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.