Part One: Dying is FunEdit

Ok, so you've heard how Derek Yu's Spelunky is some kind of genius masterwork, but you don't really see how walking thirty pixels and getting killed by a snake ten times in a row is all that fun. The thrill of discovering how to die one way you haven't found before after playing a hundred times is magical, but it's not that fun if you just keep dying the same three ways over and over.

So, this guide is here for those who don't love Spelunky from the first moment, but really want to understand what all the fuss is about. This isn't Dwarf Fortress, people, you get to run around with a whip and some bombs and defy death (almost) constantly.

So, launch Spelunky (if you can't do that, I'm afraid you need a different guide) and walk your ass into the door that says START.

So let's get this out of the way. You're in a cave, I want you to go kill yourself. It's not hard. Jump on some spikes, get hit by some snakes, fall a long way, just run around willy nilly and it will happen, I promise. Hear the little splat sound? See how all the monsters don't even really care how you're gone? They just go on living their pointless little random lives until you hit "x" and there you are in the high scores room. Take a deep breath. Walk back out into the main cavern. There. Now that wasn't so hard, was it?

Part Two: Basic TrainingEdit

Surviving in Spelunky is a Zen art. You can't care too much. That's why you've just got to get a little dying under your belt. But you're hungry for action, you don't want to see snakes forever, you want to see some effing giant yetis and freaky cities of gold everyone's talking about. For that, you need to limber up. Get your game face on.

For that, we need a safe environment. Don't even walk into the door that says START. Just chill out here in this big safe cavern. Walk back and forth. Pace the place. Do a little whipping. It's "x". Whip, whip, whip, whip, whip. See how your whip is extended a couple seconds after you start? See how the little coil loops out behind you? That's just as deadly as the tip, in a pinch.

Now try a jump, or "z". Tap for a wee jump and hold to jump at least twice as high as your little body. Now combine the two. Jump and whip. See how your whip doesn't come out until you're back on the ground? Try whip-jump. You just put a pesky bat down. Didn't that feel good?

Okay next, try running. Hold down left shift. Move back and forth. You move a lot faster. Jumps go a lot further. Try some jumping and whipping while running.

Now you have your home keys. Shift, z and x.You can jump and whip like crazy. You're approaching dangerous.

Ok, last skill before we throw you in danger's path. Go pick something up. There's a flare on the ground, and if you duck and "whip" it, you'll pick it up. Now you're holding something and you can't whip anymore. Sometimes you can live without the whip for a while. Press "x" and you gently chuck it in front of you. Go get it again. Try dropping it gentle. Duck and "x" again and you gently set it down. Go get it. Now push up and "x" and you whip it diagonally up in the air. One more time. Want extra credit? Jump in the air running and throw it as high as you can.

Part Three: Surviving Is Fun, Too Edit

Now, are you a man or a mouse? You've got all this throwing and whipping down and it's time to go get fantastic amounts of treasure, women, fame, glory, and at least get killed by a yeti instead of a stupid spider.

The thing to remember about Spelunky is that every danger has an easy way of avoiding it. Seriously, no problem. Snakes? They seem totally dangerous, but touch them anywhere but RIGHT in front of them and they explode. Stand back a little ways and whip them in the face before they get to you. Simple.

Spikes? Don't fall on them from a whole square up. You can walk right through them, or even jump up into them or climb gently down onto them.

Bats are just like snakes, except they usually start up above you and gently float down. One little jump or whip turns them into a blood explosion.

Heights? Just duck for a second and you'll scroll down and look further below you. Just fall down the smallest distance you possibly can (or fall a really long way and land on a monster of some kind... it explodes in bloody fireworks and you land like Mary Lou Retton).

Easy right? Well, the problem is when they come in combinations. But the thing to remember is to keep your cool and do your best to deal with them one at a time.

Just this should help. You start out at the top and you're stuck here. There's a door somewhere at the bottom. It's a fresh new place, but you can always just look around for a way to get down and eventually you'll find an open door. Die a few times, just so you know you're having fun, but eventually you'll get something easy and make it through that door. You did it. You survived.

Part Four: Know Your Tools Edit

Once you're sitting in a level and (relatively) safe, press "C" a few times and watch yourself put away your whip, and hang on to a few things you happened to bring with you in your search for fantastic treasure. You've got a little black bomb (they don't make 'em like that anymore) and a rope and grappling hook rig. You start with four of each.

So how about a bomb. Get one in your hand. Press "X". Look, it's flashing. It's pretty. It's mesmerizing. It's armed. It's... oh, you're probably an explosion of guts now. I meant to say, press "X" once to arm the bomb and then again to throw it, just like a rock or a flare. Most of the time you're going to want to duck and just drop it directly in front of you for precision bombing. Then don't stand too close, because nothing stops a good Spelunky run like accidentally standing too close to your own bomb.

Note the blast pattern. It's usually about one square in all directions with one important exception: it digs down two squares directly below the bomb. Remember this factoid. Maybe even steer a little further clear because it can occasionally throw rocks into your head.

Ok, you have bomb mastered. Now rope. Select it, and then press "X" and you toss a rope up where it flawlessly lodges into the wall either where it hits something above you or... a ways. Sometimes down just isn't going to work.

Part Five: Tricks, Tips, Traps and Other LandsEdit

  •  Learn to cook bombs, firstly toss them on the ground by crouching then pick it up, it's time to throw when they start to blink rapidly. 
  • An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
  • Big spiders can be killed very easily if you throw a bomb into the web below it. But hitting the spider with the bomb will make it chase you and often dodge the explosion.
  • Sticky bombs are the only way up.
  •  You can falldown two squares away in front of an arrow trap, but look out if the arrow bounces off a nearby wall.
  • Always carry a rock at the mines, if you can find one.
  • If you don't have a rock with you when approaching an arrow trap, any throw-able object will trigger it. Skulls, critters, pots.
  • Sometimes you encounter arrow traps at the stair path, grabbing a mouse (or any critter, even damsel) from the ground will protect you from one arrow shot.
  • In Spelunky Classic if you gonna make a critic jump from an edge try to perform it by looking up, that will cancel the edge animation of Spelunky.
  • You can do a mob jump by stomping a bat or frog and holding the jump button. Reaching new heights.
  • Snake pit ("I hear snakes... I hate snakes") always have a Mattock buried at the end of pit. Comes very handy if you're planning to do some ghost running at mines.
  • Spider lair ("My skin is crawling") always have a helping hand (or the Round Girl) in the coffin.
  • At the Mines if you can gather 20 grand at the first two levels you almost guarantee reaching 50000 by the time you reach Forest and enter the Blackmarket.
  • At the Mine levels it's okay to take it slower, you can always think about ghost running because Mines are easy compared to other lands. If game rolls a dark level feeling it's even better. Each golden bug worths 5000 which is not a bad amount, but bug spawn number is always random.
  • Try carrying the whole box of flares with you on a dark level, until you hit water or danger and need more than one.
  • Udjat's Eye spawns somewhere between 1-2 and 1-4, never leave mines without them if you're aiming to give a proper finish to the game.
  •  After 4 levels you can spend everything you have on the shortcut man. He takes payments for opening shortcuts and also items at Spelunky HD. And the game even saves the amount you paid him after you die.
  • At the Forest levels Spiked Shoes relieves you abit by killing whatever you stomped right away instantly. Spiked Shoes seems to be the only way to deal with big behemoths like Giant Frog, Queen Bee and Mammoths.
  • At the Spelunky Classic you can stomp the Maneaters with Spiked Shoes; in Spelunky HD, Maneater simply swallows you as a whole if you dare to get close to them in anyway.
  • Bee hive is a rare occassion at the Forest never leave without killing Queen Bee and taking her Royal Jelly. Being a large monster Queen Bee cannot fit herself anything smaller than 2 squares, if you're lucky you can hole yourself in a small space in the bee hive itself and whip Queen Bee to death. Another way is wearing Spiked Shoes and sticking yourself in the honeywax hanging off from the ceiling and stomp or whip her.
  • Tiki Traps have a small cooldown on their spikes, if you don't want to get impaled right away; fake the Tiki Trap once then hang from its edge and pull yourself up.
  • It's not even funny how useful the compass is on ice levels.
  •  Catcher's Mitt and Bomb Paste is a nice combination to kill Anubis effortlessly to get the golden scepter. 
  • ITS NOT IMPOSSIBLE! it just takes about 1-2k plays to get good enough to get to city of gold and win all mini-games.AND IT. IS. WORTH. IT!!