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PlayStation Network Review: Spelunker HD

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Did you ever picture yourself doing down into a dark cave looking for treasure? Was the trip to dangerous because of the unknown? Well, the PSN’s Spelunker HD, a remake of the classic that appeared on the Atari almost 30 years ago, has that covered (in fact, the game has remade several times, but we’re only concerning ourselves here with the newest version).

Spelunker is known for its insanely difficult levels and this version is no different. The player has to make perfect jumps, rope climbs, and bomb placements. If they are not perfect there is only one thing that can be certain, death. And trust me, death will happen and it will happen a lot.

To make it more difficult for the players, once a player dies they respawn in a random place. This is something that people will not enjoy. Having gone though areas that they already did only to die then having to redo them isn’t fun. The game is already difficult on its own, this just adds more to the frustration.

Speaking of frustration, the game has the ability to save, but in order to save players will have to exit the level that they are playing in order to do so. Also, when their is a game over, there is not an option to load from a previous save. The player will be kicked to the main menu and the game can only be loaded from there.

The reason for playing this version of Spelunker over the other versions is because of the new and fun multiplayer modes and the graphic overhaul that have been given to the title. Bringing the title to HD, the color has more depth and players will be able to actually tell the difference between items, ghosts, and bats that can kill them. To make old school gamers even happier the 8-bit version of the game is included as well.

Spelunker does support up to four players locally and six players online. The multiplayer is refreshingly funny — seeing your friends dying because of their jumps seems cruel, but is still fun nonetheless. The entire game can be played cooperatively too. Playing it online will give way to alot of high scores and allow you to see people who are really good at the game. Other than the traditional mode, once can also engage in cave racing, where players have to reach the bottom faster then their opponents. There is also a different course features that will leave players racing for bombs and flares as there is only a limited number on each level. The drawback to playing this way is that each person gets their own split-screen on a television set, so the view is often divided into four. This gives you the ability to see where your teammates or opponents are at all times, but doesn’t provide the whole view of the area which would be useful.

Spelunker HD is a game that is very much rooted into its 8-bit ancestor. It is an amazing game, difficult, but amazing even 30 years later. The updated graphics as well as new multiplayer modes and capabilities add a good touch to the game. The frustration only leads to the appeal of it for old school gamers. New school gamers will find it very frustrating all the time and might not give the game the chance that it deserves.

Spelunker HD is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB for Comic Mischief.

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