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  • Spelunker (Irem, 12/6/85)

    Posted on April 27th, 2011 keving 4 comments

    Spelunker is infamous (in Japan, at least) for featuring the wimpiest hero in video games, a guy who cannot survive a fall of half his body length and who blithely falls right off of ropes and ladders unless you specifically order him to jump off instead. In the hands of the right TASser, however, the dude suddenly acquires Mario-like powers.

    The main trick to this updated run lies in an obscure bug involving the “drug,” the hidden bottles of red liquid that are revealed when your explorer passes through certain points in each map. Drugs double your speed for a limited time, but it turns out that if you pick up a second drug just before your current one expires, the timer will go offline and you’ll keep the speed boost for the rest of the game.

    There’s a side effect to this, however: You cannot board the left-right moving boat in the third section while in double-speed mode, effectively preventing you from going any further. The workaround involves exploiting another obscure bug: If you tap A repeatedly to climb a rope or ladder quickly, the game (for whatever reason) will not reset the Y coordinate it uses to determine whether you’ve fallen to your death or not. As a result, as long as you get the A-button timing right, you can jump off the rope and fall as far as you want as long as you don’t tumble below the starting point where you first “boarded” the rope.

    This TAS uses that bug to essentially force the explorer into the boat. In the process, he also shatters everything I thought I knew about the Spelunker. Maybe he deserves to be treated seriously as a video game hero after all…


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