Commander Keen: Marooned on Mars is the first of three episodes in the ‘Invasion of the Vorticons’ trilogy. The game was published by Apogee Software and developed by Id software, and released for DOS on December 17th, 1990. The plot follows Billy Blaze (aka Commander Keen) as he explores Mars (for who knows what reason), but returns to find his ship sabotaged, and the parts stolen. Keen has to retrieve the parts back from the Vorticons (why the Vorticons are on Mars is unclear). But is the game worth playing, or should the game be marooned on Mars?
Graphics-On the plus side, the graphics look decent. The characters look fine, Commander Keen himself looks good (although he does look like a cookie cutout), and the levels look okay. The negative side is that you’re going to be seeing the same backgrounds (with slightly different layouts) at each level, making for some repetitive designs.
Sound-The sound is absent, due to sound produced by internal speakers.
Gameplay-Simplicity best explains the gameplay. The game is easy to pick up and play, and doesn’t take long to master. The combat mechanic is more strategic than in later episodes, as ray guns are far and few. You get an extra life after every 20,000 points, and the pogo stick makes reaching higher places easier.
Logic-There seems to be a few problems with logic in this game. For starters, how is Commander Keen surviving on Mars? A football helmet wouldn’t be enough to help him out, as the atmosphere on Mars would kill Commander Keen in under a minute. Another problem is how can Commander Keen jump at a normal height if there’s less gravity on Mars? If that’s the case, why need a pogo stick?
Overall-With some logic problems, but great gameplay, Commander Keen: Marooned on Mars is a good start to the series to come.
You can get Commander Keen from the following sites:
3drealms: Click here.
Steam: Click here.
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