Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ken's Labyrinth

Remember all those games where you'd wander around aimlessly in first person, killing a few enemies and then taking a few hours to find out where to go? Welcome to Ken's Labyrinth, a game designed by Ken Silverman and published by Epic Megagames in 1993. There's some aliens that are using unintelligent lifeforms to make jelly, and for some reason, they stole your dog, and you have to go in Ken's Labyrinth to find it. Ken is an extremely evil superalien that finds it entertaining when you put a bunch of weird lifeforms in the same place and see what happens. So hey, what are you waiting for? Enter...
Gameplay: 5/10
In these years, first-person gaming was no joke. There were already games such as Wolfenstein 3D, Blake Stone, and the Catacomb series, except this one is missing something; Violence. Ken's Labyrinth is some odd blend of all the aforementioned games, and I even see some things happening here that you didn't see until Ken's future games, like Duke Nukem 3D. Early on in the title we discover we can throw some sort of blob at the enemies, serving as your primary attack for most of the game. The opponents you face are a collection of aliens and other races, and they're about the stupidest fools you've ever seen. The best strategy is to just open a door, back up, let them all funnel in, and use your dumb blob thing. Eventually the levels get more intricate and the enemies more abundant, but you're still just running around looking for keys into the next room so you can go up the stairs to the next level to look for the keys to the next room so you can blah blah blah blah blah. -5 points for not too much different going on.

Graphics: 5/10
To compare it to something, let's use Doom, which came out in 1993 as well. The first thing I notice is the lack of floor and ceiling textures. There's also no "vertical" gameplay, everything is on a one-floor plane. The enemies are lame looking and don't have much visual pizzazz. Same with the items. There's walls that say "Shoot this wall" or "walk through this wall", and I feel like I'm in a weird little kids nightmare. -5 points for almost everything looking the same.
Sound: 5/10
There's some digitized sound effects that do the job, including the typical "Oh." and "Aah." that slips from your mouth whenever you eat an apple or something. The music was pretty cool, a couple songs I liked, a lot more I didn't, but it just doesn't fit the game. -5 points for not being very atmospheric.

Overall: 5/10
It blows my mind to think that this guy programmed Duke Nukem 3D and all those other great games that I mentioned in this post earlier. For real though, does anybody want to chug their way through a freakin' ugly maze trying to find the way out? Probably not. Do you want to have some lame weapons and items to use? Nope. Do the enemies make the game more fun? Not at all. It's still a classic game though, showing progression in the genre while keeping it very much the same. That's why I give this game a five.


  1. It took me forever to get through this game I would get lost so much. I thought it was odd that you used jelly or the other way around, I don't remember it wasn't high on the memory list regardless if that was the premise or not to kill things, but i'm not one to judge.

  2. Nice that game looks neat!!!

  3. This one doesn't look too great, however I will probably check it out anyway :)

  4. It's a solid slice of history, for sure. The best thing about this game is the water fountains that act exactly like they did in Duke 3D... classic

  5. yeah good game :D following !

  6. Not very pretty, but will have to give it a try!

  7. I never get bored of these games
    no kidding!

  8. With a 5/10 score I think no one is going to give an opportunity.

  9. Nice blog. Reminds me the times when I had a Compaq425 with Win95. Good times.

    Following for sure!

  10. of my favorite games of all time - anyone remeber Chex Quest?

    1. Why actually, I did remember it... a week and a half ago!