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    FAQ by BAmon

    Version: 0.3 | Updated: 02/19/95 | Printable Version | Search This Guide

    
    
    Commander Keen Stuff
    
    Archive-name: msdos/games/keen-faq
    Version: 0.3
    Last-modified:  19 February 1995
    
    Changes:
    2/9/94 - added topic 0
           - updated episode descriptions
    6/8/94 - repost
    8/21/94- post to alt.games.apogee
    2/19/95- minor changes
    
    Topics:
    
    0. Why have a Keen faq?
    1. Who is Commander Keen?
    2. What Commander Keen games have been issued?
    3. What are the background descriptions for each series?
    4. What is the difference between Apogee Software and Id Software?
    5. Where can I get shareware copies of Commander Keen games?
    6. What is anonymous ftp?
    7. How do I download a game?
    8. What does .zip mean and how do I install the game?
    9. Give me some hints, please.
    10. How do I enter the cheat mode?
    11. How do I register the shareware version?
    12. How do I obtain non-shareware edisodes?
    13. Where do I go for help?
    14. SPOILER Section
    
    =====================================================================
    0. Why have a Keen faq?
    
    I stumbled across Apogee/Id and their games in the past year, thanks
    to a neighbor of mine. I suspect that many other shareware-unaware
    people may also be out there. Hence, this faq to share the excitement
    I've received since discovering these great games. Yes, I know many
    of you may say that Keen is an old game, long played out. But I
    suspect that with the astronomical growth of the Internet, many
    newbies will start reading this newsgroup who were equally unaware
    as I was. Although I have been involved with various computers and
    the peculiarities of their software since 1962, I must admit that
    somehow I missed the entire shareware scene! True, I'm a recent PC
    convert (I bought my first one in 1991 after enjoying IBM and DEC
    mainframes at work and Macintoshes at home) and I have come to
    realize that PC's have great games (okay, maybe with the exception
    of such great oldies as Adventure on those good old PDP-11's - they
    required you to imagine - but that's another thread). So after all
    this rambling, I want to say that I have tried to assemble in one
    place hints and tricks I have discovered from reading the
    comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.* newsgroups and playing the games. I would
    also like to thank Id Software and Apogee for their hint sheets and
    catalog extracts. I hope that this faq reaches new converts to the
    shareware scene. Also, like most faq's, this one is "under
    construction." Please post recommended additions or comments on this
    faq to the comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.misc newsgroup. Use "keen" in
    the subject line and I will retrieve it for review and possible
    inclusion in subsequent versions.
    
    =====================================================================
    1. Who is Commander Keen?
    
    The following description is extracted from the Apogee catalog and
    other documentation that comes with the Commander Keen games.
    
    "Commander Keen is the alter ego of Billy Blaze, eight year-old kid
    genius who builds an interstellar ship when not working at home on
    his college fast-track degree.  Among other household objects, Billy
    uses his Nintendo joystick for flight control and his mom's vacuum
    cleaner (heavily modified) for his ship's ion propulsion system (with
    pile height adjustment).
    
    At the hint of galactic trouble, Billy dons his brother's football
    helmet and becomes "Commander Keen"Ddefender of Earth!  Ever on the
    side of justice, fairness, and high calorie junk food, Keen dispenses
    justice with an iron hand."
    
    =====================================================================
    2. What Commander Keen games have been issued?
    
    There have been four series of Keen games issued, with seven (7)
    missions or episodes. They are:
    
    First Series:  Invasion of the Vorticons
      Keen #1 - Marooned on Mars (12/90)
      Keen #2 - The Earth Explodes
      Keen #3 - Keen Must Die
    
    Second Series:  Goodbye Galaxy
      Keen #4 - Secret of the Oracle (12/91)
      Keen #5 - The Armageddon Machine (2/92)
    
    Special Edition Series:
      Keen #6 - Aliens ate my Babysitter! (11/91)
    
    "Lost Game Collection of Id Software" Series from Gamer's Edge:
      Keen Dreams (9/92)
    
    A very comprehensive explanation of the history of the Keen series
    is found in "The Official Apogee FAQ."  This was provided by Joe
    Siegler, the Apogee "netspokesman."
    =====================================================================
    3. What are the background descriptions for each series?
    
    INVASION OF THE VORTICONS:
    "Keen's first adventure takes you to Mars, where the Vorticon invasion
    force is planning their conquest of Earth.  While Keen is exploring
    Mars the Vorticons steal pieces of his ship and hide them within
    their cities.  Can Keen recover all the pieces and repel the Vorticon
    invasion?  You'll explore many dangerous cities, packed with
    diabolical traps and hideous creatures, both of Martian and Vorticon
    origin.  Use your pogo stick to reach high ledges and jump deadly
    pits, and use your ray gun to stun the Vorticon invaders. Can you
    find the secret city?
    
    EACH EPISODE HAS COMPLETELY UNIQUE GRAPHICS AND ANIMATION!  Episode one
    is located on the planet mars.  Episode two takes place on the immense
    Vorticon mothership, where you'll need to stop the destruction of
    Earth by disabling the eight deadly ray cannons aimed at Earth's
    greatest cities and wonders. Episode three takes Keen to the dangerous
    Vorticon home planet, where you'll explore huge caves, battle the top
    Vorticon ninja fighters and discover the secret of the Grand
    Intellect." [extracted from the Apogee catalog.exe dated 11-21-91]
    
    GOODBYE GALAXY:
    "In episode one, "Secret of the Oracle," Commander Keen rockets to an
    alien planet to rescue the Keepers of the Oracle, who are the only
    ones capable of helping Keen finding out more about the Shikadi. Who
    are the Shikadi and why are they planning to use our galaxy as target
    practice!" After completing the mission in episode one, Keen learns
    of the Shikadi's enormous ship, which doubles as the latest weapon
    ever built. So in episode two, titled "The Armageddon Machine," Keen
    faces his greatest challenge yet--to save the Galaxy!" [extracted
    from the Apogee catalog.exe dated 11-21-91]
    
    ALIENS ATE MY BABYSITTER:
    "In this episode, Billy is out in his clubhouse, busily working on
    his handy new ComputerWrist wrist computer. He hears Molly, his baby
    sitter, calling him to supper but he keeps on working. He hears a
    strange noise in the backyard and decides to investigate. On a patch
    of scorched grass he finds a note: 'Keen -- Thanks for dinner. -- The
    Bloogs of Fribbulus Xax. P.S. Next time get one with more meat,
    please.' He puzzles over this for a moment, then notices the baby
    sitter has stopped calling. Suddenly, he realizes that aliens are
    having her over for supper - and when they say 'for supper' they
    mean 'FOR SUPPER'! If he doesn't save her, his parents will be
    furious. They'll never believe that 'Aliens Ate My Baby Sitter!'
    'This is a job for commander Keen!' he declares. Once again, he dons
    his brother's football helmet, hops into the trusty Bean-with-Bacon
    Megarocket and starts the launch sequence for  Fribbulus Xax. He's
    got to save Molly from becoming a snack for creatures from another
    planet!" [extracted from FormGen Corporation and Id Software, Inc.
    instruction manual that comes with the game]
    
    KEEN DREAMS:
    "Only you can help Commander Keen overcome the killer vegetables which
    have conspired to "clean his plate" in KEEN DREAMS, the "lost
    episode" developed for GAMER'S EDGE by Keen's award-winning creators,
    ID Software. King Boobus Tuber and his Tater Troopers are ready to
    take you on in this choice Keen adventure!" [extracted from the
    file_id.diz file description for Keen Dreams]
    
    =====================================================================
    4. What is the difference between Apogee Software and Id Software?
    
    Joe Siegler (joe.siegler@swcbbs.com) of Apogee Software answered this
    question some time ago as follows:
    
    "Here. Read this. It's for people who get confused about the
    relationship between Apogee and Id Software.
    
    Apogee and Id Software are two completely different companies. Here
    is an explanation as to the two of them.
    
    Apogee Software writes and distributes software. We have published a
    total of 28 games over our history up until the writing of this text,
    and of those, only 4 have not actually been written by Apogee. Three
    are Id games (Keen Vorticons, Keen Galaxy, & Wolf3D). The other is
    the current Halloween Harry by SubZero Software in Australia.
    
    Id Software writes software, and up until Doom, has never published
    anything themselves. Id has published through a few companies, and
    Apogee is one of them. They wrote the Keen Vorticons and Keen Galaxy
    series as well as Wolfenstein 3-D. These are distributed by Apogee.
    Some earlier Id efforts such as Catacombs Abyss are distributed
    through Softdisk. Id's two commercial games, Aliens Ate My
    Babysitter (Keen6), and Spear of Destiny are published through
    FormGen. These two are quite frequently assumed to be Apogee games,
    but they are not. Check them, the name Apogee does not appear in
    there. More confusion gets added when I say that Apogee RESELLS
    Keen6 and Spear, but they aren't our games. We only sell them.
    
    Now, with Doom, Id is going to be publishing on their own from now
    on. Apogee and Id are two completely seperate entities. Apogee
    doesn't own Id, nor does Id own Apogee or anything like that.
    
    There has also been no "big divorce", or "big feud" or something
    along those lines. The Id guys and the Apogee guys are all really
    good friends, and in fact, we all get together for lunch, and shoot
    pool up at the Id offices. There is no big fallout, or anything of
    the sort. In fact, 3 games that Apogee is currently working on have
    some sort of Id Software code in them, so there is no real big
    'breakup'. (These games won't all be released until the fall of
    1994)."
    
    =====================================================================
    5. Where can I get shareware copies of Commander Keen games?
    
    Only three of the seven episodes of Commander Keen are available as
    shareware:
      Keen #1 ("Marooned on Mars")
      Keen #4 ("Secret of the Oracle")
      Keen Dreams
    
    There are many anonymous ftp servers on the Internet that mirror
    the Commander Keen games (as well as several other excellent games
    such as Halloween Harry, Duke Nukum, Cosmo's Cosmic Adventures, and
    Doom).  Here are a few good ftp servers, with directory paths to
    Commander Keen, in the United States:
    
      ftp.uml.edu
        /msdos/Games/Misc/keendm01.zip (Keen Dreams)
        /msdos/Games/Apogee/1keen.zip        Size: 209754
            Commander Keen, Part 1 - "Invasion of the Vorticons". Requires EGA,
            530k. Supports joystick.
                         /4keen.zip         Size: 648640
            Commander Keen part 4, "Secret of the Oracle", the first of two
            parts to "Goodbye, Galaxy!". The other is commercial. Requires EGA,
            supports Adlib/SB, joystick.
    
      ftp.uwp.edu
        /pub/msdos/Games/Apogee
                         /1keen.zip
                         /4keen.zip
    
    =====================================================================
    6. What is anonymous ftp?
    
    The file transfer protocol (ftp), a part of the application layer
    of the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), is
    the most common method of moving files around on the Internet. As a
    courtesy to all users, many server sites allow access to controlled
    portions of their hosts without prior arrangement to establish an
    account and a password. This general access, when used to transfer
    files, is termed "anonymous ftp." Typically, you issue the ftp
    command on your Internet host (e.g., ftp ftp.uml.edu) and, when
    prompted to login, you enter "anonymous." Internet convention
    ("netiquette") usually calls for you to enter your e-mail name as the
    password to provide statistics for usage tracking by the server site
    administrator. Upon completion of login, you should read whatever
    "readme's" are indicated in the welcome message. You may then
    navigate through the authorized directories using the change
    directory command (cd). Use the directory listing command (dir) to
    view accessible files. Use the get and put commands to receive or
    submit files. Ftp will then transfer the specified file to or from
    your own host system.
    
    =====================================================================
    7. How do I download a game?
    
    Following transfer of a game to your host, the next step is to
    download it to your home computer. Several protocols can be used to
    accomplish this. Your communications software most likely supports
    the more common protocols such as xmodem, ymodem, zmodem, and
    Kermit. Use the protocol supported by both your communications
    software and your Internet host. Here is an example using xmodem to
    transfer a game from a UNIX host to a PC running Procomm Plus:
    
    on UNIX host
      % xmodem -sbk 4keen.zip  [this instructs the host to send a binary
                                file using xmodem protocol and 1K packets]
    
    on PC
      <page down>              [this brings up the file transfer menu]
      o                        [this selects xmodem 1K packets]
      c:\keen\4keen.zip        [this points to the directory into which
                                the file, 4KEEN.ZIP, will be transferred]
    
    The next step, after logging off your Internet host, is to
    uncompress the game. Note that the .zip file extension indicates that
    the game is compressed using a utility available from PKWARE. To
    expand the game into its full distribution, you must use the
    shareware program, PKUNZIP, as follows:
    
      >pkunzip 4keen
    
    You will see several files displayed as they are "inflated." If no
    errors are displayed, copy the .zip file to a floppy diskette and
    delete it from the hard disk to conserve disk space. Read the
    documentation files and information on registering the shareware
    version.
    
    =====================================================================
    8. What does .zip mean and how do I install the game?
    
    The shareware versions of the Keen games are archived in compressed
    form. The file extension .zip indicates that the compression format
    used is from the PK company. To uncompress the game, you must run
    the PKUNZIP utility. The entire distribution is archived in the
    self-expanding archive program PKZ204G.EXE. This is also a compressed
    form; however, the .EXE extension indicates that you merely execute
    this archive and it automatically uncompresses. Following that, you
    will see several files, including the PKUNZIP.EXE utility as well as
    information for registering (and paying for) this excellent set of
    programs.
    
    =====================================================================
    9. Give me some hints, please.
    
    KEEN #4:
    - Level 1 has 7 free Keens
    - At the Pyramid of the Moons, you can get to the top on the outside
    - At the top of the Cave of the Descendents, there is a hidden area
    - Princess Lindsey appears twice
    - A slug in the Chasm of Chills holds a secret
    - In Hillville, there is "stuff" hidden
    - In Miragia is a free Keen
    - In the Pyramid of the Ancients is a free Keen
    - On the Isle of Fire is a free Keen
    - In the Pyramid of Shadows are 7 free Keens
    - You can get to the secret pyramid with something in the Pyramid of
      the Moons (see the spoiler section)
    - Dopefish will eat the small schoolfish that follow you
    - Push the <CTRL> key to swim faster
    - Jump on skypests with your pogo stick to squash them
    - Only shoot mimrocks when they are jumping at you
    - Mad Mushrooms leap higher on the third bounce
    - Stand on the little moon on the floor in the Pyramid of the Moons
      for an interesting display
    - In the tunnel under the houses of the first village by the lava
      pool there is a hidden gap (revealed by the F10 J cheat) you can
      jump through (with the F10 J cheat) to get 9 free Keens. Note you
      can also enter the gap without cheating. Pogo into the gap using an
      extended jump (pogo then jump quickly to get the maximum height).
      When just below the gap, pogo again and push left to enter the
      special area.
    
    KEEN #5
    - Level 1 has 9 free Keens
    - Level designers Tom Hall and John Romero have hidden their names in
      two of the levels
    - Near the start of Defense Tunnel Sorra are 30,000 hidden points
    - Pogo on the fuses to break them
    - The Gravitational Damping Hub contains the way to the secret level.
      Look down and translate the message.
    - Find someone or something to destroy the QED.
    - Duck under Slicestars and Volte-faces but not Robo Red.
    - You can stand right next to Robo Red and not get shot.
    
    =====================================================================
    10. How do I enter the cheat mode?
    
    The cheat mode is also known as the debugging mode. It is typically
    used by software designers to assist during a game's final testing
    phase. The code is often left in when the program goes to full scale
    production (e.g., Microsoft programmers have left some personal
    touches in Windows to display the programming team and show a
    cartoon destroying IBM).
    
    In the Invasion of the Vorticon series (Keen #1 - #3), press C, T
    and SPACE simultaneously. You will receive the pogo stick, all key
    cards, and lots of ray gun charges. While at the map level, pressing
    SHIFT and TAB will allow you to bypass a city. Press G, O, and D
    simultaneously to get the jump cheat. This is an early implementation
    of the more complete debug mode found in the next Keen series.
    
    In the Goodbye Galaxy series (Keen #4 and #5), press B, A, and T
    simultaneously to enter the cheat mode. This gives you additional
    shots, gems, and an extra life.
    
    Also in Goodbye Galaxy, push A 2 ENTER at the same time to enter the
    debugging mode (used during beta testing). Then the following codes
    can be used to cheat or gather information (hold down F10 and push
    the letter key):
      B - Set border color (1-15)
      C - Number of active/inactive objects in the level
      D - Record a demo
      E - End or finish the current level
      G - God mode (you can't die)
      I - Free items (add 3000 points and 99 shots)
      J - Jump mode (you can fly anywhere)
      M - Memory usage display
      N - No clipping (fall through ground)
      S - Slow motion
      T - Sprite test display
      V - Add 0-8 VBLs
      W - Warp to any level
      Y - Reveal hidden areas (shown in normal color)
    
    Note that several of the above codes also work in Keen Dreams and
    Aliens Ate My Babysitter (particularly the God and jump modes).
    
    =====================================================================
    11. How do I register the shareware version?
    
    The readme documentation that comes with the games provides details
    for registering the game.
    
    =====================================================================
    12. How do I obtain non-shareware edisodes?
    
    The simplest way is to call Apogee at 1-800-GAME-123 (1-800-426-3123)
    to order any of their games. Current pricing is as follows:
    
      Invasion of the Vorticons series $29.95
      Goodbye Galaxy series            $34.95
      Aliens Ate My Baby Sitter        $34.95
    
    I've seen Aliens Ate My Baby Sitter at Microcenter packaged just like
    the other commercial games.
    
    =====================================================================
    13. Where do I go for help?
    
    Apogee used to maintain a help line for registered players. With the
    establishment of their Bulletin Board System (BBS), this requirement
    is no longer as critical. As of December 1993, the Apogee BBS had 83
    nodes, with plans to increase the number of lines to over 100! They
    are running PCBOARD 15 over a Novell v4.0 10 base T network. Storage
    capacity is 8GB. Contact them by modem as follows:
    
      508-365-2359 (2400 baud)
      508-368-7036 (V.32bis or 9600-14.4K)
      508-368-4137 (HST/DS or 14.4K-16.8K)
    
    =====================================================================
    14. SPOILER Section
    
    KEEN #4
      To get to the secret pyramid (the one with the hand on it), go in
      the Pyramid of the Moons. Take the yellow diamond and go down. Use
      the diamond on the second yellow keyhole. Assemble 12 of the little
      yellow worms in one place. They will turn into a giant foot. Jump
      on the foot to go to the secret pyramid.
    
      You can not get to the raindrops and lifewater flasks floating over
      the underground river in Lifewater Oasis (it's just a tease).
    
      In the Pyramid of the Moons, stand on the moon drawing on the floor
      in the upper right portion of the game level. Wait for a while -
      Keen will "moon" you.
    
    =====================================================================
    This is a very modest update to the FAQ. I hope some of you new Keen
    gamers will contribute to expanding this FAQ. If you have any
    additions, please send them to me at my e-mail address (below) since
    I do not often keep up with my NewsGroups before the 1 week TTD (time
    to die) expires.
    
    --
    Bill Amon
    The MITRE Corporation
    wamon@mitre.org