Spelunky Heroes

The video above captures one of the greatest video gaming feats that I have ever witnessed. Last week, twitch streamer Bananasaurus Rex successfully completed the world’s first solo eggplant run in Spelunky. Since very soon after the game’s initial launch back in 2008, people have known that if you sacrifice a mystery box on a Kali shrine, it produces a hold-able eggplant item that you can carry from level to level. The eggplant itself is very fragile. It cannot be thrown or whipped without perishing. If any little bit of rubble or falling debris can destroy it. And as far as anyone could tell, it served no purpose. The eggplant went largely ignored by gamers until the PC release came out and Spelunkers could begin combing through the game’s source files to learn all of Derek Yu’s secrets. It was discovered that the eggplant could be used to incapacitate Yama, the game’s end boss. Certainly a helpful little easter egg, except that getting the eggplant that far proved immensely difficult. In the 5 years since the game was released, no one has managed to do it. Until now. Back in October two brothers pulled it off in co-op mode. It was a great accomplishment, the first documented evidence of anyone ever doing it, but co-oping the run is far easier than going solo because you can share the responsibility of carrying the eggplant to keep it safe. A week ago, Bananasaurus Rex became the first to go it alone. His was a harrowing journey. There were dozens of instances where it almost ended. But it didn’t Below are some of his amazing run’s more notable points, with time cues indicating where they fall in the youtube video.

5:50 – Rex gives Kali a wrapped gift and is rewarded with an eggplant. As mentioned, the eggplant has no use other than immobilizing the game’s end boss. The eggplant run is on.

15:20 – He gets a dark level. This is especially difficult with the eggplant because he has to carry the torch also to find his way. Eventually, he manages to clear the level to the point where it’s safe enough to ghost all the gems he finds. In the process of doing so, he find the passage to the black market.

35:55 – He angers Kali just for fun and carries the ball and chain through the next two levels.

39:50 – Rex anticipates the eggplant’s vulnerability only a few seconds before it actually falls into harms way. He narrowly avoids losing it to an alien’s ray gun.

40:26 – He discovers from someone watching his stream that he missed a free jetpack on the previous level. The best item in the game, it would have made everything considerably easier. Oh well…

42:30 – The spaceship level is bananas. Because there are aliens constantly destroying pieces of the environment and rubble is flying everywhere. If any little bit falls on the eggplant, the run is over. But Rex has to go the spaceship to free the robot helper. He’ll need it in the Temple to carry the Anubis scepter between levels while he carries the eggplant. He must have the scepter to unlock the City of Gold level. And he must go to the City of Gold to obtain the Book of the Dead, which ultimately allows him to enter Hell. Having to free and then lead the AI-controlled robot helper is one of the most difficult parts of an eggplant run.

55:37 – Once he gets to the City of Gold shit starts getting real. The run is going well. He’s managed to get the wonky robot to carry the scepter without ruining everything. His money is good but he’s resource starved, only 5 bombs and 5 ropes. He knows Olmec will be a problem unless he finds more bombs. He skypes his friend for moral support. His live stream viewership is starting to climb over 500.

58:48 – The battle with Olmec is epic. He finds just enough bombs to dig a hole that is exactly Olmec-sized. There are still blocks at the bottom though, and he would have to spend his last two bombs to remove them, thus forcing him to enter Hell with utterly bombless. To remove the blocks, Rex decides to get Olmec to pound into the hole, which means he has to line the boss up perfectly. He does this by teetering at the lip and then backing away at the last moment. It is a thing of beauty. (1:07:16)

1:16:00 – Hell is non-stop crazy, and with a bomb deficiency Rex has to fight hard to stay alive. His maneuver to get into the exit on 5-3 is marvelous. And he manages to keep his one bomb, which he can use on one of the minotaurs on the Yama level to replenish his supply.

1:19:30 – Rex feeds Yama the eggplant. He’s done it.

Rex’s response to what he’s just done is interesting to me. His friend Doxy is clearly elated, but Rex is mostly just relieved. He did what he set out to do. He had probably been working at this run for months, and now it’s all over. He’s played thousands of hours of Spelunky, literally thousands, and now he’s accomplished the pinnacle achievement of the game. During the credits Doxy asks him what he’s going to do now. Bananasaurus Rex is one of the best Spelunky players in the world. He holds the speed run world record, having completed the game in 2 minutes, 13 seconds. He says he’s going to try for the high score world record. He also floats the idea of killing Yama in new and unorthodox ways. This past week he killed Yama with tiki traps. Pretty neat.


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