a friendly interrogation • Eurogamer.net

Imagine a world where you’ve never played Spelunky. I bet many of you can’t. For Christian Donlan, it is impossible. Like many of you, he has been playing the series with passion for years.

But there are others who are more easily distracted and seem to miss everything that’s important. People like Bertie. How he handles this, we don’t know, but Spelunky, to him, remains unknown.

So, as Spelunky 2 comes to Xbox Game Pass, an opportunity presents itself. The opportunity to see something new with new eyes. This is how a veteran and a newbie come together for a conversation, and here’s what they have to say.

Cris: You must have heard a lot about Spelunky over the past few years, I think – and now you’ve finally jumped into it, and into Spelunky 2 as well, which is a real beast! So to start: what were your first impressions?

Bertie: I’ve heard a lot about it! For years, Spelunky was all everyone seemed to be talking about. I think that’s what put me off. I like to be different. But first impressions? To clean. Zipped. Cared for. A bit like Mario if that makes sense? Reactive the same way, stored the same way. Well done. Nice jump.

But in a different way: brutal. And I feel like that’s the first thing you need to understand about the game, get used to how it can and will kill you mercilessly and quickly – albeit in a very charming way, with cute spiders and snakes. Because once you figure that out, you can keep playing it and gradually digging into its secrets.

Our calamity cooperative. It makes a huge difference which player controls the screen (the white flag). It’s really tricky to play as a co-driver.

This is an especially important lesson to learn in local co-op! Talk about voltage – and I’m not just talking on the rope! It’s absolutely a game where you can hinder someone as much as help them, although within that there’s also a real sense of teamwork that gets better as you go. that you are playing.

Have I already covered it? I’m afraid to go there and never stop!

Cris: I think it’s often harder than easy in co-op. There are so many things I want to ask you! Have you ever had any truly memorable disasters? Do you have a favorite weapon or item that every time you spot it, you just have to grab it? More than anything, have you had that moment when you glimpse the beginning of a secret – something that raises more questions than it answers? I feel like that’s the heart of Spelunky 2 in particular – you spot a thread and you have to figure out where it leads.

Bertie: Memorable disasters? Ha ha – how long do you have? Shooting traders is a good thing. “How come I’m interacting with them again? I just press X and oh, oops, no!” They are absolute beasts. And that’s the most embarrassing explanation to give to the person you’re playing with as to why you’re both dead.

In fact, in general, I remember a lot of moments like these – co-op mishaps. Times when one of you accidentally – or on purpose! – dropped something on the other person’s head and killed them, which happens an alarming amount of time. It doesn’t take long for you to go from confident to dead.

“Memorable disasters? Ha ha – how long do you have?”

A favorite weapon? My co-Spelunker really likes the pickaxe because you can smash the level, get gems and gold, and all sorts of secret stuff. I really like the boomerang because it goes through enemies then comes back to you, meaning you hit them more than once in a throw and can throw it again immediately afterwards. It’s kind of an aggressive way to play that I learned from the funny enough Neanderthal henchman who – change of answer – probably became our, uh, favorite living weapon! It’s like an amplified, fearless demonstration of how the game can be played.

Did we have a moment when we glimpsed a secret? It’s interesting. I don’t know if we did. We saw some kind of boss creature, we moved around different biomes – I think we saw quite a few. But I’m not sure we’ve started to wonder why it’s all there, if that’s what you mean, or why we’re actually doing this. Right now, we’re just focusing on staying alive. And those other biomes: they make the first one seem calm!

The ghost is coming
Oh shit.

Cris: Haha! The starting biome is very controversial with Spelunky 2. I still think it’s a bit too cutthroat – how did you think it worked as an intro to the game? And what did you think of those fucking moles?

Bertie: Oh my god – the gophers? I think it’s gophers here. They are horrible, popping up everywhere, pushing me around. They’re like the antithesis of the positioning finesse that Spelunky really deals with. You bypass the danger they burst into you, and then it’s like being in a death blender, all enemies ricocheting and spikes going through the ground, and traps breaking. close on you. A few seconds later, you are dead.

I have the impression that Spelunky often does this: push you around. I guess if it wasn’t, you’d probably spend years moving around like a proper archaeologist, taking the time to dust everything off and explore everything. Obviously, Spelunky doesn’t want you to do that. That’s why the ghost comes looking for you, making you panic and run as fast as you can for the exit. Forget caution: you have to go out.

Spelunky 2 does not want you to install. I’m even starting to think that’s why the running speed is the way it is, ie: too fast. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game with a running speed modifier that slows you down for a more controlled jog. I’ve seen running speed modifiers go the other way and trigger sprints, or modifiers that make you walk, but which ones make you run a little slower? Nope. And I think it’s because Spelunky 2 knows its default execution speed is risky, dangerous. It’s like it’s always there to inspire you to go faster. It’s such a tempting game.

A level in the dark, the hero teetering on the edge

Cris: Okay, last question I think. What are the big things you have learned so far? I feel like Spelunky is full of things to learn – I’m still learning for sure.

Bertie: I think the biggest realization was that we didn’t have to start from the beginning every time we tried again! I know that sounds silly, but I still wouldn’t have known that if my co-Spelunker hadn’t noticed. I would play again from the beginning!

As you say, however, there is numerous things to learn. It’s in how the items work or who the characters you meet are and what they do. Or it’s how the enemies behave and find the sure ways to defeat them. For a while, at the beginning, it was “Why does a ghost always come looking for us when we break this vase with a diamond in it?” Ridiculous, I know, but there was a time when I does not have to know! It feels like every session we take away something new (and not just the vase with the diamond in it).

In a larger sense, I’m starting to appreciate the game’s balance and how it’s tailored to both keep you moving and exercise caution. To that end, I’m getting better at scanning areas for traps before running and triggering them all, which means I die less from careless mistakes. But paradoxically, I also become Continued reckless, though I’ll say “confidence” and “bravery” if you don’t mind.

Oh and one last thing: I’m learning to be a better co-specialist. There is definitely an art to this. I’m learning to hang back and let someone else lead and shrug my shoulders when things don’t work out and say, “Hey, it’s okay, I don’t mind that you totally killed me – let’s try again.” Because if I don’t, my caving doesn’t stand a chance.

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