You’ll never be this good
Spelunky is a supremely frustrating game. It’s frustrating failing over and over again, slowly and meticulously mastering the systems to accomplish your goals. And, it’s frustrating watching other people effortlessly run through Spelunky, making the impossible-seeming look elementary — especially when you understand how tough it all is.
This video falls into the latter category. Spelunky wizard Jamie White has just completed what’s being dubbed the most difficult run of the game ever. Here are the constraints: You can’t pick up any items (including no additional health, bombs, or ropes). You have to take detours to the alternate stages which are the Haunted Castle, the Worm, and the Mothership. You have to go to Hell and defeat Yama. Oh yeah, and you can’t pick up any gold.
In an interview with Polygon, White points to the lack of resources as the most challenging part of the run. Watching the whole video, you’ll see there’s not a single bomb or rope that can be wasted. For instance, White needs two ropes to reach the Mothership’s entrance and two ropes to reach Yama’s head. That’s all four used up just for those two objectives. There’s no room for comfort.
The most hectic moment comes in the Black Market when White steals the Ankh — a necessary for reaching Hell, and he doesn’t have any money to purchase it. This sends the shopkeepers in a shotgun-blasting frenzy as White calmly funnels them all down into a crevice to kill each other.
However, an underrated moment comes in the City of Gold, which is a city that’s literally built out of the currency White can’t collect. He needs to use a bomb here to reach the Necronomicon — also needed to access Hell — which causes the walls to crumble into gold nuggets. Up until that point, White avoids gold and jewels so coolly that it’s easy to forget it’s one of the constraints. It would’ve been simple for a piece of debris to hit him, causing some cash in his pocket and a failed run.
The closest call came in Hell when a slight miscalculation nearly ended the whole effort. It takes place at 20:15 when a Blue Devil breaks his stun and gets within a few frames of goring White. He says “Something very surprising in this run is on the second to last level in Hell, I took a huge risk against a Blue Devil and almost lost the run.”
But, this story doesn’t end in heartbreak. White completed the run, cementing himself as one of the best Spelunky players ever. To the untrained eye, it didn’t even look hard. Absolutely infuriating.