[Xbox 360] Spelunky
Spelunky doesn't tell a tale, it's a 2D platformer that dares you to go from Point A to Point B. Spelunky gives off an Indiana Jones-esque vibe with you as an adventurer exploring mysterious caves and ruins filled with snakes, giant spiders, bats, and the undead. If that wasn't enough to slow you down, in true Indy fashion are giant boulder traps, pits and spikes.
The point is to safely go from the top of the level to the bottom, which you will most likely find the exit for the stage. You can't take many hits, there is no regenerating health and weapons are limited. You start with some rope that lets you reach areas of the map safely or bombs to create a new exit strategy. And if you take too long to reach the exit? Just like the monster in Ski Free, you will be relentlessly chased down by a ghoul and will be lucky to make it to the exit. Spelunky wants you to explore the area you're in, but don't take long. If you die, it's game over.
There are a few different levels that will change the environment and enemy types. Each level contains four stages, so if you want to see some new scenery, you need to make it past four stages without dying. And in Spelunky, that's not the easiest task. Each stage is completely randomized, so don't worry about experiencing the same stage over and over again . Not to mention that there are certain times where special stages will be triggered that only increase the difficulty, like a stage filled with giant spiders trying to eat you.
Throughout each stage are treasures to be found that you can use to buy items from the store clerk who happened to find himself in some ancient ruin and open shop. Here you can get items like a shotgun or a Freeze Ray. You can even rescue a damsel in distress who somehow found herself in the same predicament as the shop owner. If you're lucky to get the girl to the exit, she'll reward you with a nice kiss that will net you an extra heart.
Overall the game has a simple design that's really just plain fun. You can jump, climb, shoot or throw items at enemies as you try to go through the level. You will die a lot, but it's refreshing to play a platformer that doesn't hold your hand but instead delivers an experience that is both challenging and fun. The best part is you can play with up to four friends on the same Xbox. I don't know how many times I accidentally killed my buddy as we played together, but it's one of those games that gets even better with someone else. If I "accidentally" killed him, I could always throw his dead body to trigger traps or defeat enemies. The game is better suited alone, but the fun factor goes through the roof as you watch your buddy miss his jump and see his body fall into some spikes. Then he spends the rest of the stage as a ghost following you around.
The only gripe I really had is the shop clerk can kill you. To elaborate, you can steal items from the clerk or attempt to hurt him. If you do, he will turn hostile and power up into The Flash as he goes ballistic across the screen wielding a shotgun. He is incredibly hard to take down, and every stage with a shop clerk in it will now be hostile towards you. Essentially, they become a whole unneeded problem. To make it even worse, sometimes traps set off in the stage will interfere with the shop owner, making him hunt you down in anger when you were minding your own business. Sometimes it forces the player to start over, because it's an uphill battle not worth fighting.
Luckily the game isn't too hardcore on you. After you make it past all four stages, the 'Tunnel Man' makes an appearance. For exchange of some goodies, he will make a tunnel to the next level so you don't have to replay the whole game again over and over to get further. As stated before, if you die it's game over, so it's best to give him whatever he wants so you don't have to start from square one every time. Unfortunately for co-op, the Tunnel Man does not appear so that progress will not save. Unless you met him in a previous single player run, you cannot skip any levels in co-op.
Besides playing with friends traversing evil caves and finding treasure, there's a Free-For-All mode that pits everyone against each other in small areas trying to be the last to stay alive. The game mode itself plays a lot like the older Bomberman series, as each character starts with a certain amount of bombs and rope. By breaking boxes they can potentially obtain lethal weapons to get a leg up against the others.
I played this mode with a friend and some bots. Not only was it hilarious, it seriously was so much fun. The game mode can get so chaotic with bombs flying everywhere, people jumping and using ropes to hang on away from the explosions, levels have hazards to kill you faster, or one guy is lucky enough to get the shotgun to tear you to pieces. The mode isn't necessarily going to keep you for many hours, but it's a fun distraction for a night.
For an arcade game it has a nice vibrant color palate that clearly points out all the nooks and crannies. Everything really pops, never will you confuse the store owner from a mummy, or vice versa. Each level is distinct, coupled with neat lighting effects for stages with dark areas when you use the torch.
The menus give off a retro game vibe with a simplistic HUD that doesn't bog you down with unnecessary details. Like the menus, the soundtracks that play during each stage definitely hearken back to an older era of game music. Both are seriously nice touches as they pay tribute to a different time of gaming.
Spelunky is a lot of fun. The Xbox Live Arcade edition varies slightly from the free PC version you can download, but Spelunky is a fun game to play with a friend or two. Dying is half the fun as you try to get past the different stages with each level increasing in difficulty. It might just be that Spelunky feels like a few older game series combined into one, a game that feels retro but looks modern. If you have some extra Microsoft points laying around, Spelunky isn't a bad way to spend 'em.
+ Insanely simple and fun
+ Cool level design
+ Retro vibe with a modern touch
- Due to difficulty, completing harder levels can potentially turn into getting lucky
- Shop clerk sometimes tries to kill you from an action you didn't cause
I saw this review on the Aussie tv show Good Game and it looked crazy fun. For someone like me who likes to play EVERYTTHINGGGG, it being short is not a bad thing
Excellent review! :D
Its not short by any chance, you will die more times then you can count in this game. It is equal fun, and frustrating. I play it all the time with friends.
Originally Posted by DarkVincent07
@DV, you should get it! Spelunky is one of my favorite arcade games and is so much fun if you have some friends to do it with.
@Kwes, yeah I actually thought about it and the game length isn't that short. I altered my negative. I guess I was thinking that others might perceive it as short, but with all the special stages and whatnot, there's a lot of content.