Aaron’s Adventures: How to Beat Notoriously Difficult Platformer Spelunker on the NES Without Dying

Have you ever played a game so frustrating that it made you give up in rage? Maybe it was so bad that you sold it without a second thought? For me, Spelunker for the NES was that game up until last year.


Now, I actually enjoy the game’s insane challenge and have finally completed a deathless run of the game!

So how do you survive this notoriously difficult game?

 Spelunker_Player Master jumping – When you jump off a ladder or rope – you must tap the direction you want to jump off a split second before you hit the A button.

Master falling – Spelunker loves to kill you. Don’t let it! If you fall of a ledge or elevator – you can’t fall more than one centimeter without dying – be careful!

Spelunker is one large, contiguous level split into 4 stages. You cannot progress to the next stage until you obtain the colored keys in specific locations. Be on the lookout!

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Collect bombs to blow up boulders that will get in your way. But make sure to run in the opposite direction about 5 feet away. Bombs can also be used to blow up hollow looking rock faces which hide diamonds which will boost your score. At 40,000 points you gain a life.

Collect flares to use on the bats who hate light. Use up+b to fire the flare. Remember – you don’t have to shoot the flare directly at the bat. It’s better if you shoot it on either side of the bath so as to avoid his falling guano. The flare itself can drop and kill you so watch out!

Collect air capsules to refill your rapidly depleting air supply. You will also need to fire off your air gun to kill the ghosts. Tap the b button to shoot.  You will hear the ghost music when it’s nearby.

The ghost can come from any direction so be prepared! You must be 5 feet or less away to shoot the air. Don’t worry about facing the ghost as long it’s in the radius of the gun. It will take a few seconds to dissipate

Sometimes you can find a circle star like item. This is a random item – it will either boost your score, grant you an extra life or refill your air.

Collect money bags and coins to boost your score.

There are 8 places on the map where you can jump and get an item. It will  either be 1up, invicibility, 2x points, or a speed potion.  Check every out of the place area and JUMP! Just remember the items are randomized each playthrough,

Be sure to check out this strategy wiki for the game if you need more help:

Aaron Hickman
Retro Obscura Podcast

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