I'm going deeper underground
Spelunky is an unusually game, but it’s a fantastic game that offers more than similar freely available games.
The protagonist of this game is an unnamed Indiana Jones type who ventures underground in search of gold, gems and damsels, armed with only a bullwhip and the ability to pick up rocks and other items. There isn’t much in the way of a story, but this isn’t a game that needs a story. Along the way you meet snakes, bats, spiders, monkeys, cavemen, yetis, piranha, UFOs and more. To say that this game is hard is an understatement; by the time I beat the final boss I racked up about 350 deaths, and 1 win. There is help available for you though; ropes and bombs can be used to reach out of place areas, and there are shopkeepers peppered throughout the game who sell items that will help you along the way, from shotguns to jetpacks. These come at a price though, which is where the gold and gems come into play. This currency can also be used to pay off a tunnel man between each of the 4 worlds who will create shortcuts from the main screen. Oh yeah, you start the game with 4 HP and if you lose them all or fall into the abyss, then it’s back to square one. No continues. None. However, rescue a damsel by picking her up and carrying her to the exit alive, then you will receive a kiss on completion of the level which results in an extra HP for you.
The difficulty might turn some people off but it’s the true draw of the game, not the final boss. Each world consists of 4 individual levels which are each based on a theme including ice caves and jungles, but memorising each level to make it through just isn’t possible because they are randomly generated. The levels are also very dynamic; imagine a large square area with platforms, alcoves and bodies of water/larva, not to mention being populated with enemies that can take anything from 1 HP off you to a straight kill, and then realise that you can blow up anything in your 2D adventure. So in theory with enough bombs you could bypass every obstacle in the game and blow your way to the exit.
If you are familiar with the term ‘One more go’ then you will know what to expect from this game. Take too long in each level and eventually a ghost will chase you down and instantly kill you, but rush through the levels and you will miss all the gold, gems , damsels and goodies, and will most likely be killed in the process. You will definitely experience the frustration of making it through the ice caves with a nice bit of HP, only to end up falling into the everlasting pit, but at the same time there is a great sense of joy of making it through a world with lots of health, items and money.
The real prize of this game is actually from the little details that the creator has cleverly placed throughout, like picking up a golden skull before trying to get to safety from the crashing boulder, maybe finding the lost city of gold or the black market, which contains quite a few shops, or a hidden shotgun under a inconspicuous tombstone for our fallen comrade ASH (An Evil dead nod) or having a sacrificial alter for Khali who rewards you with goodies if you place a dazed Yeti, Caveman, man eating plant etc on the alter. I really could go on, but there is just too much to talk about. This review just doesn't do the game justice.