In memoriam, Donald Sutherland


Moby ID: 13582
Atari 8-bit Specs
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Description official descriptions

In this game, you are a spelunker who climbs deep down mountain caves in search for treasure. The levels consist of many platforms, connected to each other by a riding cart, ladders, ropes, etc. You'll have to time your jumping well, because a slight fall will lead to your death, and the abyss is near! You should jump over various obstacles, avoid ghost-like enemies, climb on ropes, and use inventory items such as dynamite to create obstacle-destroying explosions that will bring you nearer to the desired treasure.


  • スペランカー - Japanese spelling

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Credits (Atari 8-bit version)

4 People

  • Micro GraphicImage
Graphic Design / Level Editor (uncredited)
Graphic Engine / Game Level Editor (uncredited)



Average score: 44% (based on 11 ratings)


Average score: 3.2 out of 5 (based on 30 ratings with 1 reviews)

A classic Brøderbund game gets a release in the arcades

The Good
Usually a game from a high-profile company, such as Irem or Taito, gets released in the arcades. If it is popular enough, it will be ported to home systems. A few games, however, made its debut on these systems before making its way to the arcades. One such game is Spelunker, an enjoyable game from Brøderbund Software released for early 8-bit computers where you control a miner navigating a huge cave system, trying to collect as many treasures as he can while avoiding enemies and ghosts. Irem, the Japanese company responsible for the excellent R-Type, obtained a license from Brøderbund to create arcade versions of their titles, and one of them was this game.

After checking out what the home computer ports were like, I noticed something different about the arcade version as soon as I started a new game: the inclusion of background music. The music is nothing new, given that the updated versions of Spelunker for NES and MSX already include music. However, it is totally different and blends in with the setting. It changes track when the green ghost randomly appears, and the music goes back to normal when it is killed by the miner’s weapon. The sound effects that I like were heard when the miner smacks his head on the edge of a platform and when he is falling to the ground.

I was impressed at how good the graphics are. The protagonist is drawn nicely, and his animations are superb. I enjoyed watching him smack his head when you attempt to jump on a platform at the wrong spot. As he falls down, his hat becomes loose as he is hurdling toward the ground. I like how the caverns look different to their original counterparts, and how there are sprites unique to the level. For example, there is water gushing out of the platform on level three, and a pyramid-like structure on level four that comes complete with an elevator.

When you get through the fourth cavern, you get an actual ending: the infamous "World of Legend" that comes complete with the Taj Mahal. After the ending, the game is repeated from cavern one, giving you a chance to reach #1 in the high score chart.

The Bad
This is an arcade game, so it is usually hard to find faults with the parent.

The Bottom Line
Spelunker is a great game where you have to search for treasures while avoiding many nasties. The graphics and sound are great, and it is one of the few games to be ported to the arcades. If this wonderful version had been ported back to home systems, it would have been called Spelunker - The Arcade Game.

Arcade · by Katakis | カタキス (43087) · 2019



Spelunker was marketed by Broderbund as part of its "Action Series".


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  • MobyGames ID: 13582
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Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history! If your contribution is approved, you will earn points and be credited as a contributor.

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Unicorn Lynx.

Commodore 64 added by PCGamer77. Wii U added by Michael Cassidy. Nintendo 3DS added by CrankyStorming. Arcade added by 666gonzo666. Wii added by gamewarrior. Antstream added by lights out party. MSX added by koffiepad. Atari 8-bit added by Bob Montgomery.

Additional contributors: PCGamer77, Alaka, Grandy02, Karsa Orlong.

Game added June 7, 2004. Last modified February 8, 2024.