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Putting the faded photo in my pocket,
—(one possible) Spelunky intro
"Oh, Spelunky, why do you hurt me so?"
Spelunky is a Freeware Platformer by Derek Yu that draws heavily on elements present in roguelikes: randomly generated levels, multiple ways of interacting with the environment, multiple ways to progress through the game, and Perma Death.
The game can be found here.
It's addictive. You've been warned.
Spelunky provides examples of:
- Action Bomb - Fire frogs and flying saucers.
- Adam Smith Hates Your Guts - Guess how much a kiss will be worth at the end.
- Adventurer Archaeologist
- Awesome Yet Practical - Bombs. Explosions are always cool, and they help make the game so much more survivable. See When All You Have Is a Hammer below for more examples of how useful this cool little item is.
- Ballistic Discount - Gun stores keep all weapons fully useable and in the open. For convenience's sake. Usually, the shopkeeper wields a shotgun and will blast you into oblivion at the slightest provocation -- but he isn't immune to the guns. Destroying the store may also get you a discount if your timing is right.
- Bee-Bee Gun - The Mummy spits out a swarm of insects at you, each individual of which damages you as much as an arrow. They're probably supposed to be flies and not bees, though.
- Blood Magic - The Kapala
- Blackout Basement
- Boring Yet Practical - Rocks do two damage per hit, are reusable, are good for triggering traps safely, cannot be destroyed except by lava, and can be thrown a pretty good distance. With a little practice you can destroy most enemies long before they become a threat. The only downside is that you need to be careful not to hit yourself on the rebound.
- Bottomless Pit - The third major area of the caves is mostly platforms over a yawning abyss.
- Bragging Rights Reward - The reward for completing all four challenges.
- Chinese Vampire - As weak enemies in the Restless Dead areas.
- Crate Expectations - Store some useful stuff.
- Chunky Salsa Rule - Falling from the top of the level to the bottom or getting caught in an explosion causes tremendous damage but can be survived if you've got an unnaturally huge amount of health. Getting squished (by a boulder, for example), falling onto spikes or into lava, or getting eaten by a man-eating plant, however, kills you instantly no matter how many hit points you've got.
- Circling Birdies - Stars will tell if someone is stunned instead of killed.
- Crystal Skull
- Damn You, Muscle Memory! - The button for picking things up, attacking, throwing, and dropping is the same button that detonates your bombs. Many a death has been met by trying to open a chest and instead blowing yourself to bits.
- Darkness Equals Death - The "I can't see a thing!" levels, which limit your view to a small circle around the Spelunker, are one of the worst hazards in the game.
- Descending Ceiling - One of the traps guarding the idols in the ruins section (13-15)
- Disproportionate Retribution - If you steal anything from a shopkeeper, or accidentally smack him with your whip while trying to kill a pesky frog, he pulls out a shotgun and guns you down.
- Hell, just drop a piece of merchandise right at their feet, and you'll immediately get shotgunned to the tune of an instant kill.
- Even accidentally picking up the wrong die while gambling will cause the shopkeeper to shout "Get back here, thief!" and blow you away.
- If any damage happens to his shop, even if it's done by an enemy, he'll still chase after you and gun you down. Even if you manage to escape him, another shopkeeper will be waiting for you at the exit to the next area, and every single shopkeeper will be hunting for you.
- Distressed Damsel - Which doubles as a throwing weapon.
- Distressed Dude - If you rescue enough damsels, you can play as her, and the guy becomes this.
- Easily Angered Shopkeeper
- Escort Mission - Every time you try to rescue the damsel. Fortunately, she's nearly invulnerable and makes a good human shield. You can carry her around.
- Everything Trying to Kill You - Bats, spiders, snakes, cavemen, cultists, yetis... the list goes on and on.
- Fastball Special - You can throw damsels at your enemies. And stunned enemies at other enemies. And the fun you can have with corpses...
- An item exists solely to make it easier to throw things at other things.
- Fast Tunnelling
- Freaky Friday Flip - The Changing Room makes you switch with the Damsel. You can leave this on for the rest of the game.
- Flying Saucer
- Gag Nose - Spelunker, damsels and shopkeepers have a red nose.
- Game Mod - As of 1.1 the Source code to Spelunky is out, and many mods can be found on the forums.
- Gender Bender - Rescuing 8 damsels opens the Changing Room, which changes the Spelunker into a Damsel and vice versa. The main character is now female. Hilarity Ensues.
- Giant Mook
- Giant Spider - Along with regular sized ones, although if you look at the sprite, its the same size as Spelunky...
- The Goomba - As mentioned above, the snake. All it does is slither slowly back and forth. It is perhaps the only enemy that does not actively respond to your presence or do anything to kill you besides continue its regular movement pattern.
- Goomba Stomp - Just don't try it on Man-Eating Plants. At least not without Spiked Shoes.
- Grievous Harm with a Body - see Fastball Special.
- Guide Dang It - The City of Gold
- Found the Black Market? Good for you! Better splurge on all the items you need though, because after you exit, item shops will no longer spawn for the rest of the game.
- Hitbox Dissonance - The Giant Piranha's hitbox is exclusively its mouth, attacking and defending.
- Human Popsicle - Occasionally found in Area 3.
- Improvised Weapon - Throw the treasure chest! Throw the gold idol! Throw the damsel you're rescuing! Throw the die you stole from the betting parlor for some reason!
- Inexplicable Treasure Chests - Contain gems or a trap.
- Inventory Management Puzzle - You'll often have to juggle items and leave some good ones behind, especially with hold items. For instance: Do you rescue the damsel or keep your shotgun?
- Averted with the mod Yet Another Spelunky Mod, where you can put most everything in your inventory except "big" items like the Damsel, corpses or the Idol.
- Jet Pack - One of the rarest, most expensive, and most useful pieces of equipment in the game. It runs out of fuel fairly quickly when in use, but instantly recharges as soon as you land again.
- Jungle Japes - The second area, levels five through eight.
- King Mook - Most of the game's minibosses are scaled-up, more durable versions of regular enemies who've got an extra trick or two up their sleeves.
- Ladder Physics
- Last Ditch Move - Fire frogs and flying saucers.
- Lava Pit - And there aren't any Ice Capes in this game.
- Luck-Based Mission - Unfortunately. Sometimes you get large drops where you have to take damage in areas 2 and 3 (although you can use ropes by crouching near ledges to offset this). On occasion, you'll get a jetpack early in the game.
- Ludicrous Gibs - Most enemies explode into blobs of blood upon being killed. And there's a frog that explodes into flames.
- Machete Mayhem - Machetes appear as an equippable weapon which asides from having better upside range (and worser range straight ahead) can also get rid of spider webs.
- Made of Explodium - See the exploding frogs.
- Made of Iron - You might as well use that damsel you're carrying to set off any arrow traps in your way. She'll be fine.
- For the record, the damsel CAN die in the same way that you can, but she's immune to fall damage and take less damage from certain traps.
- The shopkeeper is a straight example, though, as he has 20 HP compared to your default of 4.
- Man-Eating Plant
- Mercy Invincibility - It's there, but it's so short you may not even notice. If you accidentally fall next to an enemy, you will be stunned, and you will die.
- Metroidvania - As of version 0.99.8, making one of these in the level editor is possible. Several have been completed.
- Money for Nothing - Shops appear less often as you progress through the game. But there is a bonus for hoarding enough money when you beat the game.
- Muzzle Flashlight - Shooting a gun will illuminate the area around you for a short time in dark levels.
- Night of the Living Mooks - "The dead are restless!"
- Nintendo Hard - Complete with one life that can be lost quickly.
- Not the Fall That Kills You - Fall damage can be prevented in a number of ways, including falling into water or spider webs, landing on an enemy, or catching a ledge, not to mention parachutes. However, falling off the screen is possible in Area 3, and that results in instant death.
- Perma Death - You die, you have to start again from level one... unless you pay the Tunnel Man to finish the shortcuts.
- Personal Space Invader - There are monkeys that will latch onto you. They can throw away your items or stun you.
- Especially annoying because the vines they are climbing on are mostly over spike pits. That kill you instantly. And getting stunned makes you lose grip of the vine.
- The Power of Love - Your HP is refilled with kisses.
- Press X to Die - ESC+F1 is the suicide command. It's actually useful for spelunkers attempting to find the City of Gold; once you acquire the Ankh, you have to kill yourself next to a giant Easter Island head in Area 3, and if you want to spare yourself the frustration, ESC+F1 is the easiest way to do it.
- Ragnarok Proofing - Every trap still works, no matter how assuredly they convince you that they don't. Then again, the place is inhabited.
- Randomly Generated Levels
- Rocket Jump - But don't.
- Rock Beats Laser - Just see what happens if you throw a rock at flying saucer.
- Schmuck Bait - Everything in the game.
- The game itself, if you have a busy schedule.
- Secret Character
- Short-Range Shotgun - Averted with anything that isn't notably tough -- the blast spreads out dramatically and deals a ridiculous amount of damage even at long ranges. Still, don't expect to kill a shopkeeper in one blast unless he's right next to you.
- Shout-Out - A few to Indiana Jones. The main player sprite bears a strong resemblance to Indy (other than the red nose). The Gold Idol is a semi-common item. You can get a Crystal Skull during a "restless dead" level. And sometimes the text "I hear snakes...I hate snakes!" appears at the start of a level, which means there's a snake-pit in the level.
- Shoplift and Die - Prepare to get gunned down if you run out with an item in your hands. Or whip the shopkeeper. Or accidentally throw your unwanted item at him when you only wanted to put it down. Also be prepared to have an alert shopkeeper staking out at the next few level exits. Or for the rest of the game if you happened to kill one. Yeah, they don't mess around.
- Shows Damage - Jaws, a giant piranha, gradually loses skin as it takes damage.
- Slippy-Slidey Ice World - Starts at level 9.
- Smooch of Victory - A bonus item that will restore lost health.
- Soft Water
- Songs in the Key of Panic - Hurry music is inverted. The music slows down when running out of time until the ghost appears.
- Speed Run - Beating the game quickly enough opens a mini-game room.
- Spikes of Doom - But you can walk through them as long as you don't land in them. Most enemies can be killed by them, too. Later on, there are totem poles that thrust spikes out their sides whenever you come near. The ground spikes are one of several ways a spelunker can die instantly regardless of his health, and the totem poles deal enough damage to kill you instantly if you haven't gotten at least one health boost.
- Spring Jump - Spring Shoes
- Springs Springs Everywhere - In Area 3, where they're hardly visible when not sprung.
- Stalked by the Bell - The ghost.
- Sticky Bomb - As a replacement for standard bombs.
- Super Not-Drowning Skills - There are many, many ways you can be killed. Drowning, surprisingly, is not one of them.
- The Tetris Effect - One of the aftereffects when playing it enough.
- Tele Frag - Be careful not to move into a wall when using the Teleporter.
- Be even more careful to move right into shopkeepers-- it doesn't count as a death, as far as punishment is concerned.
- Temple of Doom - Area 4.
- The Dev Team Thinks of Everything - For example, arrow traps can be triggered by any kind of movement, which means a careful spelunker can use them to kill monsters for him or drop rocks to trigger them safely from above. He can sometimes retrieve the arrow to use as a weapon.
- The shopkeepers have different responses for different actions. Steal? "Thief!" Damage their shop? "Vandal!" Light a bomb in the shop? "Terrorist!"
- If you approach a shop after killing a shopkeeper previously, "You'll pay for your crimes!"
- If you attack the Damsel in one of the kissing parlors:
"Hey, only I can do that!".
- Stones that are sent flying by explosions can injure or kill anything they smash into, including the player.
- The Man-Eating Plants can be used to dispose of annoying cavemen, either by putting one in their path, or by throwing them into it.
- Bombs can be used to destroy traps or prevent certain traps from triggering, and may also be used to remove pools of water and lava. Clearing out the pools of water will kill any fish swimming in them.
- The pools of water in the Lush area can drown spiders.
- You can stick an arrow into a wall and use it to climb higher - IF you can throw it fast enough.
- The Thwomp-ripoffs can smash through the falling platforms.
- Destroying a shrine to Kali causes spiders. Do it again and you get punished with a ball and chain. Third time lucky? It spawns a ghost and makes the level dark. Oh dear.
- Man-eating plants can devour Shopkeepers as of version 1.0.
- The plant will promptly explode, revealing the perfectly fine shopkeeper who is probably even more angry than ever. Even if he was eaten while he was dead.
- In the unlikely circumstance that two trees in the Lush area are generated side-by-side at the same height, their tops will form one long canopy.
- It is possible to kill stunned enemies by throwing them onto spike pits.
- If you pick up an item in the shop but figure the price tag is too steep, then you can always blow up the shop, right? If you touch the merchandise, walk out, and attempt the Ballistic Discount technique above, then you will be shot the moment you light the bomb instead of when you throw it into the shop. The Shopkeepers are on to us! Run!
- Treasure Is Bigger in Fiction
- Underground Level
- Unwinnable by Design - Falls into Tough category. It is possible to get stuck when misusing your items.
- Unwinnable By Mistake - The level generator tries its best to create a level that can be passed with minimal use of ropes and bombs. Unfortunately, a path can sometimes be blocked by a grave or a totem.
- Useless Useful Spell - The teleporter. On the one hand, you can teleport four or so tiles in near any direction, and as such can occasionally avoid using bombs to blow open walls. On the other hand, it's possible to teleport inside a wall, killing you instantly. Or in front of an arrow trap. Or into a pit, leading to a death fall.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential - The main use for Damsels is to be rescued, which nets you a chaste kiss and a point of health. But they're also surprisingly aerodynamic, making them useful for setting off traps or killing enemies. Even if they die by your
direct, malicious actionineptitude, they're still valid throwing weapons. They make great sacrifices, too.
- One popular strategy for dealing with high-end monsters is to attach a Sticky Bomb to a Damsel and let her dash forward. You can only do this once per Damsel.
- Virgin Sacrifice - "You hear prayers to Kali!" But you can also sacrifice damsels yourself.
- What the Hell, Hero? - If you pull it off right, then you can kill shopkeepers and steal their goods - but you'll be a wanted man from there on out.
- Where the Hell Is Springfield? - The ruins. The intro establishes that they're located in the Middle East, but the architecture is distinctly Mesoamerican, and there are altars to an Indian goddess. The third area's Yeti and ice suggest the Himalayas, but then there's the Moai statue and a volcano at the end,
- When All You Have Is a Hammer - Approaching every problem with bombs is effective. Want the treasure in the walls? Bomb them. Want to cut right to the exit? Bomb your way down. Arrow trap in the way and you don't have a rock? Chuck an inactive bomb down and pick it up again. Or just blow it up. Want that statue, but don't want to set off the traps associated? Bomb it off the platform. Wanna rob the shop? See Ballistic Discount up there (hint:it involves bombs). Fighting boss monsters? One hit kill. Final boss? Bombs make it end more quickly.
- Whip It Good - Your primary weapon.
- Wiki Rule - A nice one can be found here.
- X Meets Y - La-Mulana meets Nethack meets Tim Martin's Spelunker.
- Yet Another Stupid Death - Believe us, you'll have lots of these, even if you're good at platformers, roguelikes, or I Wanna Be the Guy.
- Example: Getting shot by a shopkeeper right on top of the City of Gold entrance. Lampshaded by the player shortly after the death.
- There are lots of others. Being punted by an arrow into a lava pit while on 43 hit points, punted by a frog into a spike pit, punted by a Yeti into a bottomless pit...Basically, you want to avoid getting punted.