Back in the days of early 8-bit gaming there was a trend among some of the popular video games. Games such as Ninja Gaiden, Ghouls and Goblins and Mega Man were quite difficult and left some gamers with a lot of frustration and even more broken controllers. Nowadays it is extremely rare to find a game with as much challenge as the games of old, and yet Developer Derek Yu seemed to capture the nostalgia and challenging nature perfectly with Spelunky.
What started off as a free flash game on the internet, Spelunky has come to the Xbox Live Arcade. Spelunky is a very unique score-based game in which players explore a mine, only to come across various obstacles. The character starts off with four hearts of health and a whip. The controls are simple; it has four button commands (run, jump, grab, attack), and move with the left analog stick. The central goal of the game seems very simple. Mine for as much gold and gems as possible and get to the very bottom to reach the next part of the mine. However, don’t be fooled, this task is not as easy as it appears.
Each level in the game has numerous obstacles to overcome. You’ll find yourself being confronted with snakes, bats, scorpions, spiders, yetis and even the shopkeepers can become your enemy if they are attacked. Some areas of the game place gamers in the dark with only a torch to light your way. In addition to the enemies, gamers will face obstacles such as spikes, arrow traps and even a rogue boulder that chases you (much like Indiana Jones). Did I mention that you only have one life in the entire game? That is definitely what makes this game truly difficult. Forget about the enemies, the most nerve-racking part of Spelunky is simply making sure each step you take is a careful one.
The graphics in this game received a very much needed improvement from its flash counterpart. The rich colors of the game make it a great deal brighter than before and certainly make the game shine. The game resembles that of an old 2d platformer, so it definitely has that old-school feel. A slight downfall is the repetitive and monotonous music which does not change at any time. Overall the graphics are spot-on if you’re looking for an old-school platformer, and if you can tune out the music.
If you enjoy games that are challenging and want a game that will keep you busy for hours, Spelunky is definitely the game for you. Hours of time will be spent trying to get farther in the game as well as attempting to move up on the leaderboards. I definitely love the game, so give it a shot and prepare to rage!