Vorticon VI is the planet where Keen 3 takes place. It is presumably named after their largest group of inhabitants, the Vorticons. The "VI" suggests that there are at least five other planets in the Vorticon system closer to its star (similar to Earth being known as Sol III).
The planet itself is unusual: it has a big North polar cap, but the South one is considerably smaller, suggesting a higher axial tilt than Earth's. The planet has five major land masses, and the Keen 3 story hints that the "far side" of Vorticon contains nothing but ocean. Its atmosphere and gravity seem to be similar to those of Earth. The soil of the planet has a distinct purplish coloration.
The levels in Keen 3 are spread across the different continents of Vorticon VI. The first four levels are on the island of Vortiville. The next four levels, 5 to 8, are collectively refered in the game's story as New Vorticon, so the second island may be called thusly, after its main city. Levels 9 to 12 and level 14 are together on one landmass, and are collectively referred to as the Vorticon Military Installation. Level 13 is on an island on its own (the Secret Island), and levels 15 and 16 are on the final island, the Island of the Grand Intellect.
For a list of the levels, see Keen 3 Levels.
It is worth noting that the only two required levels in the game are the Caves of Oblivion and the Castle of the Grand Intellect, located in the Island of the Grand Intellect. As most of the other levels are optional, Keen has two paths he can take to reach the final island: finish two levels, Lower Vortiville and New Vorticon, or just one level, Valden Park. After following either path, the Island of the Grand Intellect can be reached using the right sequence of teleporters. Therefore, using the shortest path, only three levels need to be finished to complete the game, leaving 13 optional levels! This is the only episode in the entire series with so few compulsory levels.
Islands, areas and teleporters
There are five known islands in Vorticon VI, each of them containing isolated "areas", separated by mountains and connected by a vast network of teleporters. The following is a description of the areas and the teleporter network. See the image on the right for a graphical view of the teleporter network.
The first island, where Keen lands his ship, is called "Island of Vortiville" in the game's story. It is divided into two areas, which may be called the Lower Vortiville and Upper Vortiville areas. Keen lands in the Lower Vortiville area where there are two levels, each of them near a teleporter: Vortiville (which may be avoided to get to the teleporter, Teleporter 1), and Lower Vortiville (which must be finished to get to its teleporter, Teleporter 2.) Teleporter 1 leads to a teleporter in the Upper Vortiville area, Teleporter 3, which if used leads back to Teleporter 1. In the Upper Vortiville area there are two levels: West Vortiville, which is optional, and Valden Park, which is protecting the second teleporter in that area, Teleporter 4.
Teleporter 2 leads to another island, the Main area of the New Vorticon Island, to Teleporter 5; when used, Teleporter 5 leads Keen back to Teleporter 2. Teleporter 4 leads to the Suburbs area in the New Vorticon Island, to Teleporter 7, which when used does not lead Keen back to Teleporter 4, but to Teleporter 3 in the same Upper Vortiville area (this is where the teleporters start to get confusing).
The second island Keen can reach, may be called "New Vorticon Island", as the game's story mentions it that way, and as the main level there is New Vorticon. It is separated in three areas: the Main area, the Suburbs area, and the Teleporter Plains. The Main area is where New Vorticon is located, where Keen arrives on Teleporter 5, and which is protecting another teleporter, Teleporter 6. Teleporter 6 takes Keen to the Teleporter Plains, to Teleporter 10.
In the Suburbs area, there are three small towns and three teleporters. The levels are Hal's Kitchen, Beens and The Bonks; all of them are optional. The three teleporters are Teleporter 7, 8 and 9: Teleporter 7 is the lowest one, Teleporter 8 is the west one, and Teleporter 9 is the east one. Teleporter 7 has already been explained. Teleporter 8 leads Keen back to Vortiville Island, to Teleporter 4. Teleporter 9 leads keen to the Telporter Plains area, to Teleporter 12 there.
The Teleporter Plains area is a small area in New Vorticon Island which only has three teleporters: 10 (the lower one), 11 (the west one) and 12 (the east one). Teleporter 10, when used, leads Keen to Teleporter 8 in the Suburbs area. The other two teleporters lead Keen to another island, the Military Installation Island: Teleporter 11 takes Keen to the Forts area, to Teleporter 13, and Teleporter 12 takes Keen to the Cape Canavorta area, to Teleporter 14.
As mentioned, the next island can be called the Military Installation Island, after some comments on the game's story. It has two areas: the Forts area, with four levels (Fort Vorticon, Fort Vorta Bella, Fort Cavort and Fort Vox) and one teleporter, Teleporter 13. When used, Teleporter 13 takes Keen back to New Vorticon Island, but to Teleporter 9. The other area is the Cape Canavorta area, which contains one level, Cape Canavorta, and two teleporters, Teleporter 14 and Teleporter 15. Teleporter 14 takes Keen to Vortiville Island, to Teleporter 2, while Teleporter 15 takes Keen to the final island, the Island of the Grand Intellect, to Teleporter 16.
The final island, as mentioned, is the Island of the Grand Intellect. It contains one teleporter, Teleporter 16, which when used takes Keen to Teleporter 13 in the Forts area of the Military Installation Island. The island has two levels: the Caves of Oblivion, and the Castle of the Grand Intellect. It is also has a beach and access to the ocean.