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!!The Spelunker
A heroic ([[VideoGameCrueltyPotential supposedly]]) Franchise/IndianaJones lookalike who ventures into the caves in search of treasure and fame.
%%* AdventurerArchaeologist
* {{Captain Ersatz}}: Of Indiana Jones.
* FanNickname: [[invoked]]"Indie," "Spelunky," "Iowa Jack"... although Derek Yu seems to favor "Spelunky Man."
* GagNose: Sports a large, red clown nose.
* HeroicComedicSociopath: It's up to the player, but there are some serious rewards to be gained by committing wanton murder and human sacrifice.
* OfficialCouple: ''Spelunky 2'' reveals that he marries 'Yellow.'
%%* WhipItGood: His default weapon.

!!Other Spelunkers
In the remakes, various other people can challenge the labyrinth seeking their own fortunes. All of them are functionally exactly the same as the original Spelunky Guy.

%%* TheCameo: [[spoiler:VideoGame/SuperMeatBoy, [[Film/BramStokersDracula Van Helsing]] and The Cyclops.]]
* ColorCodedCharacters: Each Spelunker's outfit is a signature shade.
* ChromaticArrangement: Aside from the Spelunky Guy (who wears orange), the three starting Spelunkers are 'Blue', 'Red' and 'Green'.
* EyesAlwaysShut: Yang, whom you control during the Tutorial levels, as well as [[spoiler:'Yellow', The Eskimo, The Round Boy, and The Golden Monk]].
* HairDecs: 'Green' wears a bow in her curly hair. [[spoiler:The Round Girl]] has a hairband.
* NiceHat: 'Van Helsing' wears a top hat. Also 'Lime''s sombrero.

!!The Damsel
A blonde woman in a red dress who needs rescuing. In the original version she can be unlocked as a playable character.
%%* DistressedDamsel: Well, obviously.
%%* GagNose
%%* GirlyRun
* IntimateHealing: If rescued, she gives the Spelunker a health-restoring kiss.
* TooDumbToLive: She sits and waits for rescue, even if she's standing two feet from the exit door. When panicked, she runs in one direction until she collides with a wall or dies. (Of course, when you're playing as the Damsel, the ''Spelunker'' is the stupid one...)
%%* WhipItGood: Also her default weapon.

!!The Tunnel Man
The Spelunker meets him in the tunnels between areas. If given enough money, he'll build a [[WarpZone shortcut]] to each area. In the original version, [[spoiler:he can be unlocked as a playable character; he starts with little health and no ropes or bombs, but has an unbreakable mattock that can dig through walls.]]
%%* AfroAsskicker
%%* EyepatchOfPower: The remake's enhanced graphics reveal that he wears one.
%%* FastTunnelling: It's his job.
* MagikarpPower: [[spoiler:As a playable, he starts with only two health (as compared to the Spelunker's four) and no bombs or ropes, plus he can't perform jumping attacks. If he survives long enough to get his hands on some equipment and extra hearts, though, he becomes unstoppable.]]
* SecretCharacter: And you'll need to be [[spoiler:EXTREMELY skillful (and exceptionally lucky)]] in order to [[spoiler:unlock him as a playable character]] in the original.
* TunnelKing: What he does for a living, according to his description in the HD version's journal.

!!The Shopkeeper
[[BlatantLies A harmless old peddler of honest wares for a reasonable price.]]
%%* BadassGrandpa: Man, for a septuagenarian, he sure is ''spry.''
* DirtyOldMan: In the original, whipping a damsel in a kissing parlor would prompt him to say "Hey! Only I can do that!" before attacking.
* DisproportionateRetribution: Accidentally whip him? Shotgun blast to the face. Accidentally reroll a die in his gambling parlor? Shotgun blast to the face. Happen to be standing nearby when he or his store gets damaged? ''[[MisplacedRetribution Shotgun blast to the face.]]'' Hell, you get blamed when they kill themselves. Or when they kill ''each other.''
%%* GagNose
* LightningBruiser: He has 20 HP to your 4, has greater speed, a higher jump, and comes armed with a shotgun, one of the most powerful weapons in the game.
* MuggingTheMonster: Getting SwallowedWhole by a man-eating plant is instantly deadly for the Spelunker. Shoppy just gets ''pissed off.'' Well, depending on how much health he has left.
* ShopliftAndDie: In a game filled with so many deadly things, it's telling that ''shoplifting'' is probably the most dangerous decision you can make.
%%* ShotgunsAreJustBetter: Almost to GameBreaker levels, in fact.

Hindu goddess of death and change. Likes: blood sacrifice. Dislikes: defiled altars.
* DisproportionateRetribution: If one of her altars is damaged -- [[MisplacedRetribution even if you're not to blame]] -- she'll sic half a dozen [[GiantSpider literal Demonic Spiders]] on you. And that's the ''least'' of her punishments.
* MagikarpPower: The first sacrifice rewards is likely to be lackluster at best. But once you get enough for the Kapala, any subsequent sacrifices are potential [[GameBreaker game breakers.]]
%%* TheVoice

A giant, golden, Mesoamerican idol worshiped by the cultists and cavemen. He serves as the game's final boss.
* AllThereInTheManual: In the original, his name can only be found in the source code of the game. Averted in the remake, where the tutorial character Yang referred it by name (as well as the area where he's fought now being called "Olmec's Lair", in addition for his [[MonsterCompendium journal entry]] calling him by that name).
* BadBoss: He starts the battle by killing one of his worshipers and injuring another.
%%* BossArenaIdiocy
* MookMaker: He occasionally launches three balls of energy that transform into enemies when they hit the ground.
* RingOutBoss: You dodge his crushing attacks until he smashes his way through the bottom of the level. Bombs can help speed the process along.

!!The Walrus Lady
We don't... there can't... ''[[http://spelunky.wikia.com/wiki/Walrus_lady look at it.]]''
* AbhorrentAdmirer: It blows kisses, so it presumably likes you.
%%* BeautyMark
%%* FunnyAnimal

!!The Ghost
[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin A ghost]] that appears if you stick around on one level too long.
* CollisionDamage: His only attack, but it's a OneHitKill.
* EasterEgg: Using [[spoiler:the camera]] on the ghost freezes him in place for a second, and [[spoiler:turns him into a fat lady ghost during this small amount of time.
* MightyGlacier: He's not very fast, but his only attack is a OneHitKill.
* OneHitKill: [[RuleOfThree Did we mention that this is his only attack?]]
* StalkedByTheBell: In the original, if you spend two minutes on a single level, the music becomes oddly distorted. After another half-minute, the Ghost appears from off-screen and slowly homes in on your location. In the remake, the music only becomes distorted right before the Ghost appeared, but he otherwise appears within the same amount of time as in Classic.

!![[spoiler: King Yama]]
Appears exclusively in the HD remake. [[spoiler: The ruler of the quite literal BonusLevelOfHell.]]
* CollapsingCeilingBoss: He slams his hands on the ground, causing skulls to drop from the ceiling. [[spoiler: When his head detaches, it can also slam to the ceiling, to the same effect.]]
* CognizantLimbs: His hands can even be picked up and thrown!
* EveryoneHatesHades: [[spoiler: Yama is Hades's Asian equivalent.]]
* FlunkyBoss: His room has a number of enemies, including two special MiniBoss enemies ([[spoiler: Ox Head and Horse Face]]). He can also spawn enemies from his mouth and hands.
* GiantHandsOfDoom: See CollapsingCeilingBoss.
* LosingYourHead: [[spoiler: His final phase.]]
* StationaryBoss: Mostly. [[spoiler: His head detaches in his final phase.]]
* PlayingWithFire: [[spoiler: His head shoots fireballs.]]
* TrueFinalBoss: Just getting to his area is a GuideDangIt.
* UseYourHead: [[spoiler: See CollapsingCeilingBoss.]]
* WeaksauceWeakness: [[spoiler: [[LethalJokeItem The Eggplant.]] [[SelfImposedChallenge If you can get it to him and throw it at his head]], the head will turn into an eggplant monster that does nothing and can [[OneHitKill be killed in one hit]].]]