In the original sprites in Doom II, there is a sprite of Commander Keen. Why is he there?

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  • Wikipedia. It's like Terraria referencing Zelda with the Green Tunic (aka. The Hero Outfit), or Duke Nukem Forever referencing Halo (I don't need no Power Suit) and much, much more. Why did they do that? They probably played and enjoyed those games and decided to honour those.
    – Nolonar
    Commented May 22, 2013 at 21:20
  • 3
    @Nolonar well in ID's case (as I note in my answer) it's because they made Keen, he's also in one of two levels that are Wolfenstein references
    – Ben Brocka
    Commented May 22, 2013 at 21:26
  • although not the case here, leaving unused textures in atlases for first person shooters is a very common thing to do with big titles; perhaps just not to risk breaking anything, or in hope for level expansion packs
    – ivan866
    Commented Nov 1, 2022 at 17:30

1 Answer 1


He's actually in the game, it's not an unused sprite. It's in level 32: Grosse, which is accessable from secret map 31: Wolfenstein. As you might have guessed by now, the levels/sprites are references to ID's other games. The level's name and other graphics are all Wolfenstein references though, the only Commander Keen reference is the killable prop.

You kill 4 Keens to open the exit of the level. He's just an object to hurt, he himself isn't an enemy and doesn't do anything.

  • 3
    It's interesting to note that this sprite is a message from ID, specifically saying "Keen is dead". You could say they weren't...Keen on releasing any more Keen games.
    – Zibbobz
    Commented Dec 12, 2013 at 20:08
  • @Zibbobz more likely it is a message saying 'now we are a serious game company who does first person shooters, not platformer arcades anymore'
    – ivan866
    Commented Nov 1, 2022 at 17:29

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