Ken's Labyrinth

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Ken's Labyrinth
Ken's Labyrinth boxart, depicting the player character's dog Sparky.

Ken's Labyrinth boxart, depicting the player character's dog Sparky.
Developer(s) Ken Silverman
Publisher(s) Epic MegaGames
Platform(s) MS-DOS
Release date(s) January 1, 1993 (v1.0)
March 21, 1993 (v2.0)[1]
Genre(s) First-person shooter
Mode(s) Single-player

Ken's Labyrinth is a first-person shooter DOS game, released in 1993 by Epic MegaGames (now called Epic Games). 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.

Game Mechanics[edit]

Ken's Labyrinth is graphically similar to id Software's Wolfenstein 3D in that the levels were designed using a grid-based plane, resulting in perpendicular walls and textureless floors and ceilings. Arguably its most astounding feature was the existence of interactive sprites and textures, like slot machines. This move towards engines allowing greater interactivity was later elaborated upon by Silverman's Build engine.

Ken's Labyrinth was released as freeware on November 16, 1999. Several different versions were released and are available for download from the official website. The source code followed on July 1, 2001.

Game Versions[edit]

The first version is known as Walken, the version which Ken Silverman sent to companies for evaluation. This was the first version created, and therefore it had very few features. There was almost no interactivity, and the code was mostly a test.

The first version to be released was a modified version of Walken called Ken's Labyrinth. Many changes were made, including interactivity, an early money system and music. It was sold from January to February 1993 by Advanced Systems, a company that Ken's older brother Alan Silverman was involved with.

Following that was version 2x, which featured 27 levels and an alternate final boss. New enemies, textures and music were added, as well as a money system with which the player could locate money and use it to purchase a random item from a vending machine. Slot machines were also implemented.

Released in March 1993 By Epic MegaGames, the final version (3x) featured 30 levels, and many new features that older versions of the game lacked, such as the ability to choose the item purchased from the vending machines, a difficulty option (on "easy" mode, or "Don't hurt me," enemies do not use melee attacks, while on "hard" mode, or "Ouch!" they do), an episode select, and also new enemies, textures and music.

A Ken's Labyrinth port to modern operating systems such as Windows and Linux using Simple DirectMedia Layer called LAB3D/SDL was created by Jan Lönnberg and released in 2002.[2] A version of the port which includes new higher resolution textures was also created by Jared Stafford.[3]

Reception[edit]

The game was reviewed in 1993 in Dragon #199 by Sandy Petersen in the "Eye of the Monitor" column. Petersen gave the game 2 out of 5 stars.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Silverman, Ken. "The official Ken's Labyrinth page". Retrieved 21 January 2014. 
  2. ^ LAB3D/SDL project page
  3. ^ LAB3D-SDL + Hires texture support
  4. ^ Petersen, Sandy (November 1993). "Eye of the Monitor". Dragon (199): 56–64. 

External links[edit]