Submission #4938: slamo's DOS Commander Keen in Keen Dreams in 04:15.13

Console DOS Emulator JPC-rr r11.8 rc2
Game Version any Frame Count 15308
ROM Filename Frame Rate 60
Branch Rerecord Count 10248
Unknown Authors slamo
Game Commander Keen: Keen Dreams
Submitted by slamo on 12/15/2015 6:41:07 PM

Submission Comments

Movie Information

Keen Dreams is shareware and can be downloaded here:
The game runs at 70 frames per second internally, but only refreshes the screen every other frame.
  • Emulator: JPC-RR r11.8 rc2
  • Aims for fastest time
  • Uses death to save time
  • Uses hardest difficulty
  • Genre: Platform
Image info:
Type: HDD
Tracks: 16
Sides: 16
Sectors: 63
Total Sectors: 16128
MD5: 2331702ee0c778dc8281e772d266760c

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This is Keen Dreams! Nicknamed by fans "Keen 3.5", Keen Dreams was developed between the release of Keen 3 and 4 but not released until after Keen 6. The goal of the game is to defeat King Boobus Tuber. To do so, Keen must collect and use 12 Boobus Bombs. This movie is an improvement of 24.98 seconds over the previous run thanks to an entirely different route discovered by RTA runner CapnClever. The new route ditches the lengthy Melon Mines and Spud City in favor of 4 shorter levels on the southern part of the overworld.
It should be noted that the RTA (real time attack) timing used by speedrunners for this run would be 4:04.78.

Glitches used

Death exit

If you die next to the right side of a level, part of you clips out of the level and the game awards you the exit. This is the most significant time-saving glitch, making 3 levels quicker and allowing the theft of a couple keys.

Enemy dropping

If an enemy is stunned with a pellet while exactly on the edge of a platform, the flower will fall off. This trick is used in the first level to set up a death exit.

Key storage

When exiting a level, any keys you have left over are kept and carried over to other levels. Some may argue this isn't a glitch, but all keys are taken away upon death so at the very least this is an oversight.

Level comments


The "/comp" command line extension turns on SVGA compatibility and is needed to prevent flickering. Hard difficulty minimizes the time that enemies are stunned; since the first level depends on a death exit from a stunned enemy, hard difficulty is actually the quickest.


Overworld travel is fairly straightforward, but it is possible to use specific corners to gain slight boosts. All the corner boosts combined in this run probably save close to a second.

Horseradish Hill

The first level is completed with a death exit by dropping a potato from a floating platform. It's not possible to stun one immediately from below; you actually have to see them first in order to be able to hit one of them.

Bridge Bottoms

A trivial level. You might notice that Keen starts mid-air - this is because you can use inputs while the level (or even the overworld) is loading to get a little head start. There are exits on each side of the level, and the right one is about a half-second faster.

Rhubarb Rapids

The entire plan for this level revolves around getting the potato near the entrance to be in a good position for a quick death exit upon returning. Off-screen enemy behavior is enigmatic. At any seemingly arbitrary point, possibly based on distance and the amount of "awakened" enemies, the potato will just stop moving. RAM watch and a good dose of trial and error results in getting the potato to freeze very close to the edge of the level. Three bombs are in this level, and the second key would normally be used to access the normal exit, but we backtrack and death exit to get the heck out of there.

Parsnip Pass

We could do a really quick death exit on an asparagus since there are no bombs here, but there's another key here that can save some time later. There are a million options for the death exit after getting the key, most of which are either constrained by the asparagusto's cycle or rely on getting the squash to be in a perfect position. The one I found to be the fastest is letting a squash drop to the bottom (where it pretty promptly freezes due to the off-screen distance), then dropping down after getting the key and dying next to it.

Squash Swamp

A quick level. Three more bombs here and - you guessed it - another death exit! This level is actually finished a frame later than what's possible for a bit of luck manipulation in the next level.

Apple Acres

Apple Acres remains in the TAS due to its proximity to the castle and a relatively quick 6 bombs. The luck manipulation comes into play right away when the apple on the right side keeps moving to the right instead of turning around, which would cause serious problems. This level can suffer from "short jump syndrome", in which the maximum jump height is shortened and the jump to the hidden pole after the first 3 bombs is impossible without the melon cart. This, for some reason, can be treated by entering the level at a different time.

Castle Tuberia

The goal of this level is to collect 2 keys and use them to exit near the top of the castle. We already got 2 keys in previous levels, so straight to the exit we go.

Boobus Chamber

12 bombs are hurled as quickly as possible to complete the game.


Big thanks to CapnClever for figuring out this new route!

Nach: Very nice all around improvement. Accepting.
fsvgm777: Processing.
Nach: Just want to clarify that I find this run somewhat entertaining now, and with the mostly positive audience response, I have promoted this to the moon tier. Svimmer, you're a hard man to please.

Last Edited by Nach on 12/21/2015 8:51:51 PM
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