Keen 1 Versions

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This page lists the known versions of Keen 1: Marooned on Mars and any differences discovered between the versions.

Keen 1 has quite a diverse version history, partly because of the publisher-specific versions. These versions were most likely produced because, at this point id Software was not that big of a name yet in the market and any opportunity to get some cheap or free advertising was jumped right into.

Full versions

Version 1.1

Version 1.3

Removed features:

  • /LEVEL command-line parameter removed (read the level number stored in TEDLEVEL.CK1, loaded this level and then quit the game when the level was finished)

General changes:

  • The in-game ordering information now tells you to specify your disk size when placing an order

Fixed bugs:

New bugs:

  • Running the game without an EGA or VGA compatible card will hang the computer

Version 1.31

New features:

  • New command-line parameter /K, which prevents keystrokes from being passed to the BIOS, fixing problems with beeping keyboards

New bugs:

  • The compile date falsely specifies the game as being compiled in 1990


  • Compile date added after version number at start-up
  • Note added about graphics being decompressed at start-up

Version 1.32

The contents of the mysterious PREVIEW1.CK1 file included in version 1.32 of the game.

General changes:

  • The in-game ordering information now displays the ordering price as $20
  • The bullet in the in-game ordering information telling you about getting free bonus games has been replaced to remind one to mention the special Gravis deal when ordering

Graphical changes:

  • Added text "COPYRIGHT (C) 1990 ID SOFTWARE" to the bottom of the title screen

Fixed bugs:

  • The compile date is now correct


  • Clears screen at start-up
  • Displays a splash screen before loading the game telling you how to get a 30% discount when ordering
  • Includes an extra unused file, PREVIEW1.CK1, which contains a picture of Keen 1
  • All files (except for FINALE.CK1) now have their original modify dates

Version 1.34

General changes:

  • Information about "Fight for Justice" removed from previews section
  • Ordering information section removed from main menu
  • Ordering instructions removed from the text that appears after winning the game
  • The "About Id..." section text has been updated
  • Added information about Commander Keen: Goodbye, Galaxy! to previews section

Graphical changes:

  • The text on the title screen has been changed to "COPYRIGHT (C) 1990 Id Software"
  • The About ID section id Software logo has been changed to be written as "Id"
  • The start-up id Software logo has been changed to be written as "Id"

Engine changes:

  • EGAHEAD.CK1 format slightly different


  • Discount splash screen removed
  • Initial loading text now has a cyan background
  • After quitting the game, instructions on how to order from Precision Software Applications are listed
  • KEEN1.EXE is now compressed using PKLite instead of LZEXE
  • PREVIEW1.CK1 is no longer included
  • FINALE.CK1 now also has its original modify date

Beta versions

November Beta

Removed cutscene from November Beta

Changes compared to version 1.1

Gameplay differences:

  • The story screen features a short cutscene with a Vorticon Guard stealing the vital ship parts
  • Keen will slide off tiles if stopping close to an edge

General differences:

  • The text boxes that appear when approaching a Yorp statue are narrower
  • The introduction sequence makes no mention of id Software
  • The Tank Robot's shots are lower (about level with Keen's) than its gun is positioned. Consequently, this allows the Robot in the underground area in the Vorticon Commander's Castle to shoot the Gargs in their adjoining stables.
  • You will not get a high scores entry if quitting to the title screen from the world map
  • The message that appears after saving a game reminding you that you can continue later does not appear
  • The level skipping cheat only requires you to press Tab to work

Engine differences:

  • The save file format is slightly different

Level design differences:


  • The Yorp statue message in Fifth Red Rock Shrine clips the text box
  • Tank Robots will run off platforms and fall down if forced to turn in areas with just one block of free space next to them (e.g. in Ice City and Secret City)
  • You can get pushed out of the level boundaries by a Yorp in Fifth Red Rock Shrine due to bugs in level design

Missing features:

  • Game is not winnable — screen turns black when you collect all the collectibles, but the game resumes once you press a button
  • There is no previews section in the menu
  • No god mode cheat code
  • F8 screenshot function not implemented


  • No version number is displayed at start-up
  • The game does not report whether it has detected that you have a VGA or EGA card or a joystick
  • The error message that is printed if you do not have a compatible card is different and it does not allow you to force to start the game
  • The ordering information screen that appears after quitting the game has a slightly different layout
  • KEEN1.EXE is uncompressed

Note: The graphic and help text files of the November Beta are not available and are therefore taken from the December Beta

December Beta

Changes compared to version 1.1

General differences:

  • Earlier preview shots of Keen 2 and Keen 3
  • God mode does not allow walking through solid tiles on the world map
  • Pressing F8 takes a screenshot of the game and does not corrupt the game

Graphical differences:

  • Some jumping frames of the Vorticon Guard are slightly different


  • Grammatical errors and erroneous information in the help text


  • No version number is displayed at start-up

Note: This version is also known as version 1.0 because an official 1.0 was never released and the compile date fits well in


  1. Release date of Keen: Vorticons v1.0 from
  2. As per the last-modified date of the game files
  3. Release date of Keen: Vorticons v1.31 from
  4. Date listed on initializing screen
  5. As per the last-modified date of the game files
  6. As per the last-modified date of the game files