Sound Of The Underground: Spelunky

Tiny men, adventuring in caves, adventuring in caves are tiny men.

Relatively late to this, but picked it up from Qt3 over the weekend and do like it a lot. It’s the new game by Derek Yu who you’ll best know for his involvement in the IGF winning Zelda-but-a-fish (With lots of other stuff) Aquaria. It’s called Spelunky. It’s basically Rick Dangerous meets Nethack: An underground platformer where each level is randomly generated whenever you play. By widening the skill-set slightly and allowing a lot more expression than you’d expect in what looks like Rick Dangerous, it really minimises the horrific-death-happy repetition which blighted Rick. About the only cost is slightly akward controls. This is clever and neat. See it in action beneath the cut…

Here’s some games in progress…

And here’s some splendid death. Expect to be screaming in a similar way.


  1. Chis says:

    Tough, old-school platforming fun. Love it!

  2. Redd says:

    Ahhh great. I’ve been playing this for a couple of weeks and couldn’t quite place the name of the ST game it reminded me of. I’ll have to go dig around in my Automation disks now I know.

  3. Ian says:


  4. mister k says:

    ah, rik dangerous. During a bored day a while back I downloaded it from underdogs to play it again. Got surprisingly far- much further than I had patience for when I was a child! It is a blisteringly unfair game. The only annoying thing about the underdogs version is the sounds are all wrong. No amusing screaming for me…

  5. Joq says:

    Damn, Montezuma’s Revenge was great.

  6. Arnulf says:

    Yes! Montezuma’s Revenge was also the first thing that came to my mind.

  7. Dominic White says:

    Bah. This isn’t Rick Dangerous – Derek himself stated that this was meant to be a hybrid of La-Mulana and Nethack. And for those who have played both, you’ll know that adds up to being the most sadistic game ever made.

    link to

    Yes, La-Mulana looks like an ancient MSX game, but it’s actually quite recent and was just deliberately retro’ed up. It’s also deceptively hard in the best way. It starts out seeming like an incredibly hard platformer, but after a while the platforming becomes the easy part, and it reveals itself to be a Myst-like puzzle adventure.

  8. Lobotomist says:


    Procedural generated platformer ! About damn time someone made that!

  9. Lobotomist says:


    Playing it right now! Great!

  10. Dain says:

    I remember being infinitely amused by the death screams of Rick Dangerous back on the Acorn..

  11. Markoff Chaney says:

    Montezuma’s Revenge lovers unite! I first played it on the 2600. Good Fun. Then I got my dad to get it for me for the PC. Different colored keys!? SOLD! Awesome fun. One of the first hybrid puzzle/platform/adventure titles and it was done SO well…

    This is an excellent little game. La Mulana is blisteringly brutal as well, but the random nature of Spelunky lends a bit more replayable value imo. Of course, I loves my randomly procedurally generated punishing you oh so fairly where virtually every death is your own damn fault. That or you just learned a new game mechanic so do it again! Great fun. Absolutely check out La Mulana as well if you enjoy these old school punishing platformers. Iji is quite enjoyable too, but La Mulana and Iji are not procedurally generated, they are more standard metroidvanias…

  12. Helm says:

    I’ve had more fun with this than say, Mirror’s Edge. Truly splendid game.

  13. Pags says:

    Agreed on the awkward controls. I don’t like simple platformers that mess up being simple by throwing in a lot of different button combinations. So yeah, I didn’t like playing it but I appreciated it for what it is, ie. a Nethackformer.

  14. ShardPhoenix says:

    This gave me a bluescreen after the splash screen :/.

  15. noexes says:

    I <3 the Donkey Kong ladders.

  16. Grandstone says:

    I’m having a weird problem where my whip button is also my rope button. By the time I get to the part in the tutorial where I need my rope, I’m out of ropes.

  17. Grandstone says:

    Ah, fixed the problem. Cool game.

  18. Robin says:

    Nice graphics, nice concept, too bugged to play.

    I really like Derek Yu’s art, I just hope that some day we’ll see it attached to another game as good or better than “I’m O.K.”

  19. Nox says:

    That’s odd. I assumed it was intended to be an homage to Spelunker, a game I was playing back in the eighties on my C-64. I figured that I might have been imagining the similarities, but then I found this on YouTube:

    There are fundamental differences, sure, but the similarity of the name alone–and especially the fact that it appeared to be changed slightly as to avoid legal issues–had me convinced he’d at least played this title.

    I definitely see the Montezuma’s Revenge and Rick Dangerous influences, though, having played both (and even the 3D remake Montezuma’s Return a decade or so ago on my PC).

    But the controls ruined this for me when I tried it a couple of weeks back. That and the music volume which I would have preferred to simply turn down, not off, when it began to make my molars hurt. Which was about five seconds into the first level.

    I would kill for a slightly refined version of this, especially since I believe randomized content to be one of the Holy Grails of gaming. If someone makes that game, I recommend that the list of individuals I need to ‘off’ to fulfill my side of the bargain be hidden in the credits with an asterisk next to each victim. Make sure to include at the bottom:

    * Please kill these people.

    And alphabetical credits are probably the most considerate way of thanking an individual for his or her contribution. Especially since it alleviates the awkwardness of “Well, he has Nolan L. at the very top of the list, but he also has an asterisk, which begs the question, ‘If he’s the first person the author could think to thank, why would he want him dead?'”

    So, definitely alphabetical.


  20. Tonamel says:

    Am I missing something? I try to run the exe, and it immediately crashes.

  21. Zetetic says:

    Nox: As of the latest version you can set the music and SFX volumes on startup.

    As to the controls, well, I’m alright with them, but I can see how easily they could frustrate and confuse.

  22. PleasingFungus says:

    This is amazing. I am in love. (Insofar as video-games can be loved by a man.)

    Nox, I’m not really seeing the similarities to Spelunker, besides the… spelunking. Was that game randomized?

  23. Lobotomist says:

    Again me :)

    Just can not say enough praise to this game ! Stopped my L4D session to play Spelunky :D


    Due to RPS mention of this game. Tig.source servers kind of crushed and it was impossible to download the game !

  24. bonuswavepilot says:

    Played quite a few hours of the Amiga port of RD as a kid; I remember it struck me as terribly amusing at the time to mis-sing Roxette’s ‘Dangerous’ as “You know she’s a little Rick Dangerous [amusing scream]”. To this day I can’t hear the song without thinking of that (though it might well be preferable to the thoughts that listening to Roxette would usually engender).

  25. Chaos Theory says:

    Wow, I just noticed something kind of cool.
    The text in the intro is different every time you play, so in a way, the story is as randomly generated as the levels are.

  26. Legend of Zelda Games says:

    Just can not say enough praise to this game ! Stopped my L4D session to play Spelunky :D


    Due to RPS mention of this game. Tig.source servers kind of crushed and it was impossible to download the game !

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