dkirschner's Spelunky (PC)
| [September 20, 2014 07:34:33 AM]
| This game is HUGE. I really like it, but I'm giving up on it (for now) because it's painfully difficult by the end and it's crossed my threshold for how much time I'm willing to put in for perfectionism.
In my previous entry, I had reached the Ice Caves once or twice and was working on unlocking Tunnel Man's shortcut there at the end of the Jungle. Well, I successfully did that (2 bombs, then 2 ropes, then a shotgun for the Tunnel Man), and then breezed through the Ice Caves. It's weird how easy that world is compared to the others. The 4th world is the Temple, which kicked my ass every time I saw it. But the ICE CAVES! That's my favorite world so far. It's got yetis and wooly mammoths that turn you into a block of ice. It's got UFOs and psychic alien lords. It's got mines and other things that blow blocks up. And it's an abyss! So there's no real floor at the bottom, which is sometimes tricky to deal with.
I also discovered the Worm in the Ice Caves. You can also get to it in The Jungle, but my discovery was an accident. There are these pink blobs on the wall, usually in place where you would fall pretty far, and if you fall on it, you stick to it. It's good because it breaks your fall, and you can then jump off of it safely. Enemies and other objects get stuck on the pink blob too. So one time I had a damsel and threw him off the ledge and he landed on the blob. Then I jumped off to grab him from the blob. When we were both on the blob, after a moment the screen began shaking and the blob turned into a giant worm's mouth and ate us! I went inside the worm's belly, where there is a whole new level with new enemies and environmental elements. So. Cool. Inside the worm, there is tons of treasure, but the worm is very large. I never made it to the bottom of one before dying.
There are many other secrets in Spelunky. I read about most of them after deciding to quit, but discovered some on my own. The other one I was most pleased with was figuring out what Kali's sacrifice tables do. If you bring a humanoid or a damsel to the bloody altar, it dies. Bring enough and Kali rewards you with an item. Bring enough yet, and Kali rewards you with a special item that you can use to increase your health. Cool. There are apparently more secret levels and items that sound pretty neat.
So, why am I retiring Spelunky even though I like it so much? In my quest to unlock Tunnel Man's shortcut to the Temple, I had to bring 3 bombs, then 3 ropes, and then...the Golden Key from the Mines. What?! I don't know how to put this quite in perspective. I sunk 6 hours into Spelunky and made it through 3 worlds. The Mines probably took me 3 hours, The Jungle 2.5 hours and the Ice Caves maybe 30 minutes to finally figure out. The Golden Key is an item that spawns somewhere in The Mines. So to unlock Tunnel Man's shortcut to the Temple, you have to (a) find the Golden Key in The Mines (b) get the Golden Key (c) bring the Golden Key ALL THE WAY through The Mines, The Jungle and the Ice Caves WITHOUT DYING. Now, I died 176 times in Spelunky so far. The chance of me going through 3 entire worlds without dying is about the chance I have of winning the lottery. Just...No. Not right now.
Looking forward to starting a new game this weekend. What'll it be?!
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| [September 6, 2014 08:22:19 AM]
| Writing an entry now because this game will take me a while, and I've still got all my initial thoughts floating around. I really didn't know what Spelunky would be like, but the massive praise it received was enough to pique my interest to try something new. If I had to sum it up, I'd say Spelunky is a game about paying attention to your environment, which happens to be deadly trap-and-treasure-filled, and weighing risk vs. reward.
The game reminds me most of Super Meat Boy and other brutally difficult run-fast die-fast 2-d platformers. The levels are quick, you die constantly, death constantly teaches you something new, it's instantly fun and (so far) infinitely replayable. The controls are simple and of the easy to learn, tough to master variety. I was running and jumping with precision early on. I've learned to hang from and jump off ledges just so, to use certain items to climb, float, jump higher and more. But there is still so much I don't know or just plain suck at.
Here's how it works: You're an intrepid explorer trying to find your way out of some ruins. The ruins are divided into various worlds. So far, I've seen the Mines, Jungle and for lack of the proper name, Ice World (which I've seen once). Each world has 4 levels, so there are Mines 1-1, 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, Jungle 2-1, 2-2 and so on. When you reach the end of a world there is an NPC named Tunnel Man who is trying to build shortcuts between worlds. He'll ask you for items, and if you have them to give, do it. After visiting him 3 times at the end of a particular world, he'll build a shortcut to the next one so you can start there. It's a clever way to do checkpoints.
You have at your disposal a whip and a limited stock of bombs and ropes. Bombs blow things up, ropes let you climb up. There are many other items available for purchase from shops or found in crates and treasure chests, like shotguns, spring boots (for jumping higher), and a compass (which points to the exit). I don't know what half of them do (glasses, camera, spike shoes, cape I'm looking at you). Using items is a matter of experimentation, so I'm sure eventually I'll figure them all out.
Dwelling in the ruins are a wide, wide variety of creatures, most of which try to kill you. All enemies are different, which makes quickly learning what's special about them and how to kill/disable/avoid them very important. For example, in the Mines (which I finally beat last night and unlocked Tunnel Man's shortcut to the Jungle, yaaay!) there are bats that perch upside down on ceilings. They slowly fly toward you in an arc, so you have to time your whip or other weapon such that you hit the bat as it moves along an arc. It can be tricky. Skeletons sometimes arise from bone piles on the ground when you get near. Sometimes bone piles aren't skeletons, but you never know until you get a few steps away. So don't go sprinting toward bone piles! There are a variety of spiders. One kind drops down from ceilings when you move underneath. Then they hop about. Another kind dangles from a web, moving up and down. Another kind, the giant spider, also drops from the ceiling, and then will stalk you relentlessly. I've never killed one of these, and have been killed by them a lot. I will do what I can to find routes around them. I think there are something like 70 or 80 different creatures in the ruins. It's absolutely brilliant learning through observation and trial and error, whether or not you can jump on an enemy to kill it, what items do, the radius of spiders, how many hits a caveman takes, and on and on for every little thing in the game.
But this is why you need to be so aware of your environment. You never know what's coming. You must constantly scan the screen for spiders and bats on the ceiling, monkeys in the Jungle, spitting snakes and traps. OH GOD, the traps. In the Mines, there are arrow traps. They fire one arrow horizontally, and launch it whenever something passes their field of vision. It's taken me a long time to learn to deal with them, but the best way is to find something to toss in front of it so it fires its arrow. If it shoots you, you lose 2 health (you only get 4, and if you die you start all over). You can also jump down past them if you are falling quickly and farther away from them. You'll go down past it before the arrow hits you. I learned each of these points and tricks over many encounters with spike traps, and from watching enemies trigger them! In the Jungle, there are spike traps, which are like totem poles that stick spikes out when you get near. You just have to be real careful when jumping over them or going for nearby treasure.
I really like the randomly generated levels. You'll be playing Mines 1-1 A LOT, but every time you do, it's different. Different layout, different enemies, different items available. Sometimes there are even themes like no light, where you must carry a torch around to see, or "snakes, why did it have to be snakes?" where there are tons of snakes, and the same for spiders. In the Jungle, there is an undead theme that I've seen a few times where instead of regular Jungle creatures, there are zombies and graveyards. It's cool, adds in variety.
There are plenty of other things in the game too that I haven't mentioned, like the different types of shops and shopkeepers, the damsels, how exits work, other items, the chill in the air(!), leaderboards and on and on.
I'm loving this game, but I know it'll take a while to beat it. I'm considering beginning something more story heavy to play alongside it, but we shall see.
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dkirschner's Spelunky (PC)
Current Status: Stopped playing - Got frustrated
GameLog started on: Tuesday 26 August, 2014
GameLog closed on: Saturday 20 September, 2014