There are three main ways to beat Spelunky 2, the most interesting platformer of the last year-plus. But in reality there’s more like a dozen different finish lines, if you include the community-created ‘runs’ that make up so much of Spelunky 2’s high-level play. Beating the game without using any items. Escorting the fragile Eggplant Child all the way through the Cosmic Ocean. Using a teleporter to bamf your way through entire level sections, hopefully without teleporting your body inside a wall.
The gold run is one of the most obvious of these Spelunky 2 quests because collecting money is a basic part of the game at all levels. To get the most gold possible, you don’t only have to smash ghost jars for valuable diamonds and reach special areas like Madame Tusk’s Palace of Pleasure, you have to destroy Spelunky 2 itself—its levels—in order to gather the gold and gems stuck inside surfaces. You essentially have to strip-mine the entire game.
This is what Twiggle did recently as he recorded a legendary $11,209,900 gold run, eclipsing previous records he’d set and those of any other player.
How’d he do it? Well, mostly by methodically blowing everything up. “For maximum score, you really want to get the True Crown item,” Twiggle told me via DM. For an average player, the True Crown is a prohibitively chaotic hat—to obtain it, you have to become cursed, then uncursed. And once you do, it automatically teleports you in the direction you’re pointed every 22 seconds. Not ideal.
Unless you’re Twiggle, for whom random teleportation is as natural as walking. The True Crown is crucial because you also receive 22 bombs each time you teleport. It’s the only way to carry tons of firepower across the Cosmic Ocean, the 99-level marathon that is Spelunky 2’s hardest (and most lucrative) ending.
You need a ton of bombs to destroy the City of Gold, a special level made entirely of money, essentially. “The City of Gold can give you anywhere from $900K to $1.4 mil just in a single level,” Twiggle says. In other words, about 10 percent of his total haul.
Some fortunate level generation did pave the way for this world record. “I got incredibly lucky with Jetpacks on this run. I found a Jetpack in a crate pretty early in the Cosmic Ocean, which I needed because when I lost the Ankh my jetpack exploded,” says Twiggle. “Later on, *that* jetpack exploded, and I went through several levels without any mobility. Amazingly, I found a jetpack in the crust which allowed me to continue the score run.”
Twiggle adds that his unluckiest moment, understandably, came when he died at 7-80, as a flying yeti knocked him into the cosmic jellyfish and ended the run. Considering he didn’t make it all the way to the end-of-the-end, Twiggle knows he can theoretically break this record. “I’m still looking for a better score—it can be improved by quite a bit. Even this run ended on 7-80, losing out on about 20 Cosmic Ocean levels worth of gold and gems,” he says. “For me personally, I’m going to try harder for score runs with Vlad’s Cape, so if I catch on fire my mobility doesn’t explode like it does for the Jetpack.”
Score runs are also stamina runs (blowing up a whole level can take some time). Attempting one means committing to several hours of focused play: Twiggle’s run clocked in at 7 hours, 43 minutes, including breaks. “High score runs in Spelunky 2 are incredibly difficult,” says Twiggle. “It’s no surprise only a handful of people try for them, and even less surprising when you consider all of the unlucky events that can happen with the game’s complex interactions. That being said, the thrill of getting far on a good run is very exciting, and I look forward to completing a run with $12.5-$14 mil eventually!”
Follow Twiggle’s downward exploits at twitch.tv/twigglesoft.