Feb 18, 2013The HD graphics are fairly uninspiring, they lack the charm of games like Spelunky, Fez, Dust or La-Mulana, but they do the job and are not too offensive. A cool gimmick is that you can play the entire game using a classic visual style that replicates the garish colour palate and pixellated goodness of the NES original, complete with chiptune soundtrack. It is a wonderful addtion to beThe HD graphics are fairly uninspiring, they lack the charm of games like Spelunky, Fez, Dust or La-Mulana, but they do the job and are not too offensive. A cool gimmick is that you can play the entire game using a classic visual style that replicates the garish colour palate and pixellated goodness of the NES original, complete with chiptune soundtrack. It is a wonderful addtion to be able to play the game this way, though I stuck to the updated visuals for my first playthrough. The music is also insanely catchy, original or remixed version, and will stick in your head for days to come. Much like the absolutely awesome Spelunky, Spelunker HD dumps your little explorer in a cavernous environment filled with danger. The caves you explore are completely different from those seen in the original games, so seasoned experts of those games will have a whole new world to explore. The usual assortment of cave dwelling critters are out to get you, as well as some unusual choices such as hopping lizard things and swooping birds (I didn't realise eagles lived in caves). As well as living beasts, you also have to contend with the undead. A ghost will appear every now and then, signified by the music changing to a spooky melody, and will float towards you from a random side of the screen. To temporarily banish him you must use your hand fan (yes, really) to blow him away. It looks more like the Ghostbusters' proton pack so let's pretend it's one of those as that is far cooler. The ghost can come in different sizes, taking longer to evaporate in massive form, and can also split into multiple smaller ghosts. Needless to say he is a pain in the hole. If you have played Spelunky then you will be familiar with the concept (and if you haven't then I demand you stop reading this and go do so immediately), but Spelunker on NES did it first.
You also have limited oxygen, which depletes at a steady rate, and can only be topped up by collecting energy items. These are positioned fairly regularly so as long as you don't hang around too long you should be OK. Bombs and flares can also be collected, the former for blasting away rocks that block your path, or secret walls, and the latter for firing into the air to scare away bats, and the irritating swooping birds. Keys are the most important pickup as each coloured key unlocks the corresponding door, and finding them all is mandatory. The end level checkpoint, a golden statue, is locked behind multiple doors and so you will have to explore every inch of each stage to locate the required keys. Thankfully the stages, while large, aren't too confusing, and if you do get a little lost, there is always the minimap at the bottom right of the screen to assist you. Your worst enemy in Spelunker HD is actually yourself, more precisely your jump. Yes, the irritating cheap deaths of the original remain here and sure, I died many times after slipping off an edge or jumping from too great a height, and it was annoying, but it is much easier on you than the 80's classic. There is a handy rope assist option that means you cannot fall from ropes by accidentally holding left or right while climbing (believe me, in the original this happened a lot!).
So you make your way through the caves, collecting keys, avoiding enemies, steaming holes, pitfalls, rolling boulders, cascading water and more, trying to locate the statue. After 10 levels you finish the area and move onto another, with a different backdrop and new enemies. It is always exciting to reach a new set of stages, complete with new hazards and enemies out for your blood. Spelunker constantly throws surprises at you throughout its entirety, and you really get the feeling that you are descending into the unknown.
Spelunker HD is a damn enjoyable game. Once you get used to the limitations set by the game and don't jump off ladders and platforms willy-nilly, as comes naturally after years of playing more forgiving platformers, you can engross yourself in the depths and really start to enjoy the exploration. In fact I can safely say it is one of the most playable platformers I have experienced for a long time. I came to Spelunker HD expecting the worst, but was absolutely blown away by how enjoyable it is and, equally, baffled by why it has receieved such negative press. I strongly urge you to ignore all these misguided reviews you have read and purchase it immediately. If you love it as much as I do then feel free to comment here shower me with gifts.… Expand
Playstation Official Magazine UKOct 11, 2011The game certainly doesn't make things easy for you. [Nov 2011, p.99]
Aug 26, 2011Spelunkers HD is an enjoyable platformer, marred by an extremely difficult nature that is bound to turn many, if not most, away. If you're a gamer that relishes games with a harsh, unwilling and unforgiving nature, or were a fan of the original title, this is the perfect game for you. For everyone else out there though, save your sanity and stay away. Consider yourself warned.