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https://mediaproxy.tvtropes.org/width/350/https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/spelunky.jpg
Putting the faded photo in my pocket,
I drained the rest of my canteen,
and wondered how long I'd be below.
(one possible) Spelunky intro

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Spelunky is a series of roguelike platform games created by Derek Yu. Following the adventures of an unnamed adventurer known as the spelunker, the aim of the games are to explore underground tunnels and ruins, gathering as much treasure as you can while avoiding traps and enemies. Combining elements of the roguelike and platforming genres, the Spelunky games feature the randomly-generated levels, multiple ways of interacting with the environment, varied progression paths, and Perma Death of the former, and the real-time jumping and climbing of the latter.

The first entry, now referred to as Spelunky Classic, was a freeware game released in 2009. It can still be found here. This version later received a Video Game Remake for Xbox Live Arcade, complete with a change from retro graphics to hand-drawn art, more features, many new levels and enemies, and local co-op/comptetitive multiplayer. Known simply as Spelunky, the HD remake was released on Xbox LIVE Arcade on July 4, 2012, GOG.com and Steam on August 8, 2013, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita on August 27, 2013, and PlayStation 4 on October 7, 2014.

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A sequel, titled Spelunky 2, was announced in 2017, starring the original protagonist's daughter. You can watch the announcement trailer here. The game was released for PlayStation 4 on September 15, 2020, and released for Steam on September 29. Both games will release for the Nintendo Switch in Summer 2021.

Each of these games are addictive. And tough. You've been warned.


Examples

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    General 
  • 1-Up: The Ankh is the closest thing you're going to get to this. It gives you one extra chance in the current level should you die while possessing it. You need to keep the Ankh up to a certain point, and no further, however, to get the Hedjet, and thus to access the City of Gold — and, through that, Hell — meaning, for all intents and purposes, it's more a key than a 1-Up.
  • Abandoned Mine: The first 4 levels of the game according to the game's source code. Outright stated in the remake, where almost everything is now officially named.
  • Action Bomb:
    • Fire frogs and flying saucers.
    • Also, Damsel Bombs, which is what you get when a sticky bomb manages to get stuck on a damsel. New players generally learn to avoid using the quick-throw button with sticky bombs if they're holding a damsel by dying to one of these.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Guess how much a kiss will be worth at the end.
  • Adventurer Archaeologist: You.
  • All Crimes Are Equal: All crimes, from murder to kidnapping to opening a package without paying for it first, result in every shopkeeper in the game sentencing you to death by shotgun. Yes, all crimes - even the ones you didn't commit. Subverted in the sequel, which introduced "forgiveness" points: Minor crimes like vandalism or robbery will be forgiven after a few levels and shopkeepers will stop harassing you, whereas a murder is still considered irredeemable for the rest of the run.
  • All-Natural Gem Polish: Even gemstones freed from the walls are shiny and cut.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Every level is intended to have at least one path to the exit that is unobstructed by walls, though very occasionally one in the Mine section will be generated that is blocked. This (usually) ensures that players who have no bombs in their inventory can advance.
    • Traps will be lit up by torches in dark stages.
  • Ascended Meme: In the sequel, the dog damsel is officially given the name Monty, which originated as a Fan Nickname coined by Michael AL Fox and further popularized by Northernlion.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • The Teleporter. A small high-tech device that can instantly zap you from place to place, allowing you to reach inaccessible locations, and even take out dangerous enemies with Tele-Frag! But unless you're extremely careful when using it, you're more than likely to end up fragging yourself, or materializing yourself over some deadly hazard. The situations where it's useful are outweighed by the situations where it's potentially deadly. Since the Teleporter must be carried around in your hands, and you can only carry one item at a time, it's usually just not worth it. You'll probably get more use out of carrying a rock, instead.
    • Also the Scepter in the remake. It's an inescapable self-targeting one-hit-kill ranged weapon, but you are not immune to its blasts, which lethally combine initial zippy-fast ricocheting speed with a lingering dispersal around whatever target they end up at.
    • Stealing the Golden Idol. It's worth a lot of money, but you have to survive the trap and take it to the exit or give it to a non-hostile shopkeeper to order to get credit for it. Also, in the mines, depending on the level generation, the boulder can potentially destroy shops or altars, provoking shopkeepers and Kali respectively. Similar to the Golden Idol, the Crystal Skull in the Restless Dead Level summons a ghost instantly if taken.
    • The Metal Shield is one of the few items in the game that can reliably kill almost anything instantly via crushing it against the wall. Sounds cathartic, but you're much better off using a different weapon or utility, as it can accidentally crush treasure, items, damsels, shopkeepers and their item stock, and even explosives against the wall (and no, it does not protect you from the blast). Furthermore, in Spelunky HD, it's hidden in a dangerous out-of-the-way area and wielded by an enemy that can just as easily kill you with it if you aren't careful. Suffice to say, there are several better, more easily-accessible items that can dole out just as much punishment without the risk of accidentally destroying treasure or getting yourself wanted/killed.
  • Ballistic Discount:
  • Bee Bee Gun: The Mummy spits out a swarm of flies at you, each of which damages you as much as an arrow.
  • Beating A Dead Player: If you leave a corpse after your death, enemies will still attack, throw, and shoot at your dead body.
  • Betting Minigame: Some of the shops are replaced with betting parlors. The classic version has you roll two dice and try to get a number higher than 7. The remake has one similar to Wheel of Fortune, probably because it was too easy to provoke the shopkeeper if you picked up the wrong die. They brought the dice minigame back in the sequel and it's still very easy to provoke the shopkeeper.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: Yetis appear in the ice levels, and are capable of chain-throwing your spelunker to death. Sometimes a larger boss Yeti appears who drops extra goodies when killed.
  • Blood Magic: The Kapala. Collecting blood pellets from injured entities will fill up the skull shaped goblet, and once full it will magically grant you a very valuable point of life and empty itself for another go.
  • Blackout Basement: The "I can't see a thing!" levels, which limit your view to a small circle around the Spelunker, are one of the worst hazards in the game. The original game gives you three lit flares, while the remake gives you a single wooden torch. Fortunately in the latter, you can light stationary torches on the ground so you can somewhat see your way through the level should you want to backtrack and pick up that damsel you spotted. Certain human enemies will also be carrying torches. If you manage to douse your torch in water, it can be relit from a wall-mounted burning torch. Also, obtaining a pair of spectacles expands your range of vision.
  • Boring Yet Practical: Rocks do two (one in the remake) damage per hit, are reusable, are good for triggering traps safely, cannot be destroyed except by being crushed or falling in lava, and can be thrown a pretty good distance. With a little practice you can destroy most enemies long before they become a threat. The only downside is that you need to be careful not to hit yourself on the rebound.
  • Bottomless Pits: The third major area of the caves is mostly platforms over a yawning abyss. The remake's death journals show that they're literally bottomless; the player character writes "Help, I'm still falling!"
  • Cape Wings: A cape allows you to glide rather than actively fly, but the principle is the same. Vlad's Cape, however, allows you to fly up a little.
  • Chinese Vampire: As weak enemies in the Restless Dead areas.
  • Crate Expectations: Store some useful stuff.
  • Chunky Salsa Rule: Falling from the top of the level to the bottom or getting caught in an explosion causes tremendous damage but can be survived if you've got an unnaturally huge amount of health. Getting squished (by a boulder, for example), getting frozen and smashed to pieces, falling onto spikes or into lava, or getting eaten by a man-eating plant, however, kills you instantly no matter how many hit points you've got.
  • Circling Birdies: Stars will tell if someone is stunned instead of killed.
  • Classical Movie Vampire: How vampires in the game dress, complete with Ominous Opera Cape. However, when a dead vampire drops said cape, it turns a standard yellow.
  • Convection Schmonvection: You can stand right next to or over lava and not be burnt up.
  • Crystal Skull: Can be found sometimes in the Restless Dead levels. Stealing it causes the Ghost to immediately appear.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The player with the Sceptre (one hit kill weapon) or Shotgun (4 damage per bullet, 6 bullets).
    • The Shopkeeper when you do not have a weapon and are relatively unskilled (he has a shotgun, you do not). And even if he loses the shotgun, which can happen, he can still easily pummel you to death.
  • Cycle of Hurting: Due to the games' virtually nonexistent Mercy Invincibility, it's not uncommon to find yourself knocked around by the same enemy due to walls bouncing you back as you helplessly watch your health whittle away to nothing. Two particular offenders are Yeti and angry Shopkeepers.
  • Disc-One Nuke: Several:
    • The Shotgun can be obtained as early as the second level, if you get lucky with shop generation, yet it's arguably the best all-around weapon in the game. It offers infinite ammo and fires six bullets per spread, with manageable recoil and accuracy. Great for mowing down crowds of weaker foes, taking out Shopkeepers, Mantraps, and other terrors from a distance, or dealing massive damage to bosses at close range. Unfortunately, stealing one from a Shopkeeper will result in them pursing you for (potentially) the rest of the current run, depending on the game version and whether you kill him during your theft.
    • Bombs are there in your inventory from the start, although it takes time to build a decent supply. They're useful for blowing up walls, removing traps, digging up treasure, intentionally pissing off Shopkeepers, draining Piranha-infested water, and countless other tasks. In a pinch, they also make extremely powerful weapons, though difficult to control; having glue helps with that.
  • Damsel in Distress: Beautiful women (or men, or dogs in the HD version) can be picked up and carried to the level's exit for a healing kiss. Or you could use them as a projectile. Or as a Human Sacrifice.
  • Dem Bones: There are heaps of bones all over the ruins. Some of them can still get up and cause trouble for you.
  • Descending Ceiling: One of the traps guarding the idols in the ruins section (13-15).
  • Determinator: The Shopkeeper Squad. If ever you kill a shopkeeper, other shopkeepers will be waiting at the end of each stage for the rest of your current run.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • Anything that is stunned and placed on Kali's altar will be sacrificed. This includes the player.
    • At the normal end of the game, the spelunker is typically thrown out of the volcano with the giant idol, but should the spelunker have a parachute, it will deploy automatically and save themselves the trouble of face-planting in the sand.
  • Difficult, but Awesome:
    • A number of things, but one good example is successfully robbing the Black Market. There are seven shopkeepers in this particular level, but if you're well armed and skilled enough, you can take all of them out and thus treat yourself to dozens of free items (most of them bombs, but you can never have too many of those) at once.
    • Ghostrunning. If the Ghost passes through a gem (not the tiny ones), it will be transformed into a Diamond worth $5,000. This is the most valuable pickup-able treasure, topped only by the Golden Idol, Crystal Skull, Golden Scarabs, and endgame treasures. Of course, if you do this, you still have to deal with the Ghost.
  • Dungeon Shop: Six different kinds, all run by well-armed elderly men. Rob/vandalize at your own risk.
  • Dungeon Bypass: Courtesy of the Tunnel Man/Mama Tunnel, shortcuts can be unlocked that skip to later stages in the game.
  • Eating the Enemy: The Mantraps will do this to you. As well as pretty much every other enemy, including frogs, monkeys, cavemen, and angry shopkeepers. (Although the shopkeepers just rip themselves free, destroying the mantrap in the process.)
  • Ejector Seat: Some flying saucer pilots are able to deploy these when their ship is destroyed, allowing them to parachute down to the nearest ledge.
  • Equipment-Based Progression: You find equipment and upgrades, but you can also get them by going to a shop or performing a ritual sacrifice. The game is randomly generated, and if you don't find things early, the later levels might be too hard to get through.
  • Escort Mission: Every time you try to rescue the damsel. Fortunately, she's nearly invulnerable and makes a good human shield (or weapon). You can and pretty much have to carry her around. However, in the remake she (or he, or it) is NO longer as durable as she used to be, and can only take a couple of hits before perishing.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: Though "better" may not be the right word for the annoying little pests..
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Bats, spiders, snakes, cavemen, cultists, yetis... the list goes on and on.
  • Excuse Plot: The plot, like everything else in-game, is randomly generated from a list of phrases every time you play.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Giant bugs, cavemen, mummies, aliens, ghosts, yetis, Hindu Gods, and more can be found coexisting in the game (with even more added in the remake). Particularly egregious when attempting to find The City of Gold. You have to Find the egyptian Udjat Eye from a treasure chest, locate the Black Market in a Jungle to buy the egyptian Ankh, die next to a Moai statue to get you the Hedjet (Egyptian crown), and then kill either the mummy (in the original) or Anubis (in the remake) to open the City of Gold, which is a primarily Mayincatec legend.
  • Fastball Special:
    • You can throw damsels at your enemies. And stunned enemies at other enemies. And the fun you can have with corpses...
    • An item exists solely to make it easier to throw things at other things.
  • Fast Tunnelling: With a pickaxe, it's really easy to knock out a path through the walls.
  • Flying Saucer: That fires green energy bolts and explodes when destroyed.
  • Forgiveness: Shopkeepers can do so. Each action has a certain amount of "anger points" Moving an item out of the shop (or damaging the shop) has a low amount, actually stealing the item into your inventory has a higher anger point value, and naturally killing a shopkeeper has the most. (And if something else does these things, the anger level is lower than if you personally did it). Each stage you go through without stealing, hurting, or killing a shopkeeper (granted, given they guard the exits, that can be hard) takes one point off that anger. Get back to zero and they forgive you. Note that if you kill even one shopkeeper, they'll never forgive you for the rest of that run.
  • Friend or Idol Decision: A situation that can randomly appear in the Temple, at first glance at least. The death trap doesn't activate until the idol is picked up, making it more of a Friend Then Idol Decision.
  • Gag Nose: Spelunker, damsels, and shopkeepers have a red nose.
  • Gainaxing: Blink and you'll miss it, but the Damsels have a relatively generous bounce going on when they kiss your plucky adventurer.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Killing the Black Knight boss sometimes causes the game to label you as a thief, and the shopkeepers will react accordingly.
  • Gay Option: The HD version lets you replace the Princesses you can rescue with Chipendale dancers if you prefer guys. Or if you prefer neither, you can set it to Pugs, because who doesn't want to rescue cute dogs? Or you can set it to be random if you don't have a preferance. The Princesses and the Dancers will both kiss you between levels to restore heath. The dogs will lick you to do the same. You can also set your charcter's gender, so the default option can be the gay option if you choose a female character.
  • Giant Mook: Several variations that serve as mini-bosses. Most of them have item deathdrops.
  • Giant Spider: Along with regular sized ones, and spiders that dangle from their webs in the remake. If you look closely at the sprite, though, it's the same size as the Spelunker...
  • The Goomba: As mentioned above, the snake. All it does is slither slowly back and forth. It is perhaps the only enemy that does not actively respond to your presence or do anything to kill you besides continue its regular movement pattern. It has an Underground Monkey version in the remake called the Cobra, which spits venom in small intervals. It still retains its movement pattern, however.
  • Goomba Stomp:
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Stunned or dead NPCs can be picked up and thrown at enemies to hurt them.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • Unlocking the City of Gold. Unless you decided to look on the game's wiki before playing, you probably won't even know that it exists, let alone the grueling trials required to unlock it.
    • On a similar note, finding the Worm and the Underworld in the remake. It doesn't help that the second one requires an already excruciating trip to the City of Gold AND requires you to defeat the Final Boss in a specific spot that's randomly generated on each playthrough.
    • The "Wanted Meter." Whenever you rob, attack, or vandalize a shopkeeper's store, all of them aggro against you and a shopkeeper spawns at the exit for the next few levels. How long they stay hostile depends on what crime you committed and, naturally, you're told nothing about this, your only clue being the "Wanted" posters in the shops. However, this system is averted when a shopkeeper dies. In that case, you have to deal with them for the rest of the game. And since being wanted spawns dangerous shopkeepers right where you need to go for a couple levels, and the easiest way to survive one is blowing him up...
    • The eggplant run. To get an eggplant, you need to sacrifice a mystery box to Kali. At first glance, the Eggplant does nothing except change the music to a sweet retro tune, but throwing it at the True Final Boss will cause something special to happen. No easy feat, since it's a long journey that is technically impossible to do by yourself (the way the challenge was designed, a second person playing during co-op is supposed to carry the eggplant during a specific part of the game).
      • And if you want to do it solo? In addition to being lucky enough to have a shop with a mystery box spawn in the same level as an altar, you then need to nuke every altar you see until Kali gets angry enough to shackle you with a ball and chain. Next, you need to go the Black Market, and buy/steal the Ankh, you need to get a companion from a slave shop (or start with a fresh save so you can guarantee one will spawn in a specific area), then you need to use the ball and chain to break through the Moai head without losing the ball and chain (which is actually a glitch). When you get to the temple, you'll need to have your follower carry the eggplant until you're able to get inside of the City Of Gold.
  • Have a Nice Death: When you die, the journal will endlessly replay your last moments, catalog what you were killed by, and have a first-person description of your player's final thoughts.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Any thrown object can rebound and clobber you, and in the remake, shooting off a blast from the Scepter runs a definite risk of getting yourself zapped.
  • Improvised Weapon:
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests: Contain gems or a bomb-trap. In the remake, they can do both at the same time.
  • Infinite Stock For Sale: Each shop sells exactly four items, which makes sense since most of the items give their respective effects for the duration of the entire game.
  • Inventory Management Puzzle: You'll often have to juggle items and leave some good ones behind, especially with held items. For instance, do you rescue the damsel or keep your shotgun? If you want to do both, where can you leave your shotgun so that it will be safe until you can pick it up again?
  • Instakill Mook: Coming into contact with a Mantrap or the Ghost kills you instantly. While Mantraps can themselves be killed or knocked out, the Ghost cannot, and constantly chases you down until you leave the current floor. If it shows up, your best bet is to bolt.
  • Jet Pack: One of the rarest, most expensive, and most useful pieces of equipment in the game. It runs out of fuel fairly quickly when in use, but instantly recharges as soon as you land or grab hold of something fixed, even a rope.
  • Jungle Japes: The second area, levels five through eight.
  • King Mook: Most of the game's minibosses are scaled-up, more durable versions of regular enemies who've got an extra trick or two up their sleeves.
  • Kung Fu-Proof Mook: Yetis, shopkeepers, and (in the remake) green knights are immune to the whip. The knights are also immune to Goomba Stomps, as are giant frogs and mammoths (with mummies being promoted here in the remake), although spike shoes can remove this immunity.
  • Ladder Physics: Which also apply to ropes.
  • Last Ditch Move: Fire frogs and flying saucers.
  • Ledge Bats: Has been known to happen to players who don't clear out bats before advancing.
  • Level Editor: It was originally only present in the original, but thanks to the Frozlunky Mod and subsequent level editor that showed up later, it can now be done to the remade Steam version.
  • Lava Pit: They appear in the Temple. In the remake, you can find (in the ridiculously hard to reach true final level) an amulet that renders you immune to them! Better late than never?
  • Luck-Based Mission: As mentioned in the Unwinnable by Mistake example below, the level generator doesn't always keep up to snuff with path creation. This often results in long, unavoidable falls in certain areas, "dead ends" that force you to spend bombs removing obstacles or ropes to climb over said obstacles, or arrow traps that you have no choice but to get damaged by.note  Don't have enough hit points? Sorry pal, it's back to square one. However, you can throw a bomb or drop a rope in front of you and trigger the trap.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Most enemies explode into blobs of blood upon being killed, and some mini-bosses explode into chunks of flesh. And there's a frog that explodes into flames. There is even an item that catches the gibs and gives you health.
  • Machete Mayhem: Machetes appear as an equippable weapon, which, aside from having better upside range (at the cost of horizontal range) can also get rid of spider webs. There's also the Crysknife, a weapon that allows you to One-Hit Kill any enemy in the game. And unlike the Machete, it replaces your whip, so you don't need to carry it everywhere.
  • Made of Explodium: See the exploding frogs. Also any item with "pack" in its name will explode if damaged or set on fire (probably taking you with it).
  • Made of Iron: The shopkeeper. He has 20 HP compared to your default of 4.
  • Man-Eating Plant: Have a taste for player characters, damsels, humanoid enemies, and Shopkeepers. They can't digest the last one, though.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: The boss yeti emits a roar that causes ice blocks to crumble and fall.
  • Mercy Invincibility: It's there, but it's so short you may not even notice. If you accidentally fall next to an enemy, you will be stunned, and you will die. The enemies on the other hand have a really long invincibility phase to your standard whip attack so you can't just whale on them.
  • Metroidvania: Not a conventional one by any means due to being linear (except the hidden levels), but the way items you collect facilitate (and sometimes are mandatory for) your progress is very reminiscent of the genre. Of course, they are by no means guaranteed to be around when needed.
  • The Millstone: The hired helps are, in theory, supposed to help you by killing enemies, collecting treasure, and holding objects, but their AI is so stupid and unpredictable that they more often end up either killing themselves or being a hinderance by dropping objects on your head, activating traps and causing enemies to aggro, or sometimes even outright attacking you without provocation. It's considered good advice to kill them as quickly as possible or just not release them at all because they're rarely worth the trouble.
  • Money for Nothing: Shops appear less often as you progress through the game, but there is a bonus for hoarding enough money when you beat the game, in the original at least. The remake just gives you points for the global leader-boards, and a Cosmetic Award for acquiring an obscene sum of money.
  • Mummy: Miniboss in the fourth area who shoots flies from its mouth with a shotgun-like spread.
  • Muzzle Flashlight: Shooting a gun will illuminate the area around you for a short time in dark levels.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: "The dead are restless!"
  • Nintendo Hard: Complete with one life that can be lost quickly.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: Fall damage can be prevented in a number of ways, including falling into Soft Water or spider webs, landing on an enemy, or catching a ledge, not to mention parachutes. However, falling off the screen is possible in Area 3, and that results in instant death.
  • Offscreen Inertia: Most action on a level freezes if it is happening far enough away from the Spelunker. (There are exceptions, including The Ghost.) This was done deliberately to improve game performance-speed.
  • One-Hit Kill: It doesn't matter how much health you have — fall onto spikes, and you're done. Same deal with running into Mantraps or the Ghost. This can also apply to bombs and the Scepter, as it's unlikely that you'll have enough HP to survive an explosion or a psychic blast during a normal playthrough.
    • On the plus side, you can reliably survive your own Bombs if you have over ten health. Getting caught in a blast was typically fatal in the original game. This remains true in the remake, but the odds are comparatively better.
  • Our Vampires Are Different:
    • Vampires are particularly challenging foes. They attack on sight, and between their impressive jump height (the highest of any human enemy) and ability to fly by transforming into bats, they can easily get in your face and hurt you badly before you manage to kill them. They sport above average HP, which they can restore by drinking blood, including yours. To make matters worse, they recover quickly from stuns, making them dangerous to fight with the whip alone. Fortunately, one bomb blast or two bullets will kill them instantly, and they drop the valuable Cape.
    • The Kapala allows the player to rack up HP by absorbing enemies' blood. (Or (blech!) mummy puke.
  • Perma Death: You die, you have to start again from level one... unless you pay the Tunnel Man to finish the shortcuts or acquire the Ankh from the Black Market.
  • Personal Space Invader: There are monkeys that will latch onto you. They can throw away your items or stun you. Especially annoying because the vines they are climbing on are mostly over spike pits that kill you instantly, and getting stunned makes you lose your grip on the vine.
  • Playable Menu: In the original, you take control of the main character as soon as the opening cutscene ends. In the remake, you control the character on the level select screen.
  • Randomly Generated Levels: Well, procedurally-generated, to be more precise, but it's certainly randomized enough to keep fresh.
  • Resurrective Immortality: The Spelunker. It's explained in the remake that the Curse of Olmec prevents anyone who enters the cave from escaping until they defeat him, and if they perish, they are immediately revived in the entrance chamber. Which explains why characters are able to write in the journal in such an impossible state to do so (brains fried/shattered/etc.)
  • Rock Beats Laser: Just see what happens if you throw a rock at flying saucer. But don't get blown up when it crashes afterward.
  • Roguelike: Has the traditional difficulty paired with procedurally-generated levels and some inventory/resource/time management.
  • The Scapegoat: If anything on the current level causes trouble for a shopkeeper he blames you and comes after you with his shotgun. (One odd example is cobra spit- he'll shrug off getting hit himself, but if the spit destroys any of his stock, out comes the boomstick.) Same with anything that damages an altar — Kali blames you for it.
    • This also applies if anything is stolen from a shop. As seen here, a Tiki man without a boomerang can steal one right under a shopkeeper's nose and the shopkeeper still blames the player.
  • Schmuck Bait: Everything. The game itself, if you have a busy schedule.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The cavemen in the Olmac level. The intro shows him coming to life and squashing one of his worshippers. The others run for it and disappear from the level.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Not a big deal with anything that isn't notably tough — the blast spreads out dramatically and deals a ridiculous amount of damage even at long ranges. Still, don't expect to kill a shopkeeper in one blast unless he's right next to you.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: One of the most powerful weapons in the game. Unfortunately, every shopkeeper is toting one.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shoplift and Die: Prepare to get gunned down if you run out with an item in your hands. Or whip the shopkeeper. Or accidentally throw your unwanted item at him when you only wanted to put it down. Also be prepared to have an alert shopkeeper staking out at the next few level exits. Or for the rest of the game if you happened to kill one. Yeah, they don't mess around.
  • Shows Damage: Jaws, a giant piranha, gradually loses skin as it takes damage.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The Ice Caves, especially their interior where the Yetis dwell. Starts at level 9 in the original and is level 5-1 in Spelunky 2.
  • Smooch of Victory: Your prize for rescuing a damsel, and it grants you an extra health unit.
  • Socialization Bonus: Spelunky HD rewards you with an achievement if you complete the game with at least two alive players.
  • Soft Water: That can negate fall damage, but may contain piranhas.
  • Songs in the Key of Panic: Hurry music is inverted. The music slows down when running out of time until the ghost appears. In the remake, this is no longer a warning: once the music slows down, it is too late. The ghost appears immediately.
  • Spikes of Doom: But you can walk through them as long as you don't land in them. Most enemies can be killed by them, too. Later on, there are totem poles that thrust spikes out their sides whenever you come near. The ground spikes are one of several ways a spelunker can die instantly regardless of his health, and the totem poles deal enough damage to kill you instantly if you haven't gotten at least one health boost.
  • The Spiny: Mantraps are immune to the Goomba Stomp, and will eat you if you try it. Spike shoes will fix this, but only in the original. The remake adds devils, which have horns on their heads, and can stunlock you to death even if you're wearing spike shoes.
  • Spring Jump: Spring Shoes.
  • Springs, Springs Everywhere: In Area 3, where they're hardly visible when not sprung. They turn into energy-repulsors which behaves the same in the remake, though.
  • Stalked by the Bell: The Ghost. You have two and a half minutes in each level before it shows up. Possession of the Hedjet will prevent this, but only in the original.
  • Stealth Pun: Monkeys attack you by leaping on your back.
  • Sticky Bomb: As a replacement for standard bombs.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Not in the main game itself, but there's a mod for it. This makes the game harder by making every either explode or or on (harmless) fire. This is worth mentioning because how much it changes the game's playstyle by just using this trope. P.S. arrow traps aren't your friends at all.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: There are many, many ways you can be killed. Drowning, surprisingly, is not one of them.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: The Final Boss, Olmec, in the same vein as Bowser from Super Mario Bros. 3.
  • The Tetris Effect: One of the aftereffects when playing it enough.
    • For a very specific example, if you listen closely to Radiohead's Paranoid Android, you can hear the clicking sound the Udjat eye makes when it blinks. Once you notice it it's impossible to ignore.
  • Telefrag: Be careful not to move into a wall when using the Teleporter. Be even more careful to move right into shopkeepers — it doesn't count as a death, as far as punishment is concerned.
    • One remake-only enemy in Area 4 teleports whenever they are about to be hit. Fortunately, they often end up telefragging themselves.
  • Temple of Doom: The aptly named Temple, Area 4 in the original and one of two options for level 4 in Spelunky 2.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: It has to be admitted, players are probably much more antagonistic than needed to shopkeepers because of how they pull out their weapon on you. And considering they are most likely just being cautious around somebody who fought their way down, it's almost a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.
  • Treasure Is Bigger in Fiction: Those gold bars look to be bigger than the Spelunker, and the Crystal Skull is bigger than his own head!
  • Underground Level: The whole game, which happens inside ruins... at least initially.
  • Unwinnable by Design: Falls into Tough category. It is possible to get stuck when misusing your items.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: The level generator tries its best to create a level that can be passed with minimal use of ropes and bombs. Unfortunately, a path can sometimes be blocked by a grave or a totem.
  • Useless Useful Spell: The teleporter. On the one hand, you can teleport four or so tiles in near any direction, and as such can occasionally avoid using bombs to blow open walls. On the other hand, it's possible to teleport inside a wall, killing you instantly. Or in front of an arrow trap. Or into a pit, leading to a death fall.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • The main use for Damsels is to be rescued, which nets you a chaste kiss and a point of health. But they're also surprisingly aerodynamic, making them useful for setting off traps or killing enemies. Even if they die by your ineptitude, they're still valid throwing weapons. They make great sacrifices, too.
    • One popular strategy for dealing with high-end monsters is to attach a Sticky Bomb to a Damsel and let her dash forward.
    • The remake allows you to not only be mean to your team-mates, but you can even sacrifice them to Kali.
    • There's nothing stopping you from pummeling the Tunnel Man in the pregame lobby, something frustrated players may occasionally find themselves doing after dying for the umpteenth time. He'll call you out on your actions when he eventually comes to his senses, though.
    • Killing a shopkeeper effectively makes every item free, allowing you to save up your gold. On the other hand...
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Killing a shopkeeper causes the others to shoot you on sight and station themselves at level exits for the rest of your current playthrough.
    • Blew up an Altar? Six Spiders thrown in your face. Blew up an Altar the second time? Ball and chain attached to your foot, which restricts your movement unless you carry the ball or find a way to destroy it using lava, the pit, or crushing it (if not, you'll be chained to this for the rest of the playthrough). Blew up an Altar the third time? Level suddenly turns dark and the Ghost spawns in… and shows up immediately in every level for the rest of the playthrough.
  • Virgin Sacrifice: "You hear prayers to Kali!" You can also sacrifice damsels yourself.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: You of course get a full view of all the mummy puke. On the upside, If you have the right artifact, you can collect said puke to gain extra lives.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: If you pull it off right, then you can kill shopkeepers and steal their goods — but you'll be a wanted man from there on out.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The ruins. The intro establishes that they're located in the Middle East, but the architecture is distinctly Mesoamerican, and there are altars to an Indian goddess. The third area's Yeti and ice suggest the Himalayas, but then there's the Moai statue and a volcano at the end, and a number of Egyptian enemies.
    • And then in the remake, you can go to Hell, but the boss is the Chinese depiction of the Asian god Yama.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer...: Approaching every problem with bombs is effective. Want the treasure in the walls? Bomb them. Want to cut right to the exit? Bomb your way down. Arrow trap in the way and you don't have a rock? Chuck an inactive bomb down and pick it up again. Or just blow it up. Inconvenient pit of water or lava? Drain it by bombing the bottom. Want that statue, but don't want to set off the traps associated? Bomb it off the platform (in the original at least). Wanna rob the shop? See Ballistic Discount up there (hint: it involves bombs). Fighting boss monsters? One hit kill. Final boss? Bombs make it end more quickly.
  • Whip It Good: Your primary weapon.
  • Yet Another Stupid Death: Believe us, you'll have lots of these, even if you're good at platformers, roguelikes, or I Wanna Be the Guy.
    • Example: Getting shot by a shopkeeper right on top of the City of Gold entrance. Lampshaded by the player shortly after the death.
    • There are lots of others. Being punted by an arrow into a lava pit while on 43 hit points, punted by a frog into a spike pit, punted by a Yeti into a bottomless pit... Basically, you want to avoid getting punted.
    • The game even keeps track of how many deaths you've had (up to the first 50 or so) via marks on the wall at the cave entrance.

    Spelunky Classic 
  • Bragging Rights Reward: The reward for completing all four challenges.
  • Distressed Dude: If you rescue enough damsels, you can play as her, and the guy becomes this.
  • Gender Bender: Rescuing 8 damsels opens the Changing Room, which changes the Spelunker into a Damsel and vice versa. The main character is now female. Hilarity Ensues.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: The Changing Room makes you switch with the Damsel. You can leave this on for the rest of the game.
  • Game Mod: As of 1.1 the Source code to Spelunky is out, and many mods can be found on the forums.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: The Giant Piranha's hitbox is exclusively its mouth, attacking and defending.
  • Human Popsicle: Occasionally found in Area 3.
  • Infinity +1 Sword and 11th-Hour Superpower: The scepter, obtained by killing a relatively easy guaranteed boss in the temple. It launches a homing attack that instantly kills any enemy it touches, and makes the final boss much easier. In the remake, it has been moved to a much harder boss and also nerfed by making it very capable of insta-killing YOU, both before and after you acquire it.
  • Inventory Management Puzzle: Averted with the mod Yet Another Spelunky Mod, where you can put mostly everything in your inventory except "big" items like the Damsel, corpses or the Idol.
  • Made of Iron: You might as well use that damsel you're carrying to set off any arrow traps in your way. She'll be fine.
    • For the record, the damsel CAN die in the same way that you can, but she's immune to fall damage and take less damage from certain traps.
  • Metroidvania: As of version 0.99.8, making one of these in the level editor is possible. Several have been completed.
  • One-Hit Kill: Bombs deal 100 damage if you catch enemies (or yourself) with all ten frames of the blast animation, enough to kill anything other than the Final Boss in one explosion. In practice, they often launch smaller foes away without dealing the full damage, but they usually manage to insta-kill them regardless. Even a glancing blow (one or two frames) exceeds most enemies' HP.
  • Press X to Die: ESC+F1 is the suicide command. It's actually useful for spelunkers attempting to find the City of Gold; once you acquire the Ankh, you have to kill yourself next to a giant Easter Island head in Area 3, and if you want to spare yourself the frustration, ESC+F1 is the easiest way to do it. You can't do that in the remake, though, as the command kills you regardless of whenever you have the Ankh or not.
  • Projectile Webbing: The Giant Spiders can shoot balls of silk that turn into webbing that can impede player and other mobs.
  • Secret Character: The damsel and Tunnel Man. The former is functionally equivalent to the Spelunker, but the latter drastically changes the way you play the game.
  • Speed Run: Beating the game quickly enough opens a mini-game room.
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    Spelunky HD 
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: In 5-1, you can acquire Vlad's Amulet, which allows you to swim in lava and touch Magma Men without injury. It's limited to Hell and makes the area easier, though the drop in difficulty is less than it would have been if it was available in the earlier Temple.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: The Crysknife found inside of the giant worm.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite: It's subtle, but it's there. Things like the Green Ninja's ying-yang headband, the Purple Pirate's eyepatch, or Meat Boy's bandages, black eye, and missing tooth with be mirrored if you turn.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: You don't play the tutorial as the Spelunker (nor any of the initially unlocked adventurers). Instead, you play as Yang, an Asian explorer who traversed the cave long before you. You can eventually unlock him by getting through Hell.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: The game deposits a rock, skull or pot right at the start next to your newly-arrived spelunker, ensuring he has something expendable to toss down ahead as a trigger if he immediately encounters an arrow trap.
    • Unlike every other item (besides the jetpack) the one-of-a-kind Scepter won't be destroyed in lava, you can drain the lava it fell into to retrieve it. You need the Scepter to open the door to the City of Gold and unlock Hell, so a Hell run won't end if the Scepter falls in lava
  • Bag of Sharing: In co-op, the money pool is shared between all players.
  • Bee Afraid: The Killer Bee and Queen Bee, complete with their own mini-area in the Jungle.
  • Betting Minigame: Besides the examples described above, there's a meta-example of it: Spelunky Death Roulette, in which people bet on which will cause the death of people playing live on Twitch.tv.
    Obligatory disclaimer: No real money involved. "Spelunky Bucks" are a fake currency with a very real sentimental value.
  • BFG: The Plasma Cannon, longer than the playable characters are tall, and capable of firing a fast-moving, highly explosive projectile that knocks you back several tiles upon being used.
  • Blinding Camera Flash: See below under Lethal Joke Item.
  • Bowdlerise: Attacking a damsel in the kissing booth in the original would make the shopkeeper say "Hey, only I can do that!" and attack you. In the remake, his line has been changed to, "Hey, you can't do that!"
  • Brutal Bonus Level: The Worm and The Mothership both ratchet up the already high difficulty level, though both also feature a (different) powerful weapon ( The Crysknife and the The Plasma Cannon, respectively) as a reward if you manage to fight your way through them. The Haunted Castle also qualifies, assuming you try to claim the Black Knight's shield. Heck, the only bonus level that doesn't earn this label is The Black Market, and even that can be bad if you anger all the shopkeepers. Hell is the fifth bonus area and it fully qualifies. Not only do you need to complete an extremely difficult sequence of actions, it's the most dangerous area in the game, full of lava, deadly traps, and demons. Beating this equals to beating the game, usually.
  • The Cameo: You can rescue Meat Boy from the bowels of the giant worm, and he becomes a playable character afterwards.
  • Chest Monster: When you go to Hell, there are two Damsels. One of them is a succubus, which will jump on your back like a monkey and deal one damage and knock you down if you don't get them off.
    • Glamour Failure: Downplayed and straight. Downplayed: A succubus calls for help roughly twice as often as a real one. Straight: Getting close enough to a succubus may cause it to drop its disguise.
  • Clairvoyant Security Force: Stealing the Necronomicon from the City of Gold instantly causes Anubis to come back in One-Winged Angel form as Anubis II and spawn armies of red skeletons around you. Fortunately, he has the same amount of HP as his scepter-wielding counterpart and doesn't come back if killed again.
  • Crosshair Aware: Occasionally, a targeted laser will appear in Deathmatch Mode to attempt to pick off players who wait too long. Also happens in the Mothership bonus area when you're near its boss.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Various changes to how the game game works result in this.
    • You automatically grab ledges now (instead of physically having to hold left or right as you fall), so you can get hung up on ledges more easily, especially with the climbing gloves.
    • The Mantrap enemy: originally you could actually jump on it to kill it if you had a set of spike shoes, but in the remake, attempting to jump on it — even with spike shoes equipped — will result in you getting eaten.
    • Using the whip on a hanging turret knocks it down. Using the Crysknife on a hanging turret causes it to explode. Remember this.
    • Arrows from arrow traps move much faster in this version compared to the classic version. Deliberately triggering the trap and jumping over the arrow is no longer as easy.
  • Demoted to Extra: Well, in a sense. Previously, the Damsel and the Tunnel Man were secret playable characters, but were removed from the available roster in the remake.
  • Developers' Foresight: When you beat the game by way of defeating Yama, a man named Yang appears next to a giant chest containing an enormous gold-filled trophy and initiates a small conversation with the player. However, if the player beats the game using Yang himself, this conversation doesn't happen.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: The Plasma Cannon. It has horrible recoil (pushes you two blocks away), it's really, really hard to get, and it's very easy to kill yourself with it, as its shots do lethal Splash Damage upon impact. But if you learn to utilize it responsibly, you're suddenly unstoppable. ESPECIALLY if you have a jetpack. It is also the only item in the game which provides you with unlimited environment destruction potential.
  • Distressed Dude: You can configure the game so that one can encounter a male version of the damsel, even if you're playing as a male. Also, if that's not your cup of tea, you can also replace the damsel with a precious pug. Or a randomized mix of all three.
    • As of a 2014 update, you can now also unlock a sloth damsel.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • Acquiring the Crysknife from a Worm level, which is possible as early as the first Jungle level, allows you to mow down most bosses and enemies with impunity. Of course, accomplishing this is easier said than done.
    • Also, it is possible (at a 1 in 10,000 chance) for the Plasma Cannon to turn up inside a random crate.
  • Easter Egg: Selecting the Pug Damsel 100 times will turn it into a Sloth Damsel for the rest of your sitting. It changes back if you reboot the game.
  • Everyone Is Bi/Gay Option: All the damsel types (girl, dude, dog, and sloth) will kiss you, regardless of your adventurer's gender or its own.
  • Exploding Barrel: There aren't barrels, but there are Powder Boxes.
  • Foreshadowing: Occasionally in the mine levels, a small alien will be released when you smash open a pot.
  • Freeze Ray: One of the new weapons. It has limited range and rate of fire, but it freezes 95% of the enemies and they shatter instantly with even the slightest hit while in this state, even the toughest ones.
  • Hair-Trigger Explosive: TNT blocks will explode violently when hit by anything, even by flying blood drops and shrapnel that are generally harmless.
  • Haunted Castle: Another bonus area found in the Restless Dead sublevel, in which you can also find Van Helsing, who becomes a playable character when you free him.
  • Have a Nice Death: The Spelunker often writes in his journal about whatever last killed him, or commenting on how close they were to reaching the next area.
    Spelunker: An arrow has pierced one of my vital organs.
  • Heavily Armored Mook: The green knights in area 2 Spoiler  are immune to the whip and normal Goomba Stomps. Hitting them with any other weapon, or stomping them while wearing spike shoes, will turn them into ordinary cavemen.
  • Hornet Hole: Downplayed: Sometimes a Jungle level will have a beehive area, containing some honey patches that cause items to stick, a number of giant bees, and a queen bee. The queen drops royal jelly when killed, which is the second-most potent source of healing in the game.
  • Human Popsicle: The mammoths in area 3 can turn you into this. As you could probably guess, getting smashed in this form is a One-Hit Kill. Also, you'll occasionally find a caveman pre-frozen in a chunk of ice, who revives if you free him.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: The Scepter and the Plasma Cannon are more powerful than the already fairly Game Breaking Shotgun, but good luck getting either without injury or death! Even if you do manage to get one of those powerful weapons, it's much easier to accidentally kill yourself with both when compared to the Shotgun, and you can only acquire them late in the game when there are only a few levels left. And if you're going for the City of Gold or Hell, both can only be used for two full levels! By contrast, the Shotgun can be found as early as level 1-1 and can last you the whole game if you're careful!
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Crysknife, fashioned out of a giant worm tooth, is found deep within the bowels of a Worm. You have to go out of your way to get to it, but it essentially One Hit Kills almost any enemy in the game, even the more giant ones like the Mammoths in area 3 — and rather than having to be carried, like most weapons, it replaces your whip, leaving your hands free.
  • It's the Journey That Counts: Subverted in the Hell ending, where Yang muses that the experience you got reaching him was the greatest treasure of them all. He appears to just be taking the piss, however, as he immediately follows this with "okay, so gold is pretty nice too!" as a giant golden chalice stuffed with coins promptly erupts from the giant treasure chest behind him.
  • Late Character Syndrome: Vlad's Cape seems useful on paper, as it grants you a double jump and the ability to glide, and both moves can be refreshed by wall-grabbing with the Climbing Gloves. The problem is that it only shows up in 5-1, the first stage of Hell, by which point you've probably already found the much more useful and Boring, but Practical Jetpack. In the sequel, Vlad's Cape can be acquired from a secret vampire area in the alternate second level, Volcana, making it available much earlier and giving it more practicality.
  • Lethal Joke Item:
    • If you manage to get the eggplant to the Bonus Boss King Yama, throwing it at his head will turn it into a giant eggplant, which does not move or attack and has only one hit point.
    • Another good one is the camera. While it seems to have no good uses aside from stunning enemies, it can make a shop robbery very simpleHow? , it can light up dark levels for a brief moment, and it can kill most undead enemies, including those in Hell, in one hit.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: The Freeze Ray can cause anyone to be frozen and shattered, including mammoths, Shopkeepers, snakes, spiders, and of course, yourself. The last one can only happen if a mammoth, a Shopkeeper, or a terrible friend shoots you, though.
  • Lord British Postulate: The Ghost can be killed; either via prolonged Scratch Damage in lava (there is no death animation) or by luring it into the Abyss. This will send it away for the rest of the level. It will be back for the next level, though. Another technical way to kill it are UFO laser blasts. The Ghost has 9999 technical health and UFO laser blasts deal only 1 damage. Streamer and game speedrunner Bananasuarus Rex was the first to kill the ghost in 2013.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: You probably won't hang around in a shop long enough to hear all of any of the 4 songs.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: The Shield will not only leave you invulnerable to frontal attacks, but you can crush enemies against walls with it. Be careful — you can also crush Damsels and items.
  • Monster Compendium: One of the categories in Yang's journal, which documents any enemy that you kill, or that kills you.
  • The Mothership: A Brutal Bonus Level, with turrets, alien tanks, and an even bigger alien boss who uses the power of Crosshair Aware to fry your brains.
  • Mythology Gag: The deathmatch theme includes part of the original game's cave theme about halfway into the song.
  • Nerf: The Spelunker's Bombs had their damage slashed to a mere tenth of the original, allowing some of the tougher bosses to survive a blast or two. They can still insta-kill most enemies, but they're no longer the be-all-end-all in terms of raw damage. The explosion also dissipates faster, making enemies harder to hit.
    • On the other hand, you can reliably survive your own bombs if you have over ten health. Getting caught by one in the original could kill you with any amount of health whatsoever if the entire blast hit.
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: If you throw a boomerang, it will make every physics-defying effort it can to get back to you, though it is possible for it to get cut off by obstacles.
  • Power Up Letdown: To anyone familiar with the first game, the Hedjet becomes this. While it still lets you get to the City of Gold, it loses its two other positive qualities from the original (preventing the Ghost from coming and lighting up dark areas without the aid of flares).
    • The former is actually a blessing in disguise for those doing a money run. Otherwise acquiring the Hedjet would lock them out of ghosting gems into diamonds for the rest of the game unless they incur Kali's wrath to make it spawn.
  • Scary Scorpions: A new enemy type that lurks inside the mines... And the temple!
  • Secret Character: Eight (sixteen in the PC version) can be found, one of them being Meat Boy. All of them have the exact same abilities and 'stats', but each one of them is quite distinctive and colorful.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: The legendary Eggplant Run. It requires one to take the eggplant (a useless joke item obtainable by sacrificing a mystery box on an altar, it doesn't do anything and it breaks if thrown) all the way to Yama. This is impossible without either another player or the Hired Help NPC. The former has been done successfully and as of 10/11/2013, Bananasaurus Rex has done a solo Eggplant run.
  • Shield-Bearing Mook: The Black Knight carries a shield that can reflect all projectiles — including sticky bombsnote  — and can crush creatures and objects, including you, with it.
  • Shout-Out: The worm level and its resident Crysknife is one to Dune.
  • Solid Gold Poop: You can sacrifice a Golden Idol to Kali, and she'll send you a Golden Monkey that poops gems and gold nuggets.
  • Speed Run: Beating the game quickly enough gives you an achievement.
  • Swallowed Whole: On certain levels, you can bait a giant worm into doing this to you, leading to a dangerous bonus level inside the worm's body.
  • Tanks for Nothing: Zig-Zagged. The Mothership is guarded by several miniature tanks that fire bombs that can easily blow you to pieces, doubly so because they explode instantly if they hit you before touching the ground instead of stunning you. However, each one is a One-Hit Point Wonder, and more often than not ends up driving straight into the same bomb it just fired.
  • Womb Level: The Worm level.
  • Worthless Treasure Twist: When you meet him in the Brutal Bonus Level, Yang briefly muses that, perhaps, "the journey is its own reward and mastery is the greatest treasure of them all!" He quickly dismisses the idea when a giant chalice full of gold coins erupts from the chest behind him.

    Spelunky 2 
  • Adult Fear: Spelunky and Tina go missing while traveling, leaving their young daughter at home. She goes off to find them and risks death many times.
  • All the Worlds Are a Stage: Stages in the ultra-secret Cosmic Ocean may be themed after any of the previous worlds (including the Sunken City) at random, featuring all of their respective enemies and hazards.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Despite this game featuring branching paths, it is still possible to reach the City of Gold no matter which set of levels you end up going to after the first four, assuming you choose to enter the Temple after the encounter with Olmec. In the Jungle, you can still find the Black Market with the Udjat Eye just as in the first game, which contains the Hedjet for sale instead of the Ankh. If you choose to go to Volcana instead, finding the Crown item within Vlad's secret area also counts towards unlocking the door to the City of Gold. In addition, the step involving the Ankh and the Moai heads is omitted and not necessary to find the City of Gold this time around - all you need are one of the royal headgear items and Anubis' Scepter. The same applies for getting Excalibur from the Tide Pool, as you can pick up the sword as long as you have either the Crown or Hedjet.
    • Expanding upon this, while the steps towards getting to this game's secret final levels, the Sunken City and the Cosmic Ocean,, are mind-bogglingly cryptic and require a VERY specific sequence of actions be taken throughout the entire game, it is still possible to reach both no matter which branch of levels you take, as you can acquire the Tablet of Destiny either by killing Osiris in Duat, which is reached by sacrificing yourself at the altar with the Ankh in the City of Gold, or by killing Kingu in Abzu after resurrecting from the trapped lava room in 4-3 of the Tide Pool.
  • Arc Welding: The Alien Queen from the first game is revealed to be the eldest daughter of Tiamat, Laḫmu.
  • Ascended Extra: The yellow hard hat playable character from the HD remake is given a full name this time, Tina Flan, and is revealed to be married to the Spelunky Guy. The 'pug' damsel skin is also made into a fully-fledged character this time around named Monty, who was adopted by the Spelunky Guy after the events of the first game.
  • Ascend To A Higher Planeof Existence: Getting to level 99 of the Cosmic Ocean causes one to literally become one with the Universe and become a constellation.
    • This can then be seen in the sky above the Hub Level, as well as certain loading screens.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Most of the mounts, with the exception of the turkey and maybe the Rock Dog, are way more trouble than they're worth. The axolotl is very slow, has no damaging attacks, and, just like the Teleporter, it's very easy to accidentally Tele-Frag yourself with it. The mech is extremely powerful, but it's incredibly slow, too big to fit in doorways (meaning you can't take it to the next stage), and risks blowing up the rider. The Qilin shoots fireballs and has infinite flight, but it's found at the very end of a level and can't be taken into the next level, serving only as a transport to The Very Definitely Final Dungeon (which is possible without it, but very difficult). The Rock Dog's only major downside is that if you accidentally jump in front of them instead of on them trying to tame them, they tend to trap the player in a brutal Cycle of Hurting or send them hurtling into lava.
  • Balance Buff:
    • Vlad's Cape has received a few buffs to make it a viable alternative to the Jetpack. It now appears in Volcana, one of two choices for World 2, instead of in Hell, which is close to the end of the game. The Spring Shoes stack with the double jump, granting even more extra height, and the cape also passively doubles blood drops, making it a great companion to the Kapala.
    • In Spelunky HD, Kali altars were pointless to use after sacrificing enough NPCs to 'feel invigorated' as she stopped rewarding you with items and healing after that. This time around, she continually spawns Royal Jelly after obtaining the Kapala for every eight 'favor' points you earn from sacrificing NPCs, making her more useful in later levels of better runs.
  • Battle Intro: Two bosses have cutscenes to introduce them: Olmec and :Tiamat. Averted for all other bosses, who just wait for you in their respective realm.
  • Bear Trap: A new, dangerous obstacle found in the Jungle and beyond. While opened up, anything that steps on it gets chunked into fine giblets instantly. Careful enough players can use this to their advantage, as closed bear traps can be picked up and thrown down, which rearms them.
  • Breath Weapon: Rock Dogs in the Volcana level can shoot fireballs from their mouths.
  • Bubble Gun: Axolotls can spit bubbles that do no damage but trap anyone they hit, making them unable to do anything until the bubble breaks from hitting a wall.
  • Call-Back: The design of Madame Tusk, a lady walrus who runs a gambling booth and a VIP club in Neo Babylon, is more than likely a reference to the Walrus Lady NPC found at the end of every set of custom levels in Spelunky Classic.
  • Chain Pain: Hired Helps in this game now swing a chain instead of a whip, though the difference is merely visual.
  • Changing of the Guard: The main protagonist of the second game is Ana, the daughter of the original Spelunky guy.
  • Chest Monster: Hermit Crabs in the Tide Pool area can hide under crates and treasure chests, firing toxic bubbles when players move close by. They also double as a Wall Master, being able to hide underneath solid blocks that look like the scenery around them.
  • Cycle of Hurting: As always, this is in effect, and this game can enforce it in some pretty nasty ways. In the first stage alone, a Lizard rolling into you stuns you long enough that, unless you and it were knocked onto separate platforms, it'll charge you again before you get up. If you're unlucky with the positioning, this will kill you before you can even react.
    • Untamed Rock Dogs will spit fire at you if they see you. It does a lot of damage and knocks you down. There's nothing stopping them from spitting more while you're stunned. Axolotls can do this too, by trapping you in a bubble and dealing minor damage and stunning upon it popping. Nothing stops them from bubbling you again while you're stunned - if you're unlucky, repeat until dead.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: The games sixth area, Neo Babylon, is this crossed with Amazing Technicolor Battlefield.
  • Damsel in Distress:
    • The Damsels from the first game are actually gone this time around, presumably because Ana and several of the new characters are all still kids. Instead you can choose between Monty (the dog from the first game), a cat, or a human-sized hamster.
    • While there aren't any Damsels to rescue, it's heavily implied that one of the unlockable characters, Demi von Diamonds, is actually the Damsel from the previous games, judging by her menu sprite matching almost one-to-one with the Spelunky Classic design. As she's a playable character this time around, though, she herself averts this trope, haven taken a few levels in badass.
  • Death Is the Only Option:
    • The only way to enter the secret world Duat is by sacrificing yourself on the Kali altar in the city of gold with the Ankh and one royal headgear equipped. Averted by mistake in another secret world Abzu, that in theory requires you to let yourself killed and revived with the Ankh as well, but this can by circumvented by very careful gameplay.
  • Discount Card: Wearing a royal headgear itemnote  causes shopkeepers to recognize you as royalty and give you a discount. Shopkeepers also reward you with a discount on future purchases if you buy out all the items in one of their shops.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Throw a dice just a little bit outside of a shop or Madame Tusk's house - and the shopkeeper or bodyguard will not hesitate a second to murder you. For stealing a die.
  • Floating in a Bubble: Axolotls fire bubbles from their mouths, trapping players and enemies inside and carrying them upwards.
  • Guide Dang It!: Being cursed permanently puts you at one hit point. Want to get rid of it? There are only three surefire ways - by sacrificing enough NPCs to Kali and having her remove the curse as one of her loyalty rewards, finding the Ankh and dying, which respawns you without the curse, or completing the Star challenge in the Pyramid levels, which awards you with a curative Elixir. The first method is luck-based, as Kali's altars are not guaranteed to spawn in any given level, and the other two methods border on impossible to do with just one hit point.
    • Getting to the Brutal Bonus Levels, the Sunken City and the Cosmic Ocean, makes the arduous task of going to Hell in the prior game seem like a walk in the park. To wit:
      • You need to acquire either of the royal headgear items from either the Jungle or Volcana, which themselves are only found in secret areas that can only easily be accessed by utilizing the Udjat Eye obtained in the secret chest room of the Dwelling.
      • You also need to acquire the Ankh, obtained in this game by defeating Olmec, and, once again, perish in a specific area in either the Tide Pool or the Temple to access another hidden areaSpoiler . You then have to kill the Bonus Boss that resides in either of these areas and obtain another item from them, the Tablet of Destiny.
      • Later on, in Neo Babylon, there is a hidden room containing dozens upon dozens of doll-like funeral statues with minor differences in shape, color, intactness and the symbols on them. You have to read the journal entry for the Tablet of Destiny, which randomly picks from these attributes every time you pick it up and describes the specific statue you need to carry with you to the next level. Choosing the correct statue causes Qilin, a mount with infinite flight capability, to spawn from the statue when dropped on the ground in the next level. You then have to ride Qilin to Queen Tiamat's throne room and fly up past the ceiling of the boss room through several difficult-to-avoid timed laser gates, at the end of which is the entrance to the Sunken City.
      • And to reach the Cosmic Ocean requires even more steps prior to all of this. You have to acquire Hou Yi's Bow from the Moon challenge in either of the second areas, which at first appears to be just a slightly-fancier crossbow, and take it to a secret chamber in Olmec's boss room, which contains an NPC named Waddler who stores it for you for later. After reaching the Sunken City, you then have to complete the Sun challenge there, which rewards you with an Arrow of Light. After retrieving Hou Yi's Bow from Waddler, you have to defeat the True Final Boss, Hundun, and then shoot the Arrow of Light into his eye. Needless to say, the chance that the average player would stumble their way through this insane sequence of events to get to either of these places is astronomically low.
  • Harmful to Minors: The main Spelunker this time is the daughter of the main Spelunker from the first Spelunky, and it's implied she's teenage age at most. This doesn't stop the game from inflicting the same horrible and brutal punishment on her, including sometimes reducing her to Ludicrous Gibs. On the other hand, the human damsels have been replaced entirely with pet damsels, probably to avoid the implications of an underage girl getting kisses from adult strangers.
  • Horse of a Different Color: New to this game are rideable NPC mounts, such as turkeys or axolotls, that you can tame, each with their own unique abilities.
  • HP to 1: Anything that becomes cursed suffers this. The Witch Doctor's familiars can do this to you. It's possible to curse enemies yourself this way using the Ghost Pot, but this causes the Ghost to spawn in right afterwards, so make good use of it! What makes matters worse: Being Cursed locks your HP to 1. Curing the Curse does not reverse it. Once you sacrifice that Pet to lift the Curse, you're still a One-Hit Point Wonder until you can do something to gain more - and you just killed the only guaranteed source of HP on the stage to lift it in the first place.
  • Improvised Platform: Every crossbow is initially armed with an unbreakable blue arrow. When fired at a wall, it sticks for a few seconds and creates a temporary platform that players can jump onto.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: The broken Excalibur, obtained by cloning Excalibur with a clone gun is not as formidable as the original, but it's still incredibly strong.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Excalibur, found in 4-2 of Tide Pool, is ridiculously powerful. It's a little slow and takes time to get used to, but once you have it you can smash through almost every enemy effortlessly.
  • Instant Roast: Turkeys that die by or have their corpse come into contact with fire or explosions turn into cooked turkey dinners that heal one health point.
  • Interface Screw: Octopi in the Tide Pool have an ink shot attack that severely limits your field of view for a few seconds.
  • I See Dead People: One small benefit to being cursed is that you can see "Ghist", smaller, slower ghosts. (but they still kill you in one shot if angered) Some of them are even shopkeepers.
  • Kill It with Ice: The Freeze Ray is amazingly effective and any enemy frozen can then be instantly shattered regardless of HP; including bosses like Quillback and Vlad. Like the first game, this is the only way to kill Magmar.
  • Lava is Boiling Kool-Aid: Averted! Lava flows very viscously in 2, making it one of the few games that does so.
  • Late Character Syndrome: There is a hidden mount in this game, a dragon-like creature named Qilin, which has infinite flight and shoots damaging fireballs. Unfortunately, it can only be acquired and tamed after a long and grueling fetch quest that requires visiting another bonus level earlier on, and even then, it only appears in level 6-3, which is right before the Final Boss. Its only practical purpose is to be used to access the Very Definitely Final Dungeon, the Sunken City, which, of course, you cannot take it into. Great.
  • Legacy Character: The NPC named Yang in this game is actually one of the original Yang's descendants.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The Volcana levels, an alternate set of second levels, which feature many of the same obstacles and traps as the secret Hell level from the HD remake.
  • Lethal Joke Item: The True Crown teleports you at random every 22 seconds, which, aside from the very difficult task of obtaining it in the first place, makes continuing almost impossible. However, you are also awarded 22 bombs every time you're teleported, so if you can handle the crown, it becomes a Game-Breaker.
  • Lightning Bruiser: If you manage to make it to the Cosmic Ocean, the Ghost is replaced with a Celestial Jelly. The Celestial Jelly moves much faster than the Ghost, and just like it, is completely invulnerable and can one-hit kill the player. It's only weakness is its inability to handle sharp turns.
  • Magical Camera: The Camera flash still kills bats and undead like vampires and mummies. It is the ONLY thing that kills ghists as well as the mini-ghost that the Witch Doctor uses. It slows down The Ghost.
  • Man Behind the Man: The final boss of this game is not Olmec - he serves as the mid-game boss. The actual Big Bad this time around is Queen Tiamat, who is revealed to be the leader of an ancient civilization of Olmites, denizens who bear resemblance to Olmec.
  • Mistaken for Murderer: If you try to deliver a dead turkey to Yang, he thinks you killed it and goes on the attack.
  • Nerf:
    • Bomb bags now explode when hit with any explosives, fire or shotgun shots, making robbing shops with them on sale quite a bit more of a risk. The same thing applies to the jetpack (along with the other "pack" wearables introduced), including when you're wearing one, meaning a hit that could deal as little as one damage could now result in a One-Hit Kill if you have one on.
    • The kickback of a shotgun is now enough to knock you off of ropes and ladders without a Powerpack, similar to the Plasma Cannon, meaning you can't just snipe at threats from relative safety and climb back up if things get too dangerous.
    • Golden Scarabs now give significantly less money, now only giving 125% the value of an Emerald ($1000 for a Scarab and $800 for an Emerald in the Dwelling), unlike in HD where a Scarab's value was identical to that of a naturally-occuring Diamond, with both being 625% higher than an Emerald ($5000 for Diamonds and Scarabs and $800 for an Emerald in the Mines).
    • Paste in general is now much harder to come by. Along with the greatly expanded shop inventories, the giant spiders that are guaranteed to drop a jar of it both spawn less and got moved to The Jungle instead of The Mines/Dwelling, which means you lose out on an opportunity to more reliably get the stuff if you opt to go to Volcana instead.
    • "Ghosting" for high score is now significantly riskier. If the Ghost remains on the stage for too long, it will eventually split into two and get faster. Spend even more time and they'll split into four.
  • Poison Mushroom: The True Crown, obtainable by purposefully destroying multiple altars. Getting it requires being cursed and it will either teleport you or spawn a live bomb at random. Fittingly it is a Happy Harlequin Hat.
  • Power Up Mount: Five different mounts can be found throughout the game, each with their own abilities:
    • Turkeys can use their wings to descend slowly, and turn into a roast that heals 1 HP when killed with fire or bombs.
    • Rock Dogs can shoot fireballs and make the player but not their jetpack immune to fire (but not lava).
    • Axolotls can spit trapping bubbles and teleport.
    • Alien mechs are equipped with a jetpack and can bust through walls with their fists and plasma cannon, but are too large to take through the level exit.
    • The Qilin can shoot fireballs and fly, allowing the player to reach the Sunken City.
  • Rise to the Challenge: The secret bonus level Hundun's Hideaway has a rising floor consisting of spikes. It doesn't help that you're chased by its boss either.
  • Rolling Attack: The main method of attack for the Horned Lizards and the Dwelling area's boss, Quillback. The latter's squishes you instantly if it connects.
  • Secret Shop: Several special shops can only be found in the back layer of levels to intrepid explorers:
    • The Black Market returns from the first game, though now on the back layer of the jungle instead of its own floor.
    • Mysterious mystic Tun sometimes sets up shop with extremely powerful and expensive items, like the Plasma Cannon.
    • A caveman can also be found selling primitive items like rocks and arrows at very low prices. If you're lucky he'll be selling a damsel or a cooked turkey. If you're really lucky he can sell anything that other shopkeepers can sell - with the same low prices that his "usual" items sell for. Fancy a Plasma Cannon at only $4,000 compared to the $40,000 that Tun sells it for?
    • The most secret shop of all is the Ghost Market, which requires you to be cursed to enter, if you can even find the hidden entrance on 1-4. Besides selling a Sack containing huge amounts of bombs and ropes he will always have a Present for sale.
  • Skippable Boss:
    • A rare example of a skippable Bonus Boss - if you rescue Van Horsing (an Expy of Van Helsing) in Volcana and go to Vlad's Castle, Van Horsing will meet you there and execute Vlad immediately when you aggro him, giving you easier access to the Crown and his cape.
    • Quillback, Olmec, Vlad, both versions of Anubis, Osiris and Kingu can all be avoided if you're just going for a regular ending. Additionally, Queen Tiamat doesn't need to be fought if one has the requirements to go to the Sunken City. Tiamat is the only mandatory boss you have to defeat to complete a run normally. To get the Golden Ending, however, you need to kill every optional boss listed above if you encounter them, sans Quillback and Vlad, to be able to reach the Sunken City and Hundun, although you may spare Queen Tiamat by simply ignoring her and flying up to the top of her boss arena.
  • Story Branching: As opposed to the set level styles of the first game, players can now choose between different areas at certain points in the game depending on which exit they go through. For example, after completing the first area, the Dwelling, depending on which pathway you go through after escaping or fighting the level's boss, you can end up in the traditional second level, the Jungle, or the brand-new Volcana area.
  • The Straight and Arrow Path: Crossbows can be found and used as a weapon. The blue arrow they come with doesn't break and creates an Improvised Platform when it sticks to a wall, although they can also load and fire intact arrows that come from arrow traps. They are also Yang's preferred weapon of choice, should you do something to provoke him. Tun has the same deal. Although both Yang and Tun have a coat of poison on their arrows. The bow and blue arrow from the Moon Challenge are also vital to getting to the Cosmic Ocean, though not in an immediately-obvious way.
  • Time Skip: The game is set a few years after the events of the previous one. The Spelunky Guy is now married, has a daughter (who becomes this game's main protagonist), and has set off to the moon with his wife to find more treasure. When neither return, said daughter builds a rocket ship to try and find him, kickstarting the events of this game's story.
  • Trip to the Moon Plot: The story takes place in a mystical cave on the moon, although the Fantasy Kitchen Sink layout of the previous game's setting is still very much intact.
  • True Final Boss: Hundun, who resides in the Sunken City.
  • Tuckerization: The fresco on the wall behind the Udjat Eye has a Bear (Baertaffy), Lion (Northernlion), Man (ManVsGame), Fox (MichaelAlFox), and Red Panda (RedPandaGaming); each representing a different Let's Play Youtuber who helped make Spelunky popular.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Yang asks if you can retrieve his turkeys. If you do, he'll let you take treasure from his family vault.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • If you really want to be a monster, you can steal one of Yang's turkeys to use as a mount. He doesn't react well.
      • It gets worse. Kill a turkey with a bomb or any kind of fire, and it drops a roast turkey that restores 1 HP. Turkeys make for reliable mounts, but that free HP can be really, really tempting...
    • As in the first game, you can use the "damsels" you rescue as projectiles or human sacrifices. It's even worse this time around though, as the damsels are your own pets. Mitigated somewhat by the game emphasizing that death does not work normally within the maze.
  • Voodoo Doll: If a Witch Doctor spots you, they pull out one of these, start chanting, and jab into it, which causes you to take damage.
  • Witch Doctor: A new, particularly dangerous humanoid enemy encountered in the Jungle. If they catch you in their line of sight, they use a Voodoo Doll to jab you and knock you down unavoidably unless you manage to knock them down first. That, however, is a risky endeavor in and of itself, as they have a ghostly skull familiar surrounding them that homes in on you and curses you if it comes into contact.
  • Wutai: The new level Tide Pool is filled with obviously East Asian references, from the music to the pagode doorways, climbable dragon poles and the enemies with Chinese-inspired names like Jiangshi or Pangxie.

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