Remember Spelunker? Tough as nails platformer for the NES where your character would die from falling more than half a foot? There’s about a 50/50 chance that you do. While the game wasn’t really mainstream, it did have kind of a big following. In the early part of 2009, a remake for the PS3 hit the online store. Now, some 12 years or so later, a remaster of the remake has come to the Nintendo Switch. While an odd choice, I definitely won’t complain because I really enjoy the Spelunker games.
Spelunker HD Deluxe takes the 2009 remake and enhances it with even more content. The mode that you will probably sink the most time into is the Adventure Mode. In this mode, you (as your unnamed spelunker) explore a cave, descending further and further as you hunt for treasure. Adventure Mode boasts an impressive 100 levels across 10 stages. After completing a stage, you can resume from the beginning of the next stage if you get a game over. And you will.
Championship Mode adds 100 more difficult stages than Adventure Mode. You start off with 50 lives. Yes, this sounds like a lot, but trust me… you’ll need them. So, if you’ve somehow mastered Adventure Mode and feel like you need a new challenge, this mode can accommodate that. And then there’s the Endless Cave NEO, which is a randomly generated survival mode. There’s no shortage of content here.
In addition, all modes can be played with the shiny new 3D graphics or in classic 8-bit style. While I do enjoy the look of the 3D graphics, some problems do come with them. One of the biggest issues is that with the graphical upgrade, some of the pitfalls tend to blend in with the ground resulting in a shortfall to a quick death.
Checkpoints can sometimes be rather frustrating. While sometimes you’ll respawn fairly close to where you lose a life, other times you’ll respawn in a spot that makes absolutely no sense and takes you far longer to get back from than it should. This inconsistency is probably one of my biggest complaints with the game.
Breaking News: Spelunker Dies After Falling 2 Feet
Speaking of deaths and checkpoints, everything kills you in this game. Water, snakes, birds, ghosts, falling from a height greater than half your own… even bat poop. Yes, you read that correctly. Apparently, the spelunker is deathly allergic to guano because as soon as it touches him, he’s gone. Luckily, you have some items at your disposal to help you progress. Bombs scare away the snakes. Unfortunately, if you’re too close to the blast, you’ll die. Flares can scatter the bats and birds. And a small portable fan can blow away the ghosts, but watch your oxygen because using the fan can consume it fairly quickly. Both bombs and flares can be found lying around the caves.
Much like the original game, Spelunker HD Deluxe is HARD. Being able to continue from the beginning of a stage helps. And the game is not stingy with the extra lives, but make no mistake. This game is difficult. If that’s not your kind of gaming experience, then you may want to skip this one. But if you’re like me and enjoy a good old-school challenge, this game will definitely give it to you. And for the price ($24.99/£22.99), there’s plenty of content to keep you coming back for more.
Review code provided
Platform: PlayStation, Nintendo
Release Date: 06/08/2021
No. of Players: 1-6
Category: Action, Arcade
Developer: Tozai Games
Publisher: ININ Games
Download link: US eShop / UK eShop