Hint Sheet (Invasion of the Vorticons)

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The following text is a verbatim extract of CKHINT.EXE, the electronic hint sheet that was distributed with registered version of Invasion of the Vorticons. This is where many of the official terms, creature names and other background information comes from.


                         Copyright 1991 Id Software
                  Published by Apogee Software Productions
      P.O. Box 496389 ■ Garland, TX 75049 ■ Hints line: (214) 278-5655

                      Game designed by Id Software

                              ABOUT COMMANDER KEEN

The story of Commander Keen is epic, and in the style of the memorable matinee
serials, like Flash Gordon.  You play the role of Billy Blaze, eight year-old
kid genius who builds an interstellar ship when not working at home on his
college fast-track degree.  Among other household objects, Billy uses his
Nintendo joystick for flight control and his mom's vacuum cleaner (heavily
modified) for his ship's ion propulsion system (with carpet height adjustment).  At the hint of galactic trouble,
Billy dons his brother's football helmet and becomes "Commander Keen" -
- defender of Earth, dispensing justice with an iron hand.


You must first install each of the three volumes before playing.  Place disk
one in the appropriate disk drive.  Select the drive from the DOS prompt.
Type "INSTALL" and press the <ENTER> key.  The installation program will prompt
for the drive and then for the directory into which the software will be
copied.  Press <ENTER> to accept the defaults or type the destination of your
choice.  The installation program for multiple disk sets will prompt for
additional disks as needed.  After installation is complete, the three games
may be played by typing either "KEEN1", "KEEN2" or "KEEN3".   Unlike the
Goodbye Galaxy series, there is no separate CGA version available.   We
apologize for any problems that this may cause.

                        CAST OF CHARACTERS - EPISODE ONE

Yorps: These lovable, one-eyed green Martians are friendly. Very friendly.
       Too friendly.

Gargs: These wild-eyed, teeth-gritting Martian monsters are angry at you,
       angry at themselves, angry at dirt, angry at clouds ─ just plain angry.
       If Freud were to see them, he would call them the "Id."  (This, and
       being "In Demand," are two of the meanings of our company name.)

Vorticons: The Vorticons on Mars are members of a Mars outpost and are really
           on the bottom rung of the Vorticon social ladder.  Being on an
           outpost has made them kind of tough.  In the second two episodes,
           they are known as "Grunts."

Butler "Tin Can" Robots: A nice little Martian robot that has trouble keeping
                         his hat on.  He is nice except for the fact that he
                         usually pushes you off a platform to your death.

Tank Robots: These robots exist to kill any intruders. Even friendly ones.

                        CAST OF CHARACTERS - EPISODE TWO

Grunts: These are the Vorticons from Episode One, but they have led a more posh
        lifestyle, so they are weaker.

Youths: These young Vorticons were sent into space by the Grand Intellect to
        grow into fierce warriors.  They like to tear around and don't much
        care what gets in their way.  These youngsters will most likely grow up
        to be Vorticon Elite.

Vorticon Elite: These are Elite warriors.  To show their loyalty to the Grand
                Intellect, they had their ears clipped.  They are mean and like
                to shoot a lot. They wear blue and purple suits.

Vorticon Elders: Wise Elders are kept in stasis in the living quarters of the
                 ship.  They are from the Before Time─before the Grand

Scrubs: These little red robots perform various menial duties around the ship
        and can walk on almost any surface.

Guard Robots: These awful purple robots are basically hovering machine guns.

                       CAST OF CHARACTERS - EPISODE THREE

Grunts:  Here they are again, with red suits.

Vorticon Women: They are very dangerous.  They have big claws and breathe fire.
                You've come a long way, baby.

Youths: The same spoiled brats that knocked you out in the second episode.
        Now they play a deadly game of jacks.

Meeps: A race of green, egg-shaped, horrendously bad singers with sorely
       misplaced operatic intentions.  They think they are the great singers
       in the world.  They are wrong.

Foobs: These little yellow creatures like to go out for strolls, whistling, and
       enjoy the day.  Unfortunately, they are completely afraid of almost
       everything.  If you touch them, they will grow so tense that they will

Messie: The great sea serpent of the legendary Loch Mess.  Who knows if she
        even exists?

The Vorticon Alphabet: In this volume of Commander Keen you can put together
                       the entire Vorticon alphabet, and then read all of the
                       signs and messages that appear in each volume of the

The Grand Intellect: His scary picture is framed on the wall of various
                     Vorticon homes and schools.  Who is he?  Finish the game
                     and find out!

                                 GENERAL HINTS

■ Some places are only reachable by pogo stick.  It is wise to practice your
  pogo skills.  "The Impossible Pogo Trick" is a trick that makes the game
  easier.  How it works: walk or run in a direction, then press the pogo key,
  release it QUICKLY and press jump.  You will pogo up and over at an angle
  that's not possible using any other method.  In Episodes Two and Three, this
  technique is very valuable.

■ All good Commanders know when to save the progress they've already made on
  their journey.  It's a good idea, perhaps a great idea, to save your game
  after you finish each "city" level.  To save a game from the "World Map",
  press F5, then specify a save position from 1 to 9.  You can only restore a
  saved game from the title screen, choose "Continue Game" from the main menu,
  and select the number of a previously saved game.


■ Pogo Shrine ─ Once you get the pogo, activate it, and pogo up and to the
  right off of the silver cylinders.  There are hidden bricks that you may
  jump on to get to a higher place in the level.

■ Ice City (first city on Dark Side of Mars) ─ To get past the Vorticon without
  firing, let him jump up on the blue cylinders and then run underneath him.

■ Red Maze City ─ At the bottom is a scary dark area which leads to the secret
  city.  Fall down it, then pull right.  To the right is an ice cannon.  To get
  to the area the leads to the secret city, you will need to be frozen.  You'll
  need to pogo into the ice cannon's line of fire and...(you'll see!)

■ Vorticon Commander's Castle ─ There are hidden bricks in the entrance hallway
  that lead to bonus points!


■ Tantalus Rays are destroyed by shooting the purple sparking cell in the glass
 bubble atop them. Make sure you don't stand too close to the switch that
 activates it, or the game may end rather abruptly!

■ The little red robots, called Scrubs, allow you to jump on them and ride them
  up a wall.  This is often important to do.

■ You can stand on Vorta-Cola cans.  This is also very important to get to
  higher places.  And getting Vorta-Cola cans may change where Scrubs walk...

■ Vorticons and Vorticon Elites do not jump in the dark.  There are big red
  light switches that turn the lights on and off.

■ A difficult "The Impossible Pogo Trick" jump will make it easy to get to the
  top of one of the Tantalus levels, avoiding all the nasty stuff below.


■ When Meeps sing, the sound can kill, and can travel through anything,
  including solid walls.

■ You can usually run under a VortiNinja when he jumps high into the air.

■ Keep in mind, some plummets are necessary and some things are hidden in the

■ Jacks are almost always deadly.  Do not enter areas where you see them.

■ All ankhs can be obtained.

■ On the final level, you can stand on the shoulders. (We don't want to give
  too much away, now do we?)

                               SECRET CHEAT KEYS

■ If you are having trouble collecting "key cards", press the "C", "T", and
  [Space Bar] keys all at the same time.  You will receive all the keycards,
  a pogo stick and a large supply of ray gun charges.  You will need to repeat
  this for each city you want to cheat in!  (When you exit a city, the cheat
  mode is deactivated.)

■ If you want to bypass an overly difficult city (on the world map view), press
  Shift-Tab while you walk through the city!


As a registered user of Commander Keen, you are welcome to contact our
Technical Support and Hints Department for any assistance required.  Technical
support and hints may be received by phoning (214) 278-5655, Monday through
Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 pm Central Standard Time or writing to
Apogee Software at P.O. Box 496389, Garland, TX 75049-6389.

To assist us in providing you with faster service, please be at your computer
system when calling.  Written inquiries should include your order number,
system type and accessories, and any 'terminate and stay resident ' (TSR)
programs you happen to be running.

Please do not call the 800 line for technical support or game hints as this
information will not be given there.


Eight year old Kid genius, Billy Blaze, is in his backyard fort testing out his
newly built Photachyon Transceiver.  Simply put, it's an instantaneous radio
that can pick up signals anywhere in the galaxy.

While listening to an alien sitcom, "My Favorite Yorp", Billy hears a
disturbing message.  Bzzt...grdddz...oment of great triumph...ferrrt... ast the
Milky Way will be..zzz...terly destroyed...buzzt...can stop us now.  We will
remake...biipp...galaxy in the name...zzzzt...of the Gannalech.  Power to the
race!  Pow...rrp...to the Shikadi!...bizzp!  "So the Shikadi are planning to
destroy the galaxy, huh?", thinks Billy.  "Sounds like a job for... Commander

In episode one, "Secret of the Oracle", Keen rockets to an alien planet to
rescue the Keepers of the Oracle, who are the only ones capable of helping Keen
find out more about the Shikadi.  Who are the Shikadi and why are they planning
to use our Galaxy as target practice?

After completing the mission in episode one, Keen learns of the Shikadi's
enormous ship, which doubles as the largest weapon ever built.  So in episode
two, titled "The Armageddon Machine", Keen faces his greatest challenge yet--
to save the Galaxy!

Both episode one "Secret of the Oracle", and episode two "The Armageddon
Machine", are packed with exciting features, but episode two is a much bigger
game.  Exciting features include:

■ Incredible smooth scrolling EGA/VGA graphics and animation.
■ Titled perspective--gives all levels the appearance of depth & fullness.
■ 1.6 Megs graphics for episode one, a lot more in episode two!
■ Ad Lib soundtrack.  Episode one has 5 songs, episode two has 13 songs!
■ 14 creatures in episode one, 20 all-new creatures in episode two.
■ Three skill levels, which can add new creatures to the game!
■ You can finally save ANYWHERE in the game, even inside levels.
■ Amazing ending animated sequences.
■ Hundreds and hundreds of screens to explore, with HUGE levels.
■ Keen has new abilities, such as hanging onto ledges and pulling himself up.
■ Self-running demonstration mode.
■ Joystick support.
■ More fun than you can probably live with!


Aliens Ate My Baby Sitter is a SPECIAL EDITION of the Commander Keen series.
It is a single, high-powered, tremendously fun game that is larger than the
entire first trilogy combined!  (Hint:  This is a REALLY BIG game.)

Commander Keen: Aliens Ate My Baby Sitter takes place right after Billy's
incredible adventure in Goodbye Galaxy (but only if he succeeds!).

It all begins when Billy Blaze's baby sitter is stolen by a mean bunch of
hungry aliens from the planet Fribbulus Xax.  She is going to be the main
course for dinner!  With your parents due home soon, how will you be able to
tell them, "The aliens ate my baby sitter!"?

Looks like a job for Commander Keen.  Armed with your neural-stunner and pogo
stick, you hop into your homemade starship and blast off to Fribbulus Xax to
the rescue.

Your galactic rescue mission will have you battling the dangerous aliens of
Fribbulus Xax, while collecting goodies to help you along the way.  Tons of
secret areas to discover, plus you'll need to find a way to get to the space
fortress orbiting high above the planet.
AD LIB MUSIC AND SOUND EFFECTS.  A full musical soundtrack accompanies Keen on
his alien adventure.  Also features three skill levels, gigantic scrolling
levels, ultra-smooth animation and screen effects, save/restore games,
joystick support, and much more!  When Billy gets bored, he can even play a
computer game on his specially built watch!

All these further adventures of Commander Keen can be ordered from Apogee by
calling 1-800-GAME-123, or by using the ORDER.FRM file!  Remember, Keen can
only save the universe if you help him!

                               THANKS FROM APOGEE

A sincere thanks for purchasing this software package.  Much time, effort, and
expense goes into the development of our software, and your support helps
ensure that we will be able to continue bringing you high quality, enjoyable
software.   Enjoy the game!

A printed version of the Hint Sheet included in the version sold by the Edmonton, Canada distributor.