Spelunky Mega Guide: Everything you need to know


Promoted from our Community Blogs!

[Just in time for last week’s Steam release, Dtoid community blogger Corduroy Turtle shares this MASSIVE guide for Spelunky. And that’s no exaggeration. This thing was so big, we literally had to split it in half because it wouldn’t fit on the front page all at once! Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow. –Mr Andy Dixon]

Spelunky is an absolutely fantastic game, but it’s not particularly friendly to newcomers. I won’t name names but I have people on my friends list who’ve never made it out of the Mines. That makes me sad. In an effort to help along new players (and because I’m hopelessly addicted) I decided to share some of the knowledge I’ve acquired after dying somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,500 times. Why so many deaths? Because my hunger would not cease until I had seen everything this game had to offer, and that included earning every Achievement. Turns out, this thing is so freaking good, I’m still playing it.

Before you start reading, I’d like to emphasize that, beyond the high scores and loot, Spelunky is a game about discovery and challenging yourself. It can be brutal at times (read: always), but you’ll come to find that it’s also extremely fair and immensely satisfying… if you’re willing to put in the effort. There are so many secrets, hidden areas and advanced techniques built into this game, it’s absolutely staggering. If the Internet didn’t exist, some of this stuff would only be spoken of in hushed whispers behind locked doors.

Though I purposefully left certain pieces of information out of this guide to keep some of the mysteries alive, I still pull the curtain way back. Stuff is explained in great detail, and therefore spoiled. If you haven’t played much Spelunky or don’t know much about it, I encourage you not to read this from top to bottom. I can tell you first hand, discovering this stuff for yourself is magical, and far more exciting than simply reading my descriptions. That being said, buckle up. This thing is huge.


Spelunky is a platformer with roguelike elements. This means it features randomized levels, items and enemies, and of course the dreaded threat of permadeath. Each time you die, you’ll have to start your adventure over from the very beginning with nothing but the standard equipment and a scowl. But that’s okay! Treat every life in Spelunky as a learning experience because the knowledge you gain from each death is far more valuable than the progress and gems that are lost in the process.

Like any platformer, you’ll find yourself running and jumping a lot — running into arrow traps and jumping onto spikes, mostly. Things can go wrong very quickly in Spelunky, and it’s almost always due to carelessness. Therefore, walking is sometimes the best idea, especially when heading towards an area you haven’t seen yet. Shit, crawl if you have to. That being said, you can’t just lollygag along forever — you have roughly 2.5 minutes to find the exit to each level before a giant ghost shows up to hurry you along. This guy will kill you instantly if you so much as touch him, so stay out of his way! Run!!

Though the level layouts are different every time, the enemies and traps that populate these levels function on a strict set of rules. It may seem chaotic at first, but once you figure out exactly what those rules are, you can manipulate them to work for you. You know that thing Robert Downey Jr. does during the boxing scene in the first Sherlock movie, where he plans out a series of moves and knows all the reactions in his head before he even throws a punch? It’s sort of like that, and it’s awesome.


This is the life and equipment you’ll start each game with, along with some basic tips to get you started. Learning how to properly wield the whip and ration bombs and ropes early on will serve you well in later stages, so get some practice in. This stuff is your bread and butter.

HEARTS — You start each game with four hearts, which represent four hit points. It’s not a lot, believe me. Almost everything in this game does one full heart of damage (there are no half hearts in Spelunky) and some do two or more. Even worse, some traps (like landing on spikes or being crushed by a stone block) can kill you instantly, regardless of how much health you have. Don’t get too confident! There are a handful of ways to increase your health, but they aren’t easy.

  • Carry a Damsel to the exit of a level and she’ll reward you with a kiss upon completing the stage, which will net you one extra heart. What a sweetheart. Can I have two? (No.)
  • If you come across a huge beehive in the Jungle and can kill the Queen Bee, she’ll drop a lump of Royal Jelly, which gives you an extra four hearts when you pick it up!
  • There is an item you can purchase for $50,000 in the Black Market (a secret area located in the Jungle) which will resurrect you with four hearts if you happen to die. This item has a much greater purpose, however…
  • You may also come across a Kissing Booth which lets you pay for kisses. It’s not cheap, but can be a big help if you find yourself down to one or two hearts.
  • PRO TIP: The real secret to getting tons of health is the Kapala, earned by sacrificing two Damsels (or enough bodies) to the goddess Kali. This skull cup allows you to collect the blood drops from your fallen enemies and turn them into health. One full cup will get you one heart, and there is no limit on how many times you can do this as long as you keep killing.

WHIP — The whip serves as your primary attack but takes some practice to get comfortable with due to a slightly delayed reaction after pressing the button. Thankfully you’ll have plenty of time to practice with it, because it’s the only item you’ll always have with you no matter what.

  • It’s most effective as a forward attack but can also hit things directly above your head, as well as behind you, if they’re close enough.
  • The tip of the whip can inflict damage for longer than the sound effect implies. Keep this in mind when you’re trying to whip something without getting too close. You can also slightly nudge yourself forward or back during the animation.
  • The whip will break many objects in the game (pots, crates, skulls, etc.) but it can also set off traps. If you whip an explosive box, it will indeed blow up in your face. If you whip the shopkeeper, he will absolutely shoot you in the face without hesitation. Be careful!
  • PRO TIP: A well-timed whip can slap an incoming arrow right out of the air! Yes, it feels fucking awesome. The timing is somewhat tricky but it’s an invaluable technique once you master it.

ROPES — You start with four ropes in your inventory, but you can find more lying around in crates and in Shops. Like ladders, they are climbable, allowing you to reach areas that may be too high or too low. When you deploy a rope, it fires straight up and attaches to the wall after it reaches a certain distance, unless of course it hits the ceiling first.

  • To maximize how far you can climb, try deploying the rope at the height of a jump instead of from a standing position. The added height can often mean the difference between reaching valuable supplies or getting out of a pit without wasting further resources.
  • Ropes are great for descending as well. If you deploy the rope while crouching right in front of a pit, the rope will attach to the space directly in front of you and unfurl down into the hole, allowing you safely climb down without risking fall damage.
  • Like anything else that moves, ropes can set off arrow traps. It’s important to note that a falling arrow will do just as much damage as one that’s fired directly at your face, so get the heck out of the way!
  • Firing guns while hanging from a rope will negate their usual recoil, which is handy in certain situations.
  • PRO TIP: Though I don’t recommend it as a common tactic, ropes have the ability to damage enemies directly above you. When fired, the claw at the end of the rope will kill weaker enemies (like spiders, bats, etc.) until it attaches to the wall. If you have no other options, a quick rope toss can sometimes save your ass.

BOMBS — You’ll start each life with four bombs, but can find plenty more in crates and Shops as well. Bombs are a precious commodity in Spelunky, and vital to your success. They’re great for destroying walls, unearthing treasures and creating shortcuts. They’re also an extremely powerful weapon, killing most enemies in one hit. Of course, they can also kill you in one hit, so be careful to stay out of their blast radius.

  • When bombs explode, they will either destroy or propel anything within a two space radius. Knowing the exact range is crucial when figuring out how many bombs it will take to blast through a wall to an area you want to access.
  • If you find the Paste, all your bombs will stick to any surface they land on, including enemies. This is very handy for when you need to destroy a ceiling or a specific part of a wall, but also great for getting the drop on a giant enemy before they notice you.
  • If you’re crouching when you deploy a bomb, you’ll place it on the ground in front of you. Often times this is the best way to lay bombs because non-sticky bombs tend to bounce around when thrown and are tough to predict.
  • If you come across any Shops selling bombs early on, it’s not a bad idea to grab what you can afford. Not only do prices increase the further you go, but you’re not guaranteed a Shop will even have bombs when you really need them down the line. Stock up!
  • PRO TIP: If you’re feeling brave, you can pick it up a bomb and toss it before it explodes. This technique is vital when using non-sticky bombs to blow up sections of the ceiling or wall that are out of reach. Of course, it’s also easy to waste bombs or blow yourself up, so be extremely careful!
  • PRO TIP: There’s a way to blow up slightly more surface area by exploiting the grid that Spelunky platforms are built on. Placing a bomb on the “seam” between two blocks will get you the most bang for your bomb, blowing a hole two spaces wide, instead of one.
  • PRO TIP: Similar to the above tip, after you place a bomb in a corner, quickly pick it up, push your character’s face into the corner, and place the bomb as close to the wall as you can. This little nudge will get the bomb to explode on the seam, causing more spaces to be destroyed, which may save you bombs or unearth more treasure.


These are things that you’ll find lying around all over the place. Most of them are more useful than they initially appear so keep your eye out for them! (This section does not include a number of rare items; those are located in the “Special Items” section below.)

ROCKS — The most common throwable item you’ll find around. Drop them over ledges to safely set off arrow traps or throw them to kill some of the weaker enemies. They never break from overuse and they’re lying everywhere, so always try to keep one with you if you aren’t already carrying something more important.

  • Thrown rocks can bounce off walls and come right back to hit you, which will take away one heart and possibly knock you into even more danger.

POTS — Pots are extremely fragile and will break if whipped or thrown. They may contain nothing, treasure, or an enemy inside, so treat them with caution.

  • Throwing pots rather than whipping them is a good habit to get into. This way, if a Scorpion busts out you can approach it from a safe distance.

CHESTS — Chests contain a random amount of treasure (obviously). Once opened, the empty chest can be used to set off traps or thrown to kill close enemies.

  • Every once in awhile there will be an active bomb inside the chest. Get out of range before it explodes!

CRATES — These wooden boxes are guaranteed to contain at least one random item. Most often you’ll get ropes or bombs, but there’s always a chance you could get something more valuable like clothing, gear or even weapons! They are an oasis in a desert of pain.

  • BAD IDEA: Even though they are extremely tempting, don’t exhaust your supplies just to reach one crate. It’s very unwise to use your last bomb to get to a crate when there may only be a few ropes or a parachute inside.

IDOLS — These golden statues can be found in almost every area of the game, and can be taken to the exit or sold in the Shop for a decent chunk of change. The exact amount increases the further you go, making them much more enticing the further you get. Think twice before you decide to pick it up or move it, however, because doing so may activate a deadly trap!

  • THE MINES – A massive boulder will bust out of the wall and barrel towards you (think Raiders of the Lost Ark), crushing everything in its path. Seeing as this Idol is only worth $5,000, I can’t really recommend bothering with it. The destruction the boulder causes is immense and it will most likely destroy more than $5,000 in treasure that’s lying around. Not to mention there’s a good chance it will piss off the Shopkeeper.
  • JUNGLE – This one is actually pretty fair game. The Idol will be located on a bridge over a pool of water, usually filled with Piranhas. Once grabbed, the bridge will begin to collapse, so just jump for one of the exits and you’ll be home free.
  • GRAVEYARD – This variation of the Jungle has its own unique version — a Crystal Idol — along with its own unique consequence. When you pick it up, a Ghost will immediately spawn and chase you down until you exit the level. Since the Ghost is fairly slow, this isn’t a terribly bad idea, so long as you know where the exit is and you’ve cleared out any enemies that may be in your path. Grab it and go!
  • ICE CAVES – Like the Jungle, this one is pretty easy, but you still have to move fast. The icy platform it sits on will melt away if you dilly-dally for too long, and the Spikes below will not give you a safe landing either. Make sure you have an escape plan before you get yourself into trouble.
  • TEMPLE – Oof, this one’s a doozy. If the Idol is disturbed, doors on either side of the room will slam shut, and the spiked ceiling (or ceiling trap) will begin to lower. If you have spare bombs, carefully blow up the floor (ideally before you’ve touched the Idol) to give yourself a quick escape route.
  • TEMPLE – The Temple actually has a second Idol trap that may show up instead, but this one offers you a choice: do you save the Damsel or grab the Idol? Both things rest on a small bridge above a very deep pit. Grab one and immediately jump for the nearby ledge to avoid the collapsing bridge. If you screw that up and find yourself falling, hug the walls in hopes that you can grab a ledge before you reach the lava pit at the bottom.
  • HELL – This one is protected by a bunch of spike balls. Good luck! You’ve got some serious balls (…) if you go after this one so late in the game. As RuPaul would say, “Don’t fuck it up.”

SMALL CREATURES — Wait, there are harmless creatures in Spelunky? Surprisingly, yes. Each of the four main stages has a unique animal or insect that you can find scurrying around. There are rats in the Mines, tiny frogs in the Jungle, little penguins in the Ice Caves, and grasshoppers in the Temple. If you can catch one, the only thing they’re good for (other than being super cute) is setting off arrow traps.

TORCHES — If you are unfortunate enough to land yourself in a dark level, you will be given a torch to light your way. They must be carried, which means you can’t use your whip or carry a weapon at the same time. You can toss it in an emergency, but you’ll be stuck in the dark until you can track it down. You’ll find unlit torches attached to the walls along the way, which can be lit for a little gold, but not removed.

  • If you can’t see the bottom of a hole you need to drop into (and you don’t want to waste a rope) you can drop the torch down to shed some light on what horrors lie below.
  • Obviously, if a torch is submerged in water, the flame with go out. You’ll have to take the stick back to a previously lit wall torch to reignite it.

SCARABS — Another thing only found in dark levels is the harmless scarab. They’re golden and give off a bit of light, but don’t attack them! Simply touching these guys while they’re alive will score you a few thousand gold! Definitely worth the trouble.

DAMSELS — Okay, look, I feel bad including damsels in the “Found Items” category but that’s how you have to think of them if you are going to make it in Spelunky! If you see them as living creatures that need saving, you’re more likely to waste precious resources in order to do so, and possibly put yourself in greater danger in the process. (I’m going to refer to the damsels as “she” but it should be noted that you can swap out the lady for a beefcake dude or a derpy pug. Not that you asked, but I’m a pug man myself.)

  • A Damsel won’t avoid danger or protect herself. If you set her down, she will continuously walk in a direction until she either falls in a hole, kills herself or hits a wall, in which she’ll turn around and keep on going. Stick her in a shallow pit so she stays out of trouble.
  • They can be thrown to kill small enemies (bats, snakes, spiders) or break pots without taking damage, assuming they don’t bounce into a spike pit afterwards.
  • Funnily enough, if you get shot by an arrow trap while holding a damsel, she’ll take the damage instead of you! Smart thinking, Spelunky guy! It should be noted that a second arrow shot will indeed kill her, so use this tactic sparingly.
  • PRO TIP: Placing a live Damsel on a bloody altar will sacrifice her body and reward you with a random item! If you manage to sacrifice a second Damsel (or enough random bodies), you’ll get a special item called the Kapala which can be filled with the blood of your enemies to regain health! This item is immensely valuable and can grant you tons of health if used properly. Collect those blood droplets!


Shops can show up in just about every level of the game, and will either have items for sale, or offer a variety of paid services. They’re always run by a Shopkeeper, who’s a very sensitive fellow. If you want to stay on his good side, don’t steal, blow something up too close to his Shop, or try to attack him. He only has two modes: calm dude and crazy fucking shotgun demon. Even if you survive his wrath the first time, there are long term consequences…

ITEM SHOP — This shop will have four random items for sale. Depending on what type of shop it is, the items may have a similar theme. Some will feature a bunch of Bomb Bags, others will may only carry different types of clothing or gear. Choose wisely because money ain’t cheap!

  • Stealing. Don’t lie, you were thinking about it. Like I mentioned above, there are some huge consequences for doing so, but there are easy ways to go about it. If he has a weapon for sale (the Shotgun or Freeze Ray work best) just pick it up and blast him. Just make sure he’s dead before you start looting the Shop, because he has a surprising amount of health. The guy is a beast.
  • My other stealing tip involves the Jetpack. This thing is expensive, and sometimes it will show up before you can afford it, but it’s soooo good. If you’re a dirty thief and you just can’t wait, grab it and run out the door. As soon as you exit, you’ll automatically equip the Jetpack and can make an aerial escape, hopefully without getting shot in the back.

KISSING BOOTH — This version of the Shop features a Damsel who’s ready to plant as many life-giving smooches on you as you can afford, but they aren’t cheap.

  • You can technically grab the Damsel and run out the door, though I wouldn’t recommend it. At the end of the day, is one extra heart or possible sacrifice really worth all the pain that an army of angry Shopkeepers will bring down on you? (That’s a rhetorical question, by the way.)

HIRED HANDS — This shop features an AI partner that you can “hire” to “help” you. Don’t ever, ever do that. They’re complete morons, and there’s a good chance you’ll get stuck in the crossfire of one of their stupid attacks. But if you don’t believe me, hey, go for it.

  • PRO TIP: If there’s an Altar on the same level, here’s a better idea — hire yourself a friend, carry him safely to the Altar, and offer his unconscious body to Kali. Since he gains you the same amount of favor as a Damsel, you’ll be that much closer to earning the Kapala.

WHEEL OF CHANCE — The giant, colorful wheel inside this shop makes it sort of hard to miss. If you’ve got some money, you can take a few spins and try to win the item that sits behind the prize door. There’s also a big money spot on the wheel, which is nice too. Just don’t spend too much time gambling or the Ghost will show up to crash the party.

  • BAD IDEA: If luck isn’t on your side, you can use Bombs or the Maddock to “claim” your prize, but the Shopkeeper will consider this cheating. He’s very particular about the rules.

BLACK MARKET — This isn’t just a “shop”, it’s an entire level full of shops. There will always be an Ankh for sale on the far right of the stage, as well as a Wheel of Chance on the bottom level. The other five Shops are random and can carry just about anything. Walking in here while you are branded a terrorist is… intense.

  • PRO TIP: Feel free to file this under “bad idea” instead. I hate to encourage stealing, but the Black Market is almost too tempting. If you have a Shotgun (or if there’s one for sale on the top level), you can take a shot at robbing the place. Before you go nuts, it’s good idea to bomb away some of the platforms along the left hand side. This will funnel all the angry Shopkeepers to the bottom level, which usually features a bunch of spikes and tiki traps. That’ll help thin out their numbers while you loot the shops, and make getting to the exit that much “easier”.


These items can be purchased from shops, found in crates, earned by killing certain enemies, or received as gifts for sacrificing Damsels. They grant your character various passive and enhanced abilities which stack on top of each other, vastly altering your character’s skill set and giving you a better shot at survival. Prices fluctuate greatly depending on what stage you’re on so I won’t bother listing them here.

COMPASS — This will cause a red arrow to appear on the screen which will point you towards the exit. It’s especially helpful for dark levels and speed runs.

PASTE — This jar of glue will permanently transform all of your bombs into sticky bombs. They’ll stick to walls and enemies, which will makes most scenarios much easier. However, dropping bombs down small holes becomes nearly impossible.

  • FREE ITEM: You can nab one by killing a Giant Spider in the Mines.

SPRING SHOES — Wearing these will double your maximum jump height, allowing you to reach higher ledges and leap over larger gaps.

  • FREE ITEM: Killing the Giant Frog in the Jungle may cause a pair to drop about half of the time.

SPIKE SHOES — These increase your overall stomp damage, which allows you to kill some of the beefier enemies in one shot, as well as damage big enemies (Giant Frogs, Mammoths, Mummies, etc.) who are impervious to regular jump damage. They also keep you from slipping around on ice once you reach frosty depths of the Ice Caves.

  • FREE ITEM: The Yeti King (a somewhat rare spawn in the Ice Caves) will drop a free pair if you kill him.

CLIMBING GLOVE — This green hand grants you the ability to stick to any vertical surface. You can shimmy up walls or just hang out and catch your breath. However, things get a little more complicated when you’re trying to make a quick escape and you keep sticking to every surface you touch. It’s definitely a great item, but it took me a long, long time to get comfortable with it. It works great in tandem with the Jetpack because it makes any vertical surface a quick refueling spot.

PITCHER’S MITT — This crazy item greatly increases your throwing strength to the point where any item thrown will ignore gravity and fly in a perfectly straight line until it comes in contact with something. Combined with the Paste, bomb throws become deadly accurate. The only downside is it can be a little too strong at times. Sorry, Damsels!

SPECTACLES — These glasses allow you to see gems and items hidden within the walls; great for treasure hunting with the Mattock. They also let you see slightly better in dark levels.

PARACHUTE — This one-time-use item will save you from taking fall damage by automatically deploying if you’ve dropped too far. It’s nice to have just in case but I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy it.

CAPE — Love this thing. The Cape is like your own personal parachute that can be activated or deactivated at will by pressing the jump button. It makes descending a breeze and greatly increases your horizontal jumping distance. On top of that, you can lower yourself onto spikes without getting impaled! I just learned about this the other day and it blew my mind. This game is so freaking cool.

  • FREE ITEM: If you can kill a Vampire (found in the Graveyard variation of the Jungle stage, as well as Hell), you can don his majestic yellow cape for zero dollars.

JETPACK — Simply put, this thing is the best. This amazing piece of technology lets you fly around even the trickiest levels with ease. The Jetpack has limited amount of fuel (using it in short bursts helps) so you can’t stay airborne indefinitely. Luckily it refills itself whenever you land or grab a ledge, so make sure to make frequent pit stops.

  • FREE ITEM: If you come across an Alien Lord in the Ice Caves, blow up the wall behind him, strap on one of this blue beauty and take to the skies!

ANKH — This magical artifact can only be found in the Black Market (a secret level hidden somewhere in the Jungle) for the low, low price of $50,000. Why is it so expensive? Upon death, you will be resurrected back at the beginning of the level with 4 hearts! However, since it destroys itself in the process, it can only be used once. The Ankh is also special because it’s one of the items required to gain access to Hell. Not for the faint of heart!


Like the gear above, these can be found for sale in shops or inside crates that are scattered around. Unlike the gear, however, these items must be carried. Since you can only carry one item at a time, things can get complicated pretty quick. Still, the added range and attack power some of them provide can make your life a lot easier.

MACHETE — This melee weapon is more powerful than the whip and cuts through pesky spiderwebs with ease.

SHOTGUN — Arguably the best weapon in the game. It’s packs a punch and (like all guns in Spelunky) has unlimited ammo. Don’t get too trigger happy, though! The pellets that travel off screen could possibly hit the Shopkeeper, kill a Damsel, or set off an arrow trap. Besides that, the recoil could possibly put you in danger, too. Each shot sends your character flying back one space, but you can counteract this a bit by holding forward when you shoot.

  • FREE ITEM: You’ll find this out sooner or later, but if you piss off the Shopkeeper, he’ll pull one of these out and come after you like nobody’s business. If you somehow manage to kill him, you can snag a Shotgun for “free”. (You’ll be branded a terrorist for the remainder of that playthrough and ALL of the Shopkeepers will try to kill you on sight, making the Black Market absolutely insane. Oh, and there’ll be an extra Shopkeeper guarding the exit of each level, too. Have fun.)

BOOMERANG — This throwing weapon will (almost always) return to you when thrown. It tears through large groups of enemies and can be thrown diagonally, as well. Be sure not to whip as it’s heading back or you’ll miss the catch.

  • FREE ITEM: Tiki men will patrol the Jungle with one of these in hand. Bop them on the head and claim it for yourself.

WEB GUN — This blue “gun” fires spiderwebs, but has pretty crappy range. The webs can be used for catching small enemies (making them easier to kill) or for stopping arrows in their tracks. It’s also possible to shimmy up a wall by leaping from web to web, though this is sort of an awkward and inconsistent way to travel. The webs are not permanent and will disappear fairly quickly.

FREEZE RAY — This yellow gun will freeze enemies in a block of ice for a short period of time. Whipping or hopping on the ice blocks will cause them to shatter, killing whatever was inside instantly. If you freeze an enemy in mid air (like a bat or a spinner spider) they will fall and shatter on their own.

TELEPORTER — While holding it, you can teleport a short distance up, down, left, or right. But beware, it is very dangerous to use, and if you accidentally teleport into a solid object (like a wall, for instance), you will die instantly.

CAMERA — This glorified flash bulb will knock most enemies out for a short while, but it has some interesting uses. It can kill Bats, Skeletons, Jiang Shi, and Vampires in one shot (making it especially useful in Hell). Heads up — the Shopkeeper does NOT like having his picture taken! Big surprise.

MADDOCK — Ah, the pickaxe, a treasure hunter’s best friend. This will let you to hack your way through just about any surface, gaining you access to walled-off rooms, opening up shortcuts, or uncovering hidden gems. It will break eventually, so make every swing count. It cannot be swung in mid air, however, if you press jump right after you swing it, you should be able to carve out a spot one block higher than usual. Very handy in certain situations.

  • FREE ITEM: If you find yourself in the Snake Pit variant of the Mines, head to the bottom of the deepest pit (which is always guarded by four snakes) and bomb the land directly below the two red gems.


These items have super special abilities and require extra effort to obtain; you’ll never find them in shops. If you want to preserve some of the mystery of Spelunky, I recommend that you skip this section entirely. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!!

CRYSKNIFE — A unique item replaces your standard Whip and can kill any creature (save for the two main bosses) in one hit! Pretty goddamn metal.

  • It can be found at the bottom of an Acid Pool deep inside the belly of The Worm (a secret area located in the Jungle and the Ice Caves).

PLASMA CANNON — This crazy weapon fires explosive rounds (each one as powerful as a bomb) and has the biggest recoil of any gun in the game – two full spaces. Very dangerous to wield, but oh so satisfying.

  • You can get one by defeating the monstrous Alien Queen who resides on the top floor of the Mothership (an alternate exit in the Ice Caves). If that sounds too hard, it’s been known to pop out of crates on extremely rare occasions. Cross your fingers.

SHIELD — This item is unlike anything else in the game. While held, it basically makes you impervious to forward attacks, and will crush almost anything that gets between you and a solid object – this includes small enemies, rocks, treasure, etc.

  • The only way to get it is to go to the Haunted Castle (the entrance is hidden below the king’s grave on the Graveyard variation of the Jungle) and kill the Black Knight. No easy feat!

ROYAL JELLY — This treat will net you four extra hearts!

  • Look for the giant beehive (which sometimes spawns in the Jungle) and kill the Queen Bee to get a taste of this delectable red lump for yourself.

KAPALA – This cup, made from an empty skull, slowly fills with any blood droplets you come in contact with. Once full, you will be awarded an extra heart! This can be done indefinitely, so the potential health that can be gained from the Kapala makes it one of the most sought after items in the game. There’s also a super special trick in the Temple that can gain you massive amounts of health, but I’ll describe that in the Temple section below instead of spoiling it here.

  • The easiest way to obtain one (which I described above) is by sacrificing two living Damsels to Kali. You can also sacrifice dead Damsels and other creatures (living or dead) until you manage to please Kali enough. However, dealing with living creatures is risky as heck, and sacrificing dead ones can take a lot longer.

UDJAT EYE – Yeah, okay, this one doesn’t require too much effort, but its ultimate purpose isn’t immediately obvious. On top of letting you see gems and items hidden in the walls (like the Spectacles) it serves as a sort of dowsing rod for the hidden entrance to the Black Market once you get to the Jungle.

  • In the Mines, a KEY and a LOCKED CHEST will always spawn somewhere on either 1-2, 1-3 or 1-4. Put them together to gain the powers of the Udjat Eye.

HEDJET – Another mega secret item. Wielding the Sceptre while wearing this will grant you access to the City of Gold, where another required Hell item awaits. Wait, you don’t know what that means? Then you shouldn’t be reading this!

  • If you have the Ankh in your possession, look for a giant blue Moai statue on 3-2 or 3-3. Found it? Okay, kill yourself. Yes, do it. The Ankh will respawn you inside the Moai statue in front of a secret door and drop the Hedjet on top of you! Don’t leave too quickly! It’s possible to rush through the exit before the Hedjet has completely fallen, so don’t do that! You’ll never forgive yourself, and everyone will laugh at you, myself included.

SCEPTRE — Man, you’re in deep now. This crazy weapon fires purple orbs that seek out life and end it. Although it is technically a weapon, the attack is so unpredictable and dangerous that there’s a good chance it could backfire and kill you! Instead of shooting it off like an idiot, why not combine it with the Hedjet and open the golden door on 4-2 which leads to the City of Gold? As I mentioned above, this is part of the checklist of items that is required for making your way to Hell, so it’s important.

  • On level 4-1 of the Temple, you’ll come across a not-so-nice fellow named Anubis who will float around and fire slow-moving, purple orbs at you. If you can kill him, he’ll drop the Sceptre. Just make sure he’s not floating above a Lava Pit or it may fall in and be destroyed! That’s a major boner killer, let me tell you.

BOOK OF THE DEAD — Once activated, this creepy face book is used to literally open the door to Hell (located just above the lava somewhere in Olmec’s lair). Obtaining it, let alone properly using it, will require all of your Spelunky skills and a fair amount of luck.

  • Near the bottom of the super secret City of Gold, you see the Book of the Dead sitting in a walled-off room. You’ll have to bomb your way in, so make sure you save at least one for this purpose. Picking it up will cause Anubis II and his army of Skeletons to appear. If you don’t kill him here, he’ll follow you into Olmec’s lair and continue to pester you. Once he’s dead, the Book will come to life…

[REDACTED]’S CAPE — This is a special Hell item. You’ll have to earn this one for yourself to see what it does! …or you can cheat and look it up, I guess. (Weak, dude.)

[REDACTED]’S AMULET — Another special Hell item. It’s really fucking cool, too. You won’t even believe it.


And that’s it for part 1! Come back tomorrow to see a level-by-level guide, including tips for defeating every enemy and avoiding every trap.