Commander Keen Episode I: Marooned on Mars
Review by Tim the Game Guy
"Marooned because you forgot to LOCK YOUR SHIP UP!"
Commander Keen 1: Marooned on Mars, made by Apogee and ID in 1985 or 86.
What a geniually old game! I remember getting this when we had it on a 1.44 MB floppy disk along with games like Miner and Lawnmower. When I played this game, it was something else.
First of all, there was no music. None at all. No worries about the Soundcard when this game was made. We had to use the PC Speaker. One channel only. One sound. That's all.
The sound effects were okay in this game. Keen made a ''clong-clong'' sound as he moved and the ''bump'' sound when hitting the wall and the ''choom'' of the laser gun when you fired it and the other various sound effects were generated when the speaker needed to. Not the greatest, but not the worst, either. (6/10)
The controls could have been better. Keen jumped around and pogo'ed when he got the pogo-stick. That's what interesting about this game. He just got the pogo stick in this game. Isn't that fun? I always liked the pogo stick in these games. They help you bounce around and such. The one thing I didn't like about this game is that you had to hit both the jump and the pogo button to fire your gun. Even if you did, only two enemies get affected in this game. You still needed one charge to beat the game, but that's it. It was sort of unfair, to me. (7/10)
And the fact is that the kid is a genius. He built the Bean-with-Bacon Megarocket out of cans and plastic rubber. Not only that, he uses a joystick to control the contraption. He uses the vaccum cleaner to fly the contraption. He uses a battery to power the contraption. He even uses his Dad's liquor to fuel the rocket. What a kid! Unfortunately, while exploring Mars, his parts were stolen and now he needs to get them back. Lock up the ship next time, kid! Geez, all the brains in the universe, and he forgets to lock his vehicle. (7/10)
Unlike today's 24-bit color possibilities, this game used only 16 colors. And the graphics didn't look half bad. The problem is, that they were not half good either. They were just okay. In the middle. (6/10)
This is just a ''slick, happy'' fun kind of game. Back before everything had to be dignified with grand visuals and sickeningly realistic graphics, this game was made to be funny. And it was. Not the laugh-out-loud kind of funny, just funny. It's goofy and slap-stick fun, not the kind found in today's games. (9/10)
This game was distributed as Shareware. Shareware is hardly used anymore. Now it's ''demos'' or ''trailers''. Shareware is how games used to get around people. What's interesting about Shareware is that the idea is that eventually the game would be sent to this one person. He would buy the game and asked others to buy it. Of course, he told them they had to buy it from him. The sad thing is that the practice is still done today.
The overall score for this fine game of strange vintage is 7 out of 10.
You should get this game if the thing you are looking for is a fun, small little game to lose a couple of hours to. I don't recommend this to anyone who feels that the games have to be a visual sweet candy for the eyes.
The fact is these kinds of games are the one I will miss most. Nothing says ''goofy'' fun better than a game that can make fun of itself.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 06/24/03, Updated 06/24/03
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