Vorticons are an apparently hostile alien race that the valiant Commander Keen must defeat in Episodes 1, 2, and 3 of the relatively ancient computer game, Invasion of the Vorticons (Apogee, ID). The story included with Episode 3 reads thus:

“Vorticon life is much like our own, except for the following: Blue skin, Long ears, Fangs, Anti-gravity cars, Teleportation devices, and so on....be careful of Vorticon Moms--they can be very protective....The land-based defenses of Vorticon IV consist of the VortiNinjas, the deadliest fighting force in the Galaxy. They have been trained by the Grand Intellect to take no prisoners.”

In Episode 1, Vorticons take four hits to kill; in Episodes 2 and 3, one. All Vorticons kill with a single touch, except Moms. Vorticon Moms appear only in Episode 3, and take five hits to kill. They are also able to shoot these little balls of fire at you. However, they are weakened by the fact that you can stand on top of them and they can’t do a thing about it.

Sound horrific? It is! But it’s all ok, because in the end, Commander Keen frees all the VortiNinjas from the Grand Intellect and they’re all nice, friendly monsters! You even get to see a wonderful, reasonably high-resolution picture of Keen chumming it up with the Vorticon King!