Wednesday, April 6, 2011

On Spelunky

Spelunky is a free videogame that I discovered through the evils of Youtube Let's Plays, specifically those posted by one Kikoskia. And it is hard.

If you don't enjoy videogames or have no interest in them whatsoever, that's pretty much all you need to know about it. Spelunky isn't one of those games that enjoys challenging you to help you grow in skill and experience, only to allow you a satisfying victory at the end. No, that is far too charitable for Spelunky. Spelunky does not challenge; Spelunky kills.

Basically, it is a 16 bit adventure game where you try to guide the little Indiana Jones stand in through a labyrinth of traps, monsters and treasure. Your goal is to make it through 16 levels of pain, death and more death to reach the ultimate treasure hidden on the bottom level, which counts as a win. I have achieved this feat a grand total of zero times. Out of seven hundred and counting.

Fortunately, if you bribe the local shortcut maker with enough cash, he makes a little shortcut tunnel for you to access the lower levels without running through the earlier ones. Such an advantage has helped me gain success far more frequently. A grand total of twice.

For those laughing at my crappy gaming skills, I must shake my fist in your general direction. Then I must emphasize that this game is hard. You are only given four hit points, and every single hit you take robs you of one. Completing a level does not restore them, and only by occasionally rescuing a damsel in distress can you gain even one point to stave off your inevitable demise. In addition to the plethora of available monsters waiting to drain the life from your adventuring body, there are traps which just flat out kill you. Spike traps, booby trapped voodoo poles, alien spaceship beams, lava pits, bee spitting mummies and a giant golden statue man that wants to squish you dead are just a few. To fight these traps and the monsters lurking among them, you have a whip, a few bombs, and some rope. Yeah, good luck.

So for those who like hard videogames that harken back to the SNES days and have a masochistic kind of determination not to let some giant spider eat your face and get away with it, then Spelunky awaits. Just don't say I didn't warn you.

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