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Video Game / Ken's Labyrinth

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25 years later, the same company made Fortnite.
Ken's Labyrinth is a First-Person Shooter for DOS, released in 1993 by Epic Games (then called Epic MegaGames). It was mostly coded by Ken Silverman, who went on to design the Build engine that was used for rendering a first-person viewpoint in Apogee Software's Duke Nukem 3D. It consists of three episodes, the first of which was released as shareware.

Here's what's going on, plot-wise. The Zogar Imperial Empire led by the infinitely evil (and ugly) Ken takes people from various worlds and puts them in their danger-filled labyrinth just for their own entertainment. If that person doesn't make it out of the labyrinth alive, their home planet becomes coal for the Zogarians' jelly-making stoves. By the way, nobody has pulled it off.

The Zogarians have kidnapped your dog Sparky. They interrogated him, and found out that dogs are some of the smartest creatures in the universe. So now, the Zogarians are too afraid he'll solve the labyrinth, and they're making you do the labyrinth instead. You also need to rescue Sparky, while you're at it. Remember, if you don't pull it off, Earth becomes jelly stove fuel. No pressure.

The game has been released as Freeware by Silverman himself.

This Video Game contains examples of:

  • Author Avatar: Ken is based off the coder Ken Silverman.
  • Big Bad: Ken.
  • Bottomless Pits: And they come in two flavors, too!
    • The first is basically your standard garden-variety hole in the ground. The second kind has red eyes and moves around. Either way, move over one and you die.
    • Enemies can fall down the permanent holes (yes, the living holes can, too). They won't, however, go down the moving holes.
  • Boss Rush: The final stage has you fighting the bosses of the first two episodes before taking on Ken himself.
  • Co-Dragons: Zorko, the boss of Episode 1, and Andy, the boss of Episode 2.
  • Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: Because there is a timer counting up for each level, it may seem like you're dealing with a Timed Mission, HOWEVER, the only thing that the timer affects is your score for the level (a 10-point penalty for every second you take).
  • Escort Mission: The entirety of episode 2. The game will not let you move on to the next level unless Sparky is with you. (In fact, it'll even say, "Where's your dog?" if you try to leave the level without him.) This can lead to an Unwinnable situation, because Sparky can fall down permanent holes.
  • Featureless Protagonist: You never see the protagonist's face, as they are supposed to represent the player.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism / Heal Thyself: Eat an apple, and you get about a twelfth of your health back. A meal is good for about a sixth of your health, and a first-aid kit gives you back about a third of your health.
    • Starting in Episode 2, there are beehives that spawn bees. You can shoot the beehive and destroy it, then pick up the honey it drops for about as much health as an apple.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: They are named "Don't Touch Me" and "OUCH!" and subtitled "Easy" and "Hard," respectively. On easy mode, enemies generally will not use melee attacks, while on hard mode, they will ram into you, thus causing damage. Therefore, the idiosyncratic level names actually make sense.
  • Invincible Minor Minion: The "frozen ghost" enemies, a floating ghost-like creature in a gray robe, and the giant 8-balls, which are exactly what you'd expect. Shooting them does nothing. The only ways to kill either of these are with the holes and by blue-cloaking them.
  • Invincibility Power-Up: The gray cloaks, which will protect you against everything that is not a hole.
    • Also, the green potions let you reflect projectile attacks back at the enemy, and the blue cloaks let you kill enemies just by touching them. (Problem with the latter, if you're interested in Scoring Points, you don't get any points if you blue-cloak them. Also, the blue cloaks don't block projectiles and won't kill bosses.)
  • Luck-Based Mission: There are slot machines at various points in the game. You can play the slots using coins you find around the labyrinth. The payouts go up to 200 coins, but you're far more likely to lose.
  • No Fair Cheating: Using cheats will literally bar you from completing each episode and seeing the endings.
  • One-Hit Kill: When you're facing Andy on level 20 and again on level 30 before you face Ken and you get him down to his last few HP, he'll begin flashing blue and yellow with each hit. While he's in this state, he will kill you on contact if you don't have a gray cloak active.
    • Also, as mentioned earlier, the blue cloak against any enemy that isn't a boss.
  • One-Hit Polykill: If you hit an enemy with something that does more than one hit worth of damage (so, anything with a purple potion active, or the heat seekers), and it’s more than needed to kill that enemy, a blue and yellow ball will appear from behind where that enemy was and continue on, possibly hitting (and killing, if there is enough power left over) another enemy.
  • 1-Up: A blue disk thing with a man's face on it. There are a total of 8 in the entire game.
  • Quad Damage: The purple potion both lets your shots go through walls and doubles the damage you do to enemies with your shots. As a nice bonus, it also halves damage that enemy shots do to you.
    • Also, the missile weapon does twice the damage compared to the jelly gun or bouncy bullets.
  • Save the Princess: Except that the "princess" here is actually a male dog.
  • Scoring Points: And that's all they're good for - the high score board for each level. No, points don't carry over between levels.
  • Teleport Spam: Ken does this when he's close to dying.

Alternative Title(s): Walken