Review by Goodbye Galaxy

"Goodbye, Galaxy!"

I happen to be a bit of a Commander Keen fan. This installment is the fifth in the series, and the second in the “Goodbye Galaxy” saga. Goodbye Galaxy also happens to be my username...and it's definitely not a coincidence.

This game was built on the same engine used to make Keen 4. Apparently, it only took them like 2 months to make the entire game...not too shabby. The entire game takes place in the Omegamatic. This is the Armageddon Machine. The mysterious race known as the Shikadi built this device in order to destroy the galaxy (hence the title of the saga). Being an inhabitant of the galaxy, Billy Blaze, also known as Commander Keen, isn't too keen on letting that happen (wow, that was lame). So you board their Armageddon Machine, and you've got to work your way up towards the Quantum Explosion Dynamo...the heart of the Omegamatic, and the key to the destruction of the Milky Way.

The game is an old-school sidescrolling platformer. Keen is armed with his neural stunner, which can take out most enemies in one hit, and the ever-awesome pogo stick. The pogo stick is friggin sweet. I wish all games had pogo sticks.

Like all Keen games, the greatest feature it has to offer is the brilliant level designs, and excellent controls. Since the game is set in a giant space-station/galaxy-destroyer, the levels are of a sci-fi, industrial nature. Most levels are fairly non-linear, with many different paths. Scattered throughout the level are points, with many in hard to reach locations. Back when this game was released (in 1990 or something), it was common for games to have points for points sake. You don't see that at all these days, and I often wonder why.

The enemies you encounter are varied and interesting. Throughout the game you'll encounter fat black robots that try to ram into you; cute little purple robots that can't hurt you, but push you around; a few giant red robots named Robo Red that are invincible and will fire a swarm of lasers at you (your best bet is to run away). There are also the masters of the ship, the Shikadi. Encounters with them are rare, but challenging, as they are the only enemies in the game that require more than one hit to defeat. On top of that, they just look so damned cool.

The controls are fantastic. The levels often require precise jumping and timing, and this wouldn't be possible if the controls weren't spot-on. Luckily, they are. The graphics are very well done. Everything looks good, although since the game is set in a space station, you lose the variety in scenery. The sound effects and music are on the same level as Keen 4, which means that they're really good.

The worst thing about this game, however, is the cliffhanger ending! You finally realize who is behind all of this madness, and Keen sets out on “his biggest adventure ever.” And at the end, Keen himself promises a sequel...by Christmas ‘92. You're 14 years late Billy-boy. Granted, there was a Keen 6, but it was a separate storyline, and not as good. After the success of Doom, Id Software announced that they would not be making anymore Keen games. Goddammit.

The Good:
-Awesome level design
-Flawless controls
-POGO STICK!

The Bad:
-Cliffhanger ending


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 07/31/06


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