A Successful Spelunky Run

After 223 failed attempts, I have completed the Xbox version of Spelunky. Here’s what happened. I’ll name some enemies and items involved, but won’t spoil how I defeated the final boss.

  • Mines 1, first crate: it’s a jetpack! Holy shit, I’m sorted.
  • Mines 4: jetpack for sale! Could have bought one anyway.
  • Jungle 2: I’m rich, but low on bombs when I uncover the Black Market.
  • Before going through, I spend my last bombs mining gems.
  • Pray for bombs on sale.
  • First shop has 36 bombs on sale.
  • Buy 24, then see if I can find more cash.
  • There’s a giant frog. I can boomerang it for profit!
  • I boomerang it twice, and on the second throw, jump to catch it.
  • The boomerang flies underneath me.
  • It hits a shopkeeper in the face.
  • Shopstorm.
  • After six near-death experiences, I get the last two shopkeepers in the Ankh hole and bomb them to death.
  • I loot the shops: 54 bombs, jetpack, shotgun.
  • The Ghost shows up.
  • Grab the Ankh, bomb through to the exit, leave.


  • Ice Caves 2: I find the Easter Island head.
  • I perform the Ankh ritual to get the Hedjet, losing my shotgun in the process.
  • Tomb 1: I encounter the Pharaoh, no shotgun to fight him.
  • No Pitcher’s Mitt either, only short-range sticky bombs.
  • It’s tough. I’m ducking Death Blocks, hopping Tribesmen, teetering on tiki traps, all while a cloud of psionic death floats towards me, and I figure out ways to fight back.
  • Finally blow a path through the walls to him, and just spam: 4, 5 bombs all in his general direction, using the jetpack to get different heights.
  • I jet over. Just some blood, wrappings, and the psionic death staff. Now to never, ever use it in combat, and pray I find the golden door before something kills me.


  • Tomb 2: is pitch fucking black.
  • Trying to keep both the staff and the torch in play is a nerve-shredding nightmare.
  • At one point, I can’t help it: I drop down with the staff and run straight into an angry shopkeeper. I have to use it.
  • The bubble grabs the shopkeeper, slams him into the ceiling, mashes him against the wall, then grabs a priest, shreds him, grabs the resurrected priest, shreds him, and flings his corpse at me.
  • I am terrified of this fucking staff. But I’m at the exit.
  • I still haven’t found the golden door, and this is the second to last level it could be on. Do I dare explore a pitch black tomb level to look for it?
  • Nope.


  • Tomb 3: this is it, my last chance to find the golden door. I work carefully but quickly, making snap decisions and safe calls, but brute forcing my way into every chamber of the level. The golden door is nowhere. I’ve taken this goddamn psionic death staff all the way here for nothing. I killed myself for nothing.
  • Tomb 4: endgame. Might as well try for completion. Dropping this fucking staff though, don’t want to accidentally use it.
  • Jetpack up and throw a rope to hang from while I plan. Gather gold and bombs from the rafters. Plan. Plan more.
  • I have a plan.
  • I try my plan.
  • In the space of about two minutes, I take damage from pretty much every enemy type in the game. I’m down to 2 health. A tribesman’s jumping towards me. The staff is between us. I can’t safely whip him. I can’t lose this last buffer health point. I gulp. I grab the staff. I fire.
  • The bubble grabs the tribesman and smashes him into the ceiling. Olmec stomps towards me. The bubble drops the bloodied corpse on the floor, then heads straight for me with blood-chilling speed.
  • I am never, ever, ever using this staff again.
  • It misses me. It’s going for a frog. It kills the frog.
  • Olmec is above me.
  • I jet away. I drop the staff. I enact the plan.
  • The plan…


  • …works.
  • Everything is dead. The exit is open.
  • I’ve done it! I head to the exit.
  • I head back.
  • I pick up the staff.
  • I head to the exit.
  • I am a wreck. My pulse has been pounding since the pitch-black temple level, and I’m only noticing it now.
  • I always loved the ending of Spelunky on PC – simple, but hugely rewarding. It’s the same here, but with a difference that gives me a little start of joy: my name! I’m in the special thanks!
  • With shaky hands, I pour myself a drink.
  • Total playthrough time: 31 minutes. Score: $210,000.


8 Replies to “A Successful Spelunky Run”

  1. Why, oh why do you not have a “Let’s Play” of this??? I think it would be great to watch you play through games like this. :)

  2. Yeah, I wish I could! Unfortunately Xbox kinda sucks for video capture, I think you need hardware and stuff.

    Will definitely be FRAPsing if and when it comes to PC, probably in co-op.

  3. On my own Spelunky playing front, I was suffering from an intense migraine on Friday afternoon. I went home, took a prescription pain reliever, and in a warm, woozy near-comatose state, made it all the way through Mine and Jungle and got to the Ice levels for the very first time.

    I died immediately, but hey, it was the furthest I’ve ever been and all it took was prescription drugs.

  4. Why the reluctance to use the staff? Can it kill you in the Xbox version? Also: If you have a DVD recorder, you can run your Xbox through that and into the television to record it.

  5. Can, and randomly does. At first I thought it was just if you fired it with no-one else around, but I’ve since had it actively seek me out instead of a nearby enemy.

  6. You ever play a true roguelike? I’d love to hear your take on one of them. I think Nethack would make you explode.

  7. Hey – I’m just organising a podcast on Spelunky for Roguelike Radio. I’m trying to get Derek Yu on; failing that, notorious Spelunkyhead Darius Kazemi has confirmed. I’d love to have you on the show if possible.

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