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Four Reflections for Filler

Let's continue with Part 2 of Really terrible games I thought I could have some fun with (but was wrong), as we look at one of the NES's most punishingly difficult die-a-lot-em-ups.
#1: Yes, it's the game known as...
Spelunker
#2: What was I thinking?
Lookit all those li'l things!
On paper (and the first screen or two) it doesn't seem so insane to give Spelunker the ol' college try: there's so many movin' things, gadgets, gimgaws and doo-dads that you'd think there'd be a LITTLE fun to be had.
But before you even start figuring out what each of those power-ups, pick-ups and timer-resets do, you run into the game's cruelty:
#3: Everything kills you and you die and are dead.
MIND THE GAP!
If you've heard anything about Spelunker (and I hope you haven't), it's this: everything kills you. Very few 8-bit jump-y/explore-y games feature plumetting deaths, but this one tries to make up for it all on its own.
You can see some of the early deaths you'll probably suffer above:
  1. step onto the rising/falling platforms off by a pixel? DEATH!
  2. Try to WALK onto the elevator, assuming that because it's flush with the floor, it's accessible? DEATH!
I've said it before, but Spelunker is another game that seems to shout STOP PLAYING THIS GAME! STOP PLAYING THIS GAME! at you every second you try to enjoy it.
#4: It's kind of a shame, too...
...because some of the rudimentary puzzle-solving is kind of amusing.
Again, lots of exploring, lots of items, and the thrill of getting the screen to scroll just a little farther than last time.
But given your very finite pool of lives, the very aggresive timer (if you DON'T repeatedly plumet to your death, you need to ration the timer-resetting "pump" items, or you'll die just a few screens in), and complete lack of continues, its a punishing and unrewarding experience.
While it's kind of cool that the game has no "levels" per se -- it just keeps scrolling as you keep going/opening doors/etc, that also means that you get to start over at the beginning every time you run out of lives.
Given that even a mis-timed dismount from a climbin' rope can kill you (you have to press over AND jump at the same moment, did I mention that?), I agree with the general consensus: Spelunker is a game where your frustration will greately outweigh any amusement you try to wring from it (barring some kind of weird gaming masochism).
In conclusion...Spelunkin' doesn't make me feel good.
Additionally, I AM afraid of this ghost.
— carlmarksguy, 2016-08-08
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