Commander Keen


A trio of Commander Keens in the final room of Level 32: Grosse, in Doom II, one of which has been destroyed by the player.

Commander Keen is a character named Billy Blaze from a series of eponymous platform games by id Software. An incarnation of the character can be found in the super-secret Doom II map, Level 32: Grosse, as an Easter egg. In the final room of that level four hanged Commander Keen bodies are suspended from ropes by their necks around a metal cube containing the exit switch. The player must destroy the four hanged Keens to trigger the door that hides the switch.

The Commander Keen can be considered a monster in the technical sense as it counts towards the kills percentage, will respawn under the corresponding settings, and is not included when the -nomonsters parameter is used. It does not, however, pose any threat to the player as the true monsters do.


Internally KEEN is used as a prefix for sprites relating to Commander Keen. The type of the object inside the source code is given the name MT_KEEN. The sounds DSKEENPN and DSKEENDT are used when the Keen objects are injured and killed, respectively. When all the Keens in a map are killed, any sectors tagged 666 will open as doors.


  • According to John Romero, the hanged Commander Keens were Adrian Carmack's idea and execution.[1] Preferring to work on dark and gory themes, he got to take revenge against the cute character that he had to previously endure working with alongside its creator, Tom Hall, with whom Adrian is said to have had tensions during their time together at id Software.[2]
  • The phrase in the prologue for Level 32: Grosse contains a reference to Keen's name, Billy Blaze: Congratulations, you've found the super-secret level! You'd better blaze through this one!
  • The sounds used for the Keens are taken from the original Commander Keen games in that the Commander Keen "level start" sound plays when you kill them and the "raygun" sound plays when you damage them. The graphics used are a combination of original graphics and slightly modified Keen graphics from Commander Keen IV.
  • Commander Keen (legal name: William Joseph Blazkowicz II) is the grandson of Wolfenstein 3D's William Joseph "BJ" Blazkowicz according to The Official Hint Manual for Wolfenstein 3D. Doomguy is also implied to be a descendant of BJ in Wolfenstein RPG,[3] and is later explicitly named Stan Blazkowicz in its sequel, Doom II RPG. This series of connections makes the majority of id Software's protagonists related. Tom Hall and John Romero further confirmed their intent for these connections to exist in response to questions posted on social media in January 2018.[4]


ID # 72 (decimal), 48 (hex)
Hit points 100
Speed 0 map units per frame
(0 map units per second)
Width 32
Height 72
Reaction time 8
Pain chance 256 (100%)
Pain time 6 tics
Mass 10000000
Bits 4195078
Bits list

1: Obstacle

2: Shootable

8: Spawns hanging from ceiling

9: No Gravity

22: Affects Kill %

Sprites & sounds
Sprite name KEEN
Pain sound DSKEENPN
Death sound DSKEENDT

Appearance statistics[edit]

The IWADs contain the following numbers of hanged Commander Keens per skill level:

Game 1-2 3 4-5
Doom II 4 4 4

In other games[edit]

Doom (2016)[edit]

Commander Keen is referenced at least twice in Doom (2016): a skull appears wearing his helmet (here emblazoned with the Doom logo) in Hell, and a Mixom crate found in one of the game's multiplayer levels includes a picture of Keen apparently acting as the company's mascot.

External links[edit]


  1. Romero, John (9 April 2005). "Question One: no, it was just for a joke. But Adrian didn't want to ever do anymore Keen games and wanted to get rid of him...." ROME.RO GameTalk Forums (archived 🏛). Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  2. Kushner, David. Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture. Random House, LLC, 2004. pp. 65-66.
  3. stanleyipcress (19 March 2010). "Wolfenstein RPG - Defeating the Harbinger of Doom." YouTube. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  4. Machkovech, Sam (30 January 2018). "id Software co-founders confirm that its biggest games’ heroes are all related." Ars Technica. Retrieved 8 February 2018.