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Spelunky is an absolutely fantastic game, but it’s not particularly friendly to newcomers. I won’t name names but I have people on my friends list who’ve never made it out of the Mines. That makes me sad. In an effort to help along new players (and because I’m hopelessly addicted) I decided to share some of the knowledge I’ve acquired after dying somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,500 times. Why so many deaths? Because my hunger for this game would not cease until I had seen everything this game had to offer, and that included earning every Achievement. Turns out, this thing is so freaking good, I’m still playing it.
Before you start reading, I’d like to emphasize that, beyond the high scores and loot, Spelunky is a game about discovery and challenging yourself. It can be brutal at times (read: always), but you’ll come to find that it’s also extremely fair and immensely satisfying, if you’re willing to put in the effort. There are so many secrets, hidden areas and advanced techniques built into this game, it’s absolutely staggering. If the Internet didn’t exist, some of this stuff would only be spoken of in hushed whispers behind locked doors.
Though I purposefully left certain pieces of information out of this guide to keep some of the mysteries alive, I still pull the curtain way back. Stuff is explained in great detail, and therefore spoiled. If you haven’t played much Spelunky or don’t know much about it, I encourage you not to read this from top to bottom. I can tell you first hand, discovering this stuff for yourself is magical, and far more exciting than simply reading my descriptions. That being said, buckle up. This thing is huge.
PART 2: LEVELS, ENEMIES & TRAPS
In Spelunky, each new environment introduces a new look, new hazards, and a whole slew of deadly new things to ruin your day. I feel like the enemies and traps on each level really define it, so I’ve lumped them together here. However, this doesn’t mean these things are necessarily exclusive to this particular level. For example, Mammoths are only found in the Ice Caves, but snakes are almost everywhere. Don’t be surprised when some of your old “friends” show up later on.
It should be noted that you can unlock Shortcuts to each environment by giving the Tunnel Man a series of specific items when you complete an area. I won’t list them here, but just know that he could ask for just about anything, and some of his requests can be quite tough! Opening shortcuts is nice for practicing some of the later levels, but any “real” Spelunky run starts at the beginning. Speaking of which…
LEVEL ONE – THE MINES
Here’s where you’ll get your feet wet, and subsequently where you’ll return after you’ve been bitten, stabbed, crushed, slapped, thrown, poisoned and impaled. Get comfortable. The layouts actually vary quite a bit — from big, open rooms, to clusters of tight hallways — but it’s only a small sample of things to come. You’ll get a good feel for how far your character can jump, and cut your teeth on some fairly tame enemies. Also, if you find a locked chest, keep an eye out for the key. There’s something cool inside.
Besides the wildlife, one of the earliest dangers you’ll be introduced to is fall damage. Falling too far will subtract one heart from your health, and the resulting bounce could possibly lead to even more trouble. Look before you leap and make sure you’re taking advantage of the ledge grab. It may not seem like a lot, but safely lowering yourself by one block can make a huge difference.
I still die in the Mines all the time. That’s okay. The lack of supplies combined with the pressure of knowing how long the road ahead is can be a real mindfuck sometimes. The best thing to do is focus on what’s immediately in front of you, and take it one step at a time. Think of the Mines as a confidence builder. Staying calm and playing smart will set the tone for the rest of your run. That being said, here’s some of the traps and enemies that will kill you right off the bat.
TRAPS – THE MINES
SPIKES — One of the few traps you’ll find everywhere. Luckily, they’re extremely deadly! You’ll find this out pretty quickly, but falling on spikes will kill you instantly. No exceptions. Okay, having the Ankh is the one exception, but that’s it! Treat every set of spikes with the utmost caution and respect. Don’t get cocky.
- It isn’t immediately obvious, but you can safely walk and run through spikes. Fun trick: lead hopping enemies to a row of spikes and let their blood wash over you as you strut confidently.
- Sometimes spikes are right at the top of a ledge and there’s no way to jump over them. If you grab the ledge and hop just enough to get your feet up to the surface, you won’t get impaled. It takes a little finesse but it’s not terribly difficult.
- I mentioned this already, but it’s worth repeating because it’s neat: if you’re wearing the Cape, you can slowly lower yourself onto Spikes without getting impaled. Badass.
SPIDERWEB — Though not harmful, spiderwebs can be somewhat of a nuisance. They’ll slow you down when you try to run through them, and they’ll catch you in mid air if you jump into them. Since one of the main tactics in Spelunky is running away from shit, getting caught in a web at the wrong time can be bad news. Thrown items will get caught as well, which can be good or bad, depending on the situation. Passing through them twice will clear them away, as will Machetes and Torches.
- Thankfully, webs can stop arrows, so if there’s one between you and an active arrow trap, you can safely trigger it without worrying about getting hit.
- Just about every enemy in the Mines can also get stuck in webs. Just don’t expect a Giant Spider or Ghost to be affected.
STONE BLOCK — This grey block can be found on almost every level. If it’s resting on the ground, it’s harmless, and can be pushed around. Anything caught between it and a wall or floor will get flattened. Though it doesn’t exactly move on its own, you can easily be crushed by it if you’re not careful. If the ground below a stone block is blown up, or hacked away with the Mattock, gravity will do its thang. Don’t get caught underneath unless you want a quick and painless(?) death.
ARROW TRAP — This is tricky because it’s tough to spot unless you’re really looking for it. It closely resembles the plain, stone block that you see all over the place, but it has the profile of a fanged creature carved on the side. If anything moves within its range (for example: you), it will fire an arrow out lightning fast. Not only will it do two hearts worth of damage if it hits you, but it will also knock you back insanely far, usually into more traps. Luckily, there’s only one arrow in each arrow trap, so once it’s gone off, it’s no longer a threat.
- Safely set them off with a thrown object (like a rock, or pot) while you’re out of the firing zone.
- If there’s a spiderweb between you and the arrow trap, you’re safe. The web will stop the arrow automatically.
- Arrows that miss can be picked up and used as a powerful throwing weapon. As always, be careful though. These can bounce off walls and come right back at you, doing two hearts of damage. Unnecessarily hurting yourself is the worst feeling.
- Arrows that have sunk their tip into something alive (I could probably have worded that better…) will break, and only the harmless shaft (oh dear…) will remain. This can be thrown around, but will do no damage.
- Like I mentioned above, anything that moves will set this thing off. That includes things like falling Spiders and ropes. Keep this in mind when you see one way above your head. Just because your body doesn’t set it off doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous!
- If you’re carrying a Damsel when you get hit by an arrow, the Damsel with take the damage for you. She’s like body armor! Hmm, well, sort of. Her life will effectively be cut in half, and another arrow shot will finish her off. Still, don’t feel bad about doing it once. She’ll still give you a smooch if you can save her.
- PRO TIP: If you can fall past an arrow trap at the very edge of it’s range, the triggered arrow will safely zip right over your head. Just be aware of the bounce back when it eventually hits a wall. A falling arrow is just as dangerous as one travelling toward you at high speeds.
- PRO TIP: You can stop speeding arrows with a well-timed whip. Sound impossible? With a little practice, it’s totally doable. Not to brag, but I do it all the time. The thing to keep in mind is, once the whip is unfurled, the edge is “active” for almost a half second. As long as the whip is fully extended when the arrow makes contact, it’ll bounce right off without hurting you. Then you can walk around with your chest puffed out for the rest of the day like a total badass.
POWDER BOX — This explosive box can be found nestled within the walls, floors and ceilings, or just sitting out in the open. If triggered, the explosion is similar to that of one of your bombs. Obviously, any explosions within range will set it off, as will thrown items or unfortunate whip attacks. Actually, why would you do that? Don’t whip the powder box.
- They can be safely pushed off ledges, and will only explode if they fall further than one space.
- What makes them slightly more frightening, however, is even the tiniest drop of blood or piece of shattered pot can set them off. You can use this to your advantage, though, and safely trigger explosions by hopping on nearby enemies or tossing a pot without really putting yourself in too much danger.
BOULDER — The boulder will only Kool-Aid Man through the wall and fuck all your shit up if you touch the Golden Idol in the Mines. Therefore, do not touch the Golden Idol in the Mines. Once activated, the boulder will bust out and head toward whatever direction you went in, flattening anything and everything in its path. It will eventually come to a stop, but only after it’s ricocheted off the walls and destroyed the better half of the level.
- If you’re willing to risk the damage involved, plan ahead. Either attach a rope to the ceiling so you can climb to safety, or make sure there’s a platform near that’s at least 3 spaces high so the angry boulder will pass underneath you. For the record, I still think it’s a bad idea.
ENEMIES – THE MINES
SNAKE — The regular green snake is a pushover. He’ll pay you no mind and will simply patrol back and forth on whatever platform he’s on. This is one of the easiest enemies to practice what I refer to as the “super jump” on. If you press jump right as you land on top of an enemy, you’ll fly up into the air much higher than your standard jump. This technique is great for grabbing gold or gems that are out of reach but not worth wasting a rope to get.
COBRA — The blue cobra is a little trickier. His movement is similar to his green brother, except he’ll stop and spit poison every couple seconds. They’ll start showing up more frequently as you get closer to the end of the Mines. They’re weakest when you have the high ground, so get the drop on them if you can.
BAT — Sneaky, purple, and even more dangerous in groups. You’ll see them sleeping on ceilings, but if you pass underneath them, they’ll wake up and begin slowly flapping towards you. Try leading them into a web or a hallway so they’re easier to deal with. If out in the open, a little hop attack or a thrown item are the best ways to dispatch them.
SPIDER — This guy hangs out on the ceiling too, but he’ll only drop when you’re right below him. They’re very easy to handle as long as you notice them first. Once they land on the ground, all they can do is hop periodically in your general direction. Best practice is to run under one, then turn around and quickly whip it before it has the chance to jump.
SPINNER SPIDER — These are the purple ones that hang from webs on the ceiling. They descend and ascend at a steady pace, but at random lengths. Let them make the first move so you know whether or not it’s safe to pass by.
GIANT SPIDER — These are hard to miss. They hang out on the ceiling, and will drop as soon as you pass underneath them. The best way to deal with them is to toss a bomb into the webs that are always right below them. If you accidentally trigger them to fall, they’re MUCH harder to deal with. They’ll jump towards you and sporadically fire webs to slow you down. They can crawl through small horizontal spaces, but can only drop through a gap that’s two spaces or larger. They do two hearts of damage, so get the heck away from them!
- FREE ITEM: Killing a Giant Spider will always net you a free Paste. Very useful.
SKELETON — Pay close attention to piles of bones as they may come to life when you get close! Jumping on (or over) bone piles is the safest way to avoid their sneak attack, but whipping them works as well. If on the move, they will fall off ledges to get to you, so watch your head. Not exactly a free item, but the fragile skull they leave behind can be picked up and thrown.
SCORPION — Yellow and tenacious. Their leaping attacks come fast and furious, so stay out of their line of sight at all costs. They have two hit points, so your first attack will only knock them out for a few seconds. Either wait for them to wake up to finish them off, or pick them up and toss them on some spikes for a quick kill.
CAVEMAN — These muscle heads will charge if you fall within their line of sight, but will run right past you if you jump over them. This makes it very easy to bait them into traps. If you want to kill them dead, it’ll take a few normal attacks since they’re beefier than your standard foe.
SHOPKEEPER — Technically, this guy is your friend, but that can change very quickly — stealing, deploying a bomb too close to his shop, or hitting him with anything will make the beast come out. An angry Shopkeeper is, without a doubt, the most unpredictable and deadly enemy in the game. Even the deadly mantrap can’t stop him! Angering him by accident is the worst, but random happenings can set him off too, so it’s best to be prepared for anything. His speed and jumping ability greatly exceed yours and he’s a crack shot with the Shotgun. The best you can hope for is that he falls on some spikes, or is killed by some other environmental trap before he gets to you.
- FREE ITEM: His Shotgun can be knocked out of his hands and stolen, but it’s not easy. The best strategy is to kill him (or hope he dies) and then loot his corpse.
- PRO TIP: Spelunky pros know that there are two “easy” ways to earn big money — stealing everything, and robbing the vaults — both of which will put you on the Shopkeepers’ shit list. Sticky bombs and the Shotgun are your best tools for taking down a pissed off ‘Keeper, just keep in mind that they have a lot of health, so it takes multiple Shotgun blasts to put them down for good. Once you head down this road, there’s no turning back, so get ready for the fight of your life.
GHOST – This giant creep will come out at the 2.5 minute mark to encourage you to find the exit as quickly as possible. He moves slowly, but he’s relentless. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but if he touches you, you will die instantly. Even Ray Parker, Jr. admits that he’s totally afraid of this particular ghost. [Oh my god that was terrible. -ed]
- PRO TIP: There’s a special technique called “ghost mining” that can earn you huge amounts of money. Here’s how it works: If the ghost passes over a gem (excluding those buried within the walls) he will turn it into a friggin’ diamond! These are worth waaaay more than your standard gem, so collecting them can have a huge impact on your score. However, the ghost is hard to avoid so don’t bother trying this unless you have adequate supplies or increased mobility. The Jetpack works best.
- PRO TIP: An even riskier version of ghost mining involves the vaults you sometimes see deep within the walls. The two chests inside are filled with gems but guarded by an anxious Shopkeeper. If you’re feeling confident, blow open the side of the vault and either kill him or get out of his way. Once the vault is safe, break open the chests, but do your best not to collect the gems just yet. Let the ghost work his magical ways, then run in and reap the benefits of all your hard work. It’s a huge risk for a huge payoff.
LEVEL TWO – JUNGLE
Congratulations! You made it out of the Mines! Okay, stop celebrating and pay attention. Don’t let the pretty colors fool you — the Jungle is not a fun party. The difficulty curve ramps up significantly here, and can be a roadblock for a lot of players. With over ten new enemy types and some really sneaky traps, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by it all. Hopefully you rationed your supplies because you’re going to need… oh hey, what’s that oozing orange thing?!
The lush environmental elements will immediately catch your eye. Vines (otherwise known as Nature’s ropes) hang from the ceiling. Trees dot the landscape, their sticky bark practically begging to be climbed. And water! Heck yeah, time for a much-deserved swim. Did you know it’s impossible to drown in Spelunky? Unfortunately, you won’t always be swimming alone so maybe take a closer look before you dive in. By the way, if you happened to find the Udjat Eye in the Mines, you may notice it start to flash periodically. The faster it flashes, the closer you are to the hidden entrance of the Black Market. I hope you saved some bombs!
Another thing to be on the lookout for is a special variant of the Jungle known as the Graveyard. It’s more of a theme than a whole new type of level, but you will go up against a couple unique enemy types and you may even find the Crystal Idol. There are also gravestones and skeletons all over the place, because, y’know, it’s a graveyard. Rumor has it that one special grave may hide the entrance to an even spookier location. Are you scared yet? You can hold my hand.
NEW TRAPS – JUNGLE
TIKI TRAP — Fuck. This. Thing. This brown pillar can practically sense when things get near it and will send out one of two sets of spikes to fend off the threat. The spikes can kill almost anything in one shot, so even though getting hit might not mean a guaranteed instant death for you, it may as well be a death sentence. What makes the tiki trap so darn tricky is how it almost fades into the background. Surrounded by such a vibrant color pallet, the unassuming tiki trap stands there, completely still, waiting for wide-eyed spelunkers to wander too close because they’re distracted by a monkey or something.
- PRO TIP: The spikes that shoot out of the tiki trap are only dangerous the moment they fully extend. This means that after they pop all the way out, even if they’re still completely visible, you can touch them without taking damage. Knowing this, you can bait the tiki trap into triggering, then quickly climb over it before the spikes reset. It’s one of those things that doesn’t look like it should work, but it does.
SPIKE PIT — Spike pits feature a huge row of spikes with a series of vines growing over the top, usually populated by a bunch of stinking monkeys. Traversing across without the assistance of the Cape or Jetpack will require some quick fingers as you’ll have to hop from vine to vine until you reach the other side. Miss a grab and you’ll fall to your death. If you can spare a bomb, you may just want to bypass this thing altogether and save yourself the headache.
NEW ENEMIES – JUNGLE
TIKI MAN — These masked men patrol the Jungle levels with big-ass Boomerangs. They have scary range and a hair trigger, so stay out of their horizontal line of sight. Either hop on them or toss a rock from a safe distance to knock them out. If unarmed, they act like Cavemen and will charge you, but be careful — they can pick the Boomerang back up!
- FREE ITEM: As mentioned above, knock them out and steal their Boomerang.
FROG — The standard frog is blue and can jump surprisingly far. He also doesn’t waste too much time between jumps, so try to attack him right after he lands, or you may miss your chance. They can jump even further if they’re in water, so watch out.
FIRE FROG — The orange version of the frog hides an explosive surprise. His mannerisms are the same as a standard frog, but once hit, he’ll begin to shake on the ground before exploding like a bomb! Obviously, you’ll want to stay away from the explosion, but there are other scenarios in which you’ll want to be extra careful, too. The explosion will send any items near it flying, so duck and cover. Fun fact: if a Fire Frog lands in water, he’ll transform into a regular Frog!
- BAD IDEA: Don’t kill these things near Altars or they may end up exploding and angering Kali. This will not only greatly lower your favor with the goddess, but she’ll send about twenty spiders after you too. Quite a terrifying sight!
GIANT FROG — These huge bastards can’t jump very far, but they make up for it by barfing up a never-ending parade of frogs to do their dirty work. They are impervious to normal jumps, but Spike Shoes will make quick work of them. A bomb will also do the trick.
- FREE ITEM: You’ve got about a fifty percent shot at getting a free pair of Spring Shoes if you kill this guy.
MANTRAP — Utterly terrifying. This walking plant will gobble up any creature in its path, (including you), take a short nap, then spring back to life, hungrier than ever. Getting too close to this guy will result in an instant death no matter how much health you have. He’s also completely immune to ALL jump attacks (even Spike Shoes don’t help) and any attempt to do so will get you eaten. Avoidance is the best policy here, but if you have to engage him, a careful whip will take him out of commission long enough for you to run past. You can also toss a dead body at him, which will provide him with a snack and put him so sleep for a short while. Just don’t linger too long, because he wakes up much quicker than you’d expect!
- BAD IDEA: Don’t pick up a sleeping mantrap for any reason. You may get away with it a few times, but sooner or later he’s going to wake up in your arms and swallow you whole. Yet another way to insta-die.
PIRANHA — You’ll see piranhas swimming back and forth in pools of water all over the Jungle. The second your foot touches the water, they’ll come after you, each bite doing one heart of damage. What’s strange is they won’t attack any other creature that falls in (Damsels included), so you won’t be able to distract them with other selections of jungle meat. You can use rocks to take them out, or just drain their pool by tossing a bomb in.
OLD BITEY — This massive piranha lurks at the bottom of the Rushing Water stage — a variation of the Jungle which always features a huge, piranha-packed lake at its base. It’s best not to tangle with Old Bitey if you can avoid it. Though you’ll find some treasure at the bottom of the lake, the danger involved with trying to deal with him and his army of piranhas is just not worth the trouble, in my opinion. Just get the exit and move on.
KILLER BEE — These protectors of the Queen can almost always be found in large groups inside beehives. Imagine that. Their flight pattern is sort of erratic and they’re difficult to predict. Try to engage them one at a time, if possible. Any thrown item or attack will do the trick as they have low health.
QUEEN BEE — For every beehive you find, know that there is always one gigantic Queen Bee somewhere inside. She’s impervious to regular jumps, but a couple hops with the Spike Shoes or a sticky bomb will do the trick. If that’s not an option, another tactic (albeit slightly riskier) is to go inside the beehive, quickly find a small, one-space nook, put your back to the wall, and just keep whipping until she’s dead. She’s too big to fit into a small space like that, so you’ll be safe inside. Well, safe from her. The killer bees can still get in…
- FREE ITEM: The Queen Bee will drop a lump of Royal Jelly when killed, which will net you four extra hearts when picked up!
SNAIL — The snail is a pretty chill dude. He just likes to hang out in the Jungle all day and blow bubbles. Unfortunately for you, those bubbles are poisonous and will take off one heart if you touch ’em. He’s one of the few enemies that’s more of a threat when he’s below you, so check the lower levels before you drop down. He doesn’t have much health, so any regular attack will take him out.
MONKEY — Watch out for these guys on vines all over the Jungle. They like to hop on your back, reach into your pockets, and steal stuff. If they happen to steal a sticky bomb, they basically become a mobile explosive, so look out. Sometimes they’ll knock you out instead of stealing from you, which can be very problematic. It’s best to try and hit them with rocks while they’re still on the vines to avoid their tricky jumps.
JIANG SHI — The Graveyard variation will be full of these hopping, undead things. Though they’ll do one heart of damage if they touch you, they are pretty easy to deal with. Smack them with just about anything to send them back to the grave.
VAMPIRE — The other Graveyard inhabitant is a lot more tenacious. Vampires will hang out on ceilings, like bats, and spring to life when you get within a certain range. Once they land on the ground, they’ll leap around and try to attack you, which makes them a real pain to handle. Try to whip them out of the air, if possible, then quickly run over and place a bomb near their unconscious body to claim their prize. Or, you know, just avoid them if you can.
- FREE ITEM: All vampires are in possession of the Cape, a highly sought after item that will allow you to glide around majestically. You’ll have to kill them in order to claim it for yourself.
LEVEL THREE – ICE CAVES
After surviving the clusterfuck of the Jungle, the wide open spaces of the Ice Caves are a welcome change. There are fewer traps here than any other level, so you’ll feel like you can relax a bit and actually breathe again. However, the sparse level layouts mean getting from platform to platform will require some well-aimed jumps and nerves of steel. Fall damage is more deadly here than anywhere else so hopefully you procured yourself a Cape or Jetpack or you’re going to be burning through your rope supply pretty quickly.
The varied selection of enemies here have a lot of unique traits which won’t make survival any easier. Danger can come from above, below, and everywhere in between, so stay on your toes and consider the consequences before attacking. Avoidance is sometimes the best policy. One good thing, however, is dark levels never show up in the Ice Caves. I can’t even imagine what that would be like.
You’ll notice UFOs all over the Ice Caves. Their presence is not a coincidence. Somewhere on the fourth level, you notice a huge tower on either the left or right side of the map. The door at the top leads to the Mothership, a spaceship themed level full of aliens, automated defense turrets and more. This stage is also unique in that you have to travel up to get to the exit, rather than down. It’s completely optional, but there may be some powerful alien technology inside…
NEW TRAPS – ICE CAVES
MINE — These proximity explosives are your biggest threat in the Ice Caves. Running past one will trigger an explosion roughly one second later, so you’ll want to be very careful around them. What’s worse, triggering one may cause an unexpected chain reaction that could have huge consequences. Beware, enemies can set them off too.
- PRO TIP: If you can pick it up before it goes off, you’ll disarm the mine and can place it wherever you like. Feel free to dispose of it or simply place it on a space you want to blow up and manually trigger the explosion. Just don’t hang out too closely, obviously.
- BAD IDEA: Throwing mines at enemies or unexplored platforms is not a great idea. The mine could go off, sending other mines flying in your direction. You don’t always have a lot of options in the Ice Caves, so play it safe.
JUMP PAD — These are tough to spot in the snow, but will send you soaring into the air if you step on them. This can spell bad news if you accidentally run over one while you’re trying to escape something and end up getting tossed into the abyss. They don’t do any damage, but sometimes yetis will get stuck bouncing on them. Hey, maybe they’re having fun?
- PRO TIP: They can be useful, however. The height you get from them is pretty significant, so they may save you a rope from time to time.
ICE — Maybe I shouldn’t have to say this, but there is ice in the Ice Caves. Lots of it. Icy platforms are super slippery, which makes quick stops and directional changes almost an impossibility. Too much momentum can quickly get the best of you.
- PRO TIP: The Spike Shoes cancel the negative effects of walking on ice, so try to make a habit of buying a pair before you get here. It’ll make traversing the platforms a lot less hairy.
BOTTOMLESS PIT — Every level of the Ice Caves is suspended above a stage-wide bottomless pit. Slip off a ledge or miss a grab and you may end up plummeting to your death. This danger is increased by the sparse platform layout consistent throughout the Ice Caves. By now you should have a good feeling for how far your character can jump, and what his limitations are, so don’t get too crazy.
NEW ENEMIES – ICE CAVES
YETI — The yeti is the most common enemy you’ll find in the Caves. These docile creatures won’t go out of their way to attack you, but they will send you flying if you get too close to them. Whip attacks have absolutely no effect on them, so jumping is your best option. I always feel bad for killing these guys.
YETI KING — This rare enemy will only appear on stages when you see the “smells like wet fur” warning at the beginning. Unlike his smaller brothers, this guy is violent. He’ll actively come after you and his roar attack can knock you back if you’re in front of him. He can also stomp the ground and cause multiple icicles to fall from the ceiling which can kill you instantly! Best to keep your distance.
- FREE ITEMS: Taking out the Yeti King will get you not one, but three free items for your trouble: the Compass, a pair of Spike Shoes, and some ropes. He has a ton of health, so bombs are the ideal method for killing him.
UFO — Flying saucers can be a real pain. They fly around fairly slowly but will send down a beam attack when you walk underneath them. This beam will chip away platforms so you may not be as safe as you think. If attacked, their the ship will come crashing to the ground and explode on impact. Very, very dangerous.
- BAD IDEA: You may still be carrying a boomerang from your adventures in the Jungle — DON’T throw it at UFOs. The body of the ship may get caught up with the boomerang and come back in your face. I’m speaking from experience here; this is one of the most embarrassing ways to die.
ALIEN — When a UFO is going down, the alien pilot will eject and deploy a parachute. Once he lands, he’ll scuttle back and forth on platforms, occasionally hopping. He’s not very aggressive, but he is very small.
ALIEN LORD — If the game warns you of a “psychic presence”, that means the Alien Lord is in the house. He’ll be located at the end of a trap-laden hallway and will send out purple orbs with his crazy mind powers. He also sits behind a protective barrier that can reflect anything, which means killing him will take some skill.
- FREE ITEM: Hidden in the wall right behind this boss is a beautiful, sparkling Jetpack. This item alone makes the Ice Caves a cake walk, but you’ll have to get past the Alien Lord to get it.
MAMMOTH — How did these guys even get in here? The mammoth will pace back and forth on platforms and shoot out ice blasts at regular intervals. If frozen, any attack can kill you instantly, much like the Freeze Ray. The shame of it is, the time it takes to thaw is longer than the amount of time between his shots, so you can get caught in a freeze loop that will ultimately lead to getting crushed. Normal jumps won’t hurt him, but Spike Shoes, bombs, and proximity mines will.
LEVEL FOUR – TEMPLE
You’re almost there. Just a few more AAAAHHHHHH!!! The Temple is scary. The enemies that live here require some serious planning and considerations to deal with safely, and the traps are no different. More so than ever, almost any mistake here will most likely be your end. Hopefully you’ve acquired a bunch of sweet items along your journey to assist you in surviving this Egyptian hell house.
A surplus of bombs will serve you well here. The Temple can be quite claustrophobic, and the things that lie in the negative space can make walking even 10 feet an issue. Avoiding danger should be your top priority (when isn’t it?), so sometimes using a bomb to blow out the floor is the best answer to “How the fuck am I supposed to deal with this shit?”
If you follow the necessary steps and have the necessary items, you can open the golden door on 4-2. This leads to the City of Gold, one of your last stops on the way to Hell. Obviously, it’s totally optional and is not required to “beat” the game, so maybe save this challenge for later. Since level 4-4 is always dedicated to the Olmec battle, you’ll only have to survive three actual levels of the Temple to get to him. I guess that’s “good” news, but the fight itself is no picnic. Good luck, adventurer!
NEW TRAPS – TEMPLE
CRUSH TRAP — Sneaky pricks. These blocks can crush you (and any items it picks up along the way) against walls, floors and ceilings, hence the name. They’re extremely dangerous. Keep a watchful eye out for their eye (they have an eye carved on them) and do your best to stay away from them. If you get stuck in a situation where you absolutely have to deal with them, either quickly dodge their slide attack or blow them up with a sticky bomb before they notice you.
- PRO TIP: Once you get used to dodging them, you can actually use crush blocks to help you clear out long hallways of enemies. Since mummies and other jerks tend to gang up in these tight spaces, anything that helps thin out their numbers is a win in my book.
CEILING TRAP — This trap only appears when you attempt to steal the golden Idol from the Temple. Plan ahead before you disturb the Idol and bomb out an escape route. If you get locked in with these things, there’s nothing you can do but welcome their warm embrace. (That means they’ll kill you.)
LAVA — I bet you had a feeling this was going to show up sooner or later. I shouldn’t have to tell you how lava is and how it works, but I will. It’s hot, molten rock that will burn you alive. It can be found in pools all over the Temple, and will periodically spew out fireballs that will transform into magma men and fuck your shit up. It can also burn your ropes if they get too close. All around, nasty, nasty stuff. Bomb out the walls or bottom of the pool to drain the lava.
NEW ENEMIES – TEMPLE
HAWK MAN — This shirtless fellow sports a bright red bird mask and matching underpants. If he sees you, he’ll start hopping around and try to throw you. Sneak up behind him and knock him out, or jump on his head before he spots you.
CROC MAN — This portly guy wears a vibrant, green crocodile mask and rocks some blue undies. Upon seeing you, he’ll act exactly like a hawk man and furiously hop around. When hit with an attack, he’ll teleport to a nearby location and continue to go nuts. It’ll take quite a few hits to put him down for good. He’s one of the more unpredictable enemies, so avoidance is recommended.
MAGMA MAN — Man, this guy is on fire! (Wow, that’s just bad.) Anyway, yeah, this guy is literally made of fire. If you pay close attention to the surface of the lava, you’ll see him poke his head up just before he leaps out. Once he lands on solid ground he’ll start walking around, just acting casual, like he’s not engulfed in flames. Occasionally he’ll bust out a somersault just to show off. But there’s a reason he’s so carefree — he knows that none of your attacks will hurt him. The only thing that will stop him is a crush trap, but you can’t count on one being around when you need it. Seeing as there are no water guns in Spelunky, just stay away from him until he eventually evaporates.
- PRO TIP: If you can, drain the lava pit to prevent them from spawning.
SCORPION FLY — In the air, the scorpion fly doesn’t pose too much of a threat. After you hit him once to knock his wings off, though, he will revert to the attack patterns of a regular scorpion — which means he’ll be a mean sonofabitch. Best to whip him again just as he wakes up to finish him off. Just make sure you’re standing behind him when he wakes up.
MUMMY — I always assumed mummies would be frail but these guys are pretty buff. Tall, too. If you get anywhere near them, they’ll turn towards you and continue to vomit out clouds of insects until you back off. The bugs don’t look like much but don’t let them touch you! They do crazy amounts of damage and can quickly take you out. The mummy is also prone to walking off ledges, so watch your head if there’s one above you. As with most big enemies, regular jumps won’t affect the mummy. Spike shoes and bombs are the way to go.
- PRO TIP: When the mummy does the vomit attack, green liquid spews out of his mouth onto the floor. If he happens to be near a ledge, you can actually catch this liquid with the Kapala and turn it into health! Depending on how much time you spend getting puked on (he’ll keep going forever as long as you’re near him), you could accumulate massive amounts of health — I’m talking over 50 hearts, easy. Absolutely amazing.
ANUBIS — This floating mini-boss can always be found on 4-1. The slow-moving, purple orbs he attacks you with can travel through walls, but will eventually disappear. Sticky bombs (as always) are great for an easy kill, but it will take two of them. If you want to preserve bombs, you can try to lead him near tiki traps. Letting the environment work for you is a beautiful thing.
- FREE ITEM: The Scepter that Anubis carries can be grabbed after you kill him, as long as it doesn’t fall into lava. This is a crazy (crazy dangerous) weapon and one of the required Hell items. It’d be even cooler if he dropped his jackal mask. I want to wear that thing.
OLMEC — Olmec is huge, made of gold and the only thing standing between you and absolute happiness. Don’t let him keep that from you. Avoid his stomps and bait him into destroying the floor, layer by layer. Your ultimate goal is to get him to fall into the lava pit at the bottom, which will open the door to the exit. It’s not easy and everyone seems to have a different strategy. Just remember that there’s no time limit so you can take as long as you want. Just don’t get stomped!
- PRO TIP: The simplest way to bring this giant down involves using a lot of bombs. Lead him to one side of the map, then run to the other side so he won’t follow you. Then (carefully) use your bombs to blast an Olmec-sized column all the way down to the lava. Hopefully you have a rope or two left over so you can climb out! Then go over and get Olmec’s attention and lead him to the opening. With a little luck, he’ll fall right in and you can prance your happy ass over to the door and get the hell out.
LEVEL 5 – HELL
Hell is the optional “final” level of Spelunky which introduces a whole bunch of new horrors. Just getting to its entrance is an enormous feat of skill that will require every ounce of patience and courage you have in your body. If my 2,500 deaths didn’t tip you off, getting to Hell can become an obsession. Most of the information you need to get there is located in the Special Items section. Just know that the large majority of Spelunky players will never see Hell, nor try to get there, so even trying basically makes you an extreme hardass. You can do it… maybe!
THANK YOU FOR READING
Seriously, thanks. Whether you read this entire monstrosity or just skimmed a few sections, I appreciate it. It took longer than I expected but I enjoyed the heck out of it. I hope it helps you in your future Spelunky exploits, or at the very least gave you a chuckle. I’ll reiterate what I said in the intro — this game is absolutely incredible. Easily one of my all-time favorites. The controls are spot on, the style is fantastic and the replayability is off the charts. More importantly, it respects you as a player. Spelunky won’t hold your hand, but it won’t stab you in the back either. It’s difficult and fair — the perfect combination. Good luck!