Spelunker is a action-adventure game released in 1983 by Broderbund for the Commodore 64 and Atari 8-bit systems. It was later ported to the Famicom/NES, Arcade and MSX by Irem.
In the game you control a spelunker who's exploring a cave in search of treasure. It features only a single, gigantic level with various areas.
- The game is brutally difficult for a lot of reasons.
- The character dies if it falls any distance equal or greater than his own height, meaning you should be extremely careful whenever doing jumps or even walking.
- You have an oxygen meter which also acts as your lifebar. Your only means of defense is an air gun which depletes the oxygen meter when used.
- Ghost enemies that respawn randomly around the place, sometimes over your character or on the place where you're about to land.
- Platforming requires pixel-perfect precision. If there is even a single pixel of space between platforms you will fall down if you try to walk over it.
- The bomb item, which is required to detonate certain walls, detonates fast and will kill you if you are in its blast radius.
- Jumping from ropes is made tricky as you need to press a direction and the jump button at the exact same time. Pressing a direction will count as if you were walking, making you fall to your death.
- The NES port and MSX port have very good in-game music.
- Great graphics at this time.
- The arcade port is surprisingly decent, which it fixes all the problems and is actually a good game.
Spelunker is considered one of the Hardest video games of all time, This game is very well known in Japan for how bad it is, Despite the game's crappiness, Spelunker became a pop culture icon in Japan, becoming one of the first games to be labeled a "Kusoge (Shitty Game)" and starting the speedrun craze in Japan. The term "Spelunker" even became a slang term there to refer to someone who gets injured easily.
There were various Doujin/indie games based on Spelunker, such as Clannad Spelunker and Spelunky.
The Game received mixed to negative reception from the Critics, IGN rated it 2.5/10, Nintendo Life rated it 2/10, Eurogamer rated it 5/10.
Despite Spelunker is Unforgiving and its reputation, Reader Reviews from GameFAQs received a generally mixed to positive reception, a User CortlandShanks rated it 10/10 and called "A platforming treasure that rivals (and sometimes surpasses) Super Mario 3"
- The Spelunker theme song is reused in Syobon Action.