Commander Keen Dreams

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Commander Keen: Keen Dreams was developed by iD Software and published by Softdisk. Often known as "Episode 3.5", the setting takes place between the Vorticon and Galaxy trilogies, where Keen must fight in a world inhabited by anthropomorphic vegetables and defeat the tyrannical King Boobus Tuber. It uses a less polished version of the Galaxy engine that includes one subtly-unique difference to get through levels a good deal faster in the speedrun. The lack of pogo makes this a lackluster episode compared to the rest of the Galaxy games, but is nevertheless a challenge to properly optimize.


In order to win the game, Keen must destroy Boobus Tuber, found in the level "Boobus's Chamber". Boobus Tuber can only be damaged with Boobus Bombs, scattered across the rest of the levels: it takes twelve bombs to destroy Boobus Tuber. Thus, routing this game is based on finding ways to gather the twelve Boobus Bombs as fast as possible.

Due to the key storage glitch (see below), it's also possible to carry keys from one level over to the next. This is used to get through the second gateway level, "Castle Tuberia", which requires two keys: one is collected quickly but the other takes a great deal of time to reach, and it has been determined faster to pick up a key elsewhere.

This game follows a route identical to the TAS, which can be found here. Theoretically it plays the same, although the randomness of enemy movement affects several areas of the run that can affect time significantly.

Possible Categories

The any% run is played on "Hard" difficulty. While there are no differences in ammo gained, enemy placement, gravity, or damage taken by Boobus Tuber, difficulty affects the time enemies are stunned (harder difficulties stun enemies for less). Since the first level's skip depends on stunning an enemy, playing on Hard minimizes the wait time on the stun, thereby making it the fastest.

100% run of this game would most simply be to complete all levels. Possibly, since there a maximum and countable number of Boobus Bombs, "all Boobus Bombs" could be another category (or just lumped into 100%).

Differences from Galaxy engine

Instead of the Neural Blaster, Keen uses "Flower Power", collected in the form of either individual pellets or a flower pot that holds five pellets. When an enemy is hit with Flower Power, they are stunned in place for a period of time (determined by difficulty: harder is shorter), temporarily changed into a flower. As such, no enemies in Keen Dreams can be outright defeated (though they can sometimes be moved off the level, see "Stun Drop").

This game features no pogo stick. This means any tricks or maneuvers involving the pogo stick are not a part of this run.

Keen cannot grab or climb ledges. In fact, should Keen barely miss a platform, he'll lose all of his horizontal momentum and fall straight down: this is important with regards to optimization.

There are some very subtle differences in how Keen moves and interacts with the terrain. It's difficult to describe them all, so be aware that the handling in this game will be different compared to the Galaxy games.


Death Exit

As opposed to the standard Galaxy engine's death procedure, Keen's death in this game is much simpler. As a result of this difference, however, any death occurring on the very left or right of the level border immediately clips Keen out-of-bounds and, therefore, the game ends the level. It is much more convenient than in Galaxy games, requiring no trip to the menu.

Key Storage

Dying with keys automatically removes them from Keen's inventory: exiting a level, however, ignores this removal and stores the keys instead, to be potentially used in a later level. This could be argued intentional, but considering that Boobus Bombs are more appropriately stored (only those collected in that level are lost if you die), key storage is far more likely unintended.

Stun Drop

If an enemy is on the exact edge of a platform when stunned, their new sprite positioning moves them off the platform entirely and they will fall. Potentially it can be used to remove enemies from a dangerous area, or out of the level entirely.

Short Jump

Under certain, currently-unknown conditions, Keen's jump will be shorter than normal. The only known incidence of this occurring is in Apple Acres when jumping to the bottom-left of the map, and is especially frustrating because the pole leading out of that area can only be reached from the ground with a maximum-height jump.

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