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ZX Super Spelunky Ultimate

Author: Ketmar Dark Machine Type: Spectrum 16K
Submitted on: 4th of July, 2020 Download or play online

Do you like Spelunky, the thrilling roguelike where you explore hidden caves, collect valuable treasures, dodge traps and rescue damsels? Do you also love the ZX Spectrum? Well, if the answer is yes to both of those questions, then Ketmar Dark has got you covered with his new game, ZX Super Spelunky Ultimate! If you answered no, well, find something else to do. This entry was so brilliant that our mail server refused to take it – in the end, Ketmar had to send it to me via a private message on Spectrum Computing.

Once we have loaded the tape in, the title screen appears in all its flashing, chirping glory. The title crawls through the colour palette, with its journey interspersed by random chirps from the internal speaker, whilst the lower lines of the display dazzle the eyes with an invitation to buy a season pass for more caves, for only the small sum of $666.69!

The game begins with the map generation, which thunders along at a blistering rate, taking only 50 seconds to draw the entire screen. After that, we are dropped straight into the cavern system. There is some clever use of symbolism in the ASCII-o-vision™ graphics – our player character is represented by a green ‘@’ symbol, presumably because it shows us where we are ‘at’. Likewise, the dollars represent the, erhm, dollars, and the yellow hash symbols signify the rocks… ?

To further simulate the lonely, isolating experience of traversing a cavern, the internal beeper squawks at you after every frame, perfectly capturing the deafening silence by actually deafening you. The controls add to the realism, with our brave typographic mark slowly and cautiously navigating the course at a speed only matched by my writing of these reviews.

To progress towards the bottom, the cavern must be cleared using explosives. Once placed, there’s only a second or two before the detonation occurs at the same painstaking pace as the map creation. Not to worry though, as we can propel ourselves as high as we want, if we keep pressing the jump key whilst in mid-air. The cavern can be left as soon as the path is clear, though obviously the score will suffer if money is left behind. I finished with a score of 323, alongside a slight ringing in my ears.

Overall, ZX Super Spelunky Ultimate is a fine game for a lazy afternoon, where you can take it at your own pace and enjoy the lovely scenery. Just don’t forget to bring your earplugs.


Graphics Sound Gameplay Innovation TOTAL
26% 14% 29% 27% 24%