Keen 4 Versions

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This page lists the known versions of Keen 4 and any differences discovered between the versions.

Keen 4 is special in the case that a version of the game was released for promotional purposes when the game was still a good deal away from completion. And like Keen 1, there were also a few publisher specific versions developed of this game. The actual updates to the game had some quite minor bugs fixed. The exception is version 1.1 where the bug with gems not getting properly saved was fixed, the bug which in the worst case scenario could cause you to get stuck in a level.

Full versions

Title screen from the CGA version of Keen 4

Version 1.0

Version 1.1

New features:

  • The game now looks for EGA1.CK4 and EGA2.CK4 and combines them into EGAGRAPH.CK4 if the file is not already present (EGA)

Fixed bugs:

  • Gems now get properly saved and restored

Version 1.2

  • Released December 18, 1991[3]
  • Distributed by Apogee Software
  • Versions available:

New features:

  • New command line parameter /NOPAN, which disables panning of EGA registers, added (EGA)

General changes:

  • The help menu key legend is now present on all pages
  • The first demo has been rerecorded
  • "About Id" help section layout has changed slightly
  • "ComputerWrist" section information regarding the main menu has had the enter button graphic relocated
  • "Order Info" section now has a new page which has some teaser screenshots from "The Armageddon Machine"
  • "Order Info" section now has a new page which has some teaser screenshots from "Aliens Ate My Baby Sitter!"
  • Includes a new thin line graphic used in the story text screen of Keen 5

Graphical changes:

  • The text screens now have a border surrounding the screen
  • The help menu page number is now surrounded by a border
  • The help menu key legend has been completely changed and relocated
  • The flashing arrow that appears in the winning screen is thinner
  • The text screens now have a new coloring scheme (EGA)
  • The help menu main logo now has an extra gray border surrounding it inside the black one (EGA)
  • The help menu end of text logo now has an extra gray border surrounding it inside the black one (EGA)

Text changes:

  • Jason Blochowiak has been removed from the high scores and Mitzi (John Carmack's cat) has been added to the bottom
  • The key legend on the bottom of the main menu now includes the fact that pressing F1 opens up the help menu
  • "ComputerWrist" section now has the "Quiet" part of the Adlib option written in non-capital letters
  • "ComputerWrist" section no longer explains why the Quiet Adlib/Sound Blaster setting is available
  • "About Id" section now simply says "Soundtrack composed by Robert Prince" instead of having his name under yet another sub title
  • "Order Info" section text now simply tells one to refer to "Ordering Around the World" in regards to foreign orders
  • "Order Info" section text now mentions just one number for the Software Creations BBS
  • "Order Info" section contact information for Precision Software Applications has been updated

New bugs:

  • "ComputerWrist" section text claims the start command is KEEN5
  • "ComputerWrist" section text claims the episode is called "The Armageddon Machine"
  • "Order Info" section text page numbers to refer to for information regarding "Aliens Ate My Baby Sitter!" have not been updated to compensate for the added pages
  • Titles in text screens are now also written in black text (CGA)
  • "The Game" section Shikadi Soda graphic still has some gray pixels in it (EGA)
  • "The Game" section Shikkers Candy Bar graphic has one miscolored pixel (EGA)
  • "The Game" section Lifewater Flask graphic still has some gray pixels in it (EGA)

Version 1.4

New features:

  • Added Gravis Gamepad support
  • New command line parameter /JOYPAD added
  • Added "Fix jerky motion" menu option under the Configure/Options menu to make movement smoother on certain computers (EGA)
  • New command line parameter /JERK, which enables the jerky motion fix, added (EGA)

General changes:

  • Improved sound card detection
  • The options in the options menu have been reorganized (EGA)
  • Now includes the sprite substitution tile graphics used by TED (EGA)

Graphical changes:

  • The sleeping worm graphic is slightly different (CGA)

Text changes:

  • Mitzi has been removed from the high scores and Jason Blochowiak has been added back to the top
  • The mention that pressing F1 opens up the help menu has been removed from the key legend on the bottom of the main menu
  • "ComputerWrist" section text regarding options has a paragraph regarding "Fix Jerky Motion" added and the paragraphs have been reorganized according to the order they now appear in the options
  • "ComputerWrist" section now has a new page regarding Gravis Gamepad support
  • "ComputerWrist" section text has been updated to add the /JERK command line parameter to enable the jerky motion fix

Fixed bugs:

  • "ComputerWrist" section text no longer claims the start command is KEEN5
  • "ComputerWrist" section text no longer claims the episode is called "The Armageddon Machine"

Miscellaneous:

  • Copyright date on the initializing screen has been updated to 1992

Version 1.4 (FormGen Corporation)

General changes:

  • Order info section cut down to just three pages with only FormGen Corporation listed as a company to order the game from

Miscellaneous:

  • Both the EGA and the CGA version of the game is available in the same distribution
  • The main game .EXE files (both EGA and CGA) have been renamed to KEEN4.EXE
  • The exit screen is completely different and it tells you how to order The Armageddon Machine directly from FormGen

Version 1.4 (GT Interactive Software)

General changes:

  • "Order info" section removed

Graphical changes:

  • The "Distributed by Apogee" text has removed been removed from the title screen

Text changes:

  • "About Id" section updated
  • The high scores list has been changed, a year is no longer mentioned and Jason Blochowiak has been removed; instead Kevin Cloud, Shawn Green and Jay Wilbur have been added

Miscellaneous:

  • A line promoting GT Interactive Software has been added to the bottom of the initializing screen
  • The exit screen is based on the one used in version 1.4
  • The exit screen no longer mentions Commander Keen: Invasion of the Vorticons
  • The exit screen no longer includes ordering information
  • The initializing message on the bottom of the screen has changed from "Initializing...Please Wait" to "Initializing...please wait"

Demo versions

The explanatory screen that appears when attempting to enter levels not available in the Keen 4 special demo version

Special Demo Version

  • Released October 9, 1991[7]
  • Distributed by FormGen Corporation as part of a Keen 6 promotional package
  • EGA version only – download (526 kB)

Changes compared to version 1.0

General differences:

  • Only six levels are available (Border Village, Slug Village, Hillville, Lifewater Oasis, Pyramid of Shadows and the Bean-with-Bacon Megarocket)
  • When trying to enter an unavailable level, an explanatory screen appears
  • Pressing a key during the introduction will take you straight to the control panel instead of the title screen
  • Joystick options can be altered even if a joystick has not been detected
  • Some textual differences in the ComputerWrist section in the help screen
  • Does not require you to use A+2+Enter to activate the debug cheats

Graphical differences:

  • The main control panel screen lacks the writing on the bottom informing of the help screen that is available by pressing F1
  • The "Distributed by Apogee" text does not appear on the title screen

Audio differences:

  • Different music on the world map
  • Collecting a Lifewater Flask does not trigger the 1-UP sound, instead using the same sound as when collecting any normal point

Engine differences:

  • Uses a lot more files than the actual release as many of the files have yet to be merged into the game EXE

Level design differences:

Bugs:

  • The Paddle War minigame does not have a speed limit, making the game unplayable on faster computers
  • The F10+P cheat that is supposed to pause the game triggers the 1-UP sound and freezes game

Missing features:

  • No music is played in the levels
  • The quiet AdLib/SoundBlaster sound effects option is unavailable
  • The firing button cannot be changed
  • There's no order info section available in the help screen
  • The E+N+D cheat has not yet been implemented
  • The B+A+T cheat has not yet been implemented
  • The F10+Y debugging cheat has not yet been implemented

Miscellaneous:

  • There's a line on top of the initializing screen informing that this is the special demo version
  • The episode name is not mentioned in the initializing screen
  • EGA and VGA video modes are listed separately at initializing screen
  • No version number is displayed at the usual place in the initializing screen
  • Incomplete OASIS.IMF can be found from the files
  • The main game EXE is called KEEN.EXE
  • KEEN.EXE is compressed using PKLite instead of LZEXE

References

  1. As per the last-modified date of the installer files
  2. As per the last-modified date of the installer files
  3. As per the last-modified date of included Apogee product catalog
  4. As per the last-modified date of #1GALAXY.ZIP from http://cd.textfiles.com/nightowl/nopv08/033A/ALL_APG.ZIP
  5. As per the last-modified date of the game files
  6. As per the last-modified date of the installer files
  7. As per the last-modified date of the game files