars3.75 Stars3.75 Stars3.75 Stars3.75 Stars
One of the first scrolling platform games for our beloved PC Xa4 (310) unrated
A definitive shareware classic. Zovni (10627) 4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars
Console-quality graphics and gameplay on a regular PC! Trixter (9115) 3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars3.25 Stars
Over-rated platform game that suffered in comparison to concurrent games on other platforms. Robert Morgan (1059) 1.75 Stars1.75 Stars1.75 Stars1.75 Stars1.75 Stars
The first Keen game Steve Hall (348) 3.75 Stars3.75 Stars3.75 Stars3.75 Stars3.75 Stars
A Definative Platformer. Definitely one of the Best of All Time Plix (204) 4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars

Critic Reviews

Examiner Dec 03, 2013 5 out of 5 100
Abandonia Reloaded Feb 23, 2008 4.6 out of 5 92
Christ Centered Gamer / Christ Centered Game Reviews Jun 01, 2005 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
The Retro Spirit Dec 05, 2006 3 out of 6 50


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Tom 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.


There are some level packs and even mods (files changing the graphics in the games) circulating for this game.


Throughout 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.


The 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.


Marooned 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

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Tomer Gabel (4634) added Commander Keen 1: Marooned on Mars (DOS) on Aug 14, 1999
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