While it may not have great music, Commander Keen
does have a lot of action. It's a lot of difficult
action, and the younger gamer may become frustrated with some of the amazingly difficult action sequences, but for those who persevere there's a lot of fun to be had with this game.
There's a storyline somewhere--rescue the three crystals from the three worlds to save the galaxy, or something--but the game itself consists of your standard platformy fare. It's somewhere between Metroid and Super Mario Bros.--while upgrading your abilities isn't part of the game, you have to find keycards that open up doors to let you pass, which usually entails some exploration and using of teleporters. Along the way you'll jump and pogo your way through reams of enemies and lots of little candy thingies you can pick up for extra points.
You have at your disposal the aforementioned pogo stick and a gun. The gun doesn't actually kill much of anything--it's used to stun the enemies, at which point you can pogo onto them to finally get rid of 'em. It's a neat mechanic, requiring quite a bit of strategy in some levels to find out just how to aim the pogo stick so you'll hit the bad guy.
There are a million jumps in this game, and some of them are amazingly challenging--but more about that in the difficulty section. There are three core worlds, each with a number of levels, and as you beat each one you open up the next. The game will also give you a password so that you can continue playing where you left off, which is nice; I would have preferred a battery backup, but such is life.
Not a lot more can be said about Commander Keen's gameplay: it's precisely what you've come to expect from a platformer. Unlike most of the genre, though, the game is tough without being impossibly so, and is complex enough to keep the older gamer coming back for more.