Commander Keen 5

Arcade 1991 Dos Apogee Side scrolling Hop and bop

Best in the series

The Commander Keen series is a far cry from the other games of developers id Software, who have such graphic delights as the Doom, Wolfenstein and Hexen series to their name. Rather than being an uber-violent and gory shooter, the series is cartoon-like set of platformers starring an eight year old boy who just happens to be a genius inventor with a super-hero alter-ego. Previous games have seen him travelling around space, fighting aliens and generally saving the universe and this tradition continues in the fifth instalment. This time it's the alien Shikadi who are out to destroy the unverse and it's up to Commander Keen to step up and destroy their mothership before they can carry out this heinous act. Gameplay is largely similar to previous games, with Keen making his way through a series of side scrolling platform-style levels, taking out bad guys and using his various gadgets to help him along the way. While there's nothing particularly new here, with elements of every platformer you've ever played on display, it does score a lot of points for simply being well done and this is probably the best in the series. The visuals, while not exactly stunning, are certainly full of personality, with bold use of colour and plenty of imagination in the level design, both graphically and in terms of their layout. Sound is slightly basic but suits the game's humorous mood and feel and adds much to its appeal. Although Commander Keen 5 lacks the polish, visual flash and stylish charm of bigger names like Mario, Sonic and Earthworm Jim, it makes up for with sheer fun and as this is ultimately what games are about, this is well worth checking out.

Save the galaxy once again

Each Commanded Keen game takes us on a splendid adventure and that is the reason why the series marked the eighties. This, second to last game is tightly connected to its predecessor and is a continuation from its story. After obtaining information from the Oracle in the past game, Keen is now on a journey to a space station that is nicknamed The Armageddon Machine. In this dangerous place our hero will once again find fearsome enemies, destroy monsters, find clues and, of course, save the world and the galaxy. The gameplay is the same as ever - Keen jumps around with his trademark pogo stick and destroys vicious robots by the dozens, all in the efforts to find the clues to destroy the station. The graphics and the gameplay controls are much unchanged, which was actually the intention of the developers - to merge the series together and make it seem like one big game. Armageddon Machine is as fun and entertaining as the rest of the series - players will thoroughly enjoy the interesting levels and the smart and strong opponents. These great elements successfully re-affirm the series as great fun for the whole family and a never-aging classic.

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